Mariotama – So you are getting interested in food photography. Just like other photography niches, you will need good gear to make the most of it. Start with finding the best lens for food photography. Once you got the right lens, it will not let you down.
Before buying your lens for food photography, note that sensor size matters big time. You should also look at the lens as a long-term investment. Thus, you need to select it carefully.
To help you find your best partner, I have put together some of the most recommended food photography lenses. They come from different brands and are expected to suit every budget. Without further ado, let us check them out!
9 Best Lens for Food Photography
1. Best for Sharpness: Sony FE 50mm F/1.8
- Large F1.8 maximum aperture enables beautiful defocusing effects, 7-blade circular aperture creates beautiful defocused bokeh
- Compact, lightweight design ideal for full-frame E-mount cameras, Aspherical element controls spherical aberration and coma
- Double-gauss configuration suppresses field curvature & distortion, Metal mount adds solid durability as well as a sophisticated feel, Fast DC motor focus actuator system drives all lens groups
- 75mm (35mm equivalent) focal length with APS-C sensor. Angle of View (APS-C) : 32 degree
- In-the-box: Hood (ALC-SH146), Lens front cap (ALC-F49S), Lens rear cap (ALC-R1EM)
A 50mm prime lens should be your first option for food photography. This kind of lens is often considered as the “nifty-fifty” because it delivers respectable results for a very low price. This Sony FE 50mm F/1.8 is one of the best options in this category.
This lens is compact, lightweight, and inexpensive. Besides, it is also capable to accomplish tack-sharp focus and outstanding bokeh quality. Overall, it makes an ideal lens staple for every style, including food photography. This Sony FE 50mm F/1.8 is available on Amazon.
- This lens offers a large aperture range of F/1.8, making it capable to create beautiful defocusing effects.
- It comes with a compact and lightweight design that doesn’t feel cheap.
- It offers a very smooth and quick autofocus for its price.
- Some users report the autofocus is considerably slow.
2. Best Macro Lens: Nikon 60mm f/2.8G ED AF-S FX
- Lens Type: AF-S 60mm f/2.8G ED
- Designed for use with Nikon FX and DX digital SLR cameras including the D40, D60, D80, D90, and D300
- Focal length: 90mm effective for APS-C sensor cameras
- Ideal for closeup and macro photography; Minimum focus distance: 8 inches
- The item is made in Thailand
When photographing food, you tend to want less post-processing afterward. The Nikon 60mm f/2.8G lens can save you time from that post-processing. Thanks to its incredibly sharp lens and macro capabilities, it becomes the best for food photography.
With its macro qualities, you can expect impressive details of the food. You might be surprised by the artful and elaborate details that you can capture with this lens.
Moreover, with its f/2.8 maximum aperture, this lens can capture light pretty well. You can count on this lens to deliver perfect images even in low light situations. You can find the Nikon 60mm f/2.8G lens on Amazon.
- Its macro optics allows a short minimum focusing distance for capturing close-up shots perfectly.
- It makes a great value for its excellent image quality and price.
- The motion and mechanics when focusing are very smooth and quiet.
- Some chromatic aberration is found, especially when taking photos in high contrast areas. However, you can deal with it at post-processing.
3. Best at Focus Speed: Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro USM
- 100mm macro USM lens with f/2.8 maximum aperture for Canon SLR cameras
- Focal length: 100mm, Closest focusing distance : 1 foot (film plane to subject)
- Secondary diaphragm blocks stray light at f/2.8 for increased contrast, Ultra-sonic monitor provides outstanding autofocusing speed at all distances
- 3-group floating system for exceptional close-up performance; full-time manual focus
- Measures 3.1 inches in diameter and 4.7 inches long; weighs 21.1 ounces; 1-year warranty
This Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 is another lens, which you should keep right in your bag for spontaneous food photography sessions. Its longer focal length of 100mm allows you to move back and capture your food from a greater distance.
This way, you can eliminate distortions for full-frame cameras and considerably increase the appearance of the angle shots. In terms of its macro abilities, this Canon lens offers a 3-group floating system for impressive close-up performance and full-time manual focus.
- It delivers very quick focus for your convenience.
- This lens’ build feels sturdy and solid.
- It works well even in poor-lit places.
- The body is made of plastic, yet it does not feel cheap.
- A newer, updated model is available.
