When it comes to digital point a shoot cameras,
bigger is not necessarily better, but wider certainly is.
One of the first posts I wrote on ActiveRain was titled, "Sell Your Camera On eBay & Buy This One."
That post was written about the Kodak v705, which, along with the Kodak v570, would still be my recommendation for a point and shoot camera. Unfortunately, Kodak decided to stop making both the v705 and the v570 and they are getting harder and harder to find. So I was forced to find another camera I could feel confident recommending.
My search led me to a brand new camera on the market, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX35.
Comparing the Panasonic Lumix FX35 to the Kodak v705, I found it's features to be comparable, the photo quality slightly better and its 25mm wide angle lens is the widest currently in production, though not as wide as the v705's 23mm wide angle lens. Still, the review left me wondering if people were being fooled into thinking they were getting a wide angle lens when they really weren't.
The Wide Angle Claim
Point and shoot cameras with a 28mm wide angle lens, like the brand new Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ5, say they have a wide angle lens. And, compared to the standard 35mm lens, that's certainly true. But is it enough to capture a small room in the best possible way?
I wanted to see the difference in wide angle lenses for myself.
To do that, I purchased a Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ5 as well and borrowed Martin Rodriguez's Sony DSC-H9. (Martin's primary use for the DSC-H9 is not real estate photography, by the way.) The TZ5 has the very commonly 28mm lens that most point and shoot manufactures call wide angle, and the DSC-H9 has the standard 35mm lens. I compared them with the 23mm v705 and the 25mm FX35.
Here are the comparisons between the four different point and shoot lenses.
Sony DSC-H9 35mm
Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ5 28mm
Panasonic Lumix DMC FX35 25mm
Kodak v705 23mm
Smaller rooms will show an even greater difference.
I used my family room as the subject matter, and it is fairly large, so you can imagine what a difference the FX35 or the v705 would make in photographing a very small room. In my opinion, neither the Sony DSC-H9 or Lumix DMC-TZ5 did this room justice. Only the 25mm lens on the Lumix FX35 came close enough to the 23mm lens on the Kodak v705 to get my vote of confidence. A wider wide angle lens makes a huge difference in your multimedia presentations as well. Here is a Real Estate Show illustrating how the different wide angle photos look when put in motion. Click on "more photos" to see them in static form.
A digital point & shoot camera with a 28mm lens can certainly claim wide angle status, but for real estate purposes, 28mm simply isn't enough.