Top 9 Lenses for Real Estate Photography 2017

Real Estate Photography LensThere will always be a need for real estate photography. Sellers often depend on good real estate photographers to capture the unique beauty and selling points of their houses. It’s not necessarily a simple task though; you can’t just turn up, start taking photos and hope for the best. The correct equipment and methodology is needed. Everything from the camera, lens and tripod, to the lighting, aperture and focal length needs to be accounted for. We’ve outlined some of the core advice for real estate photography lenses, as well as a list of our 9 favourite models for the task.

The Best Full Frame Lens for Real Estate Photography

1. Nikon Nikkor 16-35mm f/4

Why it’s great:

  • Wide 16-35mm focal length with 107° angle of view.
  • Vibration reduction image stabilization for steadier shooting.
  • Fixed aperture of f/4.

Nikon’s usual high quality can be found in the Nikkor 16-35mm f/4. The wide focal length of 16-35mm has a constant f/4 aperture across the zoom range. As we’ve discussed already, this is useful for real estate photography as it gives you greater flexibility when it comes to lighting. The internal focusing, vibration reduction, and Silent Wave Motor (SWM) make this lens quick, accurate and stable when autofocusing. If you own a Nikon camera, either full frame or crop, this is an excellent lens for real estate.

Buying considerations:

  • Some barrel distortion is noticeable at 16mm zoom.

2. Canon EF 16-35mm f/4L IS USM

Why it’s great:

  • Fantastic all around build and image quality.
  • Constant f/4 aperture throughout a wide-angle zoom.
  • Lightweight and sturdy design.

With the Canon L range of lenses, quality of image and manufacturing is assured. The 16-35mm f/4 wide angle is perhaps Canon’s sharpest wide angle lens and is a great choice of lens for real estate photography. Images are razor sharp, particularly at the centre of the frame and the Ultrasonic Motor (USM) and image stabilization results in a quick, accurate and steady autofocus. Unlike the above Nikon, Canon’s EF 16-35mm f/4L IS USM is a very light lens. If you swear by Canon own brand lenses, this is the one for you.

Buying considerations:

  • Some noticeable vignetting at lower apertures.

3. Tamron 15-30mm f/2.8 Di VC USD

Why it’s great:

  • Ultra-wide 15-30mm focal length range.
  • Wide f/2.8 aperture is ideal for low light.
  • Great image stabilization.

Tamron’s ultra-wide 15-30mm lens is a fantastic for real estate. The 15-30mm focal length range is ideal for maximising what you can fit in the frame, and the f/2.8 aperture means you can confidently shoot if lighting isn’t so good. This was the first lens made to have such a wide constant aperture at this focal range. Although you’ll likely be using a tripod for real estate photography, this lens’ image stabilization is fantastic, meaning you can also shoot straight from the hand. It uses Tamron’s USD (Ultrasonic Silent Drive) technology to make focusing fast and near silent.

Buying considerations:

  • Image sharpness at the edge of the frame suffers a little at maximum aperture.

4. Tokina AT-X 17-35mm f/4 Pro FX

Why it’s great:

  • Wide angle focal range with f/4 aperture.
  • Excellent optical performance and affordable price.

Our top choice of lens for real estate photography is the Tokina AT-C 17-35mm f/4 Pro FX. It balances affordability with performance and does everything we’ve already mentioned well. The 17-35mm focal length range is ideal for shooting rooms indoors; you can fit plenty in the frame without having to compromise too much. The 103.9 degree field of view is more than ample for interiors. With a max aperture of f/4, you can be sure you’ll have enough width to capture every detail even if the light is rather lacking. Images are sharp across the frame, and the autofocus is fast and accurate. The Tokina will fit both Canon and Nikon cameras.

Buying considerations:

  • Performance at the widest aperture isn’t as good as it is when stepped up.

5. Sigma 12-24mm f/4 ART

Why it’s great:

  • Ultra-wide 12-24mm focal range.
  • Sturdy build quality at a reasonable price.
  • f/4 aperture is consistently good through focal range.

The Sigma Art range of lenses has a proven track record for affordable and high-performing alternatives to Canon and Nikon ranges. The 12-24mm f/4 Art continues the trend. This is the widest angle full frame lens on our list, and offers excellent performance through its focal length range. Images are sharp and clear throughout the frame, making it an ideal choice as a real estate photography lens. The HSM (hypersonic motor) is Sigma’s autofocusing technology and it’s as quiet and speedy as you’d expect. Build quality is very sturdy, and the lens coating reduces lens flare and ghosting. This is a very well made lens that stands up to its rivals without breaking the bank.

