Real estate photography is on the rise these days, and photographers seem to be cashing in on this trend. It is one of the best ways to keep your business and portfolio growing while making a good profit off it. For those that are thinking of diving into this type of photography, or have landed a nice gig with a real estate company for photographing their apartments and houses, you have to be extremely ready and up for the task. While skills are crucial for any type of photography, besides those you will need the absolute best gear for your needs. For example, most real estate photographers use full-frame cameras, and while it is not unseen that they might use crop models, full-frame is the norm here.
Besides that, the most important thing about your gear is the lens, and I cannot stress the importance of the lens for real estate photography. While you might think that it is a pretty straightforward answer, as soon as you take a look at the market you will see millions of options out there coming in from different manufacturers. Fortunately, all good real estate lenses out there have some common ground that you can learn to spot, so you can get yourself the best lens for real estate photography.
This guide will help you differentiate between your options and choose the best lens that will benefit your needs. Regardless if you are using a full-frame or a crop sensor camera, and also regardless of the manufacturer. We will check out the top picks when it comes to lenses for real estate photography, reasons to choose one over the other and so much more. There is a lot to talk about here, so I suggest we get going.
The Top 5 Best Lenses For Real Estate Photography
5. Tokina 17-35mm F/4 at-X Pro FX
The first entry on this list is the Tokina 17-35mm F/4 at-X Pro FX. This lens is the definite best one you can get for its price, which is extremely affordable. I didn’t expect the amount of sharpness and versatility from this lens.
It has a super wide-angle of 104 degrees at 17mm and it will be your best bet for real estate photography as it will capture wide scenes in a single frame. It has a constant f/4 aperture on all its zoom range and it even works very well in low light conditions, which is very impressive.
Moving on I can say that this camera has a very well built body that can also handle some light rain and dust, plus it can be combined with a hood to protect it even better. To conclude I would like to mention the inbuilt autofocus system.
4. Fujinon XF10-24mmF4 R OIS
Moving on with our list we have another ultra-wide-angle lens, but this time a little more expensive one the Fujinon XF10-24mmF4 R OIS. This one is great for real estate photography and it is widely used for architecture photography.
Also, this is deemed to be as one of the best lenses in Fujifilm’s range and it comes with a superb build quality that is very impressive. I should mention that everything about this lens works rather smoothly and extremely well.
On top of all this, the Fujinon XF10-24mmF4 R OIS can be used with different lens filters which can be extremely handy. This lens can go as wide as 10mm which is equivalent to 110 degrees, it also has a built-in optical stabilizer and superb sharpness throughout the range.
3. Canon TS-E 17mm f/4L UD
Next up on this list is the Canon TS-E 17mm f/4L UD, which is a professional level tilt-shift lens that is extremely expensive but can get a lot done in the right hands. If you are considering a tilt-shift lens this is your best bet as it delivers no distortion at all with great sharpness.
The Canon TS-E 17mm f/4L UD allows for +/- 6,5mm tilt and +/- 12mm shift with its aspherical elements. Those same elements deliver low dispersion and some interesting features that have done a great job at minimizing aberrations.
It has an SWS surface and Super Spectra coating that eliminates glare and reflections overall. The focus range is excellent as well and the performance is perfect for all real estate photography.
2. Nikon AF-S FX NIKKOR 16-35mm f/4G ED VR
The runner up on this list is not an extremely expensive model that will be out of your range, but a pretty balanced lens that delivers all your beloved features, the Nikon AF-S FX NIKKOR 16-35mm f/4G ED VR.
This lens is the first of its kind, as it has VR Image Stabilization at its wide-angle nature which is pretty amazing. The focal length spans from 16 to 35mm and an f/4 aperture which is available throughout all the zoom range.
The Nano Crystal Coating feature also gets rid of the flare and it can override focus manually as well, one of my favorite features for real estate photography. Price, features and performance, the Nikon AF-S FX NIKKOR 16-35mm f/4G ED VR does it all.
1. Canon EF 16-35mm f/4L IS USM
On top of the list, I have the Canon EF 16-35mm f/4L IS USM, which is one of the most critically acclaimed lenses in the market so far. it will get the job done for any kind of photography including landscape, real estate and architecture photography, a true beast.
This lens designed for Canon’s full-frame cameras and it combines rather good with them. It is a lens that comes from the L series which has delivered quality in both the glass and build of the lens.
The 16-35mm range is pretty good for real estate as well as for anything in between. If you are in for a lens that will deliver excellent image quality, high glare resistance, wide-angle and instant focus you are in for a treat.
