Best Lens for Food Photography (Canon, Nikon, Sony, Fuji & More)

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Choosing the best lens for food photography will help you create drool-worthy Instagram shots of delicious dishes.

A good camera, adequate lighting, and artistic styling are essential for great food photography, but having the right focal length and lens type is also an important consideration.

Typically, a 50mm lens on a full-frame camera (or 35mm if you use a crop sensor body) is a good place to start – anything wider than this can distort the food at close distances.

Tilt-shift and macro lenses are also popular, and certain zoom lenses can help when framing, so you don’t need to keep moving your tripod for multiple perspectives.

(We don’t discuss using a tilt-shift lens in this guide, since high prices and lack of versatility make them unsuitable for many food photographers.)

A wide aperture lens is also advisable for food photography, helping blur the background to achieve that dreamy look. It’ll also help if you’re shooting in a restaurant with low light.

In this guide, we’ve uncovered the best bang for your buck lenses for food photography to cover all budgets.

So get your fork out – it’s time to dive in!

Best Lenses for Food Photography in 2021

Image Product Features
shk2-table__imageCanon 35mm f/2.8BEST CANON APS-C
  • Compact, Lightweight Design
  • Built-in Macro Lite
  • Smooth Movie Servo AF
  • GMo Aspheric Lens
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shk2-table__imageTamron 90mm f/2.8BEST CANON FULL FRAME
  • Outstanding Depictive Capabilities
  • Attractive Bokeh
  • Affordable
  • Moisture & Dustproof
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shk2-table__imageNikon 40mm f/2.8BEST NIKON APS-C
  • Impeccably Sharp
  • Beautiful Bokeh
  • Compact, Lightweight Design
  • Fast Aperture
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shk2-table__imageNikon 50mm f/1.8GBEST NIKON FULL FRAME
  • Fast Autofocus
  • Lightweight & Compact
  • Budget-friendly
  • Silent Wave Motor
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shk2-table__imageFujifilm 60mm f/2.4BEST FUJIFILM
  • Robust
  • Sharp Macro
  • Ultra-compact & Lightweight
  • Fast Aperture
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shk2-table__imageSony 30mm f/3.5BEST SONY APS-C
  • Affordable
  • Lightweight
  • Perfect for Beginners
  • Simple Design
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shk2-table__imageSony 90mm f/2.8BEST SONY FULL FRAME
  • Built-in Image Stabilization
  • Exceptionally Smooth Bokeh
  • Up to 1:1 Magnification
  • Fast Max Aperture
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shk2-table__imagePanasonic 30mm f/2.8BEST MICRO FOUR THIRDS
  • Super-compact
  • Lightweight
  • Fast Autofocus
  • Image Stabilized Lens
View Price →

 

Canon Lenses

1. Canon EF-S 35mm f/2.8 Macro IS STM

Canon EF-S 35mm f/2.8 Macro IS STM

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Pros
  • 1:1 closeup macro lens
  • Lightweight, compact and portable
  • Fast aperture and 5,12″ (13cm) minimum focusing distance
  • Image stabilized
  • Budget-friendly yet excellent outcomes
Cons
  • Not weather sealed

The Canon EF-S 35mm f/2.8 Macro IS STM is a brilliant lens that delivers optical sharpness and stunning results for food photography.

Designed for Canon EF-S range of APS-C DSLR camera bodies (cropped sensor), the 35mm f/2.8 lens features a true 1:1 macro ratio capturing exceptional detail at a minimum distance to focus of just 5.12″ (13cm).

The f/2.8 maximum aperture allows for beautiful subject separation and background bokeh to help make your food photography pop.

In combination with image stabilization, this fast aperture also allows the lens to perform well in low-light shooting conditions. As a result, you can confidently capture mouth-watering food photos even in the darkest laneway bar.

What’s most impressive about the Canon EF-S 35mm f/2.8 Macro IS STM is its pocketable size. It weighs just 6.7oz (190g) and is a tiny 2.2″ x 2.7″ (56mm x 68mm), making it one of the most compact 1:1 macros on offer.

2. Tamron SP 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro VC USD

Tamron SP 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro VC USD

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Pros
  • True 1:1 macro function
  • VC image stabilization for low light performance
  • Moistureproof and dustproof
  • Excellent edge-to-edge image sharpness
  • 11″ (28cm) minimum focusing distance
Cons
  • Older generation lens

The Tamron SP 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro VC USD is a 1:1 macro lens built for Canon EF-mount DSLRs.

