Tuesday, February 5, 2008

More Wide Angle Camera Choices For Real Estate Photography

Realtors have been big users of the digital camera since filmless photography first appeared. But, camera manufacturers were relatively slow to address their particular need for cameras with a wide angle lens. That’s what it takes(here defined as a lens equivalent to a 28mm lens or less on a film camera) to fit an entire home or room in one good photo.

Fortunately that’s changed over the last two years, as wide-angle capability has become a selling point of more cameras. At last week’s PMA show, the big event for the imaging industry, several manufacturers added wide angle models to their lines,.

Options: a digital SLR, which can always be equipped with a wide angle accessory lens; or a compact camera with a built-in lens. Digital SLRs are for serious shooters who want creative control and all the options. Most Realtors will be well served with an easy-to-use and less expensive point and shoot compact, so I’ll focus on those here.

I’ve been covering digital imaging since its inception and can confidently say all major manufacturers make good, reliable products. If you’ve got a preferred brand, start your search there. The key is to find the camera with the right combination of features for you. Any digicam with an image sensor of 5 megapixels or better will be adequate for your needs. Other primary points of comparison include the optical zoom of the lens, the size of the LCD screen, ease which you can move pictures and movies to the computer and Web, and comfort with the camera and controls.

Here’s a quick rundown of some of the latest wide angle cameras, linked to where you can learn more. Note,: all are not in stores yet. If you find one you like you may have to wait a few weeks before you can buy. Prices quoted are manufacturer’s suggested retail prices.

New wide-angle cameras:

Sony’s DSC-W170(http://www.sonystyle.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/ProductDisplay?catalogId=10551&storeId=10151&langId=-1&productId=8198552921665309170 ) 10MP, 5X optical zoom 28to 140mm optical zoom lens, 2.7-inch LCD nd 15MB internal memory, $299.

Nikon CoolPix s600, 10MP 4X 28-112mm zoom lens, 2.7-inch LCD, $300

Casio’s Exilim EXZ100 thin camera 10MP, 4x 28-112mm optical zoom lens, 2.7-inch LCD, $279. The step-up EX-Z200 adds image stabilization for $20 more .

Three from Fuji: F100fd, 12MP, 5X 28-140mm lens, $380; Finepix S8100fd,10MP, 18X optical zoom 27-486mm lens, 2.5-inch LCD. $400; and the SLR-styled S100FS with 14X 28-400mm zoom lens, 2,5-inch LCD, $800.

Three from Olympus: Olympus SP-570 UZ, 10MP, 20X 26-520mm optical zoom lens and 2.7-inch LCD. $500. FE-350, 8MP with 5X 28 to 112mm zoom lens and 3-inch LCD. $250. Stylus 1030 SW. 10MP, 3.6 28mm-102mm optical zoom lens, 2.7 inch LCD, $399.

Three from Panasonic: Lumix DMC TZ-4, 8.1 MP with 10X 28-280mm optical zoom lens and 2.5-inch LCD display, $250. The step-up Lumix DMC-TZ5 with the same lens but a 9MP sensor and 3-inch LCD, $349. Lumix DMC-FX35 with 10 MP sensor, 2.5-inch LCD and 4x 25-100mm zoom, $350



Margaret said...

I have a Panasonic Lumix with a 10X zoom but the colors of the pictures, which look wonderful in the camera, do not translate out when uploaded to my new Dell XP laptop. They are just not that colorful and vivid. Any suggestions?

Anonymous said...

Margaret: Laptop screens generally have inferior color displays. Try viewing them on a CRT monitor or good LCD flatscreen (what you would find on a regular desktop computeR). If that doesn't work, try turning up the color saturation with photoshop or free programs such as Picasa.