Which Is Best For Real Estate Photography – Canon 70D or 7D?

October 23rd, 2014

70DIsabel in Costa Rica says:

Hola, I have a basic gear question for you: I want to buy the best equipment for RE photography without spending a fortune. According to all the reviews the best lens in the Canon EF-S 10-22 mm. I decided I am going to buy this lens, but now I have doubts on which body to buy. Is the 7D a good option? Is the 70D a better option? Which Canon body do you recommend will make the best combo with the Canon 10-22 lens?

Isabel, I don’t have direct experience with either of these bodies but here several things to consider:

  1. For typical still real estate photography what body you use makes less difference than your choice of lens. The Canon 10-22mm lens is a great choice.
  2. I agree, the Canon 10-22mm is historically the best lens for real estate photography although recent reports and reviews of the new Canon 10-18mm indicate that it may be almost as good for less than half the cost.
  3. If you get the 7D, I would get the new 7DMKII that was announced a few weeks ago, but won’t be available for purchase most places until some time in November. My research indicates the area that the 7D shines is shooting video. If you aren’t going to shot extensive video then the 7DMKII is probably not worth the extra $800 or so more than the 70D.
  4. If you are going to be doing primarily stills the 70D would be very adequate. The 70D does video, it’s just that the I believe the 7D and 7DMKII are better for video.

Does any one out there have direct experience with the 70D and/or the 7D? What would you advise Isabel?

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9 Responses to “Which Is Best For Real Estate Photography – Canon 70D or 7D?”

  • I think you will do just fine with the 70D. You save about $800 and use that money to buy a flash and at least a monopod.
    And if you want to spend the money for the 7D, I might consider the 6D.
    The 70D does a fine job for video too and I really like the pull out 3″ screen and the option to rotate.
    Beside that the 70D is my favorite for macro-work.

  • There is a deal at adorama right now on the 70d body if you buy a printer

  • I have both the 7D and the 70D along with the EF-S 10-22mm. If these are the only two bodies you are considering then I would go with the 70D. I am using the 70D daily and keep the 7D as a backup. I have found that the 70D gives me a bit more dynamic range. The focusing is far better than the 7D. The 7D would often “hunt” especially when shooting an empty room. I have never had that problem with the 70D. Though I don’t use it much but I do like the articulating screen on the 70D. If you need or want to shoot bracketed images the 70D can take 3, 5 or 7 bracketed images. The 7D will only take 3. If you shoot any video you will love the touch screen focusing on the 70D. About the only thing I miss from the 7D is the electronic level shows both front/back and left/right level. The 70D only shows left/right. Memory cards could be another consideration for you. the 7D uses CF and the 70D uses SD cards. SD cards are more readily available and a bit lower in price as compare to CF. The other thing with SD cards is you don’t have to worry about a bent pin in your card reader.

    If I was in your position just starting out and money was tight I would go with the 70D and EF-S 10-18mm. That will run you about $1500. The same price as the 7D alone. Don’t forget that you are probably going to want another lens for shooting exteriors or other non-RE stuff. If money was not an issue then I would go with the 6D and EF 17-40mm. That combo will run you about $2740.

  • IMO: The new 7D Mark2 and the 70D both have much of the same technology and share the same sensor. The 7D2 has GPS location but the 70D has wireless (you will need to check the specs on the 7D2 to see if it does wireless). For us, the wireless is more important than the GPS. If money is an object, then the 6D as a full frame is a great camera as well. We own the 70D. I love it because it is small enough to carry comfortably along with my lens in a smaller camera bag – and at this point for me – weight savings is a great feature. The video is spectacular on the 70D. I can’t give you an opinion on the 7D because we won’t be testing it until later next week when our local camera store will have them in for a trial run.
    In any case, lens over camera body in terms of where to spend your money along with a good steady tripod and a good flash.

  • Hello Isabel

    As a qualifier, I have shot real estate with the Canon 30D, 40D, 60D, 7D, 1D MK III, 5D MKII, 5D MKIII, Rebel XTi, Rebel T2i, and the Rebel SL1. Thats a lot of bodies. Across that mad selection of cameras, I have used only 2 lenses. The 10-22 and the 16-35. Always remember that glass is king.

    There are very few reasons to go “high end” on a real estate body for still images. Any camera made today is more than adequate to any task a real estate firm might ask of you. You can shoot listings, flyers, even billboards with either of these bodies. Both are more than adequate to the tasks for still images.

