It's been a two years since I've written about choosing gear to get started in real estate photography so I thought do an update. First of all here are the basic decisions you must make:
- You need to use a DSLR. Forget about point-and-shoot and any kind of cell phones for real estate photography. The underlying reason is you must have a quality wide angle lens and a DSLR is the only way you can do that. This first item is a mandate, not a choice!
- Canon or Nikon? Either manufacturer is fine. I recommend Canon or Nikon over other brands only because these two brands will maximize your choices for other accessories as you need them. Other brands will work, but you'll just have fewer choices.
- New or used? There is a lot of good quality used equipment available on eBay, Amazon and other sites. This is a great way to save some money when you are getting started. However, there is always some risk with buying used equipment.
Here are some specific recommendations for Canon and Nikon gear:
- Canon DSLRs: T5 is the newest and cheapest Canon cropped sensor DSLR it is very adequate for real estate photography as are T5i, T4i, T3i and most older Canon Rebel DSLRs.
- Wide-angle lens for Canon DSLRs: The Canon 10-18mm is the newest and cheapest wide lens. Other alternatives are Canon 10-22mm, and Sigma 10-20mm. The new Canon 10-18mm may be the best real estate photography lens for the money ($299) at this time. For all the options see the PFRE lens page.
- Nikon DSLRs: D3300 is the newest and cheapest Nikon cropped sensor DSLR and it is very adequate for real estate photograph as are the D3100, D3200, D5200, D7000, D90 etc.
- Wide-angle lens to Nikon DSLRs: The best quality wide-angle for the price for Nikon cropped sensor DSLRs is the Sigma 10-20mm. Other alternatives are Nikon 10-24mm, Sigma 8-16mm and Tokina 11-16mm. For all the options see the PFRE lens page.
If I had to pick the best value for your money (new Canon gear) right now it would be the Canon T5 with a 10-18mm lens. You can get this combo for $669 on Amazon. Note that this Canon DSLR and wide-angle lens for roughly $300 less than the Nikon combo below. This is a fairly recent development since Canon announced the 10-18mm lens and the T5 DSLR. The T5 has fewer features than the T5i check here to see if you are willing to live with fewer features.
If I had to pick the best value for you money (new Nikon gear) right now it would be the Nikon D3300 with the Sigma 10-20mm. You can get this combo for $945 on Amazon.
Kit Lenses: The prices above assume that you purchase DSLR bodies only. While a kit lens (usually a 18-55mm lens bundled with new DSLRs) make exterior shots look better, a kit lens is not absolutely essential. You can shoot exterior shots with a wide-angle lens racked to the longest focal length.
Miscellaneous items: Besides the DSLR and wide-angle lens you'll also need a few other items:
- Sturdy tripod.
- One or more manual flashes depending on the shooting technique you decide to use.
- Flash trigger to get your flash off your camera.
- Light stand for your off camera flash.
- Copy of Adobe Lightroom software.