As a robust prime lens for your full-frame camera, it features extensive dust and moisture sealing for use in any condition.

The Tamron SP 90mm f/2.8 captures amazing food shots thanks to its edge-to-edge image sharpness and f/2.8 fast max aperture.

A 90mm focal range and 11″ (28cm) minimal focal distance results in compressed compositions where the plate of food is highlighted without unnecessary background distraction.

Aside from the fast aperture, low light performance is assured thanks to Tamron’s VC image stabilization. This means you can shoot at slower shutter speeds without camera shake.

The Tamron weighs in at 1.34lb (610gm) and measures just 4.61 x 2.87 (11.7cm x 7.3cm), making it a perfect pairing with a Canon full-frame sensor camera.

3. Canon RF 35mm f/1.8 Macro IS STM

Canon RF 35mm f/1.8 Macro IS STM

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Pros
  • Lightweight, compact and portable
  • Faster aperture for ultra-fine depth of field
  • Image stabilisation for low light performance
  • Budget-friendly RF lens
  • 6.7″ (17cm) minimum focusing distance
Cons
  • Not weather or dust sealed
  • 2:1 macro ratio only provides 50% magnification

The lens range for Canon’s full-frame sensor mirrorless cameras continues to grow and includes the Canon RF 35mm f/1.8 Macro IS STM lens. Finally, a 35mm food photography lens for the Canon R series.

It’s tiny at 2.9 x 2.5 inches (7.3cm x 6.35cm) and weighs only 10.4oz ( 290gm). What makes this pocketable macro lens a winner is its fast f/1.8 aperture and image stabilization.

Not only is low-light performance assured, but you’ll also achieve exceptional food photography shots with a shallow depth of field – if you get close enough, you can even mimic the look of a tilt-shift lens.

With a 6.7″ (17cm) minimum distance to focus, every scene will be captured in stark detail.

The flip side is that the Canon RF 35mm f/1.8 Macro IS STM lens delivers only 50% magnification due to its 2:1 macro ratio.

Regardless, those looking for the best lens for food photography that’s also budget-friendly need to look no further than this Canon RF mount macro.

4. Canon EF 24-70mm f/4L IS USM

Canon EF 24-70mm f/4L IS USM

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Pros
  • Versatile full-frame zoom
  • Image stabilization for low light
  • Weather sealed
  • High 0.7x magnification ratio
  • 14.9″ (38cm) minimum focusing distance
Cons
  • Constant f/4 less ideal in low light

Primes often make the best lenses for food photography as they deliver stronger optical performance than cheaper zoom lenses – especially some kit lenses.

Food photographers shooting with a Canon full-frame DSLR should pick up the Canon EF 24-70mm f/4L IS USM lens. While it’s not a macro lens, the weather-sealed L series zoom has a minimum shooting distance of 14.9″ (38cm).

A 24-70mm zoom lens range is effective in any photography genr, providing greater control and versatility for compositions and framing.

The f/4 constant max aperture is suitable for the 70mm end. At the wider 24mm end, it’s not ideal for low light conditions – though it excels in natural light.

However, the Canon EF 24-70mm f/4L IS USM features Canon’s proven image stabilization to optimize low-light performance.

Not many people consider using a wide-angle lens for food photography, but shooting at 24mm helps include more of the scene, especially if you compose with the subject in the dead centre to avoid distortion.

Built for Canon’s DSLR camera range, the 24-70mm is 3.66″ x 3.27″ (93mm x 83mm) and balanced at 1.32lb (598gm). If you can only afford one lens, it’s a great lens to choose.

Nikon Lenses

5. Nikon AF-S DX 40mm f/2.8G Micro

Nikon AF-S DX 40mm f/2.8G Micro

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Pros
  • High-precision 1:1 macro lens
  • Ultra-lightweight and compact
  • Fast aperture for superb depth of field
  • Budget macro ideal for DX mount Nikon
  • 6.3″ (16cm) minimum focusing distance
Cons
  • No image stabilisation for low light

The most captivating close-up food photography captures mouth-watering details of the texture, contrast, and placement of ingredients. The best way to achieve this effect is with a macro lens.

