You can use almost any camera to photograph food – but if you’d like to get serious about your food shooting, certain cameras will work better than others.
For instance, larger sensors and higher megapixel counts tend to come in handy, especially if you want to print large or create high-quality shots for magazines or books. You’ll also need a camera with excellent low-light shooting capabilities as food photography does often happen in dimly lit kitchens! Ergonomics, image stabilization, and lens availability are other key factors to consider.
So what are the best cameras for food photography? Below, I’ve included models for photographers of all stripes, from beginners to professionals. And I’ve picked a range of options, covering all major brands, price points, and camera types. No matter your preferred subject and style of shooting, you’re bound to find a product that will work.
Let’s dive right in!
1. Nikon Z7 II
The Nikon Z7 II is a full-frame mirrorless camera featuring an outstanding 45 MP sensor, which makes it perfect for images that require a high level of detail, such as food still lifes. The high-ISO performance is also impressive, especially for such a high-resolution camera, so you can capture beautiful shots even in low light.
The Z mount offers an array of top-notch lenses and teleconverters, plus Nikon’s still investing a lot of money in developing its mirrorless lens lineup, so you can expect plenty of great glass to become available in the near future. And if you can’t find the lens you want, you can always purchase the FTZ adapter so you can work with Nikon’s excellent range of F-mount lenses. That way, you’ll have creative flexibility while maintaining the best optical performance.
Are you into photographing food preparation or even splashes? Then you’ll appreciate the Z7 II’s excellent autofocus capabilities as well as the 10 frames-per-second continuous shooting speed. And the body is dust and drip resistant, so you don’t have to worry about it getting damaged when carrying it in a bag or when photographing action. There’s also a battery grip available for when you face long days of shooting.
2. Canon EOS R5
If you’re looking for an all-around outstanding camera that’s capable of capturing gorgeous (and high-resolution) food photos in addition to action shots, portraits, landscapes, and more, then the Canon EOS R5 is the way to go. It’s one of Canon’s best mirrorless cameras to date, and serious food photographers will love its 45 MP sensor, gorgeous electronic viewfinder, and class-leading autofocus technology.
Thanks to the high-resolution sensor, you can render food down to the smallest detail, and given the breathtaking high-ISO capabilities, you can shoot in low light without significant issue (though it’s always a good idea to use a tripod if you can manage it). It doesn’t matter whether you’re shooting for a fine-print cookbook or a billboard ad; the EOS R5 won’t let you down.
In fact, even with the staggering amount of megapixels, the EOS R5 can process 20 RAW images per second (using the electronic shutter), which should give you more than enough speed to shoot movement or even food splash photos. And since the R5 offers 4K/120p (and even 8K/30p) video, it’s a great option if you’re looking to do a mix of still photography and recording.
3. Nikon D850
If you prefer a DSLR over a mirrorless camera, check out the Nikon D850, which offers a powerful 45 MP full-frame sensor – one that’s capable of outstanding dynamic range and high-quality images even in low light.
The ISO sensitivity goes from 64 to 25600, and if you hope to capture action in your food shots, you’ll appreciate the 7 frames-per-second continuous shooting speeds (this jumps to 9 fps when bolstered by the battery grip).
The 153 autofocus points ensure sharp images even with moving subjects (e.g., when photographing a chef at work), and the power-saving design allows for a longer battery life than its competitors. Additionally, the Nikon D850 provides access to an astonishing array of F-mount lenses, many of which are inexpensive and jaw-droppingly good. You can capture gorgeous close-ups using a variety of Nikon macro lenses, or you can use an ultra-sharp standard or telephoto lens for more distant views.
The D850 might not be the newest camera on the block, but it does a great job – and for food photographers, including both professionals and enthusiasts, it’s still an excellent choice.
The Nikon Z7 II, Canon EOS R5, and Nikon D850 are great cameras, but what if you’re looking to get started in the world of food photography? What’s a good entry-level camera for a budding food snapper? Here, I’d highly recommend you check out the Canon EOS R50, which features a 24.2 MP APS-C sensor and plenty of useful features.
