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Camera & lens Combo for Photographs of rooms

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Showing 1-17 of 17 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 2 Mar 2013 15:18:08 GMT

I am looking at purchasing a dslr with a wide angle lens.

Currently looking at a Nikon d3100 with a sigma 10-10mm lens.

I am an estate agent but i am fed up with poor photographs of interior rooms of property's with half the room missing (currently using a digital compact).

I realise there is only so much the camera and lens can do and i will need the right settings to be setup, but i am looking to achieve a result where i can show as much of the room as possible with a high quality image (Not a fisheye lens)

I guess i am just looking for some advice before making the purchase, if anybody else has any other ideas or thinks this would be the right way to go that would be great.

Also i have been told it would be worth investing in a tripod to get the best results possible and have it set to around chest height?

Thanks for your help

Posted on 2 Mar 2013 20:24:23 GMT
ChrisJ says:
Easiest by far: Windows Phone (probably Nokia Lumia 920 to get the better camera option) and the Photosynth App: Take photo, turn the camera and it auto takes the next photo. Stitches them together to show the full room. Can be 360 degree if needed to show the full room. Easy, quick, simple.

In reply to an earlier post on 3 Mar 2013 12:13:11 GMT
T.J.Byford says:
Mr. Russell,

I'm sure will take the phone suggestion with a large pinch of salt.

The Sigma with its 10mm wide angle setting will give you the equivalent of a 15mm wide angle lens in terms of equivalent 35mm film camera terms, so this is extremely wide and should cover most, if not all of your requirements. The view you will get should mean you can cram in any room. You should expect geometric distortions such as elongation of the image at the left and right edges as this can be quite common with lenses of this extreme wide-angle. But I suspect absolute accuracy is not what you are after.

For best results a tripod is almost a must. It will enable you to precisely frame the subject as best suits you and being indoors you might be encouraged to use flash, but which you may know "kills" atmosphere with its full-on lighting. Rooms look at their best and most natural if you can make the most of the available light - it looks more natural. This is likely to require slowish shutter speeds that may lead to blurred images due to camera shake. With the D3100, although I am not familiar with this specific camera, you will be able to increase the ISO without impacting upon quality, but the slower the ISO you can get away with the better.

In reply to an earlier post on 3 Mar 2013 12:31:55 GMT
Thank you for your help

I have gone ahead and purchased the Nikon with the 10 - 20 mm lens also got a tripod and i think it is an attachable flash for the top just in case on those darker days.

Totally agree the more natural the room looks the better, just have to learn how to do it all now.

Thanks again

In reply to an earlier post on 3 Mar 2013 12:38:54 GMT
If you have a separate attachable flash then you should be able to direct it at the ceiling and bounce it to give a more natural look without such harsh shadows. colour casts from the bounced light may be dealt with adequately by the camera or you can easily fix them in post processing.

In reply to an earlier post on 7 Mar 2013 09:20:48 GMT
Russ says:
Hi. I have been taking interiors for a number of years and a super wide is without doubt the best lense choice. With regard to flash, I used either studio flash or a Metz 45 bounced off the ceiling or through an umbrella. A flash meter is very useful for really accurate exposures and a good tripod is also a must to enable you to both balance the lighting and enable you to compose the picture. Good luck.

Posted on 8 Mar 2013 05:29:12 GMT
Hi there, just noticed this thread when looking for a budget option. I too am an estate agent, could I get away with the optiflex wide angle attachment on my canon 400d without compromising quality? I appreciate it is a cheap option but if it allows slightly wider shots of a room than I get with standard 18-55mm then is it worth getting? Thanks in advance

In reply to an earlier post on 8 Mar 2013 10:32:41 GMT
Hi Clare
Do you have a link to it? I google optiflex and there was nothing like a wide angle attachment there.

In general I would say it depends on the quality you are after. I bet its wide but equally it probably distorts and vignettes, especially at the minimum setting for your kit lens.

Do you mean Optika?
I just had a look on Amazon at Optika and get the impression that it is intended as a fisheye - I'm guessing that that would be totally unsuitable for your purposes.
Here is what one 5star reviewer said:
"As for the quality of the pictures, it mostly depends on what lens you fit it in. On my favourite lens (cannon 50mm), the fisheye actually works as a wide angle lens, that when combined with the quality of a priming lens, produces really amazing pictures (for my amateur level of course). You won't get any cropping on the edges too. If you use a zoom lens, you can adjust between just opening the angle a bit, or going for the full "fisheye effect"."
Well 50mm x 0.35 is the equivalent of 17.5mm and your kit lens goes down to 18.
If you have £30 and are happy to accept a fisheye for your arty pics then maybe, otherwise you will probably be disappointed.

Posted on 8 Mar 2013 14:33:39 GMT
Last edited by the author on 8 Mar 2013 14:35:40 GMT
T.J.Byford says:

I'd go along with Dr. A and suggest this is not suitable for your needs. Forget the glowing reviews on Amazon for devices such as these, purchasers seem more blinded by the impact a fish-eye lens, or a super-wide linear one, can give and don't fully take into account the crappy quality compared to what you'd be used to with your standard kit lens.

