Before we go into details regarding the best lens for real estate photography, we suggest you read our post on real estate photography in general since there are quite many rules and guidelines you should follow if you plan to capture photos and use them for your or your clients’ listings.
That said, in this article, we will focus our attention on the best lens for real estate photography. We will start off by looking at what type of lenses are the choice for real estate photography and explain those further. Then we will move on straight to the list of 5 lenses of which one should be your best lens for real estate photography.
Of course, the exact model of the lens will need to suit your best camera for real estate photography, which we advise it is a rather advanced DSLR or a mirrorless full-frame camera.
We will wrap things up by answering frequently asked questions, which many of you will find extremely helpful.
Since real estate drone photography is also highly popular these days, keep in mind that there are some very important laws to be considered when it comes to using drones. Thus, it makes way more sense to master regular real estate photography first and for that, you will need the best camera for real estate photography and the best lens for real estate photography, and that is why we are here.
Key Considerations Before Buying A Lens For Real Estate Photography
If you already know a few things about the best lenses for real estate photography and are just interested to learn the exact lens models, you can skip this section. However, if you’re a newbie, we advise you to pay close attention to the following paragraphs as they will provide you with the guidance that will serve you for all your best lens for real estate photography-related selection in the future.
First, you should know that a camera body (DSLRs and mirrorless camera without a lens) and a lens must both be of great quality to get great results. Using the best lens on a poor camera or a poor lens on the best camera will provide you with poor results. If you can’t afford the best options, then it is better to go with mid-range quality on both, the camera and the lens.
There three most important aspects that the best lens for real estate photography should cover; it should provide you with a wide-angle, zoom for details and versatility, and minimal chromatic aberration or distortion. The importance is in that same order.
So, let us dig dipper, shall we?
Wide Angle lenses
Real estate mostly has two aspects, indoors and outdoors and they both require a wide-angle lens. If you want to capture the entire property, house, or apartment building in a single shot with limited space to back away from the property, you will absolutely need a wide-angle lens. Of course, you could compensate by clipping together several photos, however, this is a lot messier and never deliver the same quality result.
Moreover, whenever you are taking photos of the interior, you want to capture the entire room, which also means that you need a wide-angle lens. Of course, there are times when you want to snap a photo of some details, however, in general, you want to present each room as it would look like in person. And guess what? People have two wide lenses (our eyes), which means that we automatically prefer photos that resemble our image capturing senses. A wide-angle lens will be crucial to making the spaces look spacious. The key to this is a wide-angle lens.
NOTE: Avoid using fisheye lenses, though. Correcting fisheye distortion during editing is often an impossible task. It can’t be done without significant quality loss and cropping parts of the image. For the same reason, rectilinear wide-angle lenses with strong barrel distortion should also not be used.
Unlike a wide-angle lens, zoom lenses are not a must in real estate photography. However, they can be a great alternative. Zoom lenses make things a lot easier for beginners (as compared to prime lenses), who have not yet mastered the proper positioning of themselves.
Zoom lenses are great as they provide one with much versatility. The wider the lens’s range the more versatile it is. However, keep in mind that often a wide range comes at the expense of lower quality. In a way, lenses are like people; we become experts and extremely good in a specific niche, if we try to cover many niches, we can mostly only dabble in them.
By using the zoom lens at the beginning, you will be able to find out which focal length best suits your needs and style. It will also help you save some money, as it covers a range that would otherwise require several prime lenses.
Image quality is what matters the most in real estate, as such, make sure that you are not choosing a cheap lens that will noticeably compromise the quality of the photos.
Minimal Chromatic Aberration Or Distortion
Chromatic aberration is a quality that improves with better lens quality. Essentially, chromatic aberration refers to the colorful fringing towards contrasty edges on a wide-angle photo.
There is also lens distortion, which affects the shape. If the lens if of lower quality, you will end up with photos with both, lens distortion and chromatic aberration, which is something that can be partly corrected in the post-production, however, it is best avoided to ensure the top image quality, which is essential in the real estate photography. Chromatic aberration is normally more noticeable towards the edge of the frame. It often comes out as blurriness, muddiness, or like that parts of the photo moved slightly. However, there are other factors that might cause softer edges.
Generally, the higher quality lens, the sharper the image and less distorted the edges of the frame will be.