No, it’s not quite as powerful as a full-frame camera, but the price is much easier to handle, and it’s a great way to get started without feeling overwhelmed. The EOS R50 is a mirrorless model designed for folks who are used to working with their smartphones, so you should have no problem operating it even if you have no prior experience with a dedicated camera.
Thanks to Canon’s impressive sensor technology, you shouldn’t have a problem capturing food shots wherever you go, whether it’s at your local restaurant, in a studio, or on the road while traveling. You also get a fully articulating screen so that you can shoot from high and low angles without issue, and – somewhat surprisingly given the price point – an electronic viewfinder. For budding food photographers, the R50 is a great option, and it offers access to Canon’s ever-growing RF-mount lens lineup, too!
The Canon EOS Rebel T8i is an APS-C DSLR featuring 24.1 MP of resolution. While it doesn’t have as many advanced features as many other cameras on this list, the value for your money is outstanding – and you’ll be able to use Canon’s impressive array of EF lenses (always a bonus!).
The ISO sensitivity ranges from 100 to 25600, so you can shoot a BBQ on a sunny day or a dinner in a dimly lit dining room. And if you want to capture food preparation, you’ll appreciate the 7 FPS continuous shooting speed and the decent AF system.
There are many filters and presets that you can preview when shooting in Live View mode – and thanks to the T8i’s built-in Wi-Fi, you can easily transfer your photos to your phone or tablet for easy sharing on social media. Plus, while the T8i is a few years old, it offers Canon’s amazing DSLR ergonomics, a reasonably rugged body, and a fully articulating screen so you can shoot from various perspectives with ease.
The Canon 5D Mark IV is the camera that Canon Ambassador Yasmin Albatoul uses – in fact, it’s what she used for her winning entry to Foodelia’s 2020 International Food Photography Awards. And it is a photography powerhouse thanks to its 30 MP full-frame sensor, outstanding high-ISO performance, and excellent ergonomics.
The 5D Mark IV also features 61 AF points with 41 cross-type sensors for crisp and sharp images even when shooting action. Note that, in continuous shooting mode, you can capture up to 7 frames per second – perfect for capturing food preparation or action food photos like splash photography.
And the 5D Mark IV packs Dual Pixel RAW technology, so you can fine-tune the point of sharpness and shift the bokeh in post-production. It also offers built-in Wi-Fi and GPS for easy sharing and geotagging. Sure, it’s still on the expensive side, but if you’re a serious Canon shooter who prefers DSLRs to mirrorless cameras, then the 5D Mark IV is the way to go.
7. Sony a7 IV
The Sony a7 IV brings together the best of Sony’s developments for photography and video, so if you’re looking to capture food stills and video, this is the camera for you; in fact, the a7 IV is referred to as a “hybrid camera” because it allows creators to easily switch from photo to video and back while maintaining the highest quality.
The a7 IV is built around a full-frame, back-illuminated 33 MP sensor, which features a 15-stop dynamic range so you can capture perfect detail even in extreme lighting conditions. High-ISO performance is outstanding, and you get an ISO range that extends from 50 to a whopping 204800.
Then there are the autofocus capabilities, which are top-of-the-line, perfect for fast-paced food photos of chefs in action. And if you’re a content creator, you’ll love the ability to live stream, as well as the high-quality sharing for remote communication in real-time.
It’s also worth mentioning that the Sony a7 IV and its packaging are part of the Road to Zero environmental plan, which is Sony’s commitment to diminish its environmental footprint throughout the product’s life cycle.
If you’re looking for an ultra-compact, lightweight camera that you can take with you everywhere, then you’ll love the Fujifilm X100V, a premium compact model that’s easy to use but delivers advanced image quality.
