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Thread: What lens is best for residential interior?

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    What lens is best for residential interior?

    I am new to DLSR and just bought a Canon XSi that came with an 18-55mm lens. Do I need a wider angle lens to take residential home interior shots? (Like bathrooms)
    Last edited by Colin Southern; 6th February 2009 at 03:42 AM. Reason: Fix typo in thread title

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    shreds's Avatar
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    Re: What les is best for residential interior?

    Hi,

    Can I ask firstly what you are trying to achieve with these shots? If you are a realtor or bathroom salesperson, then anything too fisheye like is going to be, in most cases counterproductive. On the other hand if it is purely photographic, then the effect can be quite desirable.

    In many years of professional shooting of house interiors, the bathroom is always the most difficult due to the placing of the fixed items around the room, unless it is a huge room.

    Sometime you are lucky, other times you just have to walk away from the most expensive bathroom because getting a shot the client is happy with is just beyond the realms of possibilities. Most other rooms in a house and a 28mm equivalent will be fine.

    Your new camera (neat) has what I presume is a kit lens. With a cropped sensor on this camera, all the lens dimensions will be increased by 1.6 so your lens becomes the equivalent of a 28mm on a film or full frame DSLR. This should cope with most things but you might want to also have a smaller say 12/14mm lens too, (which would be around the 19-22mm mark equivalent) if you are shooting these shots regularly, particularly difficult rooms like the bathroom.

    So decide what you are trying to achieve first off, then post here again as other advice may well be forthcoming.

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    Re: What lens is best for residential interior?

    Yes I am a REALTOR trying to get the best shots for my advertising. The lens that came with the camera is an 18-55mm. In your opinion a 28MM would be the best?

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    Re: What lens is best for residential interior?

    Quote Originally Posted by kats67 View Post
    Yes I am a REALTOR trying to get the best shots for my advertising. The lens that came with the camera is an 18-55mm. In your opinion a 28MM would be the best?
    The 18mm or wide-angle end of the lens on your camera is the equivalent - in terms of 'how much you can get in' - of a 28mm lens on a 'full frame' camera. Your camera has a smaller sensor than full frame, so, to get the same view with it as a 28mm on full frame you need a lens rated at 17mm.

    However, I would think that even your 17mm (28mm equivalent) would be a bit narrow in terms of how much of a bathroom you can take in, unless american bathrooms are enormous !

    You might be better off with a lens such as Canon's 10-22 mm EF-S. This would have a much wider view - you could 'get more in'. It is the equivalen of 16-35mm in 'full frame' cameras. The 10-22 seems to have a good reputation. Why not try one?

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    Re: What les is best for residential interior?

    Thanks rc53 for that, I was getting too technical perhaps?

    Based on the fact that you are likely to be doing such rooms regularly, then a lens that is wider eg 10-22mm would be likely to be useful, but, before you go out and sink hard earned cash into it, see if you can borrow or hire one to see the effect for yourself.

    I would guess you will go for one in the end, but you do need to check that it is not going to give you a too undesirable fish eye effect. (Still if it is a zoom, you can vary the effect to suit the situation.)

    You will find the 18-55mm kit lens is useful outside though.

    Finally, a question. Do you use natural light or do you use flash to lighten the room?
    Last edited by shreds; 21st August 2008 at 07:40 PM.

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    Re: What lens is best for residential interior?

    It depends on the room and colors. Some need a flash even though sometimes it makes the picture have bright spots.

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    Re: What lens is best for residential interior?

    Quote Originally Posted by kats67 View Post
    It depends on the room and colors. Some need a flash even though sometimes it makes the picture have bright spots.
    1. The flash on top of the camera won't always give very pleasing/impressive lighting for a bathroom which I expect has lots of bright white things in it. You can increase the sensivity of the camera by increasing the ISO number, this might help. You might get more 'noise' - it's a bit like electrical interference - making the pix a bit sort of blotchy. Try it and see.

    2. If you go for a 10-22mm lens then beware that the camera flash may not be as wide as the lens can picture - though I don't know the exact specs of your camera.

    Bertie

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    Re: What lens is best for residential interior?

    I also have a 420EX Speedlite flash, would that work better?

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    Re: What lens is best for residential interior?

    I'd suggest a using diffuser AND "bouncing" the flash off the ceiling to help address some of the wide angle coverage and hot spot issues.

    The fact you're probably in a white room will alleviate the 2 - 3 stop loss of light in these processes.

    Dave

    For example; http://alexgorbatchev.com/photography/blog/tag/diy/

    Please note I haven't read the text, but the pictures in this blog demonstrate what I mean by diffuser.
    And please accept my apologies if you already knew.

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    Re: What les is best for residential interior?

    I asked the question, as I have always tried as far as possible to use available light using a tripod.

    Why?
    1. The pro who first showed me the ropes always swore by this method
    2. There is unlikely to be any movement in the picture so a time exposure is not a problem
    3. The tripod will always produce a steadier shot regardless
    4. Selective in filling with flashguns, or set behind furniture/curtains and fired remotely can really create some special effects, whilst the camera is sat on the tripod
    5. The effect of setting up a tripod always seems to make the client feel that you are doing 'that bit more for them'. - making them feel special.

    I have always found that by attending to detail in such circumstances does improve the shot and impresses the client with your efficiency and knowledge.

    Of course you can really excel by using HDR to burn in the view through the window too, but we are going into advanced techniques here. (See the section on HDR for detail on achieving this effect).

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