Good camera for a carpenter/contractor?

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by evilsivan, Mar 3, 2009.

  1. I have a friend who is a contractor. He was asking me about a good camera to get for taking pictures of his work, mostly remodeled kitchens and bathrooms etc. He went to ABT electronics in suburban Chicago and they tried to sell him a Nikon DSLR, probably a D60 or something. I think he should get a point and shoot (Nikon obviously!). Can anyone recommend one? I think the only criteria is a wide angle -- someting like a 18mm (dx) or 28mm (fx) or wider. I am unfamiliar with p&s cameras so I have no idea what their equivalent focal lengths typically are.
  2. a p&s will not give him the wider shots needed for his work. most of them go only as wide as 24mm. that might work, but 18mm is better. he is better off with the D40 with the 18-55mm kit lens. it's probably less than $100 more than the widest coolpix p & s. a 24mm might be restricting in small apartments and condos.
    the D40 is also a very good camera for birthdays and other family functions. it will have a lot more to give.
  3. If all he wants is snapshots of his work, most any P&S today will probably give him enough except for his need for a wide angle. Since a DSLR sounds like overkill for what he wants to use a camera for, I would suggest a Panasonic LX3.
  4. +1 (to Ramon's suggestion of a D40 and 18-55 kit zoom)
    I think the bigger problem is going to be lighting, however. An off-camera flash with a little peanut slave that can be tripped by the pop-up flash will do wonders, IMO.
  5. Yes lighting is another issue that I didn't want t think about. There's no way he's going to be setting up an off-camera flash.
  6. Ramon, when you say 24mm, is that 35mm equivalent? I never know anymore :)
  7. Ofer, I'd advise him to get a D40 with the 18-55 VR zoom. He can deduct this as a business expense. The VR will help him with available light shots which he will need to learn to show off his work if he doesn't want to bother with flash. If he is patient, he should get a tripod and learn how to use it with the self timer and the VR off. If he is promoting his work and wants to show it in it's best light(pun intended) he needs to learn some basics or hire someone who knows how to take his photos.
  8. 12/24 lens from Nikon or third party + a D40/60 series camera. That 18/35 on 35mm film.
  9. friends dont let friends buy point and shoots! =o)
    the D40 is a good place to start, 18mm lens, or 17 or 16 or 12 at the widest would be a good thing, as mentioned...
    buying a flash would be a huge improvement, but also buying a camera that can use CLS to trigger the flash would be immeasurably better.
  10. You guys say DSLR is over kill.I disagree wholeheartedly. If its snapshots to say "i built this" to his friends, dont give him a camera at all. If this is to attract clients, let him do the job well. A good photo could land him a good job.

