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10-18-2008, 04:24 PM   #16
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If it has to be a prime, and a Pentax, then the 14 or 21 would be good bets. If it is much longer you may not get everyhting in the frame. The 12-24 zoom is a very useful range, and has excellent IQ.

Note, the wider you go, the worse the leaning or keystoning becomes. If you are talking Architectural Digest-like shots, then the PC/Shift is the way to go. Hartblei makes fully manual 35mm and 65mm lenses for about $1,000.

10-18-2008, 04:36 PM   #17
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didn't see this answered, I don't know exactly what it means, but DA is digital only lenses, and FA lenses are lenses designed for film but which work BEAUTIFULLY on digital as well
10-18-2008, 04:54 PM   #18
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DA lenses are not guaranteed to fill full frame, and usually will not. FA are full-frame but also work very well on digital SLR. if you are shooting digital, buy either with confidence!

As a general-purpose lens I recommend the DA35 macro since it give you incredible close focus (as close as you will ever need to get) and a near-normal perspective. The rendering is spectacular.

But for architecture you will need something much wider plus a good tripod. The 12-24 others recommend comes up trumps in all reviews and personal portfolios, though I have no experience with it myself.
10-18-2008, 04:56 PM   #19
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QuoteOriginally posted by Photomaximum Quote
Good points MrA.

Depends how much and how often you want to do this kind of work. And the results you hope to obtain. Buying shift lenses and FF cameras will put a major dent in the credit card.

Another option is renting the kit as needed if you are doing this kind of work every now and then. For instance I live in Seattle and am fortunate that there are serious photography stores that I can rent just about anything.

Some architecture shooters will invest in a good pano tripod head that will allow for setting the nodal point etc. You then shoot several shots of different areas and using specific software stitch the images together to create one high quality image file.

The other option is going old school and doing it all manually. I am of course referring to shooting with a 4x5 view camera and say a 90mm lens. This means exploring new technique and dealing with large format film. Still the results can be way, way better than 35mm digital. Used prices on a medium grade 4x5 camera and a 90mm (most useful wide lens for architecture) are very affordable these days. Many ways of skinning the cat as the saying goes...
I am a mere amateur, and I will remain one. I am always amazed at the depth of knowledge I encounter after I think I have done my homework - these posts take a fair amount of parsing before I really understand what they're saying!

Anyway, I'm a medical student and will only be doing this as a serious hobby. As a student, my budget is limited, and as an amateur, I will never break into the realm of multi-thousand dollar investment in gear.

The relatively low cost film large format approach is intriguing though.

10-18-2008, 06:26 PM   #20
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I would say just get the DA 12-24 and teach yourself how to do perspective correction in Photoshop or some other digital imaging program...I don't think it would get any easier than that.
10-18-2008, 07:05 PM   #21
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Although I have not used the lens I think Sharko's recommendation is probably your best bet.

Keep it simple hey? That being said you can employ good technique. Take your time and walk around the building or interior. Contemplate which is the best viewpoint, angle and height to shoot from. Think about this before you even touch your camera. Then use a tripod. A worthwhile investment for architectural interior shooting is one of those sprit level bubble things that mount on your camera hot shoe. These will have spirit levels along both axis and cost about $25. Use it and make sure your camera is level along both planes. The biggest no-no in this kind of shooting is conversion in vertical planes: fish eye looking distortion. Keeping the lens plane vertical and the film horizontal with a tripod makes a HUGE difference. Then stop your lens down to f/11 or so and focus on the main feature of the room etc. Use a cable release and keep the ISO (film speed) low. Try different camera heights.

This is slow work and best done while thinking carefully what you are doing. Keeping lines straight is the most important thing.

After a while you will get pretty good at this. If you like this kind of photography (I do) you will find out what the limitations are with your current setup. What you do then is up to you. I would read up on famous architecture photographers. There have been some great ones over the years. Flickr has some good group stuff as well.

Cheers,

Max
10-18-2008, 10:34 PM   #22
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For Architecture and macro work, you generally wanna be able to stop down. For portrait; to have the opportunity to shoot wide open, at larger aperture.

Another lens to consider, could be a used K 15/3.5, shot with exposure bracketing, and closed viewfinder.

Else the 14 mm, or 12-24 zoom would do the trick.

For best results, you need to use a good tripod and Mirror Lock-up on the camera.

