Architectural photography is a bit more than just 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, the 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 that doesn’t burn a hole in your wallet. But here are some good options.
Featured Image via James Bold@jamesbold
Best Canon Lenses for Architectural Photography
Table of Contents
- Best Canon Lenses for Architectural Photography
- 1. Canon TS-E 45mm f/2.8 – Best for Architectural Photography
- 2. Canon TS-E 90mm f/2.8 Tilt-Shift Lens – Best for Macro Photography
- 3. Canon EF 1.4x III Extender – Best for Extended Focal Length
- 4. Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM Lens
- 5. Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM Lens
- 6. Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L ll USM Zoom Lens
- 7. Canon TS-E 17mm f/4L Tilt-Shift Lens
- Best Canon Lens Comparison Table
- Buying Guide For The Best Canon Lens
- Frequently Asked Questions
- What factors should I consider before purchasing a Canon lens?
- How do I determine the purpose of the lens I need?
- How can I ensure compatibility between a lens and my Canon camera?
- Should I consider image stabilization in a lens?
- Are Canon’s L series lenses worth the investment for superior image quality?
Here’s the list of the 7 best Canon lenses for architectural photography, if you’re looking to up your architectural photography game.
1. Canon TS-E 45mm f/2.8 – Best for Architectural Photography
- Lens not Zoomable
- EF mount; tilt shift lens
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 beginner’s 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.
- Takes great panoramic shots with little distortion
- Incredible image quality
- Gives a very natural looking perspective
- Priced at $1400, it’s rather expensive for students.
2. Canon TS-E 90mm f/2.8 Tilt-Shift Lens – Best for Macro Photography
- EF mount; tilt shift lens
- Gaussian optics give high-quality delineation and...
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.
- Natural and fresh looking perspective thanks to the easy to use manual focus
- Panoramic images are great, with very little distortion of subjects
- Stunning image quality for macro photography
- Excellent contrast and saturation in images
- It’s not beginner friendly, especially not at $1400
3. Canon EF 1.4x III Extender – Best for Extended Focal Length
- Focal Length & Maximum Aperture Magnification:...
- Lens Construction of 7 elements in 3 groups
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.
A 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.
- At $430, it’s cheaper than having to buy a completely new high-end lens
- The EF 1.4x III tightens the image well, resulting in great images with good contrast
- It’s not a true replacement for a high-end lens
4. Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM Lens
- Constant f 2.8 Maximum Aperture throughout Entire...
- Canon’s Air Sphere Coating (ASC) Minimizes...
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.
- Takes amazing shots with deep colors and contrast
- Shines in architectural, macro, and wildlife photography
- At $1900, it can be a hard bargain for students and those who are looking to get started with photography
5. Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM Lens
- Standard focal length 50 millimeter lens is...
- Elements, Groups: 7 by 6, Diaphragm: Blades 8,...
If you’re in the market for a small, inexpensive, fast, and light lens, most photographers will point you toward 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.
The 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 a professional.
- Small, inexpensive, and compact makes it easy to carry around anywhere
- Takes adequately good pictures regardless of condition
- Easy to use
- It’s not a lens for hardcore professionals
6. Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L ll USM Zoom Lens
- 85 millimetre standard lens with f 1.8 maximum...
- Ring-type ultra-sonic monitor (USM) brings subject...
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.
- Great lens for architectural photography, especially in tight spaces
- Takes great wide-angle images without distortions or aberrations
- Tough build quality inspires confidence
- Can work as part of a kit, or a single lens that does everything equally well
- Tightens frames well for great subject capture
- Not a lens for beginners, since the features can be confusing
7. Canon TS-E 17mm f/4L Tilt-Shift Lens
- 85 millimetre standard lens with f 1.8 maximum...
- Ring-type ultra-sonic monitor (USM) brings subject...
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 a 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 a 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.
- One of the only 17mm lenses on the market
- The widest angle tilt-shift lens that Canon has
- Images have great contrast and color
- Not beginner friendly
Best Canon Lens Comparison Table
|Product||Dimensions||Focal Length Range||Weight||Aperture||Lens Type|
|Canon TS-E 45mm f/2.8||3.54 x 3.19 x 3.19 inches||45mm||1.42 pounds||f/2.8||Normal, Tilt-shift|
|Canon TS-E 90mm f/2.8 Tilt-Shift Lens||3.46 x 2.91 x 2.91 inches||90mm||1.25 pounds||f/2.8||Telephoto|
|Canon EF 1.4x III Extender||1.06 x 2.83 x 2.83 inches||30mm||7.9 pounds||f/2.8||Telephoto|
|Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM Lens||7.8 x 3.5 x 3.5 inches||70-200mm||3.18 pounds||f/2.8||Normal, Tilt-shift|
|Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM Lens||2.01 x 2.91 x 2.91 inches||50mm||10.2 pounds||f/1.4||Telephoto|
|Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L ll USM Zoom Lens||4.41 x 3.5 x 3.5 inches||16-35mm||1.4 pounds||f/2.8||Wide Angle|
|Canon TS-E 17mm f/4L Tilt-Shift Lens||4.21 x 3.5 x 3.5 inches||17mm||1.81 pounds||f/4||Normal, Tilt-shift|
Buying Guide For The Best Canon Lens
When it comes to photography, the lens you use can make all the difference in helping capture that perfect shot. This comprehensive guide delves into the factors you should consider before purchasing the best Canon lenses, ensuring that you make an informed decision tailored to your needs.
