EM-5 + 9-18 for Real Estate photos...Love it!

Started Jan 30, 2013 | Discussions
Brent J
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EM-5 + 9-18 for Real Estate photos...Love it!
Jan 30, 2013

I've been using the EM-5 with the Oly 9-18mm for a few months for RE Photos and I am so pleased. This camera and the files it can produce are so wonderful to work with I highly recommend it to anyone considering purchasing one.

To be able to place the camera on a tripod (about waist height) and use the flip-out screen to compose the shot while standing is so much better than getting down on a knee for composing.

I process the RAW images in Adobe Camera RAW and Photoshop CS6. There is so much room in the RAW files to bring back detail in areas that look to be "blown-out" and also to lighten shadows without bringing in noise.

Below are a few examples. The EXIF data gets removed I think when Saving To Web in Photoshop but all are shot at ISO 200; IS off; f/8; variable shutter speeds; 2 second timer; Auto White Balance (almost always perfectly accurate). I think all of the shots are at or near 9mm focal length.

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richj20
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Re: EM-5 + 9-18 for Real Estate photos...Love it!
In reply to Brent J, Jan 30, 2013

What a beautiful home!

I wonder if I might ask about technique. I photograph interiors from time to time and there is always the problem of retaining perspective when framing at an angle to the room, rather than looking straight on into the room.

Your first example is straight on and everything looks nice.

An example of what I'm referring to is in the second image, where the camera is looking into the room at an angle, and the floor and table lean a bit to the left. Even using the Skew tool in Photoshop doesn't always yield good results.

Having been frustrated with this myself, I've gotten to the point where I position the camera looking straight into the scene to avoid this effect.

I just happen to have been looking at an issue of Architectural Digest this morning, and notice that almost all of the photographs are framed straight into the scene, preventing any perspective distortion at the edges, so that tables, floors, and large sofas are level.

Have you thought much about this?

regards,

Richard

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tom60634
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Re: EM-5 + 9-18 for Real Estate photos...Love it!
In reply to richj20, Jan 30, 2013

richj20 wrote:

What a beautiful home!

I wonder if I might ask about technique. I photograph interiors from time to time and there is always the problem of retaining perspective when framing at an angle to the room, rather than looking straight on into the room.

Your first example is straight on and everything looks nice.

An example of what I'm referring to is in the second image, where the camera is looking into the room at an angle, and the floor and table lean a bit to the left. Even using the Skew tool in Photoshop doesn't always yield good results.

Having been frustrated with this myself, I've gotten to the point where I position the camera looking straight into the scene to avoid this effect.

I just happen to have been looking at an issue of Architectural Digest this morning, and notice that almost all of the photographs are framed straight into the scene, preventing any perspective distortion at the edges, so that tables, floors, and large sofas are level.

Have you thought much about this?

regards,

Richard

A quick adjustment with DxO's Viewpoint  program.

It can be used as a plugin or standalone program.

I've found the program effective and more importantly easy to learn and use.

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richj20
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Re: EM-5 + 9-18 for Real Estate photos...Love it!
In reply to tom60634, Jan 30, 2013

That's impressive. Thanks for mentioning it.

regards,

Richard

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DrummerBL
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Re: EM-5 + 9-18 for Real Estate photos...Love it!
In reply to Brent J, Jan 30, 2013

Brent,

Very impressive shots. My brother-in-law is a custom builder, and I do shots for him. I also have the E-M5 and the 9-18mm, but not the micro version. Takes about 1 second to focus, but not a problem with this type of shots. I am surprised at the detail I can get at what looks blown out. A very good combination. Thanks for posting.

Bruce Lehman

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Brent J
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Re: EM-5 + 9-18 for Real Estate photos...Love it!
In reply to richj20, Jan 30, 2013

Thanks for the comments. I think there may be a difference between Architectural Photography and Photography for Real Estate. It's my understanding that RE photography is more about showing the layout of the home and the flow of the space with the purpose to get potential buyers to want to come to the home and see it in person and possibly buy it.

It's funny you mention the magazine Architectural Digest because if you look through the images almost every shot that includes a window, the highlights are usually blown-out. I would consider many of those shots a "fail" if I let the windows look like that. 

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kpevav
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Re: EM-5 + 9-18 for Real Estate photos...Love it!
In reply to tom60634, Jan 30, 2013

Impressive DxO Viewpoint.

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Savas Kyprianides
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Re: EM-5 + 9-18 for Real Estate photos...Love it!
In reply to Brent J, Jan 30, 2013

I had my eye on that lens and your images seal the deal. And there are no purple blobs like I had gotten with the Panasonic 7-14 that compelled me to return it.

