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#1610796 - 01/11/2017 09:59 Camera/lens recommendations
ali_hire Offline
Forum is my life

Registered: 03/01/2006
Posts: 5277
Loc: Portsmouth
I’m in the process of buying a Lettings agency. The current owners have had it for 30 years and now want to retire.

By their own admission, they’ve been stuck in the past for a long time and the business needs modernising and driving forward.

A part of this is in their approach to marketing and one of the first things I’ll need is a better camera.

This isn’t a high end agency, so it doesn’t require outsourcing to a professional. But I do want something that can take clean, sharp images without requiring specialist knowledge beyond the basic settings (I’ve had some basic photography training and although I’m willing to learn more, this needs to be able to be used by other staff whose skill level will be low to begin with).

I definitely want a DSLR which I can buy a wide angle lens for and add a flash gun to at a later date.

Probably don’t want to spend more than £1000 for camera and lens.

Any suggestions welcome.
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#1610799 - 01/11/2017 11:39 Re: Camera/lens recommendations [Re: ali_hire]
Nigel Offline
Club member 123
Forum veteran

Registered: 16/12/2005
Posts: 16843
Loc: Staffordshire
£1,000 will get you some decent kit - in fact its probably more than you need to spend

I'm a Nikon devotee, but I imagine Canon will do something similar

I would suggest a crop-sensor DSLR - there is no need to spend the extra cash on a full-frame sensor.

For the lens, I'd suggest a zoom, as some shots (internal) will need a wide angle and some (garden shots or general external) will require a longer lens

At the lower end of the scale, you can get a D3400 with an 18-55 lens (usually referred to as a 'kit lens') - this will be perfectly adequate, but won't be brilliant in low light. Cost will be about £450.

Next up the scale would be a mid-range Crop-sensor DSLR such as the D5300 or D5600 - both with the same lens. Extra funtionality, better sensor, better light sensitivity. Cost will be about £530 - £600

At the top of the crop-sensor scale would be the relatively new D7200 with an 18-140 lens - very versatile and a great camera (but in all honesty, probably more than you'll need). Cost will be about £1,100

All of the above have a built-in flash, but an external flash will always be better - you can pay £50 - £500 for a flash gun

All the above prices are high-street - you should be able to get them a bit cheaper, or just wait for the Christmas sales

#1610831 - 01/11/2017 21:56 Re: Camera/lens recommendations [Re: ali_hire]
barnacle Offline
Club Member 18 - Membership Secretary
Forum Demigod

Registered: 17/12/2005
Posts: 31718
Loc: Hemel in the Hempstead
The 18mm on a crop sensor is likely not to be as wide as you'd like - do some experimentation in the shop. The on-camera flash will produce ugly ugly ugly shadows; use an external flash or natural light and a tripod.

In fact, I'd recommend a tripod anyway - you don't want to just bang away at the camera and hope you get a decent shot: putting on a tripod (a) gives you a better chance to get the levels level, and (b) lets you *see* the image before you push the button and avoid that dirty sock on the floor that everyone's missed...

You don't need massive resolution; 300dpi for your printed material is fine, so that's about 1500 pixels across the image (but really 3000 or so because of the way the camera makers are creative with counting). That's only a six to ten megapixel camera.

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#1610848 - 02/11/2017 11:01 Re: Camera/lens recommendations [Re: ali_hire]
ali_hire Offline
Forum is my life

Registered: 03/01/2006
Posts: 5277
Loc: Portsmouth
Thanks both.

I hadn’t thought of a tripod but it makes complete sense.

Would a remote shutter be a good idea to go with it? Just thinking about rooms with low natural light which might need a longer exposure.
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#1610851 - 02/11/2017 12:54 Re: Camera/lens recommendations [Re: ali_hire]
came2dance Offline
I AM a Coop

Registered: 18/12/2005
Posts: 13193
Loc: england
A tripod is a good investment along with a remote release and as already suggested too a hot shoe mounted flash with a multi direction head.
Using the tripod does slow you down and make you think a little more and may help you control converging verticals caused by the wide angle lens. Almost all advertised focal lengths are based on the full Frame (35mm) format. If you are using one of the smaller APS sensor SLR's you need to multiply the focal length by 1.6 so an 18mm becomes a 28/30mm effectively. You can get a "Gary Fong" diffuser for your flash gun which will work well in small rooms. (google a cheaper brand though - fleabay will have cheaper copies) Using a flash/tripod combination like this will help you balance the internal light with the window/external light too.

There are also a new breed of mirror-less cameras out there which are probably too pricey and too complex for your needs but they have resulted in quite a bit of second hand DSLR cameras and lenses hitting the second hand market as people (like me) switch over. smile

#1611084 - 06/11/2017 08:03 Re: Camera/lens recommendations [Re: ali_hire]
oxfordSteve Offline
Forum is my job

Registered: 16/12/2006
Posts: 3909
Loc: The Faringdon Folly
No-one likes a new camera and kit more than me. But at a risk of putting my head above the parapet, I think you are at risk of overkill!!

I may be wrong, but I would imagine your images will be used on a website (Which nowadays will be accessed mainly on someone's phone), and printed media knocked up on an office printer. Top notch image quality just isn't an issue, and nor is perfect image framing. They just need to be bright, and show all the relevant features of the room, with wide enough angle without over-distortion.
I am also guessing that time will be an issue, and you will want to be in and out as quickly as possible.

An 18mm lens on a "normal" dSLR probably wont be wide enough.

I don't know the current state of the market (Whether you will get the wide angle you need), but I would start looking at compacts - though I know they seem more sold on extra zoom, rather than wideness. If not, then an entry level DSLR Canon or Nikon with a kit lens, and something around 10-16mm zoom, probably bought second hand.

I wouldn't bother with a flash either, I would just crank up the ISO if it's a bit gloomy.

You could go in with the tripod, the flash, the diffuser, carrying a 5kg bag of kit up to the top floor of the black you are letting a flat in, then spend 5 minutes setting up and taking every photo to perfection, but I would bet money on you only doing it a few times.

Don't all letting agents just use their phones?