An interior photographer’s kit bag is a wonderful box of tricks but one of the most important pieces of equipment in there is their choice of lenses. In this post I’m going to take you into my choice of lenses which I take for every interior photography job.

Canon 16-35mm f/2.8 lll USM

If I could only have one lens for all my interior photography, then I would choose the Canon EF 16-35 mm f/2.8L III USM

It’s the lens I started out with before I began purchasing any of the specialist interior photography lenses listed below and if you were just starting out on your interior photography journey or your budget is tight then it is the one lens I would recommend you purchasing first.

It gives you a great usable range of 16-35mm on a full frame camera which will allow you to capture great wide angles of almost any room and also get in tighter to capture vignettes and details when needed.

If you’re on a cropped or APSC camera you’ll be looking at a range of around 24-52.5mm. 24mm is considered the golden focal length in interior photography as you’re going to be able to fit most rooms in and also suffer a lot less distortion than going as wide as 16mm.

I wouldn’t recommend going any wider than 16mm for interior photography as it’s going to become to look unnatural and anything closer to the camera is going to suffer from some major perspective distortion, making it look really elongated and much bigger than in real life.

Canon 16-35mm f/2.8 lll USM specifications

Lens construction (elements/groups) – 16/11
No. of diaphragm blades – 9
Minimum aperture – 22
Closest focusing distance (m) – 0.28
Maximum magnification (x) – 0.25
Filter diameter (mm) – 82
Max. diameter x length (mm) – 88.5 x 127.5
Weight (g) – 790

Canon 24-105mm f/4 IS ll USM

If there comes a time when you need to get in a little tighter, then the Canon EF 24-105 mm f/4L IS II USM should be the second lens on your shopping list.

Don’t worry about the fact it doesn’t include the wider f2.8 aperture like the much more expensive 24-70mm f2.8.  You’re (hopefully) never going to be using that selling point as most of the time you will be on a tripod in the f8-f11 range and I’ve personally not found the jump in image quality to be that great that it demands the extra ~£800.

I would recommend picking up a second hand version of the original copy of this lens if you’re tight on cash. 

The mark 2 does include image stabilisation and lets you lock the lens at certain focal points but again the image quality is what we’re concentrating on and you’re not going to get much use out of image stabilisation on a tripod.  

Canon 24-105mm f/4 IS ll USM specifications

Lens construction (elements/groups) – 17/12
No. of diaphragm blades – 10
Minimum aperture – 22
Closest focusing distance (m) – 0.45
Maximum magnification (x) – 0.24
Filter diameter (mm) – 77
Max. diameter x length (mm)83.5 x 118
Weight (g) – 795

Canon TS-E 17mm f/4

If I could only choose one “specialist” interior photography lens as a present to myself, this would be it.

Once you have taken the jump into tilt shift lenses for your interior photography it will be hard to go back to normal lenses.

They open up a whole new world of technical possibilities and image quality which set the benchmark for interior photography. I have the TS-E 17mm T/S with me at all times when shooting interiors.

It gives me a huge 104° diagonal angle of view and 12° of shift to make sure you really can fit everything in.

The benefits of a tilt shift lens is you can shift the lens up and down so when you have your camera set and level you only need to shift the lens up or down using the knobs on the side of the lens to capture a wider field of view, while keeping all your verticals straight.

If you tried doing the same with a traditional lens by tilting the lens up you would soon end up with wonky walls which can be a pain to fix in post if you’re stripping multiple images together.

The only downside to this lens is that it doesn’t have a filter thread as the front element is HUGE, so you need to buy a specific adapter if you want to be using any filters with it.  I use the LEE Filters Adapter Ring for Canon 17mm TS-E and also find the Lee Filters Wide Angle Lenshood really useful with this lens as it is prone to flare if there is even the smallest bit of light coming from the side.

One thing to note about all tilt shift lenses is they are fully manual focus, so if you’re not comfortable with that, they may not be for you.

Most cameras now have live view which allows you to zoom in and see what you’re focused on or even focus peaking which highlights where your focus is so it shouldn’t be a massive issue for the benefits it gives you.

Canon 17mm f/4 TS-E specifications

Lens construction (elements/groups) – 18/12
No. of diaphragm blades – 8
Minimum aperture – 22
Closest focusing distance (m) – 0.25
Maximum magnification (x) – 0.14
Filter diameter (mm) – 77
Max. diameter x length (mm)88.9 x 106.9
Weight (g) – 820

Canon EF 1.4x lll

Here’s where I’ve cheaped out on my kit. The Canon EF Mark III 1.4x Extender actually works with the TS-E 17mm giving you a poor man’s TS-E 24mm for 1/10th of the price of getting a new lens. Of course you do lose a stop of light (I don’t think I’ve ever wanted to shoot with this lens at f4 anyway) and the smallest amount of image quality but it’s a great way to get that extra lens in your bag for a relatively small investment.

Canon EF 1.4x lll specifications

Lens construction (elements/groups) – 7/3
Max. diameter x length (mm)72.0 x 27.2
Weight (g) – 225

Canon TS-E 45mm f/2.8

The Canon TS-E 45mm f/2.8 is a recent addition to my camera bag as I often found myself outside of the reach of the 24mm and wanted the ability to shift the lens which the first two lenses I mentioned don’t offer. It is an older lens and the build quality is definitely nowhere near the TS-E 17mm but it can also be picked up for near enough a quarter of the price, which – for the technical aspects it opens up – is a steal. It takes a standard 72mm filter, as well as not requiring a 32” bicep to handhold, so has none of the drawbacks of the bigger TS-E 17mm.

Canon TS-E 45mm f/2.8 specifications

Lens construction (elements/groups) – 10/9
No. of diaphragm blades – 8
Minimum aperture – 22
Closest focusing distance (m) – 0.4
Maximum magnification (x) – 0.16
Filter diameter (mm) – 72
Max. diameter x length (mm)81 x 90.1
Weight (g) – 645

What lenses do you have in your interior photography kit bag which you think should make the list? 

Drop a comment in the box below if you think there is one I’ve missed.

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