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Old Jul 8, 2008, 6:17 PM   #1
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I am an architect and I would like to buy a DSLR to take pics mainly of buildings, landscape and to pics around the city.

I would like to know if you could advise me what you would reccommed me?

I have been looking at Sony a200, canon EOS 450, Nikon D80.

Any help would be great.

Thank you in advance

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Old Jul 8, 2008, 8:55 PM   #2
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If you are serious about architecture photography, you might want to take a look at Canon's Tilt-Shift and Nikon's Perspective Control lenses. They correct for the perspective that results from taking a photo of a tall building while standing on the ground. The effect can be corrected in post processing, but the results are not as good as one of these lenses will give you. Sony has no lenses that can produce that effect.

The Sony benefits from sensor shift image stabilization in the camera body so any lens will be stabilized, while the Canon and Nikon use optical image stabilization in some of its lenses.

The Canon 450D has a 12MP image sensor and 'Live View'. Compared to the 450D, perhaps a Sony (10MP) A300 or (14MP) A350 would be better choices, as they also have 'Live View'.

In this group, the Nikon D80 doesn't have much that distinguishes it from the others, but it is a fine camera.

Something else that you might make part of your selection process is how the camera feels to you. I think uyou should go to a good camera retailer and try them out, though the Tilt-Shift or Perspective Control lenses are likely to be special order items.
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Old Jul 8, 2008, 10:03 PM   #3
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I'm not a fan of live view. It's useful in certain situations, but I don't think it would be all that much useful for you. I don't use a tripod much and there's no way I can hold a dSLR with even a light lens steady at arms length. Besides, I could never quite figure out how to twist the camera to get it to be straight and horizontal when I had a p&s and was using the LCD, my natural tendency is to tilt the camera a bit.

A shift lens is really useful for architecture, if you are taking pictures of large buildings. I shoot architecture (among other things) with Pentax cameras and wish I could find one of the old Pentax shift lenses (they can be found occasionally) because they don't make them any more. I agree with TCav that shooting with one would be easier than shooting with a wider lens and using the skew control to correct the perspective (what I do now - I use a 12-24mm lens). Because of that I'd put the Nikon D80 and the Canon first, with the Sony as a back-up in case you don't like the feel of the Canon and Nikon (since you can use software to correct your lines). I'd also throw one of the Pentax cameras into the mix - I really love mine.

Unless you are planning on using live view all the time, I'd carefully look at the A300 and A350 viewfinder. They are really small and I found them very hard to use. Remember that you will be spending quite a bit of time looking through it.

How a camera feels is very important- there's nothing worse than trying to use a camera that's too heavy/light/small/large for you. Just my opinion, but I wasn't crazy about the grip on the Canon xti or xsi, the Nikon felt better to me. Other people think just the opposite, or prefer the Sony. If you prefer the feel of the Sony, then get it - I definitely would put ergonomics above the availability of a shift lens.
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Old Jul 9, 2008, 4:46 AM   #4
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I agree that tilt shift/perspective control is worth having, however there are a couple of problems, firstly they are really expensive and they are not all that wide so when you have a 'crop' camera you are looking at too long a lens. The best option is to get a good wide angle and then use PS to do the correction.

As for the camera have a look at where your photography might go in the future and see which manufacturer gives you the lens/accessory options that fit. I started with Konica Minolta (now owned by Sony) but switched to Canon as the lens options were not available to me.

Do check out the feel of the camera in your hand, this is essential. For me the a200 and 450D are too small but you do get good results.
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Old Jul 9, 2008, 7:29 PM   #5
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Would a Canon 5D and tilt-shift be a better combination?
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Old Jul 9, 2008, 8:16 PM   #6
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dr_spock wrote:
Would a Canon 5D and tilt-shift be a better combination?
Since the 5D is a full frame dSLR, a Canon 24mm Tilt-Shift lens would be a 35mm equivalent of a 24mm lens, while on a 450D it would be a 35mm equivalent of a 38.4mm lens. That may indeeed be a better combination. Similarly, a Nikon 24mm Perspective Control lens would be a 35mm equivalent of a 24mm lens on a D700, while on a D80 it would be a 35mm equivalent of a 36mm lens.
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