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Quick advice on 12-24

Discussion in 'Lens Lust' started by Electromen, Sep 28, 2005.

  1. I've been asked by a local builder and a large tile/carpet/hardwood flooring store to photograph their interior work. Many will be kitchens and baths. I have the 17-55 2.8 DX, but thought the

    12-24mm f/4G ED-IF AF-S DX Zoom-Nikkor

    might be necessary or better for this job. I'm going tonight to try the 17-55 and practice. Should I get the 12-24? A photo store is on the way and has it in stock. Talk about LLD, but I want this first job to be right because it will lead to more work. I just bought the Expodisc for this same job.
    Thanks, Greg
  2. nfoto

    nfoto Guest

    It's never prudent to take on an important assignment using unfamilar gear. I think 17 mm is giving a decent wide-angle look on its own, and going any wider needs shooting practice (especially indoors).
  3. PJohnP


    Feb 5, 2005
    Greg :

    While I echo Bjørn's comment about unfamiliar gear, I will say that the 12mm end of that lens will give you just that bit more room to take additional shots the 17-55mm can't "reach". I've shot several interiors with the 12-24mm lens, and while there are some distortion issues to address, typically by very carefully picking the position to shoot from to avoid a lot of PP effort, it's quite good for tight spaces.

    Any way you can "borrow" (or more ethically, rent) the lens and use both ? This would allow you to work with the familiar lens, and change to the 12-24mm for additional shots.

    John P.
  4. Thanks Bjon and PJohnP
    That's good advice, I'm very happy with the results from the 17-55.
    It's was just LLD taking over again.
    Hey you just saved me money, I was going to pick up a case of beer on the way home, now I can afford better beer. If you lived closer I'd invite you over for one.
    Thanks again, Greg
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 28, 2005
  5. Chris101


    Feb 2, 2005
    At the cost of the 12-24 Nikkor, way better beer.

    One thing I did not see mentioned is that the Nikkor 12-24DX does have some barrell distortion, especially near 12mm that will cause problems in an interior shot. It's pretty straight around 16-19mm though.
  6. nfoto

    nfoto Guest

    In fact, it is straighter than the 17-55 around 17 mm.
  7. PJohnP


    Feb 5, 2005
    Chris :

    Beer, hell, I'd be drinking some fine single malt whiskey every night for months with the differential costs...

    Yeah, that's true more from the issue of the degree of wide angle than the specific lens, IMO, which is why I pick my angle and position extremely carefully for interior shots with the lens. So many folks seem to resort to various post-processing tricks to address this when another ten or twenty seconds consideration of the camera position can work wonders. No matter what we do, however, wide angle lenses have significant limitations - I'd purely love to see some techno-dweeb be able to apply PC technology to a 12mm up to maybe a 15mm DX prime lens (I doubt the technology would translate to a zoom lens, sadly).

    That said, I still find the 12-24mm AFS lens to be a true workhorse for me with my "interior shooting" in chemical plants and refineries. It's made me something like 50% more effective in my shooting in those circumstances over my previous lenses (an 18-35mm and a borrowed 17-35mm) with reduced shooting effort and much less stitching of shots in PP.

    John P.
  8. PJohnP


    Feb 5, 2005
    Greg :

    Heh. With all the travel I do for business, you'd be well advised to reconsider that offer ! :eek:  :biggrin: :eek: 

    John P.
  9. Thanks for all the advice, this forum is the greatest,

    I went to the house last night to practice and the 17-55 just wasn't wide enough. I couldn't get enough of the kitchen or bath in one frame. I came home with the 12-24 DX.

    I had to go to a freinds house and drink HIS beer. Fine single malt?
    Kool - Aid is now my prefered beverage.

    I know it was expensive, but the builder grosses $24M/year, the flooring company has 50 trucks and 150 employees. These guys have seen good and bad work. The reason they are sucessful is their top quality standards. I'm not about to show them something sub-par. I have two more weeks, if I have to I can go back to perfect the shots.

    This house is new and ready to move in. The owner was there and asked about the camera equipment. He is the head basketball coach for last year's district champs. After talking awhile he asked me to come to a basketball game to photograph it. He also invited me to a tournament with six teams. I just opened a Printroom.com web site specailizing in youth sports, so the timing was perfect.

    I only do this part-time, I am an electrical contractor. I have to stay focused on that, but photography is so much more fun. It's a hooby that's turning into a business. When I retire it's something to keep me busy.

    PJohnP (and everyone else) if your ever in the Pittsburgh, Pa area let me know. If you buy I'm sure it will taste better. LOL

    Thanks for the quiuk responses,
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 29, 2005
  10. PJohnP


    Feb 5, 2005
    Greg :

    Good glass is rarely a bad investment. Even if you only shoot for a month or so with the 12-14mm, the price difference selling it used will likely be less than the rental costs for that time.

