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11-04-2013, 03:01 PM   #1
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Enthusiast vs Prosumer vs Semi Pro vs Pro vs APSC vs Full Frame

Hey guys & girls, long time Pentax user here, but I haven't been on the forum for a while.

Very excited to hear about the K3, looks like a cracking camera. I wanted to ask you all a question that has been bugging me for a long time.

In the latest review of the K3 on this site, the editor refers to the K3 as possibly the best "enthusiast APSC" camera on the market. I am certainly not being critical of the review, but these descriptions and labels are becoming more and more common.

So what qualifies a camera to be "professional". I take professional photos with my K7 and I know I could take better photos to sell with a point & shoot than some professional photographers out there, as could a lot of you on here I am sure.

Furthermore, why are we constantly differentiating between FF & APSC cameras? I know the benefits that WE as old Pentax users would get out of FF, but take away the sensor size and these cameras compete. The only thing I see that differentiates cameras is price. Why not compare the K3 to a 1Dx? Of course many would consider the the 1Dx is going to be a better camera because it costs $6000. Throw the K3 up against some top of the line cameras and see how it stacks up. In my mind it is every bit "professional" as a 1Dx. If you can cope without a FF sensor and do not want to blow up images to the size of a bus, then this camera should compete with all the others. Price then becomes the biggest variable.


11-04-2013, 03:31 PM - 1 Like   #2
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The use of the term "professional camera" is really just a bit of shorthand for "a camera that has the features demanded by a significant number of people who make their living from its use", as I guess you understand, anyway. When it's used, much of the time, that term is a marketing term as much as anything else, and the ugly word "prosumer" is, too: its meaning is "high-level non-professional", but just why they felt it necessary to meld "professional" and "consumer" escapes me. Viewed objectively, professionals are consumers, too.

Marketing is essential to business, of course, but it frequently creates "weasel words", where much of the meaning is sucked out of them by inappropriate or over-use. A real professional knows what it is they want from a camera, and doesn't have to be told.

The subject of APS-C versus 35mm DSLR format has been much worked over in these Forums, as you're probably aware. So has the subject of DSLR versus mirrorless. In the end, a camera is a tool that either appeals to the individual or not, and either suits their purpose well, or not. Those who proselytise for one tool over another are more than likely zealots who think that they've discovered the secret of happiness and want to share it with everyone, which is fine up to the point where they start to bore you with it, or shout so loud and long that you give up and go with them or just turn off. We've had a bit of that here, too. I wouldn't fret too much about it all. You obviously do well enough with what you have, but of course the desire to acquire is strong if you're into this field of endeavour and think that another device might help you work in it that much more easily, or produce a better result.

I've ordered a K-3, by the way, but mostly because I've run out of lenses I want to buy.
11-04-2013, 03:32 PM   #3
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To answer your post - I would use two words - Marketing and Gimmicks.

Cameras don't make great pictures lenses do. (All the veterans would second that - Hopefully). Everything else is just good to have.

11-04-2013, 03:36 PM   #4
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There was recently are fairly long thread on the same subject:

I don't think you need to have a FF camera to make your living with photography. Many of the 'pros' who post on a forum for one of the stock sites I use are moving to mirrorless APS-C because they can get the quality they need in a far smaller and less conspicuous format.

But a 'professional' camera should come with a 'professional' ecosystem, such as fast repair, lens loaning, and other support, which Pentax does not have. So can I take pictures at the 'professional' level with Pentax? Yes. Do I consider Pentax a 'professional' camera? Not really, thus the 'enthusiast' tag.

And you also need to think about which branch of photography you are talking about. Pro level sports? NFL for example? Not gonna happen with a Pentax. But there are certainly areas where Pentax is very competitive at the 'pro' level.

11-04-2013, 04:09 PM   #5
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I couldn't agree more with your comments. For sure there are arms of the professional industry that are better supported by Canon and Nikon. Probably sponsored too. It erks me to go into a camera shop and see them categorized as consumer, sem-pro and pro. Even if they only sell Canon or Nikon.

I do a lot of outdoor photography. I actually own a cruise company where I take photos for our marketing, so my camera is out on the water a lot too. I did a 4 day hike the other month and had the K7 around my neck the whole time (clipped into my pack straps actually). I did this because I wanted to fire off photos quickly, not having to stop and unpack the camera. The Pentax was belted from left to right as I busted through thick bush, scaled down cliffs, & trekked through canyons. It was covered in mud & covered in scratches. The camera never failed. The weather sealing held up as I washed the mud off the camera in creeks. No moisture, condensation, dents or cracks. I kept thinking to myself, "now do I really want that Canon MkIII?". I was seriously thinking about it before I did that walk. I could afford buy one, but can I afford to treat it like I did the K7?

