Choosing a new camera

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by jupiter, Nov 24, 2006.

  1. jupiter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2006
    Location:
    The Lake District, England
    #1
    Hello, I'm studying Architecture in the UK and am looking for a good camera suitable for my needs, so far I've been looking at high-end bridge cameras and also entry level slrs. I need to be able to get wide angle shots of existing buildings/sites at a high resolution suitable for photomontage later in the project but also get good close-ups of models etc. I'm completely new to photography so have no idea what cameras/lenses will be most useful.

    Thanks in advance for any advice.
     
  2. harveypooka macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2004
    #2
    I'm no expert but I just got the Canon EOS 400D. It has some ace reviews, a step up from the previous model, the 350D. It's a good price too. I had a quick google and found a page on about.com that might help: http://photography.about.com/od/basics/a/bpwideangle.htm
     
  3. cube macrumors G4

    Joined:
    May 10, 2004
    #3
    Well, for architecture, the traditional way would be to get a Canon 5D + wide tilt/shift lens.

    But as it is digital, one can get a cheaper camera and do the distortion and perspective corrections in DxO Optics Pro, so look for a camera/lens combination that is supported by this software.

    Note that in order to optimize the images, an approximate range of the focusing distance is used, and even with a supported combination, this information might not be present or be accessible in the file, so you would have to enter this value yourself (or let the program just process at infinity).

    When I asked DxO to indicate which equipment provides the full information necessary, they told me they haven't an exact answer because their software is constantly evolving and that Canon tends to lack some info because they can't understand all metadata.

    Anyway, I imagine this info is used more to optimize the sharpness than for distortion or perspective.
     
  4. harveypooka macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2004
    #4
    Canon 5D is expensive though - about £2000? Have a serious read around and look at a variety of options.
     
  5. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2006
    Location:
    Redondo Beach, California
    #5
    If you have specific needs it will be easier to shop.

    First start with the lens. No other feature matter as much as what lens is stuck on the front of the camera. Think about angle of view. Use some basic trigonometry. How big is the building and how far away are you from it? So are we talking about a 30 degree field of view or a 100 degree field? Do you need a 180 degree fish eye lens?

    One other thing to get if you are into architecture -- A tripod. The nice thing about buildings is that they are happy to wait while you set up the shot. I tripod will dramatically improve your photogrphy for two reasons 1) it will allow you to use longer exposures and use lower ISO settngs and eliminate camera shake and 2) It forces you to slow down and think.

    Other things you might want are a small bubble level or better one built into the tripod head and a polarizing filter to control reflections in glass.

    For any kind of serious work -- by that I mean you are there primarily to make photos you will want an SLR. You may find that your field of view requirement forces you do an SLR

    Will you be shooting interiors and is quality of the result important? If so you will eventually want to use some rather powerful strobes. (but at first a tripod and a long exposure is much cheaper.)

    Once you know what kinds of lenses you might want now and might want later then you can shop for a DSLR camera body. Frankly, there is not so much difference between them as people think. It's just an image sensor and lens mount with a shutter between. The differences in the specs are at a the 20% level. Most people let their budget decide which body to buy. What realy matters is which lens is place in front of the image sensor. But when you do select a DSLR you are buying into a larger system and when you upgrade the body in five years or buy a third lens it will have to be the brand you selected when you started out. So pick a company that you will still like in 10 or 15 years. This means Nikon or Canon. If you might want a tilt/shift lens some day pick a camera brand that has one of those available.

    If you don't want an SLR. Look at the Olympus SP350. It has some feature you might want for architecture photos. 1) ability to add an external strobe. Let's you do bunce lighting if you turn the flash backward. 2) can save images in RAW format (you need this is you do much post processing in Photoshop or if the lighting is "tricky" as it always is it shooting available light indoors. 3) Olympus sells a quality wide angle adaptor lens that screws onto the camera. 40 all the manual control you need.

    About the shift lens -- I think it's usles on an SLR. You can rent a view camera if you really need the feature. With the rented view camera the quality will be 100X better and the price much less. In fact you would BUY a view camera setup for the price of one of those lenses
     
  6. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2002
    Location:
    Location Location Location
    #6
    Are you shooting interiors and exteriors, or only exteriors?


    Meh, either way, I think the best investment would be in a Nikon D80 and a Tokina 12-24 mm f/4. If not the Tokina lens, then a Sigma 10-20. Then you'll need DxO Optics Pro, because lets face it, any wide angle lens will add distortion to your images. By "distortions", I mean that the edges of the buildings will not appear straight in your photos. If they curve/balloon outwards, it's called "barrel distortion." If the sides of the building curve towards the middle, it's called "pincushion distortion." Software will easily fix that though, so just concentrate on getting one of these lenses.

    And like Chris said, get a tripod. I know everyone will recommend a pricey option, but just get something with 3 legs. My student budget mentality strikes again. :p

    The camera is the least important part in what you want to do. I think a D80 is fantastic, but the D50 is also fantastic and can likely be found at a discount right now. If you can't afford a Nikon D80, then I'd suggest a D50. The Tokina 12-24 mm and Sigma 10-20 mm I suggested won't work on the new Nikon D40, so i don't suggest it. :eek:

    If you're shooting interiors, you can use the Tokina or Sigma lenses I recommended. I guess you could also buy a Nikon 10.5 mm f/2.8 fisheye lens to shoot everthing, and then make the everything in the photo look "normal" later in Nikon's software. It would be fantastic for interiors and it could shoot exterior photos too, as long as you use the software for every photo. And besides, it adds a cool effect on photos of buildings if you don't fix the distortion. :)
     
  7. jupiter thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2006
    Location:
    The Lake District, England
    #7
    Thanks for everyones advice so far,you've been very helpfull. I'm now looking at getting a Digital Rebel XT with Cannon's 10 - 22mm zoom lens as it seems to get very good reviews, has anyone got this setup or this lens? I'd be very interested to hear your views. In answer to the posts above I will be shooting both interiors and exteriors pretty much equally.
    Thanks again for all the help.
     

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