• Paolo Ferraris

Best Lens for Food Photography

Food photography is the edible equivalent of portrait, fashion and beauty photography. You want the dishes you are photographing to shine, to glow, to turn heads. You want the viewer to be amazed. You want the audience to get hungry. So what is the best lens for food photography?

Yummy Italian canapes

First let's break the conundrum down in terms of focal length.

  • Anything below 50mm is not my favorite. In certain cases, if the background is very important (e.g. if you have to include the restaurant's architecture in the shot) you can consider a wide angle lens for your food photography. Pay attention to the distortion though and be close to the dish or it will disappear in the frame.

  • 50mm: Here's where things start to get interesting!

  • 70 to 130mm: To me this is food photography's playground.

  • Over 130mm: With very long focal lengths the background disappears and that's never a great idea with food. Every dish has several layers. It is a small universe on a plate. Don't crush it together with the lens' perspective.


Do you need a macro lens for food photography?


Not necessarily. I'm against shooting food too close. With the shallow depth of field of the tele lenses we usually employ to shoot food, you risk losing the layers and the complexity of the dish you are photographing. Blurring the background a little bit is fine, enhancing and stressing the focus on a recipe's detail is great but a dish is an organism. You have to consider it in its entirety.


This suggestion is valid unless your photoshoot is about very small textural details or tiny ingredients. If the whole point of the shot is to show something very small, macro might be the only way to go.


Best lenses for food and product photography. Food photography zoom lens.


Best Canon lens for food photography


  • EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS, the workhorse

  • EF 24–105mm f/4L IS, for tight budgets

  • EF 85mm f/1.2L II USM, for total depth of field control

  • EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS, if you REALLY need a macro lens


Best Nikon lens for food photography


  • AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8, the workhorse

  • AF-S Nikkor 24-120mm f/4, for tight budgets

  • AF-S Nikkor 105mm f/1.4 or AF-S Nikkor 85mm f/1.4, for total depth of field control

  • AF-S VR Micro Nikkor 105mm f/2.8, if you REALLY need a macro lens


Best Sony lens for food photography


  • FE 70-200mm F2.8 GM, the workhorse

  • FE 24–105 mm F4 G, for tight budgets

  • FE 100mm F2.8 GM or FE 85mm F1.4 GM, for total depth of field control

  • FE 90mm F2.8 Macro G, if you REALLY need a macro lens


Best Sigma lens for food photography


  • 105mm F1.4 DG HSM | A, for total depth of field control

  • 70mm F2.8 DG Macro | A, if you REALLY need a macro lens


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