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Updated Apr 18, 2022 9:38 AM

The best cameras for real estate photography will help you show a home or space to its full potential. Photography has long held the power to make a break real estate listings, but that has never been more true than now. The number of people buying houses sight unseen has jumped significantly in recent years, with 63% of sold homes in 2020 purchased without having a buyer step inside first. The trend shows no signs of slowing down either. With so many buyers relying on listing photographs to help make a decision, it’s crucial to have a camera that can produce quality images. Having the right camera can also help ensure you keep getting those real estate photography jobs as you deliver consistent quality to agents with increasingly deep photographic talent pools from which they can pull.

Things to consider before buying a camera for real estate

Camera system

Buying an interchangeable-lens camera requires commitment. The body you choose will determine what lenses and other accessories you will buy down the road. Most major camera brands make models that are excellent choices for real estate photography, so it’s a matter of choosing one that makes sense for you. For example, you may consider how a camera feels in your hand and how you like the flow of menu systems. Of course, part of the decision comes down to the availability of compatible lenses that work for real estate since a camera body is nothing without the right lens. 

Generally speaking, switching doesn’t make much sense if you already have a suite of gear based on one camera system. You’re likely to lose money if you sell everything off to buy all new equipment due to simple depreciation. Because of that, we’ve broken up this list into picks from different camera brands, helping you stick to a system you may already have.

Full-frame versus cropped sensor

Once you decide on a camera brand, choosing a full-frame or cropped sensor will be the next step. Of course, both formats have pros and cons. In general, a full-frame sensor will provide the most flexibility and best overall performance for real estate photography. And a full-frame camera is a must for those with more experience and taking on higher-end jobs. This is because full-frame cameras typically offer more megapixels, which can be useful for high-resolution applications like posters or large ads. You don’t need the highest megapixel count out there since most real estate photos are viewed on websites, but you do want something reasonably high. Full-frame cameras also will open up more focal lengths for you as there is no crop factor, which makes wide-angle photography more accessible. That’s crucial for shooting in small spaces. And lastly, they tend to be better in low light conditions, which is helpful for some real estate situations–dimly light basements, for example. 

A crop sensor may make more sense if you are new to the genre and photography as a whole. A crop sensor is ideal for beginners mainly because APS-C cameras and lenses will typically be much more affordable. Despite the lower prices, the quality of most crop sensors will be plenty for many jobs. The main downside to APS-C cameras is that you are limited on focal length due to the crop factor. You’ll have to go with an even wider lens than full-frame options if you still want that wide field of view, which limits your choices.

Bracketing capabilities

For most styles of real estate photography, bracketing abilities will be essential. Bracketing is the act of taking multiple shots of the same scene, shifting the exposure for each image to capture detail in the shadows and highlights that might otherwise get lost. Bracketing allows you to stack images to create HDR files or selectively merge relevant exposures. 

Some cameras are limited in the number of brackets they can take in Auto Exposure Bracketing mode (AEB) or the number of stops between brackets. While you can manually bracket, your process will be much more efficient–and less likely to have errors–using AEB mode, so finding a camera with flexible options for AEB will be helpful.

Video

One of the last considerations for a real estate camera is video capabilities. With more and more people shopping for houses online, having videos of properties has been growing in popularity and has been a requirement for some real estate agents when hiring photographers. Thus, finding a camera with quality video options will be important if you want to offer that.

Here are our picks for the best cameras for real estate in 2022:

Best Nikon mirrorless: Nikon Z6 ii

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Why it made the cut: The Nikon Z6ii’s numerous bracketing settings, excellent image and video quality, and good low-light performance make it an ideal choice for real estate photography.

