Hey guys and welcome to the series of food photography tips and tutorials by I Quick Food. During the following weeks we’ll post some, hopefully, great articles that will help you start off or greatly improve your food photography skills.
What is the Best Camera and Lens for Food Photography?
Let’s get into action.
Food photography is one of those branches of photography where the camera or lens really matters. As a “young” photographer you may not yet be able to discern one lens from another, or see any difference between a fixed focal lens or one intended for zoom. The market is pack loaded with all kinds of DSLR cameras, SLT, Mirror-less, and many other strange names for a beginner. But the best choice is to keep it simple.
I said that in this field the best gear matters. Probably, you’re thinking: ok, this already sounds very expensive. Well here’s where we come in and give you the best possible options, so that your money will be well spent on precisely the camera you need.
I am however going to say that you will need a DSLR camera for this kind of photography. I am fully aware of the improvements made in the last few years in camera technology, and I know that even cheap cameras will take good pictures, but they don’t have the advantages that DSLRs offer for this specific application. Period.
Before we discuss about these advantages let me tell you what I think is the best gear for you as a beginner or intermediate food photographer: it’s simple The best choice is the cheapest DSLR camera body + a standard 50mm f1.8 lens.
That’s it. This the best combination of body + lens that will suffice for years. Even as you progress as a photographer, this camera system will allow you to expand, use flashes, sosf. Heck, I’ve been shooting for almost 10 years now and, even though I’m not using the cheapest camera body, and I have specialised tilt-shift lenses, I still have the 50mm f1.8 lens and I use it a lot.
The advantages of this camera system are:
– Great luminosity from the f1.8 aperture. This allows you to take pictures handheld, even in a darker room, near a window thus giving you the chance to photograph from different angles fast, before the meal dulls out. It’s crucial to be fast, because food only looks good for just a couple of minutes, sometimes even seconds. You won’t get that mobility when using a tripod.
– Amazing image quality. The sensors of modern day cameras are amazing+ usually the 50mm lenses from each company are very sharp and this allows for the best final image quality.
– Shallow depth of field. This allows you to focus on the food and bring everything else in the frame out of focus. You simply can’t get that effect from a point and shot camera. By doing this you make sure that the main element in your shot pops out.
– Normal point of view. It’s well known that the 50 mm lenses are roughly close to the angle at which the human eye sees. This means that if you cover one eye, you’ll see about the same field of view as that a 50 mm lens sees. This makes food look better as the final image will look “natural”.
– A fixed 50mm lens is almost distortion free. This is a great advantage in food photography as it gives you an image that resembles reality. Zoom lenses have some degree of barrel distortion which means that they will exaggerate the size of the objects in the middle of the frame while “pulling” the edges of the frame.
– Finally this system allows for improvements, as you’ll be able to get more lenses, be able to use off camera flash. These are all things that can’t be done with point & shoot cameras.
Now, the difficult part begins. Choosing a brand for the camera and lens combination.
The best camera for food photography as a beginner would be the bigger brands as Canon, Nikon or Sony. They offer a great variety of lenses and are very reliable.
By brand, your best camera and lens options would be:
Best Camera Best Lens
Canon EOS Rebel T5 1200D Canon EF-S 50 mm f1.8
Nikon D3300 Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 50mm f/1.8G
Sony SLT-A58 Sony DT 50mm f/1.8 SAM
These will ad up to about $550- $600. If that’s over your budget, you can get great second hand equipment at almost half price. If it’s under your budget, then the sky is the limit.
That’s it for today. Take care.
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Best Camera for Food Photography Beginners:
Best Lens for Food Photography Beginners:
Examples of photos taken with 50mm lens: