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martinb

Thinking of selling my M8 and some lenses..

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Are you just thinking it would be a good choice or have you actually used an M8 for architectural photography? (And I don't mean photos that happened to have buildings or houses in them.) Do you plan to shoot interiors as well as exteriors? Do you have lights? Have you ever assisted an architectural photographer?

 

Not to pick on the M8, which I'm sure is fine for reportage and lots of other things, but I think it would be one of the worst choices for this type of photography. Besides its lack of framing accuracy, there is a real shortage of lens selections. The widest is a 15, so with the crop factor that is only equal to about a 21 on a full frame. Shift lenses will not be very wide on it and will be nearly impossible to use handheld. Stitching can work for some things but has its limitations. I'd hate to have to depend on it for even a moderate volume of work. Tip - if you want to shoot interiors by stitching two or more images shot with a shift lens, you'll have a parallax issue with near-far subjects because the lens axis moves when you shift. You'll need a geared or sliding camera mount to cancel this out.

 

Architectural photography involves photographing all kinds of materials that are likely to require you to use IR blocking filters on the M8. So you might have to deal with trying to cancel out the green corners and then stitch the images. Try it out and see how well you can make it work. And I think the lack of an AA filter will lead to seeing more moire than one would get with other cameras. (Architectural photography commonly has lots of detals and patterns that are prone to moire.)

 

And don't fool yourself into thinking you don't need long lenses for architectural work. I use my 100-400 pretty much every week. I often have to shoot architectural details, compress streetscapes, or shoot homes across lakes.

 

Now you are proposing to start out in professional photography as a generalist and that's ok, I guess. (I hope you understand yourself well and have a good plan.) With that in mind, I think you have a lot more on your plate than spending a lot of time thinking if you should sell or keep a certain camera system. Getting customers and keeping them happy should be your main concern at this point.

 

Look for the work you can do with what you have. Otherwise beg, borrow, or (don't steal) rent any other gear you need when you get the job. And when you know what you need and can afford it, buy it. Since you clearly aren't sure about it at this point. (Sorry for being so direct, but that's how I see it.) And I don't think there is any reason you need two identical cameras as long as you are backed up sufficiently on each project. When I first started using a 1Ds for architecture, I brought my 4x5 as a backup. An inexpensive consumer level DSLR with a zoom or two will not only backup your M8 but will backup your lenses too. (You might drop one.)

 

Get the work first!

 

 

Hi Alan,

 

I think there is a lot of good practical advice in your post. Just to note, however, the widest (current production) lens for the M8 is the CV 12 (unless there's some obscure lens I've forgotten). I did shoot a couple of interiors with the M8, just to see how I liked it, and the moire actually wasn't a problem (despite textiles, etc.). When it does occur, its fairly easy to spot correct with the C1 plug-in for PS. But, for interiors, I definitely do prefer the FF Canon DSLRs with shift lenses. That's not to say that the work couldn't be done with the M8, just that doing so does indeed add in some complications and limitations - even though the file quality can be excellent.

 

Cheers,

 

Sean

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Guest guy_mancuso
I certainly wouldn't make this decision right now, with a new generation of DSLRs about to be released. I'd hang on until January or so. Or maybe buy a 5D or a D200 to get things under way, and then go to the new generation when it arrives. I suspect that the new Canons and Nikons will make MF less attractive, except for some limited high-end applications (that you won't have to worry about too much as a new pro.)

 

Guy shoots M8s professionally, but he has been around for a while and knows his niche. I confess that if I were going to pro photography, I wouldn't launch myself with an M8, because I'd want to be able to take any job offered, from macro to ultra-long stuff, and for that I'd want a high-end Canon or Nikon. M8 won't do that. And you *gotta* have a backup, and even better, two.

