Best Affordable Camera for Real Estate Photography [Expert Guide]
In order to take impressive real estate photos, you will need to invest in a good camera that offers you all the specifications necessary to deliver excellent results.
There are multiple options on the market today, all varying in advantages, features, and budget ranges. All things considered, what one person may regard as the perfect camera for their real estate needs may look entirely different for another photographer – it all boils down to determining what your projects are most likely consisting of and investing in gear that can best cater to those needs.
This does not mean to say that the most expensive or the latest release is always the better choice. Sometimes the more affordable model designed with fundamental features is all you need to make it in the real estate photography business. Especially once you process it through an advanced editing software, your images will look portfolio ready in just a few clicks.
For a closer look at your options, here is a comprehensive guide on choosing the best affordable camera for real estate photography.
Which Camera is Best for Real Estate Photography?
There is not one camera or camera brand that is best overall. You must first consider your own needs, preferences, as well as the type of photography services your clients need in order to determine what the “best” looks for you. From there, you may narrow down the different options that can address those factors and work from there.
The ideal camera for real estate photography is one that can showcase your property in its best light – figuratively and literally speaking. This means that it can capture the many features and elements of your listing in a way that is accurate, relatable, and flattering all at the same time. Without out comprehensive guide below, it shouldn’t be too hard to search for!
What Type of Cameras Do Real Estate Photographers Use?
In today’s digital age, it is no surprise that there are many different types of cameras to choose from. For the purpose of this article, we will be focusing on the top 6 types of cameras that a real estate photographer would use.
Camera Type 1: DSLR Cameras
These are by far the most widely used type of camera in professional photography – real estate or otherwise. It stands for “Digital Single Lens Reflex” and has probably the widest range of options you can choose from.
There are many models built with heavy-duty material and weather-sealed elements for more advanced photography, which also a lot of real estate photographers utilize since it is convenient should the skies be unfavorable on the day of the shoot.
DSLR cameras also have the biggest range of lenses available. From wide angle to telephoto, to prime, to zoom, and much more!
There are two main types of DSLR cameras, namely full frame and crop sensor. Full frame DSLR cameras have a sensor the same size as a single 35mm film camera, while the crop sensor is much smaller. Crop sensors also tend to make images look more zoomed in than usual, so it is best to get a wider angle lens to balance it off should you opt to invest in a crop sensor model.
Camera Type 2: Mirrorless Cameras
Mirrorless cameras have gained popularity in recent years mainly because they are lighter and more portable than DSLR cameras but still offer similar high quality results.
These also come in either full frame or crop sensor variants, and have a growing number of lenses available. The main flaw with mirrorless cameras is that they have smaller batteries, which will require you to bring a few spares on the day of the shoot.
Camera Type 3: Action Cameras
Action cameras were primarily targeted for adventure seekers and travel enthusiasts. However, with digital real estate listings becoming more and more interactive in recent years, real estate agents and photographers alike sometimes utilize action cameras to take high quality videos of the property.
Camera Type 4: 360 Cameras
360 cameras are fairly new to the industry in the sense that not a lot of companies have fully maximized its potential yet. These small yet powerful cameras can be used to take amazing panoramic shots, and offer potential buyers a full view of the listing without even having to step foot in the property itself.
This adds to the growing list of interactive media that today’s real estate listings are displaying to win over the attention of varied audiences.
Camera Type 5: Drone Cameras
For a bird’s eye view of the property and its surrounding neighborhood, many professional real estate photographers utilize a drone camera. This allows you to easily capture exterior shots of the listing in multiple impressive angles.
Especially for commercial real estate photography where location is most crucial in their purchasing decision process, showcasing how near the property is to the highway or other convenient areas can definitely add a whole lot of value to your listing.
Camera Type 6: Smartphone Cameras
While this may not be the most professional choice, smartphone cameras are widely used in the real estate industry as these provide the most convenience and are extremely budget-friendly when compared to the above options. They get the job done with less cost.
Most of the modern smartphone models also come with more advanced features that can capture images close to the quality of DSLR cameras. Furthermore, there are many mobile editing apps that you can easily import the photos to, and connect with your social media, YouTube channel, or website to export the final image.
Being able to do all of this in the palm of your hand truly shows how far we’ve come in the tech industry.
Do You Need a Full-frame Camera for Real Estate Photography?
Regardless of your camera’s sensor size, knowing how to best work with what you have and maximize the settings at hand can still deliver great results.
Full-frame cameras offer a better dynamic range, more details, and better depth of field. However, they are not a must for getting great real estate photos.
If you already have a crop sensor camera, or are tight on budget and cannot invest in a full-frame model, you can still achieve professional-looking images by mastering the composition, lighting, and post production of your images.
It also helps to understand the focal length multiplier concept in order to pair your camera with the most ideal set of lenses.
