What’s the Best Camera for Real Estate Photography?

iStock_000002278729XSmallPeople often ask me what the best camera is to take real estate photos. Real estate professionals understand that this is a serious question since all of your other marketing…websites, virtual tours, printed materials and even the MLS listing itself all depend on have good, clear photos. Having photographed many real estate listings and taught many others how to shoot homes, I’ve come up with a pretty clear list of what a camera needs to take good residential photos.

#1 – Interchangeable Lenses
The camera must be a DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) type of camera so you can attach a wide-angle lens. Point and shoot cameras and phone cameras don’t have lenses that are wide enough to take a decent picture of a powder room or an 8” by 10” second bedroom. You need a camera that you can attach a proper wide-angle lens to. You need about an 11 millimeter lens on a camera with an APS-C sensor and about 16 mm for a camera with a full frame sensor. (See below)

#2 – APS-C or a Full Frame Sensor
To get sufficient picture quality for printed brochures. I recommend a camera with an APS-C or full frame sensor. APS-C is the most common sensor in DSLR Cameras in the $300 – $1200 price range, so they’re not hard to find.

#3 – In-Camera HDR (High Dynamic Range) Mode
HDR or High Dynamic Range photography is the process of taking more than one (usually 3) shots… one underexposed, one with correct exposure, and one overexposed. Then these “bracketed” photos are combined to create one photo that actually looks more like the room would look like in real life. That’s because the brights aren’t blooming and the darks haven’t lost all detail and contrast. Many cameras have a “bracketing mode” that will automatically shoot the three pictures, but then you have to process them with software. There are just a few cameras out there that will take the three bracketed shots for you and then automatically process them into one photo.

So that brings me to my two favorite picks for a professional real estate camera. They are the Canon EOS Rebel T5i Digital SLR Camera (Body Only)
which has an APS-C sensor, and the Canon EOS 6D 20.2 MP CMOS Digital SLR Camera with 3.0-Inch LCD (Body Only) – Wi-Fi Enabled
which has a larger full frame sensor. Both meet the 3 criteria I mention above.  I own one of each they do a great job.  They’re often sold with a generic lens but for real estate I recommend a wide angle zoom with a minimum of at least 11mm for the T5i and 16mm for the 6D.

NOTE that with the T5i, you can use the less expensive EF-S lenses, such as the Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM SLR Lens for EOS Digital SLRs
while with the 6D you will need to use the higher end EF lenses only, such as the Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L ll USM Zoom Lens for Canon EF Cameras
.