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the*discerning*eye Nov 18, 2002 5:33 PM

Purchase a Digital SLR or just a Digital?
I would like to photograph interiors professionally (if I can get my act together) and want to purchase a digital camera. What are the advantages of purchasing an SLR digital vs just a regular digital? Is it the ability to change lenses? Should I go for maximum everything (pixels, optical zoom...etc..etc?)
Any camera recommendations?


padeye Nov 18, 2002 6:03 PM

Unfortunately you're going to find a serious limitation of most digicams and DLSRs, lack of really wide angle lenses. The Dimage 7 is one of the widest without an auxiliary lens at 28mm equivalent. That's not very wide at all. Except for some of the newest DLSRs you'll have to contend with a magnification factor that will make it impossible or expensive to get a very wide angle of view. Some of the newer offerings from Kodak and Canon have no mag factor but you'll need a big wheelbarrow full of money for one.

There are other issues in interior photography you may be overlooking, perspective control with extreme wide angles of view. If your film plane isn't parallel to the walls you are shooting things look distorted. It takes a lens with shifts and swings to correct it optically. My advice if you are serious is a film SLR with a perspective control lens or a 4x5 view camera.

the*discerning*eye Nov 18, 2002 7:46 PM

Thank you for your honest response. I am a 4x5 user and was hoping to move away from it for a number of reasons.
1. Clients don't want to pay for it, and most require digital output anyway.
2. Almost all shooters use it (too much competition)
3. Compared to 4x5, digital seems refreshingly clean

Perhaps I have to wait until the technology improves a bit for digital. :?

padeye Nov 18, 2002 9:57 PM

I think you understand the issues better than most. I shoot a Dimage 7 but have no illusions about its limitations. It has a fair amount of barrel distortion at widest angle. it can be corrected in post production but still. I'd like a DLSR but so far the ones I find acceptable are far too costly.

Your remark about digital seeming more clean than 4x5 is interesting. What digital are you comparing to what film?

Say, looking to dump any 4x5 equipment cheap? :D

the*discerning*eye Nov 18, 2002 10:14 PM

Clean was not a good choice of words. I meant : no cut film holders, no polaroid backs, no dark cloths, no film labs, no film period. Sort of appealing these days....

I'm 4x5 stuff.....I rent it.


gibsonpd3620 Nov 18, 2002 10:30 PM

Digital or DSLR, I wish I could have afforded a DSLR camera. I have enjoyed my C4040 and the instant feedback that the digital world provides. The ability to instantly see your photos should be very appealing for your profession. I would say to try to the digital road with one of good 5mp cameras. If you feel you need more then you can go the DSLR route. High end digital cameras have a good resale value on Ebay and other auction sites.

the*discerning*eye Nov 18, 2002 10:36 PM

That's what I was thinking. The DSLR's are still pricey and I may wait until the price drops a bit. Although, you are could pick up a good 5-6mp camera now and sell it later on Ebay.

What type of printer do you use? I am considering that new Epson 2200. (Can you tell?.....just can't spend it fast enough....) :oops:

gibsonpd3620 Nov 19, 2002 7:49 AM

I use the HP5550. It has the option of 4 color or 6 color printing. I refill my own cartridge to keep my cost down. Steve has rated the 2200 as one the top printers. The 2200 is about $700 and the HP5550 is available at $150. I also have no need to do printing over 8 1/2 X 11. If you have no need for wide carriage printing, then I would look at options other than the 2200.

BillDrew Nov 19, 2002 8:34 AM

How are your pictures being used? If they are for real-estate adverts on the web, pretty much any digicam will work for you. If they are being blown up to 40x50" and being presented to people who will look at them with a high powered loupe, nothing short of a high-end scanning back will work in digital. That gives you a price range between $300 and $30,000US. Sounds like you are at the high end of that range, so you really should be looking at the scanning back cameras more than digital SLRs.

With digital, the lifts and shifts (but not the tilts for focus) of a view camera can be dealt with in software. For the slickest way to do some of that, see one of Philo's tutorials at

One dirty little secret of digital is that you have to do your own "darkroom" work with a photo editor. So I'd suggest either getting several rolls of film cut to CD or buying a cheap digicam and spending some time learning how to use the photo editor and other photo software. When you have mastered that, you will have a much better idea of what you want in digicam, you will be ready to use it, and the prices will have come down.

the*discerning*eye Nov 19, 2002 10:15 AM

Bill, thanks for your response. I think your suggestions are good ones. Indeed I am learning to use Photoshop for the exact reason you mentioned. It seems you can never take a bad picture anymore using that software....amazing.

With the 4x5 (probably more due to my lack of ability than anything else) too many shots were unusable, a shoot took all day (hey, I'm not shooting for a Calvin Klein ad here) and again.....$$ is tight these days for just about everybody.

I hope to wait until the DSLR prices come down...and they will. Any particualr DSLR you like? :wink:

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