Features to Consider Before Buying a Lens for Real Estate Photography
Types of Lenses
There are different kinds of lenses out there used for real estate photography and we will check them individually to see the advantages and disadvantages of each so you can determine which one is for you. However, there is a recurring thing on all types of lenses for real estate photography, and that is wide lenses. In full-frame cameras, they mostly use ultra-wide-angle lenses which is pretty good for the needs of a real estate photographer.
However, you should know that those lenses come in different types as well, including zoom and prime variants. Of which the latter also comes in tilt-shift versions, which are great for real estate photography, albeit at a higher price, so we will try to discuss all these in-depth to see which one is better for your needs.
Let’s start with zoom lenses first and see why would a real estate photographer, choose them over prime lenses. The main reason when it comes to choosing zoom lenses over the other is that they are more versatile, and if you need versatility this is what you need to get. This is also why most of the lenses produced out there are zoom lenses, so you can choose different settings depending on your needs.
The other reason as to why you would choose a zoom lens is that you will need to carry just one zoom lens to get the job done. For example, a wide-angle lens with a good zoom range can do as much job done as two or maybe even three wide-angle prime lenses. This will help you keep the overall costs lower in the long run, but not initially since these cost more upright to buy.
Next up we have ultra-wide prime lenses which are also super popular choices when it comes to real estate photography for a variety of good reasons. I can comfortably say that prime lenses are more affordable overall, have larger maximum apertures and deliver a sharper end product. Just two of those qualities are enough to convince a full-time photographer, especially in the real estate business, price, and sharpness. Also what more do you need.
In the sharpness department, these are absolute kings. For example, a low-end prime lens will do much better than a zoom lens in its category in terms of sharpness, due to the static internal elements. All this results in enhanced positioning and reduced variance overall in the lens. Also because of the static internal components and the lack of need to shift, these lenses are much cheaper in comparison to their zoom counterparts.
This is all beneficial for a real estate photographer, and since you will be taking photographs of things that do not move, the aperture will not be a factor, so you can focus on the lens that delivers as much sharpness across the stops. Another thing that is overlooked with prime lenses is just how lightweight they are, well at least compared to zoom lenses, due to the lack of moving components. So for that reason, many real estate photographers own two or three prime lenses instead of one zoom lens.
Tilt-Shift Prime Lenses
For real estate photography, tilt-shift lenses are a superb tool that will be extremely handy. For those that do not know what a tilt-shift lens does, simply explained, these lenses do change the angle of the focal plane that is relative to the body of the camera, which might sound pretty technical but I will break it down for you. So a tilt-shift lens is a lens where the optics of it can be tilted or shifted in the relation of the image sensor. For real estate photography, this means that you can get a photo of a building or a house that is fully parallel, a thing that cannot be achieved with a normal lens. These lenses will effectively correct these issues by shifting your plane of view while still keeping a level camera, which is awesome. While these can be done without this lens it is extremely difficult and the end product will still not come exactly as you might have imagined. However, these lenses are very expensive and have a manual focus mechanism, so you won’t be able to use autofocus features of your camera.
This is the feature that you need the most regardless of which type of lens you decide to go for. Architecture photography requires a high amount of detail and sharpness. Check reviews about the lens you consider buying and see what the experts have to say about it in terms of sharpness. Also, don’t forget to check the resolving power, and you need something in the highest order here, depending on your camera body. Since there are lenses that deliver the same results in terms of detail and sharpness in a camera with 20 and 30 megapixels, which is something you need to stay away from. It is better to own a lens with high resolving power even if you have a 20-megapixel camera since you might buy a camera with a 50-megapixel sensor in the future, it is a nice way of future-proofing.
I can easily say that if you ask any professional photographer he/she will say that you need the widest maximum aperture for any photography work. Well, I do agree that that is the need for genres like wildlife, sports, and race car photography, that require super-fast performance. However, for real estate photography, I can’t say the same. Since you don’t need a gigantic aperture, and it might be bad for your needs, because most of these lenses sacrifice image quality and sharpness for the sake of large aperture. Most of the time, in like 98 percent of the cases for real estate photography you will be shooting at f/8 or f/11, meaning that you won’t need the widest aperture.
Image stabilization features on lenses are pretty interesting but it depends on your style and needs if you will need one or not. For example, if you are shooting mostly from a tripod and in well-lit ambient, you won’t need it. On the other hand, if shoot handheld and sometimes in dim rooms, then it is necessary to have in your lens. Like I said they are not the most needed feature but it has its use that might be good for you.
I think that now you are ready to get the best lens for real estate photography since you are very well informed about the whole thing. Never forget to determine a set budget for your lens and all your camera gear and buy according to your needs. Check to see if the lens you are planning to buy justifies its price and buy from trusted retailers such as Amazon. Don’t forget to check the top picks section to take a look at the fail-safe options. Have fun and good luck with your business.