 

JC

 

One thing that helped me go totally M8 at the moment is I can rent if i need too. And there are two stores here in town that are 20 minutes away if a job calls for what i may need from DSLR's to big lighting . So look in your area and see if that can happen within a couple of hours before you have to run and shoot the job if nt than youhave to consider that in your options. I'm lucky that I live in a town that has two big Pro shops and just a side note when I go abroad i will rent lighting there , so always have these options around. I used at one time have gear shipped from Samy's in LA to here likea nikon 600 f4 lens just to get a job shot, most clients willaccept rental charges and if the gear is not considered a normal kit evene more so. now some shooters in NY don't own anything at all and rent everything, my opinion ther nuts but clients pick up the tab on it. To me it is far to risky on a constant basis to take that chance but people do it.

 

Sorry typing on a laptop, big computer outputing a project .

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i have been using the m8 now proffesionally for a few jobs.... i would never part with it..the results are real ...,sharp, natural, simple.

this camera makes you think constantly and you control everything

i use a 5d as well but now very rarely... you have to persevere with the m8 and then trust me the leica optics and file quality shines through

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I've just read this thread and wanted to add that while I completely understand Martin Brink's thinking, I bought an M8 two months ago and just got on with using it. It's possible to get too caught up worrying about the camera's real or possible shortcomings. I have used my M8 for all manner of jobs in many different conditions from dark interiors to rain and dust storms. I am thrilled to be able to shoot digital using the M Leica that I have used, in various models, for the last 35 years. So far, and after 5000 "clicks," it has worked flawlessly. I have no coded lenses, have filters on some lenses (60 and 46 still to arrive) and find processing in Capture 1 or CS2 no problem. I'm perfectly happy to use the camera for architecture, just as I've used the mechanical Ms and Hasselblad 903 for such work.

 

When I need a DSLR I use an Eos Digital Rebel with either adapted Leica lenses or with one of three Canon lenses I have bought. This camera gives far better results than it has any right to, given its price - especially when using the Leica lenses. I don't want to upset Canon users on this forum, but I find the quality of Canon lenses, even the L series, slightly disappointing - but love their fast autofocus!

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That doesn't surprise me - I'll bet the prints look great. That said, in the interests of full accuracy, the R-D1 has its weaknesses and problems too.

 

Cheers,

 

Sean

 

Sean,

 

There ain't nothing man made that doesn't have weaknesses or pitfalls...it's up to the user to come to terms with that in anything they do.......in the end, it's about images and the Eppy does a great job.......see ya at RFF....don

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I got rid of my meduim format gear a contax 645 system for the m8 . I also had a 35 aspherical the original one sold it and startted buying lenses to replace it a mixture of zeiss leica and voigtlander. Use the camera a bit more before you get rid of it . the prices are only going up on the leica gear so losing money will not happen.

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Hi Alan,

 

I think there is a lot of good practical advice in your post. Just to note, however, the widest (current production) lens for the M8 is the CV 12 (unless there's some obscure lens I've forgotten). I did shoot a couple of interiors with the M8, just to see how I liked it, and the moire actually wasn't a problem (despite textiles, etc.). When it does occur, its fairly easy to spot correct with the C1 plug-in for PS. But, for interiors, I definitely do prefer the FF Canon DSLRs with shift lenses. That's not to say that the work couldn't be done with the M8, just that doing so does indeed add in some complications and limitations - even though the file quality can be excellent.

 

Cheers,

 

Sean

 

Yeah I forgot about that 12mm. So the M8 can shoot pretty wide. As for the rest, I'm sure someone could shoot some architecture and interior work with an M8. Nearly 4 years into using digital for architecture, I'm still kind of amazed that I'm using a 35mm camera for this work instead of large format. (However now I question why I'd want to use 4x5.) So maybe using an M8 for architecture isn't too big a stretch. But as I said, I think it would be a poor choice if architecture and interiors are a primary application. Anyway, that wasn't my main point which was for him to concentrate on getting business. Remember, I never told him he couldn't do it with the M8... Maybe that will help him find a style.

