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Old Feb 19, 2006, 4:53 AM   #1
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I work freelance for real estate agents photographing interiors and exteriors of the more upmarket properties. I presently operate an Olympus C7070, purchased because of its wide zoom (27mm). It has taken some getting used to with its confusing menus but I have a good level of confidence in the camera, and it is fast to use. I shoot about 70 frames per property on average. I try some adventurous things, and usually get about 3 failed frames, and 8 excellent frames per shoot. I use Paint Shop Pro 9 and Corel Paint Shop Pro X with an array of macros that I have made to aid in speeding processing and I am very happy with the software.

However I am finding I need a little more wide angle (say 24mm) than I can presently get, and the flash is inadequate when parts of the subject are close to the camera. I am aware that bounce flash would be more desirable. I always shoot handheld at very low speeds (at the min 2.8 apeture I must) commonly 1/20 sec. I am quite good at this now, with few frames showing evidence of shake, and they have a nice softness from the mix of ambient light, interior lights, and slow flash. Large rooms (little flash support), dark rooms (too slow a shutter), and small rooms (not wide enough lens) are a problem thou.

I tried a Raynox lens in an attempt to get more wide angle, but the distortion created is unacceptable, particularly in tight places where I need it most. I have been looking at investing in a Fl-36 Olympus flash, but the expense is making me re-think my hardware choices.

My question is, what would any of you do, given my situation? Invest in the Fl-36 or move into SLRs, given the expense (its not a high paying field) I am reluctant to change.
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Old Feb 19, 2006, 6:07 AM   #2
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If I were you, I would invest in a good tripod and a good flash, such as the Sunpak 383 (which will probably cost 1/3 of what the FL-36 is going for). I'm not sure what you mean by distortion with the Raynox lens...could you post a couple of examples?

http://www.tocad.com/flash/383.html

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Old Feb 19, 2006, 6:51 AM   #3
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OK I just made some examples, they are not very good exposure or sharpness wise, its night time now and the inadequacies of the stock flash are apparent. Frame 23 the distortion is quite apparent, software will get most of it out, excepting close articles like furniture. Also you can see the Raynox lens masks the flash you can see the shaddow. In the daytime this is less apparent, I generally use slow flash setting.
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Old Feb 19, 2006, 7:48 AM   #4
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The curve of the wall can be corrected in Paint Shop Pro 9 rather easily. Use the fisheye correction and it will look like this.

MT
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Old Feb 19, 2006, 7:52 AM   #5
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I thought that was a table in the foreground, but I am wrong. Finished it would have to look like this.

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Old Feb 19, 2006, 8:14 AM   #6
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Yep
actually I use Barrel Distortion correction for the std lens, and had persisted using that and pillowcusion correction with 'almost there' results. Your effort is way better.

I had forgotten to mention the flash is set -1 stop so it doesnt overpower the image with the mixture of sources in daytime (yes I should have reset it had I remembered). Ballancing exposure values is 'somewhat' of an issue, but usually works out ok. My feeling is bounce flash would give me a greater range of options though, and on that Sunpac flash seem to be rather rare here.

nice job MtClimber, Im inspired to give the Raynox another shot, thanks

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Old Feb 19, 2006, 9:27 AM   #7
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Wily-

I also do real estate shots. I am currently using a Kodak P-880 which has a nice 24mm lens. I also use a tripod and a bounce flash.

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Old Feb 19, 2006, 9:50 AM   #8
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ah nice MtClimber, you would understand how tight the market can be I guess then. My previous Canon was 24mm with its wide convertor. 24mm seems to be about the right focal length given that the average 35mm isnt tight enough, the Raynox provides for 18.9mm which is very wide, and I am keen to try work it in on this weeks shoots (Ive had it just a matter of days)
If I can solve my flash problem I will be happy to keep it, Olympus FL-36 flash are over $320 here. It doesnt look as though the alternates provide the same functionality, and are dam hard to find in any event.

One thing about the C7070 I really do like is the solid metal chassis.

F2.8 27mm 1/15th hand held
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Old Feb 19, 2006, 10:17 AM   #9
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Wiley-

The nice thing about the Kodak P-880 is that the 24mm is just about ideal and there is distortion correction built into the cameras firmware. Since getting the P-880 I spend a lot less time fixing shots.

I really like your second posted shot. Everything is nicely squared up.

MT

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Old Feb 19, 2006, 10:34 AM   #10
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Thanks!
Yes processing speed is vital, I have a macro I wrote for PSP 9 that tidies up the images pretty well, and I can load 30 at a time and just let it run. Barrel Distortion correction is a part of that macro. All that remains then is to ensure the frame is level and to straighten the verticals but the firmware aboard your Kodak sounds desirable.
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