Purchasing a new camera or lens is a tough decision and usually price has some bearing on the final outcome. With price being such a factor on your decision, how do you decide whether to buy professional or consumer gear? This blog post will hopefully shed some light on the process and help you make a more informed buying or business decision. Lets start by identifying the differences between pro and consumer, notice I did not say amateur, this decision is not about how proficient you are but rather the grade of equipment. Lets start with the obvious difference; price. Professional gear is more expensive, usually by an order of magnitude! A Nikon D5 is $6496.95 without a lens and a Nikon D5700 with a 18-55 kit lens is $696.95. That is a big difference! Is the quality of the D5’s images that much better? It will depend on the person using the camera more than the camera used. Why would a full time professional spend that kind of money on the D5 instead of purchasing the D5700 and spending a month in Europe taking photos? Things that make you go hmmmm.
The big advantage of pro gear is durability. The flagship gear from manufacturers like Nikon, Canon and Olympus are built like tanks and that is why you will see them in combat zones and on the sidelines of professional sporting events world wide. Professional gear is made of metal, weather sealed and built to a much higher standard than the plastic consumer kit. Things like having a shutter rated to 250,000 actuations makes a big difference in the cameras lifespan. Last week I was covering the PASS South event at Dillon Motor Speedway and was changing lenses at the start finish line after the race and had the worst imaginable thing happen; I laid my Olympus 12-40mm f2.8 PRO lens on the concrete retaining wall and it feel off, dropping 3 feet onto the asphalt track and then it rolled down the banking for five feet before someone grabbed it for me! So what did I do, I put it on the camera and finished the job! A consumer grade lens would have been a write off. This is why professional gear matters! The lens has a dent in the side but it still functions just fine.
Buying professional gear should be looked at as an investment both in the equipment and you. The cameras and lenses we use can be distilled into a simple concept; they are tools we use to make images, nothing more nothing less. The big benefit pro gear gives us is long term value. At the end of it’s life we can sell it and still recoup a large part of it’s value.
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Olympus M.Zuiko 7-14mm f2.8 PRO (14-28mm equiv)
Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 7-14mm f/2.8 PRO Lens for Micro Four Thirds Cameras
Olympus M.Zuiko 12-40mm f2.8 PRO (24-80mm equiv)
Olympus M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 12-40mm F2.8 PRO Interchangeable Lens
Olympus M.Zuiko 40-150mm f2.8 PRO (80-300mm equiv)
Olympus M.ZUIKO 40-150mm f/2.8 Interchangeable PRO Lens for Olympus/Panasonic Micro 4/3 Cameras