    I, too, fought very hard on getting this lens. I already had a good WA zoom, it was a lot of money, etc. Once I started shooting with the lens, I never looked back. As I mentioned elsewhere, it's on the D100 body the majority of the time for the documentary work I do in my "day job".

    I think you'll get a lot of good use out of the lens.

    I do suggest shooting several rooms at different heights, perspectives, etc., to get the familiarity with the lens that Bjørn and I commented on. Once you get a few hundred shots through it, you'll start to gain an understanding of better use of the lens. A stepladder's very handy for this, and probably something you have in your work-related gear. You'll also want to keep an eye on DOF for that type of shooting - almost mandating a monopod or tripod for non-flash work in some rooms.

    And when I next make it out to Pittsburgh, the Yuengling Amber's on me ! It's the least I can do after pushing you into this lens... If you're out here, we'll hoist a goodly measure of a single malt (and there's substantial snow on the mountains this morning, so that's the preferred drink this evening).

    Post a few photos once you've got going with this, eh ?

    John P.
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 29, 2005
  11. jfrancis


    May 8, 2005
    Orlando, FL
    Now you just need the 10.5 mm :biggrin:
  12. The 10.5 would be fun. Next I want a good tripod like Manfrotto, mine is just not stable enough. I have to wait awhile, the 12-24 is the fifth lens purchased since June. Camera dollars are running shy, maybe for Christmas.
  13. Hey John,

    I just got the 10.5 and it is a fun lens to play with. Maybe this would have worked better than the 12-24. However, I am not sure if it could be used for the job Eletromen was doing.
  14. jfrancis


    May 8, 2005
    Orlando, FL
    I don't think so either -but it is a cool lens to play with :biggrin:
  15. Gale


    Jan 26, 2005
    Viera Fl
    Wishing much luck, good skills and success. Great opportunity.

    sports in the mix to. Now how lucky is that.

    Hell you can drink kooooool-aid till the first check comes in..

    Geezzz I had to laugh.

  16. 12-24 first photos

    Here are two of the first shots using the 12-24.
    Now I know what you guys menant by "Keystoning". I'm going back after they move in and decorate a little. These were taken before the moved in.
    I don't personally like white kitchens.

    Honest critique is welcome

    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)
  17. PJohnP


    Feb 5, 2005
    Greg :

    Warning - long discourse (or long-winded if you want to see it that way)

    Yah, you've run head-on into the basic issue with WA lenses. Short of creating a shift-tilt 12mm (and I'd buy that in a heartbeat if it was well done !), there are two ways to address this, and note please, these are not mutually exclusive approaches (I use both) :

    - pick a carefully defined vantage spot for the shot to minimise keystoning (and other related perspective issues like skewing); and/or,
    - post-process with any of several filters/plug-ins to "straighten" the image.

    The first one seems obvious, but it's a product of experience along with the photographer's eye for angles, and it's not at all intuitive. For example, in your first shot, you are not "normal" (i.e., at a 90° or right angle) to the bottom step of the stairs. The WA at 12mm (I'm assuming 12mm because there's no EXIF with the posted shot), then skews the stairwell and all lines emanating from the stairwell (the railing posts, the first floor ceiling to stairwell cutouts, etc.). Skewing is different than keystoning, in that if you have a clean 90° angle to the bottom of the subject, you can correct keystoning in PP, where skewing is much more difficult to address.

    There's nothing "wrong" with skewing the angle, and I consciously do this in some shots, but, typically, we want less perspective shift than this. In the real estate shooting side of things, I'd say that most of the time, people want to see as little distortion as possible. So I'll look for a tidy 90° angle (strictly speaking, the line between the lens and the subject base projected on the ground is 90°, but the vertical angle will obviously vary) to minimise skewing effects.

    Then, too, the degree of keystoning would be changed if you elevated the camera position (e.g., using a stepladder), but note, this would only shift where you get keystoning, because the WA will then start to distort the lower part of the photo. The trick is to pick the appropriate spot to minimise the overall keystoning effect which is greatest at the edges of the shot and less at the centre (that's a gross simplification of the optics, but it's a useable simplification for discussion). While most discussions of keystoning emphasise the upwards vertical keystone effect, it's applicable in the downward and horizontal directions as well.

    I try to pick my position for the shot to place the keystone effects deliberately in a certain part of the photograph. Controlling the result in this way allows me to better manage the results, and more to the point, gives me a small number of surprises once I've left the site.

    Another part of the problem can be the assumption that one has to shoot at 12mm all of the time. I make a very conscious effort to "foot frame" my photographs rather than depend on cropping alone. Sometimes, I can position myself and shoot at 16mm or 24mm more effectively than at 12mm with a later crop, and man-o-man, do I get less WA distortion ! More time at the site, less time in post-processing, and that's a good tradeoff in my considered opinion.

