General Question

BronxLens's avatar

Best lens choices for doing architectural photography?

Asked by BronxLens (1539points) February 6th, 2009

Will be using an Olympus E-520 DSLR to do architectural photography. Often, not always, the buildings of interest will be the ones in New York City so I’ll only be able to move back so far in order to make the photo.

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

8 Answers

dik2312's avatar

I’m relatively new to the world of DSLR photography so I might be stating the obvious here. Nevertheless, I would say a wide angle would be your best bet. A nice 10–20mm. Sigma have a nice one. As you said you’ll only be able to move back so far so a wide-angle will help you get the whole building in.

Ideally, having a zoom in the bag too would be great. You could get up close with some of the more intricate details and lines of buildings.

Hope I haven’t just stated the obvious +)

jaredg's avatar

You’ll want the widest angle lens you can find (that has good optics) if you’re going to be doing skyscrapers, as @dik2312 said above. Also, a fast 50mm serves every photographer well.

Are you taking pictures to document the buildings, or are you taking pictures of buildings, but you can do whatever you want in them? If you’re not constrained by what the photos will be used for, I’d consider a fisheye, too, but that’s not a necessity.

XCNuse's avatar

Since everyone is talking about wide angles, the best right now is the Tokina zoom, it’s fairly cheap and it’s even sharper than that full frame nikon 12–24, the thing is amazing and i think it’s somewhere in the 700$ range if not less, it’s amazing.

PC (perspective control) lenses is what architecture photographers really use, i don’t know if olympus has any, but you can always get an adapter and then have to deal with no metering but that’s okay for the most part (esp. being digital, then it REALLY doesn’t matter)

however, PC lenses are .. to say the least not cheap, they’re amazing with what they can do though that’s for sure.

TitsMcGhee's avatar

If you’re doing it to represent something accurately, I would use a standard 50mm lens. It is the closest representation to what the eye sees, and will give an accurate portrayal. If you’re looking for a certain look or effect, go more wide angle or zoom or some such.

simpleD's avatar

Wide angle lenses exhibit great amounts of barrel distortion. Straight verticals near the edges of the frame will appear bowed. Other objects near the edges may appear distorted. The vertical edges of tall buildings will converge, making it look as though the buildings are falling backwards. If these are unwanted features, a perspective control (or shift) lens is your best bet. Of course, a shift lens only approximates what you can do with a view camera, which is the perfect tool for architectural photography.

steelmarket's avatar

Here’s a really sweet, but pricey, Canon tilt shift lens

XCNuse's avatar

hold on there @TitsMcGhee, a 50mm is what the eye sees on a FILM camera, when you put it on a dSLR like he’s talking it turns it into an 85mm lens (well.. obviously with 1.5x factor)

either way like i said if you want to be 100% pro architecture photography you HAVE to go with a PC/tilt shift lens, that’s .. what they are made for.

other than that, yess with wide angles you CAN get barrel and some other distortion, but if you put it into photoshop and you work with the perspective… an ordinary person would never notice to be honest…

and if you want to get for real about it, DxO software has the specifics for most lenses in which case it will remove ALL distortion period..

TitsMcGhee's avatar

@XCNuse: Oh man, I missed the dSLR part. I’m in school, and I’m a photo major, and so wrapped up in film that I completely forgot about digital!

Answer this question




to answer.

This question is in the General Section. Responses must be helpful and on-topic.

Your answer will be saved while you login or join.

Have a question? Ask Fluther!

What do you know more about?
Knowledge Networking @ Fluther