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The Best Camera for Real Estate Photos?

by on June 15, 2017
in Cameras and Photography, Reader Q&A, Cameras, Blog :: 25 comments

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Q: I have been doing some research looking for the best P&S digital camera with wide angle range for shooting interior photos for my real estate business. It will be in low light situations, but would like to be able to incorporate as much of a room in one shot without having to sync photos together.

Want to stay in the $300 range and want something compact that I can carry around easily. Any suggestions?

- Jacki

A: Real Estate photos can really test the limits of a camera. You'll want wide-angle, for shooting both interior shots and the exterior of the house and surrounding property. At the same time, a strong zoom will come in handy for capturing architectural details (or defects) along the upper stories and roofline. Lighting is also a challenge, as you know, since house interior lighting is rarely set up with a photo shoot in mind.

The best solution is a solid DSLR or ILC with wide-angle and zoom lenses, plus a specialized lighting kit. But all that gear can easily run you well over $1,000 and gets pretty bulky to carry around.

Fortunately, "super-zoom" point-and-shoots will do almost as good a job as a DSLR for far less money. And they'll fit in your bag.

My previous recommendation was the Panasonic DMC-FZ70. It has a super wide-angle lens (20mm equivalent) and an incredible 60x optical zoom (1200mm equivalent). The FZ70 also has a fast f2.8 lens and optical image stabilization that will help out quite a bit in poor lighting. Its 16MP sensor will provide more than enough resolution should you need to crop your images later. And for around $320 on Amazon, it was a deal any real estate agent would appreciate. Unfortunately, the FZ70 was discontinued and is now difficult to find, even on Amazon.

In re-researching the options, I've found it hard to find a camera I like as much, especially in the $300 range. Camera manufacturers have been ceding the lower-price point space to smartphones, focusing on the more profitable enthusiast and professional market. However, there are a couple of options out that will give real estate agents far more flexibility and image quality than a smartphone, at a still manageable price.

Panasonic Lumix FX300My top pick would be the Panasonic Lumix FZ300. It has a 25-600mm (24x zoom) that, while not up to the FZ70's range, should be more than acceptable for your indoor and outdoor shots. And its 12MP sensor has a constant f2.8 aperture across the entire zoom range. What this means in practice is excellent low-light handling whether you're shooting wide angle or full zoom. Twelve megapixels may seem like a downgrade from the 16MP FZ70, but picture quality is about much more than megapixels. That excellent low-light handling combined with upgraded image processing, autofocus and image stabilization will results in crisp, clear images with more than enough resolution for real estate listings or sales sheets.

The FZ300 also shoots 4K video, so you can do super-high resolution home walk throughs or panorama shots that will look fantastic on the latest 4K TVs (and future-proof you as 4K becomes standard in all TVs and computer monitors).

Other standout features of the FZ300 are its electronic viewfinder (in addition to the rear articulating LCD) for composing shots, and it is splashproof and dustproof so you can take it to those dusty construction sites without worry.

At $498 on Amazon, you get a lot for the money with the FZ300.

[UPDATE 6/15/17: The FZ70 is now available again on Amazon for $250, as is the recently-released successor model, the FZ80, for $398. The upgrades to the FZ80 include 4K video and a bump to 18MP. You're probably better off going with the FZ70 and saving $150 unless the 4K video is something you need. Between these models and the FZ300, it really is a balance of picture quality, price, zoom range and features. The FZ300 is weather-sealed, offers slightly better picture quality, better low light handling at longer zoom ranges and an articulating LCD. It was also recently picked as the Overall Winner by DP Review in their recent roundup of consumer long zoom compact cameras. On the flip side, the FZ300 has less overall zoom range than the FZ70/80 and is a fair amount more money. ]


Nikon Coolpix B500If you want to keep it around $300, your choices are limited. However, the Nikon Coolpix B500 offers a nice set of features for only $257 on Amazon. It has a 40x optical zoom lens (22.5–900mm equivalent) at f/3.0-6.5 and a 16MP sensor. More zoom and megapixels than the Panasonic, but less capable in low light, especially when zoomed. It shoots 1080p (but not 4K) video, and lacks the Panasonic's electronic viewfinder. The Nikon B500 takes AA batteries so you can always carry an extra set in your car's glove compartment and not worry about a dead battery when you get to your location.

