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Old Sep 5, 2010, 12:03 PM   #1
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Default Best new camera/lens combination for Stately homes

Hello all,

I visit stately homes most weekends. I would like a digital slr but don't know the best one to go for. Many of the rooms have limited light to prevent fading of materials and so don't allow flash. Also many of them have stunning gardens and deer parks to walk around.

With this in mind, what would be the best camera, and what is the best zoom lens to go for? I think 10x optical would be more than enough.

Cheers

Phil (UK)
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Old Sep 5, 2010, 8:11 PM   #2
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Entry level dSLRs from Nikon, Pentax and Sony, have a wider angle of view for lenses of the same focal length than the entry level dSLRs from Canon, so I'd pick one of those.

You'll also need a lens that has a wide angle and not a lot of rectilinear distortion. Tamron's 17-50mm f/2.8 is a good choice. It has very good image quality, low distortion, and low chromatic aberration. There are two versions of this lens. One is stabilized and the other isn't. Since you can't use flash, you'll probably be using longer shutter speeds, so stabilization will be a big help. The Pentax and Sony both have sensor shift image stabilization in their camera bodies, so they'll be able to use the higher quality unstabilized lenses. Nikon relies on optical image stabilization in lenses, so you'd have to rely on the bigger, heavier, more expensive, and lower quality stabilized lenses, and I wouldn't do that.

The Pentax K-x (12MP) and the Sony A500 (12MP), A550 (14MP) and A560 (14MP) are about equally capable in all other respects for what you want to do, and the Pentax is less expensive.
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Old Sep 6, 2010, 4:14 AM   #3
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You may want to consider even a wider angle then 17mm. Something like the sigma 10-20mm. It will give you more working angle for wider rooms. There was actually a thread that discuss room photography. It was interesting to not that you do not have to go wider then say 15mm to get the right prospective to make the room pleasing. It was posted by a real estate shooter. Very interesting. Pretty much any of the brands will work. Canon, Nikon, Sony or pentax. It was more important to get the right prospective. And going to wide was actually not as good as you may expect.
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Old Sep 6, 2010, 4:21 AM   #4
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Here is the thread I was talking about shooting rooms.

http://forums.steves-digicams.com/ph...otography.html
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Old Sep 6, 2010, 3:02 PM   #5
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Hmmm, interesting,

Been having a very good look at the Nikon D5000.

What are your thoughts?

Phil
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Old Sep 6, 2010, 3:11 PM   #6
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The Pentax KX would be an excellent choice. It has high ISO speeds which means that the sensor becomes more sensitive to light, without suffering from the associated electronic noise. Hence, its very good for ambient low light photography. The KX is probably one of the best cameras available in this respect, especially in its price range.

A wide angle lens, like the Sigma 10-20 or Pentax 12-24 would also be an excellent choice. The Sigma is less expensive, wider, but has a tad more distortion. Sigma also has an 8-16 wide angle lens, however the wider you go, the more distortion you pick up.

The other thing I would do, would be to look into possibly using a tripod (a relatively light weight travel one). The reason why, is that interior photography with out a flash is difficult. There is a technique called HDR, which takes 3 to 5 images (the camera does this automagically), and then you blend them together on your PC using software utilities (free to about $100). What this does is - within the series of images, some are overexposed and others are underexposed, thus when combined the result is the best aspects of all of them.
Another thing you can do is to stitch photos together on your PC, thus limiting the need for an extremely wide angle lens. Again, easy to do, both taking the images and stitching them together.

You can even combine the two techniques, and there are software utilities that will both combine the HDR images and then stitch them together, all at once.

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