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Thread: I'm in a quandary - which lens for food photography??

  1. #1
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    I'm in a quandary - which lens for food photography??

    G'day folks,

    Over the last couple of years I've been getting into the food blogging caper (link is in my signature if anyone's interested) and to date I've been struggling along using my 18-55mm f3.5/5.6 Nikon lens for probably 95% of shots, on a Nikon D7000 body.

    So here's the most common scenario when I'm out eating:

    - Light is normally dim
    - I prefer to take 1-2 shots of each dish at most (one of the whole dish, and sometimes one close up with shallow DOF)
    - I refuse to get out of my seat to take a photo (this is a non-negotiable). I will move my chair back if possible, but this is often not possible due to space limitations

    These criteria result in most of my shots being taken at 18mm (to maximise field of view) and ISO >1000 (due to dim light). I'm reluctant to push higher than ISO1250 as noise does start to become an issue (noise reduction software, while excellent, definitely deteriorates the quality of the image). Shutter speeds inevitably suffer and blurred edges occasionally arise, despite my best efforts at good technique and appropriate settings.

    I do have a 35mm f1.8, however the field of view is too narrow for all but close up shots.

    The key thing I would like to achieve with a new lens is increased speed, with f2.8 the slowest I will accept.

    Options I've been looking at include:

    - Tokina 11-16mm f2.8
    - Sigma 18-35mm f1.8
    - Nikon 17-55mm f2.8

    To be honest, I'm torn. At the moment I'm tossing up between the Tokina and the Sigma, but I'm not sure about how much distortion and softness is going to be introduced on the Tokina at 16mm @ f2.8. The Sigma, on the other hand, provides fantastic speed, but may still be a little on the narrow side at 18mm (and it's almost double the price of the Tokina).

    If I bought the Tokina then I'd probably sell my Sigma 10-20mm.

    Does anyone have any advice regarding other lens options for my particular shooting conditions?

    Are there any other food photographers out there with some general advice?

    Any help is much appreciated

    Cheers!
    Andrew.
    http://twoclownstripping.com

    Nikon D7000
    Sigma 10-20mm ~ Nikon 18-55mm ~ Nikon 55-200mm ~ Manfrotto 190XProB ~ Manfrotto 488RC2
    ~ LowePro Top Load Zoom 1


  2. #2
    Administrator ricktas's Avatar
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    What software do you use?

    Software like Lightroom lets you analyse a heap of photos and provide you statistics about settings etc. You might find doing some analysis of your existing photos will tell you the most used settings and help with say choosing an 18-35 over an 11-16.

    Oh and did you mean the Nikon 17-35 (not 50)? I have the 17-35 and it is a good lens, can suffer from chromatic aberration at times, and lens flare can be an issue, though dimly lit restaurants tend not to be a lens flare environment, unless you get some bright light directly reflected off a shiny plate etc. I have not used it for food photography, but I suspect it would serve your purposes very well.
    "It is one thing to make a picture of what a person looks like, it is another thing to make a portrait of who they are" - Paul Caponigro

    Constructive Critique of my photographs is always appreciated
    Nikon, etc!

    RICK
    My Photography

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    Rick, LR is the main tool. I haven't checked the stats in a while across my numerous catalogues but I would bank on almost all being taken at 18mm, and even that sometimes leaves me a little bit tight for room in some of the more cramped restaurants.

    It was definitely a 17-55mm that I had seen, but it cost something around the $1500 mark. Hadn't come across the 17-35mm...I'll have a look now. Thanks for the tip.

    Andrew.

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    I've found that a 28 mm f2.8 can be good for foodies. Just have to move a bit closer for that macro shot.

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    Is that on a full frame camera vinhtee?

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    Member NatakRd's Avatar
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    If you shoot a few dishes of food in one frame , then your choice is clear - a moderate wide-angle lens or a standard 50 mm. But even in this case, I recommend using aperture optics.
    But if you are coming shooting one dish meal and possibly its elements - it must be a macro lens. I use a macro lens 60mm and 105 mm as well as tilt-shift lens. This versatile set of 35 mm full-frame digital camera lets you take various subjects.
    Taking pictures of food products and medium format digital camera, I prefer to use 80 and 120 macro lens .

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    Arch-Σigmoid Ausphotography Regular ameerat42's Avatar
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    Sage advice, - given the topic - NatakRd. Welcome to AP.
    Might I ask you to explain your term "aperture optics"?
    Am.
    CC, Image editing OK.

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