Food photography has become an increasingly popular genre in recent years, with the rise of social media platforms and food blogs. Whether you’re a professional food photographer, a food blogger, or just someone who loves to document their culinary creations, the right lens can make all the difference in capturing stunning and appetizing images.
When it comes to food photography, the right lens can help you achieve a variety of effects, from capturing the intricate details of food to creating a beautiful bokeh effect. Additionally, the right lens can help you achieve the proper depth of field and focal length necessary to make your food photos stand out.
There are a lot of different lenses on the market that can be used for food photography, and each has its own features and benefits. In this article, we’ll explore some of the best lenses for food photography, covering everything from wide-angle lenses to macro lenses and everything in between. Whether you’re shooting in a studio or on location, we’ll help you find the perfect lens to take your food photography to the next level.
So here’s our list of the best lenses for food photography, whatever your camera.
10 Best Lenses for Food Photography
1. Canon EF-S 60mm f/2.8 Macro USM
You’ll get a good 96mm focal length equivalent thanks to the 1.6x Canon APS-C crop factor — long enough to prevent any wide-angle distortion, but not so zoomed-in that it becomes awkward, especially when capturing table-top setups.
The 60mm f/2.8 macro lens can enlarge small items to real size, allowing you to emphasize culinary subtleties and highlight every single element.
The f/2.8 maximum aperture provides enough light to photograph handheld in excellent light, and it’s simple to create a blurred background to let your main ingredient stand out.
Furthermore, the lens is light and small, allowing you to operate it comfortably in any kitchen or studio.
2. Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM
The optics are outstanding, and the build quality is precisely what you’d expect from a Canon “L” (luxury!) lens. You may zoom in to 1:1 for gorgeous detail photographs, or take a step back to shoot photos that show the food in context.
The f/2.8 aperture lets you shoot handheld in low-light circumstances, while the image stabilization technology from Canon allows you to operate at ultra-slow shutter rates securely. The lens also uses lovely bokeh to distinguish the subject from the background.
Yes, the 100mm f/2.8L is a touch pricey, but it’s well worth considering for professional food photographers. If the L version is beyond your price range, consider the “regular” Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro USM. It may not be a fancy model, but it still produces stunning food photography (and for a much more affordable price).
3. Nikon AF-S 50mm f/1.8G
mirrorless cameras equally (though you’ll need an FTZ adapter to shoot it on the latter).
When capturing the shallow depth of focus food images, the rounded aperture blades provide a gorgeous circular bokeh – thus when shooting at the maximum aperture, and especially when coming up close, the results are amazing.
If you’re new to food photography, a 50mm lens on a full-frame camera is a fantastic place to start; the conventional focal length will give a field of vision that roughly matches the human eye, allowing you to safely travel back and forth between the food arrangement and the camera viewfinder.
The 50mm f/1.8 lens produces razor-sharp photographs and is incredibly portable (ideal for food photographers, particularly Instagrammers, who want to shoot on the move!).
If you possess a Nikkor full-frame mirrorless camera, you should think about getting the Nikkor Z 50mm f/1.2 S. It’s pricey, but it’s also quite powerful.
4. Nikon 60mm f/2.8G Macro
The 60mm f/2.8 lens, thankfully, provides genuine macro magnifications, allowing you to snap spectacular close-up photographs, while the 60mm focal length also allows for contextual images of food on the table. The lens is compatible with both full-frame and APS-C cameras, albeit the 90mm APS-C focal length is less useful for capturing ambient food images.
At f/2.8, you can anticipate a lovely bokeh effect, which is ideal for making your food shots stand out. Unfortunately, there is no image stabilization, so although you may be able to get away with handholding in bright light, a tripod should always be nearby.
5. Sony FE 90mm f/2.8 Macro G OSS
At 90mm, you can snap gorgeous photographs from afar – and owing to the lens’s 1:1 reproduction ratio, you can achieve exceptional detail.
If you like to shoot handheld, the built-in image stabilization will come in handy, and for food photographers who prefer to focus manually, there’s a large, gripping focus ring at the end of the barrel.
The 90mm f/2.8 lens is top-of-the-line optically, with high-quality components that decrease distortion and color fringing. While it is on the more expensive side, you get what you pay for – and with this lens, you get a lot.
6. Sony E 30mm f/3.5 Macro
The Sony 30mm has an f/3.5 maximum aperture, which, while not particularly fast, does help to keep the lens’s size and weight down, which is always useful when shooting handheld (though in low light, you’ll want to bring a tripod).
The Sony 30mm, like numerous other lenses on this list, has 1:1 focusing, allowing you to fill the frame with fine details from any dish. Of course, you can also take a step back to photograph the table, and the 30mm focal length may be used to shoot portraits, street scenes, and other subjects.
This lens is an excellent steal at slightly under $300.
