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11-04-2010, 08:56 PM   #1
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Made friends with some professional photographers here in Tokyo...

...and they gave me an interesting inside scoop on the trade. There were 4 pro photogs out with myself and some of my friends, who are just amateurs. Most all engaged in different forms of photography to pay the bills: portraits, product photography, agencies, etc.

For the most part, the pros used Canon/Nikon, but they all remarked on the great handling and the lenses of Pentax -- so that made me happy!

I know we all love Pentax for its ergonomics and the small size bodies, coupled with the premium compact primes, which the pros likewise admired. Yet, they also told me an interesting, albeit quite unfortunate tendency in the industry.

The tendency being that their clients, who are usually editors, publishers, etc will pick the photog with the biggest cam, the biggest lens, and the most megapixels. Sometimes, these pros were saying that when they meet a potential client, they'd go out and rent a Nikon D3X just to make a favorable impression of "whoa, huge cam, he must be really pro" on the client.

So in that sense, in the pro world (at least from their experience), while smaller cam bodies like Pentax are great for us and we know the quality is up to par, we cannot control how they are outwardly perceived by the clients. And sadly, it seems that there is a strong tendency to equate larger cams with pros, even though in an ideal world, the pictures should speak for themselves.

Now, I'm sort of anticipating that there will be a deluge of responses going, "well, I've been a pro for 50 years and I shoot exclusively with Pentax" and I won't disagree with that. I'm also not saying that Pentax can't be used for professional purposes.

All I'm expressing here is what I heard from the pro photog friends that I hang out with and their experiences from their clients.


Last edited by uchinakuri; 11-04-2010 at 09:07 PM.
11-04-2010, 09:05 PM   #2
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Yeah it is a bit sad that most people think bigger = better.
11-04-2010, 09:23 PM   #3
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Very sad... just a big measuring contest...
11-04-2010, 09:33 PM   #4
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I'm not saying a 645d is a better camera for say a wedding, but if you're worried about a client seeing a small camera.

I'd prefer to be hired by the quality of my work and word of mouth....regardless of the camera.

11-04-2010, 09:36 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by smc Quote
I'm not saying a 645d is a better camera for say a wedding, but if you're worried about a client seeing a small camera.

I'd prefer to be hired by the quality of my work and word of mouth....regardless of the camera.
Yeah, that's what I'd prefer too. I'm just passing on the experience of the photogs here on the forum, even if it is less than ideal.
11-04-2010, 09:49 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by uchinakuri Quote
Yeah, that's what I'd prefer too. I'm just passing on the experience of the photogs here on the forum, even if it is less than ideal.
It's unfortunate, but I kinda like using something different. I think things will change.
11-04-2010, 10:15 PM   #7
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would you really hire a plumber who had a small toolkit? wouldn't you be worried that he wouldn't have all the nessecary tools, I know nothing about plumbing- so I wouldn't know if everything could be undone with one spanner. What i'm trying to say is that editors are not photographers, so it's not unlikely they equate size with quality, also when you think of 'pro'- a fashion shoot or a wedding shoot you always see a big camera- so to non photographers who don't know any different they see a 'pro' using a big camera, they see their friends using a small camera, they don't know that the camera size has nothing to do with anything, they don't know that a huge lens wont take good photos

just use a battery grip and always use the lens shade, problem solved- you now have a 'pro' camera

Last edited by clark; 11-04-2010 at 10:35 PM.
11-04-2010, 10:40 PM   #8
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This is without a doubt a true story. I always take my mkIII and the big white 70-200 F2.8 when I meet new clients.

11-04-2010, 11:59 PM   #9
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Hi

Interesting topic, in Japan yes....the more gear and the bigger lenses = more "respect", also you can see very young kids (teenagers) with an amazing display of gear and have no idea of how to use it. But as well you can find incredible photographers with just a spotmatic in the hands.

PENTAX reputation in Japan is never a discussion topic, they just like the newest and expensive things, and they canīt overcome that.
11-06-2010, 12:16 PM   #10
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Yeah, it's sadly true, sometimes.