 

Back to my unsolicited advice to anyone turning pro, I can't emphasize enough how understanding yourself, your market, and what you are trying to accomplish in your career is of paramount importance. Lots of photographers are constantly running around in circles trying to make a go of it year after year. You may not have much understanding early on, but you should keep coming back to it and assess your needs, skills, loves, and goals in order to find a path or redirect yourself as things change. The equipment is just something that comes and goes and is used along the way. Understand the gear enough to make sure it will produce what you need from it, but don't dwell on it other than as a means to an end.

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Thanks a lot for all the answers! I don't have the time to answer all of it.

Regarding my thoughts about shooting architecture I think I would start out shooting some real estate. It seems to be in demand and may be a good learning period. It haven't assisted an architecture photographer, the one I assisted was more in to fashion, portraits and products.

What I really want to work with is more art, documentary and reportage type stuff but there doesn't seem to be a lot of jobs available for that..

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Are you really going to sell them?

 

I have sold camera systems a few times just to get the fund to buy into a new system that I thought I would enjoy more. I have to say that upon reflection, they were bad decisions. One is loosing monetary value, another is that the grass is always greener on the other side until you get there.

 

Now I make a vow to myself not to sell camera equipment again, except if I really have to. I enjoy M8, as much as my Canon gear. I also enjoy Ricoh and others.

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I'm going to throw this teaser out there: I am faily sure I can come up with a horizont/vertical shift mount for the C/V 15 and maybe 12 lenses for the M8. this will rely on the non-coupled focus and crop factor, and obvioulsy, the ability to chimp. besides the occasional stitch (done by shifting the lens left and body right, Alan, to retain the lens axis with repect to the scene), I want to control vertical perspective. the recent interiors I have shot have used the 5d and 24mm shift lens (it ain't Leica glass), and i have been toying with making a shift adapter for the 5d and the Flectogon 21. It may be time tio move these forward

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I'm going to throw this teaser out there: I am faily sure I can come up with a horizont/vertical shift mount for the C/V 15 and maybe 12 lenses for the M8. this will rely on the non-coupled focus and crop factor, and obvioulsy, the ability to chimp. besides the occasional stitch (done by shifting the lens left and body right, Alan, to retain the lens axis with repect to the scene), I want to control vertical perspective. the recent interiors I have shot have used the 5d and 24mm shift lens (it ain't Leica glass), and i have been toying with making a shift adapter for the 5d and the Flectogon 21. It may be time tio move these forward

 

Could there be a tripod mount on the shift adapter so the lens would be stationary while the back would shift?

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...What you may discover is that tilting and shifting in Photoshop is really not the same as working with a tilt/shift lens.....

 

Martin - You should take note of Sean's understatement. If indeed there is any commercial architectural photography for you to pick up from you prospective client base, I would urge you to get the principal corrections done 'in camera'. In that case the M8 would be a poor first strike camera, no one is likely to pay your added expenses for shooting architecture on film, and a Canon with [at least] the 24 mm shift lens would be a suggested option. Having said that, I would strongly caution you against presuming how much architectural photography you might get, it's a demanding, shrinking, niche market. And to cheer you up, so is Stock.

 

..............Chris

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Well if anyone thinks being a Pro is easy and the work just flows in than please get off the meds now. It's a jungle out here. But that is a whole thread or two on it's own. LOL

 

When starting out be lucky just to get paying jobs that actually pay you. I'm sitting here waiting on overdue invoices going on months not weeks and this is a Fortune 100 company. Don't get me wrong I love being a Pro but it would have been a better choice buying and selling real estate than shooting it. LOL

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Martin - You should take note of Sean's understatement. If indeed there is any commercial architectural photography for you to pick up from you prospective client base, I would urge you to get the principal corrections done 'in camera'. In that case the M8 would be a poor first strike camera, no one is likely to pay your added expenses for shooting architecture on film, and a Canon with [at least] the 24 mm shift lens would be a suggested option. Having said that, I would strongly caution you against presuming how much architectural photography you might get, it's a demanding, shrinking, niche market. And to cheer you up, so is Stock.

 

..............Chris

 

I know that it's very very tuff unfortunately, but I want to go give it a shot considering all the time I've put in to photography. Seems like all segments are getting smaller in photography, but I don't know about stock? seems like more and more agencies are buying stock instead of commission photographers.

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I'm going to throw this teaser out there: I am faily sure I can come up with a horizont/vertical shift mount for the C/V 15 and maybe 12 lenses for the M8. this will rely on the non-coupled focus and crop factor, and obvioulsy, the ability to chimp. besides the occasional stitch (done by shifting the lens left and body right, Alan, to retain the lens axis with repect to the scene), I want to control vertical perspective. the recent interiors I have shot have used the 5d and 24mm shift lens (it ain't Leica glass), and i have been toying with making a shift adapter for the 5d and the Flectogon 21. It may be time tio move these forward

 

I'm your first customer. Send them to me. You've got a blank check. (Just joking about the money part. - I remember the owner of the Washington Redskin's explanation for firing the coach, George Allen, many years ago - "I gave him a blank check and he exceeded it.") I said the same think to Mr. Zorkendorfer years ago when he showed me a prototype to use my Rollei 6006 lenses on my Nikon. I wanted it, but he would not sell it.

 

A 20-21 shift on a 5D is like the holy grail for interior shooters. I used to do a lot of interior work on a view camera using a 47mm lens and 6x9 roll film. That was like a 20mm shift lens and I really miss it. How big is the image circle on a 21 Flektagon and do you really think this is mechanically possible without shadowing from the mirror box?

 

I like the idea of the 12 and 15 Ultragons on an M8 too as there is no mirror to block it, and the lenses have the covering power. But how is there enough room to shift it even a little? It seems to me that compensating for the vignetting and IR filter induced green corners on a shifted image will be a real challenge.

 

Anyway, back to Martin in Sweden. It sounds like you are really just looking for any way to get into professional photography. As others have said, it is much harder to get started than it may seem. In the US, there is tremendous competition in all fields. So you'll have to be good, dedicated, patient, and persistant if you want to get your foot in the door.

 

I don't have a clue what the real estate/construction market is where you live, but if you are talking about shooting home exteriors for individual real estate ads, that is unlikely to pay much but could be a start. If you can hook up with builders and ad agencies to shoot for their ads, you can charge more. There might be a company or two that regularly publish a magazine listing "Extraordinary Properties" and that could be a reliable source, but you'll have to be pretty good and they'll want simple but clean interiors too. A basic tip I can give for shooting an exterior with an M8 that will improve your results of a typical home is to bring a step ladder that will get you a bit higher up when shooting from across the street. (2 1/2 meters tall would be the minimum useful size.) There are collapsing models you should be able to transport fairly easily.

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I know that it's very very tuff unfortunately, but I want to go give it a shot considering all the time I've put in to photography. Seems like all segments are getting smaller in photography, but I don't know about stock? seems like more and more agencies are buying stock instead of commission photographers.

 

Yes it does seem that more and more places are using stock instead of giving assignments. Unfortunatly, thousands of other photographers thought of that too and the market is over saturated. Stock is probably one of the toughest fields in photography to make a good living at unlesss you REALLY REALLY understand what you are doing. And even then it will take a substantial investment and some time before you see any reward.

 

Two good friends of mine are at the top in this field. They both run large operations (for photographers) with big studios, producers, retouchers, and Larry even has associate photographers. Looking at their work doens't beign to show you how difficult the market is for this. They really have to understand future trends and produce in volume the kinds of photos that will sell next year. They are two of my skiing buddies so I've spent a lot of time with them learning the inside scoop about this field. Jon has given numerous lectures and workshops on starting out in stock. So if he still is doing it, maybe you can see one.

