what camera do I need

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by silvertop, Oct 5, 2008.

  1. silvertop

    silvertop TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2008
    Messages:
    10
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    UK
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    Hi all, new to the forum and not sure this is the right place to post this request but ... here goes.

    In about 18 months I plan to set up a consultancy. The work will require me to take photographs of anything from a five storey building to an historic document or artefact. So I am looking for a camera that will allow me to do that without the sort of distortion that comes from the lenses you get with 'happy snaps' cameras. If possible, I would also like to be able to take landscape photos with good depth of field as well. I prefer digital but it is possible that I would need to have film-based photography as my work will need to be capable of being archived due to the nature of the work (documenting original condition before change takes place) ...

    I am assuming I will need a variety of lenses to achieve this, and any hints on those would also be welcome.

    The camera body will need to be relatively lightweight so that I can cart it around with me with minimum fuss.

    I used to mess around with my father in the dark room and he was quite a keen photographer, but it has been a long time since I took anything but happy snaps, so please go easy on the technospeak as I am not up to speed with that.

    Hope to hear from you all soonish ... or at least advice from the mods as to where i should post this for higher profile responses ...

    Thanks in anticipation. :)
     
  2. Alex_B

    Alex_B No longer a newbie, moving up!

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2006
    Messages:
    14,491
    Likes Received:
    206
    Location:
    Europe 67.51°N
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    Hmm, virtually distortion free lenses are very expensive. If you would shoot digital, you could correct the distortion automatically in post-processing. If you shoot film, well then you can save money on the camera, and get more expensive lenses. So there should be a way for you ;)

    You list quite a lot of things you have to do / want to do, so yes, you will need more than one lens.

    I would suggest either a film SLR with a good wide angle prime, and ultra wide angle prime and maybe a 50mm and an 80mm, all with as little distortion as possible.

    If you go digital, you could use zoom lenses, also in the ultrawide/wide area, and correct distortion in say DxO or Bibble, or whatever software is out there. two zooms might be enough.

    It seems that in both cases you do not have great need for a telephoto lens.
     
  3. silvertop

    silvertop TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2008
    Messages:
    10
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    UK
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    Golly! Quick response there Alex, but hmmmm I did not know that there was a difference between Telephoto and zoom - learning already! Do you feel I should get the capacity to manually control the camera, or would automatic be OK?

    Oh, and BTW, I have budgeted $900 AUD for the camera, will that be sufficient?
     
  4. Alex_B

    Alex_B No longer a newbie, moving up!

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2006
    Messages:
    14,491
    Likes Received:
    206
    Location:
    Europe 67.51°N
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    zoom = variable focal length

    prime = fixed focal length

    telephoto = long focal length -> narrow angle of view (lots of "magnification")

    wide angle = short focal length -> wide angle of view (huge buildings fit in the shot even when you are very close to them)

    I think almost all SLRs and dSLRs will allow for manual and automatic shooting.

    Not sure how much camera you get for AUDs ;)

    Seems a bit tight as a budget though to get decent wide angle lenses with little distortion. But then again, I cannot judge how perfect you want your images to be with respect to lens distortion. (Not talking of distortion which comes from your perspective).
     
  5. silvertop

    silvertop TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2008
    Messages:
    10
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    UK
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    Ah, time to start saving then! I hope to purchase duty free on my way home which may cut back the costs a bit, but will look into it more closely. Thanx for the beginners guide to terminology. Just what I needed!

    Am not allowed to use attachments yet, so no chance of showing you what I am doing at present, but hey, I guess that will be permitted with time.
     
  6. Alex_B

    Alex_B No longer a newbie, moving up!

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2006
    Messages:
    14,491
    Likes Received:
    206
    Location:
    Europe 67.51°N
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    You are welcome! Well, this was not really an in-depth tutorial ;) But you will learn more on here!

    Oh, most people just upload their images to some server (I think even flickr and such work) and then include them on here using the image URL and the [​IMG]button. You are allowed to do that already ;)
     
  7. silvertop

    silvertop TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2008
    Messages:
    10
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    UK
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    Great! In that case I will load a few up. Here is a boring pic of the front of a house, showing the front elevation. As you can see, any barrel distortion will be a problem with this, but as you say, I can just photoshop it away if it is digital ...

    [​IMG]

    The side shot, I am afraid I got a little bit artier, so not quite a square-on elevation (but elevations are sooooooooo boring at times, lol)

    [​IMG]

    Interior shots are a real problem with the present Olympus happy-snaps camera. Here is one of a mosaic of images i took of a mural - it doesn't fit back together at all, sigh

    [​IMG]

    and finally document shots - this is a prayer book I have inherited, so doesn't show any confidential information about someone else's family ...

    [​IMG]

    So this will give you an idea of the range of shots I would want to take for the consultancy business.

