Best lens for architectural photography

Started Jan 5, 2013 | Discussions
Steviezj
New MemberPosts: 2
Like?
Best lens for architectural photography
Jan 5, 2013

I've recently upgraded to a full frame 5d mk2 With 24-105 lens.

I'm looking to move into  architectural photography but I'm unsure of the best lens to start out with and to save up for.

all advice would be gratefully received.

Canon EOS 5D
If you believe there are incorrect tags, please send us this post using our feedback form.
KCampbell
Senior MemberPosts: 2,048Gear list
Like?
Really only one choice
In reply to Steviezj, Jan 5, 2013

Large maximum aperture is seldom important for architecture, and you've already got a reasonable focal length range covered with the 24-105.

Since any lens can be used for architecture, the only real choice might be to consider which lenses have features that make the specifically suitable for architecture - and that means the tilt/shift lenses.

I have both the TS-E 17 and the TS-E 24, and have used both for architecture - interior and exterior. Choice of focal length is really driven by the scale of your subjects - there have been interiors where I've shifted and stitched 2 17mm images for maximum field of view.

Not cheap choices, but they are the ultimate answer to "what lens for architecture".

Kevin

 KCampbell's gear list:KCampbell's gear list
Fujifilm FinePix X100 Canon EOS 5D Mark II Fujifilm X-Pro1 Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF1 Canon TS-E 17mm f/4L +15 more
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
joger
Senior MemberPosts: 2,659Gear list
Like?
Re: Really only one choice
In reply to KCampbell, Jan 5, 2013

KCampbell wrote:

Large maximum aperture is seldom important for architecture, and you've already got a reasonable focal length range covered with the 24-105.

Since any lens can be used for architecture, the only real choice might be to consider which lenses have features that make the specifically suitable for architecture - and that means the tilt/shift lenses.

I have both the TS-E 17 and the TS-E 24, and have used both for architecture - interior and exterior. Choice of focal length is really driven by the scale of your subjects - there have been interiors where I've shifted and stitched 2 17mm images for maximum field of view.

Not cheap choices, but they are the ultimate answer to "what lens for architecture".

Kevin

Fully agree

-- hide signature --

__________________________________
isn’t it funny, a ship that leaks from the top
ISO 9000 definition of quality: 'Degree to which a set of inherent characteristic fulfills requirements'
I am the classic “Windows by Day, Mac by Night user'
“The horizon of many people is a circle with zero radius which they call their point of view.” Albert Einstein

 joger's gear list:joger's gear list
Canon TS-E 17mm f/4L Canon EF 135mm f/2.0L USM Canon EF 40mm f/2.8 STM Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L IS II USM Canon TS-E 90mm f/2.8 +10 more
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Jim Cassatt
Veteran MemberPosts: 4,576Gear list
Like?
Re: Best lens for architectural photography
In reply to Steviezj, Jan 5, 2013

For indoor shots, I have used a Tamron 17-35 f2.8-4 with good success.  Unlike outdoors, you can generally keep the camera level to avoid perspective distortion.

Outdoors, nothing like my 24 mm f3.5 L TS-E.  Great for loandscapes too.

-- hide signature --
 Jim Cassatt's gear list:Jim Cassatt's gear list
Fujifilm X10 Canon EOS 5D Mark III Canon EOS 40D Canon EOS 300D Fujifilm X-E1 +18 more
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
The Wanderer
Regular MemberPosts: 223
Like?
Re: Best lens for architectural photography
In reply to Steviezj, Jan 5, 2013

I used to have the old Sigma 12-24 lens.  I understand the newer model is better but I moved to EPS-C cameras and now use the Sigma 8-16 lens.

My main, amateur, use for this is for cathedral interiors.  After lengthy experimentation in setting nodal points on a sliding mount, I take two sets of landscape images, the first with the camera horizontal and the second tilted up by 30degrees.  Each set comprises three exposures for HDR.  The two sets are merged in Photoshop, either CS3 or CS5 and sometimes both.

