What is your preferred lens for shooting food and why?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by coryndiego, May 30, 2012.

  1. coryndiego macrumors regular

    coryndiego

    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2008
    Location:
    San Diego, Ca.
    #1
    What is your preferred lens for shooting food and why?

    I'm looking for different perspectives and feedback before I make a purchase. I have two lenses in mind but will wait to share my thoughts until I hear yours.

    Image examples would help if you have them.

    My budget max is $1200.00 but may splurge on the perfect versatile lens to add to my collection. $600.00 - $800.00 is the range I'm currently looking. (Nikon)

    Thanks!
     
  2. odagled2004 macrumors newbie

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    Aug 3, 2011
  3. crawler1975 macrumors regular

    crawler1975

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    Mar 22, 2011
    #3
    100mm f2.8 macro lens works best for food photography in my opinion
     
  4. ChrisA macrumors G4

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    Jan 5, 2006
    Location:
    Redondo Beach, California
    #4
    Your question is backwards. You should ask "what is your preferred subject to camera distance for food." Once you know this then the focal length is easy to calculate for a given sensor size.

    The thing is that subject distance is really a matter of style. I think the more "modern" shots tend to be closer

    My preference? If I could choose t would be a 90mm on a few camera. I like to use a 80mm in medium format. But this is a matter of style. The traditional shot would be doe at heater distance with maybe a 180mm lens on a 35mm format camera.

    You do NOT need to spend a lot because you don't need a fast f-stop and yo don't even need autofocus or through the lens meter. I ALWAYS use a hand held flash meter and my Spedotron lights. For Nikon there is this huge world of used manual focal prime lenses that are tack snap and inexpensive.
     
  5. Prodo123 macrumors 68020

    Prodo123

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2010
    #5
    A fast 100mm macro is the most versatile food shooting lens in my opinion. Close-ups with shallow DoF, full dish shots, all possible with one lens. Flash and lighting is more important than the lens, however; you don't want your fresh salad looking stale and cheap because of an improperly used flash. But given you already mastered that, I'd choose the AF-S VR Micro-Nikkor 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED. It's $900 at B&H.
     
  6. VI™ macrumors 6502a

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    Aug 27, 2010
    Location:
    Shepherdsturd, WV
    #6
    A telephoto prime. Food photography is the one thing I find where distortion doesn't really fit in. I use an 85 prime on my full frame DSLR and a 45 prime on my M43 camera which has a 2x crop FOV, so it appears as an 80 would.
     
  7. coryndiego thread starter macrumors regular

    coryndiego

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    Aug 6, 2008
    Location:
    San Diego, Ca.
    #7
    I've been leaning toward the 105mm micro 2.8 or the 85mm 1.4. I am on a D7000 so I'm working with the crop factor but I'd rather have some room to work and get close when needed They are equivalent to 157ish and 127mm.

    I have used the 60mm micro and liked it enough but thought that the reach of the 105 may suit my style better. From all your experienced feedback it seems I'm not too far off the mark.

    Anyone have experience with the less expensive( and supposedly sharper) 100mm Tokina macro? That's also on my list as I've read great reviews.

    Thanks all! I'm renting the 105 on the 6th for a brunch menu shoot and will decide after that. I'll keep you posted.
     
  8. avflinsch macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2011
    #8

    In general I prefer to shoot food with my 12 gauge, but sometimes I do use a 20 gauge :)

    Now if you mean taking photos of food, that is a different story.
     
  9. mspman macrumors regular

    mspman

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    Location:
    Minneapolis, MN
    #9
    Well, don't hate me, but I have a different opinion. :)

    I love my 35mm f/1.4 for shooting pretty much anything, but when I try to take a nice food shot, it's awesome. The way I tend to shoot is more for color than anything (that's just my style), and I love how sharp my 35mm is, and the dof control I get with the wide aperture.
     
