Everything we do in photography is a matter of perspective. My view is different from yours. We can stand side by side and look at the same thing but we don’t view it in the same way. We might recognise the exact features our eyes see but how we perceive and construct it is never the same.
One of the most common questions I receive from new photographers is which lens to use when photographing food. When choosing gear there is never a correct choice; it all boils down to the type and size of the food, your workspace and setup, the style you hope to achieve, along with how you want your final image will look. Each lens will have advantages, and even disadvantages, depending on your setup. Here is a list of a variety of lenses, along with why you might choose each type of lens for food photography.
A macro lens is an obvious choice for photographing food. You can get really close to the food to highlight certain elements, and also easily photograph and fill the frame with small items, like berries or tiny bites of food. Depending on the camera you use, macro lenses come in different ranges of focal lengths.
Keep in mind that a macro lens is not always necessary to photograph food. With full-frame cameras it is sometimes necessary to use a macro-capable lens in order to get close enough and fill the frame. And, in some cases, getting too close to your dish may not be the best way to photograph it. With crop-frame cameras, such as with the FUJIFILM X-T2 used for this photo, a macro lens is not always a requirement. Because of the crop factor there is the perception that the camera is closer to the subject, and so a macro lens is only a real necessity when you want to get really close and fill the frame with small items.
In most cases a wide lens will be best for overhead setups. The space I use to photograph food in my home is too small for a wide-angle lens to be used without including other elements, such as the window or reflectors. Instead I reserve the wider focal lengths for overhead shots.
A mid-range lens, especially one that has a close focusing distance, can be a good option for food in any environment. I like to use this type of lens when I know I will want to photograph my dinner while traveling (for example). It is long enough to compress and blur the background, but narrow enough to not include too wide of an angle of view. I can also still sit quite close to the food; with a longer lens I need to move back a few feet, which can be difficult when sitting at a dinner table.
Medium Telephoto (90–120mm)
The medium telephoto lens, also known as a good range for portraits, is also a great focal length range for food photographs. One of my favorites is the FUJINON XF90mmF2 R LM WR; I can get in close to the subject, and also compress and blur the background quite well.
When you have a lot of space to work in and really want to compress and blur your background, then a telephoto lens might be a good option for you. This type of lens will typically work well with crop-frame cameras, which is great news for Fujifilm users! On full-frame cameras, however, you may find that the focal length will not allow you to get close enough to the subject to get it in focus. However even with this setup (a small item of food) I was unable to get a tight shot of the bruschetta with my FUJIFILM X-T2 because of the limited focusing distance, but with a larger dish this lens might work well.
Last week I purchased a Fuji X-T10 as I wanted something a little smaller than the X-T1, but with interchangeable lens options, for my street photography.
Although the camera has been out for a while, I’d never actually used one until my one arrived. But as soon as I got the camera I immediately knew it was going to become my 27mm pancake lens camera option.
The 27mm is a lens I love to bits. It’s also a lens I’ve lost twice and I’m now on my third XF27mm lens and I suppose it’s a testament to just how small this lens is that I keep losing them!
I won’t be using the X-T10 as a wedding camera; for me, it’s not quite at the level I need for me to be comfortable shooting weddings with it.
However, it will likely be one of my backup cameras for weddings and it will definitely be a camera I take on my street photography trips out.
It really is a very discreet camera. Couple it with something like the 27mm lens and you can really just blend in and behave like anybody else with a small point & shoot camera.
These are just a few processed snaps from a day I spent in Southampton running one of my street photography workshops.
“I’m a huge fan of the 27mm lens and I think I’ve found the perfect compliment for it in the X-T10.”
I’ve recently been using a prototype of the new Camslinger Streetomatic which is an upgrade to the version I’ve been quite comfortable with for a while. The new bag is PERFECT for street photography. The clasp is better and yet it’s still possible to quickly remove the camera with one hand and start shooting. I used it with the X-T10 and 27mm lens. I had plenty of room for two spare lenses, my wallet, phone and notebook etc.
Kevin Mullins is a Wiltshire-based award winning wedding photographer who specialises in telling stories, through pictures, of weddings. The style of wedding photography he uses is known as documentary wedding photography, or reportage wedding photography and he is passionate about photographing weddings authentically, sympathetically and responsibly.
Last week we were at photokina, the world’s largest imaging fair, from Tuesday 16th to Sunday 21st September. It’s been a complete blast and this post will hopefully highlight the bits you missed if you couldn’t make it to Cologne this year.
Our booth was big. It was made up with lots of different sections covering many different areas of our business, all with the same common goal – helping people with photography.
The X-Photographers Gallery
We had images from many different photographers displayed how they were always meant to be seen – printed.
