The Best Lenses For Real Estate Photography

Real estate photography is an exciting industry to work in as a photographer, but it can be challenging to photograph. A lot more goes into great real estate images than just point your camera and pressing the shutter. In reality, there is a lot more to consider before you ever take a photo. Especially when it comes to lens choice. So what is the best lens for real estate photography in 2020?

In this guide, I’ve broken down everything you need to consider when searching for the right lens for real estate photography. With reasonings behind each focal length and extra aspects to consider with a lens, you can pick the right choice with confidence.

The lenses in this list are ones that actual real estate photographers are using right now. If you want to shoot professional real estate photos, then it’s time to start using the same gear as the pros. Let’s get started!

What Focal Length Is Best For Real Estate Photography?

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If you look at any real estate photo, you can probably guess what type of lens they’re using.

A wide-angle.

Wide-angle lenses are the ideal candidates for most real estate images. Since you need to capture an entire room, a wider field of view will help you do just that.

If you look at how many wide-angle lenses there are online, you’ll see everything from 8mm up to 40mm. So, which focal length is best for real estate photography?

Within the wide-angle lens range, there lies a subcategory of ‘ultra-wide’ and ‘fisheye’ lenses. These are the types of lenses you want to avoid in real estate.

Ultra wide-angle lenses are anything wider than 12mm. In this range, you start to get distortion that doesn’t look good for real estate photography.

That means the best focal length for real estate is in the 14mm – 40mm range. 

These focal lengths all provide a wide field of view, without as much distortion. Fortunately for you, most wide-angle lenses sit within this range of focal lengths.

Things To Consider With Lenses For Real Estate

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Besides the focal length alone, there are a few other aspects to consider with lens choice for real estate photography. Let’s break down each of them and why they matter to you.

– Aperture

The main thing to consider with lenses is the aperture range. In particular, the widest aperture of the lens.

For real estate, you want the ability to use a wide aperture. Especially when you find yourself shooting in a poorly lit room, a wider aperture will save the day.

Ideally, you want a lens that can reach at least F/4 through all its focal lengths. Anything wider is just a bonus!

You don’t want a variable aperture like on some cheaper lenses. Something like F/3.5 – F/5.6 (depending on your focal length) will be a huge annoyance.

Instead, make sure the lens you pick has a consistent aperture, whether at its shortest or longest focal length.

Luckily all the lenses in this list have consistent apertures. 😉

Learn More: The Importance Of Aperture In Photography

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– Prime Vs. Zoom Lenses

When you’re photographing real estate, you don’t always have a ton of time. Maybe the realtors in a rush, or you have a full day booked with shoots.

Whatever the reason, you don’t want to waste time changing lenses.

And you’d be doing a lot of lens changes if you were using prime lenses.

A prime lens has a fixed focal length meaning it can’t zoom in or out. The focal length you have is the focal length you get. The advantage of these comes in portraiture or night photography since primes usually have a much wider aperture like F/1.8 or F/1.2.

A zoom lens can change between a few different focal lengths making it easy to zoom in or out. These lenses are great with real estate photography to get multiple angles really quickly just by changing your focal length. In most cases, one wide-angle zoom lens will cover an entire house!

When choosing the best lens for real estate photography, you should opt for a wide-angle zoom lens for the most versatility.

– Distortion

Some lenses will have more distortion at wider focal lengths than others. This is a huge aspect to consider.

When shooting an interior space, you want all of your lines to be as straight as possible. With too much lens distortion, this becomes nearly impossible.

When you pay a little more for a lens, you can expect less distortion than a cheaper option.

A slight amount of distortion is ok and can be corrected in post. However, lens distortion should be a huge factor in which lens you shoot real estate photos with.

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– Zoom Range

Lastly, you want to get the most bang for your buck with a lens for real estate photography. Since you know you need a wide-angle lens, look for one covering a wide range of focal lengths.

The advantage of this is you can use one lens for all of your shoots. You don’t have to deal with changing lenses multiple times while shooting a home.

With a good zoom range, you’re better equipped for any type of shot you need.

Top 3 Recommended Lenses For Real Estate Photography

Before we jump into the main list, here are the top three competitors ranking high in editors’ choice. You can find more information about each lens in the main list below.

