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Old Sep 1, 2008, 11:11 AM   #1
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Hi All,





I am an exotic car dealer

Usually take about 100 pics per vehicle

Mid day…sunny in Southern California



Using a canon G9 currently – tripod setup



I was thinking of purchasing a Canon 40D (or wait for the 50D) or the new Nikon D90



(would love to have a slr that had the 4:3 ratio but i believe i am limited to olympus at that point...would love it if I did not have to crop each photo...we need to post pics on the web @ 640x480 so each pic would need to be cropped from 3:2 to 4:3)



Must haves: Live preview on the LCD



What do you recommend regarding switching from the G9 to the DSLR's



What would be the best lens for me…Wide angle shots…need vibrant, eye popping shots



I certainly appreciate any advice you may have for us




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Old Sep 1, 2008, 11:56 AM   #2
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jharonis wrote:
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..we need to post pics on the web @ 640x480 so each pic would need to be cropped from 3:2 to 4:3)
An expensive dSLR solution is probably overkill for 640x480 resolution photos. Although, I guess one would have some advantages (for example, better dynamic range, more lens options).

For the cropping part, you could batch process them. Just leave a bit of extra room when you frame the images. Here is one product designed for that purpose.

http://ekot.dk/programmer/JPEGCrops/


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Must haves: Live preview on the LCD

Canon's live view in dSLR models leaves something to be desired (an understatement). It's not the same as using Live View on your existing camerea. to get a better idea of how limiting it can be, read Steve's Review Conclusion section of the XSi here:

http://www.steves-digicams.com/2008_...el_xs_pg7.html

Nikon's isn't really much better. Hopefully, that will improve with the newer models (and both Canon and Nikon are indicating improved Live View in their latest offerings like the Canon EOS-50D and Nikon D90, but I have no experience with these yet to see if they're improved much).

I'd try them out in a store to get a better idea of how well they work when you find them on dealer shelves (which could take a little while for the 50D). Given the number of photos you want to take of each vehicle, you may find the hassle of using Live View it to be more trouble than it's worth with most dSLR models with it.

The best Live View right this second is probably the system Sony incorporated into it's A300 and A350 models. It's very simple to use and doesn't suffer from some of the drawbacks other systems provide, because they use a separate Live View sensor in the Viewfinder housing that sees the same through the lens image that would normally go to the optical viewfinder. So, you just flick a switch to use Live View mode when desired, or flick it back the other way to use the optical viewfinder, while still taking advantage of the camera's fast 9 point Autofocus system (versus the need to flip the camera's mirror back and forth to focus, or use a slower contrast detect AF system with the camera's main sensor).

These Sony models also have a tilting LCD (making it easier to frame if you wanted to keep the camera lower to the ground for a better perspective of the vehicles). Note that the Olympus E-3 also has a tilting LCD

For wider lenses from third party manufacturers, the Sigma 10-20mm f/4-5.6 and Tamron 11-18 mm f/4.5-5.6 are popular choices. If you go with a Nikon or Canon solution, I'd also take a look at the Tokina 12-24mm f/4 (it's not available in Sony mount like the Tamron and Sigma choices). The camera manufacturers also offer their own zooms with similar focal ranges.

One thing to keep in mind when lens shopping for a dSLR with an APS-C size sensor is that you'll have a narrower angle of view (more apparent magnification) for any given focal length compared to the same focal length on a 35mm camera.

With dSLR models using a Sony APS-C size sensor (Sony models, most Nikon models, and most Pentax Models use a Sony APS-C size sensor), you'll need to multiply the focal length of a lens by 1.5x to see how it compares. For example, a 100mm lens on one of these dSLR models would give you the same angle of view as a 150mm lens on a 35mm camera (100mm x 1.5 = 150mm). So, an 18-70mm lens on one of these camera models would give you the same angle of view you'd have using a 27-105mm lens on a 35mm camera. That's why most of the "kit" lenses start out at around 18mm (because they'll appear to be 50% longer on a dSLR using a smaller sensor compared to 35mm film).

With Canon models with an APS-C size sensor, use 1.6x to see how they compare. For example, a 100mm lens on a Canon dSLR like the EOS-50D would have the same angle of view you'd get using a 160mm lens on a 35mm camera.

Olympus models have an even smaller sensor, so you need to use 2x to see how a lens compares. So, a 100mm lens on an Olympus dSLR would give you the same angle of view as a 200mm lens on a 35mm camera.

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Old Sep 1, 2008, 11:59 AM   #3
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Wide angle shots can give an odd perspective. This was taken at a 35mm equivalentfocal length of 68mm:



This was taken with a 35mm equivalent focal length of 33mm:



The shorter focal length has the effect of magnifying that portion of the subject that is closest to the lens, so that it is out of proportion to the remainder of the subject.

I think you would be best served by using a longer focal length, both for the purpose of a more correct perspective and that lenses atlonger focal lengths are less likely to suffer from optical distortion.