I am pleased with the results.  I see no reason why the new Sigma would not be very good on full frame

-- hide signature --

-- Before photography, I looked - now, I see. www.colinconwayphotography.com

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
snapperZ
Contributing MemberPosts: 801Gear list
Like?
Re: Best lens for architectural photography
In reply to The Wanderer, Jan 5, 2013

The Wanderer wrote:

I used to have the old Sigma 12-24 lens. I understand the newer model is better

The newer model is sharper but distrotion correction is significanly worse so it may not be better (or as good) for acrhitecture. The original 12-24 majors on being impressively distrotion-free at 12mm which is quite a feat for a superwide zoom.

 snapperZ's gear list:snapperZ's gear list
Canon EOS-1D Mark IV Canon EOS 7D Canon EOS 30D Canon EOS 5D Mark III Canon EF-S 15-85mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM +28 more
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Shaun_Nyc
Senior MemberPosts: 2,272Gear list
Like?
Re: Really only one choice
In reply to joger, Jan 6, 2013

joger wrote:

KCampbell wrote:

Large maximum aperture is seldom important for architecture, and you've already got a reasonable focal length range covered with the 24-105.

Since any lens can be used for architecture, the only real choice might be to consider which lenses have features that make the specifically suitable for architecture - and that means the tilt/shift lenses.

I have both the TS-E 17 and the TS-E 24, and have used both for architecture - interior and exterior. Choice of focal length is really driven by the scale of your subjects - there have been interiors where I've shifted and stitched 2 17mm images for maximum field of view.

Not cheap choices, but they are the ultimate answer to "what lens for architecture".

Kevin

Fully agree

I finally got out with it tonight, maybe you have a point

-- hide signature --

__________________________________
isn’t it funny, a ship that leaks from the top
ISO 9000 definition of quality: 'Degree to which a set of inherent characteristic fulfills requirements'
I am the classic “Windows by Day, Mac by Night user'
“The horizon of many people is a circle with zero radius which they call their point of view.” Albert Einstein

-- hide signature --
 Shaun_Nyc's gear list:Shaun_Nyc's gear list
Nikon D3 Nikon D800 Nikon D50 Canon EOS 5D Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM +10 more
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Steviezj
New MemberPosts: 2
Like?
Re: Best lens for architectural photography
In reply to snapperZ, Jan 6, 2013

Hi Guys

Thank you for your replies.

My thoughts were along the lines of the TSE 24mm too. Its a big cash commitment but definitley worth saving up for.

Cheers

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
JohnnyRX7
Senior MemberPosts: 1,853
Like?
Re: Really only one choice
In reply to KCampbell, Jan 6, 2013

agree.. this is t/s lens strength

-- hide signature --

Johnny

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
BAK
BAK
Forum ProPosts: 19,104
Like?
Or maybe not
In reply to Steviezj, Jan 6, 2013

Re> but definitley worth saving up for<

Not worth it unless you need pictures you can't get with a 24-105 and Photoshop, with its perspective controls.

Time you save doing in-camera corrections may make the TSE worthwhile.

And only wirth it if either a client will pay or you really, really love straight verticals.

BE CAREFUL: if you are dreaming of a new lens, you just might not work all that hard with the lens you hve now.

BAK

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
kewlguy
Senior MemberPosts: 1,559Gear list
Like?
Re: Best lens for architectural photography
In reply to Steviezj, Jan 7, 2013

24 TSE II would be a good start. I like 24 better than 17mm because of more 'natural' look without the foreground being expanded but in certain situations you'll need something wider like 17 TSE.

24 TSE II is probably the best WA in Canon line up. I currently use this lens on 5D2. This is really an excellent lens - minimum distortion, minimum CA, sharp to corners even shifted (not to the max, of course), low vignetting, low flare... the only drawback is the focus shift when stopped down but it's rarely a problem in the field.

