What kind of camera do professional photographers use?

Ashley_snap18

TPF Noob!
Joined
Jan 16, 2017
Messages
5
Reaction score
4
Can others edit my Photos
Photos NOT OK to edit
I'm new and wasn't sure exactly what forum I should post this in. I've gone to school for photography and I have a Canon EOS Rebel T3i Digital SLR Camera and a 18-55mm lens. I am trying to launch my own photography business and need to upgrade my camera. I mostly do outdoor portraits of people. What kind of camera would I use for a professional business? I feel confident in my skills, but would like advice as to what kind of camera and lens professional photographers use. I'm thinking I want a Canon. Any suggestions/feedback would be very helpful! Thanks in advance!
 

Overread

has a hat around here somewhere
Staff member
Supporting Member
Joined
May 1, 2008
Messages
25,367
Reaction score
4,938
Location
UK - England
Website
www.deviantart.com
Can others edit my Photos
Photos OK to edit
What kind of camera do you require to achieve your end goal - that's the answer to the question.

A professional might use anything; there is no set standard. It could even be a point and shoot for some professionals all the way up to digital medium format cameras.

It depends on:
1) Budget
2) What your end goals are - what kind of photography you are aiming to do.
3) What you need to achieve those ends - what kind of situations you're going to work in (studio work might mean far more investment in lights whilst if you're going into business doing sports events you'd invest far more into high end telephoto lenses etc...)


So really you need to sit down and work out what you're going into business to do (although I assume you've already got an idea of that); then see what your current gear produces and what weakneses and problems there are within that setup and thus what you want to and need to upgrade.



This, of course, goes along with all your other business setup costs and needs. Business licences, tax, insurance, any rental of site and business premises, advertising, marketing etc.... So your budget might well get eaten up more so with your costs of doing business and your setup (as well as money to cover you whilst you're starting up as you likely won't earn enough during that phase to cover your running costs) .
 

astroNikon

'ya all Bananas I tell 'ya
Supporting Member
Joined
Aug 15, 2013
Messages
13,669
Reaction score
3,344
Location
SE Michigan
Can others edit my Photos
Photos OK to edit
They use a "professional" camera of course !!

I'm not a professional, but I use a Nikon D750 and Nikon D500.
As you move up in cameras, you'll gain improved AutoFocus & tracking Features, faster camera reaction, more little features here and there, improved durability, better in low light, longer batter life, easier compatibility with off camera lighting, etc etc etc.

But it all comes down to how the person using the camera uses it to get the end results the client expects.
 

tirediron

Watch the Birdy!
Staff member
Supporting Member
Joined
Jul 8, 2005
Messages
45,747
Reaction score
14,802
Location
Victoria, BC
Website
www.johnsphotography.ca
Can others edit my Photos
Photos OK to edit
Not to mention these

and

these

and... everything in between. A professional (someone who's getting paid for his work) uses the gear he/she needs to get the job done. That might be a $40,000 Hasselblad rig, or it might be a $500 used Canon Rebel. Generally speaking most professionals use mid-range or better (Nikon D810 & up/Canon 5D Mk.. and up) for their build quality and feature-set, but really it's all about getting the job done at the cheapest price.
 

nerwin

Been spending a lot of time on here!
Joined
Jan 31, 2015
Messages
3,486
Reaction score
1,449
Location
Vermont
Website
nickerwin.com
I have a slight lust for the Pentax 645z. :drool: Ya, I'm weird.
 
Last edited:

ClickAddict

No longer a newbie, moving up!
Joined
Sep 21, 2010
Messages
455
Reaction score
117
Location
Belleville, Ontario, Canada
Website
www.eternalphotos.ca
Can others edit my Photos
Photos NOT OK to edit
I find it a bit hard to believe that someone who "Went to school for photography" would be asking what kind of camera professionals use. Add that to it being a user joined today..... :)
 

Solarflare

No longer a newbie, moving up!
Joined
May 24, 2012
Messages
2,898
Reaction score
395
Well, you'll have a hard time finding a professional photographer using a smartphone, a point and shoot, or an entry level DSLR, especially not as their main or only camera.

Smartphone as well as point and shoots in general both give rather poor control over photographic parameters as well as rather poor image quality. (At this point it should be pointed out that there are special point and shoots that are made for photographers, such as the Ricoh GR or Fuji X100. These cameras have a bright prime lens and a large sensor, thus image quality is no issue, and they have many controls just like higher level cameras. Thats why they are considered point and shoot for photographers.)

Entry level DSLRs are fine in most respects, but are slower and more problematic to operate than semiprofessional models, due to lack of control elements and due to some features missing. People who photograph daily and all day long tend to prefer at least semiprofessional cameras which have more control elements on the camera, allow to change photographic parameters quickly, and dont miss features.