How Many Megapixels Do You Need for Real Estate Photography?
Real estate photography requires a great amount of detail to be included and processed within each image. For most professional real estate photographers, this would mean investing in a camera that has anywhere between 24 MP to 36 MP. In fact, some may go all the way up to 50MP depending on the needs of their projects.
A 24 MP camera is already highly capable of capturing images that can be printed on a large canvas. Moreover, since most of the listings are parked online, you do not necessarily need anything higher than that or else all that resolution will just go to waste.
While we’re on the topic, it’s time we debunk the myth that more megapixels is always better. For instance, having a full-frame camera that packs a higher amount of megapixels means that you are more inclined to have low light or high ISO issues. This is because full-frame cameras only have so much space to fit all the pixels in, which could cramp them together and lead to narrowing down the photosites. Smaller photosites means less light, which directly adds more noise and grain to your image.
Having more megapixels to process would also mean you need to invest in a more powerful processor and bigger storage for your laptop. So unless your project calls for a much higher value, you can comfortably stick to a great megapixel range of 24 to 36 without any issues.
Our Top 7 Best Affordable Cameras For Real Estate Photography 2022
Investing in a camera for your real estate photography business does not entail such a large capital or a heavy investment. You can work incredibly well whether you get a crop sensor or a full frame camera body. What matters most is how well you compose your scene, how strategically you maximize the available light, and how well you can enhance images in post processing time.
To further help in producing great looking images, we have put together a list of high quality cameras that cater to limited budgets. As much as possible we tried to find great options below $1000, with a few exceptions.
Check out our top 7 picks below!
1. Nikon D750
The Nikon D750 is an excellent option within its affordable price point. It is known to be Nikon’s lightest full-frame camera and has impressive autofocus performance in just about any light condition. It is also the world’s first full-frame DSLR that offers its users a convenient flipping LCD screen.
- It sports a 24.3 megapixel resolution and full-frame sensor for sharp, detailed shots.
- Its highlight-weighted metering allows the camera to meter light differently based off the highlights found within the frame. This allows you to have more control over the brighter parts of the image.
- Its 51-point autofocus system helps you get remarkably sharp shots at a faster rate.
- Full HD videos at 60p
- High resolution 3.2 inch tilting screen with excellent display
- Excellent 51-point AF system
- Zebra highlight warnings in videos
- Built-in Wi-Fi
- Power Aperture for smooth, stepless aperture changes in video
- Headphone & microphone jacks
- Excellent high ISO performance
- Quality dynamic range at low ISOs
- Impressive burst speed
- Highlight-weighted metering mode
- Active D-Lighting for more challenging scenes
- AF works well in very low light (rated down to -3 EV)
- Long lasting battery life
- ·Dual card slots
- No 4K video option
- LCD screen has no touchscreen capabilities
- No Log option in videos
- Continuous shooting speed is quite slow
2. Canon 6D Mark II
The Canon 6D Mark II has perfected the auto white balance process for just about any scene. This helps produce more accurately exposed photos.
- Its 45-point autofocus system enables an easier set up and faster processing of images.
- Its 26.2 megapixel full-frame camera comes with a CMOS sensor and a DIGIC 7 image processor. These all add up to capturing even the smallest of detail in the highest of quality.
- 2 Megapixel full-frame CMOS sensor.
- Optical viewfinder with 45 point AF system.
- Dual Pixel CMOS AF.
- Full HD 60p.
- DIGIC 7 Image Processor.
- GPS, Wi-Fi, NFC, Bluetooth.
- Vary angle touch screen, 3.0 inch LCD
- Further image noise than anticipated.
- Small AF content area.
- Videotape limited to 1080p.
- No erected-in flash.
3. Panasonic Lumix G9
Panasonic’s Lumix G9 packs a 20 megapixel resolution with impressive in-body stabilization and also has built-in Wi-Fi capabilities.
It has a high-resolution mode which is perfect for real estate photography as it allows for sharper and more detailed photo capture. It is very lightweight and efficiently meets fundamental needs in real estate photography.
- It has a great ISO range at 200-25600, which could further expand to 100
- Its autofocus system delivers excellent results
- Its full-autofocus shutter lag was only 0.121 second, which is notably faster than many professional DSLR options.
