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Best camera for food photography in 2021

Best camera for food photography
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Keen to discover the best camera for food photography? Whether you’re taking snaps of your dinner for Instagram or you’re taking it a bit more seriously, you’ll want to make your food look as delicious as it deserves.

Getting your food looking fantastic can be quite a challenge. Some food may be a tasty treat, but getting that across in a picture isn’t always easy. Bad lighting, dodgy angles and the wrong kind of gear can leave you disappointed with the results. 

That’s where our list comes in to help - at least with the last point. We’ve selected a wide variety of different cameras and types which are all suitable for food photography in one way or the other. Whether you’re a phone snapper, a beginner looking to step it up, or somebody more advanced, you’ll find something to meet your needs here.

Choosing the best camera for food photography isn’t necessarily as simple as picking one of the best mirrorless cameras, the best DSLR or the best compact cameras. Although the cameras in those guides are great, they are often all-rounders which perform well in a number of areas but don’t necessarily excel at food photography. 

It’s therefore worth thinking about the following features if food is your preferred genre:

Resolution
To really make your food photography sing, using a camera with a high-resolution sensor will show it off in super-fine detail, perfect for making sure every crumb is shown off to perfection. 

AF points
When you’re composing your food images, sometimes the object you want to focus on will be in the far edge of the frame. Therefore, a camera which boasts a good spread of focus points across the frame will make things a lot easier.

Screen
Food photography is often shot while the camera is mounted on a tripod, allowing you to adjust the composition of the food while keeping the camera steady. It also allows you to use lower ISOs for the best quality imagery. Therefore, a high-resolution screen is a must. It’s also helpful if it can be rotated or tilted to allow for awkward compositions.

Manual focusing options
For precise focus on often small details, manual focusing is a great option. Look for cameras that help with that. Easy manual adjustments, focus peaking and being able to zoom into the scene (focus magnifier) are all extremely beneficial.

Macro lens / close-focusing
For finely detailed shots, nothing beats a dedicated macro lens. Look for cameras which support that type of lens. If you’re using a fixed lens camera, look for those which offer close focusing.

Food modes
Many modern cameras and smartphones have dedicated food modes. This isn’t essential by any means, but if you’re going to spend a good amount of time photographing food, a mode like this can come in handy.

Remote control possibilities
As already mentioned, you’ll often find you’ll be shooting food photography while the camera is mounted on a tripod. Having the ability to remotely trigger the shutter is therefore very helpful. Most modern cameras have compatibility with a smartphone app which can be used for just that purpose.

With all that in mind, keep reading to discover our choices for the best camera for food photography… 

10 best cameras for food photography

(Image credit: Sony)

1: Sony A7R IV

Best camera for food photography for high-resolution

Type: Mirrorless | Sensor: Full-frame | Megapixels: 61 | AF points: 567 | Macro lens: Available in native mount | Manual focus options: Focus peaking, Focus Magnifier | Screen: : 3-inch, 1.4m dot tilting touchscreen | Remote app: : Yes

Very high resolution sensor
Good manual focusing options
Lots of focus points 
High price 

Sitting on its own in the resolution stakes for a full-frame camera, with 61 megapixels to play with, your food photographs will sparkle with dazzling detail. It’s also got a great array of AF points right across the frame to help with composition, while there’s a decent selection of macro optics available should you want to invest.

Manual focusing is made easy with both focus peaking and the ability to zoom right in to the scene for checking critical focus. The screen is a decent performer, though as it only tilts it’s not quite as handy as those with fully articulating devices.

The biggest drawback here is likely to be the high price the Sony A7R IV commands. If you’re a dedicated food photographer, you might think it worthy of the investment however.

(Image credit: Nikon)

2. Nikon Z7 II

Best camera for food photography all-round

Type: Mirrorless | Sensor: Full-frame | Megapixels: 45.7 | AF points: 493 | Macro lens: : Available in native mount, or DSLR lens via F-mount adapter | Manual focus options: Focus peaking, Focus Magnifier | Screen: : 3.2-inch, 2.1m dot tilting touchscreen | Remote app: : Yes

Good for lots of different subjects 
Great screen
Good spread of focus points 
High price 

Here’s another full-frame mirrorless camera boasting a very high resolution. At 45.7 megapixels you’ve got lots of scope for capturing fine detail, as well as cropping to enhance your composition. 

There’s also a fantastic spread of AF points right across the frame, while manual focusing benefits from focus peaking and a focus magnifier too. Like the Sony, the Z7 II’s screen only tilts, so that’s something to take into consideration. 

