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Which native lens is best for food closeup pictures?

Discussion in 'Native Lenses' started by dennisk, Nov 14, 2011.

  1. dennisk

    dennisk Mu-43 Regular

    Jul 4, 2011
    Bay Area, California
    I need some advice on what lens to use when taking closeup of food in a dimly lit restaurant. I would prefer the front half of the food to be in focus then blurring out to a nicely to the back of the plate.

    The 12/14 are too wide and I can't get close enough to fill the frame. The 14-42 and 40-150 zooms cranked the ISO so high, the sharpness and color was not good. Maybe it has to do with the photographer and not the lens. What do you use to get nice sharp closeup of food?

    Thanks in advance.
  2. stratokaster

    stratokaster Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 4, 2011
    Dublin, IE
    Panasonic 20mm f/1.7 is very nice.


    • Like Like x 4
  3. dennisk

    dennisk Mu-43 Regular

    Jul 4, 2011
    Bay Area, California
    Nice! Exactly what I was imagining...except that I don't have that lens. I guess I better start looking. I'm wondering if the 45mm would give me the same type of photo?
  4. Promit

    Promit Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 6, 2011
    Baltimore, MD
    Promit Roy
    Well it'll give you around half of that type of photo, if that's what you were asking.
    • Like Like x 1
  5. Canonista

    Canonista Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Sep 3, 2011
    The 20mm is perfect for food shots with its speed and close focus capabilities. I took this test shot the day I got the lens, and couldn't have been more pleased.

    800 ISO, f/1.7, 1/30'

    • Like Like x 1
  6. The 45mm will give a less distorted image, but you'll have to stand up or scrape your chair back to get the shot! I find the 20/1.7 better for restaurant situations.

    Cheers, Tom
    • Like Like x 1
  7. dennisk

    dennisk Mu-43 Regular

    Jul 4, 2011
    Bay Area, California
    Good point!
  8. 45mm Example

    [​IMG]"1024" height="768" alt="Egg plant and pepper with tomatoes, garlic and onions"></a>[/IMG]
    Had a look through some recent pics, found an example for you. The 45/1.8 does a nice job.
    Here's one in low light, 45mm/F1.8
    [​IMG]"1024" height="768" alt="Yummy grilled chicken with mustard sauce"></a>[/IMG]
    The reason I find the 20mm better is that I don't have to interrupt the flow of the dinner by getting up to take a photograph. The 20mm also allows me to include family in the picture: 20mm/F1.8
    [​IMG]"1024" height="768" alt="PB119324"></a>[/IMG]
    But I wouldn't go out and buy the 20mm just for that job if I already had the 45mm! The 45mm gives a much kinder perspective for faces.
    (Edit) Just noticed you don't have either the 45 or 20....yet! They are both great lenses, but I find the 20mm is a better general lens for me. Have just come back from a week in Greece, and the 20mm always found its way onto the camera by the end of each day. 45mm though is better at picking out faces in a group or a bar:
    45mm/f1.8, ISO1600, 1/40s
    [​IMG]"1024" height="768" alt="PB099094"></a>[/IMG]
    • Like Like x 1
  9. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    Which 45mm are you talking about? The Leica Macro-Elmarit or the m.Zuiko 45mm/1.8?
  10. dennisk

    dennisk Mu-43 Regular

    Jul 4, 2011
    Bay Area, California
    Ned, the Olympus 45mm/1.8. I really had a hard time taking a sharp closeup of some food at a table so I was wondering what lens you would grab to take that picture. (From a distance of 1.5 - 2 feet)
  11. Sit in a chair, use your 14-42 zoom, put a plate on the table, and see which focal length will give you the field of view you like. If you just want the plate in the picture, probably the 45mm will work well. My wife usually wants to be in the shot as well, another reason I usually use the 20mm!
    But either the 20/1.7 or 45/1.8 will handle a low light of a restaurant very well.
  12. dennisk

    dennisk Mu-43 Regular

    Jul 4, 2011
    Bay Area, California
    Here is what I'd like the picture to look like, but I don't want to stand up from the chair and take a picture.

    150mm / f5.6 ISO 1600 1/160 Focus distance 3 feet

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/32633103@N00/6346137831/" title="PB130843 by dennisk, on Flickr"> 6346137831_d01a37df17_b. "1024" height="768" alt="PB130843"></a>
  13. Then the 45/1.8 will suit you better than the 20/1.7, for that purpose...

    Cheers, Tom
    • Like Like x 1
  14. drizek

    drizek Mu-43 Veteran

    Aug 5, 2011
    I think I'd take the 20mm. In some cases it might not focus close enough, but you can just crop. On the other hand, it is much easier to use it to take a picture of a full plate without having to stand up.


    Notice that the back of the cake is in focus on this one, so you actually can get in pretty close.

    • Like Like x 3
  15. nseika

    nseika Mu-43 Veteran

    Nov 22, 2010
    Jakarta, Indonesia
    A question, how about a table-top tripod ?
    It would give more freedom to control the aperture & dof without worrying about high ISO or camera shake.
    Cons, it will limit the choice of camera position

    14mm @f/8 0.6s ISO 160

    20mm @f/4 1/80s ISO 320
    • Like Like x 1
  16. ~tc~

    ~tc~ Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Oct 22, 2010
    Houston, TX
    • Like Like x 1
  17. fredlong

    fredlong Just this guy...

    Apr 18, 2011
    Massachusetts USA
    The 45 should do that a one foot.
    • Like Like x 1
  18. dennisk

    dennisk Mu-43 Regular

    Jul 4, 2011
    Bay Area, California

    The minimum focus distance is .5m or 20in on the 45/f1.8. I would think the DOF would be so thin at that distance there wouldn't be much of the food in focus. Setting the aperture higher would set the shutter speed so slow that I would need a tripod as one person suggested. I'd rather just point and focus and shoot.

    I see so many great pictures out here I was wondering which lens was most suited for those types of shots.
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