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10-15-2008, 01:36 AM   #1
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Macro lens for food photography

What macro lens(es) would you guys recommend for food photography?

Some that popped into my head are the FA 100/2.8, tamron, sigma. How about the MF ones like zeiss and voigt? (since MF is what will be used anyway)

Anyone have experience with food photography? What focal length do you find yourself using?

10-15-2008, 02:08 AM   #2
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the SMCP-D FA 50mm f/2.8 looks interesting too. and it's cheap!
10-15-2008, 02:31 AM   #3
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You need a wider angle than the 100 you suggest in your first post.
The 50 would be much more suitable a focal length, you should be able to take shots in a restaurant with that.
10-15-2008, 02:33 AM   #4
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yeah i'm leaning towards the FA or D-FA 50! which one is a better one?

10-15-2008, 02:47 AM   #5
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I would go with 50mm or wider (I think 100mm is way too long, and you would need more light to get the shutter speed up). The DA35 f/2.8 Macro might be a good choice too. A small tabletop tripod will probably be useful if you don't have one. I think some food photographers use tilt-shift lenses, but that's probably a bit extreme.
10-15-2008, 02:53 AM   #6
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yeah i was also looking into the 35!

i'm getting the 21, 40, and 70 soon. if i get the 35 that'd complete the set hahaha
10-15-2008, 03:30 AM   #7
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DFA 50mm f2.8
10-15-2008, 09:02 AM   #8
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50 f/1.4

you know you want to. Why do you need macro for food? Thats just going to scare people. Stick with a bigger aperture, everything will look so much nicer

10-15-2008, 09:05 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by IsaacEastgate Quote
50 f/1.4

you know you want to. Why do you need macro for food? Thats just going to scare people. Stick with a bigger aperture, everything will look so much nicer
may i ask: is this from your experience in commercial food photography?

what i know from observation and research:

it's nice to get into the details and a macro lens is right for that.

while it's nice to have a nice big aperture, most of the time it's too thin of a DOF for food photography

i think the 50/2.8 macro would be a more versatile lens for food photography
10-15-2008, 10:55 AM   #10
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You don't need a macro to get into the detail. All the 50's mentioned will do the job for you, and they are fast and sharp enough to crop if you really want to get in there. Depends whether your MF skills are good enough.
10-15-2008, 11:12 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by soccerjoe5 Quote
i think the 50/2.8 macro would be a more versatile lens for food photography
It's certainly going to let you get closer, no doubt about that. I guess the issue is, just how closeup do you need/want to be. With a non-macro 50, you can get close enough so that a single *serving* of rice fills the frame. With a macro 50, you can get close to a single *grain* of rice fills the frame.

In my *non-professional* experience, the former is more typical than the latter in the food shots I see. And it's more common still to have even wider shots that show pretty much an entire plate. But if you prefer the option to shoot individual grains of rice - and that's certainly a valid creative option - then indeed, the macro is the way to go.
10-15-2008, 11:15 AM   #12
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aha! thanks!
10-15-2008, 03:47 PM   #13
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I do the occasional food shot for a client of mine and the focal length I use the most is the 50mm macro (the FA 50mm f/2.8 macro and the DFA 50mm f/2.8 macro). I do use a longer macro but less so due to the narrow angle of view and working distance issue. I'm sure the DA 35 macro can work as well but at larger magnifications, the working distance can be a little too close especially when strobes are used.

The determining factor is whether the shot is to isolate the subject or to have the subject shown in relationship to a particular setting. For the most part, the requirement is for a lens with a wide enough coverage that gives a good working distance.

The reason why a 50mm macro and not a normal 50mm is because of the close focus capability and because macro lenses are flat field corrected so objects shot up close don't get distorted. For commercial shoots, a tilt shift lens might be used to tweak the plane of focus.

Some test samples:


FA 50mm macro


Sigma 90mm macro

Last edited by creampuff; 10-15-2008 at 04:15 PM. Reason: link
10-15-2008, 05:31 PM   #14
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A good 50mm and a short extension tube would be a nice combo as well and cheaper than a macro.

Anything is possible with the right budget. Right now a lot of food photos are into the Tilt Shift lenses: gives shots that cool "view camera magazine look" without the hassles of actually using a view camera.

PS: Denis, nice food shots.
10-15-2008, 05:45 PM   #15
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I found that 1.4 gives too shallow a DOF as well. I usually run f/4 to give enough DOF, so I just use my Sigma 17-70 most of the time instead of my 50/1.4...
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