We understand that most of you will be guided by your budget (at least if you just starting). However, we advise you strongly to invest in the highest quality of the camera and lens as soon as possible, of course, if you are serious about delivering the best real estate photos
Best Lenses For Real Estate Photography
This is the section that most of you landed on this article in the first place. Herein, we will take a closer look at the 5 best lenses for real estate photography. If you are new to photography, keep in mind that not each of these lenses can be used on any best camera for real estate photography. Nikon’s Nikkor lenses are limited to Nikon cameras, while Canon has their lenses devoted to their cameras. There are lens brands that deliver lenses for various camera brands, however, only rarely can they match the leading two camera companies. Thus, keep your camera type always in mind.
Of course, you can also work the other way around, buy the lens and then buy the camera that matches it, though, naturally, you’d pay more attention to your camera selection, as it can accommodate a wide range of lenses, and is the one you will operate and should as such best suit you.
1. Canon EF 16-35mm f/4L IS USM
The Canon EF 16-35mm f/4L IS USM is one of the best Canon wide-angle lenses for full-frame camera owners. It has a focal range that is perfectly suited to big or small spaces. At the same time, it incorporates one of the top Canon’s lens series. This lens offers a max aperture of f/4, which is perfect for real estate, as you’ll need to shoot at higher f-stops to capture sharpness throughout the image.
The Image Stabilization truly is a standout feature on this lens. It comes in extra handy for any hand-held photos taken in darker rooms with poor lighting. This also enables you to take great photos with lights turned off even on a cloudy day. The most outstanding quality of this lens is the sharpness that it delivers. It is very impressive how it maintains the sharpness throughout the entire photo – even the corners of the frame. This alone makes it one of the best wide-angle lenses for real estate photography.
2. Nikon Nikkor 16-35mm f/4
Looking at the name and numbers of the Nikon Nikkor 16-35mm f/4, one can see that this is the Nikon equivalent of the above presented Canon lens.
It includes Nano Crystal Coating that helps to reduce ghosting and flares in various lighting conditions, which is especially handy for interior photography with a range of different light fixtures turned on.
It has been noted that image sharpness does suffer a bit when subjects are very close to the camera, which is thankfully not a common situation in real estate photography. Taking photos at a higher f-stop tends to cancel out any softness. The Nikon Nikkor 16-35mm f/4 offers a very sturdy build and great vibration reduction, which extremely helps if you are photographing darker spaces without a tripod.
All-in-all, this is definitely the go-to lens for full-frame Nikon photographers wanting a solid, durable wide-angle real estate photography lens.
3. Tokina AT-X 17-35mm f/4 ProFX
The Tokina AT-X 17-35mm f/4 ProFX lens beats all other lenses in terms of getting the most bang for your buck. If you have a full-frame camera and a tight budget, it is without a doubt the one you should consider.
It delivers sharp photos, offers the perfect focal range for photographing real estate, and is very lightweight, which makes it easily portable between properties. Amazingly, there are no noticeable differences between image results when you compare this lens to its Canon or Nikon counterparts presented above. This immediately makes it a very strong contender for the best lens for real estate photography.
Since it is less than half the cost of the other lenses in its category, Tokina offers a well-built and good performing alternative to Canon or Nikon wide-angle lenses. When buying, make sure to go with the one that matched your camera’s lens mounting.
4. Canon TS-E 24mm f/3.5L II Tilt-Shift Lens
The Canon TS-E 24mm f/3.5L II offers enhanced functionality and image quality in its most popular tilt-shift focal length. Designed with UD glass to minimize and compensate for chromatic aberrations and specially coated aspherical elements for the highest possible glare-free image quality, this tilt-shift lens features an angle of view of 74°.
It has an enhanced range of movement of up to +/- 8.5°, a revolving construction for both portrait and landscape shooting modes, locking, ergonomically designed and easily operated tilt and shift knobs, uses a circular aperture for beautiful out-of-focus areas and is constructed using only lead-free glass and has an SWC lens coating that controls ghosting and flares to a far greater degree than earlier coating technologies.
5. Sony SEL1224G 12-24mm f/4-22
This compact 12–24 mm ultra-wide-angle zoom lens features the shortest focal lengths available in any full-frame E-mount lens, with stunning corner-to-corner G Lens resolution at all apertures. It is an excellent choice for dynamic landscape and architecture photography. Outstanding mobility and quiet, fast, precise autofocus make it ideal for shooting movies as well as stills.