So pros will rather take their pick from all other types of cameras without the aforementioned disadvantages, namely:

- rangefinder/Leica - These cameras focus on the quality of lenses. Since professionals know that lenses are the most important part of a camera, thats why Leica could survive so long despite being a rather small company and not that competitive in other respects, aside from their lenses. The specific advantage of the rangefinder style camera is that you can see the environment of your shot, i.e. you can for example wait for a person to walk into your shot before taking it. This advantage made the Leica M (and in the past also other rangefinders, and today also the X-Pro and X100 lines of Fuji cameras which however also offer autofocus) popular for street and reportage photography. The disadvantage however is that (true) rangefinders only work in a certain range of focal lenghts (about 28-75mm for Leica M) and down to about 80cm. The Fuji X cameras however also offer an EVF, which overcomes this problem. The newest Leica M also offer this feature, and historically there have been special separate viewfinders for wider angles.

- mirrorless/EVF - The newest shtrick. Some believe one day they'll replace DSLRs. They have no OVF however, so they need constant current (DSLRs have OVF and only need current for actually doing something) and quite a lot of that, too. Recently, with the X-T2, theres finally a mirrorless that seems to be truely able to compete with DSLRs in respect to autofocus performance, making the Fuji X-T2 the first general camera. Theres still a lot of glas Fuji is missing in their lineup to really compete with Canon and Nikon, though.

- DSLRs - Probably the biggest group, especially Nikon and Canon DSLRs. There is also Pentax. The most performant of all camera types, with excessive support and ability for any type of photography. Nikon and Canon also rule autofocus and telephoto lenses. They have the most impressive and most high quality lineup of lenses. Though it has to be said many of these lens choices are inferior or specialized and should be avoided in the first place.

- Digital medium format - Either mirrorless or DSLR; these cameras are super expensive, the most expensive are right now 35k$ - without lenses, which are also very pricey. These are the current pinacle of digital image quality, if you need that little extra, for corporate shots, fashion, landscape etc. Medium format rarely has zooms, and the prime lenses are rather dark too.

- Film cameras - from small to large format; the main problem is that film is expensive now, but some still prefer the colors from "real" film

Or by genre:

- Photo reporters will in general prefer DSLRs, especially semiprofessional and professional Canon and Nikon DSLRs. In fact both the Canon and Nikon most expensive DSLRs are optimized for this kind of photography. Thats because these cameras are tailored to get the shot at all cost, with insane reserves for low light, very robust build etc. Photo reporters are known for getting a trinity of lenses (such as 14-24,24-70,70-200 with f2.8) because they have to get the shot sometimes when they are basically confined to single spot. Photo reporters are also noteworthy for being the only type of pro photographers who keep the flash unit on the camera. Of course at the low end photo reporters might even use just point and shoots, but certainly not for sports/action. In the past, there has been also Leica M. Its still possible to use them, however skillfully operating a Leica M is nothing thats easy to learn.

- Wildlife shooters will use DSLRs of the full frame AND crop/APS-C variety, again from Canon and Nikon, as well as strong telephoto lenses. Thats because Wildlife shooters need the range and need the performance. Nobody else makes as good telephoto lenses as Canon and Nikon, so they are very dominant here, too.

- Landscape can be photographed with all kinds of cameras, especially also large format film. Landscape photographers dont really care about autofocus, will often use wide angle, will use their lenses only at f/8 or even more stopped down, will often use a tripod and apply filters. They might even still use large format film cameras or Tilt/Shift lenses.

- Portrait dont really need autofocus either. They often will put emphasis on large sensors and socalled portrait lenses - large aperture telephoto lenses for shallow depth of field, allowing to blurr the background, setting the focus on the subject.

- Fashion photographers will most typically either use full frame Canon or Nikon cameras, the image quality focused models like the Nikon D810 or the Canon 5D Mark IV, as well as the 300mm f2.8 and 400mm f2.8 lenses, at about 20m distance from the model, to get the special look fashion photographers want - the whole model and their clothing tack sharp, but the background blurred. But really of course fashion is just a subgenre of portraiture. Still I wanted to mention the special variant typical for this field.

- Studio is often done with DSLRs and zooms, especially since Canon and Nikon have the best flash systems, but really obviously since you have everything under control you can use any type of camera, and studio flashs dont really support Canon and Nikon specific flash features anyway.

- Street/social/spontaneous photography is probably the only type of photography in which a pro would consider a smartphone, simply because smartphones are uber stealthy. This is also the classic realm of Leica M cameras, of course. And the type of photography the aforementioned Ricoh GR, Fuji X100 etc are optimized for. For this type of photography a pro will typically want a 28mm or 35mm prime lens (because zooming is not an option if you have to react fast, plus in low light you gain an extra edge with having a bright prime lens).

