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Posts: 1
Registered: ‎12-10-2015

Best Camera to Use for Real Estate Photography?

I currently have a T3i with a Canon EF ‑ 50mm ‑ F/1.4 and Canon EF ‑ 50mm ‑ F/1.8 that I use with a 6X wide angle adapter. I'm considering upgrading to a 5D but am wondering if I really need to.

 

Thanks for your help!

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Respected Contributor
Posts: 1,967
Registered: ‎02-26-2015

Re: Best Camera to Use for Real Estate Photography?

[ Edited ]

@jamielynnc3po wrote:

I currently have a T3i with a Canon EF ‑ 50mm ‑ F/1.4 and Canon EF ‑ 50mm ‑ F/1.8 that I use with a 6X wide angle adapter. I'm considering upgrading to a 5D but am wondering if I really need to.

 

Thanks for your help!


I don't think you need a 5D for real estate photography. If you want a full frame camera then a 6D would be a better choice.

 

I would first look at your lens choices, using a 6X wide angle adapter with a 50mm lens would not be anything I would ever consider doing.

 

Instead of a new camera consider getting a Canon EF-S 10-18mm IS STM

 

You might also consider a couple of Canon 430EX flashes to help with the lighting. Your Canon T3i can act as a master flash controlling one or more 430EXs off camera as a slave flash. 

VIP
Posts: 8,366
Registered: ‎08-13-2015

Re: Best Camera to Use for Real Estate Photography?

[ Edited ]

Invest in a really sturdy tripod, too, the sturdier the better.  If you're shooting primarily real estate, then you probably won't be hauling it around as far as someone out birding, so a heavy duty aluminum tripod would serve you well.  A raised center column on a weak tripod can resonante like a tuning fork in a slight breeze when shooting outdoors.  Get a tripod that comes with a large case, one large enought to hold the tripod with a head still attached to it.  Tripod and head kits are a good buy in this regard.  Benro makes several "Adventure Series" tripod kits that are good buys, and come with excellent padded cases.  Or you could buy the legs and head separately ....  ....

 

I'd recommend a tripod that could handle close to 20 pounds, or better.  Also be aware that raising the center column decreases the load handling capacity of the tripod.  A ball head is pretty versatile, but a good pan/tilt would probably serve you better for lining up and repeating shots. I think the Induro PHQ1 5-Way Pan/Tilt head is ideal for shooting carefully composed pictures, mostly  because of its' graduated axis scales.  It's pricey, though, but it does use Arca-Swiss compatible Quick Release plates.  Most pan/tilt heads do not use Arca style plates, but most ball heads do use them.  There are many other vendors to choose from, but I put my first priority on the type of quick release plate when choosing a head.

 

A leveling adapter beneath the head would be a good investment, too.  It is far easier to level a head, than it is to level a set of tripod legs.  Leveling the legs will get you close, while the leveling adapter will get you precise.  Precision leveling shots that make the use of wider angle lenses [under 24mm] look better and with less barrel distortion.  While a leveling adapter is really a luxury, the Induro PHQ1 head would not need one.

 

[EDIT]  I agree with the idea of a 5D not being necessary.  If you are willing to spend the money for a 5D, spend it on a top quality lens, instead, maybe even an "L" series lens.  I'd suggest a wide prime lens, over a zoom.  Although, I think the EF-S 10-22mm has fantastic IQ, Image Quality.  I would suggest a prime between 14mm and 20mm.  I have a Rokinon 14mm, manual focus only, lens that is made for EF mounts, but takes fantastic nearly rectilinear shots on an EF-S mount body. 

 

 

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"I don't rent software. I use Photoshop CS6, ACR 9.8 and Lightroom 6.8 ."
Respected Contributor
Posts: 1,967
Registered: ‎02-26-2015

Re: Best Camera to Use for Real Estate Photography?

[ Edited ]

Waddizzle wrote:

 

. . .  Although, I think the EF-S 10-22mm has fantastic IQ, Image Quality.  I would suggest a prime between 14mm and 20mm.  I have a Rokinon 14mm, manual focus only, lens that is made for EF mounts, but takes fantastic nearly rectilinear shots on an EF-S mount body. 

  


You might be surprised to learn that the EF-S 10-18mm IS STM actually has better image quality than the EF-S 10-22mm.

 

I have the Rokinon 14mm and Rokinon 8mm. Before Canon introduced the EF-S 10-18mm IS STM, I would have recommended one of those too, due to the cost difference between them and the EF-S 10-22mm. Now the EF-S 10-18 IS STM is close to the same price, it becomes the lens of choice (and with IS can be used handheld if needed.)

 

Canon's STM lens line is one of the big reasons for beginners through enthusiests to go with or stick with Canon. They offer 1st generation L lens image quality at an amazing price point. And Canon's current L II lenses are simply the best lenses out there for Pro's.

Esteemed Contributor
Posts: 3,815
Registered: ‎06-11-2013

Re: Best Camera to Use for Real Estate Photography?


@Waddizzle wrote:

 

A leveling adapter beneath the head would be a good investment, too.  It is far easier to level a head, than it is to level a set of tripod legs. 

 


^ this

 

When shooting with very wide angle lenses, vertical objects in the scene (walls, door-frames, windows, etc.) will "lean" either inward or outward if the lens is not pefectly level (front to back) with respect to the floor.   If the lens is pitched up slightly then everything will lean inward.  If the lens is pitched downward slightly then everything will lean outward.  The result is that you'll end up with trapezoid shaped doors, etc. and probably wont be happy with the distortions.

 

But if the lens is perfectly level (front to back) then all verticals will actually be vertical.