Generally speaking, most of these add-on lenses, it has to be said, are poor optical performers, and their cheap price reflects this. You can get what are termed "linear" lenses i.e. they provide a more or less natural view that you see with your kit lens, only they give a much wider field of view, and it is this field of view which you are seeking, not special effects.

Such linear lenses are available, I myself have one which I purchased very cheaply to use with the Zeiss zoom lens on my Sony R1 digital camera. My unit is a .45 magnification, but there is no way I could recommend this to anybody unless I was aware of what level of quality they would be happy with or, like me, it offers an impossible field of view with the fixed lens that I simply need and am prepared to totally overlook the downside of very poor quality at the edges of the frame. The Zeiss lens has a wide angle of 24mm equivalent field of view of a 35mm camera, so the adapter provides me with an extreme wide angle of around 11mm compared to a 35mm camera. This is super wide. But the quality does suffer for about 25% at each side of the frame, so only the middle 50% is reasonably usable. The advantage, surprisingly, is that you have the full zoom range of your existing lens available, so you don't need the ultimate wide angle setting and as you zoom in the poor edge performance progressively reduces as you zoom. So despite the serious, to my eyes, optical performance, such a lens, as long as it doesn't go too wide, look for something around .65 to .80, could give an acceptable image suitable for your needs.

If in your work you need quality pics, then it would be advisable to use a prime lens of 24mm equivalent field of veiw, for the best results, this requires you to have a lens of a true focal length of 16mm and which with the 1.5x factor for your image senser = 24 and this should be wide enough and is a good compromise on performance v price. These may be more than you are prepared to pay, but in your line of work, it could repay you many times over. However, if you can compromise on quality, perhaps the images will only be reproduced at a small size, then you could get away with one of these adapters.

Posted on 8 Mar 2013 17:02:08 GMT
My Tamron 11mm to 18mm isn't bad and most of the distortion can be dialled out in shopping. It cost £250 s/h

In reply to an earlier post on 8 Mar 2013 17:07:25 GMT
T.J.Byford says:
Hi, Dr. A.

As this starts off from where the kit lens is widest, I would say it is probably a good match as it offers an uninterrupted 11-55 range in conjunction with the kit lens.

In reply to an earlier post on 11 Mar 2013 13:24:23 GMT
Bearman says:
It might be worth your while having a look at HDR photography techniques, so that you can get a fully lit interiors without those overexposed views out the window of the room.

Posted on 31 Mar 2013 08:53:56 BDT
Lucius says:
As Dr G. says, simply bounce a decent flash straight up and off the ceiling (having exposed for the window light) the camera will do the rest for you. I'd forget doing anything else unless you want to spend more time editing photos than selling houses! It might not meet magazine standards but it will be more than good enough for an estate agents portfolio. The Sigma 10-15 lens is great. The Tokina 11-16 is sharper but you're not going to notice that unless you're printing in large format.

I shoot interiors professionally and by far the best way is to shoot a base exposure then selectively light the room, and finally create a composite in Photoshop using layer masks to reveal the selective lighting. It's not quick to shoot or edit though and I can often have 10-15 layers to work on for each image. I occasionally use HDR, but even done sympathetically it can kind of look a bit unnatural as it tends to remove any shadows unless you're careful, but it is a useful technique when you're time-limited on a shoot.

Posted on 8 Apr 2013 18:27:41 BDT
Hi Clare, I have actually got and have used one of the cheap screw-in wide angle adapter things, if you were aiming for a big print for an exhibition then I agree it is rubbish but for smallish prints (up to say A4) it is perfectly acceptable. For use on sale particulars and so on I would suggest you give it a try, after all it is only £15 or so compared with £400 or so for a proper wide angle lens. I did find however that the main lens shold be at about 20mm or slightly longer, not the full 18mm , this made a vast difference to the quality and it is still the equivalent of a 10mm lens.

In reply to an earlier post on 12 Apr 2013 15:36:02 BDT
A. Cardy says:
I have a d7000 and a sigma 10-20 and the quality of the pictures would blow you away. I live quite close to the seaside and a park,
Hence i can go to either and in both locations I have taken a lot of pictures which are pin sharp and not always with a tripod. It really is a excellent lenses.

In reply to an earlier post on 12 Apr 2013 18:07:46 BDT
Is it the f3.5 or the f4 -5.6 Sigma 10-20?

Posted on 29 Apr 2013 23:52:21 BDT
Paulypoo says:
Also have a look at the Tokina 11-16mm AT-X 116 Pro DX II - far better than the original 'Mk I' (which isn't Mk anything!) I'm getting terrific results with it on a 60D, AND it offers f2.8 throughout it's modest but adequate zoom range.
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Initial post:  2 Mar 2013
Latest post:  29 Apr 2013

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