panorama software,virtual tour software
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Joined: 2005-05-15
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2006-04-24
#1

Best lens for interior still shots

Hi Friends,

I am in need of some advice from you guys.

Currently I am using the stock 18-70mm Nikkor lens that comes with the D70s kit.  But this lens is not very good. At 18mm there is very noticable barrel distortion and the lens in general is not "optically" well made in my opinion. But then it is just a cheap stock lens to get you started.

I need a good aspherical wide angle lens for shooting interior rooms and exterior landscapes. But mostly for interior architectual work.

I have been looking at the following lenses.

Sigma 10-20 mm

Sigma 12-24mm

Tamaron 11-18mm

Tokina 12-24mm

Nikkor 12-24mm - cost $1000.....hummmm not sure that is worth it.

If any of you have a few still shots of an small interior spaces such as a master bedroom or living room made with one of these lenses could you post it. I have found some landscape sample shots but that doesnt tell me how the image looks for small spaces.

Any advice on which lens would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks
General Lee

 


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Joined: 2002-06-12
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2006-04-24
#2

Hi Gen Lee,

For hotel rooms I use a  Canon 10 -22mm zoom. [[Crop factor 1.6] 16 to 35mm]] 

While viewing the room through the view finder, align the left or right image edge up with a vertical door way or wall corner.  Usually I zoom in a bit to reduce the barrel distortion while still trying to capture the full width of the room.  Usually the image is taken around @19 or 20mm.

The remaining barrel distortion if any, is removed in Photoshop. 

Filter | distort | lens correction.

In selecting a new lens, you might also want to consider looking for that particular lens Modular Transfer Function (MTF) for laboratory quality testing.

While we have discussed this MTF topic before, it might be worth a quick review.  At least you will know the MTF characteristics before you buy it and know what to expect:

If you are going to spend $400 to $1,000 on a lens you might consider looking at the lens specifications. When choosing expensive len$es you might do a quick google search for Modulation Transfer Function Charts (lens MTF ratings). Canon has their MTF Lens charts on their website. Nikon did not last time I looked. I won't get too technical here because the first time around I found the subject a bit overwhelming. The short answer here the chart shows the lens test for its ability to transmit light through the lens optics. The lab measurements are for 'Contrast' and 'Sharpness'. The higher the rating the higher quality of image. Lenses that rate from .8 to 1 are "Excellent" and .6 to .8 are "Average".... regardless the manufacturer selling price.

For example the Canon 28 - 135 f/2.5-5.6 IS USM (Canon 20d [1.6] 35mm equal to 45mm to 216mm] zoom. If you scroll down to the bottom you will see 2 charts. The left side chart is for maximum view 28mm and the right side chart is for full zoom in at 135mm.

Vertical scale is 0 to 1 or ability to transmit all the incoming light all the way back to the film plane. The horizontal scale is 0 to +20 where 0 is the center of the lens and +20 is the edge of the lens glass.

Look for the solid blue and black line. The solid blue line is 'Contrast' or the lens ability to maintain high contrast. The solid black line is 'Sharpness'. Ignore the dotted lines. Sharpness is determined by the ability of see 10 or 30 lines per millimeter thickness on the film plane (sensor).

http://consumer.usa.canon.com/ir/controlle...49&modelid=7337

I realize that this is a simplified explanation. Before spending the big bucks for glass suggest reading a more in-depth expanation about MTF:

http://luminous-landscape.com/tutorials/un...nding-mtf.shtml

Below is our medium priced lens collection:
Sigma 8mm EX 180 Fisheye f/4mm prime lens
Canon Wide Angle Zoom EFS 10-22mm f/3.5 to 4.5 USM
Canon Stock Lens EFS 18-55mm f/3.5 -5.6 II
Canon Zoom EF 28 - 135mm f/3.5 to 5.6 IS (image stabilizer) USM
Canon Zoom EF 70 - 300mm f/4 - 5.6 IS (image stabilizer) USM

At the end of the day... great imaging really depends on the person abilities behind the viewfinder.


/s/
Dave
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Joined: 2005-09-16
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2006-04-24
#3
As ever I have no actual knowledge but from windowshopping every review comes out likeing the Tokina 12-24mm the best. The sigma is obviously the widest but slightly less sharp and well built. The nikon everyone said is only ever so fractionally better than the others despite costing far more so most people wish they had bought one of the others. Ken rockwell also claims the tokina has a more predictable barrel distortion while the sigma is more random and thus harder to correct.

Of course if your really want the extra two mm the sigma is probably not all that much different from the others so I'd say its a shoice between either the Tokina for quality for the sigma for the pure width.
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2006-04-24
#4

Great answer Dave! Gives me something to chew on for a while. I might be back with a few questions.

You mentioned barrel distortion. Is that occuring at the wide angles or over the entire focal length of the lens?

Thanks

General Lee

 

 


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2006-04-25
#5

I found the slight barrel distortion only on the left and right side of the images.. sort of looks like the start of fisheye curved line at 10mm.. but only slightly.  Zooming in while still maintaining full room width to around 19 - 20mm the distortion is almost gone.

I am so accustomed to seeing fisheye images.. they look almost normal for me.


/s/
Dave
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2006-04-25
#6

Yea the barrel distorion is the same for me too. I look at them all the time too. Its funny because when I look at ashperical images they look funny to me sometimes.

I got to thinking about a Prime 14mm lens.

The main use I have for this lens is for interior shots for large sized print ads and to go with the virtual tour as a photo gallery. So I need a really good fast lens due to all the varied lighting conditions. I don't use flash because I like the natural and built in lighting of the rooms to be a part of the image. So a good fast lens is necessary.

There is flexability with the wide angle zooms but at a cost of optical quality. Since my intended use of this lens is very specific I am thinking the prime 14 mm might be a better choice. It is more expensive but I am willing to pay the extra to get the best image possible.

What do you think about prime vs zoom

General Lee


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2006-04-26
#7

I used the Nikon 12-24 for a couple of years for Real Estate and loved it . I still have it but have switched to Canon 5d with a Canon16-35 f2.8 which is a bit wider. Correct distortion from both lenses with PTLens but most people will never notice any.

I rely on good zooms for most of my work but occasionally use a prime for close-up detailed 'catalogue' work. Think if you get a 14mm you'll find yourself wanting to go wider or closer at times.

Good luck

Simon