A wide angle real estate photograph of an open living room

The Best Lens for Real Estate Photography: Top 6 Choices

Have you ever wondered how real estate photographers cram so much detail into their images? Or what the best lens for real estate photography is?

Well look no further. Their secret is the use of high quality wide angle lenses.

But there are so many options in the marketplace, how do you choose which one to buy?

In this article, I will help you choose the best real estate lens whether you are using a cropped or full frame camera. We’ll also look at characteristics that are important when choosing a lens for real estate photography

Why are we qualified to write this article?

We have taken incredible real estate photographs for hundreds of clients and realtors. So we know first hand what are the practical demands of a great real estate lens.

A wide angle real estate photograph of a kitchen
Wide angle view of a kitchen in a real estate listing.

The Best Lenses for Real Estate Photography

I have also included a comparison table as well as an in-depth look at how to make a choice between these recommendations.

Le’s begin…

Tokina 12-28mm f4 AT-X ProDX

Tokina 12-24mm f4 lens, three-quarter view, a perfect lens for real estate photography
Tokina 12-28mm f4 AT-X ProDX. Photo courtesy of Amazon.com

This low-cost option for cropped sensor camera users delivers quality images for its price.

Image distortion on the edges of shots can be an issue with wide angle lenses, but not with this one, it keeps distortion to a minimum. Optically, it competes well with both Canon and Nikon lenses.

Its zoom range is the equivalent of a 19-45mm on a full frame camera; a fantastic range for real estate photography, which can adjust to all sizes of spaces well.

Its compact size and lightweight design make it easy to carry to multiple properties, while its sturdy build means it can handle lots of wear.

The current price tag of under $500 means this lens offers everything you need for a very reasonable investment. I highly recommend this as a solid starter lens for anyone with a cropped sensor camera and an interest in real estate photography.

Specifications:

Tokina 12-28mm f4 AT-X ProDX Specifications Canon 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM Specifications
Dimensions 3.31 x 3.31 x 3.54 in
Weight 1.17 lbs
Lens type Wide angle
Maximum Aperture f4
Minimum Aperture f22
Maximum Focal Length 28mm
Minimum Focal Length 12mm
Filter Thread Size 77mm

Nikon Nikkor 12-24mm f4G IF-ED

Nikon Nikkor 12-24mm f4 lens, side view, a perfect lens for real estate photography
Nikon Nikkor 12-24mm f4G IF-ED lens. Photo courtesy of Amazon.com

If you shoot with a cropped sensor Nikon and don’t want to move to a full frame camera just yet, this lens is the perfect option.

The focal range is within that sweet spot for interiors and exteriors, and the focus distance of 11.8 inches is perfect for tight spaces.

Nikon Nikkor 12-24mm f4 lens, three-quarter view, a perfect lens for real estate photography
Nikon Nikkor 12-24mm f4G IF-ED lens. Photo courtesy of bhphotovideo.com

In addition, this lens has Extra-Low Dispersion (ED) glass elements, which keeps chromatic aberration and distortion to a minimum. Its stellar performance in low light conditions also means dark interiors never cause a problem.

Sitting comfortably over the $1,000 mark, however, this lens does have a hefty price tag. But if you want longevity in photographing real estate, this is well worth the investment.

Nikon Nikkor 12-24mm f4G IF-ED Specifications Canon 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM Specifications
Dimensions 3.54 x 3.27 x 3.27 in
Weight 1.07 lbs
Lens type Wide angle
Maximum Aperture f4
Minimum Aperture f22
Maximum Focal Length 24mm
Minimum Focal Length 12mm
Filter Thread Size 77mm

Tamron 10-24mm f3.5-4.5 Di-II VC HLD

Tamron 10-24mm f3.5-4.5 lens, side view, a perfect lens for real estate photography
Tamron 10-24mm f3.5-4.5 Di-II VC HLD. Photo courtesy of bhphotovideo.com

This is another great option for cropped sensor cameras, which lies within the ideal focal length range for real estate photography.

Lens correction during editing can be kept to a minimum, thanks to the sharpness of the lens and the low chromatic aberration. This is impressive for a lens which costs under $500.

