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Customer Discussions > Photography forum

Need a Good Work Camera

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Showing 1-10 of 10 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Feb 8, 2013 3:23:21 PM PST
Sam says:
I'm a real estate appraiser, and I don't know a lot about the in-depth camera minutiae, and frankly, I'm not too interested in it. I just want an easy to take, good picture. I probably take 7,500 photos per year, and 99.9% are for business. Price is a secondary consideration if I can find the right camera. My primary requirements are: 1) good quality photos almost all the time; 2) ease of use; 3) a 25+-zoom capability; 4) a viewfinder; and 5) a camera that uses AA batteries. The first four items are deal breakers.

For years I used an Olympus C-750, which essentially met all my needs; the small viewing screen was the only negative issue. However, the years of use had taken its toll. For example, the camera had a broken battery door hinge, which I was able to keep closed with a heavy rubber band. In short, it was just worn-out. I purchased a Fuji Film Fine Pix S2800 HD. The problem with this camera is about 7% of the pictures are blurry. It requires that I take two or three shots of each scene to ensure at least one good picture. Yes, I've read the instructions.

Any camera replacement suggestions would be appreciated.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 8, 2013 4:54:09 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Feb 8, 2013 4:55:38 PM PST
#3 and #5 are, to me at least, the killers... In that nothing I would consider would have those features.

Consider that you /might/ be able to depreciate the camera on taxes IF it is ONLY used for your business. Check with a tax expert -- but if it is tax deductible, I'd recommend moving up out of the P&S world.

But SLRs don't use AA batteries...

And a super-zoom on SLRs are around 12X ratio -- and considered the bottom end of lens quality. Picking up a couple of short ratio zooms would be better -- though you can buy a supercompact car for the price of a lens longer than 500mm (a set of lenses spanning 18-500mm would be a 27X span... OTOH, if you start with a superwide lens of 12mm, a 25X range requires a top end of 300mm). A 12-24mm, 18-135mm, and 100-300mm would cover a 25X range from super-wide to medium-long telephoto on an APS-C sensor SLR.

All true SLRs have optical viewfinders, image quality that should exceed that of any P&S (especially when you raise the ISO to handle low light situations or to stop movement), faster focusing. Also, all SLRs below the professional range include the crutches of scene-based shooting modes -- which are the only modes many of the lower end P&S (the ones that use AA batteries) supply...

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 8, 2013 6:00:23 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Feb 8, 2013 6:02:40 PM PST
EdM says:
"I don't know a lot about the in-depth camera minutiae, and frankly, I'm not too interested in it."

As to requirement 1), that is 100%, entirely, on you, the photographer. You can make better photos when you know how to properly use your tools, how the camera operates and to to properly frame and shoot. As to 3), 25+ zoom almost entirely takes away from the ability to take good photos, as the higher the zoom ratio, the worse the photo quality. Requirement 5) practically removes all cameras from consideration, in light of your other stated requirements. Also, 5) can be overcome by merely carrying a spare battery and keeping it charged so if the battery runs down, you can swap in the spare.

Consider this article, not that it's perfect, but it's a reasonable start. High end real estate pros mostly use high end DSLR camera gear and extensive camera techniques, to provide excellent photos for their expensive offerings. An appraiser should be interested in presenting home photos showing the home in its best light, to validate the appraisal of the worth/value of the home.

"Real Estate Photography Tip #1: Get a Digital Camera with a Wide-angle Lens."

I quote the first tip, as having a wide angle capability is actually much more important than a large zoom ratio for real estate photos.

As to this next, you do need to care and know a bit about Photography, to take these kinds of photos. It is unlikely great photos will be taken with P/S cameras, and they're likely not jpegs out of the camera.


"Eleven Beautiful Architectural Photographs And How They Were Made"

"... number of professional interior, architectural, and real estate photographers to share their images and techniques..."

Of course, the % of homes that are high end mansions is low, but better images will undoubtedly be more attractive and better support a fair and full appraisal of the home's value. I would suggest that some minimum amount of training would be very helpful to the proper accomplishment of your appraisal job. After all, poor photos can lead to observers undervaluing a property's worth, leading to a poor result. Good photos can show the good and the not so good of a property, to facilitate the real estate purchase process and the proper accomplishment of your job.

