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Author Topic: Lens recommendations for real estate interior photography please  (Read 23380 times)

wickidwombat

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Re: Lens recommendations for real estate interior photography please
« Reply #15 on: December 26, 2011, 06:20:07 PM »
usually this site gives pretty good advice however this thread bucks the trend. whats with all the recommending super expensive ts lenses? its REAL ESTATE photography, hardly fine art, the pictures will only ever be viewed online i would be surprised if ever at a resolution greater than 1024x768. maybe some might be printed on a sign at the front of the house, also the shoots do not command alot of money so investing heavily in equipment to shoot real estate does not make business sense.

See my previous response to what my friend uses for this exact type of photography.
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Re: Lens recommendations for real estate interior photography please
« Reply #15 on: December 26, 2011, 06:20:07 PM »

briansquibb

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Re: Lens recommendations for real estate interior photography please
« Reply #16 on: December 26, 2011, 06:47:02 PM »
Why not just put a 14mm on the ff?

Orangutan

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Re: Lens recommendations for real estate interior photography please
« Reply #17 on: December 26, 2011, 07:23:53 PM »
whats with all the recommending super expensive ts lenses? its REAL ESTATE photography, hardly fine art, the pictures will only ever be viewed online

Maybe we don't have a clear understanding of what's meant by "real estate photography:"  Is it Architectural Digest or mundane rental/sales listing?  My guess is folks have been imagining "Architectural Digest."

neuroanatomist

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Re: Lens recommendations for real estate interior photography please
« Reply #18 on: December 26, 2011, 07:46:11 PM »
I adjusted it until the viewfinder info was clearest,

Exactly the right way.  So, I'm not sure why you're having difficulty with MF... ???
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kirispupis

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Re: Lens recommendations for real estate interior photography please
« Reply #19 on: December 26, 2011, 08:26:30 PM »
I do professional real estate photography.  When I first started out I used a 16-35/2.8 II.  This worked OK to start out with but in order to keep your verticals you need to either level your tripod or use software that corrects the verticals.  By levelling the tripod you then need to move the tripod up and down to adjust how much ceiling vs. floor you want.  In terms of correcting software I do not like it mainly because you lose the edges of the frame.  I am very particular on what occurs on the edges of the shot and want to see that through the viewfinder.

I now use a TS-E 24 II and a TS-E 17.  Most of my interior shots use the TS-E 17 while most exteriors use the TS-E 24 II.  The TS-E 17 is too wide for most exteriors (the distortion becomes quite noticeable) whie the 24 is too narrow for most interiors.  Of course there are situations where I use the 17 for exteriors or the 24 for interiors.  I also occasionally use a TS-E 90 - most commonly for shots from the dock of waterfront homes.

I borrowed a 14/2.8 once to play around with it and found it too wide for most purposes.  I imagine it could be useful at times but I haven't really needed it so far.

A fisheye may occasionally be very useful for very specific shots. It is definitely not a lens I would use often though.  Occasionally I see RE photographers use them for an entire house and even corrected the shots make me want to throw up.

If I were to pick up another lens for RE I would consider the TS-E 45 or more likely the Schneider 50.  Eventually I expect Canon to update their TS-E 45 and that's when I will most likely pick it up.  I would mainly use it for exteriors.

For someone starting out on full frame and a budget, a 17-40 leveled on a tripod could do the trick.  The 16-35 is a bit nicer and more flexible if you can afford it.  Eventually you will want TS lenses though.  TS lenses make a big difference even in RE photography.  I picked up several new clients who took notice of my work when I switched to them.  Keep in mind for high end listings your work will wind up on the covers and spreads of local magazines - not just in tiny form online.

In terms of manually focusing with the viewfinder, this is not difficult once you have practice.
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willrobb

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Re: Lens recommendations for real estate interior photography please
« Reply #20 on: December 26, 2011, 10:33:41 PM »
If it's regular high end property interior shoots the TS lenses would be worth it.

If not and it's internet postings etc a good wide lens will suit your needs fine. I don't often shoot interiors, bit when I do I use my 17-40 f4L on a FF body, have it mounted on a tripod and angle it so the verticals are as straight as possible. These shoots are for online/print housing brochures and they are more than adequate. If I was doing it a lot kore regularly I would get a TS I reckon.

Policar

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Re: Lens recommendations for real estate interior photography please
« Reply #21 on: December 26, 2011, 11:24:14 PM »
Real estate photography used to mean a 4x5 view camera, film that's $3/sheet (with development costs), a host of expensive lenses, and an assistant being paid $300/day minimum.  "Painting" with lights and long exposures.  Years and years of apprenticeship.  That a 5DII and a couple lenses seems extravagant is insane to me.

