Best Canon Lenses For Architectural Photography

Photography is much more than just capturing subjects inside a frame. To be able to take beautiful photographs, you need the right equipment and lenses, especially if you’re planning on photographing architecture or real estate.

The different changes in lighting conditions, subject size, etc when capturing the interior and exterior of buildings often require the use of specific lenses, and finding the right one for your needs is always difficult.

But, if you’re someone who’s searching for the best canon lenses for architectural photography then there’s no need to worry! This article was made for people like you in mind.

We’ve done all the hard work of researching for you and have compiled a list of the best Canon lenses for architectural photography. Keep on reading to find a compilation of 5 of the best canon lenses available in the market that you can buy for architectural photography.

This lens is the first tilt-shift lens that the Canon brand has ever produced, and is still widely considered to be their best-performing tilt-shift lens to this day.

Most beginners and aspiring photographers aren’t usually all that familiar with the term “tilt-shift” so let’s put a few facts straight.

In simple terms, tilt-shift lenses are lenses that are able to do two different kinds of movements. Rotation of the lens plane in relation to the image plane (tilt) and movement of the lens in parallel with the image plane (shift).

Tilting is used to manage the orientation of the part of the image that is in focus. While shifting is used to alter the position of subjects in the frame without having to move the camera back, which is super helpful in preventing intersecting parallel lines. This is particularly helpful in capturing the exterior of tall buildings in architectural photography.

But due to being a tilt-shift lens, this type of lens is only limited to using only manual focus. On the bright side though, it allows photographers to focus according to their preferences and results in natural looking and pleasant perspective shots.

If you’re also particularly fond of macro photography, this lens will check all of your boxes and will help bring close subjects into incredible focus.

With a price tag of roughly $1,400 this lens might not exactly be budget friendly, but if you’re someone who wants nothing but the best image quality and doesn’t mind being stuck with manual focus,then this lens is definitely worth considering as your next purchase.

All in all, this lens is an excellent choice for architectural photography due to its ability to capture minute details and decor on buildings with ease.



Tilt-shift lens

Relatively expensive at $1400

Superb image quality for macro shots

Limited to manual focus only

Excellent image saturation and contrast

Lockable adjustments

The Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM Zoom lens is a professional-grade lens that is built like a tank and is often considered to be one of the best canon lenses for architectural photography.

This lens is ideal for architectural photography due to its wide-angle shooting. The lens is perfect for capturing huge buildings and other subjects in small working areas. If you constantly find yourself in jam-packed urban areas trying to search for the perfect shot, then this lens is definitely worth considering.

But it’s worth keeping in mind that this lens isn’t something we would recommend beginners to start with. The abundance of camera options and controls is something that would definitely confuse most aspiring photographers.



Durable build

Not exactly beginner-friendly

Takes stunning quality wide-angle shots making it ideal for urban areas

Relatively expensive

Canon’s Ultra Sonic Motors (USM) provides quick autofocusing

Heavy and bulky

Fast, budget-friendly, portable, and light are a few terms that can be used to describe the Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM lens. This reasonably priced lens typically costs around $319 and the low price tag makes it an attractive option for beginners and professionals alike.

The lens does an excellent job considering its price and size and the build quality is also pretty decent. Also due to its low weight, the lens is an absolute treat to carry around when trying to find the perfect building to photograph. The small size also makes it portable and feasible to carry around without having to worry about carrying its case.



Portable and affordable

Not exactly targeted for professionals

Easy to use

Lack of vibration reduction

Decent sharpness

The Canon TS-E 17mm f/4L might be one of the more expensive lenses on our list, but being one of Canon’s widest tilt-shift lenses ever produced means that it’s worth every penny.

It also belongs to the rare breed of 17mm lenses and is therefore perfect for photographers that want a small focal length.

The lens also does an amazing job at controlling chromatic aberration and never lets weird colors slide into your photos. The color range is excellent and has nice levels of contrast. Bright colors also pop nicely in all the shots that you take.



One of the few 17mm lenses available in the market

Cost and associated learning curve doesn’t make this lens good for beginners

Canon’s widest tilt-shift lens offering


Photos taken have amazing contrast and color

Protruding front element requires some care to prevent scratches and bumps

Solid construction and build quality

If you’re someone who knows his way around DSLRs and the basics of taking good pictures, this lens might be a good addition to your arsenal.

This manual focus lens allows you to take amazing panoramic wide-angle shots, making it an excellent choice for covering wide interiors or large exteriors of architecture in a single shot.

Being priced at around $900 means that it’s not exactly what you would classify as cheap but the performance you receive from the lens is nothing short of incredible.



Breathtaking image quality

Manual focus

Decent build quality

Knobs tend to get loose if you’re not careful and allow dust to settle inside

Minimal distortion in images

Not weather sealed

Superb sharpness

Relatively expensive