What is the Best Lens for Architectural Photos?

Architectural photography, which involves photos of interiors and exteriors, is the oldest form of photography.

Since architectural structures are all around us, photographers constantly capture monuments and buildings. 

To get the best of these images, you need a good lens. With many lenses available, you don’t want to have images that alter the architect’s initial geometrics.

For this reason, this guide gives you an insight into the four best lenses for taking architectural photos, along with their key features, pros, and cons.

What is the best lens for architectural photos?

Best camera lens for architectural photography

The best lens for architectural photography is a wide-angle lens.

It’s built to capture pictures of large objects, making it suitable for getting an entire structure into a single shot. 

1.Nikon NIKKOR AF-S 16-35mm f/4

Nikon NIKKOR AF-S 16-35mm f/4 lens captures architectural structure to provide clear, detailed images.

Its long focal length of 16mm to 35mm makes it ideal for architectural photography because it can capture an entire scene in one frame.

The Vibration Reduction feature provides stability to curb blurriness for razor-sharp photos.

It visualizes all the architectural details to appear as seen by the naked eye.

This lens has a silent wave motor for its autofocus feature, which gives you precise focus on the subject to deliver a sharp outcome.

The aspherical elements work with the other optics to eliminate chromatic aberrations, while the ED elements remove flare and ghosting for improved color and contrast.


  • Wide-Angle lens
  • 16mm to 35mm focal length
  • Vibration Reduction 
  • Image Stabilization
  • Nanocrystal coating
  • AF silent wave motor
  • 3 Aspherical elements and two ED glasses
  • Two focus modes


  • Unwavering sharpness
  • Wide-angle of view
  • Detail-oriented
  • Optically stabilized design


  • Soft edges

2. Canon 16-35mm f4

The Canon 16-35mm f4 lens suits architectural photography thanks to advanced technologies.

It has a built-in image stabilizer that controls vibrations to minimize blurriness. Its USM autofocus ring provides a fast, precise focus for sharp and clear images.

While the focal length takes minor details of an image without altering its quality, the aperture boosts low-light performance.

The focal length also ensures a comprehensive view while capturing all corners of the architectural structure.


  • Wide-angle zoom lens
  • 16mm to 35mm focal length
  • F4 maximum aperture
  • Optical image stabilizer
  • Full-time manual focus
  • 9-blade rounded diaphragm
  • 3 Aspherical elements and 2 UD glasses
  • Autofocus Ring USM


  • Versatile focal length
  • Solid, strong build
  • Weather sealing
  • Less chromatic aberration


  • Vignettes and distortion

3. Sigma 14-24mm f/2.8

Sigma 14-24mm f/2.8 lens’ features make it a good choice for architectural photography.

Its 14-24mm focal length captures more details in one shot, and the wide frame covers an entire structure within a single frame without any distortion.

The lens’ aperture supports performance in low-lighting shoots like interior architecture, while the FLD and SLD elements reduce flaring and ghosting outdoors.

If in bright lighting, the lens has an anti-reflective property that produces clear images without glare.


  • Multilayer coating
  • 11-blade diaphragm
  • AF stepping motor
  • Built-in Autofocus lock
  • Water repellent coating
  • Full-time manual focus
  • Three Aspherical, FLD, and SLD elements


  • Sharp optical performance
  • Fast, accurate autofocus
  • Bright aperture
  • Splash and dust resistant


  • Barrel distortion

4. Tokina 11-16mm f2.8

Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 improved optical performance makes it ideal for architectural photography.

Its aperture gives effective results in interior architectural photography, while the long focal length provides a broad view.

The lens has a 9-blade diaphragm which defocuses the background for a beautiful bokeh effect. 

This lens has two SD and aspherical elements, which eliminate chromatic aberration.

It also comprises a multilayer coating to minimize glare and light reflection.

What’s better, the lens has an auto-to-manual switch that contains a ring control.


  • Aperture range of f/2 8 to f/22
  • Two aspherical and SLD elements
  • Internal focusing motor
  • Manual focus
  • Multilayer coating
  • 9-blade diaphragm
  • Manual focus


  • Excellent optical quality
  • Fast constant aperture
  • Solid build quality
  • Good image quality


  • No image stabilization

Best lens for architectural photos: Buying guide

best camera lens for architectural photography: nikon, canon, sigma, tokina

When buying a lens for architectural photos, there are some factors you should consider to get a gear that delivers the best results.

These include:

Type of lens

When buying a lens, you have to choose between standard, telephoto, and wide-angle.

For architectural photography, the angle of view is important.

A standard lens has an angle of 50 to 55 degrees, almost similar to the human eye.

A longer focal length gives a narrow-angle of view for a telephoto lens.

A 300mm and 70mm lens results in 8-degree and 34-degree angles of view.

The best lens for architectural photography is a wide-angle lens. It has a focal length of below 33mm, resulting in a wide-angle view.

This wide view gives you more scenes in a single frame.

Focal length

The focal length determines the angle of view of your lens and the width of an image.

While a short focal length delivers wide images, a long one lets you zoom in to get a narrow and close-cropped picture.

When buying a lens for architectural photography, choose one with a longer focal length to zoom in on distant structures.


Every lens comes with an aperture range through which you can adjust the amount of screen you need in focus.

A low aperture gives you a small area of the scene in focus. You’ll have more control when using a lens with a larger maximum range.

It maintains fast exposures under low lighting, making it easy to shoot interior architecture photos without a flash.

Final Thoughts

Architectural photography is a doorway to creativity. It offers so much variety in terms of subject and location.

The goal is to convey an architect’s original envisage by replicating how the image looked when an architect first drew it on paper.

Our four best lenses above give you architectural photos with perfect vertical lines without any added distortion.

Each lens’s unique features work together to provide you with desired results.

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