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