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Thread: Camera recommendations for architect student? Help

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    Camera recommendations for architect student? Help

    Hey,
    First of of thank you for taking the time to read this post. I am An Architecture student looking for my first slr camera. I have never done any picture taking other than using a point and shoot. Primary use of this camera will be in a long term trip to Europe where i wish to document my travels in detail, and in Photographing my models and digital media manipulation portfolio. I will need to take very very good resolution pictures of very small models and at the same time great pictures of historic buildings. I will be heavily modifying these photos I'm sure and may need to blow them up to a very large scale. My price range is 800-1200 dollars including camera, bag for traveling, tripod and storage card and lenses. What i'v read so far(for what its worth) is that I'm looking at a Nikon 5100, Or a cannon rebel t3i/ 60d. im open to any other suggestions and have no brand loyalty. I plan on taking some video, night shots of the city's I will be in but the primary function of this camera will be in the micro levels of models and landscapes/buildings of Italy, Switzerland, and Kent. thank you again for your inputs I am very open to any advice. The software is not really an issue due to the fact I can get any of it for free due to internet..

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    Re: Camera recommendations for architect student? Help

    Julian

    You want to make 'very, very good' resolution images and you may want to blow them up to a very large size. You want to have video facilities. But the fact is that on your current budget, you are not going to be able to go for top-of-the-range equipment that would normally be thought of as necessary for such demands.

    I have no desire to dampen your very obvious enthusiasm, but feel you may need to compromise and to cut back on your ambitions a bit in order to fit in with your budget.

    Whilst the top-end equipment would assist you in meeting the requirement you are setting, that is out of your budget raneg at teh moment. However, the fact is that more modestly priced goods will still offer you the chance to make very good quality images.

    Camera bodies are all capable of delivering the goods. The price differentials relate to such things as quality of build, facilities available to assist the picture-making process. However, the single most important factor is the lens. Manufacturers (Canon, Nikon, etc) sell packages that comprise the body and a 'kit' lens. These kit lenses, whilst perfectly good, are not the best available from these same manufacturers. So, one consideration is to buy the body and the lens separately.

    However, the cost of many of the top end lenses far exceeds your total budget. So, again you are going to need to compromise.

    You are setting a very high target by wanting something that will do both very small models and also land and cityscapes. How small is 'very small'? That's going to play a factor in the sort of lens you will want to think about.

    So, in summary, I think you maybe need to be able to specify quite precisely what range of subjects you wish to photograph and then do research on lenses (including asking for further advise on here) in order to refine and define a list of possibilities.

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    Re: Camera recommendations for architect student? Help

    Quote Originally Posted by julian norton View Post
    The software is not really an issue due to the fact I can get any of it for free due to internet..
    So in other words, you plan on stealing any software you need?

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    Re: Camera recommendations for architect student? Help

    Let me suggest what I think would be the best outfit for your uses and then try to scale your outfit down to something which you could possibly afford in your budget. I realize when a person is coming from a non-photo oriented background, that your budget of 800-1,200 dollars seems quite generous but, as Donald mentioned, you are probably going to need to scale down your requirements quite drastically.

    Here is a Canon atricle on architectural lenses: http://www.usa.canon.com/app/html/EF...hitecture.html

    The outfit which I think would suit you the very best is a Canon 5Dii with a TS-E 24mm f/3.5L which will allow you to correct distortions as if you were shooting with a view-camera. This camera-lens would be your go-to outfit. It is expensive and the learning curve for using a TS-E lens is pretty steep. Ideally, you could combine this lens with a longer focal length Canon zoom lenses such as the 70-200mm f/4L or 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS to isolate certain portions of a building and a UWA lens such as the 16-35mm f/2.8L to get an all overview. This outfit would provide a quite decent close-up capability along with video capabilities...

    However the above outfit would cost a lot more than you are willing or able (or both) to spend. the TS-E lens alone costs over $2000 (all prices in this comment will be in U.S. Dollars)

    Staying within your budget, I would suggest getting a used Canon 40D and a 12-24mm Tokina f/4 along with a Canon 50mm f/1.8 Mark-II. The 40D should run about $450, a used 12-24mm Tokina might run about $350 and a 50mm f/1.8 should cost about $100. You could correct a lot of perspective distortion by using a photo editing program like Photoshop or Photoshop Elements...

    You would still have a few bucks from your budget of $1,200 to buy a tripod, a few CF cards and an extra battery. Don't pay too much for a camera bag. Get a used one (from a non smoking household) on eBay. Ensure that you have a lens hood for each lens. The Tokina is supplied with a hood from the manufacturer while the Canon 50mm f/1.8 Mkii is not.

    Remember, you also need a photo editing program such as Photo Shop Elements which should be available for around $100.

    I am sure that there will be other members who disagree with some or all of my conclusions. There will be people who will point out that a 12-24mm Tokina is susceptible to flare. However, I have never experienced flare with this lens, possibly because I always use a lens hood and possibly because I seldom use it to shoot directly into the sun. I would expect that for architectural images; you would not want to shoot into the sun either. The wonderful advantage of CiC is that we have a vast knowledge base and willing helpers. Chromatic aberation can be a slight problem but, nothing that a phoo editing program cannot correct.

    Here are some exterior and interior shots done at Rosalie Mansion, Natchez, Mississippi, with a Canon 30D and a 12-24mm f/4 Tokina lens...

    Camera recommendations for architect student? Help

    Camera recommendations for architect student? Help

    Camera recommendations for architect student? Help

    Camera recommendations for architect student? Help

    Camera recommendations for architect student? Help

    You would not have video capability and the closest you could get to your subject would be to cover an area as amall as 145.6mm x 97.7mm with the 50mm lens...
    Last edited by rpcrowe; 15th August 2011 at 09:14 PM.

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    Re: Camera recommendations for architect student? Help

    No! Ha-ha my professor can arrange a deal with the school to provide the software for us at the colleges cost if its reasonable and then just send us it though an internet connection to our computers. Bonus!

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    Re: Camera recommendations for architect student? Help

    Quote Originally Posted by julian norton View Post
    No! Ha-ha my professor can arrange a deal with the school to provide the software for us at the colleges cost if its reasonable and then just send us it though an internet connection to our computers. Bonus!
    Hi Julian, here is a link to the most popular post processing software, Photoshop CS5. As you can see in the link, a qualified school/teacher or student can get a copy for under $300US. http://success.adobe.com/en/na/sem/p...S|e|7003675702

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    Re: Camera recommendations for architect student? Help

    To specify the models are about as tall and large at most of your arm and are normally anywhere from 3/32"scale scale to 1/4" scale. I really appreciate all the responses and the help of the pictures. It seems that the lens is far more important than the camera. which is something I never thought of as I figured the base camera was more important than the additions on to it.
    I found kits availible online like this one
    http://www.amazon.com/Nikon-Digital-...3442522&sr=1-4

    and this one.
    http://www.amazon.com/Digital-55-250...3443321&sr=1-5

    http://www.amazon.com/Canon-Digital-...3443321&sr=1-4


    but I'm assuming this is would not be what I want in the lens as if i read the introductory page on the home site that a smaller minimum starting number is better for interior shots?


    ps this is a great idea for a website Im learning allot already thank you all for your help

    I should say that when I said blowing up the picture I would be doing it on a computer to alter the image perhaps transposing my model of a building into a Cityscape so would a higher megapixel camera be better for that or is that a lens issue/format issue.



    Re analyized look at what i need to photograph

    Price: $1200
    Primary focus: Photographing of interiors (historic churches, modern buildings) outside of structures, documenting of models for portfolio (size of models roughly 1-2'x1-2' x1' LxWxH)

    Extras: ability to take decent short videos 10- 20 sec.


    suggestions on what type of lens i should be looking for? or do I need to decide on a camera first?