Canon 17-40mm F/4 (Best Value)

  • Canon 17-40mm Specs
    • Weather Resistant
    • Camera Mount Type: Canon EF
    • Focus Type: Ultrasonic
    • Aperture Range: F/4 – F/22
    • Fast And Silent Auto Focusing
    • Supports 77mm Filters
    • Min Focal Length: 17mm
    • Max Focal Length: 40mm
    • Weight: 1.1 lbs
    • Size: 3.82 x 3.31 x 3.31 inches

Check Price Online

Sigma 18-35mm F/1.8 (Most Versatile)

  • Sigma 18-35mm Specs
    • Specifically Designed For APS-C Sensors (Crop Sensor)
    • Camera Mount Types: Canon EF-S, Nikon DX, or Minolta Alpha DT (Sony)
    • Focus Type: Ring-type Ultrasonic
    • Aperture Range: F/1.8 – F/16
    • Supports 72mm Filters
    • Min Focal Length: 18mm
    • Max Focal Length: 35mm
    • Weight: 1.79 lbs
    • Size: 4.76 x 3.07 x 3.07 inches

Check Price Online

Canon 16-35mm F/4 (Most Popular)

  • Canon 16-35mm Specs
    • Weather Resistant
    • Camera Mount Type: Canon EF
    • Focus Type: Ring-Type Ultrasonic
    • Aperture Range: F/4 – F/22
    • Fast And Silent Auto Focusing
    • Supports 77mm Filters
    • Min Focal Length: 16mm
    • Max Focal Length: 35mm
    • Weight: 1.36 lbs
    • Size: 4.45 x 3.27 x 3.27 inches

Check Price Online

The 10 Best Lenses For Real Estate Photography

Whether you’re shooting full-frame or crop sensor, this list has the perfect lens for your real estate photography!

10. Sigma 10-20mm F/3.5 EX DC HSM ELD SLD Lens

If you’re shooting on a crop sensor camera, the Sigma 10-20mm F/3.5 is a reasonable lens for real estate photography. With a capable zoom range, you’ll have no issue shooting in even the smallest of spaces.

As a beginner real estate photographer, you can’t go wrong with this lens. It’s a great entry-level wide-angle that won’t break the bank.

In fact, this was the first wide-angle lens I ever owned!

At the widest focal length of 10mm, there is a bit of distortion. Luckily this issue is mitigated in the tighter focal lengths.

Since this is a third party lens, you can get it with a Canon, Sony, Nikon, or Pentax mount. So no matter what system you’re shooting with, this lens is a viable option to consider for real estate photography!

  • Sigma 10-20mm Specs
    • Camera Mount Type: Canon EF-S, Nikon DX, or Minolta Alpha DT (Sony)
    • Focus Type: Ring-Type Ultrasonic
    • Aperture Range: F/3.5 – F/22
    • Supports 82mm Filters
    • Min Focal Length: 10mm
    • Max Focal Length: 20mm
    • Weight: 1.15 lbs
    • Size: 3.46 x 3.43 x 3.43 inches

Check Price Online

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9. Sigma 14-24mm F/2.8 DG HSM Lens

For both a full-frame or a crop sensor, the Sigma 14-24mm F/2.8 is a highly capable lens. It covers a great focal range and boasts a wide aperture for a reasonable price. Just consider crop factor if you’re using an APS-C sensor, which makes this lens a 22mm – 38mm.

With comparable image quality and sharpness to the most expensive lenses, the Sigma works great across the main camera brands. Whether you’re shooting Canon or Nikon, there’s a version of this lens for you.

Ahh, the beauty of third party lenses!

The major drawback to this lens is the sheer weight of it. Compared to some other lenses we’ve used, this one feels like an absolute brick. Coming in at 2.5lbs, it sits at almost a pound and a half heavier than some other lenses on the list.

The second downside to this lens is it has a convex front element.

That means it’s like a bubble on the end of your lens barrel. This is all fine and dandy, but if you want to use lens filters, you’re out of luck. There are no filter threads on this lens, which could be a deal-breaker for you.

Besides that, this is a very capable lens and doesn’t have terrible distortion considering it’s bubbled shape. As a real estate photographer using a full-frame camera, this lens may serve you better than your crop sensor compadres.

  • Sigma 14-24mm Specs
    • Camera Mount Type: Canon EF/EF-S, Nikon F
    • Focus Type: Autofocus
    • Aperture Range: F/2.8 – F/22
    • No Filter Threads
    • Min Focal Length: 14mm
    • Max Focal Length: 24mm
    • Weight: 2.5 lbs
    • Size: 3.80 x 9.20 x 5.30 inches

Check Price Online

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8. Sony FE 24-70 mm F/2.8 G Master Lens

If you’re a Sony shooter, the Sony FE 24-70mm F/2.8 is a perfect all-around lens in real estate photography. While using a full-frame camera, 24mm won’t cause you too many problems when shooting interiors. However, you may like the option to go a little wider in smaller homes.