Like the previous poster said - you have no other choice

 kewlguy's gear list:kewlguy's gear list
Canon EOS 600D Canon EOS 6D Fujifilm X-E2 Fujifilm X-T1 Nikon 1 J1 +15 more
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
joger
Senior MemberPosts: 2,659Gear list
Like?
Re: Really only one choice
In reply to Shaun_Nyc, Jan 7, 2013

Shaun_Nyc wrote:

joger wrote:

KCampbell wrote:

Large maximum aperture is seldom important for architecture, and you've already got a reasonable focal length range covered with the 24-105.

Since any lens can be used for architecture, the only real choice might be to consider which lenses have features that make the specifically suitable for architecture - and that means the tilt/shift lenses.

I have both the TS-E 17 and the TS-E 24, and have used both for architecture - interior and exterior. Choice of focal length is really driven by the scale of your subjects - there have been interiors where I've shifted and stitched 2 17mm images for maximum field of view.

Not cheap choices, but they are the ultimate answer to "what lens for architecture".

Kevin

Fully agree

I finally got out with it tonight, maybe you have a point

oh really

Glad you seem to be satisfied! That's one of the common problems in forums - you'll never know if you have nerds or fan boys of gearheads or simply guys who love to have good equipment and work with it. I hope I am regarded as the last category mentioned but I am sure many might tend tend to disagree not owning or testing the things in the same way.

Fir me the TS-E 17 is a phenomenal lens with outstanding corner to corner sharpness. I am not sure if we will a similar lens fron any other brand in this focal area soon . . .

This is an image form my photo weekend

TS-E 17 - no further correction . just shifting and a bit of stitching and cropping for the final FOV

look at the trees - amazing sharpness across the whole frame - I just love it - very fine tool in the right hands

-- hide signature --

__________________________________
isn’t it funny, a ship that leaks from the top
ISO 9000 definition of quality: 'Degree to which a set of inherent characteristic fulfills requirements'
I am the classic “Windows by Day, Mac by Night user'
“The horizon of many people is a circle with zero radius which they call their point of view.” Albert Einstein

 joger's gear list:joger's gear list
Canon TS-E 17mm f/4L Canon EF 135mm f/2.0L USM Canon EF 40mm f/2.8 STM Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L IS II USM Canon TS-E 90mm f/2.8 +10 more
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
hotdog321
Forum ProPosts: 10,455Gear list
Like?
Re: Best lens for architectural photography
In reply to Steviezj, Jan 7, 2013

I shoot professionally (photojournalist). I've had very good results using the 16-35mm lens on a full frame for architecture assignments, but I generally need to add a fair amount of sharpening in PP to make the images "just right." If I specialized in architecture, I would get the wonderful 17 T/S lens, though.



Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
CameraCarl
Veteran MemberPosts: 3,362Gear list
Like?
Re: Best lens for architectural photography
In reply to hotdog321, Jan 7, 2013

Photoshop will never correct for perspective the way a T/S lens does.  Buy either the 17mm or 24mm TS-E.

 CameraCarl's gear list:CameraCarl's gear list
Sony Alpha NEX-6 Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS USM Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM Sony E 16-50mm F3.5-5.6 PZ OSS Sony Vario-Tessar T* E 16-70mm F4 ZA OSS +1 more
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
vander
Senior MemberPosts: 2,168
Like?
Being realistic
In reply to Steviezj, Jan 7, 2013

Unless you have hoardes of money and have nothing better to do with it, then you need not read further.

I don't earn a living from shooting architecture or real estate, but I make a nice second income from it. I'm not going to dispute the fact that a TS lens is ideal and that it really is a worthwhile investment IF you can justify doing so and your client demands that extra bit of perfection. In my case 99.9% of the time that is not a factor and the tools and software at my fingertips can easily handle the situation.

I use a 5d MKII and the 17-40L and find I'm usually around the 24mm range. I feel that too wide is often not a great way to make the viewer feel like they are in the photo. But I do quite often go into the 17mm range for normal house sized bedrooms.

I try to keep the verticals straight in camera as best as I can then use PTLens software for correction which does a fantastic job and the price is well worth it.

