Taking photos has gone beyond “classic” cameras. Phones now take photos that rival those taken with “normal” compact cameras lacking advanced technology. Even cheap reflex cameras offer a nice price-quality ratio.
We can also find different types of EVIL cameras: those that are somewhat basic and those that are full of features and technologies. Besides the democratization of quality, we can also see the consolidation of the new category of semi-professional cameras. These semi-pro cameras are halfway between professional cameras (used for photographers who make a living out of photography) and regular cameras used by average users who look for minimum photo quality without spending a lot of money on a pro camera.
In many cases, semi-pro cameras are work tools for professionals, but they can also be what photography aficionados look for so they have the same pro features without spending the amount of money needed in a professional environment.
Semi-pro cameras are found on the to-buy list of those who work as photographers from time to time or those who take photography as a side activity. Semi-pro cameras are also good backup options for professionals who already have a pro camera, as sometimes they want to use features that their camera lacked when they bought it, like video recording.
What do semi-pro cameras lack?
For a certain point of view, semi-pro cameras can be even more technologically advanced than pro cameras. Some camera lineups take longer to be upgraded given their high price. This is why those cameras standing halfway between normal and pro cameras feature technological improvements before higher-end models do.
In average cameras, low prices prevent manufacturers from introducing technologies to rise prices, but the prices of semi-pro cameras are high enough to feature these improvements. However, semi-pro cameras lack elements like extreme durability or ergonomics adapted to the needs of pro photographers, which means that photographers have to use cameras larger and heavier than what is recommended for daily usage.
We also have to bear in mind that elements like the battery life is not always a priority on semi-pro cameras, so the number of shots taken by EVIL cameras might not match that of a professional SLR camera.
Additionally, focus systems might not be as sophisticated as those featured on more “serious” models. We might even have to get used to blackout moments on the screen of an EVIL camera when shooting photos, preventing us from regaining vision as fast as we would with a pro camera.
What do semi-pro cameras offer?
Firstly, they offer a higher quality than that of any “basic” camera. It is true that semi-pro cameras can take great-quality photos, but only under optimum conditions like a sunny day, well-lit environments or with still objects. If we go beyond these optimum conditions, we will need cameras capable of capturing moving objects or dim scenarios with a lot of greys and blacks. We will also need better cameras if we want to use manual settings to achieve specific creative effects that the automatic modes of basic cameras cannot provide.
Even so, semi-pro cameras offer interesting technological advances like video recording with continuous focus, new sensors, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity and shooting modes with digital processing for photos and videos.
As time goes by, these improvements are being slowly featured on pro cameras. Actually, the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV is the first pro camera to feature Wi-Fi long after the EOS 6D and other “inferior” models featured it. This is common if we take into account that any element that translates into less shots per battery charge would anger a professional photographer, for example.
Semi-pro cameras are durable (not as much as pro cameras) and they are built with a magnesium alloy but their sealing is not always as good as that of higher-end cameras. By sealing we mean weather and dust sealing. In short, these are excellent cameras.