Have you ever considered buying the best lens for architectural photography?

If you are a commercial or real estate photographer, the chances are that you have.

The same goes for enthusiasts who like to take architectural shots as a part of their travel activities, or hobbyists who like to explore cities or real estate solutions.

architectural photography gudie

Whatever your preference might be, purchasing these types of optics can be quite difficult, due to technicalities one needs to have a grasp on, and the market oversaturation. The internet doesn’t help too much since there is a constant lack of high-quality buying guides in this regard.

With those notions, I have decided to put together a comprehensive buying guide that would provide help to fellow photographers in search of a proper lens

LensTypeShop now
Canon 90mm f/2.8PrimeShop now
Nikon 16-35mm f/4Wide-AngleShop now
Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8All-in-oneShop now
Nikon 16-35mm f/4TelephotoShop now
Sigma 14-24mm f/2.8MacroShop now
 

1. Canon 90mm f/2.8

Canon has an optical construction of six elements in five groups, with eight rounded diaphragm blades. The angle of view is 27°, with a tilt-shift of +/- 8° Tilt & +/- 11 mm Shift. The minimum focus distance is 1,64 feet, with a maximum magnification of 0,29x.

Although this Canon doesn’t have optical image stabilization, it is equipped with a powerful f/2.8 aperture that ensures top-notch quality. It is important to note that the given optics has a manual focus only, which means it will test photographic abilities.

The main reason:

why I put it on the best lens for architectural photography is the phenomenal Gauss design. I used the lens with filters and rings while retaining a maximum photographic quality, with nearly zero chromatic aberrations, and a very well controlled distortion. The focus system is a manual one, so it tends to be slower, and if you intend to use it for portraits, perhaps it is better to try different optics.

However:

for architectural photos, the lens works wonders. Once you lock the focus, the result is always an excellent one, with sharpness from corner to corner and no jamming issues.

Handheld shooting is a pure joy with this lens, and even though it doesn’t support optical image stabilization, I didn’t face any issue of an unwanted blur, even at the maximum tilt. The color rendering is fine, with an eye-pleasing color palette and strong contrasts.

Pros

  • Wide aperture
  • Tilt Shift
  • Sharpness

Cons

  • Lack of OIS
  • Manual focus only

Best for Macro photography

 

2. Nikon 16-35mm f/4

Nikon offers an optical design of 17 elements in 12 groups, with nine rounded diaphragm blades. The angle of view is 107° to 63°, with a maximum magnification of 0,25x. The minimum focus distance is 11,42 inches.

The lens has an optical image stabilization that offers up to four stops of vibration reduction. The key reason why I put it on the best lens for architectural photography is a phenomenal optical design. The first thing I noticed was a complete lack of ghosting and flare issues.

Although:

it is not on par with high-end primes, in the given focal range, it outperforms most of the competition. Another vital point is an extraordinary vibration reduction (or OIS).

I didn’t have issues with shooting under low lighting, and with a fairly low ISO value, despite the aperture of an f/4 since it can’t compete with fast primes. At the maximum opening, image sharpness is exquisite, with a beautiful color palette and strong contrast.

When it comes to the focal length, I did spot vignetting and edge softness at 16mm, but it usually occurred if I was too close to the subject.

Furthermore, the 16-35mm allows one to capture awesome-looking shots of different buildings and angles while being relatively compact and light enough to be carried around with no bigger issues. Focusing is also quite responsive and accurate, and I didn’t have issues with missing a shot due to jamming or hunting.

Pros

  • Versatile focal length
  • OIS
  • Sharpness
  • Flare coating

Cons

  • Narrow aperture

Best for Sports Videography

3. TOKINA 11-16mm f/2.8

Tokina comes with an optical construction of 13 elements in 11 groups, with nine rounded diaphragm blades. The angle of view is 104° to 82°, with a minimum focus distance of 11,82 inches, and a maximum magnification of 0,09x. The lens doesn’t have optical image stabilization, but it does have a wide f/2.8 aperture for producing high-quality images.

