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Old Apr 12, 2011, 11:11 PM   #26
HBOC
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I sold my 17-40L to a dude who shot architecture for a living (as well as resorts all around the world). He said the 17 and 24 TS-E was his bread and butter. Amazing lenses, but there is a learning curve..
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Old Apr 13, 2011, 07:31 AM   #27
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I sold my 17-40L to a dude who shot architecture for a living (as well as resorts all around the world). He said the 17 and 24 TS-E was his bread and butter. Amazing lenses, but there is a learning curve..
The 17-40L lens appears to be for a Canon. Do you happen to know the Nikon equivalent?
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Old Apr 13, 2011, 07:45 AM   #28
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The 17-40L lens appears to be for a Canon. Do you happen to know the Nikon equivalent?
There isn't a direct analogue in Nikon's lens lineup. Canon's 17-40 f4 works with full frame/FX sensors at all focal lengths. Nikon has a 17-55 f2.8 AF-S, but this is a DX format lens that won't cover the sensor below 26mm on an FX body. This is a $1450 lens, although good used examples should be available for under $1000. Nikon recently released a 16-35 f4 VR lens that works with FX (and by extension DX) bodies. But, it's priced at $1200, about $400 higher than the Canon lens.

Be aware that the mirror housing on your D90 will limit the shift movement on tilt/shift lenses. Moving to a D300/S, D700 or D3/S/X will remove that limitation.
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Old Apr 13, 2011, 08:14 AM   #29
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Get a PC lens, and then rent a full-frame camera body so that the lens is wide enough to actually take the photos you want.

That, or sell your D90 and get a used Canon 5D (which may be cheaper to buy used since it's older?) and a used Canon tilt-shift lens.

Otherwise, medium format wasn't a bad suggestion. It was actually a good suggestion. It's just that your company would probably not be willing to pay that kind of cash for some photos, even if they give a really good impression.



The CHEAPEST option would be to use whatever you have now, and correct for things like barrel-distortion, and "keystone" effect, using software.
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Old Apr 13, 2011, 10:36 AM   #30
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Jeez.....

18mm is probably wide enough. I presume you are photographing large, impressive rooms and spaces, not bathrooms and cute kitchens.

Wander around and take informal test shots and frame things. You will know if you have to rent a wider lens.

DX is fine. FX is fine if you got it. Film for this sort of project....? Really, now.

That little flash is good, but for a big room you probably need more, and likely slave lights to even out the illumination of the rooms and all that is in them.

A PC lens would be good if you did this for a living and got intuitive with the thing. Also, it is hard to just get your first really wide lens and just fire away without a learning curve. Wide is difficult to do correctly.

Not an insult, but a big company is going to use a hobbyist employee for an important presentation? This sure puts you in jeopardy if they expect you to turn out a glossy high-end result.

Lastly, PTLens, Elements, Photoshop, Pixelmator, etc have perspective control. You have to learn how to use it so that your proportions are good. Hint: don't frame too tightly.
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Old Apr 13, 2011, 11:38 AM   #31
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I guess it really all comes down to what your firm is actually expecting as far as the results, and how much they are willing to invest (both money and manpower) into it. If they're expecting you to just use your current gear and knock it out in a few days, then they need to meter their expectations accordingly (not saying your gear is bad or you're a bad photographer, but this is an example where the proper gear can really give fundamentally better results).

Clearly you can see how shooting serious architecture (especially for presentations, marketing, and such) is not a trivial affair. If your firm is asking you to do it, they should also be footing the bill for any gear purchase/rental. Obviously any gear they purchase for you will stay with them in the end.

Unless they are okay with you spending perhaps a pretty significant portion of your time doing this project (I'm assuming you were not hired as the company photographer, and have other responsibilities), you might want to float the idea of hiring a professional photographer to do it. As you can see even renting the appropriate gear for high quality results is not cheap, not to mention the time involved to learn some of the techniques and do the shooting. It may ultimately be more cost effective to just hire a professional who is properly equipped and already familiar with this shooting style to do it.

Just my $0.02.

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Old Apr 13, 2011, 12:21 PM   #32
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Thanks for the links and the advice! I would love to get one of those PC shift lenses but they may cost prohibitive for me/the firm. Might try renting though..
Budget for buying 28mm AI PC + (14n or SLR/n) is under $1000.

