The Best Lens for Food Photography

the best lens for food photography

Have you ever considered what the best lens for food photography would be? Food photography has become a popular genre of photography with all the Instagram and Pinterest feeds filling our heads with tasty recipes.

Whether you enjoy taking food photography for yourself or as a career, a few things are important for great food photography shots. But one of the most important would be choosing the right full-frame camera lens.

In this article, we will discuss some of the best food photography lenses that can fit any budget! We even dive into tilt-shift lens ideas that come in handy when shooting those tough to get food photography angles. This article will make your life easier when it comes to purchasing lenses and finding a good lens in general.

Crop Sensor Cameras Explained

Before we start talking about food photography lenses, it’s best that you understand what a crop factor is. If you have a full-frame camera, this is not so much an issue; you will just need a full-frame lens to go with the camera. But crop factors come into play when talking about cropped sensor cameras. The SLR sensor is the equivalent of a 35mm frame of a film camera.

If you buy a more expensive camera, you will end up with a full-frame sensor, which will capture everything you are seeing on your viewfinder. However, cropped sensor cameras were created to provide a more affordable camera on the market.

A cropped sensor camera isn’t able to capture everything in the frame, so it will blow up the image when shooting it and won’t be the same image you see through your viewfinder. So make sure you check if you have a cropped or full-frame camera before buying any lenses. You want to make sure your lens is the right one for your camera.

Read our detailed guide on cropped vs. full-frame sensor cameras to learn more.

lens for food photography.

Important Lens Features

These are some important features you will want to include in your search for the best lens for food photography. Whether you have a large or small budget, try to look for each of these things when investing in any lens, whether it be a zoom lens, macro lens, or wide-angle lens.

Large Aperture

You will want to create beautiful bokeh in your food photos, and any great lens for this will have a large aperture setting. Look for f/2.8 or more for superb image quality. This is one of the top things food photographers look for in their food photography lenses, no matter the brand.

Quality Glass

Lenses for food photography should include the highest quality of glass. This is even more important than the camera body in many instances. You want your food photography to be crystal clear, and that requires high-quality glass.

cropped image of a lens.

Image Stabilization

If you want your food photography to soar above your rivals, it’s important your lens comes with image stabilization. When you shoot food photography, you may have tricky angles or low light situations in a restaurant. This is why you need your lens to come with image stabilization to counterbalance any blurry photos. Optical image stabilization will be key for great food photography.

Sharp Focus

With food photos, it’s all about focus. You are getting super close to food and need the images to be as sharp as possible so that they appear appetizing and like you could eat them right there off the photo. Look for a hybrid image stabilizer for the best results.

Types and Uses of Lenses for Food Photography

Each lens holds a different purpose, whether you are shooting overhead shots or close-ups of food photography. The same lens may not work in an overhead position as it does in a zoom position. Let’s look at the uses of each lens that work well on full-frame cameras or a cropped sensor camera body.

Prime Lenses

prime lenses for taking photos of food.

Prime lenses are lenses that do not move like a zoom lens. They have one focal length that provides high image quality and sharpness. Many food photographers prefer to shoot with prime lenses for sharp images and affordability. You will spend less than the more over-priced zoom lenses by investing in a prime lens.

The best lenses that are considered prime include the 80/85/50/and 100mm. These lenses for food photography work great because of the amazing bokeh and lightweight materials.

The 50mm prime lens is perfect for food photography because what you see in your camera is what you get. It’s great for overhead shots and capturing beautiful natural light. As a food photographer, it is one of my favorites.

Macro Lenses

macro lenses.

Macro lenses are perfect for getting in super close to your food subjects. A zoom lens may become blurry when you get too close to your subject, but macro lenses are designed specifically to help you get up close and personal, making it a great lens for food photography. Macro photography is fun for capturing details and animals as well.

Zoom Lenses

person taking photo of food with a zoom lens.

Zoom lenses are fantastic for food photography because you can easily change your focal length and zoom range. At different focal lengths, your food photography will change. But beware of camera shake the bigger the zoom.

It may prove difficult to hold your camera steady if it has a massive focal length range. Many food photographers choose the 24-70mm f/2.8 as their best food photography lens. It also serves well for portraits and events.

Tilt-Shift Lens

tilt shift lenses.

This lens is one of the most expensive you can invest in for your food photography. But it’s also one of the best lenses for food photographers because it allows you to choose exactly where your focus area will be. Other lenses aren’t as selective, making them high on the quality lenses range.

Nikon Lenses

Now it’s time to dive into some of our favorite food lenses, depending on the brand. Let’s get started with the Nikon lenses. Nikon has been around for decades and is a top runner when it comes to any genre of photography. Let’s take a look at their best lenses for food photography.

Nikon AF-S DX 40mm f/2.8G Micro

nikon AF-S DX 40mm lens for shooting food.

This lens provides the perfect focal length for capturing delicious textures and ingredients. This budget-friendly macro lens provides close-up shots of a minimum distance of 16cm.

The lightning-fast aperture of f/2.8 gives you that beautiful bokeh you have been dreaming of. The camera is compact and ready to travel, weighing only around 8oz.

Pros

  • Very Light
  • Precise Focus
  • Beautiful depth of field
  • Affordable macro lens
  • 6.3″ focusing distance

Cons

  • There is no image stabilization to avoid blurry photos

Nikon 50mm f/1.8G

50mm lens by Nikon.

Move over kit lenses and check out this nifty fifty lens! With its prime focal length, it’s a camera that every food photographer should add to their collection. The aperture of f/1.8 provides incredible bokeh, and it’s compact enough to fit in any camera bag.

It has lightning-fast autofocus and allows you to get close enough that you will feel like you are shooting with a tilt-shift lens.

