1. Welcome to Mu-43.com—a friendly Micro 4/3 camera & photography discussion forum!

    If you are thinking of buying a camera or need help with your photos, you will find our forum members full of advice! Click here to join for free!

Help! An mu43 for interior photography

Discussion in 'Open Discussion' started by Jfheard, Nov 8, 2012.

  1. Jfheard

    Jfheard New to Mu-43

    Nov 8, 2012
    I am trying to help my wife choose a camera she can use to take good interior design and decorating shots for a hobby blog she wants to start. Neither of us know anything about cameras but mirror less CSCs are looking fairly attractive for their lack of DSLR bulk. However which one should we choose, and what lens? The camera will ultimately be multipurpose (travel, photos of the kids...) but I am conscious of the particulars around interior photography, such as interior light conditions, window light glare, need for a wide angle lens for greater field of view, detail/ close up shots ( e.g. of particular objects in the home), ability to defocus for accentuating, etc.

    Ideally, we would like an optical viewfinder, manual dials on the top of the body, pop-up flash and manual focus on the lens barrel. The Nikon 1 V1 had the first of these features but not the latter 3, but was a good price at AU$900 (similar in US$) for a twin lens kit (including a 10mm to 30mm - good wide angle specs?) and the detachable flash, and I have seen some good reviews of it (not necessarily as an interior camera though). The Olympus OMD seems to reign supreme when we chat to salespeople but at $1400 for the single lens kit it is beyond our budget. Thinking of the Panasonic Lumix G5 or going without the optical viewfinder and opting for the GX1 to keep things closer to our original $800 to $900 budget, but then I am wondering if we don't just resign to a DSLR if it will mean better interior shots at the end of the day.

    So confused, so many numbers and jargon, but some clear advice would be awesome.

    Thanks heaps.
  2. elavon

    elavon Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 1, 2012
    Tel Aviv Israel
    For your need the M43 will give you very good quality.
    For camera with optical viewfinder you can also consider the G3 it is much cheaper than the G5 and OMD and will get you the same image quality as the GX1.

    What is important for internal shots is a wide lens in this you have a few choices the P7-14 O9-18 O12 which is a bit wider but faster. If you want to get into the extreme wide, you can buy the Rokinon 7.5 fisheye.

    You may also consider getting a tripod it will enable you to take the shots a dim lights with all lenses.
    • Like Like x 1
  3. ~tc~

    ~tc~ Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Oct 22, 2010
    Houston, TX
    First, if the pictures are for web viewing, you will be hard pressed to see any IQ difference from the larger sensor and one of the modern compact cameras with a wide-angle fast aperture lens.

    If budget is a concern and you want a viewfinder in a mirrorless camera, you have to look at the G3. With the cost difference, you can easily add both the 7-14 and 8FE lenses for the same price as the OMD kit is going to be with only the fisheye and kit lens.
    • Like Like x 1
  4. Jfheard

    Jfheard New to Mu-43

    Nov 8, 2012
    So, can you explain what you mean when you say a lens is "faster"? Also, that lens sounds like a 7mm-14mm... Yes? So what do all the other numbers refer to?

    Cheers (complete newbie):smile:
  5. Cruzan80

    Cruzan80 Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 23, 2012
    Denver, Co
    Sean Rastsmith
    Faster relative here. The poster is referring to the maximum aperture opening (lowest f-stop number). It means it allows more light to hit the sensor, resulting in a faster shutter speed (relatively speaking). P is meaing Panasonic, O - Olympus. So Panasonic 7-14mm, Olympus 9-18mm or Olympus 12, which has the smallest f-stop (therefore "faster" exposures than the other two wide open).
    • Like Like x 2
  6. elavon

    elavon Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 1, 2012
    Tel Aviv Israel
    THX Cruzan80,

    I would like to expand Cruzan80 explanation.
    In photography there is the "Holy" triangle which consists on 3 elements.
    Shutter speed.
    Aperture - f-number on lens the smaller number the faster the lens(Gets more light in.
    ISO- which is the film/sensor light sensitivity.

    In a given light increasing one of them will force to decrease other in order to get correct exposure.
    In your case since your wife is going to shot stationery items she got don't care about the first two and she wants to keep the ISO low for less noise.
    But for that she probably needs to have long exposure. Here come to play the tripod because it allows her to have long exposure without getting blur from the hand movement. She probably wants to shot in high f-number in order to get large depth of field (DOF) here again the tripod is handy.

    To summarize this post, your money will be spend well, if you will get a G3 plus a decent tripod and one of the two wide angle P7-14 or the O9-18. The panasonic is a better lens but more expensive.

