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I expect different people will have different ideas, as there are no hard and fast rules here.
For standard definition, I would consider most equipment under $1,000 as consumer level. DV camcorders above that would be prosumer level. Professional level DV cameras probably start around the $5,000 price range, are shoulder mount and most would have interchangeable lenses and viewfinders.
For high definition, we also add the codec as a determining factor. And that complicates things. AVCHD and HDV I consider as consumer level products due to the compression scheme. But I've no doubt there are those who would look at cameras like the Canon A1 or H1 as prosumer. And from a camera body and features standpoint, I might agree. But the codec is what keeps them down in my opinion.
DVCPro HD I would consider a prosumer codec, although it is used in quite a few professional level cameras. AVC-I is truly a professional codec, and at the moment is used only in professional level cameras. (Though I do have hopes to see that professional HD codec in a prosumer camera soon.)
I think the label also needs to be applied to the quality of the end result. Give a monkey a ming vase.....
To a degree. Shooting a feature film on an AVCHD camera is not professional, no matter who does it. Giving grandma a professional AVC-I camera to shoot her grandson's birthday party will likewise produce unprofessional results.
While I agree the operator plays a factor in whether or not the shooting is professional, so too does the equipment.
In current terms IMO:
1. Consumer: anything below $ 2K
2. Prosumer: SD - PD170 or above, HDV - Z1, H1, G1, any XDCAM
3. Pro: anything starting at $ 20K without lens
Keep in mind that in the consumer range the cost of the camera is around 80% of the investment for video equipment, disregarding NLE equipment, in the prosumer range the cost of the camera is around 50% of the investment and in the pro range the cost of the camera is around 25% of the investment.
1. Consumer cam + battery + UV filter + simple bag
2. Prosumer cam + batteries/loader + external mics/lavalier + boom pole + tripod ($ 2K+) + matte box/French flag + rail + Letus + lighting + rain slicker + wide angle converter + etc.
3. Pro cam is Prosumer PLUS multiple lenses (in the range of $ 15K+ apiece) plus HD-SDI plus 26 pin connections for synchro, plus....
I was trying to remove content quality from the discussion, and consider just the hardware, codec and workflow in the conversation.
Although I'd like to see grandma's birthday party shot with one of those 'RED one' cameras. :)
It would probably end up looking a lot like Cloverfield.
Another way to put it:
1. Consumer: anything with a weight less than 4.5 pounds or 2 KG.
2. Prosumer: anything with at least 5 pounds, 2,5 KG or more.
3. Pro: only shoulder mounts with at least 17 pounds or more and using AB batteries.
This is disregarding any camera that is older than let's say three years, so completely neglecting the old shoulder mounted VHS dinosaurs often in use in the US, that were clearly consumer level.
That's a pretty good generalization.
>This is disregarding any camera that is older than let's say three years, so completely neglecting the old shoulder mounted VHS dinosaurs often in use in the US, that were clearly consumer level
Damn - I was about go up in the roof and dig mine out so I could go 'pro' :-)
While we are on the subject of size, I am from the UK and in numerous trips to the US over the last 15 yrs I have always noticed the tendency for US consumers to go for bigger equipment physically - be it cams or phones or other electricals. Guess it all began with those cars in the 50s. The full size VHS camcorders never caught on over here and I bet you can still find a few in Disneyland