11 Best Canon Lenses For Real Estate Photography 2022
Understandably, all photographers want the right set of tools to capture stunning photographs that garner attention and curiosity. Even with the right camera, tripod, and lighting in place, there is still one crucial piece to the puzzle that can make or break your real estate image: your camera lens.
Real estate photography can be tricky since you will be encountering different kinds of properties in various lighting and weather conditions. You need a lens that is versatile enough to cater to differing needs and ensure that you are ready for the day of shooting ahead.
To better guide Canon users out there, we have created a guide on what to look for in Canon lenses and our recommended picks below.
What Is The Best Canon Lens For Real Estate Photography?
The best Canon lens for real estate photography is one that can cater to all sorts of spaces and lighting, whether they are narrow hallways, spacious living rooms, bright kitchens, extensive exteriors, or dim bathrooms.
It can seem like a lot to check off but with the right specifications, you will be well on your way to shooting in all kinds of conditions.
Every lens has its own limitations and advantages over the other, and it doesn’t always follow that affordable lenses are of low quality or that the most expensive ones are what you should invest on.
Determining the best Canon lens starts with establishing what your needs and preferences are. Once you know what you will be shooting more of, and how you would want your results to come out, then you can narrow down the numerous choices on the market to find one that best suits you.
5 Things To Consider Before Buying Lenses For Real Estate Photography
There are five aspects you need to take into consideration when choosing the best Canon lens for real estate photography, namely:
Wide Angle Focal Length
One of the most crucial factors when purchasing a lens for real estate photography is looking into a wide-angle focal length. Because property images should showcase as much detail of the room as comfortably possible, you need a lens wide enough to capture it.
A wide angle lens has a much smaller focal length than standard ones, which makes it possible to take good photos even in narrow or poorly lit areas. We suggest going for a lens with a maximum focal length of between 12 and 16mm. This range will cover enough of the area without the risk of too much distortion.
To further prevent distorting your photos, stay away from fish-eye lenses or others that are too wide since this results in significant quality loss and pictures that end up looking unrealistic.
The aperture range of the lens you choose is crucial in the real estate industry. Having the opportunity to work with the widest aperture gives you the ability to shoot stunning and vibrant images even in poorly lit locations.
Ideally, a great lens could reach at least f/4 through all its available focal lengths – if you have got one that’s even wider then take it as a big bonus.
More often than not, the more affordable lenses have variable aperture, which will shift as you adjust the focal length. This is perfectly fine and you are still able to get great, high quality shots with this.
However, if you have the opportunity to invest in a lens with constant aperture, whether you utilize its shortest or longest focal length, then you can better maximize the lens’ features and capabilities to work in your favor.
Crop Factor (Crop Sensor vs Full Frame Sensor)
Crop factor also impacts the focal range that you acquire from your chosen lens. With an APS-C or crop sensor camera, you would not be able to get the full field of view compared to if you were using a full-frame camera. The images tend to be a little more zoomed in than those taken with a full-frame camera.
If you have already purchased a crop sensor camera, we recommend compensating with an ultra wide-angle lens to balance it out. Similarly, if you have a full-frame camera, all you must do is ensure the lens you purchase if compatible will then.
Zoom or Prime Lens
Next, you want to think about whether you want a zoom lens or a prime lens.
The main difference between the two is that prime lenses have one fixed focal length while zoom lenses offer a full range of focal lengths. Understandably, prime lenses are much more affordable but they can also be much sharper. They do, however, lack versatility and flexibility.
If you are more than happy to manually zoom in to the subject (read: stand closer to it), or do not mind packing more than one lens for a shoot, then prime lens is a good option. If you want to prioritize practicality, versatility, and convenience, we suggest going with a zoom option.
Chromatic Aberration and Distortion
The quality of your lens will be noticeable in the amount of chromatic aberration and distortion in your photos. It’s established that wide-angle lenses are expected to have some form of distortion and chromatic aberration, but these should be easily correctable.
In fact, some modern cameras even have a built-in mechanism to correct distortion while shooting. If your camera does not have the feature, Adobe Photoshop and other advanced editing software have built-in lens profiles that can help you adjust in just a few clicks.
Lenses of lower quality have much more exaggerated distortion that would be very difficult and tedious to correct in post production. In fact, depending on the level of distortion, some may need specialized software to repair it.
