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mitchv
07-27-2004, 05:40 AM
Can anyone recommend a digital camera to take wide angle photos of interiors? - to advertise apartments online so not necessarily to print.
Would like a good value camera. Have heard that an equivalent to 24mm is best for interiors. Have scoured the reviews. Thanks! :)

bka314
07-27-2004, 06:10 AM
Just two thoughts:

There is one big advantage of digital: you can 'stitch' digital images together easily.
Much cheaper than buying wide-angle lens/converters. Many camera makers utilized this feature, Canon is for sure.
Another thing: interiors look natural in their natural light - they can be made look quite ugly with flash. So personally I think fast lens or the quickly spreading stabilized cameras are worth more than the wide-angle.

Of course you can use a tripod and forget about both the wideangle and the fast lens.

Bye, Kris

mitchv
07-27-2004, 06:21 AM
Thanks Kris - any suggestions for which camera might have a "fast lens be "stabilized" and also have the "stitch" feature (for a beginner) ? - Mitch

bka314
07-27-2004, 06:41 AM
Thanks Kris - any suggestions for which camera might have a "fast lens be "stabilized" and also have the "stitch" feature (for a beginner) ? - Mitch

All Canon cameras have a so called "stitch assist" feature, and a "PhotoStitch" software included. This is what I know for sure, but I saw this mentioned for a Nikon as well somewhere in a review...

You should seek in the software section of the reviews for this.

Rhys
07-27-2004, 07:07 AM
The Olympus 5060 if I recall correctly, has a 27mm equivalent lens although it's a 5mp camera.

I believe that for the purposes of photographing apartments this may be the easiest thing to use. I cannot imagine an estate agent so poverty stricken they couldn't afford one :P

bka314
07-27-2004, 07:25 AM
The Olympus 5060 if I recall correctly, has a 27mm equivalent lens although it's a 5mp camera.



Yes, you are right. And for that even a 0.7x converter can be attached.
That is around 19mm then. If you can still get that camera somewhere.
And true: it's easier to use if you don't want to mess with software.
The 8080 is 8 mpx, 28mm and wide converter available to get even wider.

John_Reed
07-27-2004, 07:45 AM
Just two thoughts:

There is one big advantage of digital: you can 'stitch' digital images together easily.
Much cheaper than buying wide-angle lens/converters. Many camera makers utilized this feature, Canon is for sure.
Another thing: interiors look natural in their natural light - they can be made look quite ugly with flash. So personally I think fast lens or the quickly spreading stabilized cameras are worth more than the wide-angle.

Of course you can use a tripod and forget about both the wideangle and the fast lens.

Bye, Kris
I agree. Stitched panoramas can actually look better than "wide angle" or "fish eye" shots, as they are less distorted and unreal looking. If you want, you can even make a 360 degree panorama, something a single shot will never do.
Your digital camera doesn't have to have a special "stitching" feature to make panoramas; you just need some software that does the merging of your shots for you. For example, Panorama Maker, a free piece of software that comes with Panasonic cameras, works very well, and there are many other similar programs. One camera feature that is important (not absolutely necessary) for panorama shots is manual exposure. You want the exposure settings to remain constant through each one of your panels, so that there are no visible seams in the result due to lighting variations. Also, the tripod (along with a bubble level to set it up) is a valuable platform from which to make your panorama; the closer you get to your subject, the more important it is to keep the camera absolutely tracking the same level and arc. You can make a landscape panorama easily handheld, just by clicking as you sweep the horizon, keeping overlap between each shot; inside a house, you'll do the same thing, but even little variations like the fact that the tripod mount isn't centered with the lens axis may distort your shot somewhat.

