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Thread: architectural photography

  1. #1

    architectural photography

    Hi everyone,

    I'm starting to think about moving to Lf to some architectural photography. I usually shoot digital, but feel disappointed...

    I would need some advice about what kind of camera should I choose (monorail, flatbed, etc), brand and lenses.

    Thank you for your help

    (excuse my bad english)


  2. #2

    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Harbor City, California

    architectural photography

    Architectural work is a very rewarding, but also very demanding specialty. A very flexible camera is needed, usually a monorail. Wide angle lenses are mostly used, Very short focal length ones to allow use in tight areas and longer ones to provide full use of movements are employed.

    Starting off with equipment ample to do a full range of architectural work of the highest image quality would be extremely expensive. Even if you can afford such a start, I would suggest a more modest beginning until you are sure to what extent you want to pursue the specialty.
    Calumet made a 4" X 5" monorail especially for wide angle use. It was officially called the CC-402, but is more often just called tje short version or the wide angle. It shows up on eBay fairly regularly. This is only one possibility, but it would be an excellent choice.

    Something like a 90mm f8 wide angle would be a good lens choice. Actually, though the subject is way too complicated to cover here. If you send me your address I will donate a booklet discussing lens choice to the good cause. There are several books available, one of which I am sure you would find very helpful. You can find them by doing a subject search.

  3. #3

    Join Date
    May 2001

    architectural photography


  4. #4

    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Gulfport, MS, USA

    architectural photography

    While many an architectural shot has been well made with a simple press camera having little but a rising/shifting front standard for movements, a monorail is definately needed for more complex work than basic straight-on outside shots. Most any one that appeals to your eye and budget will do...many a photographer has started and been well served for years with the old standby Calumet mentioned by Ernest. I would suggest starting with a basic monorail (I'm very happy with my Cambo) and a couple of lenses...a 150 or 160 mm with good coverage would do nicely for alot of the outdoor work and a 90mm, also with good coverage, would cover most indoor work and most closer outdoor shots; these need not be the most current lenses made...many of my lenses are 50 or so years old and very slow, but they all have good coverage. After working awhile with such a basic kit, you can add lenses and accessories as needed (I currently have 8 focal-lengths on hand ranging from 90mm thru 438 mm and have access to shorter lenses if I need them). As you get more into this field you will find yourself in need of good lighting equipment, etc., for certain occassions...this can, again, be added as it becomes necessary. Have fun sorting it all out!!! :-)

  5. #5

    Join Date
    Mar 2005

    architectural photography

    Much has to do with your personal working style and image needs. If you are not doing high rise buildings from close quarters, or a ton of interiors, you might not need as much in the way of movments and flexibility.

    I've been well served with a reasonably flexible field camera (I use a Wisner) with a basic kit of a 90 SA, 135 Caltar II and 210 Komura.

    This has been enough for me for the better part of 10 years. If I have a shoot that will force me beyond the capabilities of this kit, I rent what i need - but it has been a rare occurance.

  6. #6

    Join Date
    Dec 1999
    Forest Grove, Ore.

    architectural photography

    An excellent book for reading about architectural photography is Norman McGrath's "Photographing Buildings, Inside and Out."

    Ernest Purdom's recommendation of the wide-angle Calumet can be purchased relatively inexpensively. It allows you to begin with quite suitable equipment, but with only a modest up front investment. Depending on style, etc., the 90mm lens tends to be the most used for 4x5 architectural photography. If architecture catches on for you, it won't be long until you would want the f5.6 version of that lens.

  7. #7

    architectural photography

    Hola Miguel

    It depends were you are. a lot of recomandations are useful in USA. In Europe its different. I bought last month a Linhof Technika V 5/7 in Madrid. ( This camera is my favorite for architectural photography).

    A lot of professionell Photographers are changing to digital production and are selling their LF cameras. So its quiet cheap to get one.

    The election of a camera is like to buy a car. Its more emotionel than reasonable.

  8. #8
    Jim Ewins
    Join Date
    Apr 2004

    architectural photography

    Neil's suggestion is correct, read a few books on Architectural Photography/View cameras to get a feel for the subject. Steve Simmons book Using the View camera, Shaman's The View Camera, Shulman's The Photography of Architecture and Design are among many good titles. Many may be available at your local library and/or second hand book store. If you have a chance to join one of Per Volquartz's gatherings you'll be exposed to many different cameras and their users. Its a great adventure.

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