Key features:

  • Sensor: 24.5 Megapixel full-frame
  • Bracketing: Up to 9 frames at 1/3, 2/3, 1, 2, and 3 EV
  • Video quality: UHD 4K 30p
  • Battery life: 410 (LCD) and 340 (EVF) shots per charge
  • Weight: 1.4 lb (body only)

Pros

  • Excellent image quality
  • Versatile bracketing settings
  • 4K video
  • Good build quality

Cons

  • Battery life could be better

Buy it used or refurbished: Amazon | eBay

Product description

The Z6ii’s 24.5MP full-frame sensor is an ideal size because it provides quality images without absolutely massive file sizes. If you are bracketing upwards of 500 photos or more of a larger property, you will appreciate that. In addition, it is capable of 4K video, which will come in handy for your walkthrough videos. Another nice feature is the ability to decide what settings to carry over from stills to video. If, for example, you set a custom white balance for photos, you can easily carry that over to the walkthrough video as well, saving you some time.

Nikon has always offered excellent bracketing capabilities, and that is no different with the Z6ii. It can bracket from zero to nine frames, with increment options of 0.3 (1/3), 0.7 (2/3), 1, 2, and 3 EV. Such a wide range of settings gives you plenty of flexibility to ensure you get the exposures you need. 

The Z6II is hard to find right now, but the Z6 is still an excellent camera and can be found both new and used for a very reasonable price.

Best Nikon DLSR: Nikon D850

Why it made the cut: Nikon’s D850 is a powerful DSLR with excellent image quality and a battery life of up to 1,840 shots. Plus, the low ISO 64 makes it possible to get quality exterior shots even on the brightest days.

Key features:

  • Sensor: 45.7 Megapixel full-frame
  • Bracketing: Up to 9 frames at 1/3, 2/3, 1, 2, and 3 EV
  • Video quality: UHD 4K
  • Battery life: 1,840 shots per charge
  • Weight: 2.01 lb

Pros

  • Rugged, weather sealed body
  • Great battery life
  • Incredibly detailed images
  • Excellent low and high ISO performance

Cons

  • Visible rolling shutter in 4K video

Buy it used or refurbished: Amazon | eBay

Product description

The D850 is a powerhouse of a DSLR suitable for most photographic pursuits, including real estate. As with other Nikon cameras, the bracketing capabilities are robust so that you can choose what best suits your needs. The large 45-megapixels sensor will produce large files to contend with, but the quality and detail in those images will be exceptional.

The 4K full-frame video will allow you to get high-quality walkthrough videos that will wow your clients and entice buyers. And the impressive battery life means you can shoot for longer than comparable mirrorless cameras. The camera body offers robust ruggedization, so if you happen to get caught in the rain while shooting exteriors, you won’t have to panic. Another bonus: The low ISO 64 setting allows you to easily capture quality exterior images on bright days without maxing out your shutter while bracketing. 

Best Nikon on a budget: Nikon Z50

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Why it made the cut: A mid-priced mirrorless camera, the Nikon Z50 is a lightweight camera with excellent bracketing options, solid dynamic range, and a compact size.

Key features:

  • Sensor: 20.9 Megapixel APS-C
  • Bracketing: Up to 9 frames at 1/3, 2/3, 1, 2, and 3 EV
  • Video quality: UHD 4K 30p
  • Battery life: 320 shots per charge
  • Weight: 13.93 oz (body only)

Pros

  • Versatile bracketing capabilities
  • 4K video
  • Lightweight and compact
  • Excellent dynamic range

Cons

  • Crop factor limits wide-angle lens options

Buy it used or refurbished: Amazon | eBay

Product description

Nikon’s Z50 is an impressive mid-level mirrorless option. It comes with Nikon’s wide array of bracketing options and is also capable of 4K video. Though real estate photography typically relies on a tripod, the lightweight body of the Z50 makes it easier to carry from room to room or bring to destination shoots. 

The APS-C sensor does mean that you have to consider crop factor when choosing a lens for real estate photography, and the lens selection for this camera is limited. As a result, you may need to go with a DSLR lens and an adapter, though you can potentially get a cheaper lens because of this, saving you even more money. The body itself is really reasonably priced for what you get, so this is a good option for someone just starting out in real estate photography.