With that said, if you’re looking for the ‘one and only’ lens to use across all your work, this is a valid option. As you can expect from G master lenses, the sharpness and clarity are superb. At f/2.8, you could be shooting photos in the dark and still get great results.

If you’re a Sony shooter wanting a versatile wide-angle zoom for real estate photography, this is a worthy option.

  • Sony 24-70mm Specs
    • Camera Mount Type: ALC-SH141
    • Focus Type: Manual Focus
    • Aperture Range: F/2.8 – F/22
    • Supports 82mm Filters
    • Min Focal Length: 24mm
    • Max Focal Length: 70mm
    • Weight: 1.95 lbs
    • Size: 8.3 x 5 x 5.5 inches

Check Price Online

7. Tamron 24-70mm F/2.8 G2 Di VC USD Lens for Canon Or Nikon

The Tamron 24-70mm F/2.8 has a unique eBAND coating that helps prevent ghosting in backlit images. With real estate photography and large windows, this is a huge bonus to have.

Unlike some other third-party lenses, Tamron weather seals their lenses, making them work well in any conditions. Fortunately for us real estate photographers, you don’t need to be outside for long!

With comparable image sharpness to even the most expensive lenses, you can guarantee professional-looking images. Like the other 24-70mm lenses on this list, it’s extremely versatile for most real estate photography applications. However, in smaller rooms, you may find 24mm to be too tight. You’ll just need to consider what properties you expect to shoot in!

  • Tamron 24-70mm Specs
    • Camera Mount Type: Nikon FX, Canon EF
    • Focus Type: AutoFocus
    • Aperture Range: F/2.8 – F/22
    • Supports 82mm Filters
    • Min Focal Length: 24mm
    • Max Focal Length: 70mm
    • Weight: 1.98 lbs
    • Size: 4.30 x 3.50 x 3.50 inches

Check Price Online

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6. Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM

If you want a powerhouse all-around lens for real estate photography, the Canon 24-70mm F/2.8 is another great option. This lens is one of the most commonly used and versatile lenses used by professional photographers.

For real estate images, you have a good balance between wide-angle and tight editorial like photos. After you’ve taken the wide angles in the room, the extra zoom range can work some wonders. Especially for those straight-on photos of a living area, having a longer focal length works well.

This is one of the main lenses I use in my kit, and I can’t recommend it enough.

  • Canon 24-70mm Specs
    • Camera Mount Type: Canon EF
    • Focus Type: Ring-Type UltraSonic
    • Aperture Range: F/2.8 – F/22
    • Supports 82mm Filters
    • Min Focal Length: 24mm
    • Max Focal Length: 70mm
    • Weight: 1.77 lbs
    • Size: 4.45 x 3.50 x 3.50 inches

Check Price Online

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5. Canon TS-E 24mm f/3.5L II Ultra Wide Tilt-Shift Lens

I know I said prime lenses weren’t the best for real estate photographers, but the Canon 24mm F/3.5 Tilt-Shift is an exception.

Unlike a regular lens, a tilt-shift has the ability to move the lens to different angles. The result is a wide array of perspectives and angles, without ever needing to move the camera. Just a simple turn of a dial on the lens, and you can get a whole new photo.

So what does that mean for real estate photographers?

Well, how does no lens distortion sound?

With a tilt-shift lens, you can adjust its angle to eliminate any distortion in the room. That’s what makes them one of the best lenses for real estate photography.

So yes, tilt-shift lenses and cool and exciting, but they are more of a specialty lens. If you already have your wide-angle zoom covered, a tilt-shift is the inevitable next step.

However, I wouldn’t recommend this lens as your be-all-end-all real estate lens.

  • Canon 24mm Tilt-Shift Specs
    • Camera Mount Type: Canon EF
    • Focus Type: Manual Focus
    • Aperture Range: F/2.8 – F/22
    • Circular Aperture For Creative, Blurred Highlights
    • +/- 8.5 degrees Tilt and +/-12mm Shift
    • Supports 82mm Filters
    • Focal Length: 24mm
    • Weight: 1.74 lbs
    • Size: 4.17 x 3.50 x 3.50 inches

Check Price Online

4. Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 14-24mm f/2.8G ED Lens

Entering the starting half of the list, the Nikon 14-24mm F/2.8 provides the best real estate lens for Nikon shooters.

With superb image quality, ergonomics, and focal range, you can’t go wrong with this lens. It covers all the wide angles you could need while shooting real estate photography.

