Choosing the right camera and lenses for product photography is one of the skills of the business. When you have been working in the photography industry for a while, you will realize that not one camera or lens fits all.
Product photography is one of the more specialist skill sets in the profession. If you are new to this particular field within photography, it is best to invest in the right camera and lenses from the start.
What Is The Best Camera For Product Photography?
Choosing a camera and lenses for product photography is equally important. Deciding what camera to buy is a minefield. But, cameras have come a long way. If you are currently a photographer, you may even find that you already have a suitable camera.
The Best Cameras For Product Photography
Product photography is becoming an increasingly in demand photography niche. Using the right equipment for the job lets you capture shots that will help a business sell its products.
What kind of companies need product photography? Almost all companies that sell something online or in stores, will need the help of a product photographer.
Take This Into Consideration When You Choose A Camera For Product Photography
Product photography does not only consist of one discipline. Just take a look at popular shopping sites such as Amazon, and you will realize that product photographers have to manage to photograph a large range of products.
One day you may be photographing a food product, the next a top quality watch, and the following day a car. Product photography is really a mixed bag.
Product photography is part of e-commerce, general advertising, and social media. Each field could require a different approach.
That is what you need to keep in mind when you choose a camera and lenses for product photography. It could even be a good idea to decide if you would like to specialize in shooting images for online media or general publications.
Camera Features Required For Product Photography
To shoot the best product photographs, it is best to consider camera features. Cameras are not as perfect as we may think. The human eye is still far superior.
Of course, you should invest in the best camera money can buy. At the same time, you need to appreciate the value of post production.
Features your camera will need to have:
- Manual mode
- Interchangeable lenses
- Varied range performance
The Importance Of Manual Mode
As you know, all cameras have an auto mode function. Is it something that professional photographers use? No, it isn’t. Professionals see auto mode as far too unreliable.
If you are new to working with a camera in manual mode, it will take some time to get used to. You really need to know how to select shutter speed, aperture, and ISO. It is what gives you complete control of exposure every time you snap a photograph.
You also need to learn how to control the white balance to capture colors better. Of course, the white balance is easy to adjust in post production, but learning how to master white balance while shooting is still a good idea.
Another problem with auto mode is that cameras never focus well on smaller objects.
Interchangeable Lenses – Why Are They So Important?
Although point and shoot cameras do a good job, the built-in lenses you will pre-installed will not do a good job when you want to photograph products.
If you are going to make it as a product photographer, it is important that you don’t let your camera limit you. You really need to have a range of lenses available when you want to call yourself a product photographer.
Just to give you a quick example, a macro lens is what you need when you want to photograph smaller items.
What About Resolution?
Before you go ahead and buy your camera, you need to check the megapixel count of the camera that you are thinking about buying. The megapixel capacity will help to contribute towards the quality of your images.
Higher resolution means better quality. It is something that matters a great deal in product photography. In this type of photography, it is all about capturing the finer details. If you need to change the resolution, you can always do so during the post production stage.
Cropping is another important part of this kind of photography. Often images need to be cropped. A high amount of megapixels means more details. It makes your job in post production easier as well. You don’t risk losing details.
That does not mean you will need to have a very high megapixel camera when you first start out. When you first start out, you are not likely to end up with campaigns requiring big poster ads.
Increasingly, product photographers are asked to take photographs that are geared towards social media and e-commerce sites.
What You Need To Know About Varied or Dynamic Range Performance
The lighting of an object is what plays the biggest role in product photography. When you are a professional, you are expected to know everything about lighting and pay special attention to it.
You do need to be able to light a product beautifully and enhance its quality. Some photographers like to call it varied range performance, others like to call it dynamic range performance.
That is why it is important that your camera has a superb dynamic range. It means it must catch both highlights and shadows in equal proportion. In a perfect world, your camera of choice should have as many dynamic ranges as possible.
All cameras are different when it comes to their dynamic range. There is no way that you are going to be able to test each camera. As a beginner product photographer, you will need to rely on reviews or the experience of other photographers.
Fortunately, staff in camera stores are beginning to realize that product photography is big business. It is increasingly the reason why many are investing in high-quality cameras.
What Camera Should I Buy?
It all depends on where you are on your journey. Although it is important to buy a high quality camera and lenses for product photography, you will also have other investments to make. It may include lighting equipment, a dedicated laptop or computer, and of course, lenses.
The best thing that you can do is to set yourself a budget. You probably have one in mind already, but it is important to make sure that you cost everything that is going to be associated with your new business.
Some may not call this an entry level camera, but it is a good camera that offers excellent value for money.What makes this camera such a great option, is that it is one of the more user-friendly cameras on the market. If you enjoy DSLR technology, you will love this camera.
The Canon T7L is one of those cameras that is eager to please. Even when it is used in auto mode, it is not going to disappoint you with its performance. Thanks to its 45-point autofocus system, you can capture most objects accurately.
The camera´s easy-to-use touch screen lets you navigate through the set up and functions quickly. It also has the benefit of being wireless which is great when you need to transfer files.
This is not a cheap camera, but it is certainly an excellent investment when you want to build a business. It is not the most expensive that you can buy, but what it does have going for it, is that it can do many of things more expensive cameras can do.
Nikon has always been famous for its image quality and this camera will not let you down as far as image quality is concerned.
