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The Best Camera for Architectural Photography in 2024

Last updated: April 9, 2024 - 16 min read
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If you’re looking for the best camera for architectural photography, you’ve come to the right place. In this article, we look at some of the best cameras for shooting architecture. We’ll also discuss some of the things you need to keep in mind when choosing a camera for this type of photography.

So whether you’re a seasoned pro or just getting started in architectural photography, read on for gear recommendations, helpful tips, and handy advice.

This article looks at all types of cameras that cater to all photography levels. The best camera for architecture photography will have a full-frame sensor. But there is a case to be made for other camera types as well.

Our Top 3 Choices for the Best Camera for Architectural Photography
Sony a7R V
Sony a7R V
Sony a7R V
Canon EOS R3
Canon EOS R3
Canon EOS R3
Nikon Z8
Nikon Z8
Nikon Z8
 

What Is the Best Camera For Architectural Photography?

We’ve looked at a wide range of camera types. Some are high-end (and expensive!) pro-level cameras. Others are much more accessible. If you’re looking for the best camera for architectural photography, there’s a camera for you on this list.

Our Top Pick
Sony a7R V
Sony a7R V
Sony a7R V
  • Excellent 61 MP sensor
  • Superb AF with 693 focus points
  • High dynamic range
  • In-body image stabilization
Best Canon Mirrorless Camera
Canon EOS R3
Canon EOS R3
Canon EOS R3
  • Incredible eye-controlled autofocus
  • Maximum ISO of 102,400
  • Large, clear touchscreen
  • In-body image stabilization
Best Nikon Mirrorless
Nikon Z8
Nikon Z8
Nikon Z8
  • Large 46 MP sensor
  • Excellent AF system
  • Maximum ISO of 102,400
  • 30 fps burst rate
Best Nikon DSLR
Nikon D850
Nikon D850
Nikon D850
  • Large 45.7 MP sensor
  • Excellent range of Nikon lenses
  • AF system with 153 focus points
  • Robust weather-sealed body
Best Canon DSLR
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV
  • Superb 30.4 MP sensor
  • Maximum native ISO of 32,000
  • Touchscreen
  • Wi-Fi and GPS
Best APS-C DSLR
Canon EOS Rebel SL3 / 250D
Canon EOS Rebel SL3 / 250D
Canon EOS Rebel SL3 / 250D
  • Impressive 24 MP sensor
  • 25,600 maximum ISO
  • Good dynamic range
  • Vast choice of EF and EF-S lenses
Best Micro Four Thirds Camera
Olympus OM System OM-1
Olympus OM System OM-1
Olympus OM System OM-1
  • Superb AF system with 1,053 focus points
  • 20 MP sensor
  • In-body image stabilization
  • Maximum ISO of 25,600
Best Panasonic Lumix Camera
Panasonic Lumix DC-GH6
Panasonic Lumix DC-GH6
Panasonic Lumix DC-GH6
  • Impressive 25 MP sensor
  • 25,600 maximum ISO
  • 14 fps burst speed
  • Superb video capabilities
Best Camera Phone
Apple iPhone 15 Pro Max 512 GB Blue
Apple iPhone 15 Pro Max 512 GB Blue
Apple iPhone 15 Pro Max 512 GB Blue
  • 48 MP main sensor
  • Ultrawide to 5x telephoto lenses
  • Impressive HDR capabilities
  • Sensor Shift image stabilization
Best Android Camera Phone
Google Pixel 8 Pro
Google Pixel 8 Pro
Google Pixel 8 Pro
  • 50 MP main sensor
  • Ultrawide to 5x telephoto
  • Excellent in-camera editing
  • Image stabilization

Full-Frame Mirrorless Camera

The full-frame mirrorless camera is a strong candidate for the best architecture photography camera. In fact, the technological advances of mirrorless cameras have for most applications. Many experienced professional photographers have transitioned to this type of camera.

Sony led the way with mirrorless cameras, and Fujifilm has a strong selection. And in recent years, major manufacturers have stopped developing DSLRs. This is a big sign that the future is mirrorless.

For some years, the professional world paid little attention to the mirrorless camera. But now, the big producers are investing their research and development budgets into this type of camera.

That means that technological advances and new lenses are pretty much only to be found in the mirrorless world. And although, for instance, there is no RF-mount tilt-shift lens from Canon yet, it is easy to use their EF-mount with an adapter.

