The Best Lens for Real Estate Photography According to Pros
The real estate photography business can be both exciting and challenging as the industry continues to evolve. In order to stay on top of your game, you need to ensure that you are putting out quality work each time, and continuing to hone your skills as you go along.
There are many factors that go into producing high quality images, and while your skill set is one of the major elements, your photography equipment plays a huge role as well. Having durable and superior features built into the kind of gear you invest in will not only help in making your job easier, but it can also help in making your work better.
A key tool that can make or break your images is of course the lens you fit into your camera. There are various kinds of lenses for real estate photography but only a few are deemed worth the investment as per the professionals. Below, we give you a rundown of the best lenses for real estate photography and what factors go into choosing the one best suited for you.
What Are The Best Lens For Real Estate Photography?
There are so many good brands out there offering quality lenses at varying price ranges – it can be a little overwhelming to narrow them down. However, we recommend not focusing too much on the brand itself, but more on what the lens can offer.
You can find good lenses at almost any budget, from any brand. What you need to zero in on are the following:
- It should possess the right focal length for your projects
- It should offer good overall image quality and decently high resolution
- It should be made of durable materials that can last you a long time.
When it comes to focal length, medium-sized properties need those within the 24mm, 35mm, 50, or 70mm range. In order to get everything in, you also want your lenses to be relatively wide, preferable somewhere along the 11mm or 14mm range.
Things To Consider With Lenses For Real Estate
Apart from the focal length, other things to consider when purchasing your real estate lenses are:
It is important to consider the aperture range of the lens, more specifically, its widest aperture. Real estate photography requires the ability to use wide aperture especially when the space is poorly lit.
An ideal range would be at least F/4 and higher! Variable apertures on more budget-friendly lenses tend to be more challenging to work with, such as those that are F/35. – F/5.6, since the quality of your image will then also depend on your focal length.
We highly recommend getting a lens with fixed apertures, whether you set it at its shortest or longest focal length in order to have consistency in your process.
Prime vs Zoom
In real estate photography, you will find yourself always pressed for time. Whether it is because of a busy schedule, your client’s limited time frame, or if you are chasing natural lighting. Whatever the reason may be, you want to prevent having to change lenses in between shoots.
With prime lenses, you can expect to do a lot of lens changing since these usually have a fixed focal length, meaning they are unable to zoom in and out. They are best used for portraits or night photography, since they usually come with fairly wide apertures.
A zoom lens, on the other hand, can change between focal lengths, giving you the flexibility to capture images at multiple angles faster. In fact, for many cases, a single wide-angle lens is enough to cover an entire house.
We recommend getting a wide-angle zoom lens for most versatility and convenience.
Distortion is a very important element to avoid when shooting real estate because it makes it close to impossible to get your perspectives just right. They often come with lenses with focal lengths that are too wide, like fisheye or some ultra-wide angle variants.
A Standard Lens For Real Estate Photography
When diving deeper into the world of photography, you would understandably want a more diverse collection of lenses to suit every situation that may arise. However, before you start with more niche kinds of glass, first invest in the fundamental ones with the safest focal range.
We recommend getting a standard 24-70mm f/2.8 lens – any brand will do, as most of them are more than acceptable for real estate photography. If you find this a bit much for your needs, you can also look into the following standard lenses:
- 24-70 mm f/4
- 24-85 mm f/3.5-4.5
- 24-105 mm f/4
- 24-120 mm f/4
Wide Angle Lens For Real Estate Photography
As established, a wide angle lens is the most important one you can have for real estate photography, but just how wide of an angle do you need? Technically speaking, any focal length wider than 35mm is already considered wide, but what exactly is the best range to stick with?
It depends. You must consider the usual zoom range that you will be using for most of your projects. Some of the best wide angle lenses we recommend are:
Sigma 14-24 mm f/2.8 DN Art ($1300)
(for Sony E-mount, or you can also use an adapter for Nikon Z-mount)
Sigma 14-24 mm f/2.8 HSM Art ($1200)
(For Nikon and Canon DSLRs)
Nikon Z 14-3 0mm f/4 S ($1300)
(For Nikon Z-mount only)
Nikon 14-24 mm f/2.8 G ($1250-1600)
(For Nikon DSLRs)
Tamron 15-30 mm f/2.8 VC ($900-1300)
Canon RF 15-35 mm f/2.8 L IS ($2300)
(For Canon full-frame mirror less cameras)
Canon 16-35 mm f/4 L IS ($1000)
(For Canon DSLRs)
Tamron 17-28 mm f/2.8 Di III RXD ($900)
(For Sony E-mount, or you can also use an adapter for Nikon Z-mount)
Tamron 17-35 mm f/2.8-4 Di OSD ($600)
(For Nikon & Canon DSLRs)
In some cases, you will need to photograph very small rooms or narrow hallways, which will sometimes make you feel like your lens just isn’t wide enough for the job.
By sticking to a 14-24 mm range, you are sure to get a lot of detail in. However, if you want to go even wider, there are some lenses on the market that offer 10 mm, 11 mm, or 12-24 mm that are not fisheye lenses.
