Tuesday, August 08, 2006

[Photography] Digital SLR's

I just ordered a digital SLR (Canon Rebel XT) and am anxiously waiting for it to arrive. I hesitated for a while to spend the money, partly because I know that the cost of the camera is just the start; now I need to buy lenses, filters, etc.--essential, I think, in order to use it to take food photos. But I'm confused about what equipment to get. So many of the lenses I've looked at allow you to focus as close as 36 inches from the subject, but I'm used to being able to get right up close to things, almost touching, with the super-macro mode on my current camera. Will I not be able to do that without a very expensive macro lens?

Anyway, those of you who use a digital SLR, how do you use it for food photography? Do you use a macro lens, a close-up lens (one of those that screw on like a filter), an extension tube, or something else? I'd love some recommendations for specific equipment, so please be as detailed as you like. Thanks for any help you can give.

This Post was written by SusanV from Fatfree Vegan Kitchen.


L said...

Hi Susan,

Focal distance is definitely something to look at when buying lenses. I love my 50mm 1.4, but it still has a minimal focal distance of 1 foot, and sometimes I want it to get closer. For that, you need a macro lens. Canon makes a great 100mm 2.8 macro, which I use all the time. It would also be nice to have a wider macro, but if you are on a budget, these two lenses will meet most of your needs. I've got a whole blog dedicated to stuff like this: Still Life With...

paul said...

There's plenty of cheap screw-on filter type macro lenses, but honestly, if you're making the jump to an SLR, buy a good lens with a real macro. Screw on macro filters or extensions will never be as sharp as a good lens, and will cut your exposure by at least an f-stop, which you can't afford if shooting in low-light.

As for other filters, I feel they're unnecessary on digitals. They reduce your exposure and their effects can easily be duplicted with more control using Photoshop (or Photoshop LE). The only exception might be a polarizing filter to reduce glare in some outdoor situations (and might be useful when shooting shiny food related stuff like glass and silverware without a lightbox).

nika said...

I got the 100mm 2.8 macro for my canon 30D and I really like it. I am still learning my way around it, getting used to its flexibility and restrictions. It is a great learning tool too because it challenges me to learn my camera better.

Its not cheap. It all depends on your priorities re: what you want to do with food photography (ok, in general too).

Sam said...

I have a Canon-Macro lens 50mm
(is that the same as you L, I thought I could get closer than a foot?)

I use it all the time for food and it was worth the extra money.

I also have a Lens Baby which can get rediculously close, like an inch away, but i don't use it very often since it is quite difficult to handle.

SusanV said...

Thank you all for your responses. L, I spent a lot of time this afternoon going through your posts at Still Life With... and it is such a great resource. Thank you so much for that. Sam, I'm glad you mentioned that the Lens Baby is hard to handle; I was considering getting one, but I think my money would be better spent on a macro lens.