Nikon has only just launched macro lenses for its Z series, but you also have the option to use DSLR lenses via the F-mount adapter, giving you much more flexibility. 

If food photography is just one of the genres that you like to shoot, the Z7 II is a sensible choice since it’s a good all-rounder across a number of subjects.

(Image credit: Nikon)

3. Nikon D3500

Best entry-level camera for food photography

Type: DSLR | Sensor: APS-C | Megapixels: 24.2 | AF points: 11 | Macro lens: : Available in native mount | Manual focus options: Focus Magnifier (Live View only) | Screen: : 3-inch, 921k-dot fixed screen | Remote app: : Yes

Great value
Good range of lenses
No focus peaking 
Limited spread of AF points 

If you’re just starting out on your food photography journey, it stands a good chance that you won’t have a top-end budget, while some of the high-end photographic technological advances on more expensive cameras might be way more than you need. 

For that reason, an entry-level DSLR camera such as the Nikon D3500 makes a lot of sense. With this, you get far greater image quality than your smartphone can provide and a good entry into using interchangeable lens cameras at an affordable price. 

As it’s a DSLR, you’ll primarily be shooting through the viewfinder, though you can activate Live View shooting if working with a tripod for your food shots. A fantastic range of DSLR lenses, including macro lenses, should mean you can find something to suit your needs here. 

There are a couple of downsides to consider, such as a relatively limited spread of AF points, which can make some compositions awkward, and the fact that there’s no Focus Peaking, but it’s a great place to begin your food photography journey.

(Image credit: Canon)

4. Canon EOS R6

Best Canon camera for food photography

Type: Mirrorless | Sensor: Full-frame | Megapixels: 20.1 | AF points: 6072 | Macro lens: : Available in native mount, or DSLR lens via EF-mount adapter | Manual focus options: Focus Peaking, Focus Magnifier | Screen: : 3-inch, 1.62m dot fully-articulated touchscreen | Remote app: : Yes

Great all rounder 
Fantastic, useful screen
Enormous spread of focus points 
Lower resolution than others 

Canon’s latest mirrorless marvels show off a fantastic about of photographic prowess. The Canon EOS R6 has a lower resolution than its stablemate, the EOS R5, but it’s available at a much more affordable price. 

You get a good range of manual focusing options, but it’s the incredible 6072 autofocus points across the entire frame which really help it to stand out. There are some macro lenses available in the RF mount, but you can also use Canon’s DSLR lenses via an adapter which are even more numerous.

Another great benefit of the EOS R6 is its fully-articulating screen, which is extremely helpful for composing from those awkward angles. Like the Nikon Z7 II, the Canon EOS R6 is a good all-rounder, so if you also want to photograph other subjects, you won’t be disappointed.

(Image credit: Apple)

5. iPhone 12 Pro

Best iPhone for food photography

Type: Smartphone | Megapixels: 3 x 12 | AF points: Across the screen Close Focusing: 8cm | Screen: : 6.1-inch 2.9m-dot touchscreen | Remote app: : N/A

Simple to use
Portrait mode can be useful 
Great screen
High price for a smartphone 

For many food photographers, it’ll be their smartphone that they use to take their shots. Lots of current smartphones are great for the job, but the iPhone 12 Pro stands out as being particularly good. 

We’ve chosen the iPhone 12 Pro, rather than the 12 Pro Max, as the close-focusing distance is better for the smaller model. It’s also unlikely you’ll need the longer telephoto lens if you're photographing food. 

One of the advantages of the iPhone 12 Pro is arguably also a disadvantage. It’s incredibly simple to use, which makes getting good food shots very easy, but there’s little in the way of manual control. On the plus side, you can now shoot Apple ProRAW files for making adjustments in post-production if you wish. 

The straightforward Portrait mode can come in handy for food photography. Although primarily designed for photographing people, it’s shallow depth of field effects can also make your food shots stand out for all the right reasons too.

(Image credit: Fujifilm)

6. Fujifilm X100V

Type: Premium compact | Sensor: APS-C | Megapixels: 26.1 | AF points: 425 Close Focusing: 10cm | Manual focus options: Focus Peaking, Focus Magnifier | Screen: : 3-inch 1.62m-dot tilting touchscreen | Remote app: : Yes

Gorgeous design 
Good spread of focus points 
Highly portable 
Fixed lens 

If you (understandably) don’t want to lug a big camera set up with you whenever you photograph food in restaurant-type settings, then the Fujifilm X100V is a great step up from your smartphone’s capabilities. 

It has a decent close-focusing distance, while the good spread of focusing points across the frame helps you to create unusual compositions. Manual focusing options including focus peaking also come in handy should you need them. 

