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This year I changed over and started allowing outside real estate photographers to shoot all my listing photos. I was using a Cannon T4i but it was just to much to carry. Here in my market 15 photos cost about $125.
Oklahoma City, OK
I recommend using a professional to do photo shoots for homes. I also realize that cameras today are superb, etc., and I am still a firm believer that when you have a good professional, they notice things that are not obvious to those who sell homes day in and day out, and may focus on the very thing that makes someone fall in love with a home and sell faster.
I have seen many instances of that, and most of our clients feel that the time spent on photography is better spent getting another listing or two. The return on time investment is much greater. A
Downers Grove, IL
I find many of the answers interesting and most are based on personal experiences or bias. To answer your question about wide angle lenses, I will try to keep it as simple as possible for you. If you are looking at a digital SLR, or one that you can change lenses on (not a professional one) there is a simple formula of simply multiplying the focal length of the lens by a factor of 1.6 to determine what an old fashioned 35mm camera lens equivalent would be. For example an 18mm wide angle lens on a Digital SLR, Like a Canon Rebel would be the same as a 28 mm lens on a traditional 35mm camera. Rule of thumb with 35mm cameras is that distortion was usually deductible in the 18mm to 22mm range, so a 10mm lens on the digital would work well.
Now to the small compact cameras that you are speaking of. The larger versions use a factor of 3 and the real little ones can use a factor of as high as 6. Most compacts you will find will have a wide angle lens of arond 8mm some as low as 5. What this means is that you are getting a lens in the neighborhood of a traditional 28mm lens on the old 35mm cameras, which is reasonable but not tremendous.
Now as to what to buy. My first and a very strong suggestion is to buy one that would have a traditional viewfinder. This means you put the camera up to your eye to view the picture. The ones that have the digital viewfinders that you hold away from your face to view have two major issues. First since you hold it away from your face there is a greater chance of camera shake or blurry photos. Second, if you are in a bright setting the glare on the screen may not allow you to actually see what you are taking.
My second suggestion is to look for a model that allows you to "stitch" two or three photos together. This negates the need for a super wide angle lens to see a wider area. Fuji Camera makes one, as I am sure other companies do as well.
Other things to consider are tripod mounts and the quality of the flash.
Now from drawing on my experience of 35 years in the photo and imaging industry I have found that Canon and Fuji are two of the front runners in digital cameras when considering quality of the product. Others in no particular order would be Pentax, Olympus, Nikon, and Samsung from the camera and optics industry. Sony and Panasonic make popular models as well, but they are strictly electronics companies with no experience in the optics field. Remember that optics is the most important piece of any picture.
Unless you have great software and love to edit and double expose your photos so that you can look through the windows, etc., hire a professional photographer. When you ask someone to list their house because they should use a professional, you should take your own advice and hire one yourself .
I mostly agree with Ron and Alexandra Seigel. I either hire a professional or do it myself - depending on the situation. And, light control might be more important than the camera
For lower priced, short market time homes, I use my Android Galaxy S V mobile phone camera for quick photos. I leave my hand held digital on the shelf because if I can't get adequeate results with a mobile phone camera, I go directly to a professional photographer.
My photographer has light management equipment and knowledge that I don't have. For example, for he uses corrdinated flash lighting in adjacent rooms to bring in depth. Results are amazing. Professionals have panoramic equipment and software that wuld be too expensive for me. Online stiching softward just does not work well for amatures. You would fall out of your chair laughing if I showed you my panoramic photo attempts.
But if you insist on taking your own photos, keep researching online for real estate cameras. I recall somewhere an article about an inexpensive dual lens camera that is good for wide angle shots such as for bedrooms. Sorry, I do not recall the exact brand but I do recall finding the camera on Ebay.
By the way, like David and Lisa, I mix my photos with the professional photos. This allows me more options to "tell a story" about a house.
Margaret Rome Baltimor...
I've always taken really good photos of listings, however I was having difficulty with lighting on a particular listing. It was outdoors and the coloring was a weird bluish shade when it should have been warmer and green. Apparently my NEX was over-correcting for the light or something. So I hired a professional and he explained it to me and got some great outdoor shots. BUT he was a portrait photographer and after seeing his pictures, he wasn't getting the size of the room correctly and I ended up using half of my pictures and half of his. I used him a couple times then found a photographer who SPECIALIZES in home photography. Now that guy is worth the money. He has high end equipment and brings in his own lighting on towers. He shoots the pictures and then touches them up after but they don't look fake like some. I've found that as good as I was at photography, I'm not a professional and professionals spend hours and hours, sometimes years, perfecting their "profession" and with the good ones it shows. I had bought a book about digital SLR photography and the more I tried to get into it, the more I realized that I need to just focus on getting clients, my business, and sub out the photography. The pictures of my listings get rave reviews from my clients and it's well worth the money. I've explained to new clients why the photography is so important and they get it. It has also helped me get new clients, including those who have agents who have brought in their cell phones to take pictures. I think it does also depend upon the type of listing though. I wouldn't spend the money on a photographer for a rental or a short sale because it's not necessary and shorts don't always close. It probably depends upon where you live too. If your pictures are better than all of your competition and you are taking them, I would continue to do that. In our area, we are in a fairly expensive area, competing with other agents who use professional photographers and stagers and we are working on being among the top agents so we had to up our game!
