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Posts: 1
Registered: ‎04-25-2020

Canon lens for food macro photography

I have Canon Rebel T5i and am researching getting a macro lens for food photography (mostly baked goods if that makes a difference). It's only a hobby, so I am not looking to spend a ton on this right now.

From my research, it seems the Canon EF-S 35mm f/2.8 macro IS STM or the Canon EF-S 60mm f/2.8 macro USM are the best, most reasonably prices ones.

Between the two, do you have a recommendation? Or did I completely miss another lens that would be better?

Thanks!!

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Posts: 9,670
Registered: ‎08-13-2015

Re: Canon lens for food macro photography

[ Edited ]

What lenses do you currently own?  You may not need a macro lens, at all.  Where do your current lenses fall short?

 

You are looking at a 35mm or a 60mm.  The focal lengths of those two lenses are worlds apart.  Most baked goods are not what I would consider to be small enough to need a macro lens.  Maybe all you need is a sharp lens and a good quality tripod.

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"Doctor told me to get out and walk, so I bought a Canon."
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Honored Contributor
Posts: 5,440
Registered: ‎06-25-2014

Re: Canon lens for food macro photography


@jimiiykingston wrote:

I have Canon Rebel T5i and am researching getting a macro lens for food photography (mostly baked goods if that makes a difference). It's only a hobby, so I am not looking to spend a ton on this right now.

From my research, it seems the Canon EF-S 35mm f/2.8 macro IS STM or the Canon EF-S 60mm f/2.8 macro USM are the best, most reasonably prices ones.

Between the two, do you have a recommendation? Or did I completely miss another lens that would be better?

Thanks!!


I know nothing about the 35mm, but the 60mm is a very good and useful lens. (I know because my wife has one.) But the determining factor in your case may be exactly what you're trying to show in your food photos. Keep in mind that when you get up close, the focal length of the lens can have a considerable effect on the relative sizes of items in the image, as well as on which of those items are in focus and which aren't.

Bob
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania USA
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Reputable Contributor
Posts: 972
Registered: ‎01-25-2018

Re: Canon lens for food macro photography

You need a good lens but with macro work of this type you will find your lighting at least as critical as choosing a lens.  For sufficient depth of field, you will either need a tripod or stand preferably using mirror lockup to allow a long exposure without shake or a lot of light so that a narrow aperture setting can be used.  Many people are surprised how difficult it is to get sufficient DoF when doing macro work because it usually takes them into a F stop range they rarely use in normal photography.  Either long exposures and/or a lot of light or necessary; increasing ISO is a crutch that can help but you will start losing image quality pretty quickly with a T5i when pushing ISO for an image where high detail is desired.

 

Also note that although the great majority of glass provides improved image quality as you go a step or two down from wide open, you will find the image quality also drops with the lens as the aperture is closed down far beyond typical-especially with some lenses that weren't designed with macro use in mind. It is just something else to look closely at in a lens review when choosing a lens for this type of work to see what weaknesses and aberrations show up as the aperture is greatly narrowed.

 

The below was shot at 1/200, F10, ISO 125 with an EF 100 F2.8L macro lens and 5DS R; F10 is uncharted territory for someone used to shooting high school field supports with telephoto primes at F2.8 and F10 with this macro lens at close range didn't provide sufficient depth of field.  And this was in bright sunlight, I will use a different exposure triangle next time! 

 

Rodger

 

2A8A1563.JPG

EOS 1DX M3, 1DX M2, 1DX, 5DS R, 1D M2, EOS 650 (film), many lenses, XF400 video
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Posts: 12,547
Registered: ‎12-07-2012

Re: Canon lens for food macro photography

"Most baked goods are not what I would consider to be small enough to need a macro lens."

 

I have to agree with this.  What "baked goods" are you taking shots of? A good post editor may be what you need instead of a true macro lens.  But you should have a good post editor anyway!

EOS 1DX and 1D Mk IV and several lenses!
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Esteemed Contributor
Posts: 3,963
Registered: ‎02-17-2016

Re: Canon lens for food macro photography

I would go with the EF-S 60mm. The longer focal length allows for more working distance and lets you get farther from the subject for the same magnification to allow for better lighting.

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Registered: ‎08-13-2015

Re: Canon lens for food macro photography

"Many people are surprised how difficult it is to get sufficient DoF when doing macro work because it usually takes them into a F stop range they rarely use in normal photography."

 

My son is an executive chef, and frequently takes photos of finished plates of food.  I taught him how to use a 24mm Tilt-Shift lens to expand his DoF, and capture a tight shot with the entire plate in focus.

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"Doctor told me to get out and walk, so I bought a Canon."
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Super Contributor
Posts: 170
Registered: ‎01-27-2018

Re: Canon lens for food macro photography

[ Edited ]

Have you thought of getting some extension tubes? I bought the Kenko series. Believe it or not, these cost me $60 used on Craigslist from a user who bought it not sure how to use it. These tubes were made in Japan and they look identical to those made by Canon for a much lower price.

 

I recently ventured into the wonderful world of macro photography thanks to COVID19 and shelter orders. I must say, I am pretty happy with the results I've been getting, that said, it really boils down to what it is you are looking to do. As suggested by our friends above, you should really consider getting a sturdy tripod as well. Good luck.

 

Here's the sample photo was taken with the Kenko tube. shot at 70mm F7.1 ISO 100 1/30sec.

Sunflower 2 .jpg

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