Before the rush

Before the rush
by evan-pak

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We have a small B&B and would like ourself to do photos for frequent change on the website.

I am very good at photographing, technical aspects however are not my strongest side. I need to have better than an amateur camera with a wide-angle lens. What type/brand of camera and lens will be the optimal from the viewpoint of quality and price.

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How are you going to use your pictures? Just put smallish versions (600-1200 pixels along the longest edge) on your website? Or larger images, and if so, how big? – drewbenn May 20 '12 at 7:22
You're really talking about real estate photography. See this question that is very close. – rfusca May 20 '12 at 17:07

A semi fisheye or very wide angle may work for you, but you may well be better off using an edge-of-wideangle lens and panorama stitching or virtual tour software. Very wide angle lenses will invariably introduce what the eye/brain see as distortion. A panorame can be made to feel more normal even if it is effectively introducing distortions of its own (eg mapping time variant angular rotation on to a linear plane).

As one example, panorama software from Autostitch is free and marvellous, and commercial offerings using it add to it's basic functionality.
Autostitch free download here
See that website for links to commercial versions - but the free version may do what you want.

Here is one of several impressive demonstrations - zoom right out and use cursor keys to rotate continually or tilt vertically.

Also look at possibly using a mirrorball type lens such as Heather discussed recently in this answer - [NOT a duplicate btw]

End result looks much better than what you see here.

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Hugin is a very good and free (GPL) stitching software – clabacchio May 25 '12 at 12:13

The expensive option is to use a full frame sensor camera (Canone EOS 5D for example) with a wide lens ( Canon EF 14mm L or a Canon 16-35mm L for flexibility). This combination provides a very good image quality and fast results.

The cheap way is to use what ever lens/camera you have (Canon EOS 60D with a Canon efs 10-22mm, this should look like a 16mm lens on full frame) with a panorama tripod mount that alows the camera to spin around the lens optical center. That way the images will stich with minimal distorsion. The image quality depends on camera/lens and the software you use to stich the images.

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I think, 10mm lens for APS-C should be enough for room shots. Here sample (skip image quality, this is just sample for 10mm in APS-C) enter image description here

You can see whole room here and lines still ok, however you can improve it in post porcess still. Point of view should be lower here.

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20 to 24mm is the best. Not so wide as to distort the scene and wide enough to represent the whole space. I do architectural work and I love mixing telephoto and wide in the portfolio. The 80mm - 100mm lens will give nice straight lines which play into the strength of of the geometry of the architecture.

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