For convenience, people also use L-brackets :
RRS-L

And here is an option for a leveling base :
Acratech Leveling Base & V2 Ballhead Review


One of the next lenses to be expected, is a DA* 30/1.4.
Here is overview of Pentax lenses :
Pentax K-Mount Lenses and Lens Accessories

QuoteOriginally posted by Photomaximum Quote
The other option is going old school and doing it all manually. I am of course referring to shooting with a 4x5 view camera and say a 90mm lens. This means exploring new technique and dealing with large format film. Still the results can be way, way better than 35mm digital. Used prices on a medium grade 4x5 camera and a 90mm (most useful wide lens for architecture) are very affordable these days.
Hi Max, could you elaborate on this ? I've also heard others state, how Medium Format would be a lot better for architecture than 35mm digital. Thanks for your post, always very informative.
10-18-2008, 11:09 PM   #23
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Just for sake of example, here is a shot @ 12mm with the DA12-24. I cropped it a little from the original to 4:5 as I was using a Cokin polarizing filter that caused some vignetting at the corners. I was standing about 10ft from the doors you see at the bottom of the pic for this shot.

K20D, 100ISO, f/5.6, 1/40s handheld.

10-19-2008, 03:53 AM   #24
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QuoteOriginally posted by nanter Quote
I am a mere amateur, and I will remain one.
I'm an architecture student - my photographic aspirations far outreach my current budget, but like you have done some homework on what's out there.

Personally I'm saving for either the 15mm prime or more likely the Sigma 10-20, because I think 10mm may be more useful than 12mm at the wide end of the Pentax 12-24.

I'm lucky in that I can borrow a nikon shift lens and dslr from my department if I really need that capability.
10-19-2008, 05:53 AM   #25
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Very nice shot, Venturi. Thanks for the illustration. The Pentax 12-24 seem as good as mentioned. I wonder how a Pentax DA* 11-16/2.8 would be.


QuoteOriginally posted by MrA Quote
I'm an architecture student - my photographic aspirations far outreach my current budget, but like you have done some homework on what's out there.

Personally I'm saving for either the 15mm prime or more likely the Sigma 10-20, because I think 10mm may be more useful than 12mm at the wide end of the Pentax 12-24.

I'm lucky in that I can borrow a nikon shift lens and dslr from my department if I really need that capability.
I believe the Sigma 10-20, should have pretty bad distortion at the wide end, so not sure that is the best choice. Little is gained, if any, by those 2 mm extra.

A really good lens for Architecture, should be the Sigma 12-24mm F4.5-5.6 EX DG, though. Many Pro's use this, above what Canon has to offer. (As it is build for film format, you'll be using its sweetspot on digital crop).


I also have a general question, should I start to use my film SLR for Architecture, what B&W high resolution film should I use ?
I use Tri-X for portraits and general use, but not sure that would be best for higher resolution work.

Last edited by Jonson PL; 10-19-2008 at 06:13 AM.
10-19-2008, 06:19 AM   #26
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QuoteOriginally posted by Jonson PL Quote
I wonder how a Pentax DA* 11-16/2.8 would be.
I'd forgotten about that one. Presumably that'll be the smarter choice than the 14mm prime if speed is required, once it's available.


QuoteQuote:
I believe the Sigma 10-20, should have pretty bad distortion at the wide end, so not sure that is the best choice.
True. Although "bad" is relative.

QuoteQuote:
Little is gained, if any, by those 2 mm extra.
No, there is quite an angular gain. When you need 10mm, you need 10mm.
10mm vs 11mm vs 12mm from Ken Rockwell's site.

Ken did an interesting 12mm comparison (link) of the Nikon 12-24, Tokina 12-24(?same as the pentax one?), Sigma 10-20 and Tamron 11-18. I know some dislike his reviews, though, however the images presumably speak for themselves.

Last edited by MrA; 10-19-2008 at 06:40 AM. Reason: fixed url
10-19-2008, 06:20 AM   #27
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QuoteOriginally posted by MrA Quote
I'd forgotten about that one. Presumably that'll be the smarter choice than the 14mm prime if speed is required, once it's available.


True. Although "bad" is relative.

No, there is quite an angular gain. When you need 10mm, you need 10mm.
Image - 10mm vs 11mm vs 12mm from Ken Rockwell's site
wow, finally a good article from Ken Rockwell!!!
10-19-2008, 10:06 AM   #28
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I would try one of the wide lenses mentioned and see how you like it.

If you are really interested in architecture and photography then do some reading. I have a great book (large) by one of the masters: "Architecture and its Photography" by Julius Shulman.

If you are into doing some shooting with little fuss and want to move around with light weight gear then stick with 35mm. If you want to absorb yourself into the craft and want to achieve the best results possible, perhaps in black and white, then think about large format photography.