    Just an example of interior shot I have made with the Rokinon 7.5, this is a fisheye and might suite your wife needs for more interesting shots.

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/73403162@N00/8138524716/" title="P1060596.jpg by Ehud Lavon, on Flickr">
    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)
    "1024" height="768" alt="P1060596.jpg"></a>
    • Like Like x 1
  7. Vincen77o

    Vincen77o Mu-43 Regular

    Nov 3, 2012
    St. Albans, Herts
    You should be able to pick up a used G3 on ebay, it does fit your requirements and budget. You might want to invest in a couple of cheap flashes for off camera lighting but don't put any old flash on a modern camera, voltage can sometimes be too high, used Nikons are OK. A solid tripod is a must but use a remote to eliminate shake. Lighting is the main consideration with interior shots, a trip to the Strobist website wouldn't go amiss.
    Professional interior shooters use tilt and shift lenses to correct distortion, usually on very high end cameras, but you can also use lens correction software, Lightroom's very good.
    Oh, and Good Luck.
    • Like Like x 1
  8. RobWatson

    RobWatson Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Also might want to go all in and try photosynth for a bump in 'wow' factor.
  9. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    Yes, I think Vincen77o's suggestion of the G3 sounds good. Couple that with a good wide(r) angle lens like the Lumix 7-14mm f/4 or the m.Zuiko 9-18mm f/3.5-5.6, or the m.Zuiko 12mm f/2. The Lumix 7-14mm would be the best choice if you can afford it, with the m.Zuiko 9-18mm being the cheapest alternative. The m.Zuiko 12mm f/2 will provide excellent quality but will restrict you to one wide angle focal length with no ultra-wide options (both 7mm and 9mm would be considered ultrawide). You don't want a fisheye for interior design shots as they are a special effect lens. You need to be able to show your product straight up. Don't throw all your money into your body, as you will need that good lens. Don't even worry about what kit lens(es) come with the body, as those are not the lenses you should be using. They'll just be a bonus for when you take the camera on vacation or something.

    Don't worry so much about lens speed, since you will need to stop down if you want more of the room in focus and you will probably need a tripod for that. However, you should be concerned about proper lighting... but that's a whole extra field which it doesn't sound like you've budgeted for. For now, start with a good sturdy tripod to go with your wide angle lens, as I assume you will have special lighting in the shots you want to take advantage of anyways. Manfrotto makes good tripods which I find to be very affordable. That's where I would start looking, then go up from there to see if you can afford a better tripod like say a Gitzo or something. But don't go below Manfrotto quality. You shouldn't need to anyways, considering some of their budget options these days. You can get a compact Manfrotto for as cheap as one bill.
    • Like Like x 2
  10. mattia

    mattia Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 3, 2012
    The Netherlands
    I love ultrawides for interiors, although they should be used with some caution - the images tend to confuse people unfamiliar with them who think the result looks 'unrealistic'. It's that whole ultrawide perspective. Be careful about camera position and tilt and you'll be fine, though.

    I recently (this summer) shot the interiors for my parents' rental places in Tuscany - most shots with a Canon 5DII, using a 17-40 for indoors and out, and frequently switching to the Zeiss 35/2.8 for exterior - wide enough to get a fair amount in, not too wide to look distorted (which even 24mm can do). I re-did several with the E-M5 and the 7-14 because of some redecorating, and it fared impressively well - the extra mm on the ultrawide end really do help!
  11. nsd20463

    nsd20463 Mu-43 Regular

    Apr 30, 2011
    Santa Cruz, CA
    Like the others have said, it's not the body it's the lens, the tripod, and the lighting (and with lighting, the white balance).

    As far as lighting goes, you can setup lots of remote controlled lights ($$$), or you can take multiple photos with the lighting (and exposure) changed and blend them in your favorite photo editor (pretty much any will do as long as it has layers, or can blend a stack of exposures).

    When I photographed my house for sale I used GF1 + Olympus 9-18mm + 3 exposures for each photo + blending the images in digikam.

    I used ISO 100, f/11 for all photos for best quality and the least visible depth of field. Since they were going to be resized down for the web the softness from differaction at f/11 wasn't going to be visible, and f/11 got me the depth of field I needed so everything was well focused.
  12. ssgreenley

    ssgreenley Mu-43 Top Veteran

    May 12, 2011
    I'll just say that I used the Olympus 12mm f/2 lens for a real estate project recently and was very pleased. It's wide enough to get most of a room but not so wide that it distorts the image and makes it look massive. I have other lenses, though. In your case, given that you want one lens for interior design and snapshots, I'd recommend the 9-18 (make sure you get the micro four thirds version or you'll need an adaptor!). It's the only extreme wide angle that's also long enough to be of practical use for casual snapshots.
    • Like Like x 1
  13. rparmar

    rparmar Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jun 14, 2011
    Limerick, Ireland
    A lot of good factors have been mentioned that I agree with, and one very important factor has been ignored.

    * Use a wide angle lens but not so wide that distortion becomes annoying, distracting, or just plain misleading. The Oly 14mm is a great lens on a budget.

    * You can stitch two shots together in panorama if you need wider.

    * A good tripod is required to steady your shots and also ensure you can line up the images and get horizontals correct.

    * Learn how to post-process to fix verticals. This can be done in any image editor. (Avoids the need for a tilt-shift lens.)

    * Topical lighting can really help, but controlling this properly gets out of the realm of "beginner". Not to mention that this can cost more than your camera kit.

    * The most important thing is to be able to capture the full dynamic range of an interior, from black to white. Most scenarios have very bright light coming in the windows in contrast to everything else. I recommend the Olympus OM-D E-M5 over the Panasonic G3. You get an extra 1.7EV range and better low light performance to boot. As a bonus you have image stabilisation for those times when you left the tripod at home. Reference. I think the only advantage Panasonic cameras have is in video.

    * Learn to blend multiple images, using the technique known as exposure bracketing and HDR. This can save your bacon when contrast is more than the sensor can handle.
  14. oldracer

    oldracer Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Oct 1, 2010
    Many good thoughts here, but I am going to come at it from a little different angle.

    First, from your questions it seems that you are quite new at this. I strongly suggest that you try to find someone to mentor you locally. Look for classes offered by a camera store in your city or by a local college. Talk to people at the camera store. Your goal is not just to learn but to meet someone who will help you understand the basics and, ideally, work with you actually doing some shooting. If you have to pay a little tuition, consider it to be an investment.

    What you will find is that "good interior design and decorating shots" are mostly about the lighting, not the cameras. Yes, you will want wide angle lenses, want to consider panoramas, etc. but that is not the main event. You'll have to learn how to light your shots with multiple hidden strobes.

    I have a friend who works for these guys: Hedrich Blessing Photographers, Architectural Photography, Residential Photography, Interiors Photography, Hospitality Photography, Chicago Architectural Photographer, Residential Photographer, Interiors Photographer, Hospitality Photographer They travel the world for clients. He has told me about interior setups where they used 50+ lights! Yes, they have fantastic cameras and lenses, but it is all about the light. Find someone to help you learn the lighting.

    Second, I would suggest that you not obsess over selecting the exact right equipment on the first go. You are unlikely to succeed because you don't yet know how and what you will be doing. Often, the first thing you buy just teaches you what you really wanted. I think that will be the case here for you.

    Spend half your budget. Buy some good used equipment (including a couple of slave-able strobes), maybe on your local Craigslist or on the FS list here. Try it. Learn. Repeat. Eventually you'll have learned enough to know what you really need. That's the time to be a bit obsessive. Not now.

    Good luck!
    • Like Like x 1
  15. Jfheard

    Jfheard New to Mu-43

    Nov 8, 2012
    Many thanks, but one more thing...

    Thanks to everyone for their advice, which (in time) I will go back over and revise. The last post was reassuring, and I think I will follow it - we have good friends who are both professional photographers who will help us out, and because we are not wanting to buy SOLELY for interior photography at this stage, I am going to try to get something near enough. I need to keep in mind it is just a hobby at this stage...

    The G3 is a good price and has all those features I was after. I might lookinto 2nd hand items, but with a twin 10-30mm and 30-110mm lens kit plus flash, the Nikon V1 seems like a good value kit, and the 10mm seems wide enough. I realize it is not technically a 4/3 camera, but is there any one who would strongly advise me against it for our purposes? I have noticed in-store, for example, that the lenses do not have a focussing ring on the barrel - any manual focussing that needs to be done has to be done through the menu and using the dial on the back of the unit. Is this a problem worth considering, or am I being too old-school?

  16. Promit

    Promit Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 6, 2011
    Baltimore, MD
    Promit Roy
    I'm going to suggest three things.
    1) An inexpensive but complete camera body, the G3 is definitely a good choice.
    2) An ultra wide angle lens. The Panasonic 7-14mm is the best, but the Olympus 9-18mm will do fine. 12mm is not really wide enough for real estate type shots.
    3) A dedicated flash. There's a lot of choices, any will do. This is generally needed to fill shadows and counteract harsh light coming through windows.
    10mm on the Nikon V1 will not be anywhere near wide enough for decent real-estate type photography IMO. It's equivalent to around 14mm on m4/3 and 28mm on a 35mm film camera.
    • Like Like x 1
  17. Jfheard

    Jfheard New to Mu-43

    Nov 8, 2012
    Interesting. Are there cheaper alternative lenses to the ones being suggesting in this forum - the Panasonic 7-14 and the Olympus 9-18?

