Perfecting Food Photography with FUJINON Lenses

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By Nicole S. Young

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.

Macro

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FUJIFILM X-T2 with XF60mmF2.4 R MACRO Lens at 1/7 sec at F4, ISO 200

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.

Wide-Angle (12–24mm)

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FUJIFILM X-T2 with XF18-55mmF2.8-4 R LM OIS Lens at 1/4 sec at F6.4, ISO 200

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.

Mid-Range (35–75mm)

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FUJIFILM X-T2 with XF35mmF1.4 R Lens at 1/20 sec at F2.8, ISO 200

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)

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FUJIFILM X-T2 with XF90mmF2 R LM WR Lens at 1/9 sec at F4, ISO 200

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.

Telephoto (140mm+)

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FUJIFILM X-T2 with XF50-140mmF2.8 R LM OIS WR Lens at 1/10 sec at F4, ISO 200

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.

Fujifilm XF18-135mm Weather Resistant lens first impressions

So I got my hands on the new XF18-135mm lens a few weeks ago and I had planned to prepare a blog post about my thoughts and also contain some images showing off just how versatile a lens this was.

However, my colleagues in Japan politely asked me to hold it off because the sample lens I was using was a very early pre-production version and the image quality it would produce wouldn’t do justice to the full production version.

Personally, I think this was just a typically Japanese polite way of saying “don’t publish those images, they are terrible” 🙂

So instead of posting my thoughts (which I will do in time once I have a REAL lens to use) I am simply posting the thoughts of a couple of photographers who have also been using pre-production lenses, but were not politely asked to not publish any image 😉

Please bear in mind that all images on both of these 3rd party blogs were NOT shot on final versions, but I am sure you will find David, Ben and Kerry’s comments interesting:

David Cleland

Image taken by David Cleland
Image taken by David Cleland

When Fujifilm make announcements about new cameras or lens I always react with acute excitement. Ever since the release of the weather sealed Fujifilm X-T1 I have been longing for the release of their first weather sealed lens. When Fujifilm announced the XF 18-135mm lens with image stabilisation I couldn’t wait to have a completely weather sealed system for out in the Northern Ireland mountains.

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Ben Cherry

Image taken by Ben CherryImage taken by Ben Cherry

I was lucky enough to be contacted by Fujifilm UK to use one of the prototypes of the XF18-135mm F3.5-5.6 R OIS WR lens to obtain some wildlife shots. Being a part of the Fujifilm X-Photographers is a real honour, and to be asked to try out a prototype lens is an opportunity I am extremely grateful for. Within two hours of the first email being sent I had thought up some ideas on how I could get some wildlife shots.

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Kerry Hendry

Images by Kerry Hendry

I am not going to write a super in-depth technical assessment of the lens – there will be many who will do that once the fully finished product is released. But, I have been using the lens on almost every shoot over the last 6 weeks or so. I’ve shot racing, polo and also some landscapes – so have given the lens a real ‘hands on’ test. And I love what I’ve seen.

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