Smaller, lighter, cheaper and better image quality. The current dream combination for real estate professionals, consisting of camera and lens, has finally become true with Nikon* since the end of May 2023. The new couple Nikon Z 30 + Nikkor Z 12-28 mm combines all the technical and tactile characteristics that real estate agents expect from their equipment when it comes to produce their real estate photos by themselves.
They had to wait for a long time for this technology in this size and price range. Bit by bit, however, what has now come true was realized.
Step by Step for the combo Nikon Z 30 and Nikkor Z 12-28 mm
It begins with a paradigm change towards a new camera technique. Also at the two market leaders Nikon and Canon will replace the 70-year-old SLR technology with mirrorless system cameras, after competitor Sony has been celebrating successes in this sector for several years. Smaller and lighter cameras can now be produced, but with a larger lens mount, which in turn leads to better image quality. But Nikon’s Z 6 and Z 7 models, are slightly oversized for real estate agents. They are still too big, too heavy and too expensive. With their large sensors, they are aimed at very ambitious amateur photographers and professionals. The new lenses also deliver very good performance. However for the start there are only three lenses for the Z cameras, none of which is suitable for real estate photography (today there are over 30 excellent lenses in different focal lengths).
The waiting for a more affordable, smaller and lighter camera with a smaller APS-C sensor is rewarded a year later when the Nikon Z 50 is launched. However, there is also a problem with lens supply for the real estate photography genre. But Nikon has developed an FTZ adapter for its system cameras, with which (almost) all old SLR lenses can also be used on the new cameras without loss of functionality – including the Nikkor 10-24 mm, which is popular in real estate photography. A small drawback with this combination: The space and weight advantage has almost disappeared. At least brokers can benefit from the new camera technology and take excellent real estate photos with it. Exactly this combination of 3 has since been the top recommendation on this website – without any doubt, because I personally used it as demo equipment in my photo workshops from June 2020.
Nikon is releasing a very special mirrorless system camera with an APS-C sensor that corresponds to the performance of the Z 50. However, this camera has been given a retro design. The chassis, controls and even the logo lettering pay tribute to the legendary and durable analog Nikon FM 2 from the 1980s. To complete the illusion, some lenses are also given a retro style. Later, the camera was also available with a black housing and colored covers, so that it quickly became a sought-after design object. Since it is technically similar to the Z 50, it can also be used for real estate photos.
Already awaited, a suitable wide-angle lenses for real estate photography is announced at the end of 2021. Nikon’s so-called lens roadmap indicates, that a zoom lens with a focal length range of 12-28 mm is planned. However, there is no launch date.
In the meantime, Nikon is also adding to their small cameras. With the Z 30, the little sister of the Z 50 comes onto the market in mid-2022. It is even smaller and lighter because, among other things, it has no viewfinder box, but it does not lack image quality and features. It’s often advertised as a tool for vloggers and videographers. It certainly is a sharp tool there, but it is just as excellent in classic photography.
A year and a half has passed since the announcement. The wait is finally over. From May the 12-28 mm real estate photography lens for cameras with a small sensor will finally be available. That’s why I recently updated my equipment recommendation again. I have now tested the combination Nikon Z 30 and Nikkor Z 12-28 mm and found it to be very good.
Size matters – and Weight and Price
The comparison clearly shows why the camera-lens pair Nikon Z 30 + Nikkor Z 12-28 mm can bring a smile to the faces of real estate agents taking photos.
We look at three stages of development here, for the sake of simplicity from my recommendations for real estate photography.
|1. Original State
SLR camera and SLR lens (since 2013)¹
|ca. 1,500 EUR
|2. Interim Solution
System camera, adapter and SLR lens (from 2020)²
|ca. 1,950 EUR
|3. Top Combination
System camera and system lens (from 2023)³
|ca. 1,080 EUR
What has to be done now? Adjust your equipment!
If you are already thinking of an equipment update, you can now consider taking your equipment to a new level. The steps to consider now are buying:
- Camera: Nikon Z 30 (or Nikon Z 50 or Nikon Z fc)
- Wide-angle lens for taking pictures of interiors and exteriors: Nikkor Z 12-28 mm
- Normal lens for detail shots: Nikkor Z 40 mm
- Sell old SLR equipment. Depending on the condition and number of items, you can use the profit to finance a significant part or the entire new investment.
Note: You may need to update the firmware on a brand new Z 30, Z 50, or Z fc if you want to take advantage of the wide-angle zoom lens’s new power zoom capabilities. Here’s how to do it : Z 30 | Z 50 | Z fc. However, real estate photos can also be taken without this function.
What if you are a Canon photographer? Then just be patient! At the moment, the interim solution „system camera + adapter + single-lens reflex lens“ is still relevant for you. There are only three RF-S lenses for the smaller APS-C sensor of R mirrorless cameras, but none that offer wide enough angles for real estate photography. The rumor mill is already talking about a future 11-22 lens in the coming calendar year, but has not given a release date. However, you could switch to the larger and more expensive full-frame solutions.
Sony photographers are reasonably safe because their camera-lens system from my equipment recommendation is okay. However, the α6400 camera has not seen a successor for over four years. Its sister models α6100 and α6600 presented in mid-2019 did not show any usable advantages for our photo genre, and the ZV-E10 and FX-30, which were thrown onto the market later, were explicitly aimed at vloggers and videographers. An Alpha α6700 or α7000 has also been around the rumor mill for a long time.
While this post is about Nikon gear, I don’t think it counts as an advertisement. I am not receiving any payment or other benefits from Nikon. The recommendations are based on experience with the brand and its products and have been made with equipment that I have bought by myself. The product links point to Amazon. Amazon pays me a tiny bonus for orders through these links.