4. Best for DSLR: Nikon 105mm f/2.8G ED-IF AF-S VR
- Designed for close-up and macro photography; versatile enough for virtually any photographic situation
- Maximum Angle of View (FX-format): 23°20'.Features new VR II vibration reduction technology, Focal Length : 105 mm, Minimum Focus Distance : 1.03 ft( 0314 m)
- Nano-Crystal coat and ED glass elements that enhance overall image quality by further reducing flare and chromatic aberrations
- Includes an internal focus, which provides fast and quiet auto-focusing without changing the length of the lens. Maximum Reproduction Ratio : 1.0x
- Weighs 279 ounces, and measures 33 x 45 inches; Made In China ;5-Year Warranty (1-Year International + 4-Year USA Extension)
Nikon also has an excellent lens with a longer 105mm focal length and fantastic f/2.8 maximum aperture. It is designed for macro and close-up shooting, making it the best lens for food photography.
The combination of its long focal length and fast aperture allows this lens to capture fantastic images with a shallow depth of field. It also delivers natural background blur to emphasize the main object. Besides, it is capable to take impressive photos even in poorly lit conditions as well.
- This lens includes an internal focus to provide quick and quiet auto-focusing.
- The build quality is excellent and it feels good to hold as well.
- It is a versatile lens with an affordable price.
- This lens is still bigger and heavier than truly lightweight lenses out there.
5. Best Versatile: Canon TS-E 45mm f/2.8 Tilt-Shift
- Lens not Zoomable
- EF mount; tilt shift lens
- Floating optical system
- 45mm focal length
- f/2.8 maximum aperture
A zoom tilt-shift lens is another good option in terms of food photography. This kind of lens is widely used by pro food photographers. Canon TS-E 45mm f/2.8 tilt-shift fixed lens is one of your best choices at this point.
This lens allows you to control accurately the plane of focus. This feature allows the dish at the front to be exceptionally focused while the background is beautifully blurred. Besides, you can easily shoot the dish at any angle. You can find this Canon TS-E 45mm f/2.8 tilt-shift lens on Amazon.
- It gives you lots of control over what is in focus and what is not.
- It comes with solid build and offers sharp images.
- This kind of lens is not for everyone, considering its versatility and the price offered.
6. Best Canon: Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM
- 24 70 millimeter focal length, 38.4 112 millimeter equivalent focal length on Canon APS C cameras
- F2.8 constant maximum aperture; F22 minimum, Ring type ultrasonic type AF motor with full time manual focusing
- 82 millimeter filters, Closest Focusing Distance: 0.38 meter/1.25 feet
- Image Stabilization : No. Focus Adjustment Inner focusing with USM. Diagonal Angle of View 84° 34°. Weight 1.7 pound
- Purchase this product between May 1, 2016 and July 30, 2016 and get 13 months of free damage protection from Canon. The product must be registered within 30 days of the purchase date to be eligible
So far, there are only prime lenses on the list. While prime lenses are often more recommended for food photography, there is nothing wrong about having one zoom lens for this niche. This Canon EF 24-70mm zoom lens is one of the best options.
As a high-quality zoom lens, Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L is capable to produce high-quality food shooting. This lens can give you very sharp food images compared to other zoom lenses out there. Many food photographers regard this as a staple in their kit too.
- This is a very versatile lens, so you can count on it to shoot other photography niches.
- It comes with a sleek, premium body featuring dust- and moist-resistant.
- This lens is much higher in price than prime lenses.
7. Best for Pentax K-1: Pentax D FA 24-70mm F2.8ED SDM WR
- IN CAMERA SHAKE REDUCTION (SR): The PENTAX digital SLR K series cameras are equipped with the SR mechanism built into the camera body; Because shake reduction is applied in the camera body, this means that any lens compatible with the K Series cameras will benefit from image stabilization
- High performance standard zoom lens: This lens is for use with the Pentax k mount digital SLR cameras, providing exceptional imaging power and a large F2. 8 maximum aperture
- HD coating to enhance imaging power: produce high contrast images with edge to edge sharpness, free of flare and ghost images
- Exceptional imaging power: the newly designed optics feature three ED optical elements to accommodate super high resolution image sensors; These delivers high resolution images with uniform image Description over the entire image field
- Weather resistant construction: this lens features a Dependable weather resistant construction with special seals to effectively prevent the intrusion of water into the lens interior
If you are looking for a more affordable option, this Pentax 24-70mm f/2.8ED lens makes a good option. This is the best lens for food photography, especially for those who have just started the niche.
Just like the previous 24-70mm lens, this Pentax is also a highly versatile option. It can cover a wide range, which allows you to zoom in and out for capturing various types of scenes and subjects. If you want to do other photography styles, this lens’ focal range will be a huge benefit.
This Pentax D FA 24-70mm F2.8ED SDM WR is available on Amazon.
- This lens is very versatile, so it may eliminate the need to bring several lenses when traveling.
- It is very reliable for food photography, especially for beginners who want the choice to shoot at different focal lengths.
- It has a weather-resistant body.