 

A tilt-shift lens has a feature that can correct for these distortions.  It's also possible to correct the distortions using Photoshop but you do have to leave a lot of extra room on the sides of the frame because once you make the correction in software you have to crop the image back to a square (the correction basically performs a "keystone" shaped transformation.)

 

Real-estate photos usually suffer from problems with (1) lighting and (2) reflections (particularly reflections in kitchens with lots of shiny appliances.)  

 

If the camera is on a tripod and the tripod isn't moving, the camera can take an exposure as long as necessary.  But some of the real-estate photographers I've encountered online confess that they bring a truck-load of lighting equipment with them to a shoot (but they're selling ludicrously expensive homes so, for them, the investment in the gear is worthwhile.)

 

If lighting is too uneven you can shoot HDR (High Dynamic Range).  This means you put the camera on a tripod and take 3 shots (typically 3 but it can be more or less).  The camera exposure is manually controlled and you vary only the shutter speed (never the aperture) and take one shot at the suggested exposure by the camera light meter... and a second shot over-exposed by 2 stops, and a 3rd shot under-exposed by 2 stops.  You then use Photoshop or Lightroom's "Merge to HDR" feature to combine them.   Photoshop & Lightroom's HDR feature is "ok" but most photographers don't rave about it.  The app everyone seems to rave aobut is Photomatix Pro.  I generally don't shoot HDR unless I'm just toying with it so I don't own Photomatix and have never used it.

 

BTW... if the home has a view and you want to show that off, then you have to expose for the outside exposure (which typically results in an underexposed interior) and then using lighting to boost the interior light back up to within about 1/3rd of a stop of the outdoor exposure... OR... use HDR again.

 

Tim Campbell
5D III, 5D IV, 60Da
VIP
Posts: 8,366
Registered: ‎08-13-2015

Re: Best Camera to Use for Real Estate Photography?

[ Edited ]

@TCampbell wrote:

@Waddizzle wrote:

 

A leveling adapter beneath the head would be a good investment, too.  It is far easier to level a head, than it is to level a set of tripod legs. 

 


^ this

 

When shooting with very wide angle lenses, vertical objects in the scene (walls, door-frames, windows, etc.) will "lean" either inward or outward if the lens is not pefectly level (front to back) with respect to the floor.   If the lens is pitched up slightly then everything will lean inward.  If the lens is pitched downward slightly then everything will lean outward.  The result is that you'll end up with trapezoid shaped doors, etc. and probably wont be happy with the distortions.

 

But if the lens is perfectly level (front to back) then all verticals will actually be vertical.

 

A tilt-shift lens has a feature that can correct for these distortions.  It's also possible to correct the distortions using Photoshop but you do have to leave a lot of extra room on the sides of the frame because once you make the correction in software you have to crop the image back to a square (the correction basically performs a "keystone" shaped transformation.)

 

Real-estate photos usually suffer from problems with (1) lighting and (2) reflections (particularly reflections in kitchens with lots of shiny appliances.)  

 

If the camera is on a tripod and the tripod isn't moving, the camera can take an exposure as long as necessary.  But some of the real-estate photographers I've encountered online confess that they bring a truck-load of lighting equipment with them to a shoot (but they're selling ludicrously expensive homes so, for them, the investment in the gear is worthwhile.)

 

...   ...   ...

 

BTW... if the home has a view and you want to show that off, then you have to expose for the outside exposure (which typically results in an underexposed interior) and then using lighting to boost the interior light back up to within about 1/3rd of a stop of the outdoor exposure... OR... use HDR again.

 


Yes, straightening vertical lines is exactly what I had in mind when I suggested a leveling adapter base between the the head and the tripod. Just keep in mind that leveling the base is useless if you cannot level the camera on the head.  The cost of good leveling base plus the cost of a good tripod head [be it a ball or a pan/tilit] would most likely exceed the cost of the PHQ1 head alone, which wouldn't need a leveling base because it has 5 bubble levels built into it.

 

As far as leveling bases go, I would recommend on of the following: Oben LH-2510 Leveling Base HeadSunwayfoto DYH-90Ri Leveling Base, or the Sunwayfoto DYH-90i Leveling Base.  The Sunwayfoto bases are identical, except for the  "R" version features an excellent panning base.  I added the LP-76 Leveling Plate to a couple of tripods, and have found their larger than average bubble levels to be pretty accurate, at least according to the level sensor in my 6D.

 

Taking rectilinear shots is THE reason why I advised going with a full-frame, wide angle prime lens over an EF-S wide angle zoom made specifically for an APS-C sensor camera body like your T3i.  As Tim pointed out just above, you can compensate for lens barrel distortion in post-processing, and you will also most likely end up cropping the final image some. 

 

Why bother with all of that, I ask, when your T3i will crop an image, anyway.  One a full-frame wide angle lens, the crop comes out quite  beautifully, I might add.  Besides, you can still do some post, if needed, and you will be starting off with an image that would  likely have far less distortion. 

 

As for lenses, spend the money on a lens, instead of a new camera.  Your images will be no better than what your lens can capture.   I would recommend two "L" lenses: the EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM Lens, if you want a zoom; or the EF 14mm f/2.8L II USM Lens if you want a prime; both of which are FAST, something that you will need when shooting indoors in low, natural light situations, where you could take long exposure shots.  Seeing how most all of your shots should taken on a tripod, I don't see where Image Stabilization will gain you much.  Go for faster lenses, given the choice.

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"I don't rent software. I use Photoshop CS6, ACR 9.8 and Lightroom 6.8 ."
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