Not Your Everyday Banana

by Bart Arondson

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My wife is in real estate, and I'm purchasing a camera for her. I have a couple of features in mind, but what else should I be looking for?

  • Budget: $300
  • small form factor
  • wide angle lens capability (to capture more of the room with minimal distortion - what's a good number here? 23mm-25mm?)
  • good detail and color representation.

So far, I've been looking at the Samsung wb250f, Canon Powershot sx260, and Sony Cybershot DSC-HC10V.

Obviously, the market is so flooded with cameras and features, it's hard to wade through to find the right camera for the situation at hand. Any advice would be appreciated.

Update:

I ended up going with the Samsung wb800f - 23mm wide angle lens, with 21x optical zoom, automatic live panorama, wifi, and low light shooting. The combination of options seemed the best suited for the use case at hand (real estate)

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3 Answers 3

up vote 4 down vote accepted

An wide-angle lens is a must to get photos straight out of the camera for most interiors. Anything 25mm and under is considered ultra-wide, some cameras go down to 22.5mm now.

Frequently that will not be wide enough and so a lot of real-estate photography is done by stitching multiple images together to form a panorama. What you really need to nail this with good accuracy are manual-controls which rules out all but the Canon SX260 you listed.

There are plenty of cameras with a wide-angle lens and manual controls but if you want the widest possible, then the Pentax X-5 and Sony H200 are the currently available and they happen to fit your budget except that they are not that compact.

If compactness is more important, then the Canon Powershot S110 is available for $329 USD and has an ultra-wide 24mm lens and manual-controls in an ultra-compact body. As a nice bonus, it uses a slightly larger sensor and has a much brighter lens than its peers which gives it superior image quality.

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I ended up going with the Samsung wb800f. 23mm wide angle lens, with 21x optical zoom, automatic live panorama, wifi, and low light shooting. The combination of options seemed the best for the use case at hand (real estate) –  Jason Mar 26 '13 at 21:35
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May be not a camera at all? Have a look at the new Nexus 4 phone which sports an incredible panorama stitching mode. All you'd need is good lighting and a tripod + mount.

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Most commercial photographers for real estate use a very wide lens for interior photos. The length in millimeters will vary with the size of the sensor. For an APS-C sensor, the Canon 10-22mm zoom or the Nikon 12-24 are very popular. For full frame sensors, a larger (longer) lens is equivalent, such as a 16-30mm.

As far as I know, no $300 point in shoot will have a lens that is this wide. Most use smaller than APS-C sensors, so they would need even a shorter (say 8mm) lens.

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It's worth mentioning that some descriptions of lenses on point & shoot cameras state the "35mm equivalent" focal length rather than the real focal length. So an actual 8mm lens on a P&S camera might be advertised as "28mm" (35mm / "full-frame" equivalent). –  RedGrittyBrick Mar 25 '13 at 16:13
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