The increased dynamic range, ease of use, and excellent color screens all make mirrorless cameras a great choice for architectural photography. In fact, this is now the best camera for that purpose.

1. Sony a7R V

Sony a7R V
Released
Released
2022
Sensor Format
Sensor Format
Full Frame
Lens Mount
Lens Mount
Sony FE
Megapixels
Megapixels
61 MP
Autofocus Points
Autofocus Points
693
Maximum ISO (Native)
Maximum ISO (Native)
32000
Frame Rate
Frame Rate
10 fps
In-body Stabilization
In-body Stabilization
1
Video
Video
1
Key Features
Key Features
Incredible 61 MP sensor for amazing detail
Best For
Best For
Anyone looking for a great all-around performer

Sony is known for their excellent video and autofocus systems. But that doesn’t mean that the Sony a7R V isn’t good for architectural photography. Its huge 61 MP sensor lets you capture incredibly fine detail. And it is such a capable all-around performer that you won’t be limited to shooting buildings.

The a7R V has a very impressive dynamic range. This is important for both internal and external architectural photography. It allows you to capture both a shaded interior and some highlights, even if you don’t bracket your exposures. And the 16-shot Pixel Shift High-Resolution mode is an absolute gift for architectural photography.

This mode takes four groups of four shots, with a tiny shift in sensor position between the groups. The four shots in each group cancel out any Bayer pattern, as each pixel captures each color. And the four groups allow the camera to capture detail that otherwise falls between the pixels. The level of detail possible with this feature is incredible.

2. Canon EOS R3

Canon EOS R3
Released
Released
2021
Sensor Format
Sensor Format
Full Frame
Lens Mount
Lens Mount
Canon RF
Megapixels
Megapixels
24 MP
Autofocus Points
Autofocus Points
1053
Maximum ISO (Native)
Maximum ISO (Native)
102400
Frame Rate
Frame Rate
30 fps
In-body Stabilization
In-body Stabilization
1
Video
Video
1
Key Features
Key Features
Amazing eye-controlled focus, superfast burst speed
Best For
Best For
Anyone looking for a solid performer with all the Canon expertise

The Canon EOS R3 is possibly the best mirrorless camera in the world for the working pro. The incredible sensor is backed up by excellent in-body image stabilization (IS). Some users report pin-sharp handheld shots with a 50mm lens, even with a four-second shutter speed!

The eye-controlled AF is also a standout feature. I had an EOS 50E SLR with eye-controlled focus. There were only three focus points, and before I bought it, I thought it was a gimmick. But I loved it. The EOS R3 takes this many steps further. The whole image area is covered by focus points. So, when you look at your subject in the viewfinder, the camera focuses there. It does it so quickly that it seems like it’s reading your mind.

A late 2023 firmware update introduced a remarkable 195 fps burst speed option. Although it needs constant focus and exposure, it adds a new level of performance for capturing the exact moment in a fast-moving event.

 

3. Nikon Z8

Nikon Z8
Released
Released
2023
Sensor Format
Sensor Format
Full Frame
Lens Mount
Lens Mount
Nikon Z
Megapixels
Megapixels
46 MP
Autofocus Points
Autofocus Points
493
Maximum ISO (Native)
Maximum ISO (Native)
102400
Frame Rate
Frame Rate
30 fps
In-body Stabilization
In-body Stabilization
1
Video
Video
1
Key Features
Key Features
8K video, 120 fps burst speed
Best For
Best For
Anyone looking for a superb camera that will handle any shooting situation

The Nikon Z8 is another professional-level camera. It gives you excellent optics and can focus down to -9 EV. That can be handy for shooting low-light interiors with natural light. And if video is your thing, it offers up to 8K video at 60p.

Other things that the Z8 does really well include very fast burst shooting. It can handle focus tracking and auto exposure at an astonishing 120 fps. This is limited to 11 MP images. But let’s be honest, that’s big enough for most cases. It even has pre-capture modes to record images from just before you press the shutter.

The autofocus is impressive as well. It can auto-detect the subject type and follow them accordingly. Unlike most other cameras, you don’t have to choose the subject type. This is another very useful feature.

The Nikon Z8 is probably the best mirrorless Nikon camera. It’s versatile, well-featured, and takes exceptional photos.

