Does A Wide-Angle Converter Make Sense For Real Estate Photography?

October 28th, 2016

wideangleconverterYvonne just asked the following:

I hope to be photographing real estate properties for sale in early 2017.  I have a question regarding wide-angle lenses. I have read a lot of your posts, responses and reviewed your list of suggested lenses.  My current budget is low and I wonder what your thoughts are on the 52MM 0.43x Altura Photo Professional HD Wide Angle converter to use with my Nikon D3300 to convert my 18-35mm lens to a wider angle lens?

The 52MM 0.43x Altura Photo Professional HD Wide Angle converter is very poor quality! For $30, you get what you pay for. You can see from the reviews and samples on Amazon this wide-angle converter has problems.

My recommendation is that you go with the Sigma 10-20mm. A few photo shoots will pay for it. It is important that if you are going to do quality work that you have a quality wide-angle zoom lens! A quality wide-angle is the most important piece of gear a real estate photographer has. You can probably find a used Sigma 10-20mm for around $290. Here’s one on Amazon for $284.

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9 Responses to “Does A Wide-Angle Converter Make Sense For Real Estate Photography?”

  • Ditto what Larry said.

    Think about it, your trying to break into a field that demands you’re better than the competition, not just some agent with a cell phone camera.

    Find a way, to get your hands on the lens, and then pay it off with the first few shoots you do. It will be one of those decisions you will look back on and say, that was a good call

  • I agree with what Larry said and the Sigma 10-20 is an excellent lens and what I used when getting started, but with the D3300 predecessor…D40. I continued to use that lens as I progressed to more advanced (and newer) crop sensor bodies. Another thing to be aware of, assuming you live in the US, as you develop a photography business (LLC or sole proprietor), the equipment becomes a tax deduction which further reduces the net cost.

  • If I were just starting out and was on a really tight budget, I would get a used wide angle zoom from tokina, tamron, or sigma. Converters seem like a good idea, but they are just not suitable for any serious work.

    I would also invest in lightroom ($10.00/mo I believe), a good tripod and then a camera body. That would also be my order of importance. Notice that the camera body is last on the list. You may be surprised that good tripod is on the list, but it is a critical item. You can spend a lot of time monkeying with a poor tripod!

    Keep your eye on your local craigslist, I have picked up some bargains that have served me well.

    If you are not aware of the Flickr group, that is an excellent resource to learn and compare.

  • Start small with basic right gear. Once started with a40d 10-20mm sigma, within 1 year i had enough earnings to go Fullframe. Like said above, its not only about the gear but it sure helps quite a lot. And indeed invest in a easy to use tripod to prevent monkeying around 😉

    good luck.

  • Even very expensive lenses have some distortion. The secret sauce is the corrections done in Lightroom or Adobe Camera Raw. In order to make these corrections, there HAS to be a profile for the lens. No adapter has the profile in Lightroom or ACR. And because of these profile aware programs, you can actually get away with a less expensive lens because some of the flaws can be corrected.

  • About the only thing I would add to Mike’s list is flash/lighting system. I presume you will not be doing HDR as the D3300 doesn’t have a dedicated bracketing system, and even some of the more advanced bodies it is quite limited, so much so that when I needed to do a 5 shot HDR series, I adjusted the exposure 1/3 step manually which involves the ‘heresy’ of touching the camera between each shot. Lighting is one area where you CAN compromise on price. First, you don’t need TTL and can use manual only flashes and with off camera flash system, the area to splurge is an on-camera controller which is quite a time saver. Very true what Wayne said about there having to be a lens profile in Lightroom. While I have switched to Sony, I run into that with all adapted Nikon lens, and even if I do manually find that lens in Lightroom, the profile was based on a totally different body.

  • In a camera system, the lens is the weakest link. The latest high-end bodies from Canon, Nikon and Sony are maxing out the capability of many professional levels lenses. A good lens on a mid-line body will give better results than a cheap lens on a high end body. A quality lens kit is something that is likely to out last your next 4 body upgrades. A good tripod will last longer than that if you take car of it.

    I agree that the lens correction profiles in LightRoom/Adobe Camera Raw (ACR) are just short of magic. One click and a multitude of aberrations are gone.

    I have the Sigma 10-20mm and the value for money is great for RE work. I think I paid $260 for it used and I could probably sell it for pretty close to that price if I moved to a body with a full frame sensor. That’s another good thing about buying a good lens used; the resale value is moderately steady. I have never found a screaming deal on a Canon L series lens. The prices you find on eBay, Henry’s and Fred Miranda are all in the same ballpark for a given condition.

  • Hi Yvonne,

    I am new to RE photography as well. I will tell you I did purchase the lense adapter you are referring to. The folks above speak the truth. I did it to see what difference I got in composition by using wide angle. Once I decided to offer my services professionally, I purchased the canon 10-22mm wide angle lense and love the quality.

    Here is the thing to think about – your works first impression on a realtor could be your last if the quality is not there. It takes a lot of effort to get those first clients. Make sure the quality is there so they want to come back. I am still a work in progress, but it gets better with good gear.

  • hopefully this isn’t too much of a tangent for the topic, but why would we want to go full frame for RE photography? I’m new to the field, but have full frame and smaller frame dSLRs. Full frame, for posting pix on syndicated sites, including virtual tours and print brochures, is WAY overkill. Plus the depth of field advantages that we gain from smaller sensored cameras. ??

    Mark

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