On top of that, its dynamic range is second to none. When you are looking for a camera which is perfect both for big ads and e-commerce photography, this is one of the best cameras thanks to its 45 Megapixels resolution.
Canon EOS 5DS
For a long time, Canon has been the company to go to for professional photographers. The megapixels are higher but that is not all. This camera has so much more to offer when it comes to DSLR cameras.
It has a smaller body when compared to other cameras but you can still produce high quality images. Many photographers say that this camera “feels” right when they use it. Needless to say, it is compatible with a range of Canon EF s lenses. That is another reason why you should consider choosing this camera.
Seamless operation is what makes this camera such a popular choice with product photographers across the world.
Fujifilm GFX 100
Fujifilm is one company that product photographers ignore at their peril. They have started to develop some excellent cameras for professionals.
One camera you owe it to yourself to check out, is their GFX 100. What makes this camera unique, is that it is perfect for both indoor and outdoor shots. Yes, there are going to be times when you are asked for outdoor photographs.
It does come with a pretty price tag. The GFX 100 currently retails at around $10,000. That being said, there are cameras with similar facilities and features. When you find out the price tag of them, you will probably opt for the GFX 100. A similar camera from a competitor will easily cost between $35,000 up to $55,000.
Hasselblad X1D 11 50C
If you are already in the business and thinking about upgrading your camera, you could consider investing in a Hasselblad.
What will surprise you about the Hasselblad camera, is that it has similar features to Fuji’s GFX 100. What makes this camera the apple of many product photographer’s eyes, is that it has some of the best lenses.
For what you get, it does represent good value for money. You can expect to pay around $6,000 for the body. The downside is that you will need to buy a Hasselblad lens pack. The cost of a basic pack comes in at around $8,500.
When you have been in business for a while, you may find the price tag of this camera more manageable. The fact that you have a Hasselblad camera, will impress your clients. A high-end camera always speaks volumes.
What Is The Conclusion?
How much time should you spend choosing a camera for your business when you are just starting? That is hard to say.
It is a bit like playing golf. Many golfers say that they get more out of the game when they invest in the best golf clubs from the start.
Most experienced product photographers will tell you to budget carefully. It is a good idea when you start a business. However, picking up work for e-commerce photography is easier than ever before.
There are many online platforms that ask their sellers to use high-quality photography. The truth is the better a photograph is, the easier a product will sell. That is true for all types of products.
Not only can you offer your photography skills to clients selling factory made products, you can also offer them to sellers on sites such as Etsy and eBay.
What Are The Best Lenses For Product Photography?
For the novice, it is a good idea to compare product photography to still life photography. If you have mastered the art of still photography, mastering product photography is easier.
As always, it is a matter of picking the right tool for the job. For instance, when it comes to photographing food, a prime lens is your best choice. They don’t have moving parts when compared to zoom lenses.
The problem with moving parts is that they cause something photographers call diffraction. What does diffraction mean? It is a common event that takes place when light interacts with an object.
A good example would be light hitting a spider’s web. It also occurs in a camera lens and on camera sensors.
The advantage of a prime lens gives you sharper images. Okay, there are premium zoom lenses that will give you good results. In general, it is best to use a prime lens.
The best prime lenses for product photography:
- Canon 85mm f1.8
- Canon 24-70 f2.8
- Sigma 24-105 f.4 Art
- Nikon AF-S FX Nikkor 50mm f/1.8G Lens
Macro Lenses Explained
What about macro lenses? Macro lenses are useful in product photography especially when you need to photograph details that need to be super sharp. For instance, when you photograph the finer details of a watch, you need to use a macro lens.
If you have ever photographed minute wildlife, you will know that a macro lens will bring out the smaller, finer details. It is the magnification factor that makes a difference in this case.
Macro lenses are good for shooting compositions that need to be tightly cropped. When you use a macro lens, you will need to do less work in post production.
The best macro-lenses for product photography:
- Canon 100mm
- Nikon AF-S VT Micro-NIKKOR 105mm
- Sony FE 90mm f/2.8
A More Specialist Lens For Product Photography
There is another lens that you should consider investing in. The problem is that it is rather expensive. But, when you want to take your product photography to the next level, you should invest in a tilt-shift lens.
A tilt-shift lens is a lens that you can tilt or shift in a wide range of directions. It makes it easier for you to control plane-of-focus and parallel lines.
The reason so many product photographers use tilt-shift lenses, is that you can shoot the object from its best angle. You have complete control and this is really what product photography is all about when it comes down to it.
The best tilt-shift lenses include:
- Canon TS-E f/2.8L Macro
- Canon TS-E 90mm f/2.8
What is the final conclusion when it comes to the best lenses for product photography?
The final conclusion is to choose the right lens for your needs and the kind of product photography that you do. If you are just getting into the industry, you can always upgrade at a later stage.
A Fast Moving and Versatile Business
Product photography is now such a fast moving business. Many companies are crying out for it. But, it is not only Fortune 500 companies that sell products online.
The truth is that almost all companies are gearing up to sell their products online. The rise of e-commerce is one of the fastest evolving businesses on the planet. Selling online is a global marketplace and all businesses would like to take part.
Consumers are still often a little bit confused when it comes to buying everything they need online. Often, they will feel that they can’t interact with a product.
That is where you and your camera come in. Telling a story and making a potential buyer get a real “feel” for the product is what your camera can do. Investing in the best camera and lenses for product photography matters more in this part of the photography industry.