 

Full-Frame DSLRs

Full-frame DSLRs are still a strong choice for an architecture photography camera. They have the widest choices of lenses and the technology is tried and tested. And if you’re looking for a second-hand kit, there are more options to choose from.

With architectural photography, you have the advantage of not needing superfast autofocus or burst mode. Strong dynamic range and ISO invariance are more important. Not to mention great quality at high ISOs. And you’ll find all these features in the best DSLRs.

4. Nikon D850

Nikon D850
Released
Released
2017
Sensor Format
Sensor Format
Full Frame
Lens Mount
Lens Mount
Nikon F FX
Megapixels
Megapixels
45.7 MP
Autofocus Points
Autofocus Points
153
Maximum ISO (Native)
Maximum ISO (Native)
25600
Frame Rate
Frame Rate
7 fps
Video
Video
1
Key Features
Key Features
Impressive 45.7 MP sensor and excellent low-light sensitivity
Best For
Best For
Anyone looking for a DSLR workhorse with excellent all-around capabilities

The Nikon D850 is one of Nikon’s most successful and best-loved DSLRs. And for good reason. It delivers exceptional performance across a whole range of shooting scenarios. The sensor is superb and its low-light performance makes it an ideal choice for architectural photography.

It’s a durable and rugged camera that will survive heavy daily use. And it has some thoughtful touches. For example, shooting indoors under some modern lighting can produce variable results. This is because the lights flicker, and if you happen to expose at the moment the light isn’t illuminated, your shot is ruined. This camera detects that and times the exposures to coincide with the lighting.

Other features, like the moveable screen, will help shoot architectural photography in awkward settings. The Nikon D850 is a great all-around camera and is a great choice for architectural photography.

5. Canon EOS 5D Mark IV

Canon EOS 5D Mark IV
Released
Released
2016
Sensor Format
Sensor Format
Full Frame
Lens Mount
Lens Mount
Canon EF
Megapixels
Megapixels
30.4 MP
Autofocus Points
Autofocus Points
61
Maximum ISO (Native)
Maximum ISO (Native)
32000
Frame Rate
Frame Rate
7 fps
Video
Video
1
Key Features
Key Features
Superb sensor performance, touchscreen, GPS and Wi-Fi
Best For
Best For
Any Canon users looking for a superb workhorse camera

The Canon EOS 5D Mark IV is the latest (and probably last) 5D. It has quite a pedigree and built on the capabilities of the much-loved Mark III. Wi-Fi, GPS, and a touchscreen were some of the headline improvements. With such a wide range of lenses available, including some of the best tilt-shift lenses on the market, it’s a solid choice.

Although the 5D was never Canon’s flagship, plenty of pros have relied on it for years. They love its quality build, excellent sensor, and reliable AF. With the Mark IV, they refined the product with tweaks rather than leaps. But the overall result was a rock-solid performer.

Perhaps the biggest shortcoming for the architectural photographer is the fixed screen. An articulating screen is a real bonus for awkward angles—both low and high. Apart from this, the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV is a great choice for architectural photography.

 

APS-C DSLRs

Many people’s first DSLR will be one that comes with an APS-C sensor. This is often referred to as a crop sensor. These cameras do everything a full-frame dSLR does but with a cropped sensor.

Whilst there are many excellent cropped sensor cameras available, they are not as good as a full-frame sensor. This might not be a problem, especially if you’re not making gallery-sized prints. And they will be superior to most camera phones and compact cameras.

So don’t be discouraged. While the lenses available for this type of camera aren’t as good as those for full-frame cameras, you can still take great architecture photos.

These cameras are also much cheaper, and the equipment is lighter than a full-frame setup.

6. Canon Rebel EOS SL3 / 250D

Canon EOS Rebel SL3 / 250D
Released
Released
2019
Sensor Format
Sensor Format
APS-C
Lens Mount
Lens Mount
Canon EF/EF-S
Megapixels
Megapixels
24 MP
Autofocus Points
Autofocus Points
9
Maximum ISO (Native)
Maximum ISO (Native)
25600
Frame Rate
Frame Rate
5 fps
In-body Stabilization
In-body Stabilization
1
Video
Video
1
Key Features
Key Features
Impressive 24 MP sensor, fantastic autofocus
Best For
Best For
Anyone looking for a great-value DSLR

The Canon EOS Rebel SL3/250D has proven to be a very popular introduction to DSLRs. The 24 MP sensor is no slouch in terms of sensitivity or pixel count. It’s a great little performer and will serve well as an entry-level architecture photography camera.