    This is architectural photography that will draw people to his services. I assume he has a nice website to put the shots on.
    Best would be the D700 with a TS wide angle lens. That would be pricey but would get the job done best. D700 has an FX sensor so wide stays wide and TS will be great for correcting the distortion and perspective problems that come up often when shooting inside.
    If he doesnt have that much cash, a D90 and a good wide angle 16mm prime and a wide zoom would do the trick.
  11. Maybe I misread his intent. I didn't get the impression he wanted to spend over $1,000 and commit to the time to learn how to use a DSLR. If you guys are right, might as well go all the way with a D700, 24mm PC-E, and an SB-900. It will cost over $5,000 and probably take him six months to figure out how to use the gear but he sure will be set up well.
  12. mmm.... I'd say D700 + PC lenses is overkill. I would love to have one myself, however.
    It may be that a d40 with 18-55mm vr would be good for him if he's willing to learn how to use it.
    Robert, I wouldn't ever use a P&S, its just not fun for me.
    But he is a builder not a photog and he wants to show snapshots to potential clients.
  13. Ofer, if all he wants is snapshots with small prints, I can't imagine he will take the time to learn how to use a DSLR. Most P&S's can be carried in a pocket and the learning curve is comparatively simple. The LX3 happens to be a heck of a nice camera with image stabalization and a decent Leica 24mm f/2 lens with good high-ISO ability. Check it out........
  14. Did he just go from carpenter to architect? Knowing many carpenters, he needs something to document his work for the purpose of showing potential clients and possibly in the case of any consumer complaints. A DSLR would be like using a nail gun to hang a picture on a wall LOL.
  15. ofer, you know your friend more than us. if you are confirming that your friend will never be a "photographer", then even the LX3 is overkill. but its 24mm (35mm equivalent) is a big plus in your friend's trade......................i'm a hobbyist and i carry this lumix as a third camera in my serious shoots, so do most pros.
    coolpix has 28mm (35mm equivalent) models less expensive than the LX3. nikon is coming out with 25mm models in april.
  16. Thanks everyone for the good advice!
    This is a case for the BIG JOB...
  18. >>a p&s will not give him the wider shots needed for his work. most of them go only as wide as 24mm. that might work, but 18mm is better. he is better off with the D40 with the 18-55mm kit lens.<<
    Ramon, I am not criticizing your intent. I just want to point out about your math. A point and shoot camera like the Panasonic Lumix LX3 with a 24 mm lens is a 24 mm equivalent to the 35 mm film camera. However the 18-55 mm kit lens on the D40 which is a cropped sensor camera body, you will get an equivalent field of view as a 36 mm at the widest point. 36 mm is indeed narrower than the 24 mm from a point and shoot.
    I am a contractor and a photographer. I could easily have carried my DSLR from job site to job site which I have. However for purely the sake of convenience you cannot beat a point and shoot for work.
  19. I'd tell him to go for the Panasonic FX37. 10mp, a very wide lens at 25mm to a 125mm telephoto. I have the FX35 and I love it. It's small enough to carry at all times and not even know it's there until you need it. Quality is pretty good for a point and shoot too. Costco has it for $199.
  20. Just curious, when one is talking about p&s focal lenghts are they DX equivalent or 35mm format (fx) equivalent?
    Hansen, is not an 18mm dx equivalent to a 27mm fx and not 36mm, as you write?
  21. Another vote for the Panasonic LX3.
  22. ofer, the widest P&S lens is 24mm.
    i'd look hard at a d40w/18-55 kit lens over an LX3 (which has tiny buttons requiring small hands, btw), for the simple fact that the d40 is as easy to use as a P&S. plus, if your friend ever gets serious, he can go even wider with a 10-20 or 12-24, which you cant do on a P&S.
  23. Panasonic or Nikon D40 with Tokina 11-16mm.
    It depends on how big he wants to print.
  24. LX3, or any P&S with a 24mm equiv lens. Doesn't the LX3 have a wide angle attachment? should give an insane amount of fov.
  25. Ofer, you are absolutely correct. I stand corrected. I was playing with my Panasonic G1 so much lately that I subconsciously multiply the focal length by 2 instead of 1.5 as in the case of a D40.
  26. The contractor wants a good camera to display his work for remodeled kitchens and baths so he can make more money. A point and shoot is adequate for small photos, but he may want to display his work on the wall so I would recommend a DSLR (think quality photos). Kitchens and baths are often quite narrow, so a wide angle is mandatory. I shoot film and an 18-35 works great for interior photos, although I run into distortion below 20mm. I don't know what that works out to for digital.
  27. I shoot interiors, small apartments, etc, I can highly recommend a Nikon D40 with the Sigma 10-20mm lens. It give you a 15mm wide angle view, ( in 35mm format ) you really need. Anything els . . . is . . . u s e l e s s . . . . in small places, specially in kitchens. And the combo is not expensive at all. You better to belive me. !
  28. I'd go with with the Panasonic LX3 (I know that Panasonic is not Nikon). I have one and it is great little camera that has a fast (f/2) wide lens (24mm-60mm full frame equivalent). Add the DMW-LW46 conversion lens and is even wider (18mm full frame equivalent). It also has a hot shoe, so you can hook up a real flash. It would be hard to beat it without going to an SLR. Actually, it probably beats some of the cheaper SLRs.
  29. in my opinion, i don't think that i would recommend a SLR. If s/he is not into photography, the SLR will seem cumbersome, ornery and completely overqualified for the job. i don't see any reason to insist on a nikon point and shoot, as our own brand loyalties and ridiculous biases are irrelevant to someone who wants to document their work. It seems that if he wanted a more polished look with proper lighting setups and a professional veneer, he might be better off contracting your competent services without the high cost of equipment. just my two cents, but have you thought to light and photograph his work for money? i only suggest for money as favors between friends become tedious at best, with either one having different expactations and dedication to the job. If he wants simple pictures, get a point and shoot and focus on carpentry; if he wants a professional photo shoot, hire a professional. But either way, if photography is not a hobby of his/hers, f-stops, exposure, dynamic range and expensive lighting setups are completely irrelevant and superfluous to his design, it seems.
  30. Not quite sure how the Auto setting on a D40 is any more complicated than Auto on a P&S. They both require exposure compensation override (very simple) for the best results. Get the D40/18-55.
  31. Panasonic DMW-LW46 is a superb wide angle conversion lens, it can be used with all zoom range of LX3 (24-60MM) and turns the LX3 into a 18mm-42mm zoom lens camera. And the distortion of LW46 is low<P>
    Some sample photos with LX3+LW46:<p>
  32. Panasonic DMW-LW46 is a superb wide angle conversion lens, it can be used with all zoom range of LX3 (24-60MM) and turns the LX3 into a 18mm-42mm zoom lens camera. And the distortion of LW46 is low<P>
    Some sample photos with LX3+LW46:<p>

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