  10. coryndiego, Jun 5, 2012
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2012

    coryndiego thread starter macrumors regular

    coryndiego

    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2008
    Location:
    San Diego, Ca.
    #10
    Thanks for your perspective! I have a 35mm 1.8mm and love the images I get with it. The only thing that I don't like about it, for food photography, is how close I have to get to fill the frame. Also, depth of field Is good but not as shallow and bokehie as I would like either. I will say that it is amazingly clear and sharp.

    Having stated why for me it's not the perfect lens for food photography, it is all about personal style and how you like to work and the clients taste... I'm just breaking into this style of photography and trying to learn as much as possible....crash course.

    I have been using my telezooms (55-200 and 70-300) with better results than I expected but with those I have to allow 5-6 feet distance which is too much room. Luckily, I had the distance to work with at the last restaurant. I'm hoping the 100mm or 85mm will be perfect with leaving enough room to work but not having to climb the walls to get far enough away to focus. Also have rented a 24-70 and a bad copy of the 60mm. I liked the 24-70 a lot found myself always at 70.

    What I'm struggling with now is the post processing. I've got to get better at taking less photos and gauging the focal point better. My last client was directing me... "closer-closer, get in there and go tight". So, I was trying to get what he wanted while I was also trying to get shots that were in my minds eye....the shots I thought he may like but just didn't know it. Or more versatile shots that could be cropped for the close up or have some character of the restaurant and props too.

    No hate here. Thanks.
     
  11. righteye macrumors 6502

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    Aug 29, 2011
    Location:
    London
    #11
    On a Canon a 90mm TSE lens you can obtain an in focus plane or make it have a very small focus plane.
    For me this is the ultimate product lens, if you need to get closer use some extension tubes.
    This is also a very sharp Canon lens even though the design is quite old, i always hoped that it would get an update as did the 24mm TSE.
    The 45mm TSE is also a great focal length for Still life but is not so sharp as the 90 and is also waiting for an update.
    I love the 90 TSE as a portrait lens as well but remember this is only a manual focus lens.

    http://www.the-digital-picture.com/Reviews/Canon-TS-E-90mm-f-2.8-Tilt-Shift-Lens-Review.aspx

    Also

    http://www.fredmiranda.com/TS-E90/

    And do not forget this lens is great for shifting left and right for panoramic shots.
    Yes ,i like this lens a lot it's my goto lens!

    EDIT; missed you are using Nikon but info is useful for Canon users with the same enquiry plus there is a Nikon 85 macro TS lens but its far more complicated to use (stop down metering i believe)
     
  12. coryndiego thread starter macrumors regular

    coryndiego

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    Aug 6, 2008
    Location:
    San Diego, Ca.
    #12
    I have read great things about tilt shift ( perspective control ) lenses but they are a little out of my price range right now. I do plan on renting one someday soon.
     
  13. righteye macrumors 6502

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    Aug 29, 2011
    Location:
    London
    #13
    Far be it from me to encourage one to spend more than you can afford at B&H its costs (below)
    Remember good lenses are not like cameras they are a much better long term investment, one too aim for if you can wait/save a little bit longer.
    if you need more convincing read the reviews for this lens on the B&H site (ignore the bloke who literally screwed up trying to put the tilt and shift on the same plane then marked the lens down, this is possible to do with care!)
     

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  14. initialsBB macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2010
    #14
    There are also the great Nikon 135mm f/2 DC and 105mm f/2 DC which you can find for under 1000$ second hand in good condition. Depending on how you set up it might be a bit far reaching on a DX, but it could be a good choice for food photography on an FX. If you have space, it should also be great on a DX.
     
  15. VI™ macrumors 6502a

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    Aug 27, 2010
    Location:
    Shepherdsturd, WV
    #15
    35mm doesn't give you terrible distortion. I'm a wide angle shooter and use the distortion a lot in my photos, it's just something I don't like for food. Wierd, eh?:cool:
     
  16. coryndiego thread starter macrumors regular

    coryndiego

    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2008
    Location:
    San Diego, Ca.
    #16
    I've been thinking about getting the Tokina 100mm 2.8 macro. http://www.kenrockwell.com/tokina/100mm-f28.htm

    Its half the price and has reviewed well.
     

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