A t/s lens is absolutely necessary for reliable and repeatable work.  Yes, you can get away with a regular ultra-wide lens, photoshop, and cleverly turning lights on/off and using HDR, but that's really pushing things and asking for a sub par result.

You need the ability to light a space naturalistically yet stylishly.  You need the ability to consistently deliver corrected perspective with an acceptably wide field of view.  You should be able to compose and focus properly in camera instead of shooting a lot of stuff and fixing in photoshop.

If you have a great eye, that will trump anything else.  A brilliant photographer with a rebel and kit lens will do better than an amateur with a high end tech camera, waiting patiently across the course of the day for the best light, switching practicals to ones that are powerful enough and color corrected, composing artfully and intentionally too wide but with a final composition in mind in order to correct perspective later, blending multiple exposures by hand in post, etc.  But if you're not technical enough to understand why tilt/shift lenses and a strobe package are essentially mandatory then you're certainly not technical enough to do competent work without them.  Again, the 5DII and t/s lenses should be considered bare minimum for the low end.
« Last Edit: December 26, 2011, 11:26:50 PM by Policar »

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Re: Lens recommendations for real estate interior photography please
« Reply #21 on: December 26, 2011, 11:24:14 PM »

Orangutan

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Re: Lens recommendations for real estate interior photography please
« Reply #22 on: December 27, 2011, 12:28:32 AM »
Real estate photography used to mean...

Maybe that's not what it means anymore.  Or at least maybe that's not what it means under all circumstances.  Sure, for high-end real estate you'll use expensive gear to get a perfect shot.  But is this necessary for a middle-class suburban house or for nondescript office space?  Our OP has not clarified for us which kind of real estate is to be photographed, nor what the clients' expectations are likely to be.  In the absence of more info it's all just guesswork.  To get the right gear for the job you need to know what the job is.

TexPhoto

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Re: Lens recommendations for real estate interior photography please
« Reply #23 on: December 27, 2011, 12:37:08 AM »
From the original post, it's a little hard to tell how serious you are about this.  Are you spending a day or 2 photographing a 2 million dollar mansion for Architecturel digest?, or an afternoon shooting 10 apartments for the grocery store renter's guides?  I don't mean to sound like a jerk, but it's difficult to answer well without knowing.

The 17mm tilt shift is awesome in both ability and price, but of course you can do a lot of that in photoshop.  I'd consider the sigma 12-24 if your budget is tight, and your photos are not being printed as posters.  This lens is so wide you can usually do the poor man's shift.  That is shoot verticle with the camera set really wide. On a tripod, level side to side and for and aft.  Then in photoshop crop to horizontal, usually cropping mostly off the bottom.

aldvan

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Re: Lens recommendations for real estate interior photography please
« Reply #24 on: December 27, 2011, 01:56:03 AM »
I'm not a professional photographer, but I'm an architect and I'm shooting architecture (inside and outside) since the early seventies. I used, in the old times of films and large sheets, a Linhof and an F2+T&S lenses. They were a big pain in the a**. Now, I believe that using a T&S lens on a DSLR is more a matter of old habit than a real necessity. You consider also  that, optically speaking, their focal lenghts are very much shorter than the nominal focal lenght, with all the related optical problems.
In the old times correcting a perspective in the dark room was a big pain, something impossible shooting transparencies, and for that reason T&S lenses or optical benches were the only way for getting acceptable architecture images.
Perspective correction in LR is not more a fake than correcting by T&S lenses. Everything is a 'fake' when you translate a 3D perception on a plane. As Arthur Schopenauer said, the World, in our eyes is just 'representation'...
To believe in photoobjectivity is  a naive belief...
By the way, as always all depends on the final destination of your shooting. If the destination is a large and expensive architectural book, and you don't accept compromises, you have to consider a big optical bench and a lot of auxiliary lights. Nonetheless I experienced that a good kit as a 1Ds or a 5D with a 14mm and a good tripod can give a perfect starting material for a final LR editing that will be accepted by the majority of architectural publisher. And the whole process is faster and more manageable.
Just my personal opinion and experience, by the way...

P.S.: I would add that controlling a  perfect parallelism in Live View or in a viewfinder is very difficult and for a perfect final result you will always go through an LR (or similar) editing...
« Last Edit: December 27, 2011, 02:04:20 AM by aldvan »

pwp

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Re: Lens recommendations for real estate interior photography please
« Reply #25 on: December 27, 2011, 02:00:11 AM »
17-40 or 16-35 are flexible and do most of what you want if you're talking basic RE. A Sigma 12-24 is occasionally a godsend for those ridiculously tight corners.

But for more considered work the 17 & 24 TS lenses will be a must.

