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Author Topic: Architectural / interior photography - best equipment?  (Read 27394 times)
Willow Photography
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« on: February 25, 2013, 03:19:25 PM »
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Hi

I have started to do some architectural / interior photography and love it.

Are there any architectural / interior photographers here that can
give some advice to what kind of equipment that is best suited?

I have a Nikon D800E and a Contax645/P65+.

Is a tech camera the best route or is there other options that are "better"?

I only want advice from photographers who are doing this kind of work or has done it in the past.

Hopefully some of you guys can give me some good advice.

Thanks

Willow

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Willow Photography
pixjohn
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« Reply #1 on: February 25, 2013, 05:30:40 PM »
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I shoot with a digital back and tech camera.

I use to think digtal back and tech camera was the way to go, but if I had todays dslr and lenses I might have just skipped the DB and saved a lot of money. Yes the qulity is better with DB but I don't think clients see or care enough about  the differnece. Its hard to compete with a $50,000 camera set up against a kid with a $5000 dslr and lenses.
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FredBGG
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« Reply #2 on: February 25, 2013, 07:58:18 PM »
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I shoot with a digital back and tech camera.

I use to think digtal back and tech camera was the way to go, but if I had todays dslr and lenses I might have just skipped the DB and saved a lot of money. Yes the qulity is better with DB but I don't think clients see or care enough about  the differnece. Its hard to compete with a $50,000 camera set up against a kid with a $5000 dslr and lenses.

It's not only kids using DSLR's.
It's quite amazing what even a $ 1,100 dslr can do:



Hires here:

http://chsvimg.nikon.com/lineup/dslr/d7100/img/sample/img_01_l.jpg

http://www.cameraegg.org/nikon-d7100-sample-images-movies/#1

Imagine this sensor scaled up to a FF D4X

Add stitching and it's a whole new world:

Shot with a Canon 550 and a $ 800 200mm L lens

http://youtu.be/8CPQMMglj7I

Some good examples of commercial stitching.

http://www.zeroplusplus.com/panorama-image-stitching/

and an example of a very high res interior

http://www.360pano.eu/nevsky/
« Last Edit: February 25, 2013, 10:19:00 PM by FredBGG » Logged
JoeKitchen
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« Reply #3 on: February 25, 2013, 10:39:13 PM »
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I shoot with a digital back and tech camera.

I use to think digtal back and tech camera was the way to go, but if I had todays dslr and lenses I might have just skipped the DB and saved a lot of money. Yes the qulity is better with DB but I don't think clients see or care enough about  the differnece. Its hard to compete with a $50,000 camera set up against a kid with a $5000 dslr and lenses.
Personally I would prefer the tech camera setup, which is why I as an young kid will be upgrading soon.  In terms of thinking about composing, I find it so annoying to have to shift and twist in stead of moving the standard on two axises that are independent of each other.  Another thing that I can not wait to be able to do is true multiple exposures.  It is so frustrating to show up with 6 or 7 heads, enough to balance the scene with no weird shadows or casts, only to find you are short on power by about 50%.  Soon I will be able to pop the strobes as many times as it takes.   Grin

In terms of competing, I find that yes, no client really cares about the IQ as far as we do, so I never talk about it.  I concentrate on my service and the fact that I light all of my shots  There is more that separates a true pro from someone just charging to have fun than IQ or megapixels.  In the end, many are happy signing on the line.

"You have to provide more value.  If people do not want to pay then you are not providing enough value for what you are charging."  Seth Godin
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Joe Kitchen
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"Photography is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent moving furniture."  Arnold Newman
“Don't bother just to be better than your contemporaries or predecessors. Try to be better than yourself.”  William Faulkner
JoeKitchen
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« Reply #4 on: February 25, 2013, 10:44:27 PM »
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Hi

I have started to do some architectural / interior photography and love it.

Are there any architectural / interior photographers here that can
give some advice to what kind of equipment that is best suited?

I have a Nikon D800E and a Contax645/P65+.

Is a tech camera the best route or is there other options that are "better"?

I only want advice from photographers who are doing this kind of work or has done it in the past.

Hopefully some of you guys can give me some good advice.

Thanks

Willow


What kind of lighting equipment do you have?  In the end, it may be best to start there.  I bring 2 Profoto Acute packs with 4 D4 heads, and rent more about 40% of the time.  For tungsten, I also have 4 750w flood lights, 2 650w fresnel lights, 3 420w fresnels, several conical lights with varying wattage of bulbs.  I also own several different kins of gels for both color and diffusion, and bring window gels too.  (Scouted a job today where I will be choosing to gel the windows). 
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Joe Kitchen
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"Photography is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent moving furniture."  Arnold Newman
“Don't bother just to be better than your contemporaries or predecessors. Try to be better than yourself.”  William Faulkner
torger
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« Reply #5 on: February 26, 2013, 03:03:04 AM »
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A "pancake" tech camera with plenty shift movements and high precision helical focus rings and laser distance meter, Arca-Swiss RM3Di or an Alpa. I'd probably choose RM3Di myself. With the P65+ back you can use Schneider Digitar wide angles I think, which is a little bit less expensive than Rodenstock Digarons, but make sure to check the maximum shift capability before color cast gets too severe.

I use a view camera myself but would I do interiors professionally in large volume I'd like to have a pancake camera, ground glass is not *that* fun with wides in poor light.

That pancake camera would be the "best equipment", but if we consider the economy side of it, you might find that D800E with standard lenses and lens correction software (distortion/perspective) to be adequate. Since you already own a digital back though (which is the major cost in a tech camera system) I'd seriously consider the tech cam alternative. I find it more pleasing to be able to fully solve the composition during shooting with shifting and get a fully perspective correct distortion free image out of the camera, than to correct in software.
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Enda Cavanagh
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« Reply #6 on: February 26, 2013, 04:14:15 AM »
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Hi Willow
I use a Cambo Wide DS tech camera (soon upgrading to an Arca RL 3D)
The advantages that a D800 has over the tech camera is speed of use in every aspect of the shot. If your client is on a tighter budget that might be a consideration.  Proper Live view would be a real aid in setting up the shot. Also the fact that you see what the shot will be like when viewing through the viewfinder makes life easier. You can shoot much longer exposures on a 35mm camera. There is a cut off point where you can take night shots at some locations because most medium format backs are limited by a minute or 2 max exposure times.
However you have a vast range of focal lengths to choose from for a tech camera compared to the few you get from Schneider, Nikon and Canon. That's a real stumbling block for me. Also the range of movements possible with a tech camera, especially on the newer lenses with larger image circles is phenomenal.
Many clients wouldn't be very interested in knowing if it's a 32 mega pixel camera or an 80 mega pixel back. At the end of the day the vast majority of images will be for a magazine or book so you don't need to print huge images. In fact I have to size my images down to A3 width. Some clients couldn't handle 230 - 430 meg files on their computers!!

I use the tech camera primarily because it allows me to take an image exactly as I want to, combined with fantastic distortion free glass in the Schneider lenses.
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georgem
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« Reply #7 on: February 26, 2013, 09:00:57 AM »
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Hi,

IMO, a lot depends on who your clients are. If you are targeting architects, then my suggestion is to use shift lenses (or a tech camera). Shifting really goes beyond correcting converging verticals and allows you to manipulate the composition in ways that correction in post cannot. Most importantly, you can avoid having all lines converge to the center of the frame, which usually looks wrong when doing one-point perspective and introduces large expanses of floor and ceiling that dominate the frame in two-point perspective. Whereas, using rises/falls and lateral shifts (at the same time) you can create a more interesting composition, one which architects will understand and appreciate. Studying architectural sketches can be very informative.
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Willow Photography
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« Reply #8 on: February 26, 2013, 10:15:32 AM »
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Thanks guys for the input so far.

My plan was to buy a RM3Di with this new eModule cloud.

If I just want to buy two lenses, what would you recommend?

From a former topic here, I should not buy the SK28 mm ?! .-)

Willow


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Willow Photography
Willow Photography
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« Reply #9 on: February 26, 2013, 10:26:21 AM »
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Joe

I have two Broncolor Grafit with 5 heads and three Profoto D1.
Just needs some tungsten lamps.

Willow
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Willow Photography
Willow Photography
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« Reply #10 on: February 26, 2013, 10:44:33 AM »
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And Fred  Cry Kiss Undecided Lips sealed Embarrassed Tongue Roll Eyes Huh Cool Shocked Sad Angry Grin Cheesy Wink Smiley
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Willow Photography
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« Reply #11 on: February 26, 2013, 10:51:50 AM »
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I thought it was pretty well agreed here that a D800e is the best camera for everything, but if you insist on antiquated technology that is up to you.
The P65+ is a fine back assuming you are shooting tethered all the time. I mention this because I know a couple architectural photographers who only shoot to cards unless they have an AD looking over their shoulder. I like to see what I'm getting, so tend to shoot tethered whenever possible. If you are shooting to cards, you really owe it to yourself to try an IQ or Credo back. If you get enough dynamic range and you are happy with the colors of the 60 MP back, they do give you a wider and less expensive lens selection than an 80 MP back.

Make sure you test a RM3Di if you haven't used one. I thought it was the tech cam that I wanted, but after a very short time playing with one I knew it wasn't going to work for me. It wasn't one specific thing, it was the whole package. Also, if you are basing your purchase on the eModule, make sure you are working with a dealer who can get you one. I'm not sure where you are located, but in the States, Arca gear can be hard to actually get your hands on. Anyone will place an order for you, it is delivery that is a little trickier. In theory, the Arca should allow higher focus precision, but in reality I'm not sure that pans out.

As far as lenses, I have no clue. That depends on how you see and how you shoot, and what your clients expect. For example, if you are comfortable doing a lot of stitching, you can use a wider lens and have the look of a longer lens. It also depends on budget and whether you plan to move to an 80 MP back at some point in the future or not. Something that I have found and can't explain is you get more depth of field with a tech cam than a DSLR at a given aperture. I can't explain it, and it may just be a massive difference in lens sharpness, but the difference on screen is pretty clear to me, even with a 33 MP back. The Rodie 23, 32 and 40 HR lenses are very, very nice, but large and pricey.

Definitely pickup some tungsten lamps. I don't think they are that practical in daylight just because you need a ton of power, but I use them whenever I can.
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JoeKitchen
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« Reply #12 on: February 26, 2013, 11:21:39 AM »
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On a full frame DSLR, I shoot with the 24 most of the time and crop in.  So I personally will be going with the 35mm and 60mm to start.  

I personally will be getting the RM3Di and love how the camera is engineered.  I also love the fact that Arca makes their system so compatible with each other, meaning I can use lenses mounted on the R in the M2.  That being said, I can see how others do not like the system, not to mention the handles are the ugliest things.  (first thing I plan in doing is to carve new handles out of Cocobolo.)  I would make sure you get your hands on the thing before buying.  Cambo and Alpa are other options people really like.  
« Last Edit: February 26, 2013, 11:25:28 AM by JoeKitchen » Logged

Joe Kitchen
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"Photography is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent moving furniture."  Arnold Newman
“Don't bother just to be better than your contemporaries or predecessors. Try to be better than yourself.”  William Faulkner
yaya
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« Reply #13 on: February 26, 2013, 01:04:30 PM »
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And Fred  Cry Kiss Undecided Lips sealed Embarrassed Tongue Roll Eyes Huh Cool Shocked Sad Angry Grin Cheesy Wink Smiley

I guess this mean that you did not like the interior design of that plane? or was it the architecture of the water in the background that was not to your liking?Huh?
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FredBGG
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« Reply #14 on: February 26, 2013, 11:28:23 PM »
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I guess this mean that you did not like the interior design of that plane? or was it the architecture of the water in the background that was not to your liking?Huh?

You can take the piss all you want Yaya. Wink

I posted that image as a follow up to a previous post that was made by the owner of a tech camera.
I shoot with a digital back and tech camera.

I use to think digtal back and tech camera was the way to go, but if I had today's dslr and lenses I might have just skipped the DB and saved a lot of money. Yes the qulity is better with DB but I don't think clients see or care enough about  the differnece. Its hard to compete with a $50,000 camera set up against a kid with a $5000 dslr and lenses.
I posted this just to show that the quality coming from the latest sensors, even 24MP crop sensors is outstanding.
It was not intended to be an example of architectural photography. Yaya... the camera was only recently announced... I'm sure we
will see some fine interior examples soon

Here are some nice landscapes for example:


higher res here:
http://chsvimg.nikon.com/lineup/dslr/d7100/img/sample/img_05_l.jpg

Put that sensor
on a robotic head and use rectilinear stitching and you have a high dynamic range camera with a virtual sensor far larger than that of a tech camera.
The resulting files are large enough to do perspective correction in post and the results are cleaner in the corners than any significantly shifted lens
on a digiback.

Do the same with a D800 and it's even better, but one should also consider that scaling up the D7100 sensor to FF would be something
in the order of 57MP.  A stitch with that would be quite something.

Giants like Apple, Samsung, Microsoft and Google have advanced stitching research programs. Google chose stitching with 35mm DSLRs for it's global Art project of ultra high resolution.
Microsoft owner of Corbis is one of the worlds largest photo vendors and google the largest seller of advertizing..... something to think about when both are heavily investing
in stitching technology.

John Brack impressed NASA and National geographic with stitching shot with a point and shoot... and was hired to document the decommissioning of the three
space shuttles.

John Brack shooting for NASA and National Geographic:


His work for NASA can be seen here:
http://www.jonbrack.com

John is exacly one of the smart kids pixjohn was referring too.

But it's not only the "kids".. South African architectural photographer Peter Hassal
makes good use of stitching with his DSLR's.

Here's an interview with him by Nikon.
http://www.facebook.com/note.php?note_id=496749267003630


« Last Edit: February 27, 2013, 12:26:03 AM by FredBGG » Logged
Willow Photography
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« Reply #15 on: February 27, 2013, 02:02:56 AM »
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Fred, why cant you just respect other people?

I started this topic and should be respected when I state
that I only want advice from people that are doing architectural / interior photography for a living.

You have bombarded almost every topic on LuLa with your anti-MFD and pro DSLR posting.
That is mainly why I wrote "I only want advice from photographers who are doing this kind of work or has done it in the past".

And yet you respond to my post.

You spend so much time on these board so you must have seen that I am no
newcomber to this place.
You should then have understood that I have seen most of your earlier posts and fully
understand your viewpoint on what camera to use in every possible photography task.
And why I wrote "I only want advice from photographers who are doing this kind of work or has done it in the past".

Your posts about DSLRs have NO value to me.

I have a D800E and I know it is a fantastic camera.
It probably could be the only camera I need to satisfy my clients.
But it is NOT the only camera system to satisfy me.

I know you get this.
Or else you wouldnt shoot with Fuji GX680 and 8x10


Capish??  Smiley

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Willow Photography
torger
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« Reply #16 on: February 27, 2013, 05:40:56 AM »
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I only want advice from people that are doing architectural / interior photography for a living.

Ooops, I kind of missed that too, sorry Wink. I have shot architectural / interior and found the shift capability be tremendously useful, as laser distance meter focusing, but I haven't actually got paid...

In this genre one often wants to use rise/fall and shift left/right simultaneously, which makes DSLR shift lenses cumbersome to use.

You can get equivalent result as a high res sensor with shift-capable lens by stitching and projection mapping (done such stuff in Hugin, it does the real thing, i e not the same as simple keystoning), but it will be a post-processing heavy work, and shooting process less enjoyable if you ask me. You could also use a ultra-wide on the DSLR and crop to get a lighter workflow, but then you get much lower resolution output.

I'd say that exactly in this genre the MF (with pancake tech cam) offer is the strongest compared to a budget DSLR alternative.
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stefan marquardt
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« Reply #17 on: February 27, 2013, 10:07:21 AM »
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hi willow,
i do architecture and interiors for a living. and since many years. from 4x5 film to mf-digital to my latest combo which i use since years now:  a canon 5D2. I use this camera mainly for 2 reasons: the fantastic 17mm shift lens and the good live view.

the 17mm lens is that good that I even use a teleconverter to get to 24mm. nearly distortion (+/-2%) and ca free.
especialy when in really dark interiors the live view (with a fully shifted lens) is immensely helpfull.
I guess I use the 17mm for about 60% of all images, 20% at 24mm (the rest: pentax and mamiya mf-lenses with a zörk-shiftadaper).
(if nikon had a lens and a life view as good as the canon I would have converted to nikon by now).

regards   stefan
« Last Edit: February 27, 2013, 10:39:31 AM by stefan marquardt » Logged

stefan marquardt
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ACH DIGITAL
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« Reply #18 on: February 27, 2013, 10:21:14 AM »
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Hi Willow, coming from shooting 4x5 film on technical cameras, I'm more than happy to be using a D800 and several lenses for architectural, interior photography.
http://www.achdigital.com
These days Architects look for a corrected image with good enough resolution for magazines and print no longer than 40". They are more impressed with the final quality of your photograph, good composition, tones and colors.
They don't get impressed with expensive equipment.
Most of all, if you work faster with DSLR, they would be happy to save some bucks.

ACH
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Kirk Gittings
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« Reply #19 on: February 27, 2013, 11:14:59 AM »
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Bang on. And as a result of being more productive in the field, I give the client more selection and opportunities to increase sales.

I do rent and would prefer to buy a MF tech camera rig at some point, but I would rarely use it for commercial architectural photography if at all. I want it for my B&W art work.

Quote
In this genre one often wants to use rise/fall and shift left/right simultaneously, which makes DSLR shift lenses cumbersome to use.

Not......
« Last Edit: February 27, 2013, 11:19:01 AM by Kirk Gittings » Logged

Thanks,
Kirk

Kirk Gittings
Architecture and Landscape Photography
WWW.GITTINGSPHOTO.COM

LIGHT+SPACE+STRUCTURE (blog)
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