Best Camera for Food Photography 2016 and Compatible Lens

Hello, I’m Ethan!

Nice to meet you at my personal photography blog, where I write about my experience, opinion ¬†and stories when I feel alone . The more post this blog has, the more alone I do. You read and comment will make me better ūüėÄ It’s is 3 months now from the beginning of this foodies photography project that I was invited to join in California this 2016. Today is the last day of the project, so I sit here and write a little bit about the experience about taking some shots with food as well as how to set up the best camera for food photography.

Some of awesome pics that make by my best camera food photography and some good lens.¬†And this will lead to the questions: What is the best camera for food blogger? What is the best lens for food photography? ….

If you are photography addicted like me, you will be inspired by the talent of food photographers with their stunning moment that they captured with food. I have a long time that read page by page, saw photo by photo on famous magazines and blog about food photography like 101 Cookbooks of Heidi Swanson. On her website, plenty of the beautiful photo of varies kinds of a dish will make you think that taking a photo with food is very easy and interesting.

However, capturing an attractive photo of food is not simple, there are many people willing to pay much money to hire someone to take for them some excellent food photos. Talking about famous food photographers, we need to name: Chubby Hubby with Delicious Days, Kuidaore, Nordljus, and The Traveler’s Lunchbox ‚Ķ ¬†Today we can take a nice food photo without spending too much on a complex camera kit, with smartphone and image editor app billion people in the world taking their meal every day. But if we want to have a professional, high quality and stand out food gallery, a right gear is what we have to look for like Heidi Swanson, Chubby hubby ‚Ķ. above.¬†

So a lot of you, include my students asked me : So what make the best camera for food photography? I need a kit for my job or my food blog. And with this question, we understand that it is an SLDR camera can take an awesome photo in the low-light environment, very close to the subject. How can we choose from thousands of SLDR camera out there? Of course not, there are many photographers have mentioned some of the yumi kit such as Canon EOS Rebel T5, and the cousin Canon EOS Rebel T5i –¬†a good camera for food photography. Besides, we have heard about Nikon D3300. ¬†Besides, choosing the best lens for food photography is a daunting task.¬†… In this blog post, I will review some well-known cameras, lens and some equipment for food photography that I have experienced with. The information in this post include my point of view, some reviews on DPReview forum.

Best Camera for Food Photography that All Photographers Trust


1. Canon EOS Rebel T5 – Best camera for beginners food photographers

Canon EOS Rebel T5 is the best camera for Food Photography at entry level, it is suitable for you to start you career today! It’s not a special boy with unique features or design, this guys give you a nice photos at cheap price. With my experience, it’s performance is not bad with a compact design. However, with difficult people, they will think that it’s quite features limited, but I think it is the purpose of it appearance: Good start for entry level. If I have to say in short words, this Canon EOS Rebel T5 – mirroless¬†camera isn’t a perfect solution for you, but may be a suitable for your simple purpose and limited budget to create nice photos about food.

2. Canon EOS 70D Intermediate level

If you are finding the best camera for food photography, Canon EOS 70D is an ideal choice for you.  With new sensor provide awesome autofocus at very quick shot so you can take a lot of photos of food to choose the best one with no wait. Was build in reasonably streamlined and normal features to be sold in medium market. What we sometimes hear about this camera in some forums is that the photo quality is just good not perfect as its class. There is only 1 card slot and quite complicated to use multicontroller and the Wifi/Movie mode  get conflict but not often. With not lower than 1000 hours spent with this camera, I think it is an excellent camera but not a perfect one in its class. You can have a better photos quality as well as setting than beginner choice at a little bit higher price. In my opinion, this is a professional camera for food photography.

3. Canon EOS 6D – Advance level camera for food photography

If you are finding a best camera for food photography, you can’t ¬†have look at Canon EOS 6D . Canon EOS 6D¬†give you the best photos quality ¬†with¬†full-frame sensor, in a well-designed and relatively lightweight body. It’s definitely worth it for the photo and video quality; if you’re considering the Canon EOS 6D instead of one of the more expensive full-frame models, it’s a fine alternative if you don’t mind the 97 percent coverage viewfinder ( 100% is max) and single SD card slot. ¬†Besides, with great low light/high ISO capabilities and¬†Built-in WiFi and¬†GPS.The price is very cheap in comparison with¬†$3500 for the 5D Mark¬†III

4. Canon EOS 5D Mark III – Camera for Expert Food photographers

The Canon EOS 5D Mark III¬†offers a more streamlined shooting design, significantly updated feature set with more configurability, plus better performance over its predecessor. It maintains its excellent photo and video quality as well. However,¬†JPEG photos at low ISO sensitivities don’t match the generally excellent level of quality that you can otherwise get out of this camera.¬† While it’s not a no-brainer upgrade over the Mark II, the it¬†is worth the price premium if better performance and configurability matter to you.¬†M3 consists of a combination of technologies, features, and design updates rolled out in the EOS 7D and the more recent 1D X. The result is a camera that looks similar to its predecessor with a lot more capabilities and better performance, but isn’t as different when it comes to the basics — photo and video quality — as you’d expect.

