As a professional real estate photographer, one of the questions I get asked the most is “what’s the best camera for real estate photography?”
Your camera and lenses are your main tools, just like a hammer to a builder.
Let’s see which cameras will help you bring your visions to life!
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How to Choose the Perfect Camera
Cropped vs Full-Frame Sensor
There are a few reasons that you’ll want to invest in a full-frame camera versus a cropped sensor one. A larger sensor takes in more light, which is pivotal when capturing light in a space.
Full-frame cameras also have a different mount than cropped sensor cameras. A full-frame sensor will open up a world of higher-end lenses that you can use.
The lenses that you use have even more of an impact on your real estate photos than the camera body itself. Even if you’re not yet ready to buy the best lenses, it’s better to invest in a camera that prepares you for future needs.
If you’re able to, it’s better to invest now for your long term success. It’ll keep you from having to constantly upgrade and incur expenses.
Pairing the Correct Lens With Your Camera
We’ve just touched on the ability of full-frame cameras to mount high-end lenses. One of the main requirements for a real estate photography camera is to be able to mount different lenses.
Even if you’re not able to invest in a full-frame camera, choose a camera body that gives you the freedom to switch lenses.
This will be crucial in learning more about your needs while shooting real estate.
Are Video Capturing Features Important?
Not every real estate photographer will shoot video. But it is something you may want to prepare for.
Real estate agents often look for someone who can deliver still photos as well as a video of the property. Having a camera that can capture both will serve you well as you expand your services.
Again, it’s about considering your needs now and in the future. Some cameras offer 4K video capabilities. But keep in mind that, for real estate listing purposes, you don’t normally need very high-quality video. This is a feature that I recommend seeking out but not breaking the bank for.
If you’re interested in improving your video capturing skills, check out our course Total Time-Lapse.
Best Cameras for Real Estate Photography in 2020
Based on the aspects mentioned above, we consider the following cameras the best for real estate photography.
This full-frame sensor camera body has 30.4MP capacity and ISO of up to 32,000. It can also capture 4K video, which makes it possible to create videos that will impress your clients.
One of the more unique features is the capture of Dual Pixel Raw images. It allows for what Canon calls “micro-adjustments”. This means that you can make small adjustments to the point of focus after having taken the photo. This does depend on the lens that you’re using and the effect is minimal. But it’s a noteworthy feature nonetheless.
This Dual Pixel Raw capability also allows the correction of ghosting. It’s essential when sun flare is seen because of the light hitting the lens at a certain angle.
The Canon 5D Mark IV is also Wi-Fi-enabled. Syncing up to mobile devices or your computer for file transfers is a breeze. The Wi-Fi capability is fantastic for wireless tethering when on larger shoots!
One of the big advantages that this camera holds over previous Canon 5D models is its handling of low light situations. This makes it great for increasing your dynamic range in-camera, and especially useful when shooting video in low light.
2. Canon EOS R
The EOS R is a newer mirrorless full-frame camera from Canon. It offers many of the features of the 5D Mark IV, but at a lower price point.
It’s important to note that it introduces a new lens mount. This will affect the lenses you can use with this camera body. Canon does offer a mount converter, but it’s something to consider if you want to keep your gear list to a minimum.
Canon also introduced a line of RF mount lenses (for the new mount), which seem to be of high quality. If you’re switching from one body to another, the mount is something to consider.
The raw file format for this camera is also different. It’s called C-Raw and it reduces the file size by 40% from traditional RAW images, with minimal image quality loss.
The quality loss does become noticeable when you push your images a few stops. This may be something to take into account for interior photographs. We often push a stop or two to brighten shadows.
The Canon EOS R also offers 4K video capabilities, so it’s great for handling real estate video needs.
3. Nikon D850
This full-frame camera offers higher resolution images with 46MP. But the most interesting appeal of this model is the sensor itself. The sensor in the Nikon D850 uses a new technology that makes the edges of the sensor better receive light. This raises the peripheral image quality.
It’s capable of 4K video for real estate video needs, and it has Wi-Fi. But the Wi-Fi is only usable via Nikon’s Bluetooth-led app.