I have been shooting professionally for a few years. Weddings, and Interior.
There are some amazing small cameras avaialble that even have interchangeable lenses just like DSLR's, but that is only part of the solution.
I currently use a Canon 6d and Canon 60d with a 10mm-22mm and 16mm-35mm respectively.
Shooting RAW is imperative in order to edit photos in PhotoShop and correct color casts, and correct bad lighting.
You see, a cameras sensor is not like the human eye, a camera will do its best to expose for a particular lighting condition. If there are windows and a bright day, you will more than likely be underexposed and the room will turn out very dark. If you expose for the room, you may be blowing out (over exposing) the windows/lights.
You should also try not to shoot too wide of angle, ive had too many showings where clients complain about the home not looking like the photos. I try to stay around 22mm (full frame). Dont forget a crop sensor camera will usually be around 1.6 times the stated lens' focal length. (ie Canon's 10mm-22mm lens on a 60d is actually a 16mm-35mm)
If you have the time and money, get Photoshop CS5/CS6 and be sure to shoot in RAW. Look at some tutorials online and read about exposure and how to use Photoshop. It is imperative in order to get a great photo.
You may get lucky on a few homes with the perfect lighting from dark to light areas, but if you shoot enough homes, you will need to make adjustments or your photos will indeed look like the rest of the photos on MLS.
If anyone needs a photographer for their listings in and around San Antonio. "shoot" me a message :)
I agree totally with using a professional photographer. Let's see, using a conservative number of $100 bucks per hour that my time is worth, takes me a good 2 hours to shoot a listing, I can pay the photographer $125 to $150, save money and use that time for lead generating!
Oklahoma City, OK
I am surprised by the "commenters" that use professional photographers and recommended the same. I guess the question begets a question (already asked by Brad) what skill level are you and do you enjoy/want to photo your listings. Some of us truly love doing it. I use a Cannon 70D with 10-22MM, 18-135MM and a 70-400MM for times when a distant shot produces a better perspective (like getting on a slight hill and shooting down on the subject) You can get a very good compact camera with a zoom-able lens and 10+ megapixels for a few hundred dollors. Try out a few.
Brad, I 100% agree that cell phones are not an answer, as well as I Pads and tablets.
Lyn, your blurry pictures are caused by camera movement not the camera. Hold a pencil at arms length and see how long it takes for you to see it moving.
Jill, you didn't give an indication of your photographic skill level, though I suspect that your best photos are of family and friends rather than architecture. There is so much more to real estate photography than only lense selection. Lighting (frequently multiple flashes are necessary for good lighting), preventing distortion (keystoning, barrel distortion, perspective control or color distortion) and proper post processing are the job of the professional photographer. Sounds like you are looking for that miracle tool. Jim Paulson (#14) has exactly your right answer.
PS - by all means DO NOT THINK THAT A CELL PHONE CAN DO THE TRICK, even for those quick list/sell situations. Remember that your photos remain on the internet as examples of your work quality for long after you even remember what camera you used for a photo.
I just purchased a SonyA6000 for my husband. It was highly recommended by the professionals at the camera shop and appears to have the characteristics you are looking for. Wide-angle lens, lightweight and inexpensive compared to the other brands. That said, I'm going to continue to use the professional photographers for my listings.
I conveniently lost my camera 7 months ago and have used professional photographers since them. Every once in a while I think about getting a new camera but my iPhone seems to work just fine. I am curious to see what very small camera with a wide angle is recommended.
Jill, I can't wait to read the recommendations, because I've yet to find a small camera that works well for indoor shots. I have an old Nikon D60 with a very wide angle lens that still doesn't make the room look odd or fisheyed.
Jill, I use a Samsung digital camera with an equivalent of a 22 mm lens. I've found that a 22 or 23 mm lens equivalent works very well for indoor real estate shots. Any wider than that there's distortion. I would search by lens size and see what you can find.
I wish I knew.
It's more about the lens than the camera
Good suggestions here.
Great suggestions from other answers.
You got great suggestions! Wow!
Some of the small Canon Powershot cameras have very good wide angle lenses and are at affordable prices.
I forgot to mention above ( #26) that with the Fuji XE-2, you need to combine that with the 10-24 lens for high quality wide angle photos. New, you're looking at spending around $1800.00 for that set-up.
I love my Kodak, Easy Share C613. I personally am not a fan of wide angle as the ones I've seen even by professionals are like looking through a fishbowl and distorted. Often wide angles catch a lot of photo bombers like the neighbors pets doing their business and you don't see it til it ends up in the MLS. I've had pros for listings and was not happy. I'll stick with my camera for now. Have had it for 6 years. I get good shots on my phone and tablet but have a personal problem with self and tech.
