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11-03-2010, 12:58 PM   #1
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What is the best ultra wide lens for real estate photography?

Hi guys,

I need opinion especially from those who already used this type of ultra wide angle lenses. What would be the best one for shooting real estate photos (exterior & interior). My widest lens right now is DA* 16-50mm and it's not wide enough for interior.
I assume a good one at least should have the least distortion.
So what would it be?

So far that I know the available lenses for my K20D are (feel free to add if you can suggest other than these):
- Sigma 8-16mm f/4.5-5.6
- Sigma 10-20mm f/3.5
- Sigma 10-20mm f/4.5-5.6
- Tamron 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5
- Pentax 12-24mm f/4

Thank you.

11-03-2010, 01:01 PM   #2
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I asked this question 2 weeks back and was told Tamron is best 'cheap' option, with min distortion, that can be easily fixed... Pen 12/24 has truest lines... I cannot afford best... so I have a Tam on order right now with the rebate that is being offered...
11-03-2010, 01:05 PM   #3
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Yep, this question is asked occasionally. Options are Sigma 10-20, Tamron 10-24 and Pentax 12-24, dearest being the Pentax. But IMO the Pentax produces the finest and least distorted rectilinear shots of architecture, the other two not being bad in the least, though. It's a matter of choice and your budget.
11-03-2010, 01:15 PM   #4
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Are you only considering zooms? The DA 14 f2.8 and DA 15 Limited are options as well.

11-03-2010, 01:45 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by blackcloudbrew Quote
Are you only considering zooms? The DA 14 f2.8 and DA 15 Limited are options as well.
Good point... but I thought the OP was more after a 10 or 12mm that just happens to zoom...
11-03-2010, 01:48 PM   #6
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In general, for indoor real estate photography, I don't think I would consider a 14 or 15mm prime.

I have the 15mm Ltd, and it's currently my favorite lens by a wide margin, but I don't think it would have nearly enough FOV to capture, say, a wide vanity area in a long skinny bathroom.

I would probably select the Sigma 8-16 or one of the 10-2? options, then also spend some time thinking about lighting via flash stands. And of course I'd also want to have on hand something longer to do a better job on larger spaces and external shots where you don't necessarily need the wide FOV -- and I see you already have the DA*16-50, which sounds perfect.
11-03-2010, 02:16 PM   #7
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While I'm not a professional real estate photographer, when I needed to photograph the interiors of some cabins I used my Pentax DA 10-17mm Fisheye which has an ultra-wide field of view and then used PTLens to post-process and remove the distortion while maintaining the FOV, and it all worked quite well (I had a 4-day wedding on an island in a lake and created a website with photos beforehand to let attendees know what it would be like to stay there).
11-03-2010, 02:20 PM   #8

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I use a Pentax 12-24mm.

I don't know if it's the best, because it's the only one I have.

But I'm very happy with it. So is my real estate agent friend.

11-03-2010, 06:45 PM   #9
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Original Poster
Thank you for the suggestions, guys.
I am actually really interested with the new Sigma 8-16 since it goes all the way to 8mm. Has anyone got a problem using this lens at 8mm for interior/exterior photos?
Many people give good review of the Tamron 10-24 so I think I'll consider this as well.
I love our Pentax Limited, in fact I was thinking to get the 15 Ltd, but I realize that it's not that much different with my 16-50 except of the weight
11-03-2010, 07:23 PM   #10
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My experience with ultra wide zooms and the forum is that very few own more than one variant and everyone swears by the one they own.

Self included
11-03-2010, 08:38 PM - 2 Likes   #11
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I have three UWA lenses

As a real estate photographer, I take hundreds of pics every day and so live and breath ultra-wide angle.

I have the Pentax 12-24, Sigma 10-20 f4-5.6, and Tamron 10-24. Generally speaking all three are good lenses but I think the Pentax is the best. It has the least barrel distortion of the three and clearest and sharpest pics edge to edge.

However, sometimes the Pentax 12-24 is not quite wide enough. That extra 2mm that comes with the Sigma and Tamron lenses is very significant in SOME situations. Most of the time the 12-24 is sufficient though.

My least favorite of the three is the Tamron. The further away you get from the center of the image, the more fuzziness you see. I've compared images side by side between the Tamron and Pentax (pics of the exact same scene) and the Pentax wins hands down.

Both the Tamron and Sigma lenses has a little more barrel distortion than than the Pentax but that is easily corrected in Photoshop. That extra 2mm width might be contributing to that extra barrel distortion.

A sample photo for each lens is below. No obvious winner from these photos which just means that any of these lenses will do a good job for you.

Tamron 12-24

Pentax 12-24

Sigma 10-20 f4-5.6

Last edited by sevenarrow; 11-03-2010 at 08:51 PM.
11-03-2010, 08:52 PM   #12
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+1 for seven arrows comment on the DA 12-24. I use that lens routinely for real estate work. I owned the sigma 10-20 mm and sold it after getting and comparing it with the DA 12-24. If it ever becomes available in K-mount, I'll buy the Tokina 11-16mm f2.8 as it is the sharpest and fastest for my type of work.

Last edited by ivoire; 11-03-2010 at 09:33 PM.
11-03-2010, 09:10 PM   #13

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Just talking from personal experience, I think you might be fine from 12mm onward with sigma 10-20mm
11-03-2010, 09:21 PM   #14
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IIRC, the Sigma 10-20/4-5.6 has very low distortion figures at 10mm. Should be lower than that of the Pentax 12-24/4. Check out the respective reviews at

However, the Sigma 10-20/4-5.6 has a bit of moustache distortion @10mm and I don't know how well this is handled by LR.

I'd go for the Sigma 10-20/3.5 which has regular barrel distortion at 10mm. I find that LR lens correction deals with it very well and often think it is not necessary to apply it (though that might be different with interior shots).
11-03-2010, 09:50 PM   #15
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I use the Pentax 12-24 and 10-17 and can concur with both sevenarrow and nater. In defishing the 10-17 it depends on the focal length you used originally, in terms of how much coverage you may loose. However, you need to keep in mind that the 10-17's indicated focal length is not a true basis of comparison with the other rectilinear lenses. In terms of defishing I would google "defishing 10-17" because Tokina offers the same DA 10-17 lens for both Nikon and Canon and you may get a better set of coverage if you are interested in this approach..
The field of view of some of the lenses are...
  • 10-17 FE - 180 to 100 degrees
  • 12-24 - 99 to 60 degrees
  • 10-20 - 104 - 63 degrees
  • 8-16 - 114-75 degrees
The wider you go the more distortion you gain in general.

I have seen some images from the 8-16 and they do look great. However, I have not see really any from an architectural environment - a lot of landscapes. Over on the lens forum there is a thread on the sigma 8-16...
Another approach that you can use is stitching. I really would not stitch too wide not really beyond 3 panels, and would stay in the portrait orientation in order to get height and not a long spaghetti image.

hope that helps...

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