A tilting touch-sensitive screen also helps you get exactly the angle you want. The big downside here is that with its fixed 35mm (equivalent) lens, you have less flexibility than you do with interchangeable lens models. Making use of the digital tele-converter can help to get around that, though. 

We love the film simulation modes Fujifilm provides, and if you’re planning to share your shots on social media, the chances are you will too. 

(Image credit: Sony)

7. Sony ZV-1

Best vlogging camera for food photography

Type: Premium compact | Sensor: 1-inch type | Megapixels: 20.1 | AF points: 315 (phase detection), 425 points (contrast detection) Close Focusing: 5cm | Manual focus options: Focus Peaking, Focus Magnifier | Screen: : 3-inch, 921k-dot articulating touchscreen | Remote app: : Yes

Dedicated “product showcase” mode
Pocket-friendly 
Good close-focusing distance
Smaller sensor than others here 

If it’s not just stills which are your concern when it comes to food photography, then the Sony ZV-1 is a fantastic option. 

This little pocket-wizard is mainly designed to appeal to vloggers. Those with a penchant for food could perhaps make use of the product showcase mode which is designed to use the optimal settings for product review type videos. 

The good news is that the ZV1 is also a very capable stills camera too, so you get the best of both worlds. It offers very close focusing, good manual focusing options, an articulating screen and a good spread of AF points across the frame. 

A smaller sensor than most of the cameras in this list is potentially the only major downside to this model, but the trade off is that it’ll fit neatly into your pocket.

• See also Best camera for vlogging

(Image credit: Panasonic)

8. Panasonic Lumix S5

Best camera for food photography when travelling

Type: Mirrorless | Sensor: Full-frame | Megapixels: 24.2 | AF points: 225 | Macro lens: : Available in native mount | Manual focus options: Focus Peaking, Focus Magnifier | Screen: : 3-inch, 1.84m-dot articulating touchscreen | Remote app: : Yes

If your idea of good food photography goes hand in hand with travelling across the country and beyond to find it, a small system camera such as the Panasonic Lumix S5 is a great flexible option. 

It boosts a full-frame sensor in a body around the same size as some of Panasonic’s models with a much smaller sensor. That makes it great for detail and using in lower-light situations, especially as the resolution has been kept to a sensibly modest amount.

Being part of the L Mount lens Alliance gives you lots of flexibility when it comes to lens options, including several which are designated macro options. There’s also useful manual focusing options, such as focus peaking, while the AF points are spread usefully across the frame. 

A fully articulating touchscreen comes in handy for shooting from awkward angles, making this a great all round choice for food photography.

(Image credit: OnePlus)

9. OnePlus 9 Pro

Best smartphone for food photography

Type: Smartphone | Sensor: 4 sensors (1/1.43” main) | Megapixels: 48/50/8/2 | AF points: Across the frame Close focusing: 4cm | Screen: : 6.7-inch, 4.6m-dot touchscreen | Remote app: : N/A

Good native camera app
Close focusing 
Good value 
Pro mode can’t be used with ultra-wide camera 

If you’re looking for a good value but high-end smartphone, then the OnePlus range is a great choice for Android fans. 

With three different shooting lenses to choose from, food photographers may be drawn towards the ultra-wide angle lens which boasts 4cm close focusing. The main camera offers 48 megapixels and a high-resolution mode for showing off fine details, too. 

Like many Android phones, the OnePlus 9 Pro has a very well-featured native camera app. There’s a Pro mode for taking control of certain settings, though frustratingly you can’t use the ultra-wide camera in this mode.

(Image credit: Panasonic)

10. Panasonic Lumix G100

Best Micro Four Thirds camera for food photography

Type: Mirrorless | Sensor: Four Thirds | Megapixels: 20.3 | AF points: 49 | Macro lens: : Available in native mount | Manual focus options: Focus Peaking, Focus Magnifier | Screen: : 3-inch, 1.8m-dot, articulating touchscreen | Remote app: : Yes

Neat system for travel 
Fully articulating screen
Good manual focusing options 
Smaller sensor than some 

This is another great option for every day or travel use. This light and highly portable Micro Four Thirds camera comes with the advantage of a flexible range of native lenses, which also includes several Macro options.

The fully articulating screen comes in handy when composing from strange angles, while there’s a good array of manual focusing options here. AF points might not be as numerous as some of the other cameras mentioned here, but they are spread well across the frame to give you a good choice. 

Having a smaller (than full frame) sensor may put off some, but with an overall small system it’s a great option for those who want to travel to find their food photography destinations.

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