- Suzanne

Discussion loading

B500 vs DMC-FZ70

From Dave Bishop on January 15, 2017 :: 12:37 pm

Hello, thank you for this article. I need to shoot some indoor real estate photos and can’t spend $$$$ on new equipment.

I have found both of these cameras for the same price on Amazon. I am wondering which would take a wider photo in very small rooms? This is my primary concern as the rooms I will be shooting are pretty small.

The Lumix is a 20mm which should be wider?

Are these true 20mm not like my Nikon D40 18mm lenses that come with the camera body? Or is it just worth buying the cheapest wide angle lens for the DSLR for $450 to get a wider view?

Thanks for your help


The Lumix will be wider.

From Josh Kirschner on January 17, 2017 :: 11:59 am

The lens stats listed are “35mm equivalent” ranges, so 20mm on the FZ-70 will be wider than 22mm on the Nikon. You obviously get more flexibility in lenses by using a DSLR. If you already have a DSLR, you may just want to pick up a used wide-angle lens. If not, buying the DSLR and various lenses you will need will run you far more than the point-and-shoots above.


Lumix 20mm

From Dave Bishop on January 17, 2017 :: 12:59 pm

Hi Josh, thanks for your reply. My situation is based on a single client needing some real estate photos for 3 or 4 rental units. I doubt they will be able to offset the cost for a DSLR wide angle lens. I found this article and these cameras ($250 each) are $150 to $350+ less than a new lens which wouldn’t be an option at that price.

Is the lumix a true 20mm with no multiplier like a full frame DSLR would be? I believe that is what you mean by “35mm equivalent” correct?

My Nikon D5100 with the 18mm is actually a 28.8mm with multiplier of 1.6x from what I gathered. I also read that at these lower numbers the difference between say 20mm and 29mm is pretty large. I am a complete camera neophyte though.

Thanks again


It is an "effective" 20mm lens

From Josh Kirschner on February 06, 2017 :: 11:23 am


Sorry I didn’t see your comment earlier. The Lumix offers a 20mm “equivalent” lens. That is, it is the same effect you would have using a 20mm lens on a full-frame DSLR (thoughit is described as “35mm film equivalent”).

Your Nikon D5100 has an APS-C sensor (not full frame). So yes, it has a multiplier, too, when describing lens equivalents. The 18-55mm lenes that comes with the kit is the 35mm equivalent of an 18mm lens, not the true size.



Cheap wide angle option

From Dave Bishop on January 17, 2017 :: 1:03 pm

Hi again, is there any other suggestions for my client? The cheapest WA lens I could find for my
D40 or D5100 was $440.

I am open to any suggestions.


Budget 20mm

From Martin Welfeld on June 29, 2017 :: 1:04 am

For your one off property shoot, rent a 20mm lens for your full frame sensor DSLR. If it is a DX (smaller sensor) camera, rent a short zoom, like a 12-20mm range. Renting is the best solution for a one off shoot. Do it this time and save up the money if you actually want to own the lens later.

Be VERY careful with your camera leveling. A 20mm in a small room will distort the room size and if you aren’t perfectly level you could end up with a Fun House effect, curved floors, converging walls and trapezoid doors and windows.


Bought the camera

From Ricky Lee on February 05, 2017 :: 9:11 pm

Hi I followed the advise and purchased a LUMIX FZ300. Do I need to purchase an extra lens to shoot wide angle pictures? What settings to set in order to shoot beautiful real estate photos both indoor and outdoor? Thanks


No extra lens necessary (or possible)

From Josh Kirschner on February 06, 2017 :: 12:21 pm

The Lumix FZ300 is a fixed lens camera. The lens isn’t removable or exchangeable. That’s why the range of the lens is so important for point-and-shoots. There are adapters you can buy for the FZ300 that will allow you to attach other lenses, but this is a pretty specialized use and if that’s what you need, you might be better off going with a DSLR or ILC camera (at significantly higher cost).

