So what is the best lens for architectural photography you might be thinking? This depends on a number of factors.
How wide do you need to shoot?
Can you get horizontally level?
How much light is available?
Generally speaking for architectural photography you are going to need a wide angle lens, as buildings are a lot bigger than us it is harder to fit them in to the frame without being far away from the subject. By having a wide angle lens this can cause problems in it self. Including chromatic aberration which causes a colour fringe around objects in your image. This is caused by the lens failing to focus all the colours to the same convergence point. See example below, you can see a red fringe around the ceiling window installation.
Now lets take another look at the questions I asked at the beginning. How wide do you need to shoot? Are you going to be photographing architecture in tight interior spaces or architectural photography exteriors? If shooting interiors you are going to need a much wider lens than if you were just shoot exteriors. You usually have a lot more flexibility when photographing architectural exterior and you can move about, but with interior photography you are generally very limited in movement. So shooting interiors go really wide! Such as 10-20mm. Shooting exterior and have that extra flexibility? Go a little longer with your lens at 20-30mm. Every situation is going to be different how ever so make sure you choose wisely. Even if you are photographing on a wide lens and you need to move forward you can do, or alternatively you can connect a teleconverter to your camera body and lens.
Another great consideration for picking the best architectural photography lens is converging lines. Do you need a lens with tilt and shift adjustments? If you have to tilt your lens/camera up to capture the architecture you are going to get something known as converging lines. Look at the image below to see what I mean by this.
As you can see the objects toward the side of the image are being pulled in to the center. To get rid of this your lens need to be horizontally level with the building. There is a feature in Photoshop to remove this but it only works so far so it is better to get it correct in camera.
The best lens for architectural photography for me is any of these two below with teleconverters.
These lenses are the Canon 17mm ts-e and the Canon 24mm ts-e. If you are not clear about anything I will try and clear it up for you! Purchase the below.
OK, I thought a nice post on the two Canon ts-e (tilt shift lenses) would be good for people looking to buy a tilt shift lens and were not sure which lens is wide enough for them. Although this depends GREATLY on what you are photographing I will make some clear observations for you to help you decide.
First take a look at this image below.
This image is an example of a photo taken on full frame camera. Please ignore the architecture it is not significant. What is however is the two boxes, the purple on the outside and the blue on the inside. The purple box shows the field of view you would get on the Canon ts-e 17mm, and the blue box the field of view the Canon ts-e 24mm. Which is wide enough for you? Only you can decide and this is only one example which takes into account the field of view.
- Interior photography needs a much greater field of view then exterior
- Take into account your sensors crop factor as this will effect your field of view greatly (full frame is a lot wider than 1.6 crop)
- Bare in mind if you go for a wider option you can always use extenders to fill the frame
TS-E lenses are a must for architectural work, so choose wisely.
In August I was commissioned to take some images for a ceiling company (http://www.stretchceilings.co.uk) at the new South Cheshire College. The images were for promotional use of their installation in one of the main sectors of the building.
The new campus at South Cheshire has been thought out very well, the relationship between the architecture and its function is entwined which makes the building quite unique. I also had a browse around the old campus which was very outdated so the change must have been coming for many years. I read somewhere the building cost £73 million, I hope they produce some excellent graduates for this!
Down to the photography, I used a nice Canon 17mm tilt shift lens for most the images to include the environment in the images of the ceiling. Down below are a few shots from the shoot which will be added to the portfolio accordingly which can be found http://www.jamieknop.com/portfolio/architecturalphotography.php.
Well the Wista has been out of action for quite some time now with the bellows being fixed and in the mean time I have decided upon purchasing the ShenHao TZ45-IIB. Along with it comes a nice wide lens, the Fujinon SWD 90mm f/5.6 would should come in handy in them tight situations many architecture photographers find them self’s in. The cameras movements are as follows, front; rise: 23mm, fall: 43mm, shift: 12mm, Swing: 25°, Base tilt: 90°. Rear Movements; rise: 55mm, base tilt: 90°, back tilt: 22°, swing: 10°.
The camera is coming from France so it may take a little while to get here but as soon as it is I shall put it to the test and update with the results!