Lenses are the lifeblood of food photography, so it is important to understand your options.
Usually, if you are buying a DSLR for the first time, the seller (or online store) will convince you of its superiority by offering one or two lenses at a “package” price.
However, these “packaged” lenses or kit lenses usually do not tell you that they are very inexpensive and of poor quality. They will be fun to use at first, but it won’t be long before you can’t do without these types of lenses.
You might want to wait a little longer if you need to, and save up enough money to buy at least one very good lens instead of succumbing to the kit lenses
Best Lenses For Food Photography 2022
While a good camera, proper lighting, and artistic style are essential to good food photography, having the right focal length and lens type is also important.
A good rule of thumb is to use a full-size camera with a 50mm lens (35mm if using a crop-sensor body).
Tilt-shift lenses and macro lenses are also popular, and some zoom lenses allow framing, so you can shoot from multiple viewpoints without moving the tripod.
Also, large-aperture lenses are recommended for food photography because they can blur the background and create dreamy shots. It is also useful when shooting in restaurants where light is scarce.
(This guide does not cover the use of tilt-shift lenses, as their high price and lack of versatility make them unsuitable for many food photographers.)
Best Lenses For Food Photography | Comparison Table 2022
Top Quality | 5 Star Pick | Great Prices
|Canon EF-S 35mm f/2.8 Macro IS STM||Canon||Check Price|
|Tamron AF 90mm f/2.8 Di SP A/M 1:1 Macro Lens for Canon Digital SLR Cameras (Model 272EE)||Tamron||Check Price|
|Canon RF35mm F1.8 IS Macro STM Lens, Black||Canon||Check Price|
|Canon EF 24-70mm f/4.0L IS USM Standard Zoom Lens (Certified Refurbished)||Canon||Check Price|
|Nikon AF-S FX NIKKOR 50mm f/1.4G Lens with Auto Focus for Nikon DSLR Cameras||Nikon||Check Price|
|Nikon AF-S DX Micro-NIKKOR 40mm f/2.8G Close-up Lens for Nikon DSLR Cameras||Nikon||Check Price|
|NIKON NIKKOR Z 50mm f/1.8 S Standard Fast Prime Lens for Nikon Z Mirrorless Cameras||Nikon||Check Price|
|Nikon PC-E FX Micro NIKKOR 85mm f/2.8D Fixed Zoom Lens for Nikon DSLR Cameras||Nikon||Check Price|
|Fujifilm XF55-200mmF3.5-4.8 R LM OIS||Fujifilm||Check Price|
Best Lenses For Food Photography | 2022 Products Overview
The Canon Cameras US 2220C002 35mm Fixed Prime Macro is STM, Black is a high-quality macro lens designed for use with Canon EF-S mount cameras. This lens features a bright f/2.8 aperture and a 35mm standard angle of view, making it an excellent choice for a wide range of photography applications. The built-in macro Lite allows you to control the amount of light that enters the lens, giving you greater flexibility in creating the desired effect in your photos.
One of the standout features of this lens is its hybrid image stabilization, which helps to reduce camera shake and produce sharp, clear images. This makes it a great option for capturing detailed shots of small subjects, as well as for everyday photography. The optical design and prime focal length also contribute to the high image quality produced by this lens.
Whether you’re a beginner looking to explore the world of macro photography or a seasoned pro looking to expand your lens options, the Canon Cameras US 2220C002 35mm Fixed Prime Macro is STM, Black is a great choice. With its built-in macro Lite and hybrid image stabilization, this lens offers a wide range of creative options and the power to capture intricate details with ease. Experience the world in exquisite detail with this versatile and high-performing lens.
The Tamron AF 90mm f/2.8 Di SP A/M 1:1 Macro Lens for Canon Digital SLR Cameras (Model 272EE) is a high-performance macro lens designed for use with Canon EF mount cameras. This lens has a maximum focal length of 90 millimeters and is known for its superior resolution, chromatic correction, and coatings, making it an excellent choice for full-frame or APS-C format SLRs. The package includes a soft cover, lens covers (back and front), and the hood.
The Tamron SP (Super Performance) series is a line of ultra-high-performance lenses that are designed and manufactured to the exact specifications demanded by professionals and others who require the highest possible image quality. The Tamron 90mm macro lens is widely used by naturalists and other pros who need top imaging performance plus a longer lens-to-subject (working) distance to enable easier lighting and access to skittish subjects.
In creating SP lenses, Tamron’s optical designers put their foremost priority on achieving superior performance parameters, resulting in impressive and innovative designs that have established an enviable reputation for excellence among knowledgeable photographers that demand the very best.
The Tamron AF 90mm f/2.8 Di SP A/M 1:1 Macro Lens also features an AF/MF system which allows you to switch quickly between auto-focus and manual focus. This is a great asset in many types of shooting, especially sports and nature photography. The manual-focus mode provides smooth, precise manual focusing by turning the wide, well-textured focusing ring. With this lens, you can achieve professional-grade image quality and versatility to capture the sharpest, most detailed images of your subjects.
The Canon RF35mm F1.8 Macro STM Lens is a versatile and specialized wide-angle prime lens that is compatible with EOS R series cameras. It is built with a compact design that is perfect for everyday photography and macro photography. The lens features a 0.5x Magnification Ratio and a minimum focusing directly from the camera's menu. Additionally, the lens is coated with a super spectra coag distance of 0.56 ft. or 0.17M, which makes it ideal for capturing intricate details and small subjects.
The lens is equipped with a control ring that allows for direct setting changes, making it easy to adjust the aperture, shutter speed, and other settings while shooting. The lens also features optical image stabilization, which provides up to 5 stops of shake correction, ensuring that your images are sharp and stable even when shooting in low light conditions.
The lens is built with a 12-pin Communication System, which enhances the communication between the lens and the camera. This system enables fast and accurate focusing, and it also allows for the lens to be controlled, which helps to control flare and ghosting when working in bright or backlit conditions.
The Canon EF 24-70mm f/4.0L IS USM Standard Zoom Lens is a high-quality zoom lens that is compatible with full-frame DSLRs like the EOS 6D. It has a maximum aperture of f/4 and a focal length range of 24-70mm. It has a minimum focusing distance of 1.25 ft./0.38m across the entire zoom range, making it ideal for capturing detailed shots of close-up subjects. The lens also features a full macro shooting mode with up to 0.7x magnification, which is easily accessible with a one-touch switch at the extreme telephoto end.
One of the key features of this lens is its Hybrid IS system, which provides up to 4 stops of stabilization, compensating for both angular and shift types of camera shake. This means that you can shoot in dimmer conditions, capturing images with shutter speeds up to four stops slower than would otherwise be possible. Additionally, the lens has two Super UD and two UD lens elements, which minimize chromatic aberration in the edges of your wide-angle shots and eliminate color blurring around the edge of your subjects.
The lens also has two types of aspherical elements, which help to improve image quality and reduce distortion. The lens also has a 9-blade circular diaphragm, which delivers beautiful, soft backgrounds. It is also built to be durable, with a dust and water-resistant design, as well as a fluorine coating on the front and rear elements that reduces smears and fingerprints. Compact and lightweight, this lens is the perfect L-series lens for photographers on the go.
The Nikon AF-S FX NIKKOR 50mm f/1.4G Lens is a normal lens that is compatible with Nikon F (FX) mount DSLR cameras. It has a maximum focal length of 50 millimeters and a fast f/1.4 maximum aperture, which allows for stunning images with a shallow depth of field. The lens also features an ultrasonic-type AF motor with full-time manual focusing and a minimum focus distance of 0.45m/17.72 inches.
One of the key features of this lens is its F1.4 maximum aperture, which allows for exceptional low-light performance. This makes it a great option for photography in challenging lighting conditions, such as indoor events or outdoor landscapes during sunset. The AF-S NIKKOR 50mm f/1.4G also has a versatile 50mm focal length, which is perfect for capturing standard portraits and everyday use.
The lens also features an aspherical element, which is used to reduce aberrations and enable a more compact lens size. Aspherical lenses minimize coma and other types of lens aberrations, even when used at the widest aperture. This makes the lens more compact and lightweight, making it a great option for photographers on the go. Overall, the Nikon AF-S FX NIKKOR 50mm f/1.4G Lens is a versatile and high-performing lens that is perfect for capturing stunning images in a wide variety of situations.
The Nikon AF-S DX Micro-NIKKOR 40mm f/2.8G Close-up Lens is a versatile lens that is perfect for taking high-quality stills and HD D-Movies. This lens is specifically designed and optimized for Nikon digital SLRs and is ideal for a wide range of photography, including general close-ups, delicate flowers, detailed collectibles, copy photography, portraits, landscapes, and more.
One of the key features of this lens is its compact and lightweight design, making it easy to carry with you wherever you go. The lens construction includes 9 elements in 7 groups and has a maximum reproduction ratio of 1.0x. The focal length is 40mm, with a maximum aperture of f/2.8. The lens also features a close-range correction system (CRC) and a silent wave motor (SWM) for ultra-fast, ultra-quiet operation.
The lens also has a focus distance indicator from 0.53 feet to infinity, with a minimum focus distance of 0.53 feet. This allows for sharp images from infinity to life-size (1x), and autofocus to 64 inches. Additionally, the lens has an angle of view of 38 degrees 50 feet. The lens also features a M/A mode for quick switching between autofocus and manual operation and also has a built-in SWM for ultra-fast, ultra-quiet operation.
The NIKON NIKKOR Z 50mm f/1.8 S Standard Fast Prime Lens is a versatile and high-performance lens designed for use with Nikon Z mirrorless cameras. With a fast 50mm focal length and an f/1.8 aperture, this lens is ideal for capturing sharp, detailed images with a shallow depth of field, making it perfect for portraits, landscapes, and everyday use.
One of the key features of this lens is its uncanny f/1.8 performance, which allows for extreme sharpness and virtually zero distortion, even when shot wide open. Additionally, the lens features a new ultra-quiet stepping motor for silent focusing, making it perfect for capturing candid moments without drawing attention. The lens also boasts beautiful bokeh and superior low-light performance, making it ideal for capturing images in dimly lit environments.
The NIKON NIKKOR Z 50mm f/1.8 S is also designed with portability and ease of use in mind. It features a compact, lightweight, and slim unibody (monocoque) body design with a tilting Vari-angle LCD display, which makes it easy to compose and capture images from a variety of angles. Additionally, the lens is also compatible with F Mount NIKKOR Lenses using the FTZ Mount Adapter (sold separately), which makes it even more versatile.
In conclusion, The NIKON NIKKOR Z 50mm f/1.8 S is a high-performance lens that offers a fast 50mm focal length and an f/1.8 aperture, making it perfect for capturing sharp, detailed images with a shallow depth-of-field, making it perfect for portraits, landscapes, and everyday use. With its uncanny f/1.8 performance, silent focusing, and beautiful bokeh, this lens is an ideal choice for photographers of all skill levels.
The Nikon PC-E FX Micro NIKKOR 45mm f/2.8D ED Fixed Zoom Lens is a versatile and powerful lens that offers a range of advanced features for photographers. With a focal length of 45mm and a maximum aperture of f/2.8, this lens is perfect for architectural, nature, and commercial photography. The lens offers a wide shifting range of plus or minus 11.5mm, with a tilting range of plus or minus 8.5 degrees, providing exceptional perspective control. In addition, the lens revolves plus or minus 90 degrees in 30-degree increments, giving you the ability to capture unique angles and distorted perspectives.
The lens is constructed using Extra-low Dispersion (ED) glass elements, which provide superior sharpness and color correction by effectively minimizing chromatic aberration. Nikon's Nano Crystal Coat also eliminates internal reflections across a wide range of wavelengths to produce even greater image clarity. The lens also features a high-performance Nikon Super Integrated Coating (SIC), which offers superior color performance and substantially reduced ghosting and flare.