    I also paint landscapes, so tend to take more 'arty' shots at times, to inspire that sort of work. Here is one I took recently:

    [​IMG]

    Hope i have not sent the forum into meltdown...
    :)
     
  8. manaheim

    manaheim Jedi Bunnywabbit Staff Member Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2005
    Messages:
    14,394
    Likes Received:
    3,261
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    Hm...

    Ignoring your landscape things for the moment, it sounds like the bulk of what you do is going to be non-artistic captures for technical purposes. You want your shots to be accurate, but they don't necessarily need to be museum quality. I would liken this to work for insurance companies, appraisers, surveyors, etc. Yes?

    For that you can really get pretty much anything- sounds like you have a bit of sensitivity to the effects of the lens, so perhaps getting a relatively basic body such as a Canon Rebel or a Nikon D40 would be adequate. Then you can spend a few dollars on a lens.

    Since you will be dealing with interiors you are likely going to need the widest possible angle you can get with minimal distortion. The best lens in this category is going to be the Sigma 10-20mm, and will run you around $500 US. A less wide lens will "work", but trust me on this one... even 10mm isn't wide enough on a crop lens for a lot of interior shots. There is some distortion on this bad boy, but it can be corrected in Photoshop and/or a variety of cheap or free post-processing tools.

    You are, however, likely to need something with a bit more zoom as the wide angle really isn't a great multi-purpose lens. A zoom lens in the range of 28-100 or better is going to be a good lense for most other circumstances. (I use that number because it happens to be the range on a lens I use a lot) Many manufacurers make lenses in the 18-135 and 18-200 range which are just that much more flexible. Understand that such flexibility tends to come at the cost of quality and/or increased cost, but anything within the range of 18-200 is fairly safe for quality for general multi-purpose use. (in other words, it's not likely something you are going to notice)

    For your artistic stuff... odds are any of these lenses will work for you since you are mainly capturing the image to paint it later. You're likely not going to agonize over a slight issue here and there and are going to probably be most concerned about the color and capturing all of the scene that you need, so nearly any lens will be good as long as it has flexibility enough to be wide or zoomed in enough to capture what you are looking to paint.

    To be clear... the quality issues I mentioned are things I don't think you are EVER going to care about in what you are doing. Most photographers don't notice their lens "issues" until they have a lot of experience in photography. It took me years to start realizing that my 28-100 is really not all that sharp, for example. I mention this stuff only for completeness sake, but I do not think it will be a concern for you at this time.

    EDIT: By the way, understand that there are some technical limitations in some of the lesser bodies. Again, I don't think these will affect you much now for what you are doing, but it's good to be aware of them. ALSO... I would plan to buy an external flash that can be bounced off ceilings/walls. You will NEED this for your interior shots.
     
  9. silvertop

    silvertop TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2008
    Messages:
    10
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    UK
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    Thanks for those pearls of wisdom, Manaheim, I appreciate that you are not going all technical on me and suggesting cost-effective solutions and not perfection for the sake of perfection. I will look into that lens (when and if I can find a decent camera shop) and see what it does. Sounds like a good solution. Also the one for interiors sounds like just the ticket - distortion only matters if you have to join several pix together to make a complete representation (like on the failed attempt at the mural). If I can get one image that captures the lot then mucking about with the edges is less problematic.

    With the landscapes it is the depth of field (or lack of it) that I get on the happysnaps camera that annoys me, but I guess if I get an SLR with manual options then that will be a problem of the past.

    Thanks Guys! Really appreciate your thoughtful input!!
     
  10. manaheim

    manaheim Jedi Bunnywabbit Staff Member Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2005
    Messages:
    14,394
    Likes Received:
    3,261
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    ^^^ Very glad to help.

    On the depth of field thing, that's generally going to be just a matter of choice of aperature. Your "happysnaps" camera, I'm assuming, is just an instant film camera or whatever with some fixed lens in it. Any more advanced camera you buy (including just a point and shoot) will have options to change the aperature... use a bigger number and you will get more depth of field. Easy squeezy.
     
  11. silvertop

    silvertop TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2008
    Messages:
    10
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    UK
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    OK, long silence i realise. But ... John Lewis is having a sale!!! I can get a Canon EOS4500 with 18-55 lens for £433 with a 50£ cash-back on that (not really sure what that means, but might contribute to another lens, perhaps. What do you reckon? ( I know, sad, looking at camera ads on Christmas eve, what can I say ...:lol:

    and they also have a Canon EF 75-300mm Lens for £243 a total of around hmmmmm 676 not including the discount of 50 which makes it ........ sigh I hate maths........ 626 which is around 1200 AUD ........ a bit over budget but ...

    clearly you guys are busy noshing down on turkey, lol, so I will wait until you have digested your dinner and hogtied the kiddies and can get back to me. Merry Christmas all!!
     
    Last edited: Dec 24, 2008
  12. gsgary

    gsgary Been spending a lot of time on here!

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2008
    Messages:
    16,062
    Likes Received:
    2,813
    Location:
    Chesterfield UK
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    If it was me i would buy a 5D and 45mm Tilt and Shift not cheap though
     

Share This Page