Most importantly, the quality build means it can withstand a heavy workload, while the impressive color rendition helps to make your property photos pop.

Another standout feature is the Vibration Control (VC), making it a wonderful candidate for any shots which need longer exposures. The price tag is very reasonable for the value delivered. This lens would be an asset for those who wish to focus on real estate photography.

Tamron 10-24mm f3.5-4.5 Di-II VC HLD Specifications Canon 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM Specifications
Dimensions 3.2 x 3.29 x 3.29 in
Weight 0.97 lbs
Lens type Wide angle
Maximum Aperture f3.5
Minimum Aperture f4.5
Maximum Focal Length 24mm
Minimum Focal Length 10mm
Filter Thread Size 77mm

Tokina AT-X 17-35mm f4 Pro FX

Tokina AT-X 17-35mm f4 Pro FX lens, side view, a perfect lens for real estate photography
Tokina AT-X 17-35mm f4 Pro FX. Photo courtesy of Amazon.com

If you have a full frame camera and a tight budget, this lens beats all the others in terms of getting the most bang for your buck.

It’s sharp, lightweight and offers the perfect focal range for photographing properties.

The sharpness keeps entire interiors in focus and it is light to carry, 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. This subsequently makes it a very strong contender for the best lens for real estate photography.

And at 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.

Related Article: Best Nikon FX Lenses

Tokina AT-X 17-35mm f4 Pro FX Specifications Canon 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM Specifications
Dimensions 4 x 6 x 6 in
Weight 1.32 lbs
Lens type Wide angle
Maximum Aperture f4
Minimum Aperture f22
Maximum Focal Length 35mm
Minimum Focal Length 17mm
Filter Thread Size 82mm

Canon EF 16-35mm f4L IS USM

Canon EF 16-35mm f4L IS USM lens, side view, a perfect lens for real estate photography
Canon EF 16-35mm f4L IS USM. Photo courtesy of Amazon.com

This is one of the best Canon wide angle lenses for full frame camera owners.

The focal range is perfectly suited to spaces big or small, while the quality build of Canon’s L-series lenses is top of the line.

This lens opens up to 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 higher price tag does mean you need to be a loyal Canon shooter to justify the spend.

The Image Stabilization is a standout feature, which comes in handy for any hand-held vignette photos taken in darker rooms.

But the most outstanding quality of this lens is the sharpness that is maintained in the image–even to the corners of the frame–making it one of the best wide angle lenses for real estate photography.

Canon EF 16-35mm f4L IS USM Specifications Canon 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM Specifications
Dimensions 4.45 x 3.27 x 3.27 in
Weight 1.36 lbs
Lens type Wide angle
Maximum Aperture f4
Minimum Aperture f22
Maximum Focal Length 35mm
Minimum Focal Length 16mm
Filter Thread Size 77mm

Nikon Nikkor 16-35mm f4

Nikon Nikkor 16-35mm f4 lens, side view, a perfect lens for real estate photography
Nikon Nikkor 16-35mm f4 lens. Photo courtesy of Amazon.com

This is the Nikon equivalent of the Canon 16-35mm f4 lens.

This lens includes Nano Crystal Coating to help reduce ghosting and flare in variable lighting conditions; especially handy for interior photography with a range of different light fixtures turned on.

However, image sharpness does suffer a bit when subjects are close to the camera. Thankfully, this isn’t normally much of an issue with real estate photography, as shooting at a higher f-stop tends to cancel out any softness.

This lens offers a very sturdy build and great vibration reduction, which really helps if you are photographing darker spaces.

Overall, this is the go-to lens for full frame Nikon photographers wanting a solid, long-lasting wide angle real estate photography lens.