These ultra-wide focal lengths can be very helpful in times of need, but are unfortunately more prone to perspective or scale distortion. You can tell by the amount of stretching effects you will notice on the edges of your photos.
Some of the best wide angle lenses that reach 10 mm, 11 mm, or 12 mm are:
Sony 12-24mm f/4 G ($1773)
(For the Sony E-mount, you may also use an adapter for Nikon Z-mount mirrorless camera)
Sigma 12-24mm f/4 HSM Art ($1200)
(For Canon & Nikon DSLRs, you may also use an adapter for Sony E-mount)
Canon 11-24mm f/4 L ($2700)
(For Canon DSLRs, you may also use an adapter for Sony E-mount)
Laowa/Venus 10-18mm f/4.5-5.6 FE ($850)
(For Sony E-mount, you may also use an adapter for Nikon Z-mount)
Top Tilt-Shift Lensed For Real Estate Photography
If you have the budget, a tilt-shift lens is a more advanced type of gear that helps you get it right in-camera, without fixing too much in post. This specialty lens has optics that you can position according to the image sensor. It rotates and allows you to manipulate the lens to ensure all vertical lines remain vertical.
By having this attached to your camera body, you can aim the device at your subject at a perfect level, and then raise or lower the lens optics independently from the rest of the lens to help your image appear more upward or downward. This gives you a perfectly framed image each time.
While perspective and slight distortion can be fixed through software, having the budget to acquire tilt-shift lenses that help get the image exactly how you want it is convenient and a worthwhile investment.
Some of our favorite tilt-shift lenses are:
Canon 17mm f/4 L TS-E (~$2150)
Nikon PC 19mm f/4 E (~$3400)
Canon 24mm f/3.5 L TS-E II (~$1900)
Nikon 24mm f/3.5 PC-E (~$2200)
Rokinon/Samyang 24mm f/3.5 Tilt-Shift (~$700-800)
Venus/Laowa 15mm f/4 Macro/Shift (~$500)
(When used with APS-C cameras, this wide angle lens offers limited shifting only, with no option for tilting.)
Venus/Laowa Magic Tilt-Shift Adapter ($300)
(This adapter, when combined with the Canon EF-mount Venus/ Laowa 12mm f/2.8 Zero-D, creates a 17mm full-frame tilt-shift lens.)
FotodioX Pro TLT ROKR Tilt-Shift Adapter ($200+)
(Compatible with Canon/Nikon DSLR lenses, and allows you to shift the optics through converting from full-frame to APS-C on the Sony E-Mount or Fuji X-Mount. Other mount conversions are also accepted)
Best Lenses For Nikon cameras
Rokinon 14 mm f/2.8, Full Frame Auto Focus, Wide Angle, Weatherproof Lens for Nikon
The lens’s ultra-wide angle view allows you to get a lot of detail within one scene. Its weather-sealed aluminum and dust-resistant build also allows for worry-free photographing no matter the condition you find yourself in.
When compared to other lenses in its caliber, the Rokinon offers its features in a smaller and lightweight package, making it perfect for those on-the-go or looking for more portable lenses.
Some of its key features include:
- Weather sealed
- Includes one extra low dispersion glass, developed to correct chromatic aberrations
- Includes two aspherical lenses, which allow for crisper photos
- Includes four HRI lenses, which offers a wider field of view with less distortion and reflection
- It’s full-frame
- Compatible with seven diaphragm blades
- Multi-coated glass composition
Nikon AF-P DX NIKKOR 10-22 mm f/4.5-5.6 VR Lens
This option is targeted at crop sensor users and offers a very versatile range of focal lengths. It also has a built-in feature that reduces the effects of camera shake, which makes it perfect for low-light conditions.
It is an ultra-wide angle option that is extremely lightweight yet very durable and compact. In just about any zoom position, the minimum focus distance of the lens is 0.22 meters from the focal plane.
Its Vibration Reduction system offers great image stabilization that ensures the sharpness of your media – photos and videos combined. This has been tried and tested even in handheld situations.
Another key feature that is absolutely loved on this lens is its virtually silent autofocus stepping motor, which is great for those who also want to shoot video.
Best Lenses For Canon Cameras
Canon EF 17-40 mm f/4L USM Ultra Wide Angle Zoom Lens
This lens is an ideal choice for photographers with Canon SLR cameras. The fact that it is an L-series lens means that it possesses higher quality glass and overall build.
Its 17-40 mm focal length combined with its f/4 maximum aperture makes it the perfect option for capturing wide shots in just about any weather condition.
It features three aspherical lens elements along with super UD glass elements, which allow for excellent optics. Furthermore, it offers an impressively close focusing distance of only 0.9 feet.
Other key features this lens offers are:
- Its superior ring-type ultrasonic monitor (USM), which produces speedy yet silent autofocusing for smooth and stunning real estate photos.
- It can focus as close as 11 inches
- It supports screw-in 77 mm filters
- It has a highly durable weather-resistant construction
Canon EF-S 10-18 mm f/4.5-5.6 is STM Lens
This lens is perfect for a crop sensor camera. It offers enhanced lens coatings and an impressive optical image stabilizer to help you get the smoothest, cleanest, and most crisp shots.
