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Best camera for real estate photography in 2021

Best camera for real estate photography
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Picking the best camera for real estate photography can be hard, as photographing property comes with its own unique set of challenges. You want to be able to show off a property in the best possible light, rendering it accurately but in a way that’s flattering. You want to be able to capture plenty of detail, with a wide perspective that encompasses an entire room. 

You might think you can get by with your smartphone – and it’s true that many modern smartphones are equipped with fantastic cameras. However, the lack of an optical zoom lens means that smartphones are limited in perspectives they can capture. They also have smaller sensors, which can degrade quality if available light isn’t great. And then there’s also the fact that everyone these days carries a smartphone and takes photos on it, meaning most people are really good at recognizing a photo taken on a phone. Having a dedicated camera will add professionalism to your real estate photography. 

In this guide, we’ve put together what we think are the cameras that’ll give you the best bang for your buck when it comes to real estate photography. We’ve included DSLRs and mirrorless cameras that provide a great deal of creative control and superb image quality. We’ve also suggested good wide-angle lenses to pair with these cameras.

We’ve also included some more specialist cameras, including 360-degree cameras that allow you to create interactive, immersive images of a property. There’s also a specialist camera designed specifically for creating virtual tours, and finally, for capturing aerial exteriors, a couple of camera drone suggestions. 

Let’s get started with the best cameras for real estate photography…

Best camera for real estate photography in 2021

(Image credit: Canon)

1. Canon EOS Rebel SL3

The best camera for real estate overall, user-friendly but capable

Camera type: DSLR | Sensor: APS-C | Megapixels: 24.1MP | Lens mount: Canon EF | ISO range: 100 to 25,600 (exp. 51,200) | Image stabilization: No (in lenses only) | Weight: 451g (body only, with battery and SD card)

Reasonably small and light
Well-designed controls
Vari-angle touchscreen
Cheaper options available
Lenses will cost extra

Ticking all the boxes at a pretty reasonable price, the Canon Rebel SL3 (known as the EOS 250D in Europe) is an excellent choice of DSLR for real estate photography. It’s not the absolute cheapest in Canon’s range, but arguably offers better value than models like the EOS 2000D or 4000D. Its handy vari-angle touchscreen is great for getting images from all sorts of different angles, and it’s a pleasingly light option, easy to carry around. The generous ISO range will cover you in all different lighting situations, and the APS-C sensor represents a serious step-up from a smartphone.

There are plenty of good lens choices for the EOS Rebel SL3/250D, including Canon’s own EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM, or the Sigma 10-20mm F3.5 EX DC HSM lens, both of which are highly affordable. With one of these lenses, the Canon EOS 250D will provide a highly effective setup for real estate photography. 

(Image credit: Nikon)

2. Nikon D3500

The best real estate camera for total beginners, with handy guide modes

Camera type: DSLR | Sensor: APS-C | Megapixels: 24.2MP | Lens mount: Nikon F | ISO range: 100 to 25,600 | Image stabilization: No (in lenses only) | Weight: 415g (body only, with battery and memory card)

Extremely beginner-friendly
Excellent value
Strong image quality
Fixed rear screen
Budget extra for a lens

While the Canon EOS is designed for beginners, we’d say if you’re a total newbie to cameras, the Nikon D3500 might be a better choice. It’s designed specifically to help new users get to grips with its functions, boasting lots of helpful guide modes and simplified controls. It’s extremely light – a shade lighter than the EOS 250D – and thanks to Nikon’s wide F-mount lens selection, there’s plenty of glass to choose from. While the kit lens that comes with it will do the job in a pinch, something like the affordable Nikon 10-20mm f4.5-5.6 G AF-P DX VR Nikkor lens would be optimal for capturing real estate images. 

