July 14th, 2016
This subject has been one of the most popular subjects here on the PFRE blog for many years. Here is what I used to recommend. But over the last year or so things have changed. I feel the need to rewrite my recommendations. Here are the ground rules:
- Don’t fool around with SmartPhones or non-interchangeable lens cameras because you need a wider angle lens than these typically have.
- A wide-angle lens is the most important gear you need: You need at least a 24mm (effective focal length) to shoot interiors and as wide as 15mm to 24mm effective focal length can be handy.
- Everyone needs at least one flash: Lighting is a key issue in real estate photography. The two primary lighting techniques are multiple manual flashes and LR/Enfuse (bracketing). Even if you use the later it’s helpful to have at least one flash to control color casts. This is why I recommend even beginners have at least one flash unit.
- Get a sturdy tripod for your camera: Any sturdy tripod is adequate. One with a 3-way adjustable head like #5 below is the best choice.
OK, given those basic ground rules here are my specific recommendations for good quality gear at a reasonable price:
- Sony A6000 body only – $548 and Rokinon 12mm wide angle lens – $399 or
- Sony A6000 with 16-50mm (24- 75mm effective) lens – $698
- Yongnuo YN-560 IV wireless flash – $69
- Yongnuo YN560-TX – $39.95
- Manfrotto MK290XTA3 – $180
#1 above is the best choice but #2 is workable if you are really tight on funds. There are other assorted items you’ll too but these are the basics.
I used to recommend cropped sensor Canon and Nikon DSLRs for getting started in real estate photography but after using the above equipment I believe it is at least technically equivalent to Canon and Nikon cropped sensor gear and clearly superior in the aspect of size and weight.
Update 7/15/2016: My point in this post is not so much that real estate photographers can replace their Nikon and Canon gear with a mirrorless camera but it is now a LEAST COST alternative. You can get a new body/lens for $548 (#1) to $947 (#2).