Unlike the more expensive 5D Mark IV, this little beauty has an articulating screen. And it’s a touchscreen, which is a real bonus. And for architectural photography, the 250D’s main weakness—a sometimes less-than-perfect AF—isn’t a huge issue for architecture photography. You’ll be taking your time and probably using manual focus anyway.

There’s no denying the value for money that the Canon EOS Rebel SL3/250D offers. It’s a great starting point for getting into photography beyond what your phone can offer.

Micro Four Thirds Cameras

MFT sensors are smaller than an ASP-C camera. But you often get more control of the aperture and shutter speed. These cameras are also mirrorless, making them smaller and lighter.

They’re also less expensive than full-frame cameras.

7. Olympus OM System OM-1

Olympus OM System OM-1
Released
Released
2022
Sensor Format
Sensor Format
Micro Four Thirds
Lens Mount
Lens Mount
Micro 4/3
Megapixels
Megapixels
20 MP
Autofocus Points
Autofocus Points
1053
Maximum ISO (Native)
Maximum ISO (Native)
25600
Frame Rate
Frame Rate
10 fps
In-body Stabilization
In-body Stabilization
1
Video
Video
1
Key Features
Key Features
1,053 AF points, 20 MP sensor
Best For
Best For
Building a Micro Four Thirds camera system

The OM System OM-1 has built a great reputation for the quality of its construction and the images it produces. A weather-sealed body holds the well-regarded 20 MP sensor. And the AF system has a head-turning 1,053 focus points. An articulating screen makes it easy to frame architectural shots in awkward places. It’s a great choice for a small-sensor camera.

You might be surprised at the quality of the images produced by such a physically small sensor. But they are truly impressive. Your architectural photos won’t benefit from the 50 fps burst speed. But you might find yourself using the in-camera focus stacking.

This feature is tremendously useful. Normally you’d merge images in post-processing on your computer. But the OM-1 does it all for you. You can capture both the closest and furthest details in a building’s interior, all without having to stop down to small apertures. The OM-1 takes care of it.

You can even do this while shooting handheld! That is partly because the OM System OM-1 has a hugely impressive in-body IS system. It’s easy to see why so many people love this little gem.

 

8. Panasonic Lumix DC-GH6

Panasonic Lumix DC-GH6
Released
Released
2022
Sensor Format
Sensor Format
Micro Four Thirds
Lens Mount
Lens Mount
Micro 4/3
Megapixels
Megapixels
25 MP
Autofocus Points
Autofocus Points
315
Maximum ISO (Native)
Maximum ISO (Native)
25600
Frame Rate
Frame Rate
14 fps
In-body Stabilization
In-body Stabilization
1
Video
Video
1
Key Features
Key Features
5-axis image stabilization, 4K video
Best For
Best For
Anyone looking for a camera with outstanding video capabilities

The Panasonic Lumix DC-GH6 has a remarkable 5-axis IS system. This makes it very popular with videographers. But it’s got lots of features that will help your architectural photography. These include a fully articulating screen and a 25.2 MP sensor.

Videographers love the built-in fan, which allows them unlimited recording. But there’s much to like for the architectural photographer too. If you don’t want to carry a tripod with you, you’ll appreciate the image stabilization. It’s rated to 7.5 EV, which is impressive.

Some users find the magnified image in Live View disappointing. And this can be significant, as it’s an important tool in the architectural photographer’s kit. But the mix of good high ISO performance and High-Resolution mode is a real bonus. The 100 MP Pixel Shift images take care of noise in the shadows. And it’s a feature that makes the Panasonic Lumix DC-GH6 a good choice for architectural photography.

 

Smartphone Cameras

Smartphones continue to advance in quality, with Google, Samsung, and Apple leading the way. The ability to use them on a tripod and even add additional lenses makes them more versatile than ever.

They also have a wide range of photography apps you can download. These allow you to upgrade your device for both shooting and editing photos.

So is a smartphone camera the best camera for architecture photography? No, but it has its uses.

