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Author Topic: best digital camera for architecture??  (Read 19046 times)
stacibeth
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« Reply #20 on: February 11, 2008, 10:01:40 PM »
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Eric,
what model/body alpa are you using? And how does the alpa compare to the cambo?

Thanks for your imput

stacy
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rainer_v
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« Reply #21 on: February 12, 2008, 12:13:46 AM »
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nohing more to say than i already did here:

http://luminous-landscape.com/forum/index....37&#entry165937
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rainer viertlböck
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Josh Marten
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« Reply #22 on: February 12, 2008, 01:44:01 AM »
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stacibeth,

The architecture question is, as you may have now guessed, a loaded one.  Two major questions must be asked: What does your budget allow, and what output do you need.  

For many, the Canons with the PC lenses are perfect, and still some like to get very wide with their SLR and "Fix perspective in Post".  Certainly it can be done, but is not the best way to get the best quality.

For the best color rendition, most angle of view options, and the ability to shoot corrected perspective at the location with much less time and effort in post production, many will agree that a digital back with a camera capable of perspective control is the ideal solution, budget allowing.

Three components must be considered -  the digital back, the box (camera) and the glass.

For the digital backs - I have tested basically all of the latest and this is my run down:
-The 22 or 33-39MP backs have physically larger sensors (48-49mm) and will allow for the greatest angle of  coverage with wide angle lenses.  The 17-18 and 28-31MP chips have a much larger crop factor that will limit wide angle ability.  Of these larger sensors, the Kodak chips tend to lend themselves better (in my professional opinion) than the Dalsa sensors because they display little to no noise at low ISOs for long exposures (>8 seconds).  The Dalsa chips are incredibly sharp, but have not been able to hold up to even a 10 second exposure with the smooth tones and lack of artifacts that the Kodak sensor can.  Each chip has it's strength, and long exposure capability is a strength of the Kodak sensor.  It can be found in the Phase One and the Hasselblad digital backs.  Factory refurbished backs in the 22-39 MP sizes can be had now for mid to upper teens in price.  

Second, the box:  cameras with perspective control is the purist's way to do it.  This can take the form of a 4x5 or a 2x3 view camera, but as the group has displayed the new series of XY cameras are gaining a LOT of popularity.  They lack selective focus features (swing and tilt) but usually have ample rise, fall and shift, and allow setting up for stitching of images for larger file size or wider effective lens focal length.  I have worked the most with the Cambo Wide DS.  It is small enough to fit in a brief case, and has a lot of movement.  Entry cost is roughly $6k to $9k for a starter kit (depending on initial lens choice), or can be bundled with a new Phase One P25+ or P45+ back for as little as $3500.

Last is the Glass.  Lens focal lengths available for use on just about any XY camera or view camera include 24mm, 28mm, 35mm, 47mm, 55mm, and on up.  The greatest interest is in the wider glass, but use caution: the wider lenses tend to have much smaller image circles and don't allow for much if any movement, making perspective control an moot point.  The 24mm and 28mm from Schneider have a 60mm image circle putting it right at the corners of the chip, vignetting will occur with movement.  Rodenstock came up with a new 28mm that is very popular, with 70mm circle, allowing for a bit of movement.
My favorite for architecture is the 35mm from Schneider.  It has a huge 105mm image circle, and if you stitch two shots together (shift 15mm right and 15mm left) you will end up with a shot effectively wider than you could achieve with the 24mm, encroaching on the Canon equivalent  of about a 14mm lens.
Some photographers also do chose to go longer on lenses in the 55-74mm range and stitch two shots to gain their wide angle coverage when a 35 or wider lens could have done it  - Why?  Because they then avoid obvious wide angle distortion of the chair in the foreground being huge and the detail on the far wall being minuscule.

I hope this helps.

Josh Marten
Global Imaging
joshm@globalimaginginc.com
800-787-9802 x2
www.globalimaginginc.com
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ericstaud
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« Reply #23 on: February 12, 2008, 01:52:59 AM »
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I have the XY because the side to side shifts are a must for me.  The Alpa Max will be out soon and will likely be a better choice.

At the time I bought into Alpa (almost 2 years ago)  They had a very complete website with a very wide selection of lenses and multiple bodies to choose from.

