Professional Digital SLRs and Mirrorless

Cream of the Crop in Pro DSLR/Mirrorless Photography

Professional DSLRs and Mirrorless 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 or mirrorless family.

If you are considering forking out a lot of money for these, you must be 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. wife announced that she was pregnant so that went on hold.

My Professional Cameras (and others)

Nick Stubbs's Cameras

I have owned many cameras since 1980 and tend to upgrade them every few years. Only when I think tech has moved on significantly enough to improve my work do I upgrade. Flashy bells and whistles don't appeal so much these days.

Right now my two main cameras are the Panasonic S1H (mainly for video)...

Panasonic S1H Front and Full Frame Sensor

"Look ma! No mirror!"

...and the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV (mainly for stills).

Canon EOS 5D Mark IV

I also own the still amazing mirrorless Panasonic GH5 which is superb for 4K, 10bit internal, 4:2:2, 400mb/s video. Highly recommended still in 2021.

Panasonic GH5

However, I do have my beady eyes on the Canon EOS R5.

What makes these Professional DSLR cameras so great?

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

  1. 1
    Full Frame Sensors (Canon EOS 1D series, 5D series and Nikon Dx series, Sony 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.
  2. 2
    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!
  3. 3
    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.
  4. 4
    Metering - Highly advanced matrix metering gives the pro photographer more to work with and less chance of getting it wrong.
  5. 5
    Speed - The idea with these cameras is to match and/or outdo, the frame rate, start up time, write speed and focusing speed.
  6. 6
    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 anyone need a Professional DSLR camera? 

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.

Professional Mirrorless Cameras

I have been watching the mirrorless camera industry with great interest since buying the Panasonic GH4. This camera was pretty groundbreaking for video.

Since then, things have come a long way. I'm going to put myself out there now...

I think it won't be long before most professional photographers will go full mirrorless. With the research and development that is being pumped into this line, it is almost inevitable.

I love my Panasonic S1H. A truly outstanding "Netflix Approved" mirrorless camera.

Silence is Golden

DSLR manufacturers have for years been trying to silence the shutter action. Wedding photographers for one have longed for a silent camera for obvious reasons. Well, mirrorless cameras now have that feature due to the lack of mirror and it's noisy mechanism. However, it is quite unnerving!

You lose that reassuring sound of a shot being fired and recorded. It takes quite a while before you have complete confidence in the shot having been recorded. Therefore, expect to do a fair bit of chimping when you first go mirrorless!

Advice From a Professional?

My advice would be to ask yourself what you need the camera for? A full frame sensor will generally produce higher quality, less noisier and better-in-low-light images. However, that is not always the case so, as a beginner, don't be put off by the Micro Four Thirds (M43) systems. They are superb.

Think about your budget and don't overspend. You will need lenses so account for that in your spending. Good glass will greatly outlive the best of cameras! I still use lenses that are 15+ years old and still going strong!

Don't procrastinate. Ignore other people. Find what you like, buy it & have fun!

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