(Image credit: Nikon)

3. Nikon D850

The best professional camera for real estate photography

Camera type: DSLR | Sensor: Full frame | Megapixels: 45.7MP | Lens mount: Nikon F | ISO range: 64 to 25,600 (exp. 32 to 102,400) | Image stabilization: No (in lenses only) | Weight: 1,005g (body only, with battery and memory card)

Superb full-frame image quality
Uncropped 4K video
Needs fast (expensive) cards
Might be more than you need
You'll also need a wide-angle lens

If you’re looking to produce real estate photography at serious, professional quality, then a full-frame DSLR like the Nikon D850 will be just what you need. This workhorse camera is beloved by professionals around the world, and with its astonishing image quality thanks to its full-frame sensor, it’s not hard to see why. Low-light quality, focusing speed, megapixels – everything here is a serious step up, and as you’d imagine, that does come with a price tag. 

The uncropped 4K video here is a gift too, allowing you to create sumptuous footage of your properties. It may all be more than you need, but if the utmost in quality is what you want, then this is a superb choice. In terms of wide-angle lenses, we recommend the Sigma 14-24mm f/2.8 DG HSM Art or Nikon's own Nikkor AF-S 16-35mm f/4G ED VR. It is also a perfect partner for more specialist perspective-correcting tilt-shift lenses, such as the Nikon PC-E 24mm f/3.5D ED.

(Image credit: Panasonic)

4. Panasonic Lumix GX880

The best mirrorless camera for real estate photography

Camera type: Mirrorless | Sensor: Micro Four Thirds | Megapixels: 16MP | Lens mount: Micro Four Thirds | ISO range: 100-25,600 | Image stabilization: No (in lenses only) | Weight: 270g (body-only, with battery and memory card)

Tiny and pocketable
Good image quality and 4K
Limited wide-angle lens options
Only 210 shots per charge

If you’re looking for a good mirrorless camera for real-estate photography, we’d definitely recommend taking advantage of something small and pocketable. The Panasonic Lumix GX880 is a solid choice – it’s much lighter than the DSLRs above, but with 16MP in the can, it’ll still produce images of solid quality. The Micro Four Thirds lens selection is extensive, though bear in mind the smaller sensor means fewer wide-angle options (as a smaller sensor multiplies the effective focal reach of the lens). However, the Micro Four Thirds lens standard means Panasonic cameras can use Olympus lenses and vice versa, so something like the Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 9-18mm f4-5.6 lens will fit the bill nicely. 

(Image credit: DJI)

5. DJI Pocket 2

The best budget real estate camera

Camera type: Stabilized compact | Sensor: 1/1.7” CMOS | Megapixels: 64MP effective pixels | Lens: Field-of-view 93°, f/1.8 (roughly equivalent to 20mm) | ISO range: 100-6400 | Image stabilization: 3-axis gimbal | Weight: 117g

Superb stabilization
Pocketable
Not great in low light
Struggles with high contrast

The DJI Pocket 2 is something entirely different – a small gimbal camera that’s popular with vloggers. A gimbal is a 3-axis stabilization system that compensates for camera movement to produce smooth video footage; for a walk-through of a property, this is an ideal choice. It’s small enough to take every with you, and can capture a pleasing amount of detail. Its wide field of view also means it’s a natural choice for interior room shots.

The small sensor of the Pocket 2 is the only real drawback – it causes the camera to struggle in low-light and high-contrast situations. Basically anywhere other than a well-lit room, you might run into problems. It could be worth picking up a portable LED light to give yourself a burst of illumination where you need it. 

(Image credit: Insta360)

6. Insta360 ONE R Twin Edition

This modular action camera can be customized to your needs

Camera type: Action camera | Sensor: Various | Megapixels: 12-19 (module-dependent) | Lens: Various | ISO range: 100-3200 | Image stabilization: Yes | Weight: About 121g

Easy lens swapping
Good 4K and 360° video
Very small display
Can get expensive

Action cameras are great for real-estate photography as they’re very portable and have a naturally wide-angle perspective. They can be a little limited though, so for something with real versatility, we’d recommend the Insta360 One R Twin Edition. This is actually a modular system, allowing you to switch between a conventional 4K action camera perspective, and 360° video, simply by swapping the module. There’s also a 1-inch edition with a wide-angle lens and larger sensor, which can be swapped in too – it’s all designed to interact. It’s a little expensive, and the display is very small. But the amount of flexibility you have in this tiny shooter is not to be underestimated. 

