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Old Sep 6, 2006, 8:36 PM   #1
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Hi everyone, I need a setup that will produce professional quality shots of building interiors (homes and offices) for use exclusively on the web (on a real estate sales website). My digital photography experience thus far has been with point and shoot cameras (I currently use a Canon A95) and I'm sure I have a lot to learn. I'd appreciate any advice on a good setup to purchase and links to any articles on interior photography that might help.

I'm thinking that I'll need to buy a DSLR and one or two wide angle lenses to get going. I'm just starting to research what I'll need and hoping someone could point me in the right direction. Since the images are for web use, a lower res camera, such as the Nikon D50 would probably be fine. Quality is the top priority, but I don't want to spend any more than I need to either. I might as well ask - are there any prosumer level cams (non SLR) that would fit my needs?

What lens would be best to buy? 28mm? Are wide angle zoom lenses a good idea (e.g. an 18mm-50mm)? Should I stick with OEM or are brands like Tamron or Sigmasufficient?

Thanks in advance.
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Old Sep 6, 2006, 11:39 PM   #2
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P&S and DSLR-lice cameras are too narrow. Kit lenses for DSLRs are better but also not really wide enough.

The cheapest set-up for you probably would be entry level DSLR body with shake reduction + wide angle lense + tripod. Shake reduction will help you to avoid using tripod all the time (usually interiors are not lit enough for good handheld shots without image stabilisation).

IMHO Pentax K100D ($585) + Pentax DA 12-24/4 ($720 - $100 rebate) or Sigma 10-20/4-5,6 ($500) would be very nice tool for you. Of course not the best (as you write in your subject, the best will cost thousands), but probably most cost effective Going with Canon, Nikon (both are not offering in body shake reduction) or Sony will be more expensive with results on the same level.
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Old Sep 7, 2006, 12:41 AM   #3
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Mark-

I use a Nikon 8400 on a tripod that I purchased on e-bay and works great. The Real Estate community in my area loves the photos. The 8400 has a 24mm (35mm equivalent) lens and it goes wide without any distortion.

MT
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Old Sep 7, 2006, 11:46 AM   #4
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Shake reduction, IS, VR etc.is NOT needed for inside architecture shots. You need nice tripod. Any wide lens would do as you would be shooting at f8 or slower.

For dim indoor, you don't take hand held shots. You would need to shoot at f2.8 and higher ISO to get good enough shutter speed and your DOF will be too shallow.
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Old Sep 7, 2006, 11:47 AM   #5
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One more thing, make sure the lens doesn't have barrel distortion. my 17-40L is bad when I use it in close qtrs at 17mm.
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Old Sep 7, 2006, 12:39 PM   #6
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Thanks for the replies. Yes, I would definitely use a tripod for interior shots, but IS would still be a nice feature for other uses.

I'm considering the Nikon D50 with a 10-20mm or 12-24mm lens, either Nikkor or Tokina. Would a fixed lens, for example a 10.5mm Nikon,be much better than a zoom?

However, I was wondering if there are any point and shoot (non-SLR) cams with wide enough lenses. The widest I've seen is 28mm (35mm camera equivalent). Would it be a bad idea to buy a wide angle adaptor and use it with a camera like the Canon G6? I would rather have a point and shoot camera like this for personal use and if I buy a DSLR, it would only be for the interior shots, since I wouldn't use it much for anything else.






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Old Sep 7, 2006, 6:16 PM   #7
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Hi Mark,

if the interior images are for web use, you will downsize them to 1MPix, so there is no need at all for a 6MPix DSLR with a pricy wide angle lens.
You do need a tripod and a camera that goes as wide as possible.

The only current P&S that goes down to 24mm is the Kodak P880 (besides the rather large Sony R1) and it has some nice photographer features such as RAW format and a mechanical-manual zoom. There is also a firmware upgrade that speeds up its operation.
You can find it listed for $350 at pricegrabber.com

You could visit dpreview.com's kodak forum and ask for P880 interior photos, see what you think.

:-)



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Old Sep 8, 2006, 4:22 PM   #8
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The problem with P&S cameras and wide angle is the "cropping factor" from the small sensor. Due to the optics involved, it takes a large lens to get a wide angle view with a small sensor. The larger sensor on a dSLR makes it easier to get wide angle shots.

Also, in Photoshop and other image editing programs, look into perspective control/transformation. This allows you to "correct" the slanted lines that should be parallel in a picture (to a certain degree).

Good luck!
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Old Sep 8, 2006, 8:43 PM   #9
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Yes, but there are two P&S cameras I'm consideringthat go as wide as 24mm (in 35mm equivalent afer considering cropping factors), the Nikon 8400, as mtclimber mentioned, and the Kodak P880.

Apparently, these are both popular among real estate photographers. A wider lens would be a bit better, but I'm not sure it's worth the price difference (at least double the price...more likely 3 times as expensive).


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Old Sep 9, 2006, 4:21 AM   #10
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Hi Mark,
I saw your thread at dpreview where you mention the rather expensive Kaidan parabolic lens for 360º panos.
With that in mind, I think that an alternative to a 24mm P&S + Kaidan would be to get a 6MPix DSLR with a super wide angle zoom (Sigma 10-20?) and stitch 4 tripod shots (360º) with a fairly automated high quality software such as PTGUI.
I would think that taking the 3 shots wouldn´t take much longer than setting up the Kaidan while the processing would be somehow slower (the Kaidan shot has to be processed too).
The advantage of the DLSR+super wide angle zoom is of course that you get a super wide angle rectilinear lens for regular nonpanoramic shots and higher quality 360º panos. DSLR raw pictures also give you a wider dynamic range that might be preferable in difficult contrasty settings (bright windows, dim interiors).
Another interesting stitching software would be Autopano Pro as it does support RAW files and HDR, thus saving time on a raw conversion if you do shoot raw.

http://www.ptgui.com
http://www.autopano.net

Anyway, these are just my thoughts and I have no Kaidan experience. Perhaps you may want to start a thread about Kaidan vs stitching at dpreview, see what people say.

:-)

edit:
if you do choose to go the stitching route, you should get the super wide angle zoom with the least barrel distortion.
Quicktime VR software:
www.pano2qtvr.com
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