It’s hard to tell you what settings to use, since it depends heavily on what you’re trying to capture and your specific lighting conditions. We have general photo tips in this article which will help you with composition: You’ll also want to get to know your HDR settings to get proper interior lighting when you have bright windows in the background, for example. And the other thing you should pay attention to is your white balance settings as you encounter a mix of incandescent, CFL and natural lighting in your various shots. Tweaking the white balance will prevent the photos from appearing to blue or yellow (you can fix this later in Photoshop, but may be easier for you to get it right up front).


Panasonic DMC-FZ70

From Dave Bishop on February 06, 2017 :: 11:28 am

I just got my Panasonic DMC-FZ70 and the pictures are very blurry. Not sure if I got a defective one or what.


Check focus settings?

From Josh Kirschner on February 06, 2017 :: 12:27 pm

It could be as simple an issue as your focus settings. Make sure it’s not in manual focus mode and play around with the auto settings to see if that makes a difference. If everything is truly blurry (not just a focus problem) could be something wrong with the camera and you may want to send it back. Is the blurriness in the final photos or just when viewing on the rear lcd screen of the camera?



From Greg Imhoff on May 04, 2017 :: 9:20 am

Panasonic has announced a replacement for the fz70 which is the fz80 with a 20-1200mm equivalent lens


Thanks, Greg

From Josh Kirschner on June 15, 2017 :: 2:38 pm

We’ve updated our story to take into account the availability of the FZ80 (and the re-availability of the FZ70, at least temporarily).


Investing Minimally is the Best option

From facebook148345845731281 on July 07, 2017 :: 8:45 pm

I read somewhere on here about saving a buck using a point and shoot.  There’s nothing I hate more than calling on a pro and they show up with a point and shoot.  You can buy DSLR Canon cameras for a mere $350 and that’s even for a t5i.  a 10x18 lens is all you would need.

Don’t want to spend the extra money?  Then whip out that 18-55 and go pick up a wide angle add-on.  Those add-ons has their down side but if you shoot correctly, you can overcome it.  The kit lens is the great for shooting real estate in the beginning.  Shooting flash photography is even better.  Don’t go getting a point and shoot, you’re only inviting the client to buy one themselves and then you dupped yourself business.  You can make proper investment in your equipment and you don’t have to spend millions and not even thousands and will last you for several years.  All I have is 4 newwer strobes, 2 speed lights, my kit lens everyone hates(I admit, it’s beginning to bother me too) lol.  I like this article though because at least it’s not telling you to get a full frame and chunk the DSLR.  I’ve seen DSLR’s out-shoot full frames all day long.


DSLRs are a better, but pricier option

From Josh Kirschner on July 10, 2017 :: 3:40 pm

If you’re a pro photographer, then you should be shooting with a full frame or DSLR (though many photographers are now using high-end point-and-shoots as a secondary camera). If you’re shooting the photos yourself and want to stay in the $300 price range, point-and-shoot is the better option. Even a T5i, which is a four-year old camera, will run you $500 from any legitimate seller. And you will still probably want at least one more lens beyond the kit piece. But if you have the money, DSLRs with an extra lens or two will take wonderful shots.


Wide angle cameras

From Darrell Shelton on July 31, 2017 :: 10:11 am

I’ve been a claims adjuster for 30 years and taking thousands of interior photographs. I am now transitioning to illustrate and looking for the best wide angle camera with a built-in flash if possible range of 50 feet. It appears that some wide angle lenses are wider than others I have been utilizing a Nikon 18/35mm lens wish to go wider. What recommendations do you have. Darrell


Shoot panorama instead

From Josh Kirschner on July 31, 2017 :: 10:53 am

You can go wider than 18mm if you go into fish-eye lens, but you’re going to start getting a lot of image distortion. You would probably be better off shooting in panorama mode, which will let you stitch together a far wider image without the distortion (and cost of another lens).