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Viggo

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Re: Lens recommendations for real estate interior photography please
« Reply #26 on: December 27, 2011, 03:04:22 AM »
Seems rules might be different elsewhere, but there isn't a single realestate photographer in Norway who shoots rooms at anything wider than 24mm. For the outdoorshots, it doesn't matter to go wider, but inside the 17ish lenses makes the room look waaay longer than it is, and that is why it isn't used. Rather you shoot from different angles, and place a key sellingpoint in a 1/3 comp in each image instead. HDR with PROPER (not acid) tonemapping is okay outside, and to put a fire in the fireplace and such, but indoors, forget about normal exposure, blow it out!! The brighter the room looks, the better, plus you get rid of any clutter outside the windows by blowing them out (Ah, I see the pun there :P)
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vuilang

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Re: Lens recommendations for real estate interior photography please
« Reply #27 on: December 27, 2011, 04:12:57 AM »
How much you want to spend?
17-40>16-35IorII>17tse>24tse .....14mm maybe too wide but i dont know how wide you would need.

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Re: Lens recommendations for real estate interior photography please
« Reply #27 on: December 27, 2011, 04:12:57 AM »

Edwin Herdman

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Re: Lens recommendations for real estate interior photography please
« Reply #28 on: December 27, 2011, 05:12:20 AM »
You consider also  that, optically speaking, their focal lenghts are very much shorter than the nominal focal lenght, with all the related optical problems.
I think you have it backwards - a nominal measure is a by-the-numbers measure, whereas on APS-C DSLRs (NOT full frame cameras) the "equivalent" focal length is longer - not shorter.  On full-frame cameras the lenses act as normal.

There is a problem (on many newer cameras) with the extra exposure capability of very wide aperture lenses not being useful as the sensors won't pick up the extra light (I forget where the "cutoff" is) but for f/2.8 and slower it's not an issue.

I will agree that I don't like to use the shift function of the TS-E 17mm, though shifting the longer TS-E 90mm doesn't introduce the stretching effect in the direction of a shift (at least not as perceptibly).  I also agree that if shooting a series of photos and stitching them together is easier (I think it could well be) then there is no reason not to go that route.  The new software seems good enough that a tripod is becoming optional for all but the most marginal of shots in dim lighting.

ereka

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Re: Lens recommendations for real estate interior photography please
« Reply #29 on: December 27, 2011, 05:53:50 AM »
usually this site gives pretty good advice however this thread bucks the trend. whats with all the recommending super expensive ts lenses? its REAL ESTATE photography, hardly fine art, the pictures will only ever be viewed online i would be surprised if ever at a resolution greater than 1024x768. maybe some might be printed on a sign at the front of the house, also the shoots do not command alot of money so investing heavily in equipment to shoot real estate does not make business sense.

See my previous response to what my friend uses for this exact type of photography.

Wow! Thank you to EVERYONE who has taken the time to reply - I've been off visiting family since my original post and to be honest wasn't expecting such a quick and extensive response.

In clarification, the commission that prompted my post is photographing short-term lets. Insofar as I'm aware, the images will just be used online to promote the lettings. However, the client has specified that they want images at least 4200 pixels wide. Also no fisheye lenses, flash only if necessary and preferably no HDR.

wickidwombat is correct that each individual shoot does not pay much, so it's the case that I'm struggling hard to let my head rule here, which is why I mentioned payback period. My heart tells me I want the very best equipment available so that I can achieve (with study and practice of course) the best possible results - that's just my nature as a perfectionist. However, my head is nagging me to look more at the business aspect and acquire equipment that will be 'good enough' to get the job done to the client's satisfaction and that will pay for itself in a reasonable period of time. There is a certain tension between the two extremes though, just because of the low-paying nature of the commission i.e. time is money and therefore I don't want to be spending hours in post production.

I currently have a 1D MkII but because of the client's 4200 pixel specification and also the wide angle requirement for these real estate assignments, I'm thinking of buying a 5D MkII (new bodies seem to be at rock bottom price at the moment) and considering all of the advice offered here, possibly a 17-40mm f/4L to start off with - I already have a sturdy Manfrotto tripod with level to keep everything straight. I also have two speedlights and radio triggers as well as a range of Elinchrom studio lighting but I'm only expected to spend 30 to 40 minutes at each property to photograph several rooms so I'm thinking there wouldn't really be sufficient time to set all this up. Quick 'in and out' seems to be the name of the game on these assignments. It seems from what has been said that the 17-40mm might be 'good enough' and it would pay for itself in less than ten shoots. If I could get away with using the wide end of my 24-70mm f/2.8 so much the better! The 5D MkII would in any event come in useful for my general photography and in particular for stock images. It would also be useful as a second body when my 1Dx eventually materialises :)

Am I thinking along the right lines here? Any more thoughts or suggestions?


 

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Re: Lens recommendations for real estate interior photography please
« Reply #29 on: December 27, 2011, 05:53:50 AM »