Purpose of the Lens
First and foremost, you’ll want to determine the primary purpose of the lens you’re looking to purchase. Canon produces a wide variety of lenses, each designed with specific uses and photographic styles in mind.
Ensure that the lens is compatible with your Canon camera body. Canon makes lenses for different camera systems, including EF, EF-S, RF, and EF-M mounts. Check the manufacturer’s specifications or consult a professional if you’re uncertain about the compatibility.
Length and Aperture
Understanding focal length and aperture is crucial when choosing a lens. Focal length, measured in millimeters (mm), refers to the distance between the lens and the image sensor. A shorter focal length provides a wider field of view, while a longer focal length narrows the field of view.
Aperture refers to the size of the lens opening, which determines the amount of light that enters the camera. Aperture is measured in f-stops, and a smaller f-number denotes a larger aperture, which allows for better low-light performance and a shallower depth of field.
Image stabilization is a useful feature when shooting handheld or in low-light conditions. Many Canon lenses offer built-in optical stabilization to help reduce camera shake and blur. This can be especially beneficial when using telephoto lenses or shooting video.
Autofocus performance may be a crucial factor depending on the type of photography you’re planning to do. Faster and more accurate autofocus is essential for wildlife, sports, and event photography. Many Canon lenses come with the company’s proprietary autofocus systems, such as STM (Stepper Motor) or USM (Ultrasonic Motor) technology, to ensure outstanding autofocus performance.
Optics and Image Quality
Canon offers a range of lenses with varying levels of optical quality. While Canon’s L series (luxury) lenses provide top performance and professional-grade construction, the company’s non-L series lenses can still deliver impressive results. Consider reviews and sample images to understand the level of image quality a lens provides.
Frequently Asked Questions
What factors should I consider before purchasing a Canon lens?
Before purchasing a Canon lens, it’s important to consider the primary purpose of the lens, compatibility with your Canon camera body, focal length, and aperture, image.
How do I determine the purpose of the lens I need?
To determine the purpose of the lens, consider the type of photography you plan to do. Different lenses are designed for specific uses and photographic styles.
For example, wide-angle lenses are suitable for landscapes, while telephoto lenses are ideal for wildlife or sports photography.
How can I ensure compatibility between a lens and my Canon camera?
Ensure compatibility by checking the manufacturer’s specifications or consulting a professional. Canon produces lenses with different mounts, such as EF, EF-S, RF, and EF-M mounts.
Make sure the lens you choose is designed for your specific camera system.
Should I consider image stabilization in a lens?
Image stabilization is beneficial when shooting handheld or in low-light conditions. It helps reduce camera shake and blur, resulting in sharper images.
Consider lenses with built-in optical stabilization, especially when using telephoto lenses or shooting video.
Are Canon’s L series lenses worth the investment for superior image quality?
Canon’s L series lenses are known for their top performance and professional-grade construction. They generally offer exceptional image quality and additional features.
However, non-L series lenses from Canon can still deliver impressive results. To determine the level of image quality a lens provides, consider reading reviews and analyzing sample images.
Selecting the best Canon lens for architectural photography requires careful consideration of several factors, including the lens’s purpose, compatibility with your camera body, focal length, aperture, image stabilization, autofocus performance, and optics.
From the above 7 Best Canon Lenses for Architectural Photography in 2023, three standout options emerge based on different factors.
The Canon TS-E 45mm f/2.8 is an ideal option for experienced photographers seeking impeccable image quality and wide-angle panoramic shots with minimal distortion.
The Canon TS-E 90mm f/2.8 Tilt-Shift Lens is a good option, offering a natural perspective, excellent image quality for macro photography, and the ability to capture intricate building details.
Lastly, the Canon EF 1.4x III Extender is the right choice for those looking to extend their focal length without investing in an expensive lens, making it a cost-effective solution for architectural and macro-based photography.
Investing in the right Canon lens for architectural photography can significantly enhance your ability to capture stunning images, allowing you to unleash your creativity and showcase the beauty of architectural structures with precision and artistry.
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10 thoughts on “7 Best Canon Lenses for Architectural Photography in 2023”
please feature another brand of camera for us to have more options. Your article is so informative it has widen my knowledge on lenses of canon cameras
I’m currently using the Canon TS-E 90mm f/2.8 Tilt-Shift Lens. I’ve been loving it so far. It’s kind of expensive but it’s a great investment.
The tilt shift lens is worth your money if you’re a professional photographer. But it’s really great for enthusiasts like me, my mentor allowed me to use his once, and the photos were stunning
The post has good reviews. It’s easier to identify the best canon lenses that best suits you.
these lenses are great especially the ones that can take panoramic images. Thats very useful coz it takes a wide view.
Canon does really a good job in developing top-notch lenses. The lenses have a lot of sophisticated features and just usually a monetary downside.
Canon TS-E 90mm f/2.8 Tilt-Shift Lens is great though the price which is peg at a whooping $1400 doesn’t come cheap but it of high performance and can be manually positioned for any angle of capture
Well stated,a good lens is what a good photographer needs no matter the skills he or she has acquired in photography over the years.Canon brand is noted for good quality products and their lenses will just give one the needed desire of owning a pocket-friendly lenses that are durable.
I’m just beginning to fund my hobby for photography, so i’m glad I saw this article before buying anything. I’ll try to order some new lenses soon.
I have not use this brand before but my bro does. I wonder what he can say about this? Never the less this is perhaps too high end for me.