An advantage of shooting on a tripod is that we’re not at the mercy of high ISOs to shoot in low light. The Nikon D850 has ISO capability that goes down to 64, and the dynamic range at ISO 64 is fantastic.
4. Sony a7 III
The Sony a7III is my recommendation in place of the a7 IIIR. It’s a significant difference in price, without sacrificing quality.
The most notable difference is the resolution, with the a7 III offering 24MP and the a7 IIIR offering 42MP. It’s important to keep in mind that the naked eye does not detect the difference in resolution. The exception from this is if you enlarge your real estate photos to large murals.
For common real estate photography needs, anything 20MP or higher will serve your needs perfectly fine. One of my favourite features of the Sony a7 series is in-body stabilization.
This allows stabilization regardless of the lens, whereas traditional stabilization happens in-lens. This is especially useful for handheld low light photos in a property that doesn’t have much natural light.
The Sony a7III also has an amazing dynamic range. It keeps noise to a minimum at high ISOs or when pushing the images a few stops. It is the best mirrorless camera I would suggest for real estate photography.
5. Nikon D750
The Nikon D750 has a 24MP resolution, has a full-frame sensor and built-in Wi-Fi. It does also have video capabilities, although it doesn’t do 4K video. However, real estate cameras don’t necessarily need 4K video resolution.
One other feature that may be of particular interest with this model is the highlight-weighted metering. This feature allows the camera to meter light differently based on the highlights in the frame.
Having this feature allows for better control over bright areas that often are part of interior space, such as the windows.
Overall, this is an excellent choice for real estate photography at a very reasonable price point.
It has built-in Wi-Fi Like the resolution, but it can’t shoot 4K video. However, the video capabilities are certainly enough to shoot for real estate needs
This model is not known for having a great dynamic range. It’s ideal for shooting on a tripod and layering bracketed images in Photoshop.
Overall, this is Canon’s equivalent to Nikon’s D750. It’s a great mid-level camera. But it will most likely need to be updated in the not-too-distant future once your skill level and client expectations go up.
Panasonic Lumix G9’s mirrorless sensor offers some impressive features at a lower price point. It has a 20MP resolution, which is sufficient but not extraordinary these days.
However, it offers in-body stabilization and built-in Wi-Fi. It can also shoot 4K video and offers a high-resolution mode that essentially does focus stacking in-camera.
The high-resolution mode is excellent for real estate to help ensure that everything in the space looks crisp and sharp. The G9 offers a solid dynamic range. It allows you to push exposures a couple of stops in post-processing without seeing a noticeable loss in quality.
This is a fantastic camera to start with, especially when looking for a lightweight option that fits your professional needs.
The Fujifilm X-T20 is a cropped sensor camera and is the lowest priced camera on our list. But it offers loads of features that work well for real estate photography.
The X-T20 offers a resolution of 24MP, built-in Wi-Fi, and 4K video capabilities. It has good performance in high ISO settings and the dynamic range is impressive for its price point. But not so impressive in comparison to other models on this list.
Also, this camera does shoot in Raw and JPEG format, and the JPEG format has exceptional color quality.
The Fujifilm X-T20 is my recommendation if you’re testing the water with professional real estate photography.
This camera is a very solid model that will serve you for many years as you improve your skillset. The 1D X Mark II is one of the best full-frame cameras with 20MP resolution and 4K video capabilities. It is, however, a bigger investment.
One of the very impressive things about this camera is how it retains high-quality images even in unfortunate lighting. When working with real estate photography, being able to push the exposure, especially in the shadows, is important!
It has great overall performance on key features and a rock-solid build. It will for sure deliver and will be a reliable companion.
There are excellent quality cameras easily accessible for a not so big investment. The key is to get a camera that suits your specific needs. If your budget allows, invest in a camera that will serve you long-term.
As with any camera, be sure to grow your skillset. At the end of the day, it all comes down to how you use the tools you have!
Looking for more gear recommendations? Check out our new post about the best real estate photography lens next!