Point-and-shoot to DSLR for food photography


This post is nothing about food recipe or restaurants reviews – just wanted to get some opinion on food photography and DSLR.

I started my food blog for about 10 months now, been using my Canon point-and-shoot with no tripod and I got on just fine. As days goes by, I am more and more inspired by the stunning photos on other food blogs. For example, there’s pigged-out, The heart of food and Jenius to name just a few. Sure, they are professional, but I can’t help but drool at the food photos and hoping one day, maybe, just maybe, I can take photos just as good as them.

Being a total newbie to food photography, I was lucky enough to get some really helpful advice among the food bloggers group and on the internet. Words like aperture, shutter speed & ISO all sounds very new to me but also interesting at the same time. I felt it’s about time to advance my gear in preparation of producing some mind-blowing beautiful food photos. But with so many different brands, model, lens out there, what are the best DSLR for shooting food?

Some of the typical problems that I was experiencing with my point-and-shoot are high F-stop not much of depth of field in my images, terribly shaking images at night time, highlights can very easily get completely blown out which make the food looks greasy and white plates looks bright white especially when the flash is on. I suspect I need a tripod too of course.

I have been eyeing the Nikon D7000 for a while, went to TED’s camera and had a play with it, I tried on the Nikkor 35mm f/1.8 Lens and it was surprisingly light. Had a few shots and the auto focus was just amazing. The fast f/1.8 aperture would be useful for shotting in low light restaurant. Going to check out the 28mm lens later for comparison. Guys drop me a line of what you are using or any recommendation would be helpful ^_^


Update: Test out two different lens yesterday from TED’s camera, one is Nikkor 35mm f/1.8, the other one is Nikkon AF 20mm f/2.8. can you tell the difference which one is which?






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7 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Christine
    May 04, 2011 @ 23:22:09

    I’ve been using a Canon 550D, but it’s completely wasted on me at the moment, haha. I don’t know anything about lens, apeture, f stops or ISO .. and as a result my photos aren’t as good as I’d like them to be.. but i guess i gotta learn all that stuff.. i do really like the Canon cams, in all my camera shopping experience, I’ve only ever heard that Canon is the best, but I know a lot of food bloggers prefer Nikon..


  2. Simon @ the heart of food
    May 05, 2011 @ 01:00:08

    The best DSLR is the one that you have. Whilst better gear can remove some of the barriers of taking a better photo, it doesn’t make you a better photographer.

    While you’re sorting out what specific gear to get if you haven’t already done so, understand the basics such as the exposure triangle, shoot in manual & learn a few post processing techniques such as white balance & adjusting exposure. Aside from maybe relearning how to specifically adjust some of these controls, almost all of this will translate across from your current camera to the new one.


  3. Laura
    May 05, 2011 @ 01:12:06

    I’ve got a d7000 & love it to pieces, it’s totally worth the money. i’d suggest you shop around as the prices do vary. don’t be scared, it’s a beautiful camera that you’ll learn to love


  4. MissPiggy
    May 05, 2011 @ 01:16:05

    Hi Wendy, Both Phuoc (http://www.phuocndelicious.com/) & I use a Canon G11, which is not a DSLR, but also not a point & shoot. It’s somewhere in between – I think they call it a semi-automatic. You can set it to manual functions and set F-stop & shutter speed and it’s not too bad at night (just not in sooper-dooper dim lighting). I like it as it’s smaller than a DSLR so easy to shove into my handbag. I’ll bring mine on Saturday for you to have a look/play with.

    Tammi (http://insatiablemunchies.blogspot.com/) & Shawn/Alison (http://www.streetfood.com.au) both use an Olmpus Pen – which is a similar sort of thing to a Canon G11. I think their photos are really great and this is probably the camera I’d get when I buy my next toy.

    I guess I steered towads a semi-automatic as I wanted something smaller that wasn’t too overwhelming to use. I’m pretty happy thus far.


  5. lateraleating
    May 05, 2011 @ 10:11:18

    I’ve got that exact lens (the 1.8), I bought it because I read good comments about it regarding food photography. I’m a newbie with “real” cameras, too, but I think it’s a very good lens.


  6. Corinne @ Gourmantic
    May 11, 2011 @ 07:18:07

    It all depends if you feel comfortable pulling out a DSLR at a restaurant or taking discrete photos with a point and shoot. A better camera doesn’t necessarily make a better photographer. It helps to learn the basics of photography as a starting point. I’ve owned Canon cameras even before DSLRs and I’ve been happy with them, including the point and shoot IXUS.

    I don’t recommend you use flash in food shots. They often look stark and unappealing, and they’re difficult to manipulate in photoshop.

    Whichever way you decide, practice is the only way to get the results you want 🙂


  7. GourmetGetaways
    Jul 15, 2011 @ 07:54:19

    Hi, I Love your blog!

    Thanks for stopping in at my website the other day. I followed the link you left and I love your website, is so fresh and pretty!

    I use a Canon 5D with a 50mm prime lens and graded close up filters so that I don’t have to stand in the restaurant to get a photo of a plate. The close up lenses also put the background into blur even quicker than the fstop. (I should mention that I am a photographer, and do mainly portraits with some commercial work).

    I use the 50mm because it has an fstop of 1.2 but I still need to have the ISO at about 1250 in a “romantically lit” restaurant to avoid blur.

    Negatives about a DSLR:

    1/ The size is not discrete, and the camera gets heavy and cumbersome.

    2/ I still really need to use a mini tripod so that my ISO doesn’t need to be so high but that would be even more cumbersome, so I don’t.

    3/ If you don’t really understand your DSLR you will get a worse picture than a point and shoot. Basic camera’s if they are a good brand ie Canon do a lot of “thinking” for you.

    4/ Changing lens, bring extra lens (just in case) or bringing the wrong lens… doh, for the situation.

    5/ Dust spots

    Having said all that… I would be without my DSLR, I love my Canon.

    If you have experience with Canon I would stay with that brand. It is an awesome brand and you will find the move to DSLR canon more intuitive if you stay with a brand. Canon keep the same basic set up through all the models so the learning curve isn’t quite so steep.

    Next time I am in Sydney we will have to catch up and blog a restaurant together 🙂


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