The main downside to this lens is the fact it’s not compatible with lens filters. Due to its convex element, it’s impossible to thread a filter to the front of this lens.

Although on the heavy side, this lens ticks all the boxes for wide aperture, little lens distortion, and a perfect focal range. This could truly work as your one and only lens for real estate photography.

  • Nikon 14-24mm Specs
    • Camera Mount Type: Nikon FX
    • Focus Type: Ultrasonic
    • Aperture Range: F/2.8 – F/22
    • No Filter Threads
    • Min Focal Length: 14mm
    • Max Focal Length: 24mm
    • Weight: 2.14 lbs
    • Size: 5.20 x 3.86 x 3.86 inches

Check Price Online

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

One of the most popular wide-angle lenses is the Canon 16-35mm F/4 lens. Although there is an F/2.8 version of this lens, it’s significantly more money. For your uses as a real estate photographer, F/4 is more than enough for any photo you take!

This lens boasts lightning-fast autofocusing speeds and provides exceptional color balance in your photos. It also has an optimized coating to eliminate unwanted ghosting and chromatic aberration. Especially in homes with large windows, you’ll notice this coating really shine through.

Just like all L-series lenses from Canon, this lens is fully weather-sealed and extremely robust. No matter what situations you find yourself shooting in, this lens is up for the challenge.

  • Canon 16-35mm Specs
    • Camera Mount Type: Canon EF
    • Focus Type: Ring-Type Ultrasonic
    • Aperture Range: F/4 – F/22
    • Supports 72mm Filters
    • Min Focal Length: 16mm
    • Max Focal Length: 35mm
    • Weight: 1.36 lbs
    • Size: 4.45 x 3.27 x 3.27 inches

Check Price Online

2. Sigma 18-35mm F/1.8 Art DC HSM Lens

If you’re a crop sensor shooter looking for the best lens for real estate photography, look no further than the Sigma 18-35mm F/1.8 lens.

With the perfect focal range for interior shooting and an incredibly wide aperture, you’ll always be well prepared. This lens doesn’t have as much distortion as other wide-angle lenses since it sits among the longer end of wide-angles. This is a huge advantage with real estate images.

Since this lens is designed for crop sensor cameras, the focal length will be accurate to your camera. That’s the one great aspect of purchasing APS-C lenses over full-frame.

The price is pretty nice too.

This lens is made available with Canon, Nikon, Sony, and Pentax mounts.

  • Sigma 18-35mm Specs
    • Camera Mount Type: Canon EF-S, Nikon DX/F, Minolta Alpha DT (Sony)
    • Focus Type: Ring-Type Ultrasonic
    • Aperture Range: F/1.8 – F/16
    • Supports 72mm Filters
    • Min Focal Length: 18mm
    • Max Focal Length: 35mm
    • Weight: 1.79 lbs
    • Size: 4.76 x 3.07 x 3.07 inches

Check Price Online

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1. Canon EF 17-40mm F/4L USM Lens

Coming in at number one for the best lens for real estate photography is the Canon 17-40mm F/4 lens. Not only do you get to enjoy the spoils of a Canon L-series lens, but it’s genuinely affordable.

That’s right, I said affordable.

Not something you often hear when paired with “Canon L-series’ lens.”

This lens provides the perfect balance between price, functionality, and quality. For a real estate photographer, there’s no better lens to use. In fact, there are few real estate photographers I know who don’t have this lens in their camera bag.

You can do just about anything with this lens with an ideal focal range for interior photos and little distortion. Whether you need to shoot wide angles of the room or tight shots of amenities, this lens has you covered. No wasting time and pointless lens changes with this lens on your camera.

  • Canon 17-40mm Specs
    • Weather Resistant
    • Camera Mount Type: Canon EF
    • Focus Type: Ultrasonic
    • Aperture Range: F/4 – F/22
    • Fast And Silent Auto Focusing
    • Supports 77mm Filters
    • Min Focal Length: 17mm
    • Max Focal Length: 40mm
    • Weight: 1.1 lbs
    • Size: 3.82 x 3.31 x 3.31 inches

Check Price Online

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Conclusion

When you narrow down your work’s specific needs, it’s easier to see the best lenses for real estate photography. The lenses compiled in this list are ones that I and countless others have used in real estate photography work. After years of experience and going through lots of equipment, you start to see what works and what doesn’t.

Rather than learning the hard way, use the advice outline in this guide to choose your next lens for real estate photography.

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– Brendan 🙂