Rhys
07-27-2004, 08:58 AM
I agree. Stitched panoramas can actually look better than "wide angle" or "fish eye" shots, as they are less distorted and unreal looking. If you want, you can even make a 360 degree panorama, something a single shot will never do.
Your digital camera doesn't have to have a special "stitching" feature to make panoramas; you just need some software that does the merging of your shots for you. For example, Panorama Maker, a free piece of software that comes with Panasonic cameras, works very well, and there are many other similar programs. One camera feature that is important (not absolutely necessary) for panorama shots is manual exposure. You want the exposure settings to remain constant through each one of your panels, so that there are no visible seams in the result due to lighting variations. Also, the tripod (along with a bubble level to set it up) is a valuable platform from which to make your panorama; the closer you get to your subject, the more important it is to keep the camera absolutely tracking the same level and arc. You can make a landscape panorama easily handheld, just by clicking as you sweep the horizon, keeping overlap between each shot; inside a house, you'll do the same thing, but even little variations like the fact that the tripod mount isn't centered with the lens axis may distort your shot somewhat.

Umm... Stitched panoramas frequently don't work or have imperfections. I suspect that a montage is better - particularly for estate agencies. People don't want distorted views, stitched panoramas or other photo trickery.

mitchv
07-27-2004, 11:23 AM
Thanks for your imput everyone - Will go and study the Olympus 5060 and 8080 - the stitching sounds far too difficult (well the taking shots with a bublble level!) - these are sometimes tiny apartments no room for tripods I'm usually hanging out the window to get more of the space in the shot....(apartments are in Paris) but maybe with the wide angle I won't lose so much space in the room. :)
I don't know what an 8 mpx is nor a 5mp but will go back and try to find out. Mitch -

mitchv
07-27-2004, 11:47 AM
Sorry for being a bit slow - I realise mp or mpx is a megapixel now...

John_Reed
07-27-2004, 12:02 PM
Umm... Stitched panoramas frequently don't work or have imperfections. I suspect that a montage is better - particularly for estate agencies. People don't want distorted views, stitched panoramas or other photo trickery.
I dunno, Rhys. I couldn't see the stitches in this panorama I took with my FZ10, can you?
http://john-reed.smugmug.com/photos/6251370-O.jpg
This panorama was made with Panorama Maker from 6 sequential overlapping shots I took while standing on a hilltop overlooking the scene.
By the way Rhys, if it's really true that "People don't want distorted views, stitched panoramas or other photo trickery," why do they watch TV? More to the point, there's more distortion of reality in your typical wide angle real estate shot, which can make a postage-stamp-sized yard look like an estate, than anything you'd see in a panorama. Get real!

D70FAN
07-27-2004, 12:45 PM
Along with the Oly C5060W ($699), There are a few others with Wide Angle capability. (All prices are MSRP)

Nikon CP5400- $699
Canon S60 - $499

The C8080 ($999), or the Canon Pro 1 ($999) also offer wide angle lenses, but are probably overkill for your requirements.

As always first use em', then choose em'.

mitchv
07-27-2004, 12:59 PM
Hey John what a great photo - I didn't see it earlier....
Now I've read the info about the Olympus 5060 which looks great! What I want to know is would the wide angle of equivalent to 27mm be enough to get good natural looking photos of interiors?
(by the way a photo of an interrio taken with a regular digital camera doesn't "look natural" since it cuts my rooms in half in the depth of field so they all look smaller than they would if you were just standing in them) I only want to re-create the actual room size with this wide angle...

Would I need to buy: "The C-5060Z has a nice selection of accessories available. You can add 0.7X wide-angle and 1.7X telephoto conversion lenses" (for idiots how wide is the 0.7mm wide angle?)
:)
I hope I can just buy the 5060 and not the 8080 which is a lot more expensive and has an in built 28mm but where you can add on a
"Wide-angle lens WCON-08D $190 Brings the wide end of the camera down to 22.4 mm; requires CLA-8 conversion lens adapter ($35)"
- I'm in the UK so you can add 30-35% to these prices!

all the best,
Mitchv

Rhys
07-27-2004, 01:03 PM
It's a nice panorama. I can see some of the stitches. They're well hidden though.

Speaking from the point of view of somebody who has looked at houses, the wide-angle views are deceptive and often timewasting. Stitched pictures would mean I'd report the agency concerned straight to the appropriate regulatory body (whose name eludes me at the moment).