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Brent J
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Re: EM-5 + 9-18 for Real Estate photos...Love it!
In reply to tom60634, Jan 30, 2013

A quick adjustment with DxO's Viewpoint program.

It can be used as a plugin or standalone program.

I've found the program effective and more importantly easy to learn and use.

I agree it is impressive what you can do with that program but to me that isn't how that room looks in real life. The doorway on the right isn't as large as it appears in your version. If you were to move the right side of the image to the left (and keep the perspective of the rest of the room and contents) and keep vertical lines perfectly vertical it would look closer to reality.

I think when composing the shot for the purpose of a Real Estate photograph if your intention is to be straight on, then you should be perfectly straight on and horizontal lines should be horizontal. I rarely compose shots straight on.

If you look through Real Estate photos (go to Flickr group Photography for Real Estate for examples) you'll see that the corners of rooms opposite the camera position tend to diagonal down towards the floor. I think that's a normal perspective.

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Brent J
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Re: EM-5 + 9-18 for Real Estate photos...Love it!
In reply to Savas Kyprianides, Jan 31, 2013

Savas Kyprianides wrote:

I had my eye on that lens and your images seal the deal. And there are no purple blobs like I had gotten with the Panasonic 7-14 that compelled me to return it.

That's funny. I was thinking about buying the Panasonic 7-14 to have as a backup in case my 9-18 fails or gets damaged during a shoot. I think it's a good idea to always have a backup of every piece of equipment on hand when doing paid work. I've seen examples of the purple blobs to which you are referring but I figured I could work around that. For now, I've got the Oly 11-22 Four Thirds lens with adapter as my backup lens. Maybe I'll wait on the 7-14.

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S. Miller
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Re: EM-5 + 9-18 for Real Estate photos...Love it!
In reply to Brent J, Jan 31, 2013

These are great shots Brent. Did you use any speedlights, or was the shoot done using only natural light as well as the house lights?

Thanks,

Steve

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Donovan Driver
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Re: EM-5 + 9-18 for Real Estate photos...Love it!
In reply to Brent J, Jan 31, 2013

As a commercial realtor and property manager,  I am just curious how this lens would work on exterior property shots such as strip center shots? I'm about to pull the trigger on OM-D soon and I think the brokerage would spring for the lens.

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Aleo Veuliah
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Re: EM-5 + 9-18 for Real Estate photos...Love it!
In reply to Brent J, Jan 31, 2013

Good pictures, it is a good combination.

I like much to use my 7-14mm for this kind of photography. But mainly use it for landscapes.


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Aleo Veuliah
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Re: EM-5 + 9-18 for Real Estate photos...Love it!
In reply to richj20, Jan 31, 2013

richj20 wrote:

That's impressive. Thanks for mentioning it.

regards,

Richard

But the better is to perfect the composition and try to avoid distortion lines when you take the picture.


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Aleo Veuliah
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Re: EM-5 + 9-18 for Real Estate photos...Love it!
In reply to Brent J, Jan 31, 2013

Brent J wrote:

Savas Kyprianides wrote:

I had my eye on that lens and your images seal the deal. And there are no purple blobs like I had gotten with the Panasonic 7-14 that compelled me to return it.

That's funny. I was thinking about buying the Panasonic 7-14 to have as a backup in case my 9-18 fails or gets damaged during a shoot. I think it's a good idea to always have a backup of every piece of equipment on hand when doing paid work. I've seen examples of the purple blobs to which you are referring but I figured I could work around that. For now, I've got the Oly 11-22 Four Thirds lens with adapter as my backup lens. Maybe I'll wait on the 7-14.

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I use mine with Panasonic Lumix cameras and no issues. But there is the work around with post processing.


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Aleo Veuliah
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In reply to Donovan Driver, Jan 31, 2013

Donovan Driver wrote:

As a commercial realtor and property manager, I am just curious how this lens would work on exterior property shots such as strip center shots? I'm about to pull the trigger on OM-D soon and I think the brokerage would spring for the lens.

It will work very well also on exterior, I think even better.


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Brent J
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Re: EM-5 + 9-18 for Real Estate photos...Love it!
In reply to S. Miller, Jan 31, 2013

S. Miller wrote:

These are great shots Brent. Did you use any speedlights, or was the shoot done using only natural light as well as the house lights?

Thanks,

Steve

Yes, I should have mentioned that. I use the Oly FL 36 on the camera to trigger one or two Yongnuo 560II Speedlites set on "slave" mode. Some people think the Yongnuo 560II is as good as the Nikon SB-80DX but for about half the price. I think the question is if they are as reliable as the SB-80. I have two of them and I plan to buy more.