Nikon Nikkor 16-35mm f4 Specifications Canon 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM Specifications
Dimensions 4.92 x 3.27 x 3.27 in
Weight 1.5 lbs
Lens type Wide angle
Maximum Aperture f4
Minimum Aperture f22
Maximum Focal Length 35mm
Minimum Focal Length 16mm
Filter Thread Size 77mm

Best Real Estate Lens Comparison Table

Product Short Name Weight Lens type Max Aperture Max Focal Length Filter Thread Size Price
Tokina 12-28mm f4 AT-X ProDX 1.17 lbs Wide angle f4 28mm 77mm Buy Now
Nikon Nikkor 12-24mm f4G IF-ED 1.07 lbs Wide angle f4 24mm 77mm Buy Now
Tamron 10-24mm f3.5-4.5 Di-II VC HLD 0.97 lbs Wide angle f3.5 24mm 77mm Buy Now
Tokina AT-X 17-35mm f4 Pro FX 1.32 lbs Wide angle f4 35mm 82mm Buy Now
Canon EF 16-35mm f4L IS USM 1.36 lbs Wide angle f4 35mm 77mm Buy Now
Nikon Nikkor 16-35mm f4 1.5 lbs Wide angle f4 35mm 77mm Buy Now

How to Choose the Best Lens for Real Estate Photography

It’s important to consider the conditions you will shoot in, to choose the right lens for you.

For example, image stabilization will not be a priority if the lens will be on a tripod for most of the shoot.

On the other hand, focal length will be important; you will no doubt want to capture entire rooms in some photos.

Let’s review the top three qualities you should consider when purchasing a lens.

A wide angle real estate photograph of a living room
A wide focal length will be an important consideration when choosing your wide angle lens.

Choose Zoom Lenses Over Prime

Prime lenses are known for their superior sharpness, but I would recommend a zoom lens for versatility. The sharpness will be comparable to prime lenses, but you’ll get the added flexibility of being able to use one lens for multiple types of shots.

Investing in a zoom lens early on will make it easier for you to test different focal lengths and find what works best for you.

Another advantage of a zoom lens is you can travel light and not weigh down your bag with several prime lenses.

A wide angle real estate photograph of an outdoor deck area
Investing in a zoom lens will mean you will be prepared to shoot wide open spaces, like this outdoor deck area.

Consider Your Lens Focal Lengths

It’s important to keep in mind that you need to shoot wide; you need to open up the space in front of you.

For cropped sensor cameras, this means you’ll want to be in the 10-12mm range at its widest.

For full frame cameras, this means you’ll want a lens that can go to about 16mm or 17mm at its widest.

Bear in mind that you most likely will not always shoot this wide, but it’s important to be prepared for smaller spaces, such as hall bathrooms or tiny bedrooms.

A wide angle real estate photograph of an open living room
Shoot at a wide focal length to open up small spaces.

Look for Minimal Lens Distortion

Lens distortion happens naturally as a lens zooms out, but it can also happen based on the quality of glass and the mechanics inside a lens. Choosing a lens that will minimize this distortion will help ensure that your property photos look sharp and professional.

When testing out a lens, take a look at how the image looks towards the edge of the frame. If it looks a bit stretched, that’s a form of distortion. The level of distortion will vary from lens to lens.

The more expensive lenses usually offer the least distortion, but the investment may be worth it if real estate photography is a large part of your business.

A wide angle real estate photograph of a master bedroom
Invest in a lens which has minimum lens distortion when shooting wide angle interiors.

Research the Best Wide Angle Lens for You

So now you know the secret to stunning real estate photography. I’ve shown you the best wide angle lenses to suit any budget, the key characteristics you’ll need and advice on how to choose the best one for you.

All you have to do now is make your choice and start shooting!

Best Lens for Real Estate Photography
Best Lens for Real Estate Photography

Now that you’ve finished this article, you’re a better photographer.

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About the author

Natalia Robert

Architectural photographer and founder of The Grove, Natalia now calls Southern California home. A BArch, extensive travels since childhood, and a wide variety of work experience have shaped Natalia's love for design and exploration. In 2019, Natalia founded The Grove to provide tools and resources for budding interior photographers. Natalia's photos have been seen on Elle Decor, San Diego Magazine, San Diego Home/Garden Lifestyle, and The Voyager.

When she's not shooting, speaking, or writing, Natalia can be found relaxing with her fur baby Daisy, taking day trips to anywhere within a few hours' drive, or spending time with friends and family.

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