Refined ultra-wide-angle optics capture expansive scenes with outstanding resolution and clarity. A new design significantly reduces the overall length and front element size while maintaining the highest possible optical performance. And it weighs a mere 20 ounces (565 grams). Covering the widest range available in any full-frame E-mount lens, the Sony SEL1224G 12-24mm f/4-22 zoom offers unprecedented expressive potential for architecture and real estate photography. Refined ultra-wide-angle optics capture sweeping scenes with dynamic perspectives plus outstanding resolution and clarity.
The Sony SEL1224G 12-24mm f/4-22 incorporates excellent corner-to-corner resolution, super ED glass, fast and quiet AF, fingertip control and high reliability, clarity, and contrast in any light, and compactness and lightweight for maximum mobility.
Frequently Ask Questions on real estate photography
Below are some of the most frequently asked questions that will be of great use to many of you. Especially, if you are new to real estate photography.
What is the best focal length in real estate photography?
According to many professional real estate photographers, the optimal focal length is set at 24mm. Most popular lenses cover a range of 16-35mm or similar.
What equipment do real estate photographers need?
A proper full-frame camera and a wide-angle lens are essential. If you go pro and want to use only prime lenses, you will need to stack up on several wide-angle lenses. For more advanced options, tilt/shift lenses come into play. In many cases, a proper tripod is also quite essential.
Of course, some use special lights, drones (mostly used by specialized real estate drone photography companies), camera filters, and other gadgets.
What settings should I use for real estate photography?
Your ISO value should be kept as low as possible starting at 100 or 200 ISO as a base and going no higher than 400 ISO unless you absolutely have to. If you are dealing with low-light conditions consider using tripod or lighting instead of raising ISO above 400.
As far as the aperture goes, typically, in real estate photography, you’ll aim for an aperture of between f/8 and f/11. Moreover, f/5, f/6, and f/16 may also be used as acceptable but not ideal outside edges of the range.
As fat as the shutter speed goes, you can use any setting that will deliver the right amount of exposure according to the above settings. Keep in mind that if you go below 1/100 of a second, it is wise to use a tripod as the smallest shakes could start to cause blurriness.
What is the best ISO setting for indoor photography?
Even with the latest cameras that can operate with extremely high ISO settings, we strongly advise you to do the best you can to limit to a maximum of 400 ISO. To firmly stick to that guideline you may often need to use proper lighting or a tripod to ensure that you can reduce the shutter speed accordingly to capture the appropriate amount of light.
NOTE: Keep in mind that for all photo editing it is always better to have photos slightly under-exposed than over-exposed.
What is the best drone for real estate photography?
Drones are relatively new territory and there is a lot of laws being set in place that limit the ability to use them as freely as one might want. Thus, there are normally special real estate drone photography companies set in place. However, since it never hurts to have the additional skill and offer for your clients, you may want to expend to real estate drone photography.
There is no one best choice since each has its own drawbacks, though DJI Phantom 4 Pro remains the most popular choice (its price and limited portability are its main drawbacks). DJI Mavic 2 Pro and DJI Mavic Mini are the number one choices for those who want to focus on compactness and smaller size.
We did our very best to present you with as much high-quality info regarding the best lens for real estate photography. It is now up to you to use that knowledge, get the best lens, and pair it with the best camera for real estate photography.
You can choose any of the 5 best real estate photography lenses presented herein or go beyond that list. In the case of the latter, make sure to apply the consideration points that will enable you to choose the best lens for real estate photography.
Also, keep in mind that even the best raw photos require some post-editing to turn them into amazing images that will help you sell properties, houses, and apartments faster than ever.
You can go into editing yourself or you can save a ton of money and ensure the best results by hiring professionals like us. Here at the Clipping Mask Photoshop, we have been editing real estate photos for years and have many professional real estate photographers as regular clients. As such, we know all the dos and don’ts of the industry.
If you’re interested in our real estate photo editing services, make sure to send us a quire and one of our kind experts will be in touch with you to make all the necessary arrangements.
We wish you all the best with your real estate photography endeavors.
Clipping Mask Photoshop