 

They make for tough competition but if you work hard you can rise to the challenge. Here are the links:

 

JON FEINGERSH PHOTOGRAPHY

Larry Williams & Associates

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Anyway, back to Martin in Sweden. It sounds like you are really just looking for any way to get into professional photography. As others have said, it is much harder to get started than it may seem. In the US, there is tremendous competition in all fields. So you'll have to be good, dedicated, patient, and persistant if you want to get your foot in the door.

 

Thanks Alan, but I didn't really ask about advice on how to live of photography. This is a thread about equipment. What I need now, is not hear about how incredibly tuff and almost impossible it is to live of photography. I hear it enough. Believe me.

You may be right about architecture and interior being something hard to get in to. But I've seen crappy shots from some real estate firms in my local area and I'm pretty confident I could do it better. They may not pay a lot, but there's probably some volume in work.

But money is a big issue, and it may be the case that they will only pay peanuts, buy their own DSLR or hire some young amateur who just got a DSLR.

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Just keep it because there will always be a place for the type of shots it is capable of ... but it's not a super camera that does everything.

 

If you are into available light photography, the clear low light machines are from Canon ... and are not MF digital backs ... most of which top out at ISO 400, and in reality produce that stunning image quality at ISO 200 or less. (BTW, nothing Canon or Nikon may do will come close to these backs ... it's a matter of real-estate just like with film).

 

That said, most of the top end DSLRs will fill the bill. Even though I'm not a fan of the 5D, it is an incredible image maker using a huge range of ISOs with little to no struggle in post.

 

Setting aside emotions and treating it strictly as a business decision, keep the Leica, and get a 5D with a couple of lenses ... 24 tilt/shift for architecture, a 100/2.8 macro, and a telephoto zoom (70-200/2.8 IS) ... plus the back-up lens for the Leica like a 24-70/2.8 or 24-105/4 IS for event work ... nothing wrong with getting mint used stuff either.

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...You may be right about architecture and interior being something hard to get in to. But I've seen crappy shots from some real estate firms in my local area and I'm pretty confident I could do it better. They may not pay a lot, but there's probably some volume in work.

But money is a big issue, and it may be the case that they will only pay peanuts, buy their own DSLR or hire some young amateur who just got a DSLR.

 

Sorry, but I thought you already got enough answers about equipment and you seemed a little unsure about why you were thinking of changing equipment. Lots of photographers have done all kinds of jobs with all kinds of equipment. To repeat - you can surely use what you have until you need something else since your potential needs are still up in the air. But I thought I was being informative (not negative) and wasn't trying to discourage you about architecture. I was trying to give you advice, a few tips and and encourage you to specialize a bit in that or some other field. You just can't go all directions at once if you expect to get anywhere unless your market is so small that you are forced to be a generalist. (Stock, architecture, fashion, events, etc.) And if that's the case either you'll need several systems or one that will do it all adequately. (Canon full frame - but I didn't want to say that here.)

 

Sometimes I hate to say this publicly, (but my career is ok even if the architectural photography market becomes flooded): Architecture and interior photography for builders, designers, retailers, renovators, architects, real estate developers, related manufacturers and suppliers is one of the few good markets in photography if you are in a region with a lot of new development. Consider how many people and companies have a stake in a new building or housing development. Lots of photographers can't do a good job of it, it isn't impacted by competition from stock, there is a lot of money at stake and the real estate developers and builders have deep pockets. They need good photographs of their products to sell them, always have new products, and can use the same photographer over and over again. Many of these clients appreciate good photography, the skills and effort required, and will pay accordingly. With luck you can build relationships that last decades as I have done. I can understand why it wouldn't appeal to everyone. (It didn't appeal to me either until I saw the business potential and also realized I wasn't going to be the next W. Eugene Smith.)

 

I used to be president of the Mid Atlantic chapter of ASMP, was a national director of ASMP and am a member of APA. In those capacities and others, I've dealt with hundreds of professional photographers in all fields. So I'm not trying to discourage you. I'm just trying to make sure your eyes are wide open and you are looking in the right places. There will always be a need for new photographers if they are good.

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