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  • Writer's picturebenetan

What is the best lens to use for food photography?

Updated: Jul 4, 2021

From street photography, architectural photography, product photography, portraits photography, food photography and many more, each lens is designed for certain purpose and it has it's own capability.

What is the purpose?

You need to know the purpose before deciding which lens to use for food photography.

Do you intend to shoot wide open for group shot or close up for individual shot?

Lens distortion / compression effect

I did 3 different shots using the same 30˚camera angle and try my best to frame each shot as similar as possible. The reason is to show you the lens distortion / compression effect. Starting from a 50mm f/1.2 prime , 100mm macro lens and lastly a 70-200mm telephoto zoom lens.

Canon EF 50mm f/1.2L Lens | F/5.6, 1/160s, ISO 100.

The above image was shot using a 50mm prime lens. That having been said that a 50mm lens is what you see what you get lens. Did you notice there's a lens distortion? Take a closer look at the glass. It is not as straight as it should be although my camera horizontal level is straight. The secondary plate behind also looks smaller and not natural.

What is the best lens to use for food photography
Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 L IS Macro Lens | F/5.6, 1/160s, ISO 100.

The 2nd lens I used is the 100mm macro lens. Notice the glass is more straight now?

The secondary plate behind now looks more natural and pleasing to the eye. It also looks closer to the main subject.

Canon EF 70-200mm f/4 L Lens | F/5.6, 1/160s, ISO 100.

The 3rd lens I used is the 70-200mm telephoto zoom lens. I zoomed to the maximum 200mm focal length and the result is stunning. The glass is even straighter and the secondary plate behind looks even more pleasing to the eye and natural.


The 70-200mm telephoto zoom lens provide the best results. It has the minimum distortion and everything looks more pleasing to the eye. The only hurdle preventing me from using it is due to space constrained. You will need to stand further and higher using a ladder in order to frame the above shots like I did.

That's why I mostly use a 100mm to 135mm macro lens for my angle shots. It served two purpose - one to minimise distortion and the other to allow me to shoot close up if needed.

For Flatlay or Top Down shots, I normally used a 50mm to 85mm prime lens depending on the size of the layout.

Things to take note.

  1. Is your shooting location / area big enough for you to use a longer focal lens? For best results, you will need to have at least 4m x 4m of space if you are using a 100mm macro lens. For using a 200mm focal length lens, you need at least 4m wide x 6m length of shooting space.

To learn more about food photography, join our food photography workshop!

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