Architectural photography is a bit more than justs capturing your subjects inside the frame. You’ll need a different type of lens when your subject is the exterior of the building. You’ll need a lens with different characteristics when your subject is the interior of the building. And of course, all of this also changes with lighting conditions, size of the subject, and more.
But as a student, it’s natural to be strapped for cash. Good lenses aren’t cheap, and that makes it tough to buy a lens which doesn’t burn a hole in your wallet. But here are some good options.
7 Best Canon Lenses for Architectural Photography
The Canon TS-E 45mm f/2.8 is not what you’d call cheap, priced at $1400. But at this price, you’re getting impeccable image quality. But keep in mind that this isn’t a beginners’ lens. If you already know your way around a DSLR and how to take great pictures, this is a lens suited for you. It’s a manual focus lens, letting you take shots with focus just the way you prefer it.
The 45mm f/2.8 aperture lets you take some amazing panoramic shots with really wide angles. This lets you cover a very wide building or the inside of a building in one complete shot. Distortion is also low, so you aren’t getting subjects in the image squeezed or stretched together to fit.
At $1400, it’s not a cheap lens. But the level of quality that you are getting is nothing short of amazing. If you are serious about your architectural photography and know your way around a DSLR camera, then this is the lens for you.
This is the first tilt-shift lens that Canon has ever produced. And though they have designed more, the Canon TS-E 90mm f/2.8 remains their best performing tilt-shift lens yet. And it doesn’t look like it’ll change any time soon.
Being a tilt-shift lens, this is limited to only manual focus. The upside to this is that you can focus according to your preferences, giving you a very natural and pleasing perspective in your shots.
If you’re into macro photography, then this lens will also serve you well, bringing up subjects from close distances into stunning focus. If you like capturing small details and decorations on buildings, then this is the lens for you.
At $1400, it’s not cheap, but it has been Canon’s highest performing tilt-shift lens for a reason. If you need the best in image quality and love focusing your images manually, then this is the lens for you.
The Canon EF 1.4x III Extender mounts between the camera body and a compatible lens. The main purpose of the extender is to extend the focal length of the lens by 1.4x. This gives you greater freedom when you’re taking images out in the field and don’t have the luxury of carrying all of your lenses wherever and whenever you want.
The added focal length lets you frame the subject more tightly, So, it makes a good argument as to why it should be in your arsenal when you’re doing architectural or macro based photography.
Reminder not to shoot fast-moving subjects, since that will cause a noticeable drop in image quality. That’s because there’s another additional lens element for the light to pass through.
But at $430, this makes a compelling argument for any photographer’s kit. If you’re a student and don’t have the cash to throw into an expensive lens, then this can help you get some additional focal length and tightness into your images.
The Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8 IS II USM lens will be one of the most expensive lenses in your kit. But at that price, you’re going to expect a lot of images and build quality.
When it comes to building quality, it does deliver. It doesn’t feel flimsy and will survive your frequent trips to the field. It feels every bit like the $1900 lens that it’s advertised as.
But where it shines is the image quality. Images are sharp and rich in color. They don’t feel muted, and you can practically feel the colors pop into your eyes. The fast autofocus makes it easy to focus on a subject and get some great shots.
If you’re into architectural, macro, or wildlife photography, this is a great choice to go for. It’ll shine in bringing all those colors to life. Of course, there are vastly more expensive lenses that do the job much better. But this has more price-to-performance value than those other lenses.
If you’re in the market for a small, inexpensive, fast, and light lens, most photographers will point you towards one lens, the CAnon EF 50mm f/1.4.
But that’s for a reason. The lens does perform admirably for the size and price. At $330, it’s one of the most affordable lenses on this list, and it’s a great tool to get started with photography.
Build quality is decent enough. It won’t awe you, but it also won’t fall off and break with a few uses in the field. You can take it and have it survive a few bumps and bruises without shattering.
Since it is so lightweight, it’s not that much of a bother to carry around. You can even shove it into your jacket pocket if you’re in a hurry to get somewhere, then you can shove this into your jacket pocket and not worry about having to carry a case.
At $330, it’s an amazing lens to have, whether you’re a beginner or professional.
The Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM Zoom Lens is one of the best lenses in Canon’s lineup. At $1000, it’s one of the more affordable lenses in this lineup.
This is a professional grade lens, and the build quality shows that. It’s not meant for beginners since the plethora of shooting options and controls will be confusing to them.
Architectural photography often requires a lens that does wide-angle shooting, and this lens delivers in spades. This allows you to capture a lot of subject matter with very little working area. If you find yourself frequently in tight spaces looking for that perfect shot, then this is the lens for you.
But keep in mind that this isn’t exactly beginner friendly. So if you already have experience with photography, then this is a lens that you’ll be glad you picked up.
Tilt-shift lenses can be a hit or miss for most people, but the Canon TS-E 17mm f/4L lens stands firmly on the “hit” side of things. Priced at $1900, it’s not a cheap lens, but in the case of tilt-shift lenses, this is a pretty affordable category.
This is technically Canon’s widest tilt-shift lens ever. It also earns the title of being one of the only 17mm lenses made. So if you need a lens with a very small focal length, then there are few options better than this.
One of the best features of the Canon TS-E 17mm is how well it controls chromatic aberration. It doesn’t introduce weird colors into your photographs, and any inconsistencies are unseen.
Talking about contrast and colors, the TS-E 17mm also performs well here. It’s got great color range with high levels of contrast. Colors pop well in the shots that you take.
All in all, the Canon TS-E17mm f/4L, should you choose to buy it, is a great addition to your kit, and will serve you well.
A good lens is paramount for good photography. No matter how great a photographer you are, there’s only so much that you can do with bad gear. If you’re looking at architectural photography, then remember to get a wide angle lens that can fit into some tight corners to capture as much of the subject matter as possible in one shot. Most of the lenses above do just that.