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Best Lenses for Commercial Food Photography


I was wondering what lens would be best for food photography. Like commercial photography for food.



My guess is a macro lens if details are needed. e.g. EF/RF 100mm f/2.8

Though from what I understand, it's really more about the lighting setup and other prep work to capture the best possible images to convey great taste, freshness, etc.


EOS 5D IV, EF 50mm f/1.2L, EF 135mm f/2L, 600EX-RT (x6), ST-E3-RT
EOS C70, RF 24-70 f/2.8L IS, EF-EOS R 0.71x


For R or EOS cameras?


I have an EF 75-300mm zoom lens and an EFS 18-25mm lens


All Canon cameras with interchangeable lens capability are "EOS". This includes the the EOS R-series mirrorless, the EOS M-series mirrorless, all the DSLRs and even 35mm film SLRs from 1987 onward.


Alan Myers
San Jose, Calif., USA
"Walk softly and carry a big lens."
GEAR: 5DII, 7DII (x2), 7D(x2), EOS M5, some other cameras, various lenses & accessories


The EF-S 35mm Macro has a ring light built in to the front of the lens

The best EF-S lens for this was probably the 60mm macro, but canon no longer sells it new.


My son is an executive chef. I taught him how to take photos of finished plates of food using an 80D and a Rokinon 24mm tilt-shift lens.

"The right mouse button is your friend."


"I was wondering what lens would be best for food photography."

The question is too general to make a good recommendation. Anywhere from your iphone to a Hasselblad X2D.

EOS 1DX and 1D Mk IV and several lenses!


While not quite the same, I've done quite a bit of small product "tabletop studio" photography with various Canon Tilt Shift lenses. Mostly I have used the old TS-E 45mm and TS-E 90mm, both on APS-C crop sensor and full frame cameras. Sometimes I needed to add a macro extension tube for smaller items and closer work.

The newer TS-E 50mm Macro and TS-E 90mm Macro can focus closer than the older lenses, but most food photography doesn't get anywhere close to macro magnification anyway. The newer TS-E lenses also have more adjustability... Where the old lenses had a single rotational plane, the new ones have two. This allows you to quickly and easily reorient the tilt and shift movements relation to each other as needed. The older lenses needed to be partly disassembled to make any change to the alignment of those movements. This wasn't too big a deal with small product photography because I was mostly just using the tilt movement to control the plane of focus. Occasionally with reflective items I used shift, but that was rare.

If using a crop sensor camera, for food photography a wider lens like the TS-E 24mm II might be necessary. If using a full frame camera, I imagine the old 45mm or the current TS-E 50mm Macro would be a good starting point. Even if unable to focus close enough or render the images you want, it might be good to experiment with different focal lengths on a standard "walk around" zoom, to see what works best for you

The TS-E lenses can mount directly to any of the Canon DSLRs (EF mount). If using an R-series or M-series mirrorless camera, an EF to RF or EF to EF-M adapter would be needed. All the TS-E lenses are manual focus (currently... rumors are that there may be some autofocus versions in the future). If interested in but unfamiliar with them, study up on the uses of tilt and shift lens movements.


Alan Myers
San Jose, Calif., USA
"Walk softly and carry a big lens."
GEAR: 5DII, 7DII (x2), 7D(x2), EOS M5, some other cameras, various lenses & accessories

P.S. The last time I did any food photography was a long time ago. I remember one session using 4x5" film camera to shoot ice cream products. In the studio the ice cream products would melt before we could get the shots we needed! It was Winter in Colorado, so we took everything outside and worked with flags and reflecting panels to light the product, rather than strobes and hot lights. For some of the pics I had to shoot from atop a 6 foot step ladder. That was fun!