Pros

  • Amazing autofocus
  • Great bokeh with f/1.8
  • Affordable full-frame prime lens
  • 17″ minimum focus distance.
  • Lightweight

Cons

  • Lacking image stabilization

Canon Lenses

Like Nikon, Canon produces some of the best lenses on the market. But when it comes to food photography which one should you pick? Well, here are our top picks for your next Canon lens.

Canon EF-S 35mm f/2.8 Macro IS STM

35mm Canon lens.

This expensive lens serves its price with its optical sharpness. It provides a short minimum focusing distance that every food lens needs. This is why it’s one of the favourite lenses among food photographer pros.

It is designed for cropped sensor camera bodies, and it also comes with image stabilization that works well in low-light situations. Even more impressive, it is lightweight and compact with a 1:1 macro offer.

Get the camera angle you need with one of the best lenses for food photography. This is one lens you do not want to leave out of your bag.

Pros

  • Macro lens capabilities
  • Compact and easy to pack
  • Fast Aperture
  • Affordable
  • Image stabilization included

Cons

  • Not water resistant

Canon RF 35mm f/1.8 Macro IS STM

best canon lens for food photography.

This affordable Canon RF mount macro lens is one of the best lenses for food photographers around the world. It’s so small it only weighs 10.4oz and comes with a maximum aperture of f/1.8, making it above the average kit lens.

Get the shallow depth of field you are dreaming of while being able to get close enough to your food to capture any angle you desire. The details you capture will be mouth-watering, and it comes with a 2:1 macro ratio as well.

Pros

  • f/1.8 aperture for great bokeh
  • Image stabilization
  • Affordable
  • Tilt lens capabilities

Cons

  • Not water resistant

Sony Lenses

After covering the big guys like Nikon and Canon, it’s important that we also talk about some of the other hard hitters in the world of food photography lenses. Check out this full-frame sensor lens by Sony for your next shoot.

Sony E 30mm f/3.5 Macro

30mm Macro Sony lens for food photography.

This lens is made for mirrorless cameras and weighs only 10.2oz making it lightweight but also durable. Its aperture comes in at f/3.5, which isn’t one of our fastest lenses but definitely still provides wonderful bokeh.

Its minimum focus distance comes in at a super close 3.74″ combined with some of the best glass on the market!

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Fits in your pocket
  • Affordable
  • 3.74″ minimum focus distance

Cons

  • Not the fastest aperture

Fuji Lenses

Fuji cameras have become increasingly popular for their lightweight bodies and mirrorless capabilities. Let’s see which lens works best when it comes to food photography.

Fujifilm XF 60mm f/2.4 R Macro

Fuji 60mm lens.

This macro lens works great for food photography thanks to the 60mm focal distance, which is the equivalent of 900mm FF on a cropped sensor. The images come out super sharp and with perfect compression. The focus is not as fast as we normally love, but it allows for ultra close-up shots at a minimum focus distance of 10.6.

Pros

  • Macro capabilities
  • Fast Aperture
  • Lightweight
  • Minimum focus distance of 10.6″

Cons

  • Not weather resistant

Tamron Lenses

Tamron lenses provide great savings when it comes to investing in glass for your camera. Have a look at this lens if you are looking for an off-brand lens that won’t break the bank.

Tamron SP 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro VC USD

Tamron 90mm lens for food photography.

This prime lens is made for full-frame cameras and features a super-fast aperture of f/2.8. The sharpness is incredible, and even better, it gives you a minimal focal distance of 11″.

With this compression rate, your food will be highlighted by the compressed background without much effort. Also, you won’t have to worry about low light situations while using Tamron’s image stabilization.

The lens weighs about 1.34lb and goes well with a Nikon or Canon full-frame sensor camera.

Pros

  • Image Stabilization
  • Great for low light situations
  • Dustproof
  • Very sharp images
  • 11″ minimum focus distance

Cons

  • Older lens means slower focus

Conclusion

We hope you enjoyed this article on the best lens for food photography! Did we miss your favorite lens? We love to hear from you in the comments! If you have a favorite, feel free to share the info below so that we can keep helping our readers get the best info online!

Lastly, if you are looking for more information to inspire you, check out this article on the best food photographers to follow in 2022! Their images are sure to inspire you, and who knows, maybe they even need an assistant!

Also, don’t forget to check out these online courses for food photography. With so many options online, it may feel difficult to choose the best course for you. So we have broken them down by website and what they offer so that you can make the right choice for yourself!

equipment for food photography.

FAQs

Do you still have questions about food photography lenses? Well, we got answers for you! Here are some of the top questions that come up when it comes to choosing the best lens for your next shoot!

Which tilt-shift lens is best for food photography?

The Nikkor PC-E 45mm Micro 2.8 and the Nikkor PC-E 85mm 2.8 are favorites among food photographers. They are very expensive but worth the investment when you see the results! They also make it much easier to capture any angle without a pesky camera shake.

Which focal length is best for food photos?

Just like portrait photography, 50-90mm is the focal perspective for food photos. This length is great for compressing backgrounds and making your images pop with beautiful crystal clear details. Try starting with this focal length on your next shoot for the best images.

How do I take better food photos?

If you want to take better food photos, remember these key elements. Place your food next to an indirect natural light source. Next, scatter some of the extra elements around your main subject, such as blueberries for blueberry muffins. Lastly, move around your food and find the best angle, considering if shooting from above is one of them.

How do I choose which lens is best for me?

Like choosing a camera body, you should take the time to choose a camera lens. Lenses are a long-term investment and will last longer than your camera body if you take good care of them. Head over to Google and look up some of the lenses you want to invest in. After completing more research online, you should go to your local camera store and rent the lens before spending thousands on it. You will get a real feel for how the lens works and shoots before spending all that money.

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