The funny thing is, that when consumers want to imitate 'pros' they usually aren't paying attention to what pros would like to use for the kinds of *purposes* that consumers and hobbyists will likely use their gear.

Sometimes the appearance of one's gear does come into things. (It used to be a chrome body would be quite a liability in some circles, or just anything not Nikon. I think for the gals it always helped to look like your gear has been around the block a few times, at least.

In my case, it usually has in fact been so, but it never bothers me when a used camera may have some brassing or surface wear or anything. (I actually felt a little self-conscious walking around with a crisp new K20d for a while, there, not that there would be any concerns about trying to work and having someone saying, 'Did Daddy buy you that?' or any of those lines. I hardly would seem the type at this stage in life, anyway. )
11-06-2010, 10:10 PM   #11
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I've belonged to a local photo club here in my hometown of Kiryu for about three years now and one thing which I hear about happening at photo clubs outside Japan but have never observed here is people having a weenie-wagging contest based on what gear they use. Nikon vs. Canon vs. Pentax vs. Whatever doesn't even get discussed....it just never comes up. Lots of discussion of members' photos regarding artistic and technical aspects, but practically never even a mention of what gear was used. So at least as far as the amateurs I know in Japan are concerned it is all about the result.

I got sort of tickled at a compliment from our eldest member, a very nice gentleman in his early 80s....he liked one of my shots well enough to suggest I submit it to Nikkor magazine. I had to tell him that since I use Pentax and Takumar lenses I didn't think they'd be interested in it.

At the dance recital I shoot each year we try to cover both the stage and backstage. I shoot the stage and for the last three years a friend of mine who is an exchange student from Lebanon has taken care of the backstage action for us. Two years ago there was a third shooter introduced by one of the students. He showed up with a Hasselblad and a couple of gigantic monobloc studio lights with power sources that I don't see how he moved without a truck and a crane. He did the studio style portraits of the girls once they were dressed and had their makeup done. I saw them later and they were all utter crap. He set the lights up left and right with a 1:1 balance and despite all that expensive gear managed to get completely flat lighting. The teacher showed them to me and said, "None of the girls even want a print of any of these." Despite the fact (and tacit understanding) that we do the photography on a volunteer basis this guy submitted a bill. Needless to say, he hasn't been invited back.

This year my friend took care of the portraits. He showed up with a low-end Slik tripod and a pair of cheap Chinese Yongnuo flash units and Yongnuo radio triggers. I loaned him a light stand and a shoot-through umbrella. We shot down through the umbrella and ceiling bounced the other light from the tripod with his two or three year old Canon DSLR. I've only seen the chimp shots on his LCD so far but I have full confidence that we managed to outdo the guy with the Hasselblad. And the gear was comfortably transported by bicycle.

Nobody who gets the pictures has the slightest idea or interest in what gear we use; they only know that they like the output. I could show up with my grandmother's old Kodak Instamatic and draw not a single comment one way or the other. Hell, this year I shot the whole performance with a single Pentax AF200T ($10) mounted on a travel tripod in the fourth row.

Last edited by Mike Cash; 11-06-2010 at 10:16 PM.
11-07-2010, 11:27 AM   #12
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Its not amateur photographers I am trying to impress when I bring my bigger cameras to a meeting - it is people who know absolutely nothing about cameras and are just looking for a professional. Impressions are made within the first 3 seconds of meeting someone so I do all I can to let them know I am a pro. If I had a 645 I would probably bring that instead. If I didn't have the mkIII I might even buy a battery grip for my k-7 so it looked "bigger - and professional"... but I'd still take the grip off when the job happened.

Rarely have I met a photographer who cares what brand of camera I shoot.
11-08-2010, 10:58 AM   #13
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I cut right to the chase and stuff a huge banana down my pants before meeting clients....

But it is a good point - people do make judgements, rational or not. I'll probably get a grip with the K-5 just to bulk it up, and then take it off when I'm out playing.
11-08-2010, 03:35 PM - 1 Like   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by johnmflores Quote
I cut right to the chase and stuff a huge banana down my pants before meeting clients....
This is why online forums are so good... someone always has a great idea I've never thought of
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