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Cameras and Lenses for Product Photography
One of the most common questions asked by those just starting out in product photography is what camera and what lens is best for product photography.
To help answer this question, Karl explains some of the camera choices for product photography before taking a closer look at some of the best lenses for product photography. He also details what lenses he uses when shooting products and why these are his lenses of choice.
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I’ve learned something about Nikon lenses recently. Some (or all) old film era AF-D lenses have an issue where, when stopped down, the design of the rear elements cause the light to bounce around inside the camera (because sensors reflect more than film) causing a purple spot in the centre of the frame when shot on a digital body (D500 in my case), especially when you have strong backlighting. Of course in product photography we often shoot stopped well down. I upgraded my AF-D 50 1.8 to a AF-S 50 1.8 and the purple spot is gone, I understand that the newer lenses have curved rear elements that prevent this issue.
Thanks for the info Chris, I’m sure that will be useful knowledge to many people who read these comments.
HI Karl. Just joined and loving your courses. I’m just getting started in product photography and struggling with what lenses to use. I’m stuck using my Canon SL2 (cropped sensor) for now until I can upgrade. Currently I have the following lenses and perhaps you could suggest which I start out with or recommend a different focal length lense to purchase for starting out:
– the kit lens 18-55mm
– 50mm prime (nifty 50)
– 35mm Macro prime
– 85mm prime
I’ve tried the 85mm but it seems I have to back up quite some distance from the product for it to focus correctly.
Any insight would be greatly appreciated and thanks for all you do here!
Hi, thanks for joining. The 50mm may be your best bet on a crop sensor if it focuses close enough. Most product photographers use a dedicated macro lens with a focal length between 60-100mm in 35mm Full Frame. For example if I’m shooting on a sony full frame I’d be using the 90mm macro lens which is an ideal focal length and super sharp macro for getting close. On my medium format I’m either using a 120mm macro (equivalent to about 100mm of FF35mm) or I’m using a 100mm lens with extension tubes. You could also get a cheap set of extension tubes that you could use with either your 50 or your 85 that would allow it to focus much closer. Cheers Karl.
Thank you much Karl. An extension tube set is on the shopping list until I can upgrade to a full frame camera.
Your courses are giving me the confidence I’ve been lacking, so thank you for that. I’m a fashion and portrait photographer and I’ve been working mostly outdoors with natural light or with continuous lighting, with a DSLR Nikon D750. For my current employer I’ve been asked to set up an in-house photo studio for product photography (cosmetics). Quite a game changer for me and I’m trying to step it up. We have about 8-10k to spend (including lighting etc.).
For the camera and lenses I landed on a Sony A7III or Sony A7R4 with a 90mm macro lens.
Does this sound like a good starting point? Is there any lens you would recommend to add straight at the beginning?
Thank you in advance.
Hi thank you for your comments. I too use the Sony 90mm macro lens and it as any excellent lens for product photography so for your camera and lens choice this is a very good starting point. It is your skill with lighting that will matter the most and that is what you can learn here.
hi! im rlly enjoying this course, so thank you! I have a 24-70mm lens is that good enough to start product photography or would you recommend me to get a new one?
Hi, I would recommend more around 90-120mm Macro lens.