But those bodies are not for low light.
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Old Apr 13, 2011, 12:28 PM   #33
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Here is picture I took with 18-55 kit lens on a APC-s camera

at 19mm



distant buildings look OK, but the Columbia has leans, if I was bigger (30ft tall) then I think the shot would look more normal.

Here are some shots taken with a 10mm - 22mm on a APC-s



19mm



10mm


10mm

I will say, though I do not have an example to show, the wide angle does make for nice interior shots, on a crop camera I would recommend a 10mm-22mm type lens as this is the similar as 16mm - 35mm on a FF. For exterior shot I would want a TS or even just a shift lens, it should be perfect to keep the building in perspective.
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Old Apr 13, 2011, 12:48 PM   #34
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Budget for buying 28mm AI PC + (14n or SLR/n) is under $1000.

But those bodies are not for low light.
I forgot about the Kodak chin. You can't shift down, so when taking pictures from a roof for example, you would have to invert the camera.

It seems the Canon versions of the Kodak bodies work better with these Nikkor lenses (using an adapter. You don't lose because tilt/shift lenses have to be used in manual mode).
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Old Apr 13, 2011, 01:42 PM   #35
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My firm has asked that I begin documenting some our past projects. Both interior and exterior shots. Being an amateur I am not sure what lens/settings I should use to get the best shots. I have a Nikon D90 with a 15-55mm and a 55-200mm VR lens. I also have Nikon's SB400 speedlight.

I would be more than grateful for any advice on which lens/settings to use or any good book suggestions on photographing architecture.

Thanks!
Today with a DSLR just get the widest lens you can. Actually 15mm is good. But also get a good sturdy tripod and (very important) a short bubble level. Remember the building will wait for as long as it takes. It does not care it you spend 5 minutes setting up a shot. This is not sports photography. So it's tripod shots with a level camera. As soon as you point a camera up you get that distortion where the lines are not parallel. So use a wide enough lens and later crop. OK now days with photoshop you can tilt the camera slightly then later warp the images back so the lines are straight. And also a LITTLE bit of this effect loos good, tilt up a degree or two and it might even look more natural. Shift lenses were used in the pre-photoshop era but they are not needed so much now.

look at plenty of professional shots and try and figure what they did and if the camera is tilted. It's OK to emulation a pro and try and copy a style you like. Artist have learned that way for centuries.

Lighting can be hard because buildings are large. You might use bounce ligfht as a fill in flash but really, with a tripod you can do an exposure for as ong as it takes. Iv'd done 30 second exposures for night time building exteriors, Get a good tripod and the bubble level helps a lot

All, that said. My next camera will be a 4x5 view camera. Nothing beats these for subject that can wait while you set up the shot. Yes the firlm costs money, a bout a buck a shot but you take only a few, less then ten shots. Andthe equipment is so cheap now on the used market so the total cost is low, down at the hobby budget price point.

People now days have gotten used to DSLR quality images. They are acceptable but even with high-end gear never really great. So now when I show a photo done with a 6x7cm Velia transparency people used to DSLRs are stunned at the image quality. 4x5 is one more leap above even that. But DSPs are more than good enough for images to be displayed on the web and in print media

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Old Apr 13, 2011, 02:19 PM   #36
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The 17-40L lens appears to be for a Canon. Do you happen to know the Nikon equivalent?
Nikons' FABULOUS 14-24mm will fit the bill, although it is about $1400 (average) used. Many people use them on Canon Full Frame bodies.

I would say anything wider than 20mm would be good, but ofcourse the wider the better. What body are you wanting this on? If you are on an APC body, than perhaps a Tokina 11-16 would be good or a Sigma 10-20 (I had this one), but the Sigma is not fast. A prime would be the best option, as it will be faster and arguably sharper.
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Old Apr 13, 2011, 02:41 PM   #37
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The best lens for shooting architecture is probably a view camera.
Correct, as usual. I talked with a very talented architectural photography who uses Arca and Alpa view and technical medium format digital cameras and gets amazing results. He far prefers the digital gear to 4x5 and 8x10 transparencies because he needs to do less lighting to avoid saturating the dynamic range. But his gear is worth likely in the six figure range and he charges accordingly. With a good tilt/shift lens you can still do okay on a dSLR.