- Macro is done with a lot of specialized gear, namely also macro lenses, but also specialized macro flash (there isnt much light to work with for macro lenses), tripod (you need to avoid ANY vibration of the camera, including using mirror lockup on a DSLR and remote triggering), focusing sledge (one focuses in macro by moving the camera), etc.

- Wedding photographers have probably the worst field of photography. Wedding photographers typically have the gear of photo journalists, in order to get the shot even under the worst of circumstance, but also need the knowledge of a studio photographer. They both need spotaneity to catch the unrepeatable moment, as well as preplanning of the shoot and the knowledge how to operate flash, as well as getting creative with special lenses (macro, fisheye, ...), etc. And still, even after all this, they often have to handle unthankful clients.

- Fine art is of course the genre every photographer would love to get in. These are the most drastically high paid people. Also probably the one field of photography in which large format film cameras still rule supreme.
 

SuzukiGS750EZ

No longer a newbie, moving up!
Joined
Oct 5, 2016
Messages
728
Reaction score
145
Location
Connecticut
Can others edit my Photos
Photos OK to edit
If you went to school and also know you need to upgrade your camera, answer your own question (this said in a non mean tone). What do you need it for? What's your budget? What lenses will you use most? Etc. etc.
 

table1349

Been spending a lot of time on here!
Joined
Sep 9, 2006
Messages
0
Reaction score
2,772
Not to mention these

and

these

and... everything in between. A professional (someone who's getting paid for his work) uses the gear he/she needs to get the job done. That might be a $40,000 Hasselblad rig, or it might be a $500 used Canon Rebel. Generally speaking most professionals use mid-range or better (Nikon D810 & up/Canon 5D Mk.. and up) for their build quality and feature-set, but really it's all about getting the job done at the cheapest price.
Oh now you are just talking like Ken Rockwell. :biggrin-93: Everyone knows it is all about the equipment. :biggrin-new:

Personally I feel the OP should as for a refund if they are asking such a question.

Meet the Pro Photographer Who Uses a Simple Point & Shoot

15 Digital Point-and-Shoot Cameras Used By Pro Photographers | PhotoShelter Blog

Great Photographers Who Use Crappy Cameras


I do agree however with this statement. "A professional (someone who's getting paid for his work) uses the gear he/she needs to get the job done." I am wondering though, haven't we heard this somewhere before? Like a million times already.
 

MSnowy

TPF Supporters
Supporting Member
Joined
Mar 1, 2010
Messages
5,341
Reaction score
4,112
Location
Scituate, MA.
Can others edit my Photos
Photos NOT OK to edit
Welcome to TPF. You will get some great advice here once you learn to weed out the bull$h:t a few of the members can't help but sling. I think you'll find the gear you need depends on what level of professionalism you'd like to achieve.
 

goodguy

Been spending a lot of time on here!
Joined
Dec 5, 2012
Messages
5,555
Reaction score
1,121
Location
Toronto Canada
Can others edit my Photos
Photos OK to edit
Weird question coming with someone who is comfortable with their ability.
Still I will play along.
Since you didn't mention budget I will consider as you have enough for pro equipment on a lean side.
Best is going with Nikon or Canon

Nikon you can get the D610 or D750 both excellent full frame cameras
Lenses Tamron 24-70mm 2.8 VC and 85mm 1.8G if you still have cash then Tamron 70-200mm 2.8 VC

Canon you can get the 6D
Lenses Tamron 24-70mm 2.8 VC and 85mm 1.8 if you still have cash then Tamron 70-200mm 2.8 VC

Yongnuo speedlight and flash triggers.
 

Dave442

Been spending a lot of time on here!
Joined
Feb 1, 2015
Messages
2,021
Reaction score
567
Why are you being held back by your equipment? How is a new camera going to improve your images?

I know I would rather spend a day in the park with a few clients using the T3i and kit lens rather than dragging around a 5D MarkIII with vertical grip and 200mm lens.
 

table1349

Been spending a lot of time on here!
Joined
Sep 9, 2006
Messages
0
Reaction score
2,772
All the equipment in the world doesn't make a professional photographers nor does having good photographic skills. There are literally thousands of amateur/hobbyist that produce fabulous work. Easily sell-able works.

In the business of photography you spend about 10% of you time behind the camera. The other 90% of the time is purely spent on the the business aspect. Keep in mind that it is not going to be a 9 to 5 business. You will spend countless hours including nights and weekends getting the business up and running. Anyone that truly wants to be a professional photographer definitely needs schooling on the business end. With the business end covered you have the knowledge to make good decisions.

Frankly if you are asking such a question I have my doubts that you are prepared to start a photography business. There are far too many people that are happy to blow smoke up your skirt and tell you to go for it. But then they don't have a vested interest in it. Most would be a little more hesitant to do so if it was THEIR money that was at risk of being lost.

About the only thing tougher than a photography business to start these days is a restaurant.
 

Most reactions

New Topics

Top