Best Lenses Food Photography that You Should Buy

1. Canon EF 50mm f/1.8

Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 is a good lens for food photography that I suggest for you. Too cheap and good to go!It’s specialize for low light environment, give you the excellent photo quality when stopped down. There is almost no Canon lateral chromatic aberration. However, there is some cons like: Harsh and distracting bokeh due to pentagonal aperture and Vignetting at wide apertures on full frame (which only disappears at F3.5. However, as a one of the cheapest lens that you can find right now, with a basic standard , Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 can help you take many nice shots with food in easy.

2. Canon EF 50mm f/1.4

Canon EF 50mm f/1.4¬† is excellent lens for food photography ¬†because¬†It is sharp, small, light, inexpensive and with an f1.4 aperture, fast. The image quality if you use this lens is more than you expect, the Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM Lens is very useful for low-light indoor photography when a flash is not permitted, appropriate or desired so if you use for food photography, it’s clearly a good deal. ¬†Essentially it delivers much what we expect from a prime, i.e. a significantly better optical performance than all but the most exensive zooms, in a small, light and relatively inexpensive package. And let’s not forget the advantage offered by its fast and quiet autofocus.

Must-Read Food Photography Advice for you

Before answering some question like: How to choose the best camera for food photography? What is the best lens for food photography that fits my camera? we need to know a little bit about foodies photography first!

Price: The price of Camera is various, you can get a camera from $50 to $100 K. In my career, I start with a basic, cheap camera and then upgrade to higher quality one if I think it’s needed and my budget is ok.

Important factors: You can see that there are hundreds of accessories that they suggest you to buy out there, of course you can purchase all of them if your budget is huge, you want to take the best of the best shot, and willing to try new technology. If you don’t have much money like me, just want a great photo without spending too much,  you just need 2 important components :  The processor and Lens, you should invest mainly on them to get the best photo quality at lowest budget especially for starters.The processor is vital and the lens is also, I have tried many basic cameras with some quite good lens and the photo quality will make you surprise. Increase the output quality with a better lens will help the processor create beautiful food photos.For who are beginners, a simple camera body and a really greater lens 50mm is good to go.

Nikon vs Canon?: *Smile* Why we always want to compare Nikon vs Canon like we compare Coca vs Pepsi? Because they are both famous and provide well what we need. If you still considering between 2 options: One is Nikon and other is Canon, my advice for you is choosing any of them is okay, there is just some different of how to use each cam and both will give you best quality photo each other. Clear? They are famous because they are good, if they are both good, you can choose anyone.

Lightning for food photography: With food photography, you should remember that always use natural light,  do not use flash in any case. With me, the combine of great camera kit, good photographers and natural light from the sun is a perfect condition for you to show off your creative. However, in some case, you can not have natural light from the sun because you n take the photo when the night come, your room can’t get sunlight .. you can set up a fake natural light source like I have taught before: How to set up perfect lighting in food photography.

Choose the ¬†angles: In food photography , everyone includes famous photographers have to move around, try a lot of shots to control the light and get the best angle so before you can take the favorite pic, you may need to shot a lot. Some case looks better from above, but some are great from the side …

Remove clutter: The common problem with food photography is sometimes your photo get cluttered by spoon, napkin or a complex background, audiences can be distracted with these elements, so you need to focus more on the food and zoom enough to enhance the food without remove all of other factors and people won’t understand what the food is. Yes, so now you see that choosing a best camera for food photography is not so difficult right?

Other Equipment That You May Need

For  Professional Foodies Photos

Lighting

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Creating a good condition for taking foodies photos is important , so you may need a lighting kit . I suggest a cheap  but efficient kit is: 600W Day Light Umbrella Continuous Lighting Kit by LimoStudio LMS103 . 

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Tripod

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600W Day Light Umbrella Continuous Lighting Kit by LimoStudio LMS103 is ideal option for both indoor and outdoor photography. It is popular for events, sports activity, capturing that one amazing shot. Designed for use with Point-N-Shoot cameras and/or Digital SLR camera, you can use it as a starter product at cheap price

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Camera Bag

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If you want to protect your camera and lens away from shock and dust, easily to manage and go out. This¬†Case Logic DCB-304 ¬†is a¬†cheap and suitable option ¬†for you. We don’t need to invest to much in a camera bag. As I said above, invest more in lens and camera body.

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Camera Memory Card

Besides a best camera and lens for food photography, a SanDisk Ultra 32GB Class 10 is a very good and cheap camera memory card for you to store your photos. With 32 GB storage and Class 10 features ( up to 80 Mb) this is my favorite choice.

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—- Questions and Answers —-

I’m a starter, what camera for food photography should I buy?