    Speaking of PP, have a look at several filters/plug-ins and decide on the one you like best. I've been using Andromeda's LensDoc for several years, and while there are other packages (some free) available now, I've grown accustomed to this one. But there are others, and everybody seems to have an intensely personal preference.

    Note that any PP for keystoning or rendering two lines parallel will cause you to lose some part of the photograph once the distortions have been addressed. That goes counter to my comments about framing and composition above, but, there it is. This is why I said that I use both approaches for getting a "best" image I can. In some circumstances, I just shoot at 12mm with the maximum distance I can get, and address this as much as possible in PP, as I can't always get up on a ladder or find the best angle for the shot. Sometimes I'd get chewed up or drawn into industrial equipment for the position for the "best shot" and I, for some odd reason, don't care to become an industrial statistic. Funny about that, eh ?

    Fortunately, my clients in industrial facilities are not terribly snobbish or affected about some WA distortion, and where the issue exists, I always add a caption note along the lines of "Wide angle shot may introduce some distortion". Haven't had any large complaints thus far.

    In other cases, I make the maximum effort to plan the shot to minimise various WA distortions and, as well, chromatic abberations that are more noticeable at the wider end. Note that PP of an image to correct perspective often "stretches" the image, and this introduces other non-ideal changes to the photograph.

    You can stitch multiple photographs together, applying various PP to each, and then PP to the stitched whole. This, too, isn't ideal, and creates other compromises. I did this shot in a very tightly spaced location where the owner wanted the stairwell captured, the ceiling, the lights, and all in "one shot". I took several, processed and post-processed, stitched, and post-processed more after that.


    While I was pleased to manage to pull this one off, especially with the tremendously difficult lighting, I wince every time I look at the shot, because I see the flaws from the PP effort. OTOH, I did manage to get the shot to work...

    There are going to be tradeoffs, and sometimes I can't "see" the result clearly enough while on site to make sure I'm going to land the shot I need. I'll sometimes run several shots with varying heights/positions to ensure that I won't have to come back. On several occasions, the difference of a foot or so in position has made the shot much more esthetically pleasing. I wish that I was the kind of photographer who could walk in to a location, calmly look around for several minutes, and walk out with one shot that's ideally correct in composition, exposure, and overall esthetics, but I'm not. :frown:

    Lastly, something I'm just starting to play with is the use of a graduated ND filter to allow me to capture lower floor shaded areas more cleanly while not overexposing upper floor (actually, decks in the refineries and plants) areas in direct light. Previously, I've either tried several exposures, or adjusted the lower lit areas with Digital DEE or D-Light, but I'm getting more and more to the point where I want to have the closest "best" exposure in the camera and use processing/post-processing less for the image. You see a lot of discussion about variable ND for outdoor scenic shots, but I haven't seen a good discussion on how to apply this in the kinds of industrial facilities I visit (and I wish I could find such a discussion - there's so much I'm trying to work out on my own...) Again, using the graduated ND will be more time on the site, but less time trying to later fix what I should have got right in the first place.

    I hope this helps. I'm struggling all of the time with trying to be more systematic and consistent with my shooting, while also attempting to get some shots that show a tiny touch of artistic merit.

    And that last one's darned difficult in an industrial chemical facility in someplace like Linden, New Jersey, but I'm trying it all the same... :wink:

    John P.

    P.S. I discuss that photo in much detail at https://www.nikoncafe.com/vforums/showthread.php?t=45403 if you want more info.
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 15, 2017
  18. Great job Electromen on the interior shots. The WB particularly looks good and there seems to be little distortion. Lighting also looks pretty uniform. I also bought the 12-24 mostly to do interior/exterior architectural shots and it has performed well. Even at 12mm though I sometimes find it not wide enough. The 17-55 wouldn't do so well and the 10.5mm has WAY too much distortion for architectural work. Keep on shootin...
  19. John P. Thanks for the advice. I am listening and using your suggestions.
    Paul V. Thanks for the encouragement

    I went out today and attempted another house. Here is the kitchen.
    D70, 12-24 DX @13mm, A priority, Matrix metering, F/8, 1/1.3 sec. ISO 200, no flash, WB preset using Expodisc.

    Lines are getting straighter

    Should I use PP to remove the art work from the Refrigerator, or leave it in?

    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)
  20. nfoto

    nfoto Guest

    The "artwork" on the refrigerator adds a much need touch of life to the scene so obviously should be kept. Otherwise, you need to open up the middle tones substantially and while you are engrossed in PS do some keystone correcting as well. Just my first thoughts on the picture.
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