The 4:3 aspect ratio will be a problem with any dSLR except the Olympus products, but since you'dhave to crop anyway, you can give yourself plenty of room and crop on all sides, not just the left and right.
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Old Sep 1, 2008, 12:27 PM   #4
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thant was quite helpful...and i will probably have a few more questions once i digest all here...9i may have a bit of a learning curve here but I'm a quick study)

Question

these are the focal length specs on my G9 - 7.4-44.4mm f/2.8-4.8 (35mm film equivalent: 35-210mm) and the attached photo was taken at the widest angle...in adobe bridge it say it is a 7.4 mm focal length 1/160s at f4 ISO 80...

Am i correct is assuming that to get a 22mm (like your vette) shot i need to zoom into the shot about half way??

are you saying i sould back away from the car and zoom in more to increase the focal length to about 22mm??to give the car a better perspective? (am i getting this correct?)



thanks









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Old Sep 1, 2008, 12:37 PM   #5
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I'm going to disagree with TCav. If I were taking photos of Exotic cars, I'd want to use an ultra wide lens to exaggerate a vehicle's features, using the perspective you get from closer shooting distances as an aid to accomplish more creative photos.

For example, most of the vehicle shots in this album were taken with a Tamron 11-18mm:

http://www.pbase.com/marcdemoulin/paris_2007

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Old Sep 1, 2008, 12:42 PM   #6
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Make sure to browse through some of this photographer's other albums, too. For example, this one (again, using a Tamron 11-18mm):

http://www.pbase.com/marcdemoulin/i_like_old_cars

Here's an album titled "Retromobile" using a Sigma 18-50mm instead.

http://www.pbase.com/marcdemoulin/retromobile

Check out some of his Auto museum related albums, too. Here's one that's also using an 18-50mm lens (and most kit lenses have this kind of focal range):

http://www.pbase.com/marcdemoulin/muse_automobile


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Old Sep 1, 2008, 2:36 PM   #7
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jharonis wrote:
Quote:
these are the focal length specs on my G9 - 7.4-44.4mm f/2.8-4.8 (35mm film equivalent: 35-210mm) and the attached photo was taken at the widest angle...in adobe bridge it say it is a 7.4 mm focal length 1/160s at f4 ISO 80...

Am i correct is assuming that to get a 22mm (like your vette) shot i need to zoom into the shot about half way??

are you saying i sould back away from the car and zoom in more to increase the focal length to about 22mm??to give the car a better perspective? (am i getting this correct?)
Let me apologize for quoting the actual focal length used to obtain those shots. They were captured on a dSLR with an APS-C image sensor which has a crop factor of 1.5. They would therefore have 35mm equivalent focal lengths of 68mm and 33mm, respectively. I have editted the original posts to reflect the 35mm equivalent focal lengths.

The shot you obtained was at the 35mm equivalent focal length of 35mm, almost the same as I got with my shot. My shots, btw, were taken in a parking lot. The red 'Vette didn't have any other vehicles close to it, but the black 'Vette was parked right next to another. In order to capture animage of that carwithout the adjacent cars, I had to get close and zoom out, and that's what created the distorted perspective.

Corvettes have larger tires in the rear than in the front, but in the photo of the black 'Vette, the front tire looks about twice as large as the rear tire. That's from the distorted perspective.

In your shot, you used about the same 35mm equivalent focal length as I did, but you weren't as close as I was, so you didn't get the degree of distorted perspective as I did.

Yes, I'm saying that you should back away from the car and use a longer focal length to get a better, more realistic perspective.

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Old Sep 1, 2008, 2:45 PM   #8
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While I appreciate the artistic interpretations of the graceful lines of the automobiles in the photos that JimC provided links to, I think those may not be such a good way to sell the cars.

I think I can safely say that no one ever bought a Ford Mustang because it looked like this:

http://www.pbase.com/marcdemoulin/image/96719382
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Old Sep 1, 2008, 5:52 PM   #9
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If I wanted to sell exotic cars, I'd want to use a lot of interesting photos with creative use of perspective, with more interesting angles using wider lenses, versus photos taken from a distance with a flatter appearance that look just like any other car photo.

Many of the photos in the albums I posted links to do just that. Sure, not all of them are going to be appealing to you. ;-) I think he did a great job with many of the photos in his automobile related galleries using mostly wider focal lengths.

Look at Television commercials for cars, and you'll see that kind of thing pretty often with video. Unfortunately, most of the photos of cars on manufacturer's web sites are relatively boring.

It sounds like the OP is taking a lot of photos of each vehicle, and the creative use of perspective from closer shooting distances can make for appealing images, especially when you want to show smaller portions of an exotic vehicle (wheels, trim, grill, tail lights, interior, etc.).

So, I'd study those types of photos and strive to make my images just as interesting in order to make the exotic vehicles I would be selling more attractive to perspective buyers.

Sure, not all images need to use that kind of perspective. But, I think a high percentage of mine would if I were selling those types of cars.

Here is Corvette gallery that shows better use of perspective than most, but still not what I'd want to see.

http://www.chevrolet.com/corvette/photogallery/

This image from Lamborghni's web site is also interesting.

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Old Sep 1, 2008, 7:25 PM   #10
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touché.
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