John_Reed
07-27-2004, 01:24 PM
Hey John what a great photo - I didn't see it earlier....
Now I've read the info about the Olympus 5060 which looks great! What I want to know is would the wide angle of equivalent to 27mm be enough to get good natural looking photos of interiors?
(by the way a photo of an interrio taken with a regular digital camera doesn't "look natural" since it cuts my rooms in half in the depth of field so they all look smaller than they would if you were just standing in them) I only want to re-create the actual room size with this wide angle...

Would I need to buy: "The C-5060Z has a nice selection of accessories available. You can add 0.7X wide-angle and 1.7X telephoto conversion lenses" (for idiots how wide is the 0.7mm wide angle?)
:)
I hope I can just buy the 5060 and not the 8080 which is a lot more expensive and has an in built 28mm but where you can add on a
"Wide-angle lens WCON-08D $190 Brings the wide end of the camera down to 22.4 mm; requires CLA-8 conversion lens adapter ($35)"
- I'm in the UK so you can add 30-35% to these prices!

all the best,
Mitchv
I'm sure you'd find 27mm "wide enough," but my earlier point was that you wouldn't be capturing a natural perspective at such a focal length. But that's only my opinion; I'd start with the 5060, which will give you enough pixels for any pictures you'll need. Shoot with the wide angle, and also try some panorama shots; you might find that you can use both approaches for different situations.
Incidentally, panorama software typically lets you stitch a matrix of shots, not just a wide panorama. For example, with Panorama Maker, you can shoot 4 shots across at one angle, then raise up and shoot another "swath" of 4 shots at a higher angle, then stitch them all together fairly seamlessly. "0.7" wide-angle would mean you'd multiply the focal length of your 27mm (e.g.) by 0.7 = 18.9mm

mitchv
07-27-2004, 02:27 PM
Okay so the Olympus 5060 at $699 is the widest DC lens (without buying an attachment) - equivalent to 27mm. Will this be sufficient to take photos in cramped apartments ?
I'm trying to keep the size of the rooms normal and give them space - when I take photos with a regular dc the rooms lose half the space - can someone tell me if 27mm will be as good as I can get for the price?
(or will 28mm not make much difference and cost $200 less...)
mitchv

mitchv
07-27-2004, 02:33 PM
Aah just saw your answer - so in fact 27mm may be too wide - which means I could use a 28mm... but again maybe not... looking more and more like it's between the Olympus 5060 and the Canon Powershot S60 at 28mm... :)

Jake Conner
07-27-2004, 03:22 PM
Hey, John, is that ArcSoft's panorama maker you're using? And Rhys, if you can find stitches in that shot, where are they? I can't see any.

Jake

mitchv
07-27-2004, 03:22 PM
Now that I know which camera I want I can't find it!
Does anyone know of any UK sites where I can find an Olympus C5060?

thanks

Jake Conner
07-27-2004, 03:23 PM
Er... I think it's out of production. Try eBay?

Jake

John_Reed
07-27-2004, 03:50 PM
Hey, John, is that ArcSoft's panorama maker you're using? And Rhys, if you can find stitches in that shot, where are they? I can't see any.

Jake
I couldn't see any stitches either, and I have the full size version to look at. Yes Jake, it's ArcSoft's Panorama Maker. Works on both Macs & PCs, comes free with Panasonic cameras, and maybe others as well? For that panorama, incidentally, the first one I ever took in "manual" exposure mode, I had to do no tweaking at all. I just lined up the frames in a row, clicked in the approximate focal length I shot with (65mm), and when it was done, there was no tweaking to do. I've always had to do some "re-connecting" in the past to make sure the frames merge properly, but this time, it was automatic! Neat piece of software.

Rhys
07-27-2004, 04:34 PM
What I saw that appeared to be stitches were faint swathes of slightly blurred grass. It's hard to see unless you know exactly what you're looking for.

D70FAN
07-27-2004, 05:17 PM
Now that I know which camera I want I can't find it!
Does anyone know of any UK sites where I can find an Olympus C5060?

thanks

Look for the C5060WZ. It is still in production.

