If you’re looking to get into real estate photography, having the right lens is essential.
A real estate photographer needs to be fully equipped with the right lenses to get the best shots for their clients, no matter what property they encounter.
But what is the best lens for real estate photography? Read on for the list of our top picks.
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What is the Best Lens for Real Estate Photography?
The best lens for real estate photography will enable you to cover all sorts of spaces. Property exteriors, spacious kitchens, or pokey little box rooms will all need to be covered.
You should be able to show the best qualities of every space. No matter what the room, you should leave your clients happy and satisfied.
First, we’ll take a look at three aspects you’ll need to consider when buying the right lens. Then you are ready to look through our list of the best lenses for real estate photography, which we’ve separated by full-frame cameras, crop sensor cameras, and tilt-shift lenses.
As a real estate photographer, you want to show as much of a room as possible. A good wide-angle lens makes this possible, even when space and light are limited.
Compared to a standard lens, the wide-angle has a substantially smaller focal length. Simply, this means that more of the subject scene is included in the shot. This makes wide-angle lenses the best for real estate photography.
Fish-eye lenses, however, are to be avoided when it comes to real estate. Correcting fish-eye distortion during editing is impossible without significant quality loss. For the same reason, rectilinear wide-angle lenses with strong barrel distortion should also be kept at bay.
If you’re starting out as a real estate photographer, zoom lenses can offer great versatility.
No two rooms are the same in any house, so having a zoom lens enables you to get the shot you need without having to change the lens as you move around the property. The right lens can save you time and money.
Some zooms lenses have auto-focus or weather-proofing features to broaden their mass-market appeal, but it’s best not to get distracted by these. The real estate photographer needs to focus on image quality.
Chromatic Aberration and Distortion
Chromatic aberration is a discoloured or warped effect you might find at the edge of photos. This can also be known as “fringing”.
It occurs when the lens cannot take in light from different areas of the scene at the same speed. This changes the colour and creates a blur on the final image.
You can rectify aberration in post-production, but this is very time-consuming. The best solution is to get yourself a lens better suited to real estate photography. You may be limited by budget at first, but you can upgrade your lens collection once your business is booming.
With all that considered, let’s look at how to find the best lens for real estate photography.
Top Lenses for Full-Frame Cameras
If you have a full-frame camera, this section of the list will have the best real estate lens for you.
If you’re a Canon user, this is the wide-angle lens you’ll want to get your hands on. It’s an L-series lens, which denotes a higher quality glass and build.
The 16-35mm range is ideal for real estate photography. It’s wide enough to capture even a small space in full. The 35mm zoom is ideal if you’re in a large space but want a tighter composition.
The Canon 16-35mm also has an in-built optical image stabilizer. A handy feature if you’re struggling to get the right shot in a tight space.
Similar lenses have f-stops down to f/2.8, but these lenses tend to sell for twice the price.
The f-stop range may seem like a disadvantage, but keep in mind that you’ll often be using a tripod. Also, when shooting property interiors, you’ll need to keep the entire room in focus using higher f-stops. This is Canon’s best lens for real estate photography in the full-frame category.
For full-frame Nikon users, this is the wide-angle lens that you’ll want to aim for. The characteristics are similar to the Canon lens described above, making it ideal for professional real estate photography.
It is heavier than its Canon counterpart. But, the Nano Crystal Coating helps to reduce ghosting and flare in different lighting conditions.
The Nikkor lens also has Nikon’s Vibration Reduction image stabilization system built-in. This system offers a real benefit if you are struggling with low natural light.
The Nikon Nikkor 16-35mm is similar in price to the Canon option and has equally splendid results. For Nikon, this is the best lens for real estate photography.
The Sigma 12-24mm lens is available for both Canon and Nikon, but make sure it has the correct lens mount before you buy. This is a great budget wide-angle lens for real estate photography.
This lens performs beautifully throughout its focal length range—one of the widest on this list. And the lens is coated to prevent flare and ghosting.
The HSM stands for Hypersonic Motor—Sigma’s smooth, quick, quiet autofocusing system.
The Sigma 12-24 f/4 HSM Art is heavier than both the Canon and Nikon options. But the build and image quality make this an excellent option for real estate photography without breaking the bank.
For Sony users, the SEL1224G 12-24mm is the best wide-angle lens for real estate photography available. This lens is compatible with all Sony’s E-mount full-frame cameras.
Its 12-24mm range allows you to capture wide spaces, both exterior and interior, without any aberration. This is also the widest focal range offered on the Sony E-mount range, making it ideal for real estate photography.
It is similar in price to both its Canon and Nikon rivals. For a real estate photographer, the Sony SEL1224G 12-24mm is fantastic value for money.
This Tokina lens is available for both Canon and Nikon full-frame cameras. And, for the price tag, the wide-angle image quality is still impressive.
It’s sharp throughout most of the frame and offers a low f-stop to allow enough light in for interior shots. It has an excellent range of focal lengths that can work with rooms of any size.
The Tokina AT-X is not quite up to the level of the lenses previously mentioned. But, it does have good quality wide-angle capture at an affordable price tag. The Tokina AT-X is the perfect option if you’re a real estate photographer on a budget.
Top Lenses for Crop Sensor Cameras
The EF-S 10-18mm is a good wide-angle lens for getting started with real estate photography. It is compatible with all of Canon’s EOS range.