Nikon APS-C (cropped sensor) photographers are fortunate to have the Nikon AF-S DX 40mm f/2.8G Micro delivering a true 1:1 magnification ratio and high image quality.

The budget-friendly 40mm f/2.8 lens captures ultra-close-up shots at a minimum distance of just 6.3″ (16cm).

The fast f/2.8 aperture compensates for the lack of image stabilization while delivering subject separation and unforgettable background bokeh.

Robust and compact, the Nikon AF-S DX 40mm f/2.8G Micro measures 2.56″ x 2.72″ (65mm x 69) and weighs in at a comfortable 8.3oz (235gm).

6. Tamron SP 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro VC USD

Tamron SP 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro VC USD

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Pros
  • True 1:1 macro magnification
  • VC image stabilization for low light performance
  • Moisture and dustproof
  • Excellent edge-to-edge image sharpness
  • 28cm minimum focusing distance
Cons
  • Older generation lens

The same lens as the Canon EF-mount version, the Tamron SP 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro VC USD is a full-frame 1:1 lens built for Nikon’s F-mount DSLRs.

The Tamron SP 90mm f/2.8 for Nikon renders true-to-life color and high image quality in every food photography composition.

The fast f/2.8 maximum aperture and longer 90mm focal length allows tighter compression and exquisite subject separation. Get in super close for absolute detail clarity with the 11″ (28cm) minimal focus distance.

Another benefit of the Tamron SP 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro VC USD is the VC image stabilization system that pairs with the fast aperture to achieve optical clarity even in low-light situations.

The lens is built tough thanks to features such as a weather and dust-sealed body. It weighs 1.34lb (610gm) and has a relatively compact size of 4.61″ x 2.87″ (11.7cm x 7.3cm), pairing well with any of the best Nikon cameras.

7. Nikon 50mm f/1.8G

Nikon 50mm f/1.8G

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Pros
  • Compact and lightweight nifty-fifty
  • Fast autofocus system
  • Fast aperture for low-light and depth of field
  • Budget-friendly full-frame prime
  • 17″ (45cm) minimum focus distance
Cons
  • No image stabilisation feature

Every Nikon full-frame food photographer needs a nifty-fifty, fast aperture lens in their kit – 50mm is quite simply the best all-purpose prime.

Food photographers will love the Nikon 50mm f/1.8G for Nikon’s FX format.

It features a compact and super lightweight body at 2.09″ x 2.83″ (53mm x 72mm) and 6.5oz (184gm) in weight.

Aside from being an all-purpose and lightweight prime, it features fast autofocus, accurate manual focus, and ultra-wide max aperture at f/1.8. Get close enough, and you can make a photo look like it’s taken with a tilt-shift lens.

Such a fast aperture more than makes up for the lack of image stabilization while still delivering excellent background effects and subject separation. 

As it’s not a macro lens, the minimum focus distance is 17″ (45cm) – however, the 50mm focal length is ideal for higher compositions and top-down shots.

Above all, what makes the Nikon 50mm f/1.8G so appealing is its optical performance and budget-friendly price tag. 

8. Nikon Z 24-70mm f/4 S

Nikon Z 24-70mm f/4 S

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Pros
  • Versatile Z mount zoom
  • Edge-to-edge optical sharpness
  • Weather sealed construction
  • Flexibility of different focal lengths
Cons
  • Lens breathing while focusing
  • No image stabilisation
  • Slow aperture at wide angles

Nikon continues to add high-performance digital mirrorless cameras to its Z-mount range. The lens lineup is also expanding, with the Nikon Z 24-70mm f/4 S one of the best choices for food photography.

A versatile 24-70mm full-frame zoom lens makes the ideal addition to any food or portrait photographer’s kit. The wide end allows for broader scene-setting shots, while the 70mm end is ideal for higher compositions of plated meals.

The weather-sealed body weighs 1.1lb and measures 3.5″ x 3.1″ (88.9mm x 78.7mm) – so it balances Nikon mirrorless cameras perfectly.

While the 11″ (28cm) focal distance is great for food photography, the f/4 maximum aperture is not the best for low-light shooting – especially as the Nikon Z 24-70mm f/4 S doesn’t feature image stabilization for slower shutter speeds.

If you keep out of dark corners, however, this zoom lens will serve you well.

The autofocus system is incredibly fast; however, it’s worth pointing out that the 24-70mm f/4 suffers from lens breathing when obtaining sharp focus.