9. Apple iPhone 15 Pro Max

Apple iPhone 15 Pro Max 512 GB Blue
Released
Released
2023
Sensor Format
Sensor Format
1/1.9-inch
Lens Mount
Lens Mount
N/A
Megapixels
Megapixels
48 MP
Autofocus Points
Autofocus Points
100% focus pixels
Maximum ISO
Maximum ISO
1,100
Frame Rate
Frame Rate
24 fps
Key Features
Key Features
48 MP sensor, 5x telephoto lens
Best For
Best For
Combining an excellent camera with a top-of-the-range smartphone

The Apple iPhone 15 Pro Max packs an awful lot into its slightly oversized frame. It has a 48 MP sensor, a very useful wide-angle lens, and impressive low-light performance. A professional architecture photographer is unlikely to rely on an iPhone as their main camera. But it will work for occasional use. And the LIDAR scanner can help you measure the architecture you are shooting.

The ultrawide 13mm lens is great for capturing interiors. And the in-phone lens corrections help to keep the shots looking natural. And once you get used to the controls, it’s simple to choose HDR or long-exposure shots.

Although there’s no articulating screen, you have the option of using an Apple Watch to trigger the shutter. This is useful and even allows you to see the shot before and after. The Apple iPhone 15 Pro Max is an incredibly impressive camera phone.

 

10. Google Pixel 8 Pro

Google Pixel 8 Pro
Released
Released
2023
Sensor Format
Sensor Format
1/1.31-inch
Lens Mount
Lens Mount
N/A
Megapixels
Megapixels
50 MP
Autofocus Points
Autofocus Points
100% focus pixels
Maximum ISO
Maximum ISO
10,666
Frame Rate
Frame Rate
24 fps
Key Features
Key Features
50 MP sensor, 5x telephoto lens
Best For
Best For
Anyone looking for the best Android phone camera on the market

The Google Pixel 8 Pro goes head to head with the iPhone as the best camera phone you can buy. Google has probably the purest deployment of the Android OS. And in the Pixel 8 Pro, it is married to an excellent camera.

Perhaps one of its most eye-catching features is the in-camera editing. Like the iPhone, you’re not going to establish an architectural photography business using this phone. But it will produce some stunning shots.

One impressive feature of this device is the way you can easily fix group photos. Often, the best photo of one person is just as another one blinks. With the Pixel 8, that’s no problem. You simply tap on the face you want to replace, and it offers you others from the same group of photos and swaps them.

Comparisons with Apple’s phones will often come down to preferences. Some will prefer how the Pixel renders colors. For others, the iPhone will win. But there’s no doubt the Google Pixel 8 Pro is a superb camera phone.

 

Buyer’s Guide—What Is the Best Camera for Architectural Photography?

Perhaps the most important features for architectural photography are sensor size, ISO, dynamic range, and lens availability.

What About Lenses for Your Camera Body?

The camera body is only half of the camera. You’ll need a lens or two to go with it. When it comes to architecture photography, you’ll want at least a wide-angle lens. In an ideal world, you’d get a tilt-shift lens to go with that.

Is there a case for lenses with longer focal lengths? Yes. These lenses are great for when you need to shoot from far away or get close-up details.

Wide-Angle Lenses

You’ll often need a wide-angle lens to capture the whole scene. It’s especially useful when you’re photographing an interior. And you want to capture as much of the room you’re in as possible. They’re also handy if the structure you’re photographing is surrounded by nearby buildings.

A colorful wooden structure shot outdoors with the best architecture camera
This photo uses a wide angle lens, to avoid distortion a tilt-shift lens would be needed.

Tilt-Shift Lenses

The ideal architecture photography setup will be a wide angle and tilt-shift lens. You can use the tilt-shift lens when you want to photograph a wide scene without distorting the tall buildings.

Some wide-angle lenses perform well without too much distortion. But to be sure your lines are straight, you should use a tilt-shift lens.

Read all about tilt-shift lenses and how to use them here.

Conclusion—The Best Camera for Architectural Photography

The best architecture photography camera combination is a full-frame mirrorless camera, combined with a good tilt-shift and wide-angle lens. But that’s my opinion. There are other choices, and you may decide to go with another camera setup.

But whatever your preference, there’s a fantastic camera on this list for you.

Our Top 3 Choices for the Best Camera for Architectural Photography
Canon EOS R3
Canon EOS R3
Canon EOS R3
Nikon D850
Nikon D850
Nikon D850
Olympus OM System OM-1
Olympus OM System OM-1
Olympus OM System OM-1