It probably comes as no surprise that professional photographers use some very good cameras – but if we’re not involved in the industry, we might be unaware of what cameras they actually do their job with.
Well, after plenty of research conducted by multiple sources – we’ve discovered that Nikon cameras are the most popular cameras used by professional photographers, with Canon and Sony being close second and third choices!
However, there’s a lot more to unpack here. Our handy guide below explains everything regarding what cameras professional photographers and indeed amateur photographers use and the reasons this might be the case.
So, if you’re looking to learn more – then read on!
Before we start out with this guide, it’s important that we answer why exactly this research was carried out in the first place. Well, in general, it’s because of a changing world and the advancement of affordable technology.
We need to recognize how and why professionals are changing their habits in this industry and by doing so, we could assess our own choices if we are going to break into the world of professional photography – and it can even save us some money!
If we’re going to dip our toes into this industry, we might be able to save some hard earned dollars by understanding the cameras that professionals and amateurs use which are still successful and affordable.
Indeed, this industry is rapidly changing – with huge names like Olympus selling their business recently and the boom of photo-sharing platforms online.
One of the most interesting points discovered throughout the research is that the sales of mirrorless cameras has shot through the roof and many professional photographers have even said they prefer these to DSLR cameras.
So, with this in mind – let’s dive a little deeper into unpacking this data.
Indeed, this is perhaps one of the most interesting facets to the research on camera popularity among professional photographers.
Among the data, it was found that 63 percent of professional photographers had a preference for mirrorless cameras over DSLR cameras.
Interestingly, you might wonder to yourself – well, surely professional photographers would use both, right?
No actually! Only a small one percent of the data answered that they use both types of cameras in their professional work!
On the amateur side of things here, it was also found that amateur photographers prefer mirrorless cameras for their efforts – but the numbers are much less. In fact, it’s a split of 54 percent and 46 percent.
When it comes to choosing mirrorless cameras over DSLR cameras, it’s a good idea to find out why this might be the case. From what the data explains to us, professional photographers say that this is because mirrorless cameras are smaller and lighter.
On top of this, mirrorless cameras typically offer better autofocus and they also offer silent shooting, which for many professional photographers is a huge bonus and benefit to their work.
However, while some of these reasons were also why amateur photographers preferred mirrorless cameras to DSLR cameras, there was one other reason that professionals did not mention.
A common cited reason that amateur photographers prefer mirrorless cameras is due to the improved in-body stabilization (IBIS) that these types of cameras offer.
For us, this was quite a surprising answer, as in-body stabilization is not something often mentioned as critical.
For those within the data that said they preferred DSLR cameras over mirrorless cameras, they more often than not explained that this was due to the better lens selection that is offered.
The second most common reason cited was the fact that switching from one type of camera to the other was a very pricey task, and not something that was viable at the time.
This is a particularly interesting answer when it comes from professional photographers!
As we mentioned earlier, the most popular camera brand among professional photographers has been suggested to be Nikon. Amateur photographers on the other hand say that their preferred camera brand is Canon.
The third most popular choice by both professional and amateur photographers alike is Sony – however, some of the data suggested that both professional and amateur photographers have started with using Sony cameras, and moved up to either Canon or Nikon.
This is a particularly interesting part of the data provided. Although we saw that the most popular camera brand among professional photographers was Nikon – the most popular model is actually from Sony – the Sony A7III.
However, this is followed by both Canon and Nikon camera models as close seconds.
You might think that the amateur photographers would have a difference of opinion here – but actually, it’s the same Sony camera that takes the top spot in their list.
Having said this though, it’s probably important to note here that the top choice is shared with the Nikon D850.
So, perhaps the biggest findings from the 1,000 respondents were mainly from the rationale behind their camera choices.
From the professionals, we understand that their camera decision towards mirrorless cameras, in particular Nikon, was due to the following reasons:
What was discovered when professionals answered was that the budget was not as much of a factor in the majority of the respondents, although a small number of respondents did mention it as a secondary or tertiary factor.
Generally speaking though, amateur photographers made their decisions for their cameras with many of them citing budget as a factor.
Indeed, this makes perfect sense when we consider that professional photographers would need to invest in their business.
Amateur photographers may find it perfectly acceptable to use a camera that might not be good enough for professional photographers to use for their everyday job tasks – but still getting an excellent finished product.
Remember, getting great photography is not just about the quality of the camera, although that is of course a huge factor in their success!
As we started this guide by saying – the technological world is ever changing and so too are the habits and behaviors of both amateurs and professionals in the world of photography (see also ‘Expand Your Professional Photography Portfolio With These 3 Tips‘).
As a result, we can likely expect a shift in the preference of professionals in terms of their cameras – but only time will tell with that. What we can almost certainly guarantee is that the quality of cameras will improve even more.
As we have seen, mirrorless cameras and Nikon take the crown, however the most popular specific camera is the Sony A7III. Did the data surprise you as much as it surprised us?
If we can't teach you, no one can!