The Calumet website had very spotty info about the Cambo, it's lenses, and accessories.  Lenses were often listed with 12 week order times.

With the MF route you should price out a P25 at a good price (or even a traded in P45) with a camera (Alpa or Cambo or Other) with a range of lenses.  24, 35, 47, 72, 100.  Figure out a schedule of how long to pay off the system, what you can charge for it, and how many days a month you have to bill shooting architecture to make it work.

There is of course a whole debate about Phase-Leaf-Sinar, and also Alpa-Cambo-Gottshalk-Silvestri-Linhof-Arca.  But before you spend too much time on that the finances should be considered.

Lets say an architecture shoot racks up $500.00 of film, processing, and polaroid on a 4x5 camera.  Shoot 4 days a month and you will pay off a $50,000.00 setup in 25 months.
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rethmeier
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« Reply #24 on: February 12, 2008, 03:21:42 AM »
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If I was in your shoes and I looked at your style of work,I would try or wait for the new Nikon
range of Tilt Shift lenses to come out and get a Nikon D3.
Nikon is now at the top with their new 14-24 etc.
If the new 24 TS is as good,Canon is not an option.
However I would expect to Canon to release a new range of their 24-45-90 TSE lenses,
to be able to be used with the new 1Dsmk3.

In that case,you would be wasting $ going MFDB.

My 2CW.


N.B I just ordered at Hy6 and yes I own a e-75LV and will order the new Alpa Max.
« Last Edit: February 12, 2008, 03:28:14 AM by rethmeier » Logged

Willem Rethmeier
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« Reply #25 on: February 12, 2008, 04:01:12 AM »
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Rollei - Expensive no wide or shift

Wrong, there is a 55mm tilt/shift lens.

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« Reply #26 on: February 12, 2008, 05:23:11 AM »
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Wrong, there is a 55mm tilt/shift lens.


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oops -

S
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Sam Morgan Moore Cornwall
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« Reply #27 on: February 12, 2008, 10:43:04 AM »
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The Alpa XY, Phase One P45 route is no more expensive that shooting film with a 4x5 camera, and the quality is very good.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=174075\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

I am working since 15 years as an architectural photographer, but I am still working with film. The Alpa, a back and the digital environment is too expensive for my work. You have to make a lot of pictures/year to think that a MFDB is not more expensive than film.

I know the ALPA Peoples and their cameras. Its really a perfect camera, but meanwhile they haven`t a sliding adapter the workflow is not really perfect.
Also I can`t imagin to buy a MFDB for 30k and get a system with bugs (casts, centerfold) and less possibilities than film. (Wide Angle, Movement, Tilt)

For details and documentations I have a Canon with shift lenses. But the better pictures I always made with film. That might be personal, but I will wait annother year for the change...

Michael Heinrich
www.michael-heinrich.com
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pixjohn
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« Reply #28 on: February 12, 2008, 11:17:37 AM »
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if you use Polaroid to proof, you might start looking at digital a little faster. Polaroid goes bye bye

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I am working since 15 years as an architectural photographer, but I am still working with film. The Alpa, a back and the digital environment is too expensive for my work. You have to make a lot of pictures/year to think that a MFDB is not more expensive than film.

I know the ALPA Peoples and their cameras. Its really a perfect camera, but meanwhile they haven`t a sliding adapter the workflow is not really perfect.
Also I can`t imagin to buy a MFDB for 30k and get a system with bugs (casts, centerfold) and less possibilities than film. (Wide Angle, Movement, Tilt)

For details and documentations I have a Canon with shift lenses. But the better pictures I always made with film. That might be personal, but I will wait annother year for the change...

Michael Heinrich
www.michael-heinrich.com
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=174246\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
« Last Edit: February 12, 2008, 07:41:38 PM by pixjohn » Logged
rainer_v
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« Reply #29 on: February 12, 2008, 02:10:49 PM »
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Quote
  The Dalsa chips are incredibly sharp, but have not been able to hold up to even a 10 second exposure with the smooth tones and lack of artifacts that the Kodak sensor can.  Each chip has it's strength, and long exposure capability is a strength of the Kodak sensor. 