Still a bit of overkill, but only by $200, and it is a nice camera. Probably the best that Oly makes.

John_Reed
07-27-2004, 10:01 PM
What I saw that appeared to be stitches were faint swathes of slightly blurred grass. It's hard to see unless you know exactly what you're looking for.
I'll tell you, Rhys, I looked that thing over and over, and I can't see those "faint swathes" you mentioned. I saw no vertical lines at all, which would be one tell-tale sign of a stitch. Since I have to really give Panorama Maker the credit for doing the work, I can safely say that to my eyeball that is one of the most seamless, stitchless panoramas I've seen yet. But please show me where to look?

Rhys
07-28-2004, 06:59 AM
I'll tell you, Rhys, I looked that thing over and over, and I can't see those "faint swathes" you mentioned. I saw no vertical lines at all, which would be one tell-tale sign of a stitch. Since I have to really give Panorama Maker the credit for doing the work, I can safely say that to my eyeball that is one of the most seamless, stitchless panoramas I've seen yet. But please show me where to look?

Yes. It is almost perfect. If you look carefully at the grass, you can see a swathe where it stops being vertical and gets a bit mashed. This is repeated a few times in the photo, where the edges of the frames have been merged. There is no visible line with modern software. What largely happens is the two frames are merged at the edges with each having 50% transparancy. I've done this kind of thing myself and had results so good I couldn't see the joins despite knowing where they were. Equally I've had awful stitching by Adobe's software.

Have a look at the picture below. It looks perfect but is made of half a dozen pictures. You can see the joins as swathes that are just a little more noticable than in John's photo. This was stitched with Olympus's software.
http://www.sageworld.freeserve.co.uk/britain/Beach%20Panorama.JPG

Ray Schnoor
07-28-2004, 07:23 AM
That is a pretty good panorama, Rhys. Except for the change in sky color in the center and the obvious mismatch around the "cafe" sign and the sky directly above it, there is not much wrong. Nice shot.

Jake Conner
07-28-2004, 11:20 AM
Yeah, Rhys, I know exactly what you're talking about. I just can't seem to find any in John's panorama....

Jake

John_Reed
07-28-2004, 12:00 PM
Rhys, I can see the "swathes" in your sky; I think I got around those by shooting with manual exposure for my shot, so that the exposures for each panel were identical. And there's an obvious mismatch at the "Cafes" sign; but I still can't see your evidence of stitching in mine. I'm not trying to prove that it's wonderful, but I honestly don't see the "swathes." How about clipping one out of my image and posting it back here to clarify what you mean? I don't know about your Olympus software, but I do know that Panorama Maker makes an effort to warp and distort successive image panels for best fit; you're always left with a little at top and bottom to crop from the finished panorama, although there wasn't much to crop in this case.

Ray Schnoor
07-28-2004, 12:29 PM
John, is that the original resolution of your panorama? The stitching itself does look great, but since you are asking for imperfections, these may be JPG artifacts, or something else.

http://rschnoor.smugmug.com/photos/6650961-O.jpg

John_Reed
07-28-2004, 03:39 PM
John, is that the original resolution of your panorama? The stitching itself does look great, but since you are asking for imperfections, these may be JPG artifacts, or something else.
Ray, I actually cut down the size by about a factor of 4 (linear) to make it something I could reasonably load which wouldn't be too big a burden on people's data rate capacity. It seems to me that Rhys was seeing something in the stitching, some telltale "swathes," and I was trying to figure out what he was talking about. You're right, if you wanted to microprobe the JPEG artifacts, that might be productive for some other exercise, but not this one. I put up this panorama to show the original poster that stitched panoramas could work; since this one is visibly acceptable to most people, it just makes the point that it's a useful tool for that purpose. A guy over on the dpreview Panasonic forum developed a jig for holding his camera to allow it to exactly pivot over the focal plane for taking interior panoramas; he showed a stitched 2 row X 2 shot room scene that he stitched with Panorama Maker, and it seemed perfect to me. I just looked for it to show, but he's taken it offline.