Professional photographers demand a lot from their equipment. From sports, weddings and everything in-between, here are our top picks for the serious photo-taker.
Unlike SLRs for beginners, professional-grade SLRs are made from much more durable materials, with some designed to withstand the ultimate in wear and tear. Expect weather-sealing, dust-proofing and magnesium alloy bodies all round for robust performance.
At this level, most photographers will be heavily invested in a brand, with a range of lenses acquired over the years. If you haven't already joined, consider becoming a member of your brand's professional services network. Both Canon and Nikon offer such memberships, which are useful when you need to get a camera serviced or if run into any trouble along the way.
However, you don't need to be a working professional to think about a pro camera. If you are a keen hobbyist who wants to take their practice further, that's all the excuse you need.
Serious sports photographers and those shooting news or reportage will want to consider the highest-end SLRs such as the Nikon D4 and Canon 1D X, which shoot at blisteringly fast speeds and have the autofocus chops to match. Otherwise, a full-frame sensor with higher resolution, like the Canon 5D Mark III or Nikon D800, will suit you perfectly.