Fujifilm Lenses

9. Fujifilm XF 60mm f/2.4 R Macro

Fujifilm XF60mm f/2.4 R Macro

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Pros
  • Sharp macro for extreme close-ups
  • Fast aperture for low-light performance
  • Ultra-compact, lightweight yet robust
  • 10.6″ (27cm) minimum focus distance
Cons
  • 2:1 magnification ratio
  • Not weather sealed

The Fujifilm XF 60mm f/2.4 R Macro lens is the best food photography lens for your cropped sensor X-Pro or X-T series of Fuji cameras.

The 60mm focal distance is a 90mm FF equivalent on a cropped sensor camera body and provides crystal clear and tack sharp images with excellent compression.

The Fujifilm 60mm has a fast f/2.4 aperture to deliver clean subject separation and gorgeous background bokeh.

While it’s not weather-sealed, it’s built like a tank, weighing 7.6oz (215.5gm) and measuring 2.8″ x 2.52″ (71mm x 64mm).

The Fuji 60mm delivers a 2:1 magnification ratio while allowing ultra-close-up shots at a minimum focus distance of 10.6″ (27cm).

As it’s an older lens, the focus is not as fast as the more recent Fujifilm macro lenses. Regardless, it captures mesmerizing food photography images every time.

Sony Lenses

10. Sony E 30mm f/3.5 Macro

Sony E 30mm f/3.5 Macro

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Pros
  • 1:1 macro E-mount lens
  • Lightweight and pocketable body
  • Budget and entry-level friendly lens
  • 3.74″ (9.75cm) minimum focus distance
  • Also a great portrait lens
Cons
  • Slower aperture not great for low light

Sony full-frame cameras and quality lenses are the stars of the Sony camera lineup. But that doesn’t mean that Sony E-mount APS-C mirrorless camera body shooters need to miss out.

The Sony E 30mm f/3.5 is a fantastic and affordable 1:1 macro lens that’s perfect for food photography. Its simple design, features, and performance make it ideal for anyone new to the food photography genre.

To balance perfectly with Sony crop sensor cameras, this lens weighs 10.2oz (290gm) and measures a stocky 3.54″ x 4.72″(90mm x 120mm).

The Sony E 30mm f/3.5 1:1 lens features a reasonable f/3.5 maximum aperture. It’s not ideal for low light conditions, especially as the lens doesn’t feature image stabilization.

Regardless, with a super-close 3.74″ (9.5cm) minimum focus distance and Sony’s renowned optical quality, it’s a perfect food photography lens for APS-C cameras.

11. Sony FE 90mm f/2.8 Macro G OSS

Sony FE 90mm f/2.8 Macro G OSS

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Pros
  • Enthusiast level macro
  • Fast max aperture for depth of field
  • Excellent image compression and quality
  • Optical Steady Shot image stabilization
  • Minimum focusing distance of 11″ (28cm)
Cons
  • 0.92x magnification – not quite 1:1 ratio
  • Expensive

Enthusiast and professional Sony food photographers can’t ignore all that the Sony FE 90mm f/2.8 Macro G OSS has to offer.

A 90mm focal range and fast maximum f/2.8 aperture combine to deliver exceptional image compression, subject separation, and background bokeh.

As one of the more overlooked Sony lenses in the lineup, results from the 90mm f/2.8 are impressive, to say the least.

It has a minimum focusing distance of 11″ (28cm) and a 0.92x magnification. While it’s not quite a true 1:1 macro ratio food lens, it’s pretty close.

The Sony 90mm delivers exceptional performance in all lighting conditions – especially thanks to its Optical Steady Shot image stabilization.

If we were to point out a single fault, it would be the cost of the lens. However, this is a premium product that won’t disappoint you in your quest to find the best lens for food photography.

Olympus and Panasonic Lenses

12. Panasonic LUMIX G Macro 30mm f/2.8 Asph Mega OIS

Panasonic LUMIX G Macro 30mm f/2.8 Asph Mega OIS

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Pros
  • Micro Four Thirds 1:1 macro
  • Lightweight and super-compact
  • Short minimum focusing distance of 4.13″ (10.5 cm)
  • Image stabilized lens for low light
  • 30mm (60mm in 35mm equivalent)
Cons
  • No weather sealing

Micro Four Thirds photographers need not be left out thanks to the Panasonic LUMIX G Macro 30mm f/2.8 Asph Mega OIS.