To prevent this, do not invest in excessively cheap lenses or brands that you have never heard of.
Top 3 Lenses For Full-Frame Canon Cameras
If you have invested in a full-frame Canon camera, here are our top three lenses that are compatible with it.
Canon EF 16 – 35mm f/4L IS USM
This is an L-series lens, which means the glass and build are of higher quality than most standard lenses. This top of the line lens comes with weather sealing and a protective fluorine coating, making it weather ready for even the most challenging of conditions. The Ultrasonic Motor (USM) on the lens helps with quick and accurate autofocus.
It also happens to be Canon’s sharpest wide-angle lens ever. This is proven in how there is little to no softness around the corners of the photographs.
Its focal range of 16 – 35mm is most ideal for real estate photography as it is wide enough to capture even the smallest of spaces. The 35mm zoom is perfect for tighter compositions within larger locations.
This lens also has a built-in optical image stabilizer, which goes a long way if you are having trouble getting a good shot in a narrow area.
If you are thinking that the f –stop on this lens is a disadvantage, it actually won’t make too much of a difference considering you would be using a tripod for most if not all your real estate projects.
- Excellent Canon L Series build quality
- Faster and very accurate aperture
- Efficient image stabilizer
- Outstandingly sharp
- Keeps chromatic aberrations limited
- Features fluorine coating on lens
- Weather sealed
- Well designed lens hood
- Reasonable price point
- Certain limitations with maximum f/4 aperture
- Aperture and ISO are audible in video operation
Sigma 12 – 24mm f/4 DG HSM Art
This Sigma lens is a great budget wide-angle option that is compatible with Canon cameras so long as you get the correct lens mount for it.
The lens is coated specifically to prevent any flare or ghosting while you shoot, and with a fairly broad focal length, you can image the beautiful shots you can capture with this.
The HSM is an acronym for Hypersonic Motor, which is Sigma’s signature smooth, quick, and quiet autofocusing system.
The Sigma 12 – 24mm lens is a little heavier than the Canon option above but its robust build, high quality output, and affordable price range is well worth the extra weight.
- Excellent sharpness
- Solid edge performance
- Ultra wide lens with zoom capabilities
- Quite big and heavy
- Does not support front filters
- Wider angles have barrel distortion
- Corners start to dim at 12mm
Tokina AT – X 17 – 35mm f/4 ProFX
Just like the sigma option above, this Tokina lens is compatible with full-frame Canon cameras as well.
It is the most affordable lens on the list thus far but does not compromise on its wide-angle image quality. The results are sharp throughout most if not the entire frame, and offers a low f-stop that enables ample light to hit the sensor, which is especially helpful for interior and night shots. Its focal length is also great for rooms of all sizes.
While it is certainly not up on the same level as the more advanced lenses above, it creates good quality images without having to break the bank. It is perfect for photographers who are just starting out and are on a limited budget.
- Excellent sharpness when stopped down
- Robust and durable build
- Moisture sealing
- Low chromatic aberration
- Low distortion
- Not the best performance at maximum aperture
Top 4 Lenses For Crop-Sensor Canon Cameras
If you have invested in a crop-sensor Canon camera, which means that it is built with an APS-C sensor, and is smaller than those built into full-frame cameras. To balance this off, you will need a different kind of lens, and here are our top three that are compatible with it.
Canon EF – S 10 – 18mm f/4.5 – 5.6 IS STM
This lens is perfectly compatible with all of Canon’s EOS range of cameras. Its 10-18mm makes it a good wide-angle lens for those just getting started with real estate photography.
Although it does not pack a lot of zoom capabilities compared to its 10-20mm counterpart, it does have a built-in optical image stabilization and an enhanced autofocus system which helps take sharp, high quality photos.
An advantage to its 22mm minimum focus distance is the ability to get crystal clear detailed shots on top of its superb wide-angle photos.
- Excellent sharpness throughout entire range
- Reasonably priced
- Ultra wide angle field of view
- Optically stabilized
- STM focus motor
- The lens mount is made of plastic
- Barrel distortion at 10mm
- Traces of color fringing
- No lens hood included
- Narrow aperture
Tamron 10 – 24mm f/3.5 – 4.5
The Tamron 10 – 24mm lens is compatible with Canon crop sensor cameras, and is a great choice for real estate photography.
It sports a large focal range equivalent to a 16 – 35mm lens on a full-frame camera, which allows you to capture sharp, detailed images in any environment and space size.
Its lack of aberration and wide-angle image sharpness is excellent for its price point, giving you top of the line real estate images at an affordable rate.
- Ultra wide angle field of view
- Image stabilization
- Excellent center sharpness
- Design is both dust and moisture resistant
- Flourine lens coating
- Edges are not as sharp at wide apertures
- Wide-angle barrel distortion
- Dim corners
- Slow autofocus mechanism
- No in-camera corrections available
Tokina 12 – 28mm f/4 AT – X ProDX
This Tokina has proven to be of exceptional build quality with a focal length that is equivalent to a 19 – 45mm lens on a full-frame camera.
What’s great about the Tokina 12 – 28mm is its ability to keep distortion levels to a minimum, which yields high quality real estate images each time. Overall, this lens gives a great value for money and is well worth the investment.
- Good sharpness
- Low distortion
- Overall good image quality
- Durably build
- Built-in silent AF motor
- No built-in image stabilization
- Chromatic aberration is visible in RAW files
Rokinon 14mm f/2.8 IF ED UMC
The Rokinon 14mm lens is compatible with Canon’s EOS range of cameras so long as you have the correct mount. This is a great option for those who are on a limited budget but still want quality wide-angle images.
What makes it more impressive at this price point is its ability to perform well even at its maximum f/2.8 setting. Furthermore, it is very lightweight and durable, making it the perfect portable lens for multiple shoots.
If you are a beginner to real estate photography and want to venture out of Canon’s standard set of lenses, then this is the perfect pick for you.
- Wide-angle field of view
- Excellent sharpness
- Reasonably priced
- Very low chromatic aberrations
- Resistant to ghosting
- Excellent color rendition
- Great micro contrast
- Robust build
- Operates on manual focus only
- Manual aperture control
- Distortion is visible
- Vignetting is visible
What Are Tilt Shift Lenses For Canon Cameras
Tilt shift lenses are a type of specialty lenses that have been specifically developed to shoot building exteriors or other types of subjects with strong vertical lines. While using a tilt shift lens, you are able to keep your camera’s body perfectly leveled while adjusting the upwards and downward composition of your photo solely by maneuvering the optics of the lens.
This process made possible only with a tilt shift lens keeps all the vertical lines vertical, and effectively prevents any type of aspect, perspective, or distortion concerns within the shot.
While they do not exactly come cheap, many real estate photographers have found real value in utilizing a tilt shift lens in their basic set of gear. In fact, many often prefer to use it as their main lens, especially if their subjects are commercial buildings and other exteriors.
The main flaw that tilt shift lenses possess is the lack of zoom capabilities. Because its design is mainly used for manipulating the tool upwards and downwards, there is not much of a system in place for extending and shortening the lens itself. This can be an inconvenient limitation in situations wherein you need to take photos of a variety of spaces and differing perspectives.
Overall, if you do work with a lot of vertical lines, a tilt shift lens can save you a lot of time and resources that you would have otherwise spent in post-production. You wouldn’t have to spend hours by the desk or money on advanced software because it would be able to make the corrections before the photo is even taken.
Top 3 Tilt Shift Lenses For Canon Cameras
While a tilt shift lens may not be the most essential type of lens for real estate photography, it sure does help to have it ready when the situation calls for it. If you find yourself taking photos of intricate exteriors with many vertical lines, or even other subjects that would most likely lead to some form of perspective distortion, then this is the lens that saves the day.
Below, we have a list of our top four tilt shift lenses for Canon cameras:
Canon TS - E 17mm f/4 L Tilt Shift Lens
The 17mm model is by far the widest tilt shift lens among Canon’s line up and is compatible with all cameras under their EOS range.
The lens offers an angle of view of 93 degrees, and is professionally coated in order to minimize, if not prevent, chances of chromatic aberration. Because of this, you are guaranteed a fine set of sharp, vivid, and perfectly balanced images that are free of any sign of glare.
It has a minimum focus range of 0.82 feet, which may not make it the most ideal choice for close up shots of details, or of interiors with limited area.
For a tilt shift lens of this quality build, the price is not out of reach. Overall, with the ability to create visually pleasing images in camera, without needing to spend too much time and resources in post, this is a great tilt shift option that also serves as a wide-angle lens.