For flashes, the effective range of a built-in flash is only about 10-12ft at low ISO. You can go farther at higher ISOs, but don’t expect miracles. The FZ300 has a flash range of about 30ft (Panasonic doesn’t indicate at what ISO) and the more expensive FZ1000 has a range of about 45ft. If you need to go higher, an external flash is the way to go.


Real estate photos

From Susin W on March 22, 2018 :: 9:46 am

I’m a real estate agent who needs a camera to take both interior and exterior photos of homes. I know little about technology and even less about photography. I need something easy to use that takes great pictures. What would you recommend?


Our recommendations above would be perfect

From Josh Kirschner on March 22, 2018 :: 10:01 am

The cameras above are all point-and-shoot models that are very easy to use. There are many advanced features, but you don’t need to use them if you don’t want to or don’t feel comfortable.

If you would like to get some helpful photography tips for beginners, we have lots of great article in out photography tips section:


Hi,I have been using my

From Sam on March 27, 2018 :: 11:00 am


I have been using my very old Canon EOS DSLR XTi with a wide angle 10-18mm lens to take photo of small rooms. I believe this Canon has a 16.0 crop factor. So it seems it is still a better option to use it with the 10-18mm lens to take interior pictures than to buy the Panasonic ZF70/80 that has a 20mm lens.

Am I correct


Yes, the EOS XTi will provide a wider angle

From Josh Kirschner on April 11, 2018 :: 10:14 am

Purely from a coverage perspective, the old EOS (I have the same camera, BTW) will provide a wider angle with the 10mm lens than the 20mm equivalent FZ70/80. If you’re happy with it, I don’t see a reason to swtich, though you do get a higher megapixel sensor on the FZ70/80, which would be helpful primarily if you’re doing heavy cropping or creating large posters.  You may also find the newer cameras have better light processing, though I haven’t seen a head-to-head comparison. Andof course you have the video features on the new cameras, if that;s of interest.

Compare Panasonic FZ70/80 to CanonDSLR Xti with 10-18m lense

From Sam on March 25, 2018 :: 1:09 pm


I have been using my very old Canon EOS DSLR XTi with a wide angle 10-18mm lens to take photo of small rooms. I believe this Canon has a 16.0 crop factor. So it seems it is still a better option to use it with the 10-18mm lens to take interior pictures than to buy the Panasonic ZF70/80 that has a 20mm lens.

Am I correct?


The crop factor for the

From Suzanne Kantra on March 27, 2018 :: 12:03 pm

The crop factor for the Canon EOS XTi is 1.62 (it’s an APS-C Canon sensor), whereas the crop factor for the Panasonic ZF70/80 is 5.62 (it’s a 1/2.3” sensor).

The lens spec for the Panasonic FZ70/80 has already been converted, so it is the 35mm equivalent of a 20mm lens.

Your Canon’s lens would be the equivalent of a 16mm - 29mm, if you’re using a traditional 35mm lens with your XTi camera body.

So from the perspective of how wide you can go, your old Canon wins.


Thank you for taking the

From Sam on March 27, 2018 :: 12:14 pm

Thank you for taking the time to answer my question.


low light camera

From Sarah Ekholm on April 10, 2018 :: 7:34 pm

I have an older lumix and have been using my phone to take photos at my house listings…it does a nice job with light and color and takes wide photos…however, they are not good at getting the whole room…so looking for a camera that takes good photos in dim lit rooms and small rooms. Thank you!! Also, not interested in spending $2000.


Look at our recommendations above

From Josh Kirschner on April 11, 2018 :: 10:17 am

The Panasonic FZ70/80 or the Nikon B500 both will provide a far wider angle than your phone. Whether they are better than your older Lumix depends on which older Lumix you have. The FZ70/80 has a 20mm equivalent lens - how does that compare to what you have now?


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