I see the Pentax brand slowly finding its feet. It's is not in a megapixel race. I am actually surprised that the Pentax brand has not been swallowed up in the industry. Maybe Ricoh got to it just in time. In my mind, the K7, K5 & K3 are examples of the company finding a style and build that fits the Pentax brand. The internal components of the camera are forever upgradable once brand recognition is established. For me, the build quality alone of the Pentax K3 suggests that it is a professional camera.
11-05-2013, 10:29 AM - 1 Like   #6
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I think Professional means they charge more and since if one is a "Professional" they would be obligated to pay it.
11-05-2013, 11:19 PM - 1 Like   #7
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A professional camera is more about ego and attitude than anything else.

The term professional is normally based upon making a living at something, therefore the term is somewhat meaningless. As opposed to entry level, which means a beginner camera, the only other term should be advanced, implying it requires skill to use.

As for specific models and full frame vs APS-C,

There are a ton of pros who shoot APS-C and JPEG, are they any less professional, no.

Go back to the beginning, every camera, is a professional camera, because I can guarantee there is somebody out there making a living with it. The term is useless
11-06-2013, 09:34 AM   #8
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What is really occuring (or has been occurring) has been more of a change in 'physical hardware' to 'software' changes.

Many consumer end cameras now should be almost disposable after ~3-5 years (sort of like a computer/tablet).
'When' battery life becomes a LOT better, and the EVF is a lot better (I think Sony has a decent one), I can imagine that most - if not all consumer grade cameras will be mirrorless.

A few mirrorless have tested the waters. Only Samsung has devoted its cameras to mirrorless only, with Sony as a go-between with SLT.
Sure - Nikon/Canon/Pentax/Olympus/etc. all have 4/3 - but they haven't put a 'high end' consumer look/feel to it.

Samsung's NX-300 and Sony a7 are what people would want - not at the 'advanced' pro level - but at a consumer end that has all the bells and whistles.

Eg. Pentax K-01 has nice features of sat a K-5 - but its screen is not very useful - and with no EVR its not user friendly. The styling may seen retro/Fisher Price - which doesn't bother me - but the ergonomics do. I hate to use Apple as an example here - but when they built the original iPhone - ergonomics were key (i.e. can be used with a single hand). The same can't be said for the K-01. The device might be capable - but obscured by a 'design by committee' approach. As a result - many 'good' cameras are obscured by decisions made by bean counters/marketers. My opinion is that they didn't want to lure many away from SLR but test the waters with an APS-C mirrorless. As a result - it was an experiment.

11-11-2013, 02:37 PM   #9
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Agree with Lowell. Marketable features seem to be the justification companies use to label their cameras as professional/prosumer/enthusiast/etc.
It is largely (if not completely) irrelevant, as the only thing that matters is whether it meets the demands of the buyer, professional or not.
11-12-2013, 06:36 PM - 1 Like   #10
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I am glad people share common thoughts with this. It feels to me when someone describes a camera as "enthusiast", that it cheapens the camera
11-12-2013, 07:14 PM   #11
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IR called the K-3 a pro camera, why the author on Pentax forum chooses to do otherwise, you'd have to ask the person who wrote it.. God knows there are enough pros making their images with K-5s if that's the criteria then the review has it wrong.
From Imaging Resource

All you can say is "pro schmoe , enthusiast schmenthusiast" I say. ON another thread, I was talking to a guy, one of 3 or 4 wedding photogs doing most of their work with Oly 4/3 cameras, using D7100s for their flash capabilities when needed. If a pro camera isn't any camera any pro somewhere in the world makes his living with, then the term is pretty much meaningless. There is no dictionary definition of what a "pro" camera is that camera companies have to meet to call their camera pro cameras. Or a set of guidelines that Pentax forum meets when they call it an enthusiast camera. People use these terms to suit their own agenda. When people ask me what kind of camera I have, I usually say a Pentax. I'm not going to use some abused undefined term that probably doesn't really have a place in the language, given that there is no consensus on what it means.

If someone asks me what a circle of confusion is, I'll tell them. If someone ask me what a pro camera is I'll probably say "pfffft."

My Technical Studio instructors answer to the question.."what's the difference between a good camera and a poor camera." He gave a good practical photographers answer born out by years of experience. "The good ones cost a lot more to get fixed."

Last edited by normhead; 11-12-2013 at 07:26 PM.

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