I get a lot of questions every week about what kind of camera to buy and what gear someone new to the business would want to have in their bag. I almost always have to answer those questions with another question of my own: What type of photography interests you the most?
For sure there will be quite a bit of overlap between fields. A photojournalist might find they have a lot of equipment in common with a wedding photographer. In fact, one style of wedding photography is sometimes referred to as “journalistic”. Other than the occasional overlap, most fields of photography will employ specialized equipment unique to that field. So your area of interest will influence how you spend your gear budget.
When it comes to cameras, that will be dictated more by your budget, but these days with modern DSLRs it’s far more likely a single camera can be used across different photography fields.
Portrait photographers are going to sink the most money into lighting and lenses. While portrait photographers are probably going to want a camera with a full frame sensor like the Canon 5D MK II or Nikon D700, it’s not a requirement. You can shoot perfectly good portraits with almost any camera, full frame or crop sensor.
Portrait photographers, along with DSLR video shooters, are also more likely to invest in prime lenses. Even though zoom lens quality is more than adequate for portraits today, shooting portraits is all about consistency, and for that primes are hard to beat.
Again, wedding photographers will likely employ a high end DSLR with either a full frame or crop sensor, the biggest differences will be the lenses and lighting.
PJs will need to be light and fast and they’ll favor lenses at both extremes. For working close in a crowd they’ll use the wide end of the scale and for sporting events and event coverage, they’ll have extremely long and very expensive glass.
If PJs carry a flash at all it will be compact, as they’re more likely to favor faster lenses and cameras with bigger sensors for shooting in low light than rely on flash units.
For PJs it’s all about the speed and the weight.
That’s one of the reasons photography questions are so hard to answer. The type of photography you choose will make a big difference in equipment selection.