Different camera lenses on a table. The best camera lens for real estate photography feature image.

The Best Lens For Real Estate Photography For All Cameras

According to one recent study, real estate listings that use a professional photographer will sell on average at $11,000 more than market value. They’ll also sell roughly 50% faster, even in a market as strong as the one we’re in.

Using the best lens for real estate photography will determine how effective your photos are. This is the case whether you’re taking listing photos or real estate headshots.

Obviously, the major benefit of real estate photography is making a home look exceptional. Sellers need to be prepared to show that their home is worth the demanded amount. A savvy real estate photographer that knows how to capture the strengths of a property can accomplish just that.

Benefits of Real Estate Photography

Talented real estate photographers also bring with them a wide range of other benefits, too. They know how to make a listing stand out from similar homes that are selling in the surrounding neighborhoods. They know how to visually entice people in a way that gets those sellers more offers.

In addition, they know how to take photos that are valuable beyond just a listing. They can take photos that are ideal for social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram for real estate agents, and more.

However, any seasoned real estate photographer is ultimately only as good as the equipment they bring with them. The best camera for real estate agents can make all the difference in your photos.

A true artist can take even a bland home and make it look exceptional. They can’t do so, however, if they’re not able to take advantage of every tool they have available to them.

A man holding a DSLR camera

This, of course, refers to their lenses. Naturally, photographers carry with them different lenses for different situations, and real estate photography is no exception. However, the lens you need for a particular job will vary based on a variety of factors. This includes the specific type of camera you own.

To be fair, photography is subjective. This means there is no one hard and fast rule deciding what lens looks best when shooting homes.

Having said that, what follows is my list of the best lenses for the most common cameras that real estate photographers use. In my humble opinion, they’re definitely worth a closer look. 

Best Lens For Canon Cameras

If you’re the owner of a Canon camera that has a full-frame sensor, the best lens for real estate photography as of 2021 happens to be the Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L USM Ultra Wide Angle Zoom Lens for SLR Cameras.

It offers no less than three aspherical lens elements that, along with the super UD glass element, create superior images in virtually all conditions. Not only that, but it offers an incredible close focusing distance of just 0.9 feet.

It comes with a powerful ring-type ultrasonic monitor (otherwise referred to as a USM for short) that produces fast and silent autofocusing – making it great for shooting stunning real estate photographs on the fly.

It can focus as close as 11 inches, supports screw-in 77-millimeter filters, and even sports a highly durable weather-resistant construction.

If you’re a Canon camera owner that happens to have a crop sensor camera, on the other hand, you would greatly prefer the Canon EF-S 10-18mm f/4.5-5.6 STM Lens. 

It offers enhanced lens coatings and an optical image stabilizer that help you take superior photographs in virtually every type of environment.

It also offers a number of advanced features that you would be hard-pressed to find on other models, like a full-time manual focus override and a seven-blade circular aperture.

The image quality itself is exceptional, and the lens is lightweight and easy to carry around from shoot to shoot. Super wide-angle shots are not necessarily its strength, but they will still dutifully stand by your side during all of your real estate photography jobs.

Best Lens For Nikon Cameras

Nikon camera owners who have models with full-frame sensors would do well with the Rokinon 14mm F2.8 Full Frame Auto Focus Wide Angle Weatherproof Lens. It sports an innovative design that is constructed of 15 elements in 10 different groups.

This includes one ED lens, two aspherical lenses, four HRI lenses, and more. It is full-frame and is compatible with seven diaphragm blades, along with an ultra multi-coated glass composition.

Speaking of its construction, it also has a weather-sealed aluminum design to help guarantee that it can stand up to whatever life can throw at it – or you, for that matter.

Compared to other lenses in this particular class, this model offers reduced size and weight – making it perfect to carry around with you on the go. Despite this, it doesn’t sacrifice image quality. Indeed, it brings with it a wider angle of view that is perfect for real estate photography in virtually all environments. 

Nikon camera owners with crop sensors, however, would likely want to invest in the Nikon AF-P DX NIKKOR 10-20mm f/4.5-5.6G VR Lens. It offers an ultra-wide-angle view that goes far beyond anything that you’d be able to get in a traditional lens kit, allowing you to get exactly as creative with your compositions as you need to make the best impression that you can.

It’s equal parts compact, lightweight and durable – featuring a design that has a 109 degree to 70-degree angle of view. 

Even in challenging situations, this is one of the best lenses for real estate photography. It will stand by your side every step of the way. The minimum focus distance is 0.22 meters (or roughly the equivalent of 0.8 feet) from the focal plane. Note that this is true in virtually all zoom positions.

Equally impressive is the near-silent autofocus stepping motor – something that is hugely beneficial when recording video in particular.

Given everything going on in the world right now with the COVID-19 pandemic, video is becoming a bigger and bigger part of real estate photography all the time.

