Expert Recommendation

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Best Digital Camera for Interior Photos Under $1000
Expert (88 Recommendations and 32 Compliments)
Send a ComplimentComplimented (Change)
October 11, 2008
Overview

With outstanding image quality from a large APS-C-sized 12 Megapixel resolution sensor and featuring a live view (very helpful when using a tripod), the Canon Digital Rebel XSi is the top choice for shooting interiors. Couple it with Tokina’s superb wide-angle low distortion AF 12-24mm f/4 AT-X Pro DX Lens, and you have got the killer combination for producing best in class results.

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My Best In Class Pick
Canon EOS Digital Rebel XSi (Body Only)

This DSLR has a live-view mode so you can use the rear LCD for framing the shot (as is the case with point-and-shoot cameras). Live-view is especially helpful when shooting with the camera on a tripod, which is often used to shoot interiors.

The camera comes with many useful features like the EOS Integrated Cleaning System (i.e. to reduce the chance of dust settling on the sensor when the lens is changed) and the auto lighting optimizer (to brighten up details in shadows while protecting highlights).

DSLRs have a real advantage in image quality as they have much larger sensors (about 6-10 times the size) than premium compact cameras like the Panasonic LX3. So each pixel is larger and therefore more sensitive to light. This translates into much lower noise at high ISO settings. This is essential for making effective use of the “auto lighting optimizer” feature to avoid shadows becoming too noisy and lacking in detail and to provide better dynamic range so you will have less blown out areas in high contrast scenes (typical interiors with bright lights or sunlight coming through open windows or window panes.).

As usual with a DSLR, it offers full-featured manual controls including a RAW mode, which is a desirable feature for photographing interiors With it one can remove color cast (artificial lighting can cause superimposition of unsightly blue, orange, or even green color casts on image), as one can adjust the white balance (process of removing unrealistic color casts) later during image conversion to a more popular image format (e.g. JPG or TIFF) with supplied software.

Aperture Priority mode (i.e. one can set the lens aperture while the camera decides on the other parameters) is useful here as frequently small f/8 settings are used to improve the depth of field, which is a required feature for photographing interiors to have a sharp focus everywhere.

Couple it Tokina’s superb lens (Tokina AF 12-24mm f/4 AT-X Pro DX) to get the magnificent super wide angle view with minimal barrel distortion and full of fine details. This is one of the exceptional wide-angle lenses, which are able to keep the barrel distortion in check, while still retaining good corner to corner sharpness.

(You can also buy the camera with its image stabilized kit lens which provides good value. However barrel distortion will be much more at wide end of zoom. One can use image editing programs to correct that to large extent.)

Comparison with Panasonic Lumix DMC-L10

The Canon EOS Digital Rebel XSi has better resolution, dynamic range and noise performance.

Comparison with Sigma DP1

The Canon XSi has faster focusing and more versatility with its interchangeable lens mount.

Pros
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    Outstanding image quality (especially when coupled with Tokina's 12-24mm lens)
  • +
    Good battery life
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    Live-view & dust reduction system
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    Value for money
Canon EOS Digital Rebel XSi (Body Only) is the Best Digital Camera for Interior Photos Under $1000
Where to buy
Canon EOS Digital Rebel XSi (Body Only)
  • Best Price: $485
    Amazon See It »
Recommended with
  • Tokina AF 12-24mm f/4 AT-X Pro DX Lens for Canon Digital SLR
    $569.95 @ Amazon.com
Specifications
  • Resolution: 12.2MP
More
Want More Opinions? See:
Website Reviews (3 reviews)
  • Highly Recommended at DPReview.com
  • Dave's Pick at Imaging-Resource.com
  • Rated Very Good by CNET.com

Comparing My Best In Class Pick with Other Good Choices

Product
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Canon EOS Digital Rebel XSi (Body Only)
2
Panasonic Lumix DMC-L10
3
Sigma DP1
Customer Rating
Price $485.00 $599.00
Size (W x H x D) 5.1 x 3.8 x 2.4 in. 5.3 x 3.8 x 3.0 in. 4.5 x 2.3 x 2.0 in.
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Effective Sensor Resolution
12.2 megapixels 10.1 megapixels 4.6 megapixels x 3
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Sensor Size
22.2 x 14.8 mm 17.3 x 13.0 mm 20.7 x 13.8 mm
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Shutter Lag Time (including auto-focus time)
0.2 sec 0.2 sec 1.5 - 1.7 sec
Power to First Shot Time 0.2 sec 1.0 sec 3.9 sec
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Min Focal Length (35 mm equivalent)
18 mm (with recommended Tokina 12-24 mm lens) 28 mm 28 mm
Optical Zoom 2x (with recommended Tokina 12-24 mm lens) 3.6x 1.0x
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Image Stabilization Available
Yes Yes (kit lens based) No
Auto Focus Assist Light Available Yes Yes No
Aperture Priority Mode Available Yes Yes Yes
Full Manual Exposure Mode Available Yes Yes Yes
LCD Screen Resolution 230000 pixels 207000 pixels 230000 pixels
Battery Type Proprietary Lithium Ion Rechargeable Proprietary Lithium Ion Rechargeable Proprietary Lithium Ion Rechargeable
Viewfinder Type Optical (rear LCD during live view) Optical (Swivel LCD during live view) LCD, Optical (external, optional)
External Flash Connection Available Yes Yes Yes
Battery Life 500 shots (half of that with live view ) 450 hots (half of that with live view ) 250 shots
Image Quality
Barrel Distortion (Approx.) 0.3 % (with recommended Tokina 12-24 mm lens) 0.6 % (better than average) 0.4 % (much better than average)
Corner to corner sharpness Outstanding (with recommended Tokina 12-24 mm lens) Outstanding Outstanding
Dynamic Range Excellent Very good Excellent
Fine details in image Excellent (with recommended Tokina 12-24 mm lens) Excellent Excellent
Image Noise Excellent performance Very good Excellent
2
Panasonic Lumix DMC-L10