    Does anyone else have any views on the Nikon V1? Other easons to consider/not consider it?

    This is really helpful!
  18. elavon

    elavon Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 1, 2012
    Tel Aviv Israel
    Jfheard the only other UWA lens is the Rokinon/Samyang 7.5 fisheye it is cheap 300 USD. But and a big BUT this is a fisheye and need to be corrected in software. If you are looking just for fun, you can start with it.
    It will give you distorted image and if you defish it you can get most of the distortion out with some loss of resolution in the edges.
    A G3 plus a kit lens, tripod, lightroom and the 7.5 will cost you about 800-900 USD. You can start with it and add as you grow more accessories.

    Regarding the Nikon it is a good upgrade to P&S camera but it does not have the flexibility of the :43: system, and the lenses because of the crop factor are much narrower.

    Here are a links explaining the defish process I use it quite effectively.

    Rokinon/Samyang 7.5 Lens Profiles: Micro Four Thirds Talk Forum: Digital Photography Review
    Micro 4/3rds Photography: Defishing fisheye images

    here is example of the defished image I have posted before

    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)
    • Like Like x 1
  19. oldracer

    oldracer Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Oct 1, 2010
    OK, having made my main point I'll jump into the equipment discussion a little bit. Basic assumption is that for interiors you will be using flash and shooting from a tripod.

    Camera: Panny G1. Completely adequate image quality, articulated LCD, eye-level viewfinder, and hot shoe. You will need a hot shoe to mount your bubble level and, after removing it, your flash trigger -- whether radio (which you don't need to start out) or just a small strobe. A G1 should cost you less than $150.

    Tripod: Tilt-All. Tiltall Tripod Support These oldies are made 100% from aluminum bar stock and large-diameter tubing. Amazing construction, yet they sell on the used market for maybe 1/3 the price of a good ball head. $65 +/- should get you one. Look at the history on the support site, as they have been marketed under a number of names. An articulated viewfinder is a huge help when shooting from a tripod.

    Bubble Level: I like this one: Amazon.com: Jobu Design Double Bubble Spirit Level: Electronics because the bullseye style is easiest for me to work with, but there are many cheaper ones that use tubular vials. Good interior photography with wide angle lenses requires paying close attention to level, even though sometimes you will choose to deviate from perfect level.

    Flash: Save money by avoiding the high dollar OEM-branded flashes. I haven't used it, but this one: SF-4000 :: Bounce Zoom Slave Flash :: Vivitar looks interesting and is cheap enough that you could try one or two. Otherwise lurk on eBay and pick up one of the inexpensive Metzs or other good brand. Don't buy a real oddball because when you go to two or three you'll want them to be identical. Life is too short to go through the anguish of learning two or three flash user interfaces.

    Lens. No price joy here, I'm afraid. 24mm equivalent focal length is the entry ticket to the party. That's a 12mm lens on an M43 camera. I'd recommend the Oly 9-18. It's a great little lens and at the 9mm end you can get pretty good interiors. (IMHO elavon's corrected fisheye is a good illustration of the perspective distortion you get when you go too wide. Look at the floor tiles to see what I mean. YMMV of course.)

    A G1 with a 9-18mm is a great family snapshot camera, too. You give up a little in low-light sensitivity but is that worth $100-300 more? Not to me.

    I am not much of an interior photographer but here is a tourist shot with the 9-18mm where I just happened to have some nice natural light. If I thought of it as a serious interior shot, I would probably straighten the converging verticals in post. As someone mentioned HDR is also a possibility. Note the overly-bright views out the two lower window. Those could come down a little bit.

    If I had shot it seriously I would have used a couple of strobes to brighten the shadow sides of those marble columns. One just to my right to get the first column and one farther to the right to get the second one. Because the columns are so close, the required fill light would not be enough to mess up the lighting in the main room. But that is at least a 1/2 hour project with equipment I wasn't carrying, not a tourist photograph.

    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)
  20. Just Jim

    Just Jim Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Oct 20, 2011
    If you want serious interior ability you'll likely want a Canon or Nikon and get a tilt shift lens. I'd suggest a used 5D mark 1 and put the savings in to a 24mm TS-E version 1 (version 2 is stupid expensive, and so is the 17mm TS-E), that lens would be the same price range as the 7-14 for the m4/3. As great as the 7-14 is, you'll still be processing quite alot to correct for perspective.
  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.