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    Re: Camera recommendations for architect student? Help

    Quote Originally Posted by FrankMi View Post
    Hi Julian, here is a link to the most popular post processing software, Photoshop CS5. As you can see in the link, a qualified school/teacher or student can get a copy for under $300US. http://success.adobe.com/en/na/sem/p...S|e|7003675702
    i have cs5 on my laptop currently thank you is that able to do this i'm used to using it to edit graphic design images i make didn't knowthat's what people used for photography editing as well guess it should apply either way

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    Re: Camera recommendations for architect student? Help

    Quote Originally Posted by julian norton View Post
    i have cs5 on my laptop currently thank you is that able to do this i'm used to using it to edit graphic design images i make didn't knowthat's what people used for photography editing as well guess it should apply either way
    Hi Julian, Photoshop and Lightroom is what I use for photo editing and (Photomatix for HDR). If you already have CS5 then you are in good shape. There are plenty of folks on this forum that can help you with any post processing questions you may run into.

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    Re: Camera recommendations for architect student? Help

    Quote Originally Posted by julian norton View Post
    I found kits availible online like this one
    Personally, I wouldn't go near those kits. They're not what you need, I suggest.

    You need a body, a good lens and a very portable tripod that you can take on your travels. That, I suggest, is your starter pack.

    As far as the body goes - you need to go into a camera store and handle them. Which feels better? Which makes more sense in terms of the arrangements of all the controls? At the end of the day you're going to get used to whatever you buy. Just remember - what you do but now is the beginning of you building a system.

    Richard makes sound recommendations. Certainly you're going to need a reasonably wide angle lens. The 55-250, for example, that's on offer in the packages you mention, will be of absolute no use to you.

    I think you need to do a quite a bit of reading about lenses. What focal lengths are all about, and apertures. What do we mean when we talk about wide angle and telephoto lenses; about fast lenses (i.e. with wide apertures). I think these are some basic things about photography that you maybe need to study before making final choices. The tutorials on CiC under the Concepts and Terminology heading would, I suggest, be very helpful reading.
    Last edited by Donald; 16th August 2011 at 06:52 AM.

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    Re: Camera recommendations for architect student? Help

    Quote Originally Posted by julian norton View Post
    No! Ha-ha my professor can arrange a deal with the school to provide the software for us at the colleges cost if its reasonable and then just send us it though an internet connection to our computers. Bonus!
    Good to hear

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    Re: Camera recommendations for architect student? Help

    Take a look...maybe it will give you the most bang for your buck....will not cover your whole range of wants....but !!!

    http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/FujifilmX100/

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    Re: Camera recommendations for architect student? Help

    Although the kit lenses are O.K.; IMO, they are certainly not what you need for your architectural imagery. The 18mm side is just not wide enough and the quality of a kit lens is not the greatest.

    I TOTALLY AGREE WITH DONALD and would not touch that camera kit with a ten foot pole. The filters are trash, the tripod is marginal or less as is the flash and the two lenses, although fairly decent, are not well suited for your architectural needs. It is always a temptation to try to get a multi faceted equipment kit at a good price. Unfortunately, this is just not one of them...

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    Re: Camera recommendations for architect student? Help

    ok so the kits wouldn't be a good value or start. upon some research at my local stores i think i'm going to go with either Nikon 5100 or the rebel ti3 i think those cameras had the best options and features that i liked. although the nikon d 60, d3100 was also a contender as it would allow me to get a better lens maybe. anyone have anything to say about these cameras should i go with the 5100/rebel ti3 or go with the nikon d60/d3100 and get better lens maybe?

    for lens i looked at a couple for the cannon at least. Here's what seemed like it might be helpful but i don't know how they preform if anyone could give me feedback if they know anything about them.

    IF i get the cannon
    For wide angle and interior shots?
    Canon EF 28mm F/2.8

    I looked at this one and could this be used as a combination i could use for wide angle and normal camra use? or does it do neither well?

    Sigma 18-200mm F/3.5-6.3 DC OS for Canon

    im gusseing though that any lens that can do both will not be able to do either well.

    im looking at a budget of about 300-400 dollers for lens. i figure i need at least one wide angle (18-36???)and at least one "prime" probably a 50mm

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    Re: Camera recommendations for architect student? Help

    Anyone know of a decent wide angle lens that will be able to take a decent photo im not looking for professional quality at all just not something thats going to break withing the first few months of getting it. for like $220 or less?

