Professional Digital SLRs

The Cream of the Crop in Professional DSLR Photography

Professional DSLR Cameras

"Dear Mr Bank Manager, I have seen these Professional DSLR cameras and…"

Welcome to the world of Professional DSLR Cameras

If you are, or ever have been into photography, you will look at these cameras and simply drool! They are the pinnacle of each manufacturer and totally deserve the prefix of "Professional"! Pro DSLR's give you the feeling that by just holding one, you become a master photographer in your own right. They're the cream of the Digital SLR family.

If you are considering these, you must be DEAD SERIOUS about this hobby/profession. Or absolutely loaded. Way back in 2006, I personally had my eyes on the Canon EOS 1DS MKII, and hoped to have it by that summer. However...

My Professional DSLR Purchase Updates (Ongoing...)

Update 2006: Ok, the summer came and went and my plans to get the 1DS MKII were kyboshed by my wife announcing that she was pregnant with our second child! To be honest, the thought of having a daughter greatly outweighs owning a pro DSLR. So I bought the slightly cheaper Canon EOS 1D MKII instead! "Well, I will need something to photograph my expanding family with won't I dear"?

You can read my personal thoughts on this, one of two Professional Digital SLRs from Canon here: Canon EOS 1D Mark II user review

August 2007 Update: They got me again. I bought the new upgrade Canon EOS 1D Mark III whilst out shopping for a speedlight!

And here is my Canon EOS 1D Mark III User Review

March 2011 Update: It's been a while and in the past 4 years there have been various upgrades and purchases made. The kids are now 6 and 8! It is so difficult NOT to upgrade when the likes of Canon and Nikon keep bringing out such excellent professional DSLR cameras.

In that time I have bought and loved the Canon EOS 5D (old but still working amazingly well), two of the excellent Canon EOS 5D Mark II's and the newer Canon EOS 7D.

12 years on...

August 2018 Update: And so it continues. I've still got one 5D Mark II but in late 2016, I bought the contentious Canon EOS 5D Mark IV. I skipped the Mark III after testing one at a wedding. In all honesty, I couldn't justify the additional cost after seeing no improvement in image quality over the 5D Mark II.

I have also ventured into the world of mirrorless cameras with the awesome Panasonic GH4 and even "awesomer" Panasonic GH5. These cameras blow me away with regards to 4K video, that is why I bought them. The stills are good but no match for the full frame Canons.

Current rumours are, Nikon and Canon will be announcing some very exciting mirrorless cameras of their own soon. Watch this space...

What makes these Professional DSLR cameras so great (and expensive)?

These cameras are packed with the latest technology and features. The manufacturers spend most of their time and money on research and development for their "Flagship" cameras. Mainly to get the edge on their competitors. What you end up with are incredible electronic works of art that come with a hefty price tag.

Most of these have full-frame 35mm sensors nowadays (no cropping). This means your lenses once again get used at their true focal length. High quality sensors cost money to produce, manufacturer and (unfortunately) to buy.

Main Features

  • Full Frame Sensors (Canon EOS 1D series, 5D series and Nikon Dx series etc). What you see is what you get. There is no 1.6x or 1.5x crop factor like their smaller counterparts (Nikon D7200 1.5x, Canon EOS 7D Mark II 1.6x). This also allows for hugely greater quality.
  • More Megapixels - Up to 50MP (Canon EOS 5DSR and Nikon D850 45.7mp) - With this amount of pixels, we have truly surpassed 35mm film quality. Some are even saying that the Canon outshines medium format film quality. Now we're talking!
  • Build Quality/Durability - With titanium and magnesium alloy frames, coupled with rubber mounts and seals, the best of these cameras are weatherproof to a high degree. They will also withstand a drop onto concrete from a metre or so plus the shutters are supposed to last a lot longer.
  • check
    Metering - Highly advanced matrix metering gives the pro photographer more to work with and less chance of getting it wrong.
  • check
    Speed - The idea with these cameras is to match and/or outdo, the frame rate, start up time and write speed of the best of the film SLRs.
  • check
    Wireless Capabilities - With the right peripherals and features, you can take a shot and have it immediately sent straight to your PC's hard drive, This means you can shoot all day until you have filled your computer's memory! Works for up to 200 feet. Excellent for studio photographers.

Why would we need Professional DSLR cameras? Isn't mirrorless the way to go?

I would say you had to be either a mad-keen, money-to-burn, "must have one of those" amateur photographers. Nothing wrong with that! Or a professional looking to upgrade his or her kit to match their lenses. That's another point, if you get one of these Professional DSLR cameras. You must compliment it with only the finest lenses. Otherwise it is like putting diesel in a Ferrari!

The files that the best cameras produce can be bigger than 60MB's (uncompressed) with quality to match. This size just happens to be the industry standard for an A3 spread in a glossy magazine. Or the optimum size accepted by most traditional Stock Agencies. 60MB files are easily achievable with the right software (such as Photoshop CC, Genuine Fractals and Neat Image). I have discussed this more in my Selling Stock Photography section.

If you are a paid nature or sports photographer, there will be situations where you just have to get the shot. Your kit will occasionally be knocked about or rained upon. This is where the durability of professional DSLR cameras come into their own.