This DSLR comes with superb image-stabilized Leica kit lens (28-100mm equivalent focal length on 35mm film camera). The camera is the cheapest DSLR with a swivel LCD. The feature is very helpful when shooting with the camera mounted on a tripod.

Other useful feature is its dust protection system. In Landscape mode, the camera gives you the option to specify if you’re going to take nature or architecture (thus more suitable compensation for the scene will be available on the picture).

The kit lens is great producing image with good corner-to-corner sharpness while keeping barrel distortion in check (0.6%) at wide end of zoom.

However the Dynamic range and noise performance are not as good as that of Canon’s due to smaller sensor size. Nevertheless the camera provides good value with kit lens.

Comparison with Sigma DP1

The Panasonic L10 has faster focusing and more versatility with its interchangeable lens mount and swivel LCD.

Pros
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    Good image quality
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    Sharp kit lens
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    Rich feature set catering to novice and advanced users
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    Good battery life
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    Live-view
  • +
    Value for money
Cons
  • -
    smaller sensor (as compared to typical DSLRs with APS sized sensors)
Panasonic Lumix DMC-L10 is one of the Best Digital Cameras for Interior Photos Under $1000
Where to buy
Panasonic Lumix DMC-L10
Want More Opinions? See:
3
Sigma DP1

Equipped with one of the largest image sensors among compacts, this camera produces outstanding image quality because of its sharp low distortion 28mm wide-angle lens, made by leading lens manufacturer Sigma.

It uses a 14 megapixel (4.69x3 layers of R,G,B color sensitive pixels) FOVEON X3 direct image sensor (2652 × 1768 × 3 layers, click here for details) as used in the Sigma SD14 digital SLR thus making it the most affordable compact camera with such a sensor. With this sensor, the camera can capture a wider brightness range that is frequently required for typically lit interiors.

Sigma DP1 produces merely a 0.4% barrel distortion making it good choice for shooting interiors.

The camera offers full manual modes including RAW image capture.

Image quality is good with plenty of details giving 10 Megapixel DSLRs a run for their money.

Nevertheless have a look at pros & cons before committing to it.

Comparison with Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX3

The Sigma DP1 has better image quality (wider dynamic range, less noise) because of its much larger sensor. Nevertheless the Panasonic LX3 is a close behind, armed with 2.5x zoom lens (The Sigma DP1 has a fixed focal length lens), faster performance, image stabilization and an AF assist lamp.

Pros
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    Equipped with one of the largest (around 6x in size to that of LX3) sensor among compacts
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    Good quality lens with minimal distortion
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    Good image quality with plenty of details
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    Hot shoe for accessories (e.g. external flash or EVF mounting)
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    Full manual controls including RAW mode
Sigma DP1 is one of the Best Digital Cameras for Interior Photos Under $1000
Where to buy
Sigma DP1
  • Best Price: $599
    Amazon See It »
Specifications
  • Zoom: 1.0x
  • Wide-Angle Lens: 28mm (25% wider)
  • Resolution: 4.6MP
More
Want More Opinions? See:
Website Reviews (2 reviews)
4
Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX3

Panasonic’s association with leading lens manufacturer Leica has helped them produce cameras with good quality lenses and the Panasonic LX3 is their top-of line compact camera featuring a 24mm (focal length equivalent to that on a 35mm camera) ultra wide-angle 2.5x zoom lens.

The camera produces images with low barrel distortion (merely 0.5%) at its widest angle view zoom setting.

The camera also offers full-featured manual controls including a RAW mode.

The Intelligent Exposure function automatically controls the ISO sensitivity. It increases the exposure of only the darkened areas because of backlighting (e.g sunlight coming through windows, etc.) or insufficient flash lighting to capture the scene as you see it by suppressing the extreme brightness and darkness in the picture.

The overall image quality is good.

Pros
  • +
    Good image quality
  • +
    Sharp low distortion lens
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    Hot-shoe for mounting accessories (e.g external flash)
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    Full manual controls including RAW mode
Cons
  • -
    Small sensor (as compared to DSLRs)
Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX3 is one of the Best Digital Cameras for Interior Photos Under $1000
Where to buy
Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX3
  • Best Price: $402
    Amazon See It »
Specifications
  • Zoom: 2.5x
  • Wide-Angle Lens: 24mm (46% wider)
  • Resolution: 10.1MP
More
Want More Opinions? See:
Website Reviews (4 reviews)
  • Highly Recommended at DPReview.com
  • Dave's Pick at Imaging-Resource.com
  • Rated Very Good by CNET.com

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