A view cameras gives you immense control of perspective and depth of field, a complete lack of chromatic aberration, and a near-perfect reduction in any kind of lens distortion normally seen in fast wide lenses. Most lenses are diffraction-limited at normal apertures, and you can use wider apertures to get more depth of field if you know what you're doing (I don't, unfortunately; this always trips me up). The issue is, you're either dealing with film or dealing with insanely expensive esoteric digital gear.

If the images posted above--just plain snapshots of houses--are all your client is looking for, then any camera will do. If they want something even resembling architectural photography, you NEED to introduce proper lighting, exposure, and perspective correction. The proper way to do this is renting a tilt/shift lens and full frame camera (not for the image quality, but to get a wider field of view), if not a view camera.

Switch all the light bulbs in the house for matched practicals, if possible, all as bright as possible (100w or above, all matched color temperature, 3200K if you want the house to look "warm;" daylight-balanced florescent if you want it to look "modern" or like an office). Take a reading, figure out what stop you're at to expose the average room in the house nicely and write that down a couple hours before dusk.

Go outside and figure out the angle of one or two shots you want to take. Don't try to take more than one or two. Dress the area with props and clean out anything you don't want in frame. Take readings around dusk, and once the stop to expose the interior gets close (slightly darker than) the stop to get a good exposure outside, take some test shots. Keep shooting test shots until the light is good. Once they're looking good, set up your camera, correct for perspective (aim the lens AT the horizon, then use rise/fall to frame the shot), and take some bracketed exposures. Use a strong tripod, cable release, etc. to ensure registration. Then go and take the other shot you had planned using the same method. When and if you need to use hdr techniques, respect the laws of tonal hierarchy. Very basic stuff, but this is for very basic results. Lighting using strobes and using a view camera would be helpful for professional-quality results.

If you really want to cheap out and skip the tilt/shift lenses....you can. But you will lose a lot of resolution. Just rent the widest decent lens you can find and follow two techniques: 1) shot the shot as you would but wider toward the top of the frame and use Photoshop's perspective correction AFTER correcting lens distortion 2) frame the shot ridiculously wide pointing at the horizon, then crop out the portion you need, which will have natural perspective. Obviously neither is a good option and I would be immediately wary of anyone saying this will give acceptable results, except maybe as a quick hack for web-quality thumbnails.
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Old Apr 13, 2011, 04:33 PM   #38
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Originally Posted by carlgo View Post
Jeez.....

18mm is probably wide enough. I presume you are photographing large, impressive rooms and spaces, not bathrooms and cute kitchens.

Wander around and take informal test shots and frame things. You will know if you have to rent a wider lens.

DX is fine. FX is fine if you got it. Film for this sort of project....? Really, now.

That little flash is good, but for a big room you probably need more, and likely slave lights to even out the illumination of the rooms and all that is in them.

A PC lens would be good if you did this for a living and got intuitive with the thing. Also, it is hard to just get your first really wide lens and just fire away without a learning curve. Wide is difficult to do correctly.

Not an insult, but a big company is going to use a hobbyist employee for an important presentation? This sure puts you in jeopardy if they expect you to turn out a glossy high-end result.

Lastly, PTLens, Elements, Photoshop, Pixelmator, etc have perspective control. You have to learn how to use it so that your proportions are good. Hint: don't frame too tightly.

No insult taken. Really the firm understands that I am a amateur and they are not expecting the quality of shots we would expect if we were paying a professional to do the job. We have in the past used a pro-photographer but with his experience comes a big bill. Which they are not willing to spend money on right now. Enter myself, the only guy in the office with a half decent camera who was volunteered to do the job.

I spoke to one of the partners today about renting some lenses talked about by some of the other members in this forum and he seemed to be in favor of it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Policar View Post
Correct, as usual. I talked with a very talented architectural photography who uses Arca and Alpa view and technical medium format digital cameras and gets amazing results. He far prefers the digital gear to 4x5 and 8x10 transparencies because he needs to do less lighting to avoid saturating the dynamic range. But his gear is worth likely in the six figure range and he charges accordingly. With a good tilt/shift lens you can still do okay on a dSLR.

A view cameras gives you immense control of perspective and depth of field, a complete lack of chromatic aberration, and a near-perfect reduction in any kind of lens distortion normally seen in fast wide lenses. Most lenses are diffraction-limited at normal apertures, and you can use wider apertures to get more depth of field if you know what you're doing (I don't, unfortunately; this always trips me up). The issue is, you're either dealing with film or dealing with insanely expensive esoteric digital gear.

