Apple Valley Ohio Lake Community by Sam Miller


DSLR Wide Angle Lens Images Compared To A Wide Angle Point and Shoot

Real estate photography is more critical today than ever before especially with the increase in online real estate marketing.  Real estate agents and listing prospects constantly ask me how I am able to capture such wide angle photos and I believe this is because the majority of real estate photos online and in our MLS only capture a small fraction of the room they are featuring.  Years ago we used to shoot the interior of our homes with a dual lens Kodak V570 and later we upgraded to the Kodak V705 which had a very wide 23 mm lens.  These two cameras were great for real estate and they were the two widest angle point and shoot cameras available at that time.  These camera were sweet because they fit in your pocket and they did a good job.  

Wide Angle Real Estate Camera and Lens Comparison

If you are looking for the ultimate in ultra wide angle photos then upgrading into a quality full frame DSLR is the hottest setup going today.  I won't venture into the Canon vs Nikon discussion because each has their strong points.  I personally own and use Canon but that could be another blog dicussion by itself.  Currently the widest angle lens available on a point and shoot is a 21.5 mm made by Samsung.  I am NOT a fan of this camera line and I am not recommending you go out and buy their camera but I mention it so that you can understand the difference because you can only get a 21.5 mm wide photo on a point and shoot camera and you can capture all the way down to 14 mm on a full frame DSLR without buying an extreme fisheye lens.

The 4 photos are 100% untouched and they haven't been color corrected or adjusted.  What you see is exactly how they came out of the camera.  I shot these photos in our real estate office conference room which measures 20'11 x 12'8 and this room is similar in size to a typical living room.  

14 mm photo example:  Notice how far away the flat screen tv is on this photo, the room appears much longer and wider.  You can see 3 rows of chairs on both sides of the conference table and notice the REMAX balloon photo on the right side of the photo. Also, pay special attention to the conference table because you can see 100% of the table in this photo.

16 mm photo example:  The conference table appears closer, you can still see all 3 rows of chairs but pay close attention to the REMAX balloon photo on the right side of the table because it got almost completely cut off.  

22 mm photo example:  This photo is about as wide as you can get with a point and shoot camera and more than 1/3 of this room is missing and not viewable because of the narrower view of the which is very similar to a point and shoot camera lens.  Shooting with a 22 mm lens is acceptable when you are shooting homes with very large rooms such as estates or mansions.  As you can see this photo is less about capturing the entire room and more focued on the furniture and the room appears crowded and it doesn't look like there is any space behind the 3 rows of chairs...the walls look very closed in and crowded.  When was the last time a buyer asked to view a home that felt small and crowded?

27 mm example:  This photo looks like the 3 rows of chairs are touching the walls and windows and it looks like there is absolutely no space in this room to move.  This photo is VERY much like most of the MLS and online photos that agents are using today.  The problem with a photo like this is that the non wide angle camera / lens is creating a barrier between very capable online buyers and these buyers are adding most of these homes to their "Do NOT want to see list" and they are drawing big X's through listings with these types of photos because they believe these homes are just too small for them when in reality it might have been a perfect fit.

IMPORTANT:  These 4 photos were shot on a tripod using different mm lens settings so that you could compare how wide angle you can really go and the viewable differences between 14 mm, 16 mm, 22 mm and 27 mm.  The 14 mm and the 16 mm wide angle lenses tend to make the room photograph the way our eyes actually see a room and the 22 mm and the 27 mm that are more common on the point and shoot cameras tend to make the rooms much smaller with a more close up feeling.  This can seriously hurt your chances of attracting buyers especially if the buyer who is viewing your online marketing decides that your home is too small because of your shot your interior photos that were taken with a non wide angle camera.  Trust me when I say this happens every single day and this is eliminating homes showings and reducing home sales for many real estate agents.  If you don't believe me just take a quick look at the MLS photos in your board of REALTORS and pay extra close attention to the kitchen, bedroom and bath photos.  You will be shocked...the more photos you look at and compare the worse it will get I promise.  Some of the photos you will wonder if the agent was trying to take a photo of the bed OR the bedroom because their camera had such a narrow view that they were only able to capture an image of the bed and head board instead of the entire bedroom.  Take a few minutes and give this some thought.

You can view a previous blog I wrote on this topic titled Is An Ultra Wide Angle Lens Camera Worth The Investment For Real Estate

Previous blog titled Ultra Wide Angle Digital Camera Photo Comparison

The Sam Miller Team of REMAX Stars Realty specialized in selling residential real estate in Knox County Ohio.  Sam can be reachhed at 740-397-7800

Comment balloon 17 commentsSam Miller • September 24 2012 04:55AM


690,590 Points5 Featured PostsHit RouterCalled Shot Master

SAM You make a strong point Using the proper camera and lens makes all the difference

Posted by Joe Jackson, Clintonville and Central Ohio Real Estate Expert (Keller Williams Capital Partners Realty) about 8 years ago
Since the 14mm is really close to fish eye I'm curious if you do anything special to keep vertical lines from bowing?
Posted by Ralph Janisch ABR CRS Broker, Selling Northwest Houston to good people like you! (Janisch & Co.) about 8 years ago

With the 14 mm and 16 mm examples we can see so much more width in the room and it looks less close up and less crowded.

Posted by Erica Miller about 8 years ago

Joe - Thanks!  The right camera and lens can turn make such a huge difference.