To decide what camera is suitable for you, you need to base on you budget and your need. When you join many forums and facebook group of photography you will see other members upgrade their camera kit almost daily, but stay calm. Only choose the solution that fit with your need right now or may be in the short future above, you don‚Äôt need to prepare too early by buying an expensive camera and lens for taking food shots. It may be a best camera for food photography, but if you can’t control it. Welll ….

A powerful DSLR can’t help much if your skill is just a starter and don’t know how to utilize it. Do not get a monster and treat it like a cat . LOL

Only upgrade if your skill is better and you think it’s necessary for your work. As I told above, there are 2 very important elements in Food photography are You camera and your lens. Get an acceptable camera and invest the same in your lens, the magic will come with the glass of your camera. Trust me , this is a secret of photography.

Zoom lens vs Fixed focal lens, which one that I should choose?

The reason why both of them are used very popular because they are both good by some aspects. With Zoom lens you can take many food photos from different distances and still get the great shots.  Meanwhile, with Fixed Focal lens you can’t do that, but it gives you the photo that Zoom lens can’t do : bokeh, less distortion, greater aperture flexibility, etc.

In my experience, with food photography which is different with sports photography, it’s more reasonable for you to choose a fixed focal lens. With food photography, you have a lot of time to adjust your distance by moving around, closer or further so a fixed focal lens can’t make any problem.

Why are DSLR cameras so costly in comparison with smartphones?

Can I choose a best camera for food photography that isn’t a DSLR camera? When I start to study and practice ¬†photography with DSLR camera, my first question is: Why a DSLR camera is so expensive? I can buy 2 smartphones with the same money. ¬†Here is the answer with 1300 views on Quora that I think quite good:

  1. Better Optics
  2. Better technology
  3. Much better quality
  4. Larger sensors
  5. Able to control every aspect of the camera
  6. Ability to use different lenses

etc.

But I support the opinion “the biggest factor is the sensor”

The biggest factor is the sensor. The size of an SLR sensor is several orders of magnitude larger than a camcorder or point and shoot camera.

The large size of the sensor reduces the number of sensors off a large chip, called the “yield.” This pushes up the cost of the sensor dramatically.

Next add in specialized systems not found on point and shoots: mechanical shutter systems, mechanical auto focusing systems, mirror systems, matrix metering systems. You also have to have a signal processing chip system to handle tens of megabytes of data per second, convert it from RAW to jpeg and write the data, virtually instantly. By comparison, a camcorder has to work with a lot fewer data because the resolution is much lower.

Besides, as a photographer, I have to say: If you want to upgrade or just don’t want to continue with photography, sell your camera kit. Unlike other goods, DSLR camera is ver stable and constant so you can sell with a very high price in compared to the brand new price. So, it’s worth, if you have a plan with photography Рinvest in it and you can take your money back when you sell your kit. 

Conclusion:

That all about my blog which is about helping you choosing the best camera  for food photography and good lens to use with. Base on your budget, requirements and skills, you can pick the recommended camera and lens from 4 levels:

Starter => Intermediate => Advanced => Expert. .

You can look at this table:

My last words, although you can read a lot of articles about tips and trick of foodie photography. But there are  5 things that you always to remember:

Lighting – Composition – Simple – Reshoot – Practice . Now you are good to go, good luck!

My Food photography Gifts for you

 

Here are some best resources for you to master food photography, they are best of the best. You don‚Äôt need to find anywhere, here is enough for you. If you don’t understand or get hard to practice anything, feel free to comment here, I will comeback to reply soon. Hope that you can practice these tips with your best camera for food photography

  • Principles of Photography series by White on Rice Couple:¬†http://whiteonricecouple.com/photography-tips/what-is-photography-exposure/
  • Photographing Food with Penny De Los Santos by National Geographic :¬†http://photography.nationalgeographic.com/photography/photo-tips/photographing-food/
  • Food Photography Tips by Bella Eats:¬†http://www.bellaeats.com/blog/2011/9/22/apple-dapple-cake-and-some-food-photography-tips.html
  • Language of Photography Series by Gourmande in the Kitchen:¬†http://gourmandeinthekitchen.com/2011/the-language-of-photography-part-1-learning-the-visual-elements-of-design/
  • 12 Things That Have Helped My Food Photography by Bojon Gourmet:¬†http://bojongourmet.com/2014/06/12-things-that-have-helped-my-food/
  • Food Photography and Styling by 6 Bittersweets:¬†http://www.6bittersweets.com/2011/08/my-take-on-food-styling-and-photography.html
  • 15 Essential Food Photography Tips from Andrew Scrivani :¬†http://www.foodista.com/blog/2011/06/10/15-essential-food-photography-tips-from-andrew-scrivani-part-1
  • Food Photography Creative Process from V.K.Rees:¬†http://vkreesphotography.com/creative-process-behind-the-photo-shoot/

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