- This lens is somewhat heavy, but it will not be a big deal once you are used to it.
8. Best with Nikon’s FX Camera: Nikon PC-E FX Micro NIKKOR 85mm f/2.8D
- Medium-telephoto perspective control lens with 85mm focal length and f/2.8 maximum aperture
- Lets you shift, tilt, and rotate lens while you shoot for more interesting perspectives
- Shifting range of plus or minus 11.5mm; tilting range of plus or minus 8.5 degrees
- Revolves 90 degrees in either direction; coated with Nano Crystal Coat and SIC
- Rounded 9-blade diaphragm; measures 3.3 inches in diameter and 4.2 inches long.Compatible Format(s):FX,DX,FX in DX Crop Mode,35mm Film
This is another good lens with tilt-shift ability. Even though this kind of lens is not popular in terms of food photography, it can produce impressive results.
The Nikon 85mm f/2.8D lens is more prominent in architectural photography. Yet, if you have the budget to try this, you will be surprised that it might end up being your favorite kit for food photography.
This lens is capable to give you precise control over the view and focus plane. This means you can effortlessly isolate an entire dish by blurring out the other things around it. You can find the Nikon 85mm f/2.8D lens on Amazon.
- This lens delivers very sharp images at all apertures.
- Its manual focus is accurate and smooth.
- This lens allows you to shoot the food at the best possible angle.
- The price is considerably pricey, especially for beginner food photographers.
9. Best for Portrait Photos: Sigma 85mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art
- The Sigma 85mm 1.4 DG HSM Art is the latest addition to the world renowned Sigma Global Vision Line
- It has equipped newly designed hyper sonic motor (HSM) for nimble AF control, 1.3 times better torque of its predecessor
- This lens is compatible with Mount converter MC-11 , so Sony E-mount users can also enjoy this lens with it
This is typically not the primary lens for your kit. Nevertheless, if you already have the best lens for food photography from other categories, like a 50mm, 100mm macro, or 24-70mm, this 85mm prime makes a lot of sense.
The Sigma 85mm f/1.4 is an excellent lens for food portraiture and capturing wider scenes. However, it will not be as wide as you can d with a 50mm lens. You can get this Sigma 85mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art on Amazon.
- This lens generates impressive images with beautifully blurred background.
- This Sigma lens offers the best value for its price.
- Some users report that the autofocus is a bit slower compared to others.
- The lens is also considerably heavy, but some people find it still comfortable to hold.
What features should I consider when choosing the best lens for food photography?
Some of the most important features include a good focal length, ability to create sharp images, build quality, and macro capability. If you like to do food photography, a lens with 50mm-80mm focal length can always be a reliable choice.
Should I choose prime or zoom lenses for food photography?
While you can use both of them for food shooting, prime lenses are usually more recommended. Prime lenses can produce sharper images than zoom lenses when shooting food or still life photography. Besides, prime lenses are often faster and give a much tighter depth of field.
Why zoom lenses are not widely recommended for food photography?
Because they tend to have more moving parts to facilitate the zoom function. It typically results in lower image sharpness and quality.
What lens should choose if I have a tight budget?
The 50mm lens is generally ideal for budget-conscious buyers. This lens mostly comes at a considerably low price. Yet, it offers impressive food photographs even in poorly lit situations.
Why is the 50mm lens generally a safe choice for food photography?
It offers a fixed focal range, which delivers a normal perspective. Besides, the field of view is very similar to what you see in real-world situations. This feature is highly important when it comes to food photography.
How should I use my 50mm lens for food photography?
You should use its wider field of view for flat-lays, table shots, and other shots where you need to involve other elements besides the main food item. You can also capture a wide scene and then crop the main object in post-processing.
Is a tilt-shift lens a good option for food photography?
Yes, if you are being serious in food photography. Nevertheless, if you are not going to use it often, especially for serious commercial use, a kind of tilt-shift lens is not recommended. It is because the lens is typically for limited application and the price is somewhat high.
How should I a tilt-shift lens for food photography?
First, you need to find the food’s most flattering angle and frame it. Play with your camera and focus. Do not forget to angle the camera parallel to the ground. Then, reframe by tilting the lens to get life-like images.
So, which lens is the best choice among the recommendations above? Note that every photographer has his/her preferred lens to work with. The perfect choice will depend on your available budget how you like to shoot and.
Out of the recommendations above, my top pick would be the Canon EF 100mm f/2.8. This lens offers good macro abilities to create stunning food photos. You should keep it in your bag because this is surely the right kit for impromptu food shooting.
If you like shooting closer, this 100mm lens is the right bet. In the end, however, always choose your best lens food photography based on your need, level of expertise, and budget. Good luck!
Last update on 2020-02-25 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API