There are a few reasons why you might want to purchase a food camera. First, to take tasty food pictures when traveling. Second, to take food photos at home, either to share photos on social media or to start taking photos for a food blog. Regardless of your reason for looking for a food camera, we have recommendations for the best camera for food photography – both for travel or for home.
Now, I admit I am not a professional food photographer, but over the last 8 years, I’ve managed to improve my food photos quite a lot. And, I’ve figured out the best camera for food photography, at least for me and hopefully for many others.
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Best Camera For Food Photography – Buying Guide
We recommend using Amazon for all sorts of home appliances and travel products. This is for a few reasons. First, they have a wide variety of every type of product, including electronics and cameras.
Second, we try to recommend products that are part of Amazon Prime, which provides purchasers with free and often super-fast delivery. (Get 30 days of Prime free here.) Almost all of our recommended food cameras are Amazon Prime products.
We included detailed reviews for each of our recommendations for the best camera for food photography below, plus recommendations for lenses to take the best food photos. If you are short on time, though, feel free to use this table for easy shopping.
Best Cameras For Food Photography – 2021
The Sony Alpha a6400 Mirrorless Camera is an Advanced APS-C camera featuring incredibly fast autofocus (AF) at 0.02 sec, advanced Real-time Eye-AF, and a 24.2 MP Exmor CMOS sensor. Built-in Wi-fi connectivity allows for easy file transfer.
The camera’s advanced Real-time Eye-AF finds and holds your subject even while moving. In addition to taking great photos, the Alpha a6400’s 4K HDR video2 captures stunning high definition video.
Its 180-degree tiltable LCD touchscreen makes changing settings fast and easy. The camera comes with a rechargeable battery, shoulder strap, body cap, and micro USB cable.
The Sony a7R III is packed with a ton of features to capture incredible food photos. The camera comes equipped with a back-illuminated Exmor R CMOS image sensor, 4K HDR video, and BIONZ X processing engine for faster image processing.
The a7R III can shoot up to 10fps thanks to accurate AF/AE tracking. Bluetooth technology allows for the seamless transfer of photos and videos.
The a7R III shoots in several modes including RAW, RAW & JPEG, and JPEG Extra fine. Built-in upgradeable firmware is available on the a7R III.
Designed for life on the go, the Nikon D3400 is compact and lightweight. Its 24.2MP sensor with no optical low-pass filter produces eye-catching photos, even in low light. Nikon’s exclusive SnapBridge technology allows for the automatic transfer of photos and videos to your smartphone or tablet.
Easy to use one-touch commands make the D3400 the perfect camera even for the most novice of photographers. The camera comes with Nikon’s new AF-P DX NIKKOR 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR lens.
The camera for the sharing world. Nikon’s Z50 is the ultimate camera for taking and quickly sharing photos on social media. Compact in size, the camera weighs less than two pounds.
The Z50’s image quality is unsurpassed thanks to its innovative Z mount system. Its 20.9 megapixel image sensor and 51200 ISO capture stunning images even in low light. The built-in eye-detection AF is perfect for portraits and selfies.
The camera comes equipped with a NIKKOR Z DX 16-50mm f/3.5-6.3 VR lens with image stabilization. The Z50 captures video in stunning 4K UHD and can quickly transfer those videos and photos via Wi-fi and Bluetooth. A flip-down LCD screen makes taking selfies a breeze.
The Canon EOS 6D Mark II is loaded with features to capture stunning photos and videos. It comes with a 26.2 megapixel high-resolution full-frame Canon CMOS image sensor, a 45-point All Cross-Type Viewfinder AF system and DIGIC 7 image processor.
Built-in Bluetooth and Wi-fi connectivity allow for the fast and easy transfer of files. Lightweight yet durable, the 6D is the perfect camera to take on the go. Capture visually stunning videos in 4K and Full HD. Fast and accurate autofocus ensures you don’t miss those once in a lifetime shots.
The Canon EOS Rebel T8i is the perfect camera for the first time photographer. It’s lightweight design and easy to use controls make it a joy to use. The camera features a 24.1 Megapixel CMOS, sensor, DIGIC 8 image processor, and an ISO range of 100-25600.
The EOS Rebel delivers high-quality photos and videos thanks to features like a 45-point all cross-type AF system, face and eye-detection AF, and high-speed continuous shooting. The T8i can shoot up to 7 frames per second. For video, the EOS Rebel T8i offers 4K 24p video capability. Built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth allow you to quickly and seamlessly transfer files.
How To Choose A Camera For The Best Food Pictures
I am not a photography expert. Far from it. I’m a trained tax attorney. But, I’ve spent the last 8+ years learning and practicing and following some of the best food photographers. And, when I look back at my food photos from 5 years ago, I cringe! Part of the improvement is due to improvements in technology, and part of it is practice.