With a 60mm FF equivalent and fast f/2.8 aperture, tight compositions with a gorgeous depth of field are assured.

As one of the best Micro Four Thirds lenses, it boasts a 12″ (30cm) minimum distance to focus for superb close-ups of a plated dish, even in a dark setting.

The Panasonic LUMIX G Macro 30mm f/2.8 Asph Mega OIS is lightweight at 9.6oz (272gm) and very compact at 3.23″ x 4.41″ (8.2cm x 11.2cm).

While it doesn’t feature weather sealing, this robust little lens is a winner thanks to its fast autofocus, accurate manual focus, optical image stabilization, and mesmerizing image quality in every shot.

13. Olympus M.Zuiko 12-45mm f/4 Pro

Olympus M.Zuiko 12-45mm f/4 Pro

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Pros
  • Handy Micro Four Thirds mount zoom lens
  • Ultra-lightweight and compact
  • Affordable MFT lens option
  • Flexibility of different focal lengths
  • 1.77″ (4.5cm) short minimum focusing distance
Cons
  • Slow aperture at the wide end
  • 0.5x magnification macro function
  • Noticeable focus breathing

Food photography often demands close-ups to capture the textures and details in a dish. It’s hard to get any closer than the 1.77″ (4.5cm) minimum focusing distance of the micro four-thirds Olympus M.Zuiko 12-45mm f/4 Pro lens.

The 12-45mm (24-90mm equivalent crop factor) zoom range is ideal for food photos to capture wide table shots or tighter close-ups.

The flip side of this flexibility is the constant and low max aperture of f/4 and the 2:1 macro ratio.

Regardless, beginners shooting with a micro four-thirds digital camera will make great use of this handy little macro zoom.

It’s lightweight at 14.8oz (419gm) and measures a pocketable 2.8″ x 2.5″ (71mm x 63.5mm).

Food Photography Lenses FAQs

What Canon lens is best for food photography?

The best Canon lens for food photography depends on your camera mount and preferences. Many food photographers select the Canon RF 35mm f/1.8 Macro IS STM for full-frame mirrorless Canon cameras. DSLR food photographers looking for a zoom should consider the Canon EF 24-70mm f/4L IS USM.

What focal length is good for food photography? 

The best focal length for stunning food photos is one in the range of 50-90mm (full-frame equivalent).

50-90mm delivers excellent composition values such as a compressed field of view and minimal background elements. Coincidentally, 50-90mm is the best focal length range for portrait photography too.

Is 35mm good for food photography?

The 35mm focal length is a good one for journalistic food photography. At 35mm, you achieve a suitable amount of compression to have the food as a foreground subject without too much background distraction.

Which Nikon lens is best for food photography?

For sharp images, food photographers shooting with a cropped sensor Nikon DX camera should use the Nikon AF-S DX 40mm f/2.8G Micro lens.

For a full-frame camera, one of the best lenses for food photos is the Tamron SP 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro VC USD. It delivers superb image quality in low-light conditions.

Is an 18-55mm lens good for food photography?

Those just getting started in food photography need a great lens and should consider the 18-55mm kit lens that came with their camera. Kit lenses are often underrated.

For beginners, it’s the best lens for food photography as the 18mm wide-angle works well with close-ups, while the 55mm long end is ideal for overhead shots with minimal background elements.

Final Words

Food photography has proven to be a popular and growing genre. As a result, the list of best lenses for food photography keeps on growing.

Social media, vloggers, bloggers, and influencers have driven the quality of overhead shots to new heights. What’s more, the demand for quality images from restaurants, bars, and food delivery services has boomed.

Rather than taking the lazy approach of photographing food with your smartphone, take it up a notch.

With the best lens – either for full-frame cameras or cropped sensor cameras – you’ll capture compelling shots even of everyday meals.

What camera bodies and lenses do you use for food photography? Have you shot food photography professionally, and if so, what are your tips for the genre?

Share your experiences, questions, and comments below to join the conversation. Happy shooting.

Disclaimer: All recommendations are impartial and based on user experience, with no bias to the products or the brand. The products in this post may contain affiliate links.

I am a Melbourne based street photographer and blogger. I love to travel and make a regular trip to Japan to photograph and document its dynamic culture.