Sunday, January 23, 2011

"Point and Shoot" cameras don't work for real estate! Ever.

The vast majority of realtors shoot their own listing photographs with digital "point and shoot" cameras.

Although most newer cameras can create some absolutely amazing photographs, with only a few exceptions (the Canon G12 at 28mm, Canon S95 28mm and Lumix DMC-LX5 at 24mm) point and shoot cameras do not offer enough of a wide angle lens to photograph a residential interior. As a result, most photographs on the MLS focus on objects or furniture, such as a sofa, a fireplace, a table, and in many cases, the corner of a room.

Buyers are buying a home - not furniture! Yet, as you can see over and over again on the MLS, this is primarily what the buyer is offered in terms of photographs of the home. That is because "point and shoot" cameras cannot capture the entire space due to the limitations of the lens.

A wide angle lens needs be somewhere between 16mm and 24mm, preferably with a zoom so you can keep it around 24mm most of the time and go wider for small bathrooms or small bedrooms. This is a must in order to show interiors well.

We use a Canon 16-35mm on a full frame Canon 5D Mark II. If you're using a crop factor camera such as the Rebel series, 7D, the Nikon D90, D7000, D3000, D5000, etc. If you're using these popular crop sensor cameras, your wide angle needs to be closer to 10-22mm.

In these two examples, both were shot on a tripod from exactly the same location. One with a 17mm lens and one with a 28mm lens on a Lumix LX-5, the only point and shoot camera that offers a wide angle lens that is even close to "wide enough". The results are pretty dramatic, and the reality is 95% of Realtors use cameras that aren't even close to the wide angle of the Lumix!  A chair and the fireplace would probably be the only thing captured on a typical point and shoot camera!

Not to make it even more confusing, but Point and Shoot cameras are all crop sensor cameras!  That 24mm crop sensor image would be closer to a 39mm image on a full frame camera, as shown below. That full frame image below would be more comparable to a 10mm image on a point  and shoot camera.
Even the standard kit lenses that come packaged with units such as the Canon Rebel T2i and similar cameras are only 18mm, which would be the equivalent of 29mm on a full frame camera - still not wide enough for real estate.  On these DLSR cameras, if you don't purchase a 10-12mm wide angle lens (around $700+), it is still not wide enough for real estate interiors!

A recent study was done on the impact of visual marketing on the perceived value of a property.

Respondents that saw a property marketed with professional photography viewed the home as being worth 12.9% more than similar homes without professional photography! When asked how likely they were to visit the homes the were viewing, respondents were 7 times more likely to visit the home with professional photography.

Respondents also saw a property marketed with a video property tour viewed the home as having a 6% higher value than the description-only property!

Real estate video tours & photography by

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