Buying a new lens for your camera is a bit of a chicken-and-egg situation. Do you buy the camera first or the lens? Buying them both at the same time is another option.
Even as an experienced product photographer, I must admit that I find the decision challenging.
When you go shopping for a new lens, you should consider what lenses you already have in your collection. Your new lens should complement your collection and help you to spend the range of projects you can take on.
In other words, your new lens should add benefits to your product photography business.
Let’s take a closer look at the best lenses for 2022.
1) Sony FE 90mm f2.8 Macro G OSS
This is one of the best lenses that I have used. It is an excellent macro photography lens which you can also use for telephoto work. I found that it produces sharp images with little field curvature.
As a product photographer, I work with colors a lot. If it is not colored products, the background or props are often colored. One of the things I liked about this lens was the Bokeh. Color aberration can be a problem with lenses. This lens handles color very well. The colors are clear and come up very true.
The features on the lens are easy to set. When you work with it, the Sony FE 90mm f2.8 Macro G OSS feels very comfortable in your hand.
Image stabilization is good when you shoot with the lens and camera in your hand. I was happy with the images I captured when using the camera in this way. However, if you would like to improve on stabilization, it is best to use a tripod when you are shooting.
This is a very good lens. When you take all things into consideration, this lens handles well and takes a good picture. The auto-focus function is what matters the most to product photographers. On this camera, the auto-focus function is excellent and performs well.
The Sony FE 90mm f2.8 Macro G OSS is certainly of the lenses that I would personally recommend. I have been a fan of Sony for a long time, and I think this lens proves why.
2) Sony FE 35 mm f/1.4 GM
What do I look for when I review a lens? The most important factors I take into consideration include image quality, handling quality, and the auto-focus function.
For me, a pro-grade camera should have all three in abundance. When it comes to all three, the Sony FE 35 mm 1.4 GM has got what it takes. This is a professional camera that feels super professional. Okay, I have to admit that it comes with a pretty hefty price tag. You can pick up this lens on Amazon for around $1.380.
Yes, it is more expensive compared to other lenses, but you do get excellent value for money.
I am going to say that some photographers may feel this lens is rather hefty and bulky. Okay, this is going to bother some photographers, but it did not worry me. As a matter of fact, I rather like that. It makes the lens feel solid to me.
The other negative is that it does not have any optical stabilization. If you have the right experience, you can overcome that.
What the Sony FE 35 mm 1.4 GM offers is excellent image quality. The autofocus function is driven by what Sony likes to call a Direct Drive SuperSonic Motor. When it comes to the autofocus function on this camera, you are not going to be disappointed. It takes stills at an amazing rate which is great for me as a product photographer.
The operation of the lens is nice and smooth. The lack of an optical stabilizer is an issue if you have an early mirrorless camera so for me this was not a problem. But, you do need to be aware that this lens does not have optical stabilization.
What really matters is that this less offers spectacular image quality. If you can comfortably afford to buy this lens, I would do so.
Sharpness is another quality this lens offers even when you are shooting wide-open. What is even more impressive, is that the Sony FE 35 mm 1.4 GM offers this quality over the entire zoom range.
Weather seals are part of the design. So, if you work outside, you don’t have anything to worry about as far as the seals go. Most product photographers work in a studio, but if you specialize in photographing outside gear or camping equipment, it is good to know the lens has high-quality weather seals.
3) The Fujifilm XF 56mm f/1.2 R
This is a very solid lens. I have read that some feel that the autofocus is not that great, but I did not have a problem.
The main reason I am mentioning this lens is that it is a good starter lens. I am aware that some of you reading this may be just starting out in product photography. Having the budget to buy the most expensive lenses right away is challenging.
In my point of view, it is better to invest in the best camera you can afford when you first start out. If you would like to know more about cameras, check out the best cameras 2022.
The tolerances on this lens are very fine. You have to be careful when you work with it. That being said, if you are using it for still photography, it is a good lens. It has a nice feel to it. It is also a good all-round lens if you are involved in other types of photography as well.
4) Tamron 28-75mm F2.8 Dii VXD
One of the best features of this lens is its auto-focus capability. When I checked out the lens, I found that it focused well close up as well as from a distance.
Distance focus may not be the most important factor for product photographers. However, if you do outside and lifestyle photography, distance focus is important. I found that it is great for working from a distance and close up. When you need accurate results, it really does deliver.
I took the opportunity to snap images of some professional models that were visiting the studio. As a portrait lens, it worked very well. Skin tones looked good and the product popped out as well.
From Tamron’s previous lenses, this is certainly an improvement. You can pick up this lens for around $899.
Where Should You Buy Your Lens?
If you have a local photography store, and they offer good prices, there is absolutely no reason why you should not shop with them. After all, supporting local businesses is very important. As a photographer, you probably find that a lot of your work comes from the local community.
One of the main benefits of shopping locally is that you can talk to a professional. If the lens or camera you would like to buy is in stock, you can also try it out.
But, shopping online is now the new normal for most of us. Before I buy any equipment for my studio, I like to check out the best deals online. That applies to studio lighting and everything else I need for my profession as a product photographer.
In the US, the best sites to check for deals on both cameras and lenses are Amazon, Walmart and Best Buy. Before I order anything for my studio, I always check all three sites for the best offers.
How Many Lenses Should I Have?
I think that most product photographers have at least a couple of lenses. Let’s be honest, lenses and cameras are not the only things you need to invest in when you want to launch a photography business or photography website.
One option is to buy second lenses. Perhaps you know a photographer who has just a new lens and would like to sell one or two of his old ones. If so, there is absolutely nothing wrong with picking up a second lens. You may even be able to bag yourself a bargain.
When someone asks me about buying lenses, I always tell them to take their time. Make sure you get value for money. Your lens should be as versatile as possible.
The problem with product photography is that you never know what your next assignment is going to be. One minute you are photographing skincare products and the next minute you are expected to photograph a car.
Your collection of lenses needs to be as flexible and versatile as possible. When you have been involved in product photography for a while, you realize that many different disciplines of photography come into play.
Why Are Macro Lenses Important?
Mastering macro photography is essential when you are a product photographer. Almost all of my past and current clients want to showcase the finer details of their products.
The best way to do that is by using macro photography. I think that good quality macro photograph of a product is what sets it apart from another one. It allows the customer who is thinking about buying the product to distinguish all of the finer details.
Even though another seller may be selling a similar product, if your seller has high-quality macro photos of his product, it will sell better. Don’t forget that we buy with our eyes. Showing more details adds value to a product.
If you would like to know more about product photography, check out my other content on this site. We all need tips and advice from time to time.
My article on the Best Product Photography Tips gives you valuable information about this genre of photography. I have also put together more specific content including information on how you can create eye-catching product videos for your customers.