Best Canon mirrorless: Canon EOS R

Why it made the cut: The Canon EOS R is a full-frame option capable of 4K video, has a solid 30MP sensor, and excellent JPG colors.

Key features:

  • Sensor: 30 Megapixel full-frame
  • Bracketing: Up to 7 frames at up to 3 EV
  • Video quality: UHD 4K 30p
  • Battery life: 370 shots per charge
  • Weight: 1.45 lb (body with battery and memory)

Pros

  • Excellent image quality
  • WiFi and Bluetooth connectivity
  • Good dynamic range
  • Reasonable price for full-frame camera

Cons

  • Clunky AEB setup
  • 4K video is at a 1.8x crop

Buy it used or refurbished: Canon | eBay

Product description

Though a step below some of the other Canon options, the EOS R is an excellent balance of price and features, especially for real estate photography, where fast autofocus and extremely high resolution aren’t as big a deal. The 30MP sensor produces crisp images without massive file sizes, so you can bracket away without bogging things down. And, if you prefer to shoot JPG for your real estate shoots, the JPG colors from this camera are excellent.

The EOS R is capable of 4K video, but unfortunately, that happens with a significant 1.8x crop. That makes wide-angle captures difficult.The other major downside for real estate is the bracketing setup process. If you want to bracket more than three frames, you need to go into a custom menu and then go back to a different menu to change the number of stops you want between brackets. It’s not ideal, but you get a good range of options once you get into those menus, at least. You also cannot use AEB mode with the silent shutter setting on, so be aware of that.

Best Canon DSLR: Canon 5D Mark IV

Why it made the cut: The Canon 5D Mark IV is a rugged full-frame DSLR  with HDR video capabilities, pleasing JPG colors, and compatibility with a wide selection of lenses appropriate for real estate.

Key features:

  • Sensor: 30.4 Megapixel full-frame
  • Bracketing: Up to 7 frames at up to 3 EV
  • Video quality: DCI 4K 30/24p
  • Battery life: 900 shots per charge
  • Weight: 1.76 lb (body only)

Pros

  • Excellent high ISO quality
  • Good weathersealing
  • Pleasing JPG colors
  • Good dynamic range

Cons

  • A bit pricey
  • 1.64x crop on 4K video

Buy it used or refurbished: Amazon | Canon | eBay

Product description

Canon’s 5D Mark IV is a robust DSLR offering. It has a solid, rugged build with excellent weather sealing to stand up to some abuse. It can shoot 4K video, though it does so at a 1.64x crop. It also has the ability to shoot HDR video. When combined with Canon’s “Auto Lighting Optimizer” mode, you can get a better balance between highlights and shadows, which is a useful feature when shooting interior walkthrough footage.

The 5D Mark IV has great low-light performance, which makes it easier to document dark basements or dimly lit bathrooms without adding light with a flash setup. As with other Canons, the bracketing setup is a bit of a pain, but it has plenty of options once you go through the multiple menus.

Best Canon DSLR: Canon EOS 90D

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Why it made the cut: The EOS 90D is a very capable APS-C DSLR with a 32.5MP sensor, uncropped 4K video, and overall excellent image quality.

Key features:

  • Sensor: 32.5 Megapixel APS-C
  • Bracketing: Up to 7 frames at up to 3 EV
  • Video quality: 4K/30p
  • Battery life: 1,300 shots per charge
  • Weight: 1.54 lb (body only)

Pros

  • Excellent battery life
  • Uncropped 4K video
  • Excellent RAW and JPG quality
  • WiFi and Bluetooth

Cons

  • Video footage is a bit soft
  • Crop factor limits wide-angle lens options

Buy it used or refurbished: Amazon | Canon | eBay

Product description

Canon’s 90D is an excellent choice for those who prefer an APS-C DSLR. It has uncropped 4K video, albeit with less sharpness than the competition. It has one of the highest APS-C resolutions, and as a result, both RAW files and JPGs are high-quality. As with other Canon cameras, JPG files have excellent colors for easier post-processing.