By the way, almost no P/S cameras have your requirement 4), these days, and the ones which do have tiny viewing portals that are very hard to look through. Really, with a tripod, you can feel at ease looking at the images in the rear LCD display of P/S cameras, and they are much easier to view than using any tiny viewfinder of a P/S camera. Otherwise, you are really looking for DLSR or DSLR type cameras which do have viewfinders.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 8, 2013 6:07:10 PM PST
Les Schmader says:
The Panasonic FZ200 would be a logical upgrade to the UZ.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ200 12.1 MP Digital Camera with CMOS Sensor and 24x Optical Zoom - Black

Posted on Feb 8, 2013 6:26:45 PM PST
I think somebody's confused about the difference between high-end real estate photos and simple appraisal shots.

Just get the Panasonic, maybe a couple of extra batteries, and a car charger. Even that camera is probably overkill, but I would stay in the Lumix line.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 8, 2013 6:35:13 PM PST
If you're not already using one, the simplest solution is a tripod or some other method to stabilize the camera. It is also helpful to either use a remote to trigger the camera or to set the camera's timer so you don't jostle it while pushing the shutter release button.

If you are using a tripod already, however, then you may want to look for a camera with a focus assist light.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 8, 2013 9:19:11 PM PST
Sam says:
Hi Les: Thanks for your reply. I'll check it out. The other replies offered a lot of advise, but failed offer an alternate camara to consider, which is really the only thing I was asking about.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 9, 2013 1:43:05 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Feb 9, 2013 1:49:32 AM PST
EdM says:
" failed offer an alternate camara to consider"

There are NONE that meet your goals, AFAIK. If you still want a P/S, then note:

The Panny FZ200 mentioned above has a 24X zoom, but uses a lithium ion battery, lacks an optical viewfinder, and the photos are not as good IMO due to the long zoom range. The Canon G-15 has an optical finder, takes excellent photos in daytime, but also uses a lithium ion battery and has a 5x optical zoom for the lens.

Canon PowerShot G15 12.1 MP Digital Camera with 5x Wide-Angle Optical Image Stabilized Zoom

When every or almost every camera can't meet your requirements, then you need to reconsider your requirements.

ADDED: If your first or controlling requirement is long zoom, then this site has a listing of editor's picks of long zooms:

Nikon Coolpix P510, Canon PowerShot ELPH 520 HS, Canon PowerShot SX40 HS.

Still, none of these meet your stated requirements, anyway.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 9, 2013 11:36:06 AM PST
As has been mentioned -- it is hard to suggest a single model when none of them meet your stated requirements.

Out of all of Canon's P&S models, there are only two models (well, now three) that I'd ever recommend -- and one of those is only recommended for people doing snorkeling/white-water rafting/kayaking. That is the water/shock resistant D20.

For regular use, I only recommend the G-series (currently the G15) {The third model is the LARGE G1-X; but that model is /really/ aimed at being a back-up to an SLR -- it costs as much as a mid-entry level SLR}.

The G15, as mentioned, has an (offset) optical finder, also has a flash shoe so you can eventually add a shoe mount or even off-camera flash, has all the classic PASM shooting modes, and has one of the largest sensors available in regular P&S cameras (so should have the better image quality in moderate low-light).

But it uses rechargeable batteries, has a 5X zoom running from moderate wide to moderate telephoto. IOWs, may not have enough "wide" to handle some shots from short ranges, and may not be long enough to work from greater distances (from the curb up a long driveway, say?). Canon may offer a set of converter lenses, but these don't really give you a zoom range -- the wide converter works best only at the wide end of the main lens, and the telephoto converter works best at the long end (if you try to widen the view with the tele-converter, you end up shooting the inside of the lens itself). They also cost a small fortune -- the wide converter will be $150-200 alone. That's a third the cost of the camera.

Posted on Feb 11, 2013 10:55:21 AM PST
JCUKNZ says:
To increase your takers I ask if you know about the simple 'Half Trigger' technique? Here you half press the trigger while the camera works out focus and exposure and when you get the confirmation signal, a little round dot in the viewfinder, you complete pressure on the trigger and the camera takes the photo .... working this way you should get 100% takers :-)

The FZ200 doesn't use throw away batteries but otherwise would be an excellent camera for you. It uses Li-Ion batteries which can be topped up, ie they do not have a 'memory' like Ni-cads of past times. They do self-discharge over time but it is very slow and batteries not in use, I have quite a stable of cameras, and even after a few months they all are capable of taking a few shots without being topped up. Since I am always quite needlessly concerned I might encounter a flat battery I normally always have a second battery, a quite cheap generic clone, to cover me for that unlikely event :-) Check prices on Amazon.
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Discussion in:  Photography forum
Participants:  7
Total posts:  10
Initial post:  Feb 8, 2013
Latest post:  Feb 11, 2013

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