Struggling to find the best lens for food photography? You’re not alone. Food photography is an expansive genre, and picking the right lens depends on a range of factors. As myself I do best food photography in UAE, you can also check my work, find one of the best food photography in Dubai, best food photography in Abu Dhabi and best food photography in Sharjah. I’ve done many projects in these cities in my photography career.
After all, you might shoot in a kitchen or a controlled studio setting, you might do wide-angle food photography, or you might like extreme close-ups. And each scenario requires a completely different set of lens features!
That’s where this article comes in handy. I’m going to share my favorite 10 lenses for photographing food, including options for all major brands and at every price point. By the time you’re finished reading, you’ll know which lens is right for you!
Let’s dive right in, starting with my number one pick…
1. Canon EF-S 60MM f/2.8 Macro USM
If you use a cropped sensor Canon DSLR, you’ll need an EF-S lens, ideally one with close-focusing capabilities and a midrange focal length; the Canon EF-S 60mm f/2.8 is the perfect choice.
Thanks to the 1.6x Canon APS-C crop factor, you’ll get a nice 96mm focal length equivalent – long enough to prevent any wide-angle distortion, but not so zoomed-in as to become unwieldy, especially when photographing table-top compositions.
As a macro lens, the 60mm f/2.8 is capable of magnifying small subjects to life-size, so you can emphasize food intricacies and highlight every tiny detail.
The f/2.8 maximum aperture offers enough light to shoot handheld in good light, and it’s easy to create a blurred background that’ll make your hero ingredient pop.
Plus, the lens is light and compact, so you can work comfortably in any kitchen or studio.
2. Canon EF 100MM f/2.8L Macro IS USM
If you’re a full-frame Canon shooter, then check out the 100mm f/2.8L, which promises astonishingly sharp images in almost any situation.
The optics are incredible, and build quality is exactly what you’d expect from a Canon “L” (luxury!) lens. You can focus down to 1:1, which makes for beautiful detail shots, or you can take a step back to capture photos that show the food in context.
The wide f/2.8 aperture allows you to shoot handheld in low-light situations, and thanks to Canon’s image stabilization technology, you can safely work at ultra-slow shutter speeds. The lens also separates the subject from the background with beautiful Bokah.
Yes, the 100mm f/2.8L is a bit expensive, but for the serious food photographer, it’s absolutely worth a look. On the other hand, if the L version is a little out of your budget, check out the “standard” Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro USM. It might not be the luxury version, but it still delivers amazing food photographs (and for a much more affordable price).
3. SONY FE 90MM f/2.8 Macro G OSS
Medium telephoto lenses are great for tighter food photography, which is why the Sony 90mm f/2.8 (135mm on APS-C cameras) is perfect for serious food photographers.
At 90mm, you can capture stunning photos from a distance – and thanks to the lens’s 1:1 reproduction ratio, you can get outstanding detail.
If you like to shoot handheld, then you’ll appreciate the built-in image stabilization, and for food photographers who prefer to focus manually, there’s a big, grippy focus ring at the end of the barrel. Optically, the 90mm f/2.8 is top of the line, and the high-quality elements reduce distortion and color fringing. While it’s on the pricier side, you pay for what you get – and with this lens, you get a lot.