The battery life of the 90D is excellent, meaning you can get through most shoots on a single, fully charged battery. It is compatible with Canon EF-S mount lenses, which should give you plenty of reasonably priced options for building out your entire kit on a budget.  

Best Sony mirrorless: Sony a7 IV

Why it made the cut: The new iteration of Sony’s a7 line is a seriously impressive camera with stunning image and video quality, plenty of bracketing settings, and battery life long enough to last for most real estate shoots.

Key features:

  • Sensor: 33 Megapixel full-frame
  • Bracketing: Up to 9 frames and up to 3 EV
  • Video quality: UHD 4K 30p
  • Battery life: 580 shots per charge
  • Weight: 1.4 lb (body with battery and memory)

Pros

  • Exceptional video quality
  • Highly detailed images
  • Versatile bracketing options
  • In-body stabilization

Cons

  • Pricey

Product description

The Sony a7 IV is an excellent, well-rounded hybrid camera ideal for most types of shooting, including real estate photography. It has excellent low-light performance, so you won’t have to worry when you need to bump your ISO for dark spaces. It can bracket 3, 5, or 9 images with an EV of 0.3, 0.5, 0.7, 1, 2, or 3. The EV is limited depending on how many frames you want, however. For example, at 9 frames, the max EV is 1. 

The video from the a7 IV is stunning, allowing you to produce top-tier walkthrough videos. It is capable of 4K 60p Video in 10-Bit and has 7K oversampling for excellent sharpness and detail, ideal when showing off attributes of a property. There’s also no recording time limit, so you can even shoot an entire property in one take if you want. The color science is also improved, so RAWs and JPG files will have more accurate colors, making them easier to edit.

Best Sony on a budget: Sony a6100

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Why it made the cut: As an entry-level camera, the Sony a6100 is very reasonably priced but still has the bracketing capabilities and quality video features needed for real estate.

Key features:

  • Sensor: 24.2 Megapixel APS-C
  • Bracketing: Up to 9 frames and up to 3 EV
  • Video quality: UHD 4K30p and Full HD 120p
  • Battery life: 420 shots per charge
  • Weight: 13.92 oz (body with battery and memory)

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Lightweight and compact
  • 4K video
  • Good selection of bracketing settings

Cons

  • Crop factor limits wide-angle lens options

Buy used or refurbished: Amazon | eBay

Product description

The Sony a6100 is an entry-level APS-C camera, making it an affordable option for those just getting started. It is extremely lightweight and compact, making it a good choice for a traveling real estate photographer or someone who shoots a variety of subject matter. Despite the low price, it is still capable of UHD 4K30p video for quality walkthrough videos. Unfortunately, it doesn’t have any in-camera stabilization, so you will want to invest in a gimble for smooth footage.

The image quality for both RAW and JPG files is excellent, with good detail. The viewfinder is off to the side, range-finder style, which some may not like, but using the LCD screen is generally easier for real estate anyway. The battery life is also robust for a camera for this price, though you may want to have a spare on hand if you are doing both photo and video.

Best for aerials: DJI Air 2S

Why it made the cut: The DJI Air 2S is a powerful drone with exceptional 5.4K video and an impressive 20MP 1-inch sensor for excellent stills.

Key features:

  • Sensor: 20 Megapixel 1-inch 
  • Bracketing: 3 or 5 frames
  • Video quality: 5.4K Ultra HD
  • Battery life: 31 Minutes
  • Weight: 1.3 lb

Pros

  • Stable flight even with some wind
  • Easy to fly
  • Excellent image and video quality
  • HDR compatibility 

Cons

  • Pricey

Product description

Aerial photos and videos are becoming more and more popular for real estate, especially for higher-end properties. The DJI Air 2S is the ideal choice for providing your clients with quality footage. It is stable in the air, even with some wind and at higher altitudes, so if you photograph mountain properties, this will help you out. It also has four-directional obstacle sensing if you are contending with trees and powerlines.

