What kind of camera and lens do you use? What camera should I buy? Before I answer these questions, I have to remind you that like many others I’m still learning. I can only tell you what I have.
When I bought my Nikon D750, then I just love to read all the reviews that I can find and watch videos about the camera. After thinking about the pros and cons, I would make my decision.
Start with basics
The real truth is that when you are just starting out with photography, then you don’t need an extra expensive camera gear. All you need is a basic camera, desire to learn and practice. When you are just starting, then obviously it’s better to have some DSLR camera to learn the basics. However, nowadays I have heard many good stories about mirrorless cameras. I’m still old-fashioned, and I love traditional DSLR cameras.
If you ask me, what kind of camera should you buy, then I would say that you have to think where you are and what is your goal. If you are just starting, then honestly I would say that take whatever camera you can and just start learning and practicing. It doesn’t matter if it’s Nikon, Sony or Canon. Don’t overthink about the brand and just start shooting. Of course, you should read all kind of reviews and consider your budget, but the most important thing is just to start. Find a way and don’t make any excuses. If you are already a professional, then you obviously have your preferences, and you probably know what you would like to buy.
Why I use Nikon?
Nikon just came to me. Honestly. I got my first camera Nikon D90 as a gift from my lovely father. I didn’t even choose the brand it just came to me. I’m a very lucky girl. It was a fantastic gift, but the only condition was that I had to take 200 different images every month.
This summer 2017 I bought a new camera Nikon D750. I already had two lenses for a full-frame camera, and it was an obvious step to buy Nikon camera again. However, I didn’t want to buy a new camera before I can shoot better images with my old one. I didn’t want to lose my focus. I used my D90 for almost seven to eight years and in the end, it just nearly fell apart. Okay, well I had it at home for nearly seven years, but I used it often for two to three years. You don’t have to wait that long.
What I’m trying to say is that when you are just starting, then you should first learn how to shoot good images with an inexpensive camera and then you can look for another one. Learn the basics and then get a better camera. You can always buy a used or refurbished camera. You might be amazed at how many people are selling almost new cameras online. Some people have just bought a new camera but used it only a few times.
Set yourself a goal
I like to challenge myself. You can also set yourself a goal what you should do before you can buy a new camera or lens. I had a goal that I can buy a new camera when I can sell stock images for a certain amount of money. I had the money to buy a new camera, but I didn’t because I was afraid that I would lose my focus. The goal can always be something like shooting 200-5000 images per month for the next five months. Go to Youtube and learn about photography or take some online courses in Udemy or Lynda (for example here) and don’t forget to practice. You also need some basic Lightroom editing skill and I suggest you join the Adobe Creative Cloud as well. I took a photography course in University but to be honest, it wasn’t useful. I have learned more about photography with online classes.
Enjoy the photography and see how much progress you can make. Be creative and try to live in a moment and don’t overthink your gear when you are starting. At some point, you apparently have to think about your camera gear, but you shouldn’t spend too much time on thinking about what you need. I know that I sometimes have that habit and it’s not good for me mentally. I still have my list what lenses I would like to buy next, but I try not to think about it too much. It’s just right now I have some technical limits on my gear. For example, I don’t have a macro lens, and I can’t shoot very close up food images. In these cases, I feel that when the gear starts to limit yourself technically, then it’s time to upgrade.
What is the best camera for food photography?
I agree with the saying that the best camera is the one you have. Almost. You are not going to have a straight answer from me. You can read some other posts about food photography camera gear here or just Google it. There are endless articles about the best camera gear. Of course, when you are already making some progress, or you are a professional, then you usually need an expensive camera gear, or you need to upgrade it to make sure you are still on the game. The camera gear depends on a lot where you are and what is your goal.
If you don’t have a camera, then just read some reviews and buy something that is good for your budget. I love my Nikon D750. However, I bought it after I achieved my goals and learned the basics. Compare to my old D90 it is a massive upgrade for me. Many people would even say that D90 is now a stone age camera. Some might say that even D750 is an old camera but, to be honest, I like it, and at least I have some room to grow.
At first, it was a little bit different to get used to the full-frame camera, but now I don’t image shooting images without it. When I took my old camera to shoot some images for this post, then I realized that it’s so different. Everything is smaller. The quality on Nikon D750 is so much better if I look at the images on 100%. On this image, you might not notice it that much. However, when I do some low light or high shutter images, then I can see a difference.
The shutter speed and dynamic range are just incredible. Now I have the chance to practice more action shots that I love. However, the first powder sugar image I managed to capture with my D90 after I bought the 50 mm F/1.8 lens. I tried to shoot the powder sugar with my Nikon D90 kit lens, but it just didn’t work because of the technical limits. The shutter speed was just too slow to capture the powder sugar.
If you are thinking about buying a camera, then it’s important to understand that the real money goes into lenses. You don’t always need a full-frame, and you can shoot amazing images with crop sensor when you have a good lens. Lenses for crop sensor are so much cheaper. It all depends on what would you like to get from your photography.
My camera and lenses right now:
- Nikon D750 (I bought the body with a kit lens 24-120 mm because when I bought it, then the kit was just cheaper than the body alone. It’s a nice lens for traveling, but I still prefer lower F numbers. If you would like to buy this lens on its own, then I don’t recommend this lens. There are way better lenses). For food images, I don’t use the 24-120 mm at all;
- NIKKOR 50mm f/ 1.8G AF-S – This is quite a cheap lens if I compare it to other lenses. It might be cheap, but it’s very powerful for food images. Most of the time I use this lens for food images;
- Nikon 20mm f/1.8 AF-S – This one I bought mostly for to shoot nature images;
- Manfrotto 190X 3 Section Aluminum Tripod (MT190XPRO3 3 Section) – I just got this one yesterday from my lovely boyfriend as an early birthday present. I can’t even describe how happy I am. Finally, a real tripod! So far it has been fabulous and steady. I couldn’t wish for more! The tripod I had before was broken, and I used a string to hold the camera on the tripod. Bad idea! The other smaller tripod I have for traveling, but that one is the worst tripod I have had. This Manfrotto tripod is the best I have ever have!
- Studio light kit – Usually I use natural light. However, in winter time in Estonia, there is sometimes only about 4-5 hours of daylight. There are days when the weather is just so cloudy that it is dark almost all the time. Thus, some