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ronke Nov 27, 2009 4:30 PM

G10, Lumix LX3 (or maybe a Rebel?) for interiors
My son is an artist who paints murals on the interior walls (and occasionally exterior walls) of various businesses. He is fluent in spray can, paint brush and Photoshop but has never used a camera beyond the standard point-and-shoots. He knows he needs to start doing serious photographs of his work, both for his own archives and also as selling tools so he is in the market for a new camera. Friends have raved to him about their Powershot G10 but what I have read here makes me feel that for the low-light interiors of the shops (and also the studies of individual people he often uses in his work) he might be better off with the Lumix LX3. He has spoken about the need for a serious wide-angle lens in some of the smaller interiors and therefore the old Rebel also sprang to mind by virtue the possibility of switching lenses. Though again I've also read here of people very happy with the wide end of the Lumix zoom. I would really appreciate any input by people with far more experience than me. Thanks.

mtclimber Nov 27, 2009 5:39 PM

1 Attachment(s)
I would think that your son needs something wider that the standard 28mm offering of the G-10/G-11 cameras. The G-11 is much better at numerically high ISO settings, whereas the G-10 is unable.

If you want to go wider than 28 mm you might look for a used Kodak P-880 which offered a 24mm Schneider lens and is able to also mount the Kodak P-20 external flash.

The Panasonic ZS1and ZS3 offer a 25mm wide angle, but their built-in flash is very tiny and very under powered. Therefore you would have to add a powerful Slave Flash to the ZS1/ZS3 to those low light environments. I have attached a photo sample from the ZS1 working with a powerful Slave Flash.

Yes, a DSLR like the Canon Rebel is better adapted to the assignment, but the needed wide angle lens alone is more that the cost of the other cameras.

Sarah Joyce

ronke Nov 27, 2009 8:18 PM

Thanks, Sarah!
Yeah, I hadn't considered the price of a separate wide-angle lens. I passed on your info to my son who wondered if a G11 with a wide-angle converter would work; though he will also investigate a used Kodak. Personally I'm not crazy about converters but maybe they've improved since the last time I used one on my (film) camera.

mtclimber Nov 27, 2009 8:51 PM


Perhaps it is just me, but I rather dislike the so called "comverters." The easiest and least expensive is the pansonic ZS1 and a powerful slave flash for low light environments.

That beats the cost of the G-11 ($449), the "converter" ($80 to $100) and the needed external flash for the G-11 ($140 to $230). Just my 2 cents.

Sarah Joyce

ronke Nov 27, 2009 11:55 PM

I'm with you on converters..
...and agree he's going to need an auxiliary flash for the interiors; but being a total novice in the flash world, I was wondering what a good bright slave flash would be and what would be the difference between that and the "external flash" you said he would need for the G11. Thanks!

interested_observer Nov 28, 2009 1:03 AM

Since your son is fluent in Photoshop, try the Rebel with the lens that you have and stitch several photos together to form a panorama. You can also do this with a point and shoot.

It may not be the absolute perfect solution, however it may be a reasonable stopgap for a while.

dwig Nov 28, 2009 9:08 AM


Originally Posted by ronke (Post 1023015)
.. He has spoken about the need for a serious wide-angle lens in some of the smaller interiors ...

IMHO, ignore anything that doesn't have a lens wider than a 28mm (full frame 35mm equivalent). This rules out the G10 and new G11. The LX3 has a one stop fast lens (better low light) and wider lens (24mm equivalent) than the G10/11 making it a much better choice for this chore. At present, I do multi-shop panoramas (several shots stitched together) but would really prefer a wider lens.

I've been using an older Nikon, a Coolpix 8400, regularly for simple architectural work as part of my job. I work for a sign company designing sign graphics and need to use the pix to create mockups of proposed sign installations. My cp8400's widest zoom setting is a 24mm equivalent and the wider coverage, compared to a 28mm equivalent, is needed a large portion of the time. I don't find the need for anything much wider very often, but the situations do occur.

If you consider DSLRs, keep in mind that virtually all (all?) "kit" zooms only zoom as wide as a 28mm equivalent (18mm on most crop sensor bodies and 14mm on the 4/3rd format bodies). To match the wide angle of the LX3 with a DSLR, you need a 16mm with most crop bodies, 15mm with Canons and 12mm with Olympus and Panasonic.

mtclimber Nov 28, 2009 9:51 AM

Well, there you have it, ronke-

The consensus of the postings seem to suggest using a point and shoot camera, such as the Nikon 8400, the Kodak P-880, or the Panasonic ZS1, all of which have a 24 to 25mm lens, or to create a panorama by stitching several small photos together to cover the expanse of your son's murals.