Jeanne and Ralph - Great questions!  With the wider angle lenses you need to pay extra attention when shooting and you need to do your best to hold the camera level with the subject. If you are using a lot of angle / tilting the camera you will get some crazy shots that you won't want to use.  For this example I shot all 4 photos on a tripod so that I was capturing the same view so that the comparison would very a legit comparison between the different lens settings.

Erica - Example!  The 14 and the 16 are more real life viewing which would be similar to what you would see if you were standing in this room and the 22 and 27 would be a more narrow view.

Posted by Sam Miller, Knox County Ohio Real Estate Specialist (RE/MAX Stars Realty) about 8 years ago

These 4 different photos sure make our conference room look different and the 27 mm example makes it look like the table is overpowering the room.

Posted by Carol Miller, Apple Valley Lake (RE/MAX Stars Realty) about 8 years ago

Though I do tend to shoot very wide, I think we overuse the ultra wide side of our lenses.  I have to keep reminding myself that just because I can go 15mm wide, doesn't mean I have to all the time.  I say this for a couple of reasons.  First, the edges of ultra wide photos tend to be very distorted.  You can see this when you have a round object in the photo or a corner which should be a 90° angle looks more like 60° in the photo.  Another reason is that it often makes a smallish room look much larger to a point where the buyer will ask were the rest of the room is during the showing.  I never want to mislead people whether intentinally or otherwise.

Having said that, there are lots of times ultra wide is a must.

Carol - I would say that in all the photos it looks like the table is overpowering the room.  Maybe that table is just too big for that room astetically speaking.

Posted by Lee Jinks (Jinks Realty) about 8 years ago

Lee - Great comments!  I agree with you that going ultra wide doesn't fit every situtation so carrying a few extra lenses is always wise.  Thanks!

Posted by Sam Miller, Knox County Ohio Real Estate Specialist (RE/MAX Stars Realty) almost 8 years ago

Sam, I have a wonderful wide-angle lens on my Nikon, and it makes a huge difference.  There is almost no distortion, and the interior shots are so much more attractive than with a point and shoot. 

Posted by Patricia Kennedy, Home in the Capital (RLAH Real Estate) almost 8 years ago

Sam, I just got a wide angle DLSR and am loving it. It makes all the difference in the world.

Posted by Debbie Reynolds, Your Dedicated Clarksville TN Real Estate Agent (Platinum Properties) almost 8 years ago

Hey Sam, I included this post in Last Week's Favorites.  Have a great week!

Posted by Patricia Kennedy, Home in the Capital (RLAH Real Estate) almost 8 years ago

Hi Sam,

I just caught your post on Pat's last week favorites..awesome post..glad I got to read it..great stuff..thanks for sharing!

Posted by Dorie Dillard CRS GRI ABR, Serving Buyers & Sellers in NW Austin Real Estate (Coldwell Banker Realty ~ 512.750.6899) almost 8 years ago

Hello Sam I purchased the Panasonic TZ5 over 5 years ago  was very impressed with the wide angle. After reading you article , I looked to see what kind of lens it comes with and was shocked to see that it is a 28mm.

I need to go look at the new models other and compare the lens vs wide angle.  Great information.

Posted by Chuck Mixon, Cutler Bay Specialist, GRI, CDPE, BPOR (The Keyes Company) almost 8 years ago

Sam:  What a great post.  Your four comparison photos are great, and the following explanations are extremely well done.  Thanks so much for sharing all of this with us.  I love learning about things like this.

Posted by Karen Anne Stone, Fort Worth Real Estate (New Home Hunters of Fort Worth and Tarrant County) almost 8 years ago

Thanks Sam for the interesting side-by-side comparisons.  You mentioned the Kodak V705, which I bought about 5 years ago and is the camera I still use for my "Before" shots (I'm a home stager so Before & After photos are really important!)

For my "after" shots I use a Canon Rebel with a 10-22 lens .... I love that it can capture all of the architecture in a shot but I use the ultra-wide lens very carefully to avoid distortion.  I'm torn between getting shots that make the house look great, and those that make the staging look great for my portfolio.  If the photos are being used online, then the house has to be the "star."

Posted by Maureen Bray Portland OR Home Stager ~ Room Solutions Staging, "Staging Consultations that Sell Portland Homes" (Room Solutions Staging, Portland OR) almost 8 years ago

Excellent post, I use a 14mm lens myself, and I also went with Canon. I have been loving it for the past 4 years. Thanks for taking time out to post this.

Posted by Adam Brett, The Adam and Eric Group, Fullerton's Finest (The Adam and Eric Group) almost 8 years ago

Some Realtors are in love with their ultra wide angle lens. It lures buyers in, just to be disappointed in the home and in the Realtor industry that tolerates photographic misrepresentation. 


Posted by Dave Halpern, Louisville Short Sale Expert (Keller Williams Realty Louisville East (502) 664-7827) almost 3 years ago

Dave, Actually the human eyes (2 eyes combined) nearly a 170 degree ultra wide angle view (nearly panoramic) which is similar to an ultra wide angle 14 mm lens.  It could be said that a real estate agent who is NOT using a wide angle lens is actually the one misrepresenting the true view of a home.  

Posted by Sam Miller, Knox County Ohio Real Estate Specialist (RE/MAX Stars Realty) almost 3 years ago

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