People may not necessarily feel comfortable going into a stranger’s home, but they will go through a virtual tour – and this lens is how you create the best first impression possible. If you want to create an actual virtual tour, check out my post on EyeSpy360..

Beyond that, it also offers vibration reduction image stabilization that keeps all photos and videos as sharp as possible – even under handheld conditions. It’s adept at low-light shooting as well, which allows it to stand up to even some of the harshest environments.

Best Lens For Sony Cameras

Sony full-frame sensor users would be able to take incredible real estate photographs with the Sony 16-35mm Vario-Tessar T FE F4 ZA OSS E-Mount Lens.

This lens is ideal for wide-angle interior shots at a true 16mm focal length. F4 is more than enough aperture for shooting real estate even in some of the more challenging lighting environments.

Additionally, if shooting handheld (not recommended for the best image), this lens features Optical Steady Shot for a crisp image even with a little movement while taking the image.

Sony crop sensor users, on the other hand, would want to purchase the Sony – E 10-18mm F4 OSS Wide-Angle Zoom Lens. It has an angle of view between 109 degrees and 76 degrees, along with a minimum focal length of 10mm. For the record, that’s the equivalent of about 15mm should you be working with a film-based 35mm camera.

All told, this super wide-angle zoom lens offers an incredible opportunity to take striking images of both the interior and exterior of a home.

It also sports a distance encoder, which is an element that directly detects the position of the subject relative to the focusing mechanism of the lens. At that point, a signal is sent to the camera’s CPU that instantly measures the distance between those two points.

This is incredibly helpful during flash photography in particular, as it helps the camera automatically determine how much light to output given the current conditions of the environment.

When you consider the fact that most people will judge a home based on the quality of the first few photos and you can only make one first impression, it stands to reason that you’d want to leverage the best lens for real estate photography to you to make the best ones possible. 

Smartphone Real Estate Photography

Finally, if you’re taking real estate photography on a smartphone, you’ll absolutely want to rely on the ultra-wide lens on a model like the iPhone 11, iPhone 12, or Samsung S20.

Doing so will allow you to capture expansive images that help people get a sense of the size and shape of a room. At the same time, you won’t miss out on any of the colors or detail that make for compelling images in the first place.

If you happen to own a smartphone that doesn’t come with an ultra-wide lens built-in, don’t worry – you still have options. You could always invest in a lens adapter like this one, which is compatible with not only iPhones but also Samsung devices, Pixel smartphones, and more.

It allows you to capture up to a 45% larger image. This makes it perfect for architecture and landscape photography in particular. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What focal length is the best for real estate photography?

No two properties are created in quite the same way. This means that there is no “one size fits all” approach to real estate photography. With that being said, generally a focal length of around 16mm is best.

At this focal length, you’re capable of getting wide shots that show the scale of a particular room or environment. You’re also able to capture the smaller details that make the property unique.

A 16mm lens is also a viable way to show off the scale of larger areas and exterior portions of a home. This gives the viewer an accurate sense of the scope of these areas.

What is crop factor, and why does it matter so much?

In real estate photography, the term “crop factor” refers to the size of the sensor on a camera as it relates to a traditional 35mm (otherwise known as “full-frame”) camera. This is important to know, as it helps photographers better understand how an image taken with a digital camera will compare to one taken with a traditional full-frame.

Real estate photographers take the crop factor number of the camera and multiply it by the focal length of the lens. At that point, they can get the equivalent focal length of a 35mm film-based camera. This allows them to take images that are of the same high quality with digital-driven equipment.

How much staging is required in real estate photography?

Typically, real estate photographers don’t perform any staging of the property in question – the agents themselves will do that. When a real estate photographer arrives, they will shoot the home in its then-current state. They can also return at a later time for additional reshoots. However, that is something that happens on a case-by-case basis. 

How long does real estate photography take?

The total amount of time a session will take depends on the size of the property in question. You’ll need an adequate amount of time for every room, including the exterior, in as much detail as possible. However, you don’t want to take too many photographs as you risk overwhelming potential sellers.

Typically, real estate photography sessions will take an average of five hours – though again, that could vary.

How important is the weather in real estate photography?

You can use photo editing tools to improve the color and clarity of images taken on a cloudy day. However, shooting on a clear day is always preferable. 

If you’d like more information on the best lens for real estate photography, or if you have any additional questions, don’t hesitate to reach out! 

Kyle Handy

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3 Comments

  1. This is an interesting blog which we could know about the photography as well as the real estate industry how it can be helpful for the way they need to know in all the aspects of the industry of real estate

  2. “Sony full-frame sensor users would be able to take incredible real estate photographs with the Sigma 16mm f/1.4 DC DN Contemporary Lens.”
    That Sigma lens is not for full frame cameras.

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