If the images posted above--just plain snapshots of houses--are all your client is looking for, then any camera will do. If they want something even resembling architectural photography, you NEED to introduce proper lighting, exposure, and perspective correction. The proper way to do this is renting a tilt/shift lens and full frame camera (not for the image quality, but to get a wider field of view), if not a view camera.

Switch all the light bulbs in the house for matched practicals, if possible, all as bright as possible (100w or above, all matched color temperature, 3200K if you want the house to look "warm;" daylight-balanced florescent if you want it to look "modern" or like an office). Take a reading, figure out what stop you're at to expose the average room in the house nicely and write that down a couple hours before dusk.

Go outside and figure out the angle of one or two shots you want to take. Don't try to take more than one or two. Dress the area with props and clean out anything you don't want in frame. Take readings around dusk, and once the stop to expose the interior gets close (slightly darker than) the stop to get a good exposure outside, take some test shots. Keep shooting test shots until the light is good. Once they're looking good, set up your camera, correct for perspective (aim the lens AT the horizon, then use rise/fall to frame the shot), and take some bracketed exposures. Use a strong tripod, cable release, etc. to ensure registration. Then go and take the other shot you had planned using the same method. When and if you need to use hdr techniques, respect the laws of tonal hierarchy. Very basic stuff, but this is for very basic results. Lighting using strobes and using a view camera would be helpful for professional-quality results.

If you really want to cheap out and skip the tilt/shift lenses....you can. But you will lose a lot of resolution. Just rent the widest decent lens you can find and follow two techniques: 1) shot the shot as you would but wider toward the top of the frame and use Photoshop's perspective correction AFTER correcting lens distortion 2) frame the shot ridiculously wide pointing at the horizon, then crop out the portion you need, which will have natural perspective. Obviously neither is a good option and I would be immediately wary of anyone saying this will give acceptable results, except maybe as a quick hack for web-quality thumbnails.

Thanks for the great step by step process! This will be valuable info when preparing for the shot.

Last edited by Mitthrawnuruodo; Apr 13, 2011 at 04:44 PM. Reason: Merging posts, please use MULTIQUOTE and/or EDIT...
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Old Apr 13, 2011, 04:54 PM   #39
Designer Dale
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You can rent this lens for $234 for a month. Plenty of time to get to know it and do the work required. Very reasonable approach.

nikon-24mm-f3.5d-pc-e at Lens Rental.com

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Old Apr 22, 2011, 02:47 PM   #40
Ruahrc
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Another option is that you can buy a wide prime lens which usually known as wide angle lens. This lens allows you to take photos from different angle and on different focal lengths.
Actually the definition of a prime lens is that you cannot change the focal length.
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Old Apr 28, 2011, 03:02 PM   #41
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Update

So after some back and forth with the partners here at the firm we decided that renting a PC lens was not necessary for the buildings we are going to photograph (I mildly disagreed). We decided that the small single story buildings were not the type where the PC lens would have made a difference. We decided instead to rent a Nikon 10-24mm wide angle lens. Most of the "money" shots are going to be interior shots and I though this would be a good compromise. So now it off to the races. I will post a few pics when I am done with the project.

Last edited by Archman!; Apr 28, 2011 at 03:14 PM.
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Old May 16, 2011, 12:42 AM   #42
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Hi,

In addition to the lenses you have, I would buy this lens:
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc..._AT_X_116.html

Kind regards,

igmolinav : ) !!!
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Old Jan 25, 2013, 03:41 AM   #43
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One lens solution for shooting architecture.

I know this thread is outdated but it offends me at how many wrong responses are posted just so people can sound knowledgeable, yet not offer any help. In shooting exterior architecture it is important to achieve straight lines. When you shoot buildings with a "normal" lens, whether wide angle, zoom, etc., buildings will always look like the are tilting into a point. To correct this, especially with Nikon, you do not need a medium or large format camera and a wide angle will only be useful for interiors, so use a Nikon PC-E Tilt-Shift Lens. A must for architecture photography.
.
Using letters as an example, a "normal" lens will make a building look like an "A", whereas, a tilt lenses will allow the straight lines through and make the building look like an 'H".
.
More tips and photo examples can be found on the B & H educational link:

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/indepth/...t-shift-lenses.
.
B & H is the leader in Photography supplies for all needs and very knowledgeable. I am not in sales for B & H. Use the link for knowledge, but use your search engine to do a mass search on such a lens for best prices.
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This info may come too late for "Archman", but hopefully will benefit future photographers in need of same info.
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Old Jan 27, 2013, 04:22 AM   #44
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Tilt/shift or large format film. For architecture, nothing else will do. If you don't have perspective control, it's game over.
That is so a 2005 approach.
With current DSLR's and Photoshop don't worry too much about T/S.
Unfortunately the TS has a D90, the newer D5100 etc have fully functioning distortion removal that works magnificent.
If you tilt your camera up, and correct in Photoshop, you can't tell the difference. TS lenses are not at their best when shifted and loose detail on the upper half rapidly.
And shift is used maybe at 20% of all architecture pictures, only on exterior shots of tall buildings.

Today for serious architecture photography, you should get a D800 with a 14-24 2.8 lens. It is killer. It beats the crap out of any MF solution as this allows you to shoot from your hand instead of tripods, yet delivers comparable IQ! You even have plenty of room to crop on the 14mm setting to simulate shifting if you like to make the photo straight.
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Old Feb 3, 2013, 02:17 PM   #45
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That is so a 2005 approach.
With current DSLR's and Photoshop don't worry too much about T/S.
Unfortunately the TS has a D90, the newer D5100 etc have fully functioning distortion removal that works magnificent.
If you tilt your camera up, and correct in Photoshop, you can't tell the difference. TS lenses are not at their best when shifted and loose detail on the upper half rapidly.
And shift is used maybe at 20% of all architecture pictures, only on exterior shots of tall buildings.

Today for serious architecture photography, you should get a D800 with a 14-24 2.8 lens. It is killer. It beats the crap out of any MF solution as this allows you to shoot from your hand instead of tripods, yet delivers comparable IQ! You even have plenty of room to crop on the 14mm setting to simulate shifting if you like to make the photo straight.
If it's good enough for your clients, great.
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Old Feb 3, 2013, 08:40 PM   #46
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With current DSLR's and Photoshop don't worry too much about T/S.

<snip>

Today for serious architecture photography, you should get a D800 with a 14-24 2.8 lens. It is killer. It beats the crap out of any MF solution as this allows you to shoot from your hand instead of tripods, yet delivers comparable IQ! You even have plenty of room to crop on the 14mm setting to simulate shifting if you like to make the photo straight.
Really blanka? I've never seen John Gollings write or say anything along those lines.
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Old Feb 6, 2013, 01:47 PM   #47
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To BSAMCASH - actually, most of the shots in National Geographic are made with digital DLSRs - mostly Canon and Nikon. I have attended several of their photo seminars.
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Old Feb 6, 2013, 03:26 PM   #48
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What are you talking about?

How many pictures in National Geographic are taken with APS-C or full frame?

.
A very significant number.. Steve McCurry ring any bells?
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Old Feb 6, 2013, 04:17 PM   #49
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There are lots of right answers for you and its a matter of just how much money you want to spend vs final image product.

If you are limited in funds - stick with your camera and use a good wide angle lens. Consider some editing via DxO and Photoshop to help with lens distortion and more.

The one item that is not really mentioned here for interior is lighting. There are real complexities for properly lighting an interior. I suggest you look up information on interior lighting via the Internet.

If you have the funds, go to a full frame Nikon or Canon and get a decent tiltshift lens. On a less than full frame digital camera, the tiltshift while usable is limited due to smaller sensor (a 17mm lens would be approx 1.5 to 2x on a given less than full frame camera) while it would remain a 17mm wide on a full frame (hope that makes sense).

It seems for your purposes, just use a good wide angle lens. Use an f-stop/aperture that is at least 2 stops down from wide open, go to DxO or Photoshop to correct best you can the wide angle distortion and plug away on best lighting you can use.

Back when, I used 4x5 with tilt shift and rise fall and remember it could take several hours to set up a shot properly. If day time, we would gel the windows for correct Kelvin and also to limit exterior light bleed that was greater than the range of the film. At times shooting at night with lights outside faking daytime was done. It goes on and on. Ultimately, most documentation work is far more forgiving than a shot used for catalogue work or industrial usage.

As for external, again consider a good wide lens and photo editing as your best recourse.
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Old Feb 7, 2013, 06:11 AM   #50
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EDIT: forgot to check the date of the OP ! Sorry.

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