My advice to you. Use the 24-105. When you start earning money by actually doing paid gigs and you find that you need a TS, if that will be the case, then spring for it.
But in the couple years that I've been doing this part time I haven't run into a situation where I couldn't take the shot with the gear that I have.
I'm sure you've heard this over and over again. But marketing your services to get the jobs is where the money is best spent right now. Get your name out there so you are actually making money before buying expensive gear that might save you a little time in processing down the road and giving your photos that slight advantage.

Most clients/realtors will never know that you used a "normal" lens and will be happy with the results.

-- hide signature --

Check out my photo galleries !!
http://www.vandervalk.ca

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
joger
Senior MemberPosts: 2,659Gear list
Like?
Re: Being realistic
In reply to vander, Jan 7, 2013

vander wrote:

. . .  Most clients/realtors will never know that you used a "normal" lens and will be happy with the results.

until somebody comes to your client with better results . . .

Had a look at your interior gallery - really fine shots and you seem to be very skilled with software! I guess you'd love the TS-E 17 because it would fit perfectly your work!

this example shows what i mean with software vs a tilt and shift lens:

either the chimney was built distorted or it was the lens.

Please don't get me wrong here - and if it was in real world a bit distorted - no problem either.

My point is you'll never know whether it is the software or the real thing.

A TS lens makes it so much easier and shorter in post production since it is ALWAYS perfect.

Very nice portfolio - love the way you shoot - you should do yourself a favor and give a TS-E a chance

-- hide signature --

__________________________________
isn’t it funny, a ship that leaks from the top
ISO 9000 definition of quality: 'Degree to which a set of inherent characteristic fulfills requirements'
I am the classic “Windows by Day, Mac by Night user'
“The horizon of many people is a circle with zero radius which they call their point of view.” Albert Einstein

 joger's gear list:joger's gear list
Canon TS-E 17mm f/4L Canon EF 135mm f/2.0L USM Canon EF 40mm f/2.8 STM Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L IS II USM Canon TS-E 90mm f/2.8 +10 more
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
vander
Senior MemberPosts: 2,168
Like?
Re: Being realistic
In reply to joger, Jan 7, 2013

Absolutely, and please don't think from my previous post that I was knocking the TS lens in bad light, because I wasn't.
I was writing the post based on the OP asking what to do as he/she was just getting started. I never think that breaking the bank for something you don't even know if you'll have work in or have marketed for is smart business sense. Maybe the OP has saved his money for this or has a bank loan and a business plan all figured out, I could be wrong. It just seemed from his post that he's made this decision to try this, hence the you can start with a non TS lens.

Thank you for the compliments and I appreciate the advice with the used example, and you are correct. My dilemma is that I charge $149 for a real estate shoot and have priced it at that because there is quite a bit of competition that charges less than that and thought it would be a decent starting point for me.

It takes a lot of $149 jobs to pay off a TS lens and at this point my clients are happy with the quality that I've given them. Should a large job come that I can bill more for I would consider your suggestion.

But you are correct, ultimately you'd want the TS if you are to do this full time and demand the best.

Thanks again for the kind words.

-- hide signature --

Check out my photo galleries !!
http://www.vandervalk.ca

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Shaun_Nyc
Senior MemberPosts: 2,272Gear list
Like?
Re: Being realistic
In reply to joger, Jan 7, 2013

joger wrote:

vander wrote:

. . . Most clients/realtors will never know that you used a "normal" lens and will be happy with the results.

until somebody comes to your client with better results . . .

Had a look at your interior gallery - really fine shots and you seem to be very skilled with software! I guess you'd love the TS-E 17 because it would fit perfectly your work!

this example shows what i mean with software vs a tilt and shift lens:

either the chimney was built distorted or it was the lens.

This room looks to have a smig of vertical distortion, which would be the lens positioning. Easily fixed w a crop penalty.  Although the 17-40 must have a large geometric distortion disadvantage vs the 17tse so you’re not fixing that and losing much to cropping. I can see the 17 canon really shining when a job requires a shifted stitch. What fov does it replicate shifted, 10 or 12mm ? From my brief moments w this lens so far I notice the images seem line to up seamlessly

Please don't get me wrong here - and if it was in real world a bit distorted - no problem either.