Print of a shot by Ken Kaminesky
Paul Schlemmer asking “what do I do with my hands?” in front of his print
Some were printed on FUJIFLEX Crystal Archive Printing Material and others on Fujicolor Crystal Archive Digital Paper but they were all amazingly good to look at. We’ve combined our X series cameras with many years’ experience of printing and finally the creativity of real users of our cameras to create a truly awe inspiring array of beautiful prints. Many visitors to the stand told us that they thought these were the best prints on display at the show.
The X-Photographers Stage
For me the stage was the real star of the show.
Bert Stephani Studio Demo
We had 23 photographers from all over the world talking about a wide range of subjects. Some were very inspirational, other educational, but all were very interesting. We will post another blog post shortly with more detail on each of the photographers and what their talk was like. Sign up at the top-right of the page to receive notifications when it is published.
Large crowds came to listen to what our photographers had to say
Martin Hülle from Germany talking about some of his images
Zack Arias on stage
“Touch and Try” section
On the stand we had the new X100T and X30 cameras and the new XF50-140mm F2.8 and XF56mm APD lenses available in our “Touch and Try” section for people to use. We also made sure there was something beautiful to shoot in the way of a BMW i8 and some lovely models so everyone had something to shoot.
One of our lovely models and our lovely car
Staff on hand to explain how the cameras work
Visitor testing out the X-T1
Putting on the big lens
The X100T is an evolution from the X100 and X100S with the main upgrades being a 1/32000th electronic shutter, digital rangefinder and new Classic Chrome film simulation.
The X30 takes the popular X20 and gives it a new high-resolution Electronic Viewfinder, tilting LCD, new control ring, lots of new customisable Function buttons and the same awesome Classic Chrome Film Simulation as sported by the X100T.
The XF50-140mm is our first weather resistant constant aperture lens. It boasts f/2.8 throughout its focal length range and contains a lot of amazing technology to make sure the results are comparable to prime lens quality
The XF56mm APD is a fast, sharp prime lens that contains an Apodisation filter that helps produce an even smoother bokeh affect than the standard XF56mm.
The final new product people could get their hands on was the new X-T1 Graphite Silver Edition pictured below.
The XF50-140mm lens on an X-T1 Graphite Silver
The XF56mm APD on an X-T1 Graphite Silver
The full X line-up
Additionally, behind a glass cabinet we had the entire range lined up (click the image below for a larger display)
Notable products were:
The XF16mmF1.4 has the same focus ring as the XF14 and XF23 with focus distance and depth of field guide on the barrel itself.
The XF16-55mmF2.8 appears to have OIS dropped from its name suggesting that the final lens will not have OIS, but instead aim for absolute optimal image quality. This is still to be confirmed though.
The XF90mmF2 looks like it’s going to be a big bit of glass. Similar in length to the XF56mm but a bit thicker.
Finally, previously known as the Super Tele-Photo Zoom Lens on the roadmap, a lens with no label underneath. However, it had an inscription bearing the specifications “XF 140-400mmF4-5.6 R LM OIS WR”. I’d like to point out that these are not 100% final specifications. They just needed to put something on the front of the mock-up lens to give a better idea of what the final lens would look like. Either way this gives us a guide as to what sort of spec the final lens is likely to be, and also how big it will be.
Free maintenance and camera loan service
We offered a FREE maintenance service and a FREE camera loan service for the six days of photokina, In total we were able to service 510 cameras and loaned 433 cameras and lenses combined.
We showcased a few of our technologies – some current and some in development
Film is our heritage and therefore we spend a lot of time developing (pun not intended) our film simulation modes for our digital cameras. The latest film simulation mode we have released is Classic Chrome and it is available on the new X100T, X30 and will be made available via a firmware update for the X-T1 later this year.
Remote “Multi-shooting” application
Here’s a new app we’re currently working on that allows you to wirelessly control and shoot up to three cameras at one time using the same tablet computer.
Applications for this could be for recording video, creating 3D imagery or shooting event photography.
Since the launch of the X-T1 we have seen some amazingly creative uses people have found for the existing remote shooting app so we hope that this will allow people to be even more creative with their photography.
The Cologne photokina Photowalk
On Saturday night we held a photowalk with X-Photographers Elia Locardi and Ken Kaminesky. 213 people showed up, despite the threat for heavy rain beforehand. Most people brought their own equipment to shoot with and Fujifilm X-T1s and lenses were available for people to borrow if they wished.
We met at the Dom and then walked as a very large group around the cathedral and then across the river to watch the sunset from the East bank. It was a great event and we’re sure everyone enjoyed themselves and made a few new friends that share their love of photography.
These guys even won some prizes by having their names drawn at random:
FROM LEFT TO RIGHT: Fabiano Dallmeyer , Richard Powazynski, Jens Fricke, Ken Kaminesky, Carl Nasman, Patrick Mayon, Elia Locardi, Florin Lucian Patras and Michael Magner