The key reason:

why it ended up on the best lens for architectural photography list is the phenomenal focal length that enables photographers to capture wide-angle shots and get whole buildings in the frame. At 11mm I did notice spots of vignetting, but I mainly tested it at 12-16mm, and was pleased with the results. The distortion is negligible and easy to correct in post-production.

I didn’t spot chromatic aberration or flare issues, and despite the lack of OIS, I managed to pull off awesome and well-exposed night shots, thanks to the wide aperture. The focus system works quite well, although I must say that manual works better in this case, since the auto tends to hunt.

However, for a lens this open, a manual focus is perfect. Overall image quality is more than good, with nice color rendering and good mid-tones. The body of the lens is crafted by the use of fine materials, and the finishing touch is impeccable.

Pros

  • Versatile focal length
  • Fast aperture
  • Manual focus

Cons

  • Lack of OIS

Best for Close-Up photography

4. Canon 16-35mm f/4

The next line in Canon’s arsenal has an optical design of 16 elements in 12 groups, with nine rounded diaphragm blades. The angle of view is 108° 10′ to 63°, with a minimum focus distance of 11,02 inches, and a maximum magnification of 0,23x.

It also has optical image stabilization and an option of a fully manual focus in the autofocus mode. Canon offers an exceptional sharpness from edge to edge, and it is one of the reasons why it is on the best lens for architectural photography.

The first feature I spotted was the phenomenal detail retention and edge sharpness at the maximum opening. I even stepped down on the aperture, and the results were even sharper, but for general use, an f/4 works completely fine. I was also happy to use the optical image stabilization feature during golden and evening hours. It is of tremendous help in capturing awesome shots without the use of a tripod.

Although:

an f/2.8 is superior for moving subjects and event shooting, an f/4 and OIS do a splendid job for architectural shots. The color transmission and contrast are on par with the most expensive lenses on the market, and they look without a flaw.

I am yet to spot chromatic aberrations, and the fluorine coating on the front element makes it easy to shoot even under harsh sunlight. Like any other “L” grade lens, this one is built of high-quality materials and has a perfectly balanced weight.

Pros

  • Versatile focal length
  • Great design
  • OIS
  • Overall sharpness

Cons

  • Aperture could be wider

Best for Interior photography

 

5. Sigma 14-24mm f/2.8

The Sigma offers an optical construction of 18 elements in 13 groups, with 11 rounded diaphragm blades. The angle of view is 114.2° to 84.1°, with a minimum focus distance of 11 inches, and a maximum magnification of 0,14x. The lens has a macro reproduction ratio of 1:7.3, and it doesn’t come with optical image stabilization.

The key reason:

why it made the best lens for architectural photography list is the incredible focal length versatility. The 14mm end is superior for ultra-wide angled shots, while the 24mm gravitates to a “standard” focal length. At 14mm I have noticed slight vignetting and distortion, but they were gone above 14mm, while there were no issues at the other end. The distortion is well managed at both ends, while chromatic aberrations are negligible.

I also like the aperture. First, it allows one to shoot under low light, without a tripod, despite the lack of OIS, and still capture great shots. I tested in the dark alleys, with a scarce streetlight, and got well-exposed images of different buildings.

Second, it produces sharp images at the maximum opening, and if the sharpness is your keystone, you would rarely have to stop a few notches below. Focusing is well balanced, and the system is accurate and fast. Moreover, the zooming and focus ring is smooth, but with a certain amount of resistance, which adds to the feeling of control.

Pros

  • Versatile focal length
  • Wide aperture
  • Overall sharpness

Cons

  • Lack of OIS

Verdict

Purchasing the best lens for architectural photography doesn’t have to be a tedious task if you have the proper knowledge of how to navigate through the market.

No matter what is your style of shooting, or which manufacturer do you prefer, the article above outlines solutions to apply if you want to up your photo game. Rest assured that if you pick any of the lenses from the list, your architectural photography will improve in no time.

Disclaimer: “As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.”

Summary
These Are 5 Best Lenses For Architectural Photography In 2022
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These Are 5 Best Lenses For Architectural Photography In 2022
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Learn how to improve quality of your architectural photography for 2022 in this ultimate lens guide. Read now to learn more.
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Lensespro.org
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