My point is you'll never know whether it is the software or the real thing.

A TS lens makes it so much easier and shorter in post production since it is ALWAYS perfect.

Very nice portfolio - love the way you shoot - you should do yourself a favor and give a TS-E a chance

-- hide signature --

__________________________________
isn’t it funny, a ship that leaks from the top
ISO 9000 definition of quality: 'Degree to which a set of inherent characteristic fulfills requirements'
I am the classic “Windows by Day, Mac by Night user'
“The horizon of many people is a circle with zero radius which they call their point of view.” Albert Einstein

 Shaun_Nyc's gear list:Shaun_Nyc's gear list
Nikon D3 Nikon D800 Nikon D50 Canon EOS 5D Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM +10 more
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
joger
Senior MemberPosts: 2,659Gear list
Like?
Re: Being realistic
In reply to vander, Jan 8, 2013

vander wrote:

. . . It takes a lot of $149 jobs to pay off a TS lens and at this point my clients are happy with the quality that I've given them. Should a large job come that I can bill more for I would consider your suggestion.

But you are correct, ultimately you'd want the TS if you are to do this full time and demand the best.

Thanks again for the kind words.

I bought the TS-E 17 and 90 simply because I love shooting with nice equipment. I make (almost) no money out of it - my normal job pays for it.

In the past years I've learned what makes me smile when I look at my images and what makes me freak out because I am unhappy with the result.

Unfortunately it is with lenses different compare to cameras. Nikon can easily do a 37 MPixel sensor on the same 35 mm equivalent format and market that as a huge leap ahead but in the end their sensor has the same SI area and thus it is probably the same cost as a 5D sensor from 2005 with 35 mm equivalent size.

Lenses need manual work and craftsmanship, precision and special materials to give the best compromise out of many needs e.g. sharpness, contrast, bokeh, color rendition, weight . . .

So my technical advise is to buy whatever suits your wallet and to invest in lenses rather then DSLRs

A used good condition 5D II will be just fine - no need to buy an expensive hardly improved 5D III or 6D - both are just not worth mentioning when it comes to architecture and landscape

-- hide signature --

__________________________________
isn’t it funny, a ship that leaks from the top
ISO 9000 definition of quality: 'Degree to which a set of inherent characteristic fulfills requirements'
I am the classic “Windows by Day, Mac by Night user'
“The horizon of many people is a circle with zero radius which they call their point of view.” Albert Einstein

 joger's gear list:joger's gear list
Canon TS-E 17mm f/4L Canon EF 135mm f/2.0L USM Canon EF 40mm f/2.8 STM Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L IS II USM Canon TS-E 90mm f/2.8 +10 more
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
joger
Senior MemberPosts: 2,659Gear list
Like?
Re: Being realistic
In reply to joger, Jan 8, 2013

had a 2nd look at the original posting which requested: Best lens for architectural photography

In that case I stay with TS-E 17 or 24 II

On a 5D II the TS-E 17 is a fantastic lens and you can always crop the 24 mm FOV since you have plenty of pixels or use a 1.4x extender which leads to very fine results too.

Both wide angle TS-E lenses are probably the best lenses you can get today for architectural photography.

-- hide signature --

__________________________________
isn’t it funny, a ship that leaks from the top
ISO 9000 definition of quality: 'Degree to which a set of inherent characteristic fulfills requirements'
I am the classic “Windows by Day, Mac by Night user'
“The horizon of many people is a circle with zero radius which they call their point of view.” Albert Einstein

 joger's gear list:joger's gear list
Canon TS-E 17mm f/4L Canon EF 135mm f/2.0L USM Canon EF 40mm f/2.8 STM Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L IS II USM Canon TS-E 90mm f/2.8 +10 more
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Keyboard shortcuts:
FForum MMy threads