November 28th, 2014
Several readers have already asked if the 18-55mm lens that came with that dirt cheap DSLR that they just picked up at a Black Friday sale will work for real estate. So my guess is there are others that have the same question.
The answer is no, not completely. The 18-55mm kit lens that usually comes with low-end DSLRs is not wide enough for shooting interiors, but it will be fine for shooting exteriors.
First of all, when talking about shooting interiors to make sure that everyone is talking about the same thing we talk about 35mm equivalent focal length. This is because the angle of view of lenses depends on the sensor size of the camera it’s used on an there’s no standard convention for digital sensor sizes. So there’s a focal length multiplier for each kind of DSLR that converts the focal length to 35mm equivalent focal length:
- For Nikon DSLRs that are not full frame (also called APS-C sensors) you multiply the focal length by 1.5 to get 35mm equivalent focal length. So the 18-55mm lens on APS-C Nikon body would be 27-82.5mm.
- For Canon DSLRs that are not full frame (also called APS-C sensors) you multiply the focal length by 1.6 to get 35mm equivalent focal length. So the 18-55mm lens on APS-C Canon body would be 28.8-88mm.
The general rule of thumb for shooting interiors is you need at least a 24mm lens and most real estate shooters use a zoom lens that can get in the range from 16mm to 24mm. This is why tilt-shift lenses are frequently 24mm and the popular lenses for full frame DSLRs are 16-35mm or 17-40mm. 24m is kind of the sweet spot for interiors.
Here are the best choices for Nikon and Canon APS-C DSLRs:
- Canon: Best – Canon 10-22mm $649, Cheapest – Canon 10-18mm $299, Good – Sigma 10-20mm $379
- Nikon: Good – Sigma 10-20mm Note that there is a different version of the Sigma 10-20mm for Nikon and Canon because the lens mount is different.
- For other DSLRs look at the PFRE Lens page that gives recommended lenses for real estate photography and shows which are the most popular with PFRE readers.
Oh, yeah, it’s not likely you will find wide-angle lenses on sale because they aren’t high volume items.