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Thread: Difference between entry-level and semi-pro cameras?

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    Difference between entry-level and semi-pro cameras?

    I hear this words about cameras quite a lot but I still don't know what is the difference between them. what's is the difference or the new features exist in the semi-pro over the entry level SLR cameras?

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    Re: Difference between entry-level and semi-pro cameras?

    I only know a little bit about Canon; 2 digits before the D in its name means it is an intermediate, 3 or more an entry level. I think the intermediates are better built (alloy body not plastic) with chunky controls and perform slightly better. You may even find something they can do that an entry won't. I like a large and heavy camera, it is easier for me to handle.

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    Re: Difference between entry-level and semi-pro cameras?

    Entry level cameras usually have many pre-set scene modes and usually have plastic bodies with a reduced feature set aimed at the casual user. Mid Range will generally have a better quality body although still may be plastic, access to the more advanced features is easier and you would find more buttons which give you quick direct control over them. Pro level usually are built like tanks, magnesium bodies, weather sealing, high shutter life with loads of buttons to give you direct quick control over many of the features, also much less likely to have any scene modes. You can usually achieve the same things on all the levels of camera (although things like bracketing and the high frames-per-second are more common on the mid to higher end bodies) but durability, speed of response and quickness of handling come with the higher end models.

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    Re: Difference between entry-level and semi-pro cameras?

    Build quality & ergonomics

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    Re: Difference between entry-level and semi-pro cameras?

    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Southern View Post
    Build quality & ergonomics
    and cost (lower usually associated with entry level).

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    Re: Difference between entry-level and semi-pro cameras?

    So what do you call the cameras used by a pro friend of mine, a long established Portrait and Wedding photographer that uses 2 x D80 and 1 x D90?

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    Re: Difference between entry-level and semi-pro cameras?

    I think the D80 and D90 are considered to be mid range, they don't have the weather sealing and magnesium body of the more "pro" D300s or the dual card slots and while they have a number of quick access buttons for changing iso, metering etc I think the D300s has a couple more. Either way they're great cameras and the D90 has a very similar sensor to the D300s and in some tests I've read actually has better noise handling too (that's why I bought a D90 as I couldn't justify the greater expense for basically tougher build and a couple more buttons but same IQ)

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    Re: Difference between entry-level and semi-pro cameras?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill44 View Post
    So what do you call the cameras used by a pro friend of mine, a long established Portrait and Wedding photographer that uses 2 x D80 and 1 x D90?
    Bill,

    When the D90 came out in 2009, Popular Photography magazine called it a "step up from an entry level DSLR" and listed the Canon EOS 50D and Sony Alpha 700 as competitors at this level. The D300 was described as a higher end model. I think regardless of how you feel about your model or how you use it, professionally or as a hobby, cameras will be described by the industry, either through photography magazines or testimonials from professional photographers as the model of choice and they will designate what is entry level or semi=pro.

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    Re: Difference between entry-level and semi-pro cameras?

    By your replies to my post I think you failed to see that my question was a bit "tongue in cheek".

    The terms Pro Camera and Semi-Pro Camera are misused terms used to describe various models. In part they are used to lure the "Wannabees" into upgrading to a level that sometimes they don't require, or worse, incapable of using the full capabilities. I often wonder when I read about how many people are lusting after a Full Frame camera when in reality a crop frame may suit their shooting style better.

    As per my original question re the D80/90, a mate of mine for a few years has, until recently, made a nice living out of a D40x, he has now upgraded to a D300s because he wore out the D40x. So what really is a PRO camera? BTW as well as holding a PhD, he has a Degree in Arts (Photography).
    Last edited by Bill44; 11th February 2010 at 05:34 AM.

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    Re: Difference between entry-level and semi-pro cameras?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill44 View Post
    I often wonder when I read about how many people are lusting after a Full Frame camera when in reality a crop frame may suit their shooting style better.
    I'll tell you one thing you don't hear about FF cameras ...

    ... for the same depth of field you need around TWICE the light compared to a 1.6x crop-factor camera.

    Lets see how long it takes someone to figure that one out!

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    Re: Difference between entry-level and semi-pro cameras?

    Hi Colin et al,

    I hadn't thought of it like that, but yes, (I think *) that is the case.

    * it's early and my head is thumping

    I guess it depends on what you shoot and no doubt wise Pros (and Amateurs) who have both body types would use the body suited to the job of the day.
    If you're doing portraits or other subjects where you want good bokeh (or wider angles of view), pick up the FF body, but if you want distant wildlife, macro or still life and need more 'magnification' and/or DoF and are forced to use available or have limited light, pick up the 'crop factor' body.

    There, I think that clarifies it in a couple of sentences

    The "FF= better Image Quality" argument really doesn't come into it - that's primarily down to the lens and PP (mainly sharpening) techniques.

    Thanks for illuminating my thinking (yet again) Colin.

    Cheers,
    Last edited by Dave Humphries; 11th February 2010 at 07:44 AM.

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    Re: Difference between entry-level and semi-pro cameras?

    Hi Dave,

    Yeah - in a nutshell you need to stop the lens down about 1 more stop to get the same DoF on a FF camera ... thus needing twice the light.

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    Re: Difference between entry-level and semi-pro cameras?

    I did spot the "tongue in cheek" bit but the terms used (entry, mid and pro) are just ways of compartmentalising camera types - it doesn't really say anything other than what market they are aimed at. Whether amateurs buy "pro" cameras or professional photographers buy "entry level" cameras doesn't really say anything about their photographic ability, just the tool they choose to use. This sort of marketing is used in almost every type of product you can think of and it gives the general buying public an upgrade path ensuring future purchases. In a lot of cases the features that have been added to make a camera more "pro" or "mid-range" (excluding the build quality) don't actually cost the manufacturer anything, for example bracketing, it's a simple software tool that you only usually find on mid-range upwards and the fact you don't find in on entry level can't be due to its cost of implementation but more because the manufacturer needs to create these different types of cameras.