Food Photography Is Different
When it comes to how to take better food photos, both are important. But what is truly important is to recognize that the best camera for photography, in general, might not be the best camera for food photography.
When it comes to the fancy specs about cameras, again, I am not an expert. But, I’ve done enough research when purchasing our last few cameras to understand the most important aspects, particularly with respect to the best food photography camera.
Investing In A Food Camera
The truth is that, particularly with increases in today’s technology, you don’t need super expensive camera gear to take good food pictures. We certainly don’t have the most expensive camera on the market. The goal is not necessarily to buy one of the best cameras for photography in general.
Sure, you can do with some investment, but it’s not necessary to invest thousands of dollars unless you see yourself getting more into professional food photography. But, remember, it’s always possible to sell used camera equipment. We’ve done it before. It’s a profession, or a hobby, that is easy to grow into.
What To Consider When Buying A Camera For Food Photography
There are some important questions to ask when looking for the best camera for food pictures:
What are your goals? Is your goal to take better Instagram food photos? Or, are you looking to take the first steps to a professional food photography blog career, where it will be necessary to buy food photography props and set up an in-home studio.
What is your budget? This is a big one, because generally when purchasing a camera, it’s also necessary to purchase a lens that will specifically work for food photography. Both must be taken into account.
Do you already know how to photograph food? If you’re a pretty good food shot already, you might know exactly what kind of food camera, or food photography lens you need. In that case, this guide will review some of the best products on the market for your needs.
What Types of Food Cameras Work The Best
There are four main types of “food cameras,” ones that people will purchase in order to take food photos: 1) point and shoot cameras; 2) DSLR cameras; 3) Mirrorless cameras, and 4) smartphones.
Points And Shoot Cameras
Let’s talk about a point and shoot camera for food photography first. Point and shoot cameras are smaller cameras that, for the most part, only include automatic settings. All that is needed is to turn the camera on, point the camera in the direction needed, let the camera autofocus, and press the button.
We haven’t traveled with one of these cameras in a very long time. Mostly because today’s smartphones often take photos of similar quality, and sometimes even better. When it comes to taking photos of food, a good smartphone is a better investment than a point and shoot camera.
This is not an in-depth review of DSLR versus mirrorless camera for travel photography, or an in-depth analysis of what all the fancy photography terms are. Instead, it focuses on the features of the two main types of digital cameras that are most relevant to taking photos of food when traveling.
Here’s the tech stuff: A DSLR (or Digital Single-Lens Reflex) uses a mirror and a prism to direct light within the camera. A mirrorless camera does not. For beginner food photographers, the science behind this is not all that important of a difference.
For food travel photographers there is a big difference between the two: mirrorless cameras are generally smaller and lighter. That means they are much easier to travel with. A mirrorless camera for food photography when traveling means it’s easier to take food shots without carrying a ton of gear.
Full-Frame Versus Cropped Sensor
Another big difference is that DSLR cameras come in both full-frame sensor and cropped sensor models, whereas mirrorless cameras generally only have a cropped sensor (generally, but not always). But, what does this mean for the typical food photographer?
A full frame DSLR often produces a clearer image, but for the food traveler, looking to share images on a blog or on Instagram, this difference might be negligible.
Full frame cameras can shoot better in a darker environment, which can help when taking food photos in a restaurant. Having a great camera for food photos can take care of food photography lighting concerns when traveling.
The wider frame on a full-frame camera is useful when shooting in small spaces, which, again, can help when taking food photos in a restaurant.
Now, the best camera for food blogging might be different than choosing the best camera for travel. The best camera for food blogging, for someone who rarely takes their camera on the road, and someone who wants to learn how to take food photos professionally would be a DSLR full frame camera.
It’s the most professional option. These can be beneficial for food photographers, but it all comes at a cost. Cropped sensor cameras tend to cost less. Full frame cameras generally cost a lot more.
What are some of the benefits of using a mirrorless for food travel:
It’s smaller and easier to carry around. I can throw it in my handbag easily.
It’s also less conspicuous when eating at a restaurant. I am always conscious of how intrusive my food photography is to other guests. A mirrorless just takes up less space and makes you seem less like a professional food photographer.
Digital Camera vs. Smartphone
For ease, here, I will refer to DSLR cameras and mirrorless cameras collectively as “digital cameras.” The main difference between using a digital food camera and a smartphone for food photos is that the digital camera has more manual functions. For newer food photographers, the auto function on a digital camera might be sufficient. I use almost all auto settings except for a few manual adjustments.
For some people, iPhone food photography is enough. And, the quality of the images that an iPhone will capture has improved over the last few years. But, for us, when it comes to taking good travel photos, and for taking pictures of food when traveling, Samsung wins hands down. It’s the best camera phone for food photography.
Even better, the newest Samsung on the market has a lot more manual functions than in the past. This makes it a lot more competitive with a mirrorless camera. In particular, when it comes to dark food photography, food images are better with Samsung.