The zoom range doesn’t quite match that of Canon’s 10-20mm wide-angle lens. But the 10-18mm lens does have built-in optical image stabilization and much-improved autofocus.
The wide-angle image capture offers superb quality. And the 22mm minimum focus distance means you can also get in close for detailed shots.
With pleasing results and a modest price tag, the Canon EF-S 10-18mm STM is an affordable way to get started with real estate photography.
The Tamron 10-24mm is available for Nikon and Canon crop sensor cameras. It’s an affordable lens for real estate photography.
The large focal range makes this an ideal lens for real estate photography. The range is equivalent to 16-35mm on a full-frame camera and allows for detailed image capture in any space.
The wide-angle image sharpness and lack of aberration are impressive for this price range. The Tamron gives you top-quality real estate photos without going burning a hole in your wallet.
This lens from Tokina is available for both Nikon and Canon. It has an excellent build quality, and the focal length is equivalent to 19-45mm on a full-frame camera.
It doesn’t quite reach the angle width of the Tamron listed above. But, for optical performance, it keeps distortion to a minimum and is more than capable of producing stunning real estate photos.
The Tokina 12-28mm AT-X has an impressive build and image quality. It offers fantastic value for money for real estate photography.
If you are new to real estate photography and on a tight budget, then this Rokinon is an affordable wide-angle lens for real estate photography.
The Rokinon 14mm delivers quality images and continues to perform well even at its maximum f/2.8. It is lightweight, durable, and compatible with all Nikon cameras with an F lens mount.
The Rokinon is worth considering if you are new to real estate photography. You can still impress on the most modest of budgets.
The Nikkor 12-14mm is not the cheapest option on the list. But, it’s the best lens for real estate Nikon users with a crop sensor camera.
Its focal range is ideal for real estate photography. It can handle broad exteriors or expansive kitchens, and the 11.8-inch minimum focus distance allows for creative composition in tighter spaces.
The chromatic aberration and distortion are kept at a minimum with two Extra-Low Dispersion (ED) glass elements. These improve the image quality further.
If you’re getting serious about real estate photography, then this Nikon Nikkor wide-angle lens won’t disappoint. This is a fantastic piece of equipment. It’s one of our favourite picks of the best lenses for real estate photography.
Top Tilt-Shift Lenses
Tilt-shift lenses are speciality lenses made primarily for shooting building exteriors or anything with strong vertical lines. With a tilt-shift lens, you can keep your camera perfectly level and adjust the upward and downward composition of your shot by raising or lowering the optics of the lens.
The real benefit is that the tilt-shift lens keeps all the vertical lines vertical, solving any aspect, perspective, or distortion problems in-camera. But is a tilt-shift the best lens for real estate photography?
Tilt-shift lenses are a bit on the pricey side. And they weren’t created specifically with real estate photography in mind. But more and more real estate photographers are turning to tilt-shift lenses. And more often than not, they aren’t turning back.
One drawback, other than the expense, is the lack of zoom capabilities. This can be a limitation when you need to capture a variety of different spaces, as you will need to change lenses regularly.
In the long term, a tilt-shift camera can save time and money as so little work is needed in post-production. The lens makes the corrections before the picture is even taken.
Is the tilt-shift the best lens for real estate photography? They’re not essential to the craft, but if you are interested, here are our top picks.
The 17mm is the widest tilt-shift lens in Canon’s line-up and is compatible with all cameras from their EOS range.
This lens offers an angle of view of 93 degrees, and the specially coated glass minimizes chromatic aberration. The result is crystal-clear, glare-free images.
With a minimum focus range of 0.82 feet, this lens isn’t ideal for close-ups and interior shots with limited space.
The price isn’t outrageous by tilt-shift standard, and the Canon 17mm f/4 L TS-E has a beautiful build quality. But most importantly, it can produce real estate photos that can really wow your clients.
This Nikon lens is the most expensive lens on the list, but that’s not without good reason. The PC 19mm has excellent build quality.
The direction of the tilt operation can be parallel or perpendicular to shift. This allows you to control perspective, focus, and depth of field in a unique way. You can also use the tilt operation for selective defocus, or miniature effect.
The Nikon Nikkor PC 19mm has a hefty price tag. It is at the very forefront of tilt-shift lens technology. You can’t get a higher quality tilt-shift lens than this.
Rokinon provides the budget option in the tilt-shift category. Their 24mm tilt-shift lens is excellent value for money when considering tilt-shifts as a lens for real estate photography.
The tilt-shift functions allow for precise control with both perspective and depth of field. And, the Extra-Low Dispersion technology keeps aberration and colourization to a minimum.
This lens is available for Nikon, Canon, and Sony cameras. But, be sure to check your lens mount before you buy.
The Rokinon tilt-shift lens is affordable, produces superb images, and is highly compatible. It’s the perfect option for real estate photographers wanting to give tilt-shift lenses a try.
If you’re serious about real estate photography, you will need the right lens. It is the most important piece of equipment in your kit bag. But the best lens for real estate photography depends on your level of need and ability.
We have listed our top picks for the best lens for real estate photography. Your choice may be determined by the camera you already have, your level of interest, or the stage you are at in your career.
We hope this list has provided some clarity and enables you to make the right decision!
If you want to learn more about real estate photography, check out our Picture Perfect Properties eBook!