The best LF system here is the 4x5. These cameras are the original camera concept really. A board for the lens in front, a holder for the 4x5 sheet of film in the rear, and a flexible bellows in the middle. You can get used 4x5 cameras for cheap these days. The most common architecture lens will be the 90mm which are also common. You will need a tripod, a loupe for focusing, a cable release and film holders. And lots of time to play with it. Its all manual. The image you see through the camera will be reversed and upside down. It will appear dark and can be difficult to focus. You have to load your film holders in complete darkness. Its very slow photography best done alone.

This kind of photography can be a huge turn on or turn off. There are a lot of large format fanatics out there. It takes some practice and study. People who like it love it. The whole process becomes very appealing. The advantages of LF photography are many but the biggest is image quality. A well shot large format image is something to behold indeed. Architecture is one area of photography that still connects with large format photography.

Try this thread on the Large Format Forum: post your Architecture photographs! - Large Format Photography Forum
10-19-2008, 03:31 PM   #29
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I'm an architect; in fact, I justified my first dSLR with the argument that I need to document my work. My shooting is 20% architecture or cityscapes, 20% interiors, and 60% portraits. I use the DA 12-24mm for interiors and a few facades, and the FA 31 for everything else.

The 12-24 is a surprisingly good lens, with manageable distortion (easier to correct than other wide angle lenses). The FA 31 is just really, really useful. A good alternative to the FA 31 is the DA 35 macro.

Welcome aboard, nanter.
10-25-2008, 09:21 PM   #30
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QuoteOriginally posted by MrA Quote
True. Although "bad" is relative.
Nope, not relative. Here is from Klaus’ site :
“If you check the 10mm distortion chart below you will notice that the extreme corners are actually quite (barrel-)distorted - probably in the 2-3% range”.

And with architecture, corner performance is of importance. (Personally I would avoid using it for architecture at the 10 mm).
The Sigma 10-20 is one of the cheapest options for ultra-wide angle, and it shows so in performance.

QuoteOriginally posted by MrA Quote
No, there is quite an angular gain. When you need 10mm, you need 10mm.
10mm vs 11mm vs 12mm from Ken Rockwell's site.

Ken did an interesting 12mm comparison (link) of the Nikon 12-24, Tokina 12-24(?same as the pentax one?), Sigma 10-20 and Tamron 11-18. I know some dislike his reviews, though, however the images presumably speak for themselves.
As I see it, this is just another pointless Rockwell exercise. It would have been easy for him to step more backwards and get the shot properly.
Ken does not act as a working photographer any more, and to my knowledge; architecture was never one of his strengths.

Fact remains, most Pro’s and serious amateurs uses the Sigma 12-24 instead of far more expensive ‘L’ glass zoom or primes on the Eos 5D. And even on crop; the sweet spot of the 12-24 will be superior in performance to the 10-20 Sigma. It is far more well-corrected for distortion.

If you’re serious about your architecture shooting, I can recommend Sean Reids article on Ultra-wides for Eos, the principles apply for crop cameras as well :
http://www.reidreviews.com
(It is a pay site, but fair price and really good articles)

Some of the points, can be found in this free article of his :
Canon EOS-5D Digital Camera Review: Guest Review by Sean Reid



QuoteOriginally posted by Photomaximum Quote
The advantages of LF photography are many but the biggest is image quality. A well shot large format image is something to behold indeed. Architecture is one area of photography that still connects with large format photography.

Try this thread on the Large Format Forum: post your Architecture photographs! - Large Format Photography Forum
Thanks for your link and info. A Pro friend of mine doing architecture, stated how medium or large format, would blow Eos 5D out of the water, (the Eos 5D being what he uses most of the time. He gave a long explanation, but I really didn't understand half of it ).


And Sean Reid states the same :
“Using the Camera for Architecture

Leaving aside digital backs for medium and large format cameras, the dominant digital camera for architectural work was the Canon 1Ds and is now the Canon 1Ds Mark II.

Architectural work places heavy technical demands on cameras and lenses. The standard camera for this work is the 4" x 5" and that sets the picture quality bar quite high, indeed.”


QuoteOriginally posted by a a i b Quote
I'm an architect; in fact, I justified my first dSLR with the argument that I need to document my work. My shooting is 20% architecture or cityscapes, 20% interiors, and 60% portraits. I use the DA 12-24mm for interiors and a few facades, and the FA 31 for everything else.

The 12-24 is a surprisingly good lens, with manageable distortion (easier to correct than other wide angle lenses). The FA 31 is just really, really useful. A good alternative to the FA 31 is the DA 35 macro.
Makes good point. Personally I'm hoping for Zeiss to reissue their 15 mm f/3.5. As a FF lens, there will be little need for PP recovery. But the feedback for the Pentax 12-24 has been very positive as well.

Last edited by Jonson PL; 10-25-2008 at 09:35 PM.
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