7. Tamron SP 90mm f/2.8 Macro VC
Its components are coated to reduce color fringing and ghosting, and photos are dependably stunning, especially at f/2.8. And, with the VC (Tamron’s form of image stabilization), you can capture crisp images even in low light (while shooting in a dimly lit restaurant, for instance).
It’s worth noting that the Tamron 90mm f/2.8 is available in a variety of mounts, including Canon and Nikon – but the mounts are not interchangeable, so make sure you choose the right one.
8. Canon EF 24-70mm f/4L IS USM
Unfortunately, the 24-70mm lacks genuine macro capabilities, but it does have a 0.7x magnification ratio, which allows for some very beautiful close-ups. While the maximum aperture isn’t as large as the other options in this post, the five-stop image stabilization ensures sharp handheld photography in low light (though I’d recommend using a tripod when feasible).
Bottom line: For the aspiring food photographer looking for a more versatile lens, the Canon 24-70mm f/4L is an excellent choice. It’s also not too expensive, making it ideal for shooters wanting high-quality optics without breaking the budget.
9. Panasonic Lumix G Macro 30mm f/2.8 Asph Mega OIS
Micro Four Thirds camera has a full-frame equivalent focal length of 60mm, the Lumix 30mm f/2.8 delivers a very natural perspective for conventional food photography.
Don’t be fooled by the plastic construction; the 30mm f/2.8 produces incredibly crisp photos even at its widest aperture, and if you’re shooting in the studio, you don’t need tank-like build quality anyway.
Furthermore, the lens is tiny and lightweight, making it incredibly easy to use. It’s a terrific compact lens for recording meals for social media; when paired with a small camera like the Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark IV, you can have it in your backpack or around your neck all the time and it won’t even be noticeable.
And don’t worry if you want to shoot handheld; the lens has image stabilization and a large aperture, so you should be alright even in low light.
10. Nikon PC-E 85mm f/2.8D Macro
Tilt-shift lenses are well-known for their usage in architecture photography, but food photographers can benefit from them as well due to their ability to modify the focus plane (which allows you to extend the depth of field).
The Nikon 85mm f/2.8D is a tilt-shift lens with a good focal length for food photography, a wide maximum aperture, and close-focusing capabilities. If you’re a food photography expert searching for extra glass to improve your possibilities, I’d recommend checking out this lens.
On the other side, it’s rather expensive, and the ordinary food photographer won’t require the tilt-shift capabilities – so only spend if you’re certain you’ll use it.
What is the Best Food Photography Lens for you?
Choosing the ideal lens for food photography is difficult, and you should always think about the sort of photographs you want to capture before making a purchase.
If you operate in a studio, you’ll generally have lots of room, thus a larger focal length will suffice. Because you’ll have control over the illumination, a small maximum aperture isn’t such a significant concern.
On the other hand, if you work on location, you’ll be traveling into several kitchens with varying conditions; in this case, a flexible lens is essential.
Finally, keep your financial situation in mind. The lenses recommended in this article range in price from less than $300 to more than $2000, and while glass is crucial, there’s no need to overpay. Your investment should always be proportional to your degree of experience. Are you a newcomer or do you already have professional jobs? If you make a livelihood from food photography, you should think about investing in high-end lenses. Otherwise, stick to less expensive solutions.
Sure, here’s a buying guide to help you choose the best lens for your food photography needs:
- Focal Length: The focal length of your lens is an important factor to consider when it comes to food photography. A lens with a focal length of around 50mm is a good starting point, as it provides a natural field of view that is similar to the human eye. However, if you want to capture more detail, you may want to consider a macro lens with a focal length of 100mm or more.
- Aperture: The aperture of your lens determines how much light can enter the lens and how much of your image will be in focus. A wide aperture (such as f/1.8 or f/2.8) will allow more light to enter the lens and create a shallower depth of field, which can be useful for isolating your subject and creating a beautiful bokeh effect. However, if you want more of your image to be in focus, a smaller aperture (such as f/8 or f/11) may be more suitable.
- Image Stabilization: Image stabilization can be helpful when shooting in low-light situations or when using a longer focal length. It can help reduce camera shake and produce sharper images. If you plan on shooting handheld or in low light, consider a lens with image stabilization.
- Compatibility: Make sure the lens you choose is compatible with your camera. Different brands have different mounts and may not be compatible with each other.
- Price: Finally, consider your budget when choosing a lens. While there are many high-end lenses on the market, there are also plenty of affordable options that can produce great results. Consider how often you will use the lens and what features are most important to you before making a decision.
By considering these factors, you can choose a lens that will help you capture stunning and appetizing food photos.
In conclusion, choosing the right lens is essential for capturing great food photography. With so many options available on the market, it’s important to consider your needs and budget before making a decision. Factors such as focal length, aperture, image stabilization, and compatibility are all important to consider when choosing a lens for food photography.
Whether you’re a professional food photographer or just starting out, investing in a good lens can make a significant difference in the quality of your photos. By choosing the right lens for your needs and style, you can capture stunning and appetizing images that will make your viewers’ mouths water.