Nikon 5200 or 5300. Comes with 2 lens and runs around $400. This was recommended to me by a professional photographer.
Ha! I've had myriad expensive and sophisticated cameras during my life. You name it I've owned it. But I have to say that with today's resolution and pixil qualities I'm fine with my I6 or Ipad for just about anything. The I6 has a wonderful panoramic photo option. If you want more than that you should really hire a professional photographer.
I've been hunting for versatility and have found an Olympus 820UZ iHS Digital to have nearly everything I need. At 14MP it should be able to print posters with excellent quality if you're steady enough. Prices range from $284 to $189 at various outlets it's by far the most complete for my needs which include wide angle and also 40X optical zoom capability. I also like that the video is HD 1080p. A lot of variability in manual mode so it may seem complicated to some. I've had three previous Olympus cameras and Canons too but this seems to have everything I want at a fantastic price.
I have been using a Nikon P500 for the last 3 years of so. They've updated this model a time or two and it can be purchased at a reasonable price. It offers a wide lense and many adjustments normally found on more expensive cameras. I bracket my pictures for the best overall lighting and exposure. I'm not as good as a pro, but my pictures are better than some done by pros and I can reshoot as often as I feel it's necessary to get the best images.
Indoor photos require more than just camera. The proper lighting goes a long way in producing quality photos. Photo editing software can be a big help as well. But,also, it depends of how much $ you want to spend. The Lumix you mention that Costco sells ( DMC-ZS25) takes good quality photos for a camera in the 250-300.00 range. Fuji X-10 is good but a little more expemsive. You also should decide if you plan on shooting video. By the way, a good place to check camera reviews is dpreview.com. They test every camera, and also camera users post their experiences, likes, and dislikes about cameras they have bought and use. Other camers ( both mirrorless) that are worth looking at are Sony A7 series, and Fuji XE2.
I've had a bit of luck on inside photos with my Iphone using an app called Ultra Wide. I prefer to use a professional photographer, but in order to get a few photos up immediately on the MLS, I will use that for interior shots. Also, if I've listing an investment type property, lower end, I might opt to use the Iphone and Ultra Wide app. But typically, a pro and outsourcing it is the way to go.
What your looking for is a 24MM lens. And of course a zoom to at least 80MM. That is fine for pictures inside any house. You can look at cameras with that type of lens or better. All digital cameras are light. Most of the inside a a few computer type chips. Most are plastic or aluminum bodies. When I purchased a camera I looked on eBay, but got frustrated on the bidding pages. I prefer Amazon now who stresses great reviews and ratings. The majority of weight is in the battery. Which is one of the lost important features. Say you drive 30 minutes to take pics of a new listing. What do you do after 12 pictures and they battery dies? Most smaller cameras come with special batteries that start at $15 for a spare. Then you have to remember to bring the spare battery. I prefer bridge cameras which are larger and styled after 35MM cameras. They also feature zoom lessons to 300MM and more. Great for wildlife pictures. When I chose my last camera I decided to go with a Fuji based on the fact it uses AA batteries. It only happened once, but the batteries died. I ran to the store and bought a pack of AA batteries and finished the job. I keep an extra set in the car now.
I prefer rechargeable AA batteries. The best I've found are made by Panasonic. They are about $2 a battery and about $15 for the charger. They will charge on any AA charger, but their charger is some how computerized and charges at a rate to extend battery life rated at 1500 charges. Over all the cost of rechargeable batteries is less expensive than non-rechargeable. But buy good batteries. I have all kinds. The cheap ones don't last and may not charge when you receive them. Batteries seem to last in relationship to their cost. Some I've had to over 5 years, but their charge life is reduced to maybe 2 weeks and less than 100 pictures. A new set of batteries lasts 2 months in the camera, and about 200 pictures. Most batteries discharge over time just sitting around. That's another reason to go with the Panasonic with the best shelf life of over a year... so their rating says.
If you do go with a smaller camera with a specially designed battery, your at the mercy of their design. There is no way to find the rating or life of the batteries they choose to use. Your stuck with that battery. Although most will give you about 1-2 months shelf life and 100-200 pictures. That depends on how much zooming you do. There is one thing about cameras. They all shut down when the battery power drops to about 1.0-1.1 volt no matter what battery is in them.
Well I was hoping for answers by coming. I HATE my Nikon L110. Wide angle is great but pics are grainy or fuzzy.
If I had a high end listings I would go pro.
I can't wait to see what you pick. Be sure and let us know.
Thank you for the question. I will look for the answers from others.
Just as an FYI, you can purchase a wide angle lens for your iPad at hdhat.com.
OK, Jill, I should add that I work for a firm with a professional photographer on staff, as well as a layout person who does our Photoshop work and puts together our brochures. I agree strongly with Ron and Alexandra. And I used to think that I was a really good interior photographer! I know now that I'm not.
Jill I like the Sony NEX 5 series, it is really small and offers different lens. I use the 2.8/16 which is a very wide angle lens and does rooms great. I do all my own listing photography and the clients are happy.