    The 7D (or 7DII) is more versatile if you are looking to move into other types of work. For instance, if you were going to shoot sports, the 7D series is a must, for auto focus and processing speed. On the other hand, flip up screens are great for real estate, which is an advantage to the 70D. Plus, wifi is a real plus when it comes to remote framing. So the 7D is not automatically the best camera from a feature standpoint.

    The question of video invariably comes up. If you are going to do video, you need to decide what kind of videographer you want to be. If you are planning on taking casual clips to insert into slide shows, than either of these cameras are fine. If you aspire to do video on par with some of the professional productions you see coming from the top guys that hang out here, thats a different ballgame. You will need additional lenses, rigging equipment, lighting, and potentially computer assets (a computer that happily chomps through photoshop can easily bog down and die on a 5 minute video.)

    So, with that said, lets keep it simple. If I were you, I would buy the 70D. It image quality will match the 7D, you don’t need crazy autofocus tracking for real estate, it has the additional functionality of wifi and the flip screen, and its cheaper. Assuming you are going into business to make money, no point overspending when you don’t have to. The other thing to consider is that you aren’t truly in the RE Photo game until you have redundancy built into your system. You can’t shoot real estate as a business with only one set of gear. Something invariably breaks, and when a listing agent needs photos tomorrow, you can’t say “I have to reschedule because my shutter is jammed.” Likely you won’t hear from that agent again. So whatever you choose, consider buying a used rebel as a backup.

    My two cents. Good luck with your decision.

  • I think the 7D Mark 11 would be a better choice for wild life with a proposed higher frame rate,
    also because I believe it will take a CF card to clear the buffer quicker. So far, I haven’t seen any proposed specs that would make it a better choice over the 70D for RE, as the duel sensor subject tracking technology (for video) is at least essentially the same.
    As far as RE video (all though I’m new at RE shoots), I’m using the 70D and the 10-18. For stills I’m also using the 10-18 and leaving
    the 10-22 in the bag as back up. Besides we really don’t know all the final details on the 7D Mark 11. The 7D will soon be older technology?

  • They are offering discounts on both of those cameras right now. It is a great time to buy. The 7D is a real professional camera. The body has some weight to it and is very tough. The 70D has all the cool new features like wi-fi and some great auto focus settings (especially for video). You will be happy with either. Good choices. Dave.

  • @Ty – Great point on having a backup.

    If you watch tutorial videos with top pros like Joe McNally, you will see that they always bring a back up body and often two. For the price he charges, he can’t make excuses about technical problems.

    I use a 50D and still have the 30D that it replaced as a back up. One factor that had me buy a used 50D over a new 60D was that the batteries and accessories for the 30D also worked with the 50D. I don’t have to keep two sets of different battery models and memory cards.

    The reviews on the Canon 10-18mm lens have convinced me to buy one and sell off the Sigma 10-20mm I have as my UWA lens. I considered the Canon 10-22mm, but it was too expensive for my budget at the time I bought the Sigma. I use my 17-40mm much more than the Sigma and would recommend that lens be in your bag too. The 16-35mm is wonderful, but it’s expensive, heavy and overkill for midline RE work on a crop frame camera. A good third lens might be the 70-200mm f4 (non-is on a budget, IS if you have the money, f2.8IS if business has been good). The 70-200mm is a super versatile telephoto lens and very highly rated. A fast 50mm makes for a great detail lens. I have the f1.4 and love it.

    Spend the bulk of your budget on a good set of lenses, not the camera body. Make sure you have something left for flashes and all of the nickel and dime stuff you’ll need.

  • Just my 2-cents, but a backup is a must if you must work to a clients schedule. It also allows to send your bodies in once in a while for cleaning and tuneup. 2 bodies + 2 lens that can handle your assignment are a great safety net when out in the field.
    Lower priced crop frame DSLR bodies and glass produce great stills for real estate work, and most shoot at least 720p video. Larry has a great list of gear, see the header on the home page. One can learn a lot shooting video on the lower priced DSLR gear which will provide a useful base of knowledge if and when you are ready to upgrade to high quality video.
    Tech is changing so fast, and the price of higher end gear is coming down, so it pays to wait and upgrade when ready. Also, who knows what the “best” system will be for real estate in a few years.
    Also, don’t skimp on sturdy tripods and ball heads, a Hoodman Loupe is a good addition to your kit for checking framing and focus, and Lightroom is a deal at $150 and is the way to go for software.
    Consider used refurbished bodies from major dealers such as Adorama and B&H; have bought used from both and they stand behind their sales.
    Good luck!

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