The flash is required (and the P-880 and the Nikon 8400 both have hot shoes) because you said that some of his work in in potential photo environments where the light level is rather low.

Both the Nikon 8400 and the Kodak P-880 have been out of production for 4 to 5 years so they would have to be found in the used market. The Panasonic ZS1 is a camera that is currently available and runs around $230.00. With the ZS1, which has no hot shoe, you would need a powerful Slave Flash like the DigiSlave-3000 which runs around $130.00. That is a total of $360, which would cost far less that the G-11 or the Rebel solution.

Have a great day.

Sarah Joyce

interested_observer Nov 28, 2009 11:29 AM

... and here is one last thought. If you want to go the dSLR route with a wide angle lens, and since he will be using it to advertise his work and business, you will want some quality, the one wide angle lens - that has quality and is as affordable as they get is the Tokina. Tokina makes 2 wide angle lenses, the 12-24 f4 and the 11-16 f2.8. They are wonderful and on par with any lens that Nikon and Canon make in this particular focal length. Pentax collaborated on the design and they offer the Pentax DA 12-24 f4 for $700 and folks love it (its essentially the same lens, with some extra coatings for better color and flare resistance, along with an additional focus clutch mechanism). I have this lens and it is wonderful - very sharp with little distortion. It does have a bit of CA - Chromatic aberration, but software will remove this. Wide angle lenses are usually very expensive because the optical design and build is difficult.

So Tokina, makes the lens in the Canon and Nikon mounts for both lenses, and the prices run less than Pentax.
Tokina 12-24 f4 - Wonderful lens, and works well... $399 for Nikon, $499 for Canon.

Tokina 11-17 f2.8 - Even better for low light, essentially the same lens, updated for low light which essentially reduced its focal length range. $599 for Canon, $650 for Nikon.
Now those prices are just for the lens, so if you wind up getting another camera, that will be extra. The faster lens commands a higher price. Now inside a room, one of the things will be depth of field. In order to achieve depth of field (so that everything is in focus), you can use the f2.8 at 11mm and have everything in focus. You might be able to use a higher ISO speed, but that will add noise to the image - and this is for advertising, so you will want the highest image quality which is as crystal clear as possible. So using a low ISO speed - like 100 will result in a better image. Unfortunately, this will increase the shutter speed - hence the possible need for a tripod.

Depth of field - there is a good web site with a calculator that explains all of this at

Using the 11-16 f2.8 lens, and standing about 10 feet from the wall, everything from 4.26 feet and beyond will be in focus. So the 11-16 will be very usable, and the f2.8 really buys you the ability to photograph darker rooms.

Another thing is that neither lens is image stabilized, so with potentially slower shutter speeds - a tripod might be really useful. Neither Nikon nor Canon offer image stabilization in their bodies, just in the lens. Only Pentax, Olympus and Sony do image stabilization in the body. So, invest in a tripod.

Even with the tripod, you might not get even coverage of the paintings - so you might also need additional lighting. Others are better at this, but you might want to think about a flash for the camera, along with a wireless flash for each the left and right side placed about 5 feet from the camera, so that they all fire at the same time and you can get even light coverage for about a wall of 15 to 20 feet wide and say 10 feet tall. Here is a photography calculator

Go down to "Dimensional Field of View Calculator" and enter 12 for the focal length and press [calculate] and the result shows that the horizontal width that the lens offers - 10 feet away from the wall is a bit over 18 feet. 18 feet is a bit wider than what a single flash can cover, so multiple units may be necessary.

One additional thought is flash bounce back off the wall - I can't help there - others will need to assist in how to handle that problem.

Welcome to the mathematics of optics! Its usually a class offered in the junior year of a Engineering Physics degree.

.. hope that helps... :cool:

Kriekira Nov 28, 2009 2:25 PM

Just to toss this in ...
... knowing both artists and muralists, I suggest that he consider using film. Film SLRs and (I think) some wide-angle lenses are currently bargains. The film can be digitized when developed. Since he is not taking a lot of pictures, this is likely the lowest $/shot solution.

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