The DJI Air 2S has stunning 5.4K video with an excellent 3-axis gimble for smooth footage. It can also shoot RAW stills for more control over your editing. As an added bonus, you can also bracket with the Air 2S, with either three or five brackets. This allows you to create HDR files from your drone to blend better with images from your camera if you use HDR for those.

Best for 3D walkthroughs: Matterport Pro2 3D MC250

Matterport

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Why it made the cut: The Matterport Pro2 3D MC250 is the premier option for professional-quality 3D walkthroughs.

Key features:

  • Sensor: Structured light (infrared) 3D sensor
  • Output pano pixels: 134.2 MP
  • Bracketing: N/A
  • Video quality: N/A
  • Battery life: Up to 8 Hours
  • Weight: 7.5 lb

Pros

  • Powerful 3D sensor
  • User-friendly app control
  • Creates immersive 3D tours
  • Easy to use

Cons

  • Subscription required
  • Expensive

Product description

Matterport has long been the industry leader in 3D walkthrough cameras. The Pro2 is their top-tier option for excellent quality and a full feature set. For example, you can create 3D scans and dollhouse views, accurately measure things within the 3D model, blur faces, leave notes and comments within the walkthrough, and more.

The images this camera puts out are impressive. It can produce 134-megapixel equirectangular panoramic images, and you can export 2D images up to 8092 x 4552 pixels. You can easily download and edit the high-resolution assets as well, including 3D mesh files (.OBJ) for planning purposes. In addition, the battery life of the Pro2 is excellent–up to eight hours–so you can scan multiple properties in one day without running out of power. 

It is a pricey device, and you’ll need a subscription to access the full range of features, but if you are serious about 3D walkthroughs and creating floorplans, this is your best bet. If you are looking for a more affordable, approachable way to do walkthroughs, Matterport also makes the Axis, which is a motorized rotating cellphone mount. You can also use an Insta360 or Ricoh 360 camera as a step in between using your phone and the expensive Pro2. 

FAQs

Q: What kind of lens do realtors use?

Realtors and real estate photographers typically use wide-angle lenses for real estate photography. Wide-angle lenses allow for more of a room to be shown in a single image so that potential buyers can get a better sense of the space and layout.

Q: Is a 24mm lens good for real estate photography?

A 24mm lens is a good lens for real estate photography. It’s wide enough to show a broad view, though not so wide you have intense distortion. However,  some situations–such as particular clients or small homes–may require you have something even wider.

Q: How wide is too wide for real estate photography?

On a full-frame camera, anything wider than 12mm is too wide for real estate photography, as the lens will introduce too much distortion. This absolutely includes fisheye lenses, which are a no-no for real estate.

Q: Are video capturing features important for real estate?

Video capturing features are becoming more and more critical for real estate. I have spoken with some agents that have informed me they will not hire photographers who can’t do video walkthroughs, so having a camera with quality video specs will ensure you can provide what clients may need.

How we picked the best camera for real estate photography

I have been shooting various forms of real estate for the past ten years. During that time, I established and built out a photography program at a major vacation rental company, defining gear requirements and best practices for photographers. I used this knowledge and experience to pick the best cameras for real estate. I looked at a variety of models from the top manufacturers and highlighted a mirrorless, DLSR, and budget option. WIth the rise of video and walkthrough needs for real estate, I also included a drone and 3D camera to fit the needs of a wide range of photographers. Bracketing capabilities, image and video quality, dynamic range, and price were all factored into the decision to ensure quality content for documenting real estate.

Final thoughts on choosing the best camera for real estate photography

The best camera for real estate photography will largely depend on your particular needs and your preferred camera system. All of the major camera manufacturers make cameras that will be excellent choices. By paying attention to low-light capabilities, bracketing options, and image and video quality, you can be sure that you will get a camera to produce quality images for marketing homes.