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Old May 9, 2011, 8:25 PM   #1
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Default Recommendations for a 3D artist/architectural photography?


I'm a self-employed digital artist & architectural designer, who produces 3D renderings for architects, designers & real estate developers (on the web at geometrikstudio DOT com, if you'd like to see what I do). Sometimes, the renderings I prepare require digital photo-composites, so I'm looking for a modestly priced camera that will address the "Priority List" below. The camera will be used primarily for obtaining close-up and wide-view photographs of site locations & existing structures, a process that usually involves fairly quick walkarounds of properties, rather than tripod-based architectual "glamour shots".

My budget is in the $750-1000 price range (total cost including body, lenses and accessories).

I've been researching options, both ILC's and DSLR's (Panasonic GF2 & GH2; Pentax K-r; etc.), and gravitated to the Olympus E-PL2 with the 14-42mm kit lens, or the Panasonic G2 with the Vario 14-45mm lens. I would appreciate some informed feedback and/or suggestions for other alternatives, including less expensive DSLRs.

Priority List:

- Optical lens quality (zoom preferred, rather than prime).
- Robust sensor technology (full frame would be nice, but not required).
- Live View is a must (fully functional in direct sunlight if possible).
- Color fidelity & noise reduction.
- Reasonably good HD video (with stereo audio if possble).
- Articulated LCD preferred, but not a deal-breaker.

Concerns with the E-PL2: visibility of the LCD in direct sunlight (EVF is an expensive option); somewhat limited video/audio capabilities; auto-focus not working with filters? (e.g. graduated ND filters).

Concerns with the G2: reputation for "cheap plastic" build quality; aging sensor technology; quirky behavior with the LCD touchscreen (also, the inability to turn off the touchsceen functions).

Thanks in advance for any help you can offer!


Last edited by TimF; May 9, 2011 at 8:35 PM.
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Old May 10, 2011, 3:41 AM   #2
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Since you want good video as well you should consider the SONY SLT Alpha 55.
  • 1080p AVCHD movie mode with continuous AF
  • Articulated 3in 'TruBlack' LCD with 912k dots
  • socket for external microphone
  • 2x magnification mode in live view
It has similar image performance as the K-r.

The Sony is a lot smaller than the K-r so I suggest you go to a store that have them and hold the camera in your hand. Solid, but smaller.

Last edited by m00ndancer; May 10, 2011 at 3:50 AM. Reason: More info
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Old May 10, 2011, 5:30 AM   #3
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If the A55 has the same features as the A580 which I expect it does, there is also a 3D sweep panorama mode which should let you capture images in 3D - might be of some help to get a feel for the relief on buildings if you're doing 3D renderings.
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Old May 10, 2011, 8:34 AM   #4
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Panasonic G2, GF2, and GH2 are all compatible with Panasonic new 3D Lens...the GH2 has just been hacked and there are good things to come with it...you can adapt any lens to it, but only the 4/3 and Micro 4/3 will Auto Focus...the Leica 14-150 works excellent on it and the 14-140 is a very decent lens on the GH2 as well as silent for HD video...the MS-1 Stereo Mic works well on it also and is fit for purpose...excellent HD Video...articulated LCD is a Touch Screen and excellent!...the EVF is better than most DSLR's due to it's viewing size and clarity....the 45-200 and 100-300 lens both do very well on the GH2...

I would suggest downloading the Manuals on the cameras you are researching and insure it has the features that you are looking for...and the design operation you require...

Last edited by LTZ470; May 10, 2011 at 8:42 AM.
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Old May 10, 2011, 5:50 PM   #5
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Thanks, all, for the input.

I'll confess that I don't take Sony seriously enough sometimes. I own one of their TV's, and have a Sony phone in my pocket, but haven't really given the Sony cameras much consideration.

But... they seem to offer a lot of bang for the buck. The 3D Sweep feature might be really useful - I could have used it earlier today on a visit to a new project. Live view performance is also a big plus.

LTZ470 - I was giving the GH2 very serious consideration last night. Unfortunately they're almost totally unavailable in the US right now, due to the Japanse earthquake/tsunami/nuclear disaster(s). I'll have time to look at more options before they become available again, and more time to absorb your numerous comments.

I've also started to look more closely at the T2i/T3i...

Thanks again!

Last edited by TimF; May 10, 2011 at 6:38 PM.
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