The Nikon PC-E FX Micro NIKKOR 45mm f/2.8D ED Fixed Zoom Lens also has an auto-aperture control with an electromagnetic diaphragm, which requires a Nikon D3, D700, or D300 D-SLR camera. The lens also features a rounded nine-blade diaphragm, which produces a more natural appearance for out-of-focus image elements. Overall, this lens is perfect for those who want to take their photography to the next level, offering advanced features and exceptional image quality in a compact and lightweight design.
The Fujifilm XF55-200mmF3.5-4.8 R LM OIS is a telephoto lens that is compatible with Fujifilm X series interchangeable lens cameras. With a focal length of 55-200mm and a minimum focus distance of 1.10m/43.41 inches, this lens offers an equivalent focal length of 83-300mm on APS-C cameras.
The maximum aperture is F3.5-4.8, and the minimum aperture is F22. The lens also features a stepper-type AF motor and an image stabilization function that allows for the use of shutter speeds up to 4.5 stops slower. This is especially useful for shooting in low-light situations or when shooting at a stopped-down aperture.
The lens also has a 62mm filter size and comes with a metal construction focus ring and aperture ring. This lens also has a switch on the side of the lens to activate image stabilization.
How To Choose The Best lens for food photography | Ultimate Buyer’s Guide 2022
It is recommended to photograph a cooked meal at an f/1.8, f/2.4 or f/3.5 aperture. With this fairly small depth of field margins, the dishes or food will be well detached from the background of the photo, which will be blurred.
50mm Prime Lens: Quality on a Budget
The 50mm lens can also be a useful lens, especially if you don't have a zoom. This lens is good for top-down food photography and tablescapes.
The 50mm f/1.8 is often referred to as the "clever fifty" because it gives you decent results for a very low price. If you're just starting out and your budget is tight, get this.For food photography, 50mm is actually considered a wide-angle lens. If you're shooting just an item or two in a straight line or at a 3/4 angle, you'll have too much background and surface in your frame.
You need to have large backgrounds if you use the lens this way. Compare images of Shaved Broccoli Salad below.
The one on the left is at 50 mm. You can see that the background does not fill the entire frame. You can also see the edge of the surface. The food is too far away to really see the inside of the plate.
I did the shot on the right at 60mm. I did not move the camera or the tripod. You can see that the extra 10mm makes a big difference.
Get closer with the 24-70mm zoom lens
Although primes are ideal, it's helpful to have a zoom lens, such as a 24-70mm f/2.8 or 24-105mm f/4
I have both on the Canon L-series and find the 24-70mm much sharper than the 24-105mm. The 24-105mm lens is kit when you buy a Canon 5D.
Yes, the 24-70mm is a zoom lens, but I find it very sharp compared to most zoom lenses. Many food photographers consider it a staple in their kit.
60mm macro lens: for less distortion
A 60mm macro is a great option if you shoot with a cropped frame sensor.
On a cropped sensor, it's more like having a 100mm sensor. If you upgrade to full frame, you can use it like you would a 50mm. This lens will allow you to get 3/4 angle view shots of your subject with beautiful bokeh.You also won't get the distortion at this angle that you would when shooting with a wider focal length such as 50mm.
100/110mm macro: for portrait-style food shots
A great lens to have in your kit is a 100mm macro lens. This lens is not just for macro or close-ups. By moving further away from your set, you can also get beautiful portrait-style shots. You will get a great blurred background.
I have the consumer-grade 100mm f/2.8 and it is very sharp. In fact, I've read reviews where the photographer preferred the consumer-grade to the 100mm macro on the L-Series. And it's half the cost.
If you go for the 100mm/105mm macro lens on a cropped frame sensor, you'll be shooting at a 150mm focal length. This will be a very tight crop. Especially if space is an issue, or if you have multiple props or a narrative aspect to your images.
80mm Prime Lens: For Wider Scenes
This probably won't be one of the main goals of your kit. But if you already have a pair of lenses for your full-frame, like a 100mm macro and a 50mm or 24-70mm, consider the 80mm prime lens.
This is a good lens for food photography and shooting wider scenes, but not as wide as you would with a 50mm.
