Architectural Photography Gear - A Good (basic) Setup

Here's the camera gear I've been using to document my work and record the videos on my YouTube channel. Having tested it for about a year now, I'm not left wanting any of the features of a higher-end setup (yet). If you're just getting into video recording the tilt-screen feature of the 70D is essential. Equally, lenses which include image stabilization are smart choices for securing the kind of footage you expect out of a good camera. I've also added a microphone boom arm (~$15 Amazon) to position the Rode VideoMic Pro closer to me while recording.

camera body

The Canon 70D is a crop sensor camera. (NOTE: Canon has released the 80D since I purchased this one, so the price on the 70D has dropped). The larger the sensor, the more expensive a camera is to manufacture. Larger sensors allow for greater dynamic range and will allow you to use the maximum focal length of your lenses. A crop sensor is smaller and thus reduces the cost to manufacture and - for me - allowed me to purchase a nice camera for everyday use in the studio. At 20 megapixels you'll take fantastic images and as long as you know how a crop sensor impacts your images and lens selection it's a solid choice.

The 70D's smaller sensor changes the effective focal length of the lens you mount on the frame. Multiply the lens focal length by 1.6 to calculate the actual focal length. For a 10MM lens, the effective focal length on a 70D would be 16MM, while on a full frame 5D MKIII, it would be the 10MM. You can see the smaller sensor is able to capture less information from the same lens, makes sense right? The lenses I chose below note the converted focal lengths to give you an idea of how wide they actually are.

Canon 40mm EF f/2.8 STM Lens - $179 (more of a macro lens, close-ups, detail shots) - effective focal length on 70D = 64MM

Canon 40mm EF f/2.8 STM Lens - $179 (more of a macro lens, close-ups, detail shots) - effective focal length on 70D = 64MM

Canon 24MM EF-S/f 2.8 $149 (of the two, this is the wider angle) - effective focal length on 70D = 38MM

Canon 24MM EF-S/f 2.8 $149 (of the two, this is the wider angle) - effective focal length on 70D = 38MM

Lenses

I chose to buy two prime lenses of better quality that would begin to build out a stable of lenses for my camera. Specifically, I selected one for close-up work - details and filming videos, and another for wider angle work. 40MM/f2.8 EF STM (effective focal length of 64MM) $179, the STM designation stands for Stepper Motor which has been designed for nearly silent autofocusing when recording video. This one came with a hood, a UV filter and a lens cleaning supply kit too. 

24MM/f2.8 EF-S STM (effective focal length of 38MM) $149 The ’S’ designation stands for “small image circle”. Crop sensor cameras allow the optical elements to protrude further into the camera
body, which allows for some very wide angle lenses and enables them to be made smaller, lighter (containing less glass), faster (larger aperture) for less money.

 

Canon EF-S 10-18mm f/4.5-5.6 IS STM Lens - effective focal length on 70D = 16 - 28mm

Canon EF-S 10-18mm f/4.5-5.6 IS STM Lens - effective focal length on 70D = 16 - 28mm

Since recording the original video I've purchased a wider angle lens, the Canon EF-S 10-18mm f/4.5-5.6 IS STM Lens. This has image stabilization and is great for interior architectural work; very pleased with this upgrade.

Accessories

Ravelli APGL4 New Professional 70" Tripod with Adjustable Pistol Grip Head - $65

RODE VideoMic Pro shotgun mic $199 (on board mic is subpar)

Extra Batteries - $13 ea

Adobe Lightroom + Photoshop Photography Plan - $10/month

32GB SD card $12, need the Class 10 card if you’re recording video

Total Cost (purchaed in 2016): ~$1600

In addition to the lens mentioned above, I've since purchased a bag which I actually use for everything architecture too. It's the  Lowepro Fastpack BP 250 AW II, and it holds not only my camera gear (lenses, SD cards, batteries, camera body), but it also has a slot for my Macbook Pro and the top compartment fits a sketchbook, pens, and my phone. Review coming soon...