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What is the best camera to use for food photography?

Updated: Jul 4, 2021

This is the first question many people will always asked me after they saw my food shots. If I tell them I am using a professional level camera like the Canon 5D Mark III or 5D Mark IV, they will say the same thing - "No wonder your image look so fabulous"

Is there a best camera?

Camera is an equipment that help me to achieve what I want to achieve. A professional level camera of course will provide better photo quality images but the effect of the final image still depends on the skill of the photographer, lighting and lens used.

Before the actual photo shoot, I will always asked my client what is the purpose of the photo shoot. Is the final image going to be use in Website, Social Media, Poster, Menu or Billboard? Nowadays most of the DSLR or Mirroless Camara has at least 16 to 24 megapixel which I personally think it is already good enough to use on Website, Social Media, Poster, Bus Stop Ad and Menu. For Billboard Ads, I would suggest to use a camera that has at least 40 megapixel.

Look at the food shot below. Can you guess what camera I am using? Scroll down to see the answer.

Copyright 2018 Bene Tan, Cause & Effect Studio

I am using my student's camera - an entry level NIKON D5100 for the food shot I did during my One-to-One food photography workshop.

What to look out when buying a camera?

I am not a technical expert but I will try my best to share with you.

Starting out

If you are starting out or just a photography hobbyist, don't jump into buying the top end camera and think that you will be able to take nice food images with it. Start with the basic equipments first. Consider the entry or mid entry level cameras. Make use of the kit lens that come with it. Understand and master the Basic of Photography and learn how to operate your camera first.

Cropped Sensor or Full Frame Camera

Entry or mid entry level camera mostly have a cropped sensor. A typical Nikon entry level camera will have a 1.5 cropped sensor and Canon entry level camera will have a 1.6 cropped sensor.

The cropped sensor will affect your lens focusing distance. Example if you are using a 50mm macro lens, your actual focal distance becomes 75mm (50mm x 1.5) for Nikon and 80mm (50mm x 1.6) for Canon. This will become a problem when you are shooting in a tight constrain space. Another thing is the field of view will become smaller when you shoot using a cropped sensor camera.

(To understand what is cropped sensor, go to

Below are some camera specs that you might want to take note when buying a camera.

Shooting Modes

Must be able to choose Manual mode

AF System Points

At least 9-points or more

Effective Pixels (megapixels)

16 megapixel and above.

Effective ISO

At least 100 to 6400 range

White Balance

Able to choose Custom mode

X-sync (sec.)

At least 1/125s

Peripheral Connections

At least with Hi-Speed USB (for tethering purpose)

Tethering allows you to connect your camera to a computer or tablet and almost instantly view your digital images on the device within seconds after it is captured.

The next article, I will be sharing What is the best lens to use for food photography

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