- Impressive 20-megapixel Four Thirds sensor
- Swift single-shot AF performance
- Ability to autofocus even in very low light conditions
- Low shutter lag at only 0.121 second
- Continuous shooting at up to 60 fps with e-shutter (20 fps with C-AF)
- 12 fps with m-shutter (9 fps with C-AF)
- Generates up to 80.6-megapixel images
- Class-leading 0.83x magnification OLED EVF with 100% coverage
- Highly efficient in-body image stabilization that supports Dual IS 2
- Dual SD slots with UHS-II support
- Durable, weather-sealed construction
- Intuitive touchscreen LCD
- 4K UHD video capture up to 60p
- Full HD video up to 180p
- Built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth
- USB 3.0 Micro B port
- HDMI Type A port
- Can be powered or charged via USB
- External headphone and microphone jacks
- North American (NTSC) version tested has no PAL video support
- 10 min limit for 4Kp60 video clips, 29:59 limit for other resolutions and frame rates
- Does not offer V-Log, 10-bit video or .MOV file recording
- Subpar High Frame Rate video mode
- Autofocus control didn’t always detect movement
- Lacks OLPF, which heightens risk to moiré and other aliasing artifacts
- Susceptible to camera shake on high resolution mode
- Flash not supported in high resolution mode
- No built-in flash
4. Fujifilm X-T20
The Fujifilm X-T20 is an excellent and fairly popular cropped sensor camera. It makes for a great beginner’s camera with many fundamental features packed into its compact design.
- It has a 24 megapixel sensor with 4k video capabilities
- Built-in WiFi.
- Impressive dynamic range considering its price point
- Good high ISO performance
- Notable high ISO performance
- Very good dynamic range
- Responsive AF system with up to 325 selectable points
- High resolution EVF
- 8 fps burst shooting w/continuous AF
- UHD 4K/30p video capture
- Exposure compensation is available
- Has the option for external microphone input
- Camera can be charged over USB connection; external charger included
- Offers a rather small phase detection area when compared side by side to its counterparts
- Inconsistent AF tracking performance
- At risk of hunting with continuous autofocus in low light
- Does not have a histogram feature
- Does not offer face detection (in 4K) feature
- Does not have zebra warnings in movie mode feature
- Auto mode switch can be flipped too easily, which leads to the loss of custom settings and RAW most of the time
- Absence of joystick for properly positioning of AF point
- Fn button is difficult to reach and activate
- The memory card slot access is blocked while the camera is on a tripod
5. Sony α6100
The Sony α6100 is known to be the best beginner camera for real estate photography. Its user-friendly navigation and excellent features make it the perfect first camera for any budding photographer.
- Sports an advanced autofocus system that allows for a smooth and seamless set up and shoot
- It packs 4k video recording and captures colors in the sharpest and most vivid ways.
- It has a 24.2 megapixel Exmor sensor paired with Sony’s classic processor, both delivering excellent image quality.
- Performs well even in high ISO ranges and twilight shots.
- Real-time AF & Object tracking
- AF points over 84% of the sensor
- 2MP APS-C Exmor sensor
- ISO up to 51,200
- Up to 11fps continuous shooting
- Real-time Eye AF for human and animal
- Movie recording with microphone
- Tiltable 3” touchscreen LCD
- Low- resolution EVF.
- 4K videotape tends to have a slight wobble.
- Battery life could be better.
- Charging harborage is not USB-C.
6. Canon EOS RP
The Canon EOS RP has been regarded to be the best camera for real estate photography that’s under $1000.
- It sports a 26.2 MP full frame sensor
- It offers an incredible resolution
- Standard Canon DIGIC 8 image processor, same as the ones on high-end models
- It is built with a highly compact and portable design, making it perfect for photographers on the go or shooting at different locations.
- Its navigation is extremely user-friendly
- Compatible with most RF and EF / EF-S lenses
- It packs an impressive autofocus system
- Compact and portable
- Versatile enough due to compatibility with most RF and EF / EF-S lenses
- 2 Megapixel CMOS Sensor
- DIGIC 8 Image processor
- Dual Pixel CMOS AF
- Small EVF.
- Face and eye discovery features are inconsistent.
- Heavy crop visible with 4K videotape
- Limited dynamic range.
- Short battery lift
- No built-in flash.
7. Nikon Z6
The Nikon Z6 is known to be one of the best cameras for indoor real estate photography with a reasonable price tag.
- It is equipped with a 5 axis image stabilization that greatly reduces camera shake.
- It is packed with Nikon’s famous image processor
- Impressively sharp details
- It is compatible with most Nikkor lenses by way of an affordable adapter, making it all the more versatile
- 24MP full-frame sensor.
- 90 percent autofocus coverage.
- 12fps RAW continuous shooting.
- 5-axis, in-body image stabilization.
- Features a convenient, tilting touch LCD.
- Impressively big and sharp EVF.
- Compatible with Nikon SLR accessories.
- 4K video.
- It is dust and splash resistant.
- It packs both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi.
- Oversensitive lens control ring function.
- It only has a single memory card slot.
- It does not feature a PC Sync socket.
You’re All Set!
We hope these tips were helpful! Now that you have a solid list of affordable options and a better idea of what makes up a great real estate camera, it’s time to narrow down your needs and find out what you prefer most in order to find out which of the many great models above suit you best!