(Image credit: GoPro)

7. GoPro MAX

Another great 360° camera for real estate photography and video

Camera type: 360 action camera | Sensor: 1/2.3" | Megapixels: 16MP | Lens: 360-degree | ISO range: Not specified | Image stabilization: Yes | Weight: 154g (including batteries)

Excellent video quality
Intuitive smartphone editing
No conventional 4K capture
Some low light issues

With the introduction of the Max, GoPro was determined to make 360° accessible to everyone, and arguably succeeded. The Max is extremely straightforward to use, and thanks to the sophisticated app integration, it’s very easy to shoot a 360° clip, edit it on your phone and share it. For quick real-estate clips with 360° immersiveness, it’s arguably the smartest choice. It’s not the cheapest around, and some of this cost comes from features that a real-estate shooter won’t particularly need – waterproofing being the most obvious. Also, be aware that there isn’t really an option to just shoot “normal” 4K footage, so you may want to pair it with another camera or smartphone to ensure all your bases are covered. 

(Image credit: Matterport)

8. Matterport Pro2 3D MC250

The best camera for virtual tours

Camera type: Professional 3D camera | Sensor: Structured light (infrared) 3D sensor | Megapixels: 134MP | Lens: Not specified (360° horizontal x 300° vertical field of view) | ISO range: Not specified | Image stabilization: No | Weight: 3.4kg

Gold standard for 3D
Immersive virtual tours
Expensive
Very heavy

If you’re looking to create virtual tours of properties, it’s worth investing in a proper camera for the purpose. The Matterport Pro2 3D MC250 is designed for exactly this, with a powerful 3D sensor and extremely large field of view, with lots of megapixels for capturing every detail. It is expensive to buy, and requires a monthly subscription to make the most of its various connected features, like schematic floor-plan generation. This isn’t something you buy on a whim – it’s a highly technical tool. But if you want something that will tick basically every box for real-estate photography, here it is. 

(Image credit: DJI)

9. DJI Air 2S

Want to get aerial shots? The best drone for real estate photography

Camera type: Drone | Sensor: 1-inch | Megapixels: 20MP | Lens: 22mm equivalent | ISO range: 100-6400 (video), 100-12800 (photo) | Image stabilization: 3-axis | Weight: 595g

1-inch sensor
Very lightweight
On the pricier end
No adjustable aperture

A fantastic way to make a difference to your real-estate photography can be to take to the skies. The DJI Air 2S is perfect for getting dynamic aerial images of a property – while many drones use quite small image sensors, the Air 2S manages to cram a 1-inch sensor inside its relatively small frame, which provides greater dynamic range and an all-around nicer image. It’s pretty small and light, too, and controlling it is nice and easy. The much-touted digital zoom is also useful, allowing you to get images closer up than the drone can safely fly. 

(Image credit: Amazon)

10. DJI Mini 2

For the budget-conscious, this is the best cheap drone for real estate photography

Camera type: Drone | Sensor: 1/2.3-inch | Megapixels: 12MP | Lens: 24mm equivalent | ISO range: 100-3200 | Image stabilization: 3-axis | Weight: 249g

4K, Raw & stabilized camera
Very light and portable
Some crosswind issues
Older Mavic Mini cheaper

Coming in at about half the price of the DJI Air 2S, the DJI Mini 2 is a great cheap drone for real estate photography. You’ll still get a great deal of functionality, with full 3-axis stabilisation on its camera, 4K resolution and the ability to capture stills in the more versatile Raw format. The lighter body of the drone makes it more portable, but equally more vulnerable to crosswinds, so that’s something to bear in mind. It’s extremely accessible and easy to use, making it a great choice for novice drone users who want to capture aerial images of property. If the price is still a little too steep, the previous DJI Mavic Mini is still available, which is a similar prospect albeit without 4K capture. It may not be around for much longer though, and the Mini 2 is a significant improvement in many respects. 

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