Buying considerations:

  • This is one of the heavier wide angle lenses available, meaning you’ll almost definitely want to use a tripod to steady it.

The Best APS-C Lens for Real Estate Photography

1. Rokinon 14mm f/2.8 IF ED UMC

Why it’s great:

  • Equivalent focal length of ~22mm on APS-C cameras and 93.9° angle of view.
  • Wide maximum aperture of f/2.8.
  • Very affordable, perfect for a beginner.

Rokinon (also known as Samyang) have produced a marvellously inexpensive super wide angle lens. The 14mm f/2.8 is robust, lightweight and performs consistently well at f/2.8. For your first serious attempt at real estate photography, this would make an excellent budget lens. Although it’s a manual-focus lens, which some users may find tricky at first, it really can deliver excellent results.

Buying considerations:

  • It’s quite basic, missing features such as autofocus and image stabilization.

2. Nikon Nikkor 12-24mm F/4 G Aspherical ED IF DX SWM AF-S

Why it’s great:

  • 18-36mm equivalent focal length range on crop sensor.
  • Constant f/4 aperture across focal length range.
  • Fantastic sharpness at lower zooms.

The strength of the Nikon Nikkor 12-24mm f/4 is how sharp images are at 12mm. With the wide perspective of        99°, images are crisp and clear across the frame even at wider apertures and at 12mm. The usual high-quality of manufacturing is present as you’d expect from Nikon, and the price is certain;y reasonable given the level of performance. Despite there being cheaper options from alternative manufacturers, the Nikkor 12-24mm is still a tempting prospect for the real estate photographer with a crop frame camera.

Buying considerations:

  • There’s no image stabilization on this lens, so you’ll most likely have to use it with a tripod, particularly in low light situations.

3. Tokina 12-28mm f/4

Why it’s great:

  • 19-45mm equivalent focal length range on crop sensor.
  • Sharp images and excellent build quality.
  • Good value considering quality.

Our top pick of real estate photography lenses for APS-C cameras is the Tokina 12-28mm f/4. The wide angle is equivalent to 19-45mm and the optical performance is excellent, even when compared to similar lenses from Canon and Nikon. It also costs a lot less than those competitors and is arguably built of sturdier stuff. Sharpness is consistent across the focal length range with barely any distortion Best of all, the price is rather lower than that of similar lenses in this rage. If you have a crop frame camera and are looking to get into real estate photography, this is the lens for you.

Buying considerations:

  • There’s no manual focus override.

4. Tamron 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5 Di II VC HLD

Why it’s great:

  • Inexpensive, with super wide angle of capture.
  • Excellent sharpness at the centre of the frame.
  • Image stabilization for a steadier shot.

With an equivalent focal length of 16-37mm this is the widest lens for APS-C cameras on our list. Tamron continue their reputation for producing high-performing, well-constructed lenses at a price less than Canon and Nikon. The 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5 performs excellently well at 10mm, particularly through the lower apertures and continues to hold its own throughout the focal length range. Chromatic aberration, lens flare and distortion are all well-controlled, helping to produce wonderfully clear images.

Buying considerations:

  • The edge of images at smaller apertures suffers a little.

Real Estate Photography Lens Buying Advice – Key Considerations

When you’re buying a new lens for real estate photography, there are two main considerations that you need to make; the focal length range of the lens, and the maximum aperture. We’ve outline further details about both here:

1. Aperture

Aperture refers to the amount of light that enters the lens. The lower the f/ number, the wider the shutter opens. For example, f/1.4 is wider then f/2.8. For real estate photography, it’s rare that you’d ever need to use an aperture as low or lower than f/2.8, unless you’re taking a lot of shots in low light. As a general rule, the wider the maximum aperture is, the more expensive the lens. Thankfully, for real estate photography this means you don’t have to spend thousands on an expensive wide aperture lens. Generally around f/5.6 and above will be suitable.

2. Focal Lengths

The focal length range of a lens determines how wide the angle of view is. Generally speaking the lower number in mm is, the wider the angle of view. Although it’s tempting to use a super-wide or fisheye lens for real estate photography, in actual fact this may create unwanted distortion in the image. When it comes to presenting a house in all its glory, you may have to pick and choose what you choose to highlight in the frame. Most professionals tend to use lenses in the range of 20-25mm, which on a crop sensor equates to 14-17mm. Below we’ve chosen our favourite lenses for both full and crop frame cameras.

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