- Great sharpness
- Excellent contrast
- Efficient correction of lateral and longitudinal chromatic aberration
- No distortion
- Fair coma correction
- Good flare resistance
- Good build quality
- Fair resistance to vignetting
- Reasonably priced
- It is rather heavy and bulky
- The focus shifts at close distances
Canon TS - E 24mm f/3.5L II Ultra Wide Tilt Shift Lens
The Canon 24mm f/3.5L II TS – E delivers corner-to-corner sharpness while still being able to serve its wide-angle capabilities. Its 24mm focal length is a great balance for real estate photos and allows you to capture even smaller interior spaces without distortion.
This lens has a large image circle coverage and an impressive degree of perspective control at +/- 8.5 degrees Tilt and +/- 12mm Shift. There is practically little to no distortion or spherical aberrations with the Canon 24mm f/3.5L II TS – E. Furthermore, it sports a Subwavelength Coating that has been applied to the individual elements, allowing it to deliver photos with impeccable contrast and vibrant colors, especially when shooting in strong lighting conditions.
This option is more affordable than the Canon TS – E 17mm f/4 L, but it packs a powerful system that captures top tier images and makes even the most seasoned of photographers giddy. One more thing to take note of is that this lens operates manually, so if you are more accustomed to autofocus, we suggest preparing for a bit of a learning curve.
- Excellent optical performance levels
- Outstanding sharpness even at f/3.5
- Minimal chromatic aberration
- Little to no distortion
- Robust build quality
- Great control over tilt and shift movements
- Soft corners when shifted
Rokinon 24mm f/3.5 Tilt Shift Lens
For those who want to invest in a tilt shift lens but have a limited budget, the Rokinon 24mm f/3.5 Tilt Shift Lens is the best budget option in this lens category. The precision when it comes to both the perspective and depth of field is excellent with the Rokinon lens. Furthermore, its extra low dispersion technology is professionally designed to keep both aberration and colorization down to a minimum.
It is compatible with Nikon, Canon, and even Sony cameras so long as you purchase the correct lens mount. With an affordable option within reach, you can be well on your way to capturing stunning, vertically linear images that are pleasing to the eye and perfect for showcasing just about any listing.
- Provides a good range of tilt / shift
- Good build quality
- Excellent price point
- Great maximum magnification
- Low chromatic aberrations
- Low vignetting
- Image quality suffers when wide open
- Is prone to ghosting
- No lens hood included
- Some barrel distortion
What Is The Best Focal Length For Real Estate Photography?
We have already established earlier that a wide-angle lens is most ideal for real estate photography since these allow you to capture the entire room with its ample field of view.
While the maximum we suggested to stick to was 12mm, you can find lenses that can go anywhere between 8mm up to 40mm on the market. Some of these will fall under the subcategory of “ultra wide” and “fish eye” lenses, which you should avoid as much as possible as these are more prone to distorting your photos, resulting in unrealistic, inaccurate, and unattractive shots.
The types of lenses that go wider than 12mm are what are considered “ultra wide angle”. So anywhere from 12mm up to 40mm is where we suggest experimenting and playing around with for your various real estate photography projects.
How Much Does A Good Lens For Real Estate Photography Usually Cost?
The prices for good lens vary heavily on the manufacturer, focal length, and overall quality of the build. For photographers with more a limited budget, it is important to note that affordable does not necessarily mean weak. There are many good lenses that could serve as a great stepping-stone into your photography career that you won’t need to invest too much capital on.
What is most important is taking a look at the focal length it offers and if it is sufficient enough for your needs. There are many good lenses that range from $300 – $500, while the more advanced and professional options can go up to $3,000 on average.
What Lens Filters Do Real Estate Photographers Use?
One of the most common and useful filters that many real estate photographers utilize is a circular polarizer. This nifty tool is designed to completely remove or at least control the reflection from surfaces such as water, glass, glossy paint, leaves, the sky, other buildings, streets, and just about anything else that could create a disruption in your real estate images.
When the light hits any of those reflective surfaces, it creates a glare that in turn increases the highlights in your image. You would think that highlights are great to have because they make your image brighter, but too much of it can wash out many details and greatly reduce the color.
Now that you have full details on the best Canon lens on the market today, you can have an easier time narrowing down which of the above choices are best for your needs and preferences. No matter what you choose, you are sure to be well on your way on a great real estate photography journey!