In the photos I posted, the FL36 is pointed straight up to the ceiling and the 560IIs are bounced off a wall or also the ceiling.

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Brent J
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Re: EM-5 + 9-18 for Real Estate photos...Love it!
In reply to Aleo Veuliah, Jan 31, 2013

Aleo Veuliah wrote:

Donovan Driver wrote:

As a commercial realtor and property manager, I am just curious how this lens would work on exterior property shots such as strip center shots? I'm about to pull the trigger on OM-D soon and I think the brokerage would spring for the lens.

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_DDriver

It will work very well also on exterior, I think even better.


I agree. I think the exterior is where the EM-5 really shines. You can make a shot and think that you have blown-out areas in the clouds in the sky and when you open the image in Adobe Camera Raw 7.3 (the latest version) and move the "Highlight" slider to the left and watch the detail appear it is amazing.

Also, with the flip-out screen, you can elevate the camera on a pole, or tripod held overhead and still be able to see the screen to correctly compose the shot. I use the 12 second timer when doing overhead shots. I wish Oly had more options for the timer. Sometimes 2 seconds is not enough and 12 seconds is a little too long.

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Hen3ry
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In reply to Brent J, Jan 31, 2013

Hiya Brent

Yes, absolutely! And some very nice examples you show too.

I use the 9-18 with the E-PL3 for photographing tourist accommodation I'm building websites for here in the New Guinea islands. It's very versatile /although/ with the poorish lighting I'm often working with there can be difficulty focusing. I overcome that with a pocket torch.

I have been at 9mm most of the time -- in fact, the 9-18 has been an expensive 9/10mm lens for me … what about a 9/10mm f4 pancake Oly,. Panny, or 3rd party? -- although recently I have found myself moving out to 11/12mm at times, partly to avoid some of the more obvious problems with rectilinearity (I think I just invented that word!).

One thing that makes me uncomfortable is the introduction of the third wall and third set of diverging parallels such as in your second pic. I would be much happier trimming a little off the left side so the third wall and the ceiling line were excluded. As it stands, I find it looks too much like one of those trick room shapes purposely built to deceive the eye.

Here's one of my own with that problem although in this case, it is minimized by the size of the space and the fact that I was a limited distance off center. Took this yesterday at Namatanai Lodge in New Ireland.



Lit by daylight from both ends. In PP in PhotoLine with the JPEG image, I did a bit of discrete burning in and lightening to balance it out a bit. Also I opened the image up in Kekus Lensfix CI (PT Lens) plug-in to correct for 9-18 distortion and to straighten out the verticals since I didn’t get the camera quite level (PhotoLine has its own rectilinear tool but the Kekus one is easier to use).

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Most of my lighting is a single flash bounced on camera -- an FL50 with with and/or without the diffuser. I had a two flash set up, but discovered that one of the flashes (a Metz) wouldn’t work because it was auto all the time so when the FL50 fired, it shut itself down! Blast it! A a result, I have to do rather more PP on lighting than I like -- and also thank the tourism gods that most of the spaces I have to photograph are smallish.

I am now looking at going RAW for some of my work -- I have Photo Ninja on trial -- and will be moving up to the more forgiving 16 MPX sensor pretty soon too. Not the EM5, though, it will be either the E-PL5 or the G5. The betting right now is on the G5 (I love the G-series' great ergonomics -- had a G1 -- and the built-in flash!).

Cheers, geoff

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richj20
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Re: EM-5 + 9-18 for Real Estate photos...Love it!
In reply to Brent J, Jan 31, 2013

Brent J wrote:

A quick adjustment with DxO's Viewpoint program.

It can be used as a plugin or standalone program.

I've found the program effective and more importantly easy to learn and use.

I agree it is impressive what you can do with that program but to me that isn't how that room looks in real life. The doorway on the right isn't as large as it appears in your version. If you were to move the right side of the image to the left (and keep the perspective of the rest of the room and contents) and keep vertical lines perfectly vertical it would look closer to reality.

On looking more closely, I agree completely. It does look a bit unnatural, which is why I've used the Skew tool in Photoshop very judiciously. You can only rearrange perspective to a certain degreel

If you look through Real Estate photos (go to Flickr group Photography for Real Estate for examples) you'll see that the corners of rooms opposite the camera position tend to diagonal down towards the floor. I think that's a normal perspective.

Yes, I've noticed that, although I would characterize it as an "accepted" perspective. Hen3ry also wrestles with this problem, as he mentions in his post here:

http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/post/50769562

regards,

Richard

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