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    Re: Difference between entry-level and semi-pro cameras?

    Also, you have to consider where you see those terms "entry-level and semi-pro". You never see those terms used in the Sunday advertisements because they are basically selling a model they are willing to stock. You see "entry level" and "semi-pro" model used in advertisements from professional magazines and your local camera stores.

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    Re: Difference between entry-level and semi-pro cameras?

    Tools of the trade and you choose a camera that best suits your needs and budget, but only time and experience will show/tell you what those tools/needs truly are. The five most important functionalities of cameras (ISO, aperture, shutter speed, white balance, and EV compensation) are found in all levels/series so in simplicity; the camera doesn't matter.

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    Re: Difference between entry-level and semi-pro cameras?

    My first DSLR was a 10D. I wanted another body and unwisely opted for the 350D which had just replaced the original 300D Rebel camera (the first DSLR which, with lens, broke the $1,000 USD barrier in the USA). There were two basic reasons why I opted for the 350D instead of the 20D which was the replacement for the 10D. The first reason was weight; I thought that I would rather carry a smaller lighter body as my second camera. The second reason was price; the 350D was quite a bit less costly than the 20D. I thought about a used 10D but, wanted a camera which could use one of the new EFS lenses which were just appearing.

    What a mistake! I absolutely hated the 350D. It produced about the same quality imagery as the 10D but, the controls were horrible for my use. It did not have the second dial to the rear of the camera so many camera functions were controlled through the menu. Additionally, rather than an asset, the tiny size and weight of the 350D was a deficit for my use. It just did not balance well on heavier lenses (I had just gotten the 24-70mm f/2.8L lens). So I added a battery grip which increased the weight of the camera to around that of my 10D but, except for the neat addition of a shutter release button for vertical shots, the grip provided no additional benefits. I seldom ever ran out of battery power using the single internal 350D battery. I also purchased a Hoodman visor for the LCD so i could adjust the camera values easier. That never worked very well. The darned menu was hard to read in bright sunlight even with the Hoodman. Additionally, the 350D did not have the TOP LCD panel which on the xxD models provides an indication of just how the camera values have been set up. I use the top LCD very often for quick reference to ISO, f/stop, shutter speed, exposure and AF selection as well as a myriad of other values. To access these on the 350D, I had to go to the menu which was a slower and, in bright sunlight, a far more difficult process for me.

    I don't remember the difference in price between a 350D and the 20D but, the cost of the Hoodman visor and battery grip probably brought that camera close to the price of a 20D.

    The final straw that broke the camel's back is that I found myself far preferring the older 10D over the 350D. That is when I sold the 350D and purchased a 30D. For a long while my two camera combination was the 10D and 30D. When I finally bought a 40D; the price I could get for the 10D was so low that I opted to keep it as a spare or loaner camera and also to use in the rare occasions when I want a third body to shoot with.

    For beginning photographers who seem to think that the xxxD cameras are easier to use; that is a fallacy. You can set up the xxD (and 7D) cameras to shoot as simply as the xxxD line. However, they are more capable and you can easily grow into an xxD while you can just as easily (IMO) grow out of an xxxD camera.
    Last edited by rpcrowe; 18th February 2010 at 09:52 PM.

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    Re: Difference between entry-level and semi-pro cameras?

    Quote Originally Posted by rpcrowe View Post
    It produced about the same quality imagery as the 10D but, the controls were horrible for my use.
    I followed the opposite path, I started with a 350D and went to the 30D. Since all I had to compare the 350D with was my old film slr, I somehow managed to struggle through the 350D's controls and finally mastered them and assumed this was par for the course for dslrs. It seemed strange that they would skimp on the ergonomics but, after all, it was the low end model so they had to provide some incentive for users to want to move up

    The transition to the 30D was a very pleasant experience. Yes, there was some unlearning to do but I found the camera was better balanced with the larger lenses and I could make adjustments much more easily and quickly. The 30D finally led to a 5Dmk2 which has essentially the same control scheme so that transition was a very easy one (other than having to pay for it

    So, in retrospect, I did not feel the pain you did. I think the 350D was a great little camera and it served me well for several years. However at this point I would hate to have to go back to it!

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    Re: Difference between entry-level and semi-pro cameras?

    One other point I'll throw in. Over the past couple of months, I've gotten interested in getting more out of flash photographs. So, based on reading here and elsewhere, I try to get the flash off the camera when I have time (and use it to fire my second flash as a slave).

    But my 500D doesn't have a PC flash sync connector. I'll have to get a hot-shoe to PC adapter, but it would be so much easier to just plug in to the camera.

    Cheers,
    Rick

  19. #19

    Re: Difference between entry-level and semi-pro cameras?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill44 View Post
    As per my original question re the D80/90, a mate of mine for a few years has, until recently, made a nice living out of a D40x, he has now upgraded to a D300s because he wore out the D40x.
    Well, there's once difference right there! Pro cameras don't wear out in "a few years" ;-)

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    Re: Difference between entry-level and semi-pro cameras?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill44 View Post
    So what do you call the cameras used by a pro friend of mine, a long established Portrait and Wedding photographer that uses 2 x D80 and 1 x D90?
    Three Digital Cameras used by a Professional Wedding Photographer who, on the face of it, seems to know what he is doing.

    WW

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