A lot of its other key features can be difficult to find in other models, and some of our favorite elements that go into these lens are:
- Full time manual focus override
- Seven-blade circular aperture
- Exceptional image quality
- Lightweight and very portable
- Impressively wide angle shots
Best Lenses for Sony cameras
Sony 16-35 mm Vario-Tessar T FE F4 ZA OSS E-Mount Lens
This is an exceptional choice for the A7 series of full-frame cameras. It shoots great landscapes and with its ZEISS T (T star) coating, you can expect a great reduction in flare and ghosting.
It featured three ED glass elements to suppress chromatic distortion and also an impressive, built-in Optical Steady Shot image stabilization to keep your images sharp and focused as ever.
Its build is made of both dust and moisture resistance material, which makes it perfect not only for indoor use, but for varying conditions outdoors as well.
Its F4 aperture is more than enough to capture real estate even in the most challenging of lighting conditions, which is ideal for a more flexible and convenient experience.
Sony – E 10-18 mm F4 OSS Wide Angle Zoom Lens
For those sporting a crop-sensor Sony camera, this is the lens for you. Its 10-18 mm focal length offers you the opportunity to shoot in varying ranges, while its F4 aperture guarantees clearer and sharper images despite poor lighting conditions.
Some of the best features you will enjoy with this lens are:
- Its angle of view is between 109 degrees and 76 degrees, with a minimum focal length of 10 mm
- Super wide angle zoom capabilities
- Offers an automatic distance encoder to detect the position of the subject relative to the focusing mechanism of the lens
- The above feature is especially helpful when utilizing flash photography as the camera automatically analyzes just how much light is to be released in your specific conditions.
Other Notable Lenses for Full Frame Cameras
Sigma 12-24 mm f/4 DG HSM Art
The Sigma 12-24 mm lens is compatible with both Canon and Nikon full frame cameras, so long as you have the right lens mount for it. It is a great budget alternative to other high quality wide angle lens. It sports one of the widest focal lengths within its caliber, which has also been coated to prevent flare and ghosting in your images.
HSM stands for Hypersonic Motor, which is Sigma’s signature smooth, speedy, and quiet autofocusing system.
Tokina AT-X 17-25 mm f/4 ProFX
The Tokina lens is compatible with both Canon and Nikon full frame cameras. Its wide angle capabilities is very impressive for its affordability, and it is relatively sharp throughout the entirety of the frame.
For those who want to invest in a wide angle lens but do not necessarily need advanced features to come with it, this option is by far one of the best budget friendly and straightforward lenses on the market today.
Other Notable Lenses for Crop Sensor Cameras
Tamron 10-24 mm f/3.5-4.5
The Tamron 10-24 mm lens is compatible with both Canon and Nikon crop sensor cameras, and is one of the notably affordable lenses for real estate photography.
It sports a large focal range, equivalent to a 16-35 mm full frame camera, which makes it advantageous for capturing real estate images that are highly detailed. Its wide angle sharpness and lack of aberration are superb for its caliber.
This is a great choice for taking high quality photos using your crop sensor camera while on a tight budget.
Tokina 12-28 MM F/4 AT-X ProDX
The Tokina lens is compatible with both Canon and Nikon crop sensor cameras. Its focal length is equivalent to that of a 19-45 mm lens on a full frame camera.
While its angle width is quite limited, it has the ability to keep distortion at bay and is still highly capable of capturing sharp and vibrant real estate images.
It is a great straightforward wide angle lens that offers good value for money.
What Is The Difference Between Full Frame vs Cropped Sensor Cameras?
You must have noticed by now that we have specified which lenses are best for full frame camera bodies, and which ones are great for cropped sensor variants.
If you are wondering what the differences are between the two, you are not alone. One of the most frequently asked questions when purchasing camera gear for the first time is if full frame models are better than cropped sensor models.
Generally speaking, both are great for any kind of photography. Especially when you pair them with the right set of lenses, you do not have to worry about compromising too much quality by choosing one over the other.
Both full frame cameras and cropped sensor models have their own list of advantages and disadvantages – choosing which is best for your real estate photography business depends on your preferences and priorities.
Most professional photographers opt to invest in full frame sensor cameras mainly because it provides them with more flexibility when it comes to its array of features, and also offers better overall performance.
For instance, a full frame camera can offer more megapixels, which directly impacts just how high your resolution output can go. For real estate photos, you usually do not need a camera with the highest megapixel count on the market because your work will most likely be displayed on listings in the Internet. However, this does not mean to say you should settle for subpar megapixels.
Secondly, full frame sensor cameras offer more focal length capabilities since there is no cropping involved during the shoot, this makes the wide angle perspective all the more easier to achieve.
Lastly, full frame cameras generally perform much better in challenging lighting conditions, such as when shooting in dim interiors or during the evenings.
The advantages that a cropped sensor camera can offer you is that they can still produce high quality images but at a more affordable price tag. Both the focal length and wide angle opportunities are a little more limited, but not impossible to achieve.
This is why many beginners and budding photographers on a limited budget start off with a crop sensor option and decide to upgrade later on should they feel the need to.