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Old Aug 23, 2006, 3:22 AM   #1
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I photograph real estate for a living, in my original circumstances I have been using a C7070 Olympus. Althouh this camera has served me well, its time to go upmarket a bit. In my work I photograph interiors and exteriors. Interiors nearly always require flash, but I prefer to mix it with natural light through the windows and the interior lights of the house. I like the way these photgraphs look, and the style has been a good seller.

I guess a good way to look for improvement is to say something about common issues. The C7070 is rather noisy at 400 asa and above, so I manage to shoot at 200 asa inside almost always. I hand hold even down to 1/8 sec, sometimes more successfuly than others. The camera has a good range of white ballance, and using Paint Shop Pro I have never had an issue that I cannot conquer. I use an Olympus FL-36 flash in TTL mode 1 stop underexposed, it rarely lets me down.

Super wide angle is required for interiors in this work. I have a Raynox 730 converter which at 18.9mm is way wide, but I lose a bit in correcting the rather bad distortion. The lens produces images that are a little soft. Around 22 to 24mm would be fine by my estimation, but its a must have to shoot wide. I never use a tripod, to me they stifle composition.

I have had problems in composition because the LCD viewer is a tad tiny at 1.8 inches. I would hope to go bigger here. The flip viewer is used all the time, either like a view camera indoors or over the head while shooting uphill outside.

So in looking at cameras I have been impressed by the Panasonic Lumix LC1, and would have bought one but they are out of production. The wide converter has acceptable quality and my Oly flash will work in TTL mode. The Panasonic L1 is also a prospect, but it is very expensive, and with a suitable lens would blow the whole budget, and I have no idea what lens I would use. The prospect of working with a manual camera that has auto capability pleases me. We could call this my romantic choice.

I also like the Olympus E330, it has a 2.5" viewer that flips, it can use most of my Oly accessories that I already own. Its probably less noisy than my C7070. And the 11-22mm lens looks like a good bet, if kinda more than I hoped to spend. Seems more like Im buying a lens, and finding a camera to stick on it. This is my practical needs driven choice.

Last I have on the list may seem an odd choice. The Panasonic FZ 50 series cameras do much of what I need. The OIS looks promissing to me too and attracts me to these cameras a lot. The FZ 50 can use my Oly flash in TTL mode, thats efficient for my money. It would require a lens converter, but by chance I found that Raynox have a near perfect model for it with the HD-6600 Pro, I like the results they posted as distortion is minimal, and its an easy 23mm for me. The FZ 50 is on the list because, I think the noise compares, or is perhaps less than the C7070 (main objection). It has a slighty larger flip LCD. The OIS is advantage I can use often. The lens distorts less at super wide than what I presently have. Its the 'sensible' choice because I have a lot of money left over.

Ok, please feel free to critique my choices, or make a selection, or add your own, but if you suggest an alternate I would prefer to hear good reasons why, not just a list of cameras you think are ok. I can afford anyone of these and the accessories I require, although that said Im thrifty with money.

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Old Aug 23, 2006, 7:28 AM   #2
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You need a tripod, not a new camera.
You need good depth of field to get all of your room in focus so you have to stop the lens down and this means long shutter times. There is no camera that can take good handheld shots, indoors with a small aperture.
Try taking a few pics at f8-11 and ISO100 off the edge of a table with the camera operated by the timer and look at the difference compared to your handheld efforts.
A tripod might be a pain in the arse to use but you just have to look at it as part of the job and learn to enjoy the fiddling about. You can get ones with arms that will let you put the camera virtually anyplace you could have got it handheld.

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Old Aug 23, 2006, 10:52 AM   #3
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thankyou for your kind advice, not what I expected, but thats no matter
the thing is, I have a need to be expedient
this is a very invasive business for the client, so I do prefer to be gone asap
I generally take 30 to 45 mins a shoot
I take a high number of images, minimum around 40, maximum was 109
out of those I need 15 to 25 images
one does get very used to houses and 'situations'

also, its not the most high payed form of photography

add to that, Im close to making good with 'my free style' way of conducting a shoot
and I was hoping I could solve it with better technology

but who knows, in the end you may be right

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Old Aug 27, 2006, 3:07 AM   #4
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Having had a little time to look around over the weekend
I have been examing some of Steve's Reviews, what a wonderful resource this is..

I must say 2 cameras impressed me in their quality of photograph
The Sony R1 and and the Panasonic FZ 30
sadly the FX 30 isnt wide enough, and I question the quality of the images with a wide converter.
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Old Aug 28, 2006, 1:17 AM   #5
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You do know that there is a rather simple answer, don't you. Move to a Pentax DL with the 18-55mm kit lens. I shoot lot of real estate photos with that setup and have lots of happy customers.

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Old Aug 28, 2006, 6:44 AM   #6
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thanks for your reply
I agree that its a camera woth looking at, for my purposes though, the equivelent of 27mm in 35mm terms is not wide enough. I really need 22 to 24mm to be able to make the best of interiors. While that in itself isnt an impossible ask for the Pentax, although I dont have any idea what lens I would use, there is a lot of PK stuff out there. The body itself is very cheap.

The benefits thet I have with the other cameras is the 'super' wide angle images are a know property. And they can share the accessories that I have already invested in for the Olympus I am going to replace. So thats a proposition that makes 'simple' rather more complicated. But thanks because I will check it out.

That said, I would have to buy an Olympus 11-22 zoom for the DSLR's and they dont come cheap. But this lens, which would be my prime lens, is quite distortion free, and relatively fast at F 2.8.

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