I do a lot of food portraits. And sometimes I find that shooting at 70mm is not close enough. But the 100mm gets me too close.
Also, when you shoot wide open, say at 70mm on a 24-70mm lens, you risk more distortion. Zoom lenses typically work best somewhere in the middle of their available focal lengths.
85mm / 90mm Tilt-Shift - For the best angle
The price is restrictive for many photographers. But I need to mention a tilt-shift lens for your food photography. You can always rent one if you can't afford to buy one.
This is a lens used by food photographers in the advertising world.
A tilt-shift lens allows you to control the plane of focus very precisely. You can move the lens up or down, left or right, to minimize distortion.
Tilt features allow you to keep different items in focus at different focal planes.
You can focus on the subject sharply with a very blurred background.
When you focus at a certain angle, everything at that angle will be in focus.
With this lens, you can shoot food at the best angle. You also control how many of the props or how much of the larger story appears within the frame. All without changing the angle or distance of the camera.
It's a fantastic lens and once you've worked with the one you'll be amazed.
Best Lenses For Food Photography | Infographics
BEST LENS FOR FOOD PHOTOGRAPHY | Video Explanation
Frequently asked questions about food photography lenses
What is the best Canon lens for food photography?
The best Canon lenses for food photography depend on your camera mount and your preferences. For full-frame mirrorless Canon cameras, many food photographers choose the Canon RF 35mm f/1.8 Macro IS STM. Digital SLR photographers looking for a zoom lens should consider the Canon EF 24-70mm f/4L IS USM.
What is the best focal length for food photography?
The best focal length for food photography is 50-90mm (full-frame equivalent).
The 50-90mm focal length has excellent compositional value, with a compressed angle of view and few background elements. Coincidentally, the 50-90mm focal length range is also the best area for portrait photography.
Is 35mm suitable for food photography?
The 35mm focal length is ideal for journalistic food photography; at 35mm, the background is not too obtrusive and provides enough compression to bring the food to the foreground.
Which Nikon lenses are best for food photography?
Photographers shooting food with a Nikon DX cropped camera are recommended to use the Nikon AF-S DX 40mm f/2.8G Microlens for sharp images.
The Tamron SP 90mm F2.8 Di Macro VC USD is the best lens for shooting food on a full-size camera. It provides excellent image quality even in low light conditions.
Is the 18-55mm lens suitable for food photography?
Beginning food photographers need a great lens, and they should consider using the 18-55mm lens from the kit lens that came with the camera. Kit lenses are often underestimated.
The 18mm wide-angle lens is ideal for taking close-ups, and the 55mm long-focus lens is ideal for aerial shots with minimal background elements, making it the best lens for food photography for beginners.
How to take a good food photo?
Above all, to get beautiful photos, it's not all about the camera, or the lens to be used on its case. A few conditions are necessary to obtain beautiful photos of the foods you want to photograph.
In food photography, there's nothing better than using natural light. It is therefore important to choose the place and time to take the photo.
For the photographic mode to use, put yourself in Aperture Priority mode to better manage the brightness of your camera. This allows you to focus well to get beautiful photos, without exposing them to direct light.
In the era of digital marketing, it's all about image. Food photos are no exception. Thus, it is necessary to take good care of the composition of the image of the dishes to be photographed.
Choosing the best lens for food photography is not easy. Before you buy, you should always consider the type of photos you want to take.
If you are working in a studio, you often have more space, so a longer focal length will be more appropriate. Also, you can control the lighting, so a narrow f-number aperture is not a big problem.
On the other hand, if you're working outdoors, you'll be visiting kitchens with a variety of conditions, so a versatile lens is a must.
Finally, don't forget to consider your budget. Our recommended lenses cost anywhere from under $400 to over $2,500, so if a lens is important to you, there's no need to limit your spending. The size of your investment should always be related to your level of experience. Are you a beginner or do you already have a professional job? If you do food photography for a living, a high-end lens is worth considering. Otherwise, stick with the less expensive ones.
That's up to you.
What kind of food photography lenses are you thinking of buying? And do you have any recommendations? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.