Are you looking for the best camera for food photography, but you’re not sure where to turn? You’ve come to the right place.
You see, while you can use almost any camera to photograph food, if you’d like to get serious about your food photos, certain cameras will work better than others. For instance, if you’re after top-notch image quality, you’ll need to consider sensor size and resolution. You’ll also need excellent low-light shooting capabilities, because you might find yourself photographing in dimly lit kitchens for one photoshoot, then in the studio or outdoors for your next project. Ergonomics, image stability, and lens availability are other factors that’ll give you additional flexibility.
Below, I’ve included food photography cameras for photographers of all stripes, from beginners to professionals. And I’ve picked a range of options, covering all major brands and price points.
Let’s get started.
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 good, too, especially for such a high-resolution camera, so you can capture beautiful shots even in low light.
The Z mount offers 18 top-notch lenses and teleconverters, plus you can always purchase the FTZ adapter to work with Nikon’s excellent range of F-Mount lenses. That way, you’ll have creative flexibility while maintaining the best optical performance.
If you like to capture food preparations or do splash photography, you’ll appreciate the class-leading 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. Nikon D850
If you prefer a DSLR over a mirrorless camera, check out the Nikon D850. It 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 (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.
And the Nikon D850 provides access to an astonishing array of F-Mount lenses, many of which are inexpensive and jaw-droppingly good.
3. Nikon D3400
The Nikon Z7 II and Nikon D850 are great – but what if you’re looking to enter 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 Nikon D3400, 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 good way to get your feet wet. The D3400 is designed for creators used to working with their smartphones, so you should have no problem operating the camera, even with no prior DSLR experience.
Thanks to the Nikon SnapBridge app, you can transfer D3400 photos directly to your smartphone so you can quickly upload your latest creations to social media. And the integrated Guide Mode makes this the perfect camera for beginners; simply follow the step-by-step instructions to capture a wide variety of subjects and situations.
If you’re looking for astonishingly high resolutions for your food photos, then check out the Canon EOS 5DS, a full-frame professional DSLR packing a 50.6 MP sensor.
Thanks to the high-resolution sensor, you can render food down to the smallest detail, and while the low-light performance isn’t outstanding, you can still get away with a low-light shot or two (especially if you bring a tripod!). It doesn’t matter whether you’re shooting for a fine-print cookbook or a billboard ad; the 5DS won’t let you down.
In fact, even with the staggering amount of megapixels, the 5DS can process 5 RAW images per second, which should give you enough speed to shoot movement or even food splash photos.
If you want to know more about the 5DS’s in-the-field performance, I’d recommend looking up food photographer Skyler Burt. Not only does he make most of his work with this camera, but he has also published many videos explaining why he uses it, showing photoshoot behind the scenes, and more.
The Canon EOS Rebel T6i is an APS-C DSLR featuring 24.2 MP of resolution. While it doesn’t have as many advanced features as 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 12800, 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 5 fps continuous shooting speed and the decent AF system, featuring 19 cross-type points for fast, accurate focusing.
There are many filters and presets that you can preview when shooting in Live View mode – and thanks to the T6i’s built-in WiFi, you can easily transfer your photos to your phone or tablet for easy sharing on social media.
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 WiFi and GPS for easy sharing and geotagging.
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’s the a7 IV’s autofocus capabilities, which are top of the line, and if you’re a content creator, you’ll love the live streaming and 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 their 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, 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 of movement 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.
Not a Canon, Nikon, 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 III is a Micro Four Thirds mirrorless camera featuring a 16 MP sensor; it’s compact and lightweight, perfect for taking on a street food journey, working in a small kitchen, or photographing in the studio.
Thanks to the in-body 5-axis image stabilization system, you can avoid blurry images even in low light without the use of a tripod, and the tiltable touchscreen makes the camera very intuitive for former smartphone photographers.
The E-M10 Mark III also has multiple automatic modes and functions for beginner photographers, plus you get 121 AF points for tack-sharp images using Live View or the viewfinder.
To see how this camera performs, check out the work of food photographer Sarah Crawford (@bromabakery) on Instagram, who was chosen by Olympus for its Collaborator Spotlight.
Bonus: Best camera for food photography on a smartphone
These days, many food photographers and bloggers prefer to shoot with smartphones – so as a bonus, I’ve included the two best smartphone cameras for food photography.
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 12 Pro Max has three cameras, each 12 MP; the ultra-wide-angle camera shoots at 13mm, the wide camera at 26mm, and the telephoto camera at 52mm, so you’ll have a good set of focal lengths that can handle most situations. And the 12 Pro Max 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!).
If you’re looking for a more affordable option, you can try the iPhone 12, though it does use a smaller sensor.
The Oppo Find X3 Pro packs large sensors that allow for nice details and rich colors even in low light. It features two wide-angle 50 MP cameras, as well as a 13 MP telephoto camera.
This impressive lens array also includes a microlens with 60x magnification, which is ideal for macro food shots. And the 6.7-inch display covers the full color gamut and features 10-bit color depth.
Using AI Palettes, you can scan any photo saved in your gallery and use its color as a custom filter for other images, while the AI Scene Enhancement function matches the tones and mood of the original scene. That way, you can create the perfect atmosphere for your food photography!
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!
Now over to you:
Which food photography camera do you plan to buy? Which is your favorite? Share your thoughts in the comments below!