The X100V features a 26.1 MP APS-C sensor and an excellent lens (newly developed for this camera!). The focal length is 23mm (equivalent to 35mm, thanks to the APS-C crop factor), and the f/2 maximum aperture is perfect for shooting in tough light.
As you might expect from a Fujifilm camera, the colors are amazing. And one of the nicest features is the hybrid viewfinder, which allows you to switch from optical to electronic technology when out in the field; that way, you can see the subject as it is (OVF) before checking the exposure conditions (EVF).
The screen offers two-way tilting, a first for the X100 Series. This will give you more flexibility when shooting from creative angles. And beginners will love the presets and shooting modes, which let you preview your photos with dozens of beautiful effects.
While the lack of interchangeable lenses is a bit limiting for some serious food snappers, this is an ideal camera for anyone looking to photograph on the fly in restaurants and share the results on social media.
Not a Canon, Nikon, Fujifilm, or Sony fan? Then check out the Lumix S1, a 24.2 MP full-frame mirrorless camera that offers high-quality color reproduction and all-around beautiful image quality. The S1 uses L-Mount lenses, so you have a wide variety of glass to choose from, and the sensor features an AR coating to minimize ghosting and flare.
The Lumix S1 guarantees outstanding low-light performance, and you can expect minimal noise, even at higher ISOs. The image stabilizer will help you capture sharp images even when shooting handheld at slow shutter speeds. And thanks to the advanced AF system, you get fast and accurate focus, even when photographing moving subjects in low-light conditions.
If you like the sound of the S1 but you’d prefer a higher-resolution camera, then consider the Lumix S1R, which offers a 47.3 MP sensor and features a high-resolution mode that reaches a whopping 187 MP.
The Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark IV is a Micro Four Thirds mirrorless camera, and it is astonishingly compact and lightweight, perfect for taking on a street food journey, working in a small kitchen, or photographing in the studio. In fact, that’s why so many casual photographers love Olympus cameras; you can carry them around your neck for hours and barely even notice.
Thanks to the in-body image stabilization system, you can capture sharp images in low light without the use of a tripod, and the tiltable touchscreen makes the camera very intuitive for former smartphone photographers. Then there’s the 20 MP sensor; while it’s on the smaller side, and while the resolution could be higher, you should be able to create reasonably large prints and produce high-quality images.
The E-M10 Mark IV also has plenty of functions for beginner photographers, including an array of very cool Art filters, and you get plenty of AF points for easy focusing using Live View or the electronic viewfinder. The camera is cheap, too, which makes it ideal for photographers on a budget (plus, there are plenty of great low-cost MFT lenses!).
11. iPhone 13 Pro
These days, many food photographers and bloggers prefer to shoot with smartphones – so as a bonus, I’ve included the best smartphone for food photography: the iPhone 13 Pro. (Of course, even the best smartphones are less flexible than DSLRs and mirrorless cameras, but they’re more than enough for many shooting scenarios!)
The iPhone 13 Pro has three cameras, each 12 MP: the ultra-wide-angle camera, the wide camera, and the telephoto camera. Therefore, you’ll have a good set of focal lengths that can handle most situations – and the 13 Pro supports Apple ProRAW, so you can edit your photos without losing quality.
You can use Portrait mode to create a beautiful bokeh effect, which is very handy when photographing food. The smartphone is also water resistant up to 6 meters for as long as 30 minutes, so you can do interesting shots that combine food and water (plus, the phone will be protected if you accidentally drop it in the sink!).
A smartphone isn’t ideal for creating large prints, but it’s a great choice for the casual food photographer!
Best cameras for food photography: final words
I hope this roundup helped you choose the perfect camera for food photography. As you now know, there are plenty of great options – the key is to recognize what you want to shoot and which specific features you need!
And if you’re still on the fence, consider heading to your local camera shop and trying out a few of your favorite options. Sometimes, just holding a camera in your hands can be a huge help.
Now over to you:
Which food photography camera do you plan to buy? Which is your favorite? Share your thoughts in the comments below!