Re: [OM] (OT, kinda) Helping a nephew

Subject: Re: [OM] (OT, kinda) Helping a nephew
From: Chuck Norcutt <chucknorcutt@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Thu, 16 Jun 2011 12:44:36 -0400
The camera is OK but can the lens and the flash.

In place of the flash put a 2-way level in the hot shoe instead.  To 
avoid perspective distortion it's critical that the camera be level 
front to back and side to side.  To take in the room and avoid the need 
to tilt up and down use a 24mm equivalent lens. Set the camera height at 
the midpoint between floor and ceiling.  Typically a high rise tripod is 
not required unless you're doing a place with cathedral ceilings. 

Trying to use flash will be frought with problems due to the good old 
inverse square law.  To do it requires multiple studio lights, huge 
diffusers and, unless you have powerful modeling lights on the flash 
units lots of trial and error setting up the lights.

With digital it's easier to use the tripod for long exposures as 
required and handle the inevitable dynamic range problems (dark indoors, 
bright sun outdoors) with multiple exposures and HDR techniques.  The 
following is a 2 or 3 exposure HDR image just done on PS by manually 
masking different layers.  Note the properly exposed sunlit outdoors and 
the non-blown sunlit areas on the closet doors.  The sun was nowhere 
near as weak as the photo implies.

Color balance can be very problematic with mixed sunlight, fluorescent 
and incandescent sources.  Avoid turning on the fluorescents... if 
possible.  However, proper presentation of an interior architectural 
shot is normally done with lights on... another source of blown areas 
and possible need for multiple exposures and HDR techniques.

This Tokina 12-24/4 (ver II) is a highly rated lens as was its ver I 
predecessor.  This lens is $549 at B&H but the ver I can probably be had 
for $400 if you can find one in Canon mount.  You could probably also 
find one on the bay either new or used.

The tripod doesn't need to be huge or fancy but it does need controls 
that allow accurate positioning, leveling and locking without disturbing 
the intended setting... sometimes a tough order.

I'll probably be incommunicado the rest of the day but may get a chance 
to look for additional questions tomorrow.

ps:  Also have him go buy a basic book on architectural photography. 
But avoid loaning him the 4x5.  :-)

Chuck Norcutt

On 6/16/2011 11:17 AM, Bob Whitmire wrote:
> My nephew e-mailed me the other day with a camera question. He works
> up listings for real estate agents, and wants to start offering
> interior photos as part of the service. He said most of his clients
> use little p&s cameras and really hate doing the work.
> He's not a shooter, and he hasn't bought anything yet, so what
> follows is his first stab at a list of gear:
> Camera: Canon Rebel XS 10.1MP Digital SLR Camera with EF-S 18-55mm
> f/3.5-5.6 IS Lens
> http://www.amazon.com/Canon-XS-Digital-18-55mm-Black/dp/B001CBKJGG/ref=pd_ybh_2?pf_rd_p=280800601&pf_rd_s=center-2&pf_rd_t=1501&pf_rd_i=ybh&pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_r=010CHJ3EDC40R3CNZTEJ
>  Flash:  Canon Speedlite 430EX II Flash for Canon Digital SLR
> Cameras
> http://www.amazon.com/Canon-Speedlite-II-Digital-Cameras/dp/B001CCAISE/ref=pd_ybh_1?pf_rd_p=280800601&pf_rd_s=center-2&pf_rd_t=1501&pf_rd_i=ybh&pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_r=010CHJ3EDC40R3CNZTEJ
>  I've told him I don't do this kind of work, but that I'm pretty sure
> he'll need a wider lens than the 18mm kit, and he'll also need a
> tripod, as well as something to diffuse the flash, assuming he goes
> for a wider lens. As you can see, he's smart enough not to generate
> any lust for top-of-the-line stuff. (He was also smart enough to
> realize before I told him that a tripod might be necessary.) So I'm
> wondering that the recommendation would be for a decent wide angle
> that will get the job done. Canon's offerings seem to be pretty
> expensive, and I have no knowledge of third-party lenses other than
> Zeiss, and I don't think that's gonna help him either.<g>
> Any suggestions welcome! You can send 'em off list if you don't want
> to take up the bandwidth, though I think periodic discussions of
> who's been doing what with which wide angles is always interesting.
> --Bob
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