Josh Marten
Global Imaging
joshm@globalimaginginc.com
800-787-9802 x2
www.globalimaginginc.com
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 i cannot confirm that.
with 20sec. exposure @ iso50 i cannot see any image degradation with my eMotion75lv ( dalsa ),- and with 30seconds image quality still is very good.
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rainer viertlböck
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Peterretep
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« Reply #30 on: February 12, 2008, 03:57:11 PM »
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Stacy, I'm not really sure what you are hoping to gain. Perspective correction in PS is very fast and easy. You have a very good camera lens setup right now. I know your not wanting to hear what I have to say and I hope you don't take this wrong but I think you would be better off to keep using the system you have now, hone your skills, learn and practice. A better camera does not go very far in making someone a better photographer. I think the best thing you could do would be to invest that money not spent on an expensive camera and immerse yourself in education. I see your technique and your composition as your weaker links.


Peter
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siba
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« Reply #31 on: February 12, 2008, 04:14:50 PM »
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Hello Stacy,

I don't think you'll ever be truly satisfied with your photos unless you do invest in a digital back. In my opinion, which back you choose is not so important. More in a minute.

The moment you see your first shoot with your digital back you'll be so excited at the quality that you'll forget the expense. If you've managed to beg, borrow or steal enough to own one then life goes on but with the pleasure of photographing with a digital back.

I was shooting MF, mainly with a Pentax 67 system before digital came along. I bought myself a 10D when it came out thinking that I would do not so important (magazine!?) work with that and good stuff on film. But, we all know the story... the advantages of being the master of my own retouching, colour, exposure tweaking, not to mention the extra cash that stayed in my pocket from not having to buy, process film, meant that I stopped using my medium format camera.

Slowly but surely I stopped feeling like a photographer. I didn't get anywhere near the pleasure of shooting with a DSLR that I used to get from shooting with my pentax 67. I was spending a lot of time in photoshop (which was an important phase), and the pleasure I was getting as a photographer was really infront of the computer, but not so much while I was shooting.

Two and a half years ago I decided that the only way forward, for me, was to take 30 000 I did not have and invest in a phase one P45, which I put on a contax 645. I remember that first shoot and looking at the images in capture one (P25 back at the time, before they gave me the P45), and then once processed and being blown away by the quality. I also loved the heavy feel of the shutter and the big mirror slapping inside the contax. More to the point though, the images were far beyond anything I was taking with various dslr cameras I had tried to use.

If a pro shot on LF before digital came along then I imagine they have moved onto shooting on a large format camera with a digital back. I shot everything on MF and can't imagine shooting on anything else. I thought of trying to shoot with my P45 on a LF camera, but, because I hardly ever shot any LF before digital then it is still alien to me.

If you have never shot on LF then I would recommend first trying out a MF system with a digital back with a 35mm lens and use photoshop for the perspective. If in time you start shooting only architecture then you'll probably want to put your back on a LF camera. LF lenses are better than MF lenses are better than dslr lenses - I don't think too many people should argue with that. But, and I think it's a big but, LF photography takes time to set up a shot, and if you're taking the kind of interiors you show on your web then looking through your viewfinder, taking a couple of shots, moving down a bit, across a bit, taking a few more shots, then moving a bit more...is a lot easier with a medium format camera.

From the work you have on your website I think you don't necessarily have to shift and tilt to get what you're after. I think your images are good in regards to composition and architectural feel. If you shot them on a digital back then you would suddenly get detail in your highlights and lowlights, and there would be more tones to your colours. You won't have to do anything different to what you are doing now, but you'll feel that your photographs are much more to your liking.

Stacy, please feel free to take a look at my website. www.stefansiba.com. It's a prototype which will be changing in the next month or so, but the portfolio section and the client section have an example of architecture work taken with my contax 645 and 35mm lens with the P45 phase one back. I've been rambling a bit so will wait for any reaction to carry on. And, without the couple of glasses of wine. Good luck with your decision making.

My answer to your initial question is that if you invest in a MF digital back then you won't be disappointed, and you will most probably start taking the kind of photos you want to be taking. IMHO, if you try to take architecture images with a dslr you may never be satisfied. Tilting and shifting, whether done in camera, or in photoshop, is not as important as the feel of your images. The perspective you will sort out one way or another.

Just a quick further point while I have it on the tip of my brain - when I started using my P45 I kept on wanting to go to photoshop to retouch and finish my images as I'd been used to doing. But, once out of capture one there was often very little to do.

cheers

Stefan
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rsmphoto
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« Reply #32 on: February 12, 2008, 04:29:44 PM »
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Stacy,

After looking at your site, I think Peter's right on about this. You're obviously very comfortable with 35mm digital - looks like you have an editorial background, not architectural. I suggest you stay with 35mm for now, get a 1DsII or III if you want, but MF is extra money you don't really need to spend, and it won't change the way you compose, light, style, etc. Working on those things will be far more rewarding - the extra bump in res and color engine from MF will likely not. Hope this doesn't sound harsh, it's not meant to be, just a bit of reality.

Richard

Quote
Stacy, I'm not really sure what you are hoping to gain. Perspective correction in PS is very fast and easy. You have a very good camera lens setup right now. I know your not wanting to hear what I have to say and I hope you don't take this wrong but I think you would be better off to keep using the system you have now, hone your skills, learn and practice. A better camera does not go very far in making someone a better photographer. I think the best thing you could do would be to invest that money not spent on an expensive camera and immerse yourself in education. I see your technique and your composition as your weaker links.
Peter
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stacibeth
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« Reply #33 on: February 12, 2008, 04:45:06 PM »
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Thank you all so much for your advice.

Peter, I agree that I need to improve my skill, not just the camera. I am always trying to learn more and try new techniques.

I have recently gotten in to architecture within the last year and I am still learning. Not only do I want to learn about the technique, lighting and composition, but the technology that is available and what is the best tool for the job.

I appreciate the constructive critisim and no offense is taken.

I would love to hear whatever advice you have regarding technique/lighting.

Thanks to all,
Stacy
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david o
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« Reply #34 on: February 12, 2008, 04:56:27 PM »
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I certainly myself need to improve my images in a lot of aspect but as you asked for yours I would say that your flash are too present too strong. I guess you use an umbrella you may want to lower down the power and/or use a softbox...
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stacibeth
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« Reply #35 on: February 12, 2008, 05:09:07 PM »
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By powering down the strobe and shooting at say f11 my exposure time gets to be quite long and then the colors of the image turn yellowish,

How can I maintain those crisp whites
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david o
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« Reply #36 on: February 12, 2008, 05:22:16 PM »
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if lower down the power a little bit and give a longer exposure the ligth will be a little bit softer and the yellow come from the light bulbs, so you have few options.

put a flash directed to the ceiling to create the natural light and keep your exposure short but again you have to chose the right spot to put the flash and you have to play with it because it can be too obvious, and then the yellow will be less present but still here and I don't think there is anything wrong with that.

you can also get rid of the yellow with your white balance, in camera or after in post - process, there is a thread about that somewhere here,
but you can then ended up with too much blue, so try to find a medium way.

You can also remove some yellow or some of the blue with the saturation tool set for those color.

By the way I am far from the best in term of post-processing.
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thsinar
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« Reply #37 on: February 12, 2008, 05:33:03 PM »
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Like Rainer, this cannot be confirmed when using an eMotion: unless you are working in a hot location (> 30°C), 30 sec are not a major problem.

Best regards,
Thierry

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Of these larger sensors, the Kodak chips tend to lend themselves better (in my professional opinion) than the Dalsa sensors because they display little to no noise at low ISOs for long exposures (>8 seconds).  The Dalsa chips are incredibly sharp, but have not been able to hold up to even a 10 second exposure with the smooth tones and lack of artifacts that the Kodak sensor can.
Josh Marten
Global Imaging
joshm@globalimaginginc.com
800-787-9802 x2
www.globalimaginginc.com
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Thierry Hagenauer
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« Reply #38 on: February 12, 2008, 05:38:35 PM »
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You'll get some very good advice here, but there's no substitute for practical experience. I'd suggest a doing a week in architecture at The Maine Photographic Workshops, the Santa Fe Photographic Workshops or one of the other well known workshops in the US. Spend an intensive week with your peers, learning some technique from an established architectural shooter. You'll learn a whole lot more than you think, make some good friends and come back inspired.
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stacibeth
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« Reply #39 on: February 12, 2008, 05:40:56 PM »
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sounds like a great idea
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