What is the Best Lens for Product Photography?
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Setting up your product pages for the first time or merely revamping your current catalog’s look? Getting the perfect photos is one of the essential steps in the process.
Always easier said than done, of course. Fantastic product images don’t just happen on their own. It takes a great deal of skill to get there, with the right shoot conditions, impeccable technique, and a little bit of luck thrown in for good measure.
It also happens to take top-tier gear. Unlike what you might assume, cameras aren’t the only things that pop up in this particular category.
The lens is equally as important, if not sometimes more, making buying the best fit for the job a huge benefit to your product photography and business as a whole.
The question is: what camera or lenses should make their way into your Amazon cart? There are literally thousands upon thousands to choose from.
Narrowing them down to the best of the best is like finding a needle in a haystack. Luckily for you, we already sorted out the pins from the plant. Here are a couple of the best lenses for product photography.
The Tamron SP AF 90mm F/2.8 Di MACRO Canon (2004 Model)
Few lenses get a total, unequivocal recommendation. After all, everyone’s looking for something a little different.
There is no monolithic, ideal option that’ll hit every checkmark for every photographer and aspiring cameraperson out there. Although, we think the Tamron SP AF 90mm F/2.8 Di MACRO Canon is awfully close, an essential tool for any well-stocked gear bag.
The basic tech specs are solid, the build quality feels sturdy, and it’s even a true 1:1 macro lens, projecting your subject onto the sensor at the same size as it is in reality.
Incredibly difficult to find under the $400 mark, you’d be hard-pressed to see such a big payoff elsewhere nor a more capable mid-range 90mm product photography lens.
- Sharpest through f/14
- Can get to f/32 while maintaining front to back depth of field
- Approximately 12” minimum focal distance
- Mid-range buy for the average budget
Our Overall Review:
You’ve got to admit, having the latest and greatest has its perks. But this 90mm Tamron is an example of why sometimes the best tech is what’s tried and true.
For product photography, this lens truly packs a powerful punch. That 12” MFD bears some striking results for small products and extremely detail-rich items alike. In fact, testing shows that it might work almost too well.
A zoomed-in shot of something as small as a dainty necklace is well-defined to a fault, putting every scratch, ridge, and imperfection on display with minimum effort on your part. It’s surprising how rich and detailed the resulting photographs are, but a welcome surprise, nonetheless.
This Tamron option provides an ideal base with which to work for any and all retouch and general editing magic, making your life significantly easier post-production.
It’s not just how close it allows you to get to your photo subject, though, that makes it unique. The lack of spherical distortion (thank you, 90mm!) and stunning depth of field give a lot in this department, too.
Even the most boring and basic images suddenly get a quality boost, looking professional and well-composed, even without wading through two tons of settings menus. As such, it’s one of our top product photography lenses of all time.
The Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM
A 50mm prime lens meant to mimic a human’s natural field-of-view and priced at a reasonable $125, the Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM lens is a fantastic option for anybody new to the product photography game but still interested in a high-quality piece of gear that’ll last.
Despite being a sort of “starter” piece of kit, this lens option does everything you need it to do, able to get up close and personal in shots sans too much distortion while still handling other shots when need be.
Pair it up with your favorite full-frame DSLR camera, and it’ll quickly become as much of a winning combination to you, assisting you in creating the best product photography possible.
- Sharpest through f/11
- Has a high f/stop range of F/22, something fairly rare within its lens class
- 13.75” minimum focus distance
- Affordable, even on tight budgets
Our Overall Review:
Any product photography lens worth its salt has to do at least one thing well, and that’s to capture a sharp, crystal clear image, which is why it’s always worth looking at the DxO before delving any deeper into researching what option might fit your needs.
For something at such an affordable price point, the Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM hits the mark wonderfully with a DxOMark score of 26 and a specific sharpness metric score at 16 P-Mpix.
Not the most thoroughly impressive numbers but certainly more than acceptable for general product photography that won’t cost you an arm and a leg.
On top of this, the lens’ MFD is exactly what you need and nothing you don’t, clocking in with a 13.78 inches minimum.
For comparison’s sake, the majority of other non-macro 50s lenses hover right around 17 inches.
The Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM is able to shine here because of it, boasting a significantly lower focus distance than others of the same or even higher cost – precisely why it makes such a fantastic product photography lens.
The depth of field is really stellar, making this lens a special find. You can get closer and preserve clarity, something a bit of a rarity.