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2007-02-01 11:03:00

Q & A About Digital Cameras for Real Estate

(The following questions and answers were taken from the popular RealTalk Community.  REALTOR Steven Hong is a camera-savvy professional who is generous with his advice and counsel about technology with his RealTalk colleagues.)

QUESTION: I really appreciate all the information you all have given me about cameras. I've ordered the Canon Eos XTi. I have to admit that dropping $900 on a camera body and then buying lenses is okay but when it comes to buying the wide angle everyone, without fail, is recommending, I have a real hard time spending $700 plus 14% taxes to buy the Sigma lens. Might as well buy another camera, no?

Steven Hong, "The Camera Guy'THE CAMERA GUY: The lens is the most important part of the system. People usually choose a camp (Nikon, Canon, Sony, Pentax, Minolta, etc.) and buy lenses for that system. The body is basically a throwaway (it'll become obsolete in two years) but the lenses is where the image quality is maintained. 

I know people that have $5,000 in lenses, and a $300 body. You could get the $500 Sigma 10-20 and put it on the $500 nikon D40 and get great results. Conversely, you could get a $99 kit lens and put it on a $2,500 canon 5D and get mediocre results.

You could think of it this way: I need the 10-22 lens, a 18-80 f2.8 lens, and a 70-200 f2.8. Which camera body do I want to use with these lenses?

All that being said, the Canon 18-55 kit lens is very average. When my kit lens broke, I went and bought the Sigma 17-70 f2.8 lens for about $350 and it is far, far superior in image quality. There is no comparison. I've noticed an immediate improvement since switching to this lens.  -- Steven Hong, e-PRO, REALTOR, Edina, MN

QUESTION: I just picked up a 50mm/f1.8 to see how I can get better indoor shooting results -- it's such a cheap lens, no harm, no foul if it doesn't work out, yet all the pro's seem to say to get one. The stitching software that came with my Xti does a great job and is very fast, so it's no biggie for the wife to take and stitch lots of 90rotate pics. There's also a sale coming up on Canon lenses in a local shop, so I'm gonna get me a wide angle and a decent 200/f2.8.

Steven Hong, "The Camera Guy"THE CAMERA GUY: That is the idea. You shouldn't need to take one at the -2 though. And the 50mm 1.8 is a great lens, but not for real estate. It is not wide enough for anything indoors. But it is great for many other purposes. I for one, use it when taking club / concert shots such as these:  Example One  Example Two 

My current recommendation is that there are not that many high quality cameras in the lower price ranges right now. Nikon had a good thing going with the cp 5400, which is now discontinued.

I don't like the output quality of the two inexpensive digital cameras that have 24mm wide angle lenses, the Kodak 570 and the Kodak 880. I would not buy either of them due to the quality. If you broaden your search to 28mm, then there are plenty of options.

I tend to stick with the more major brands such as Nikon or Canon. But the best indicator of quality is the size of the lens on the front of the camera. The larger the glass, the better the quality (usually).

Me being more of a Canon guy, I would get a S60 or S70 in the compact size range.

-- Steven Hong, e-PRO, REALTOR, Edina, MN

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