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    Re: Camera recommendations for architect student? Help

    Julian

    Of course whilst people on here will, I'm sure, be more than glad to share their experience of any lenses that they have that you suggest may be options for you, you may find it helpful to have a look at some of the lens review websites. These provide, in most cases, am objective assessment and/or user comments on a range of lenses that is greater that can be achieved on here.

    Some of these are:
    Lens Reviews
    Photozone
    Fred Miranda
    The Digital Picture
    SLR Lens & Camera Reviews
    SLR Gear
    DP Review
    DxO Mark

    That should be enough to get you started!

    As to purchase. Again, given the budget you are operating with, you might want to consider pre-used (second-hand) lenses. If you have a good local store, you could ask them what pre-used options they have in stock.

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    Re: Camera recommendations for architect student? Help

    Hi Julian, for Nikon, you can usually purchase the body without any lens for a reduced price, then add up to two Nikon lenses of your choice for a reduced price provided all three items are purchased at the same time. If you do decide to get the Nikon with the kit lens you can still get up to two additional Nikon lenses at a reduced price. Does anyone know if this option is available for Canon?

    Once you decide on a camera/lens combination, there are reviews you can research to determine how well the components would fare for Architectural photography.

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    Re: Camera recommendations for architect student? Help

    hmm so i could purchase the nikon stock body and then 2 lens each at a discount? would this offer be only online at amazon or are there other places that offer this deal?

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    Re: Camera recommendations for architect student? Help

    Take a look here as well.

    http://www.adorama.com/

    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/

    All three items must be on the same sales slip. Canon may off the same kind of thing but I don't know for sure. Be sure to verify as deals like this are subject to change.

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    Re: Camera recommendations for architect student? Help

    You mention that you desire to make large blow-ups ("I will be heavily modifying these photos I'm sure and may need to blow them up to a very large scale.") of your images. IMO, the kit lenses, while fairly decent, are not the type of glass suited to making large blow-ups. Additionally, the 18mm or so wide end of any of the kit lenses would be pitifully inadequate for your needs.

    As I mentioned earlier, since you are working with such a bare-bones budget, I would definitely suggest planning to buy your equipment used and take advantage of the depreciation of DSLR gear. DSLR cameras depreciate horribly and that is in favor of those persons wishing to buy used. "Good" DSLR lenses do not depreciate at the same rate; with the exception (for some reason - perhaps the bad rap regarding flare) the 12-24mm f/4 Tokina Mk-i, which can be had for a lot less (about $350 USD vs. new at around $550 USD) than the price of a new 12-24mm f/4 Tokina Mk-ii lens. The "kit" lenses also depreciate pretty quickly which is also to your advantage...

    Shopping judiciously (using Esnipe for bidding on eBay auctions), you can get a used T2i (often with a 18-55mm kit lens) for between $600 and $650 USD (I just did an eBay search of completed auctions and there were quite a few T2i cameras, advertised in primo shape, which during the last two weeks sold for that price-range)

    Also shopping with eSnipe on eBay, you can get a used Manfrotto 3001P or 3021P (series) tripod and head for between $100 and $150. The Manfrotto 3001/3021 tripods,while not the absolute best on the market are quite adequate.

    This would leave you $100-$150 or so our of your $1,200 budget for accessories like a camera bag, spare battery and a pair of memory cards. This is very doable since you can buy a camera bag used and you don't need the fastest and largest memory card. It would however take some effort but your kit would look like this:

    T2i camera (which has the video capability you need)
    18-55mm kit lens
    12-24mm Tokina f/4 (which would be your go-to lens for architecture)
    Manfrotto 3001 or 3021 (series) tripod
    Camera bag
    Memory cards

    If you find some fudge room in that budget, I would suggest getting a good (in this case good = expensive) Hoya Multicoated or Schneider B+W polarizing filter. This would allow you to darken the sky for many shots and maintain detail in the buildings. It would also reduce or eliminate reflections from glass. Get a CPL of a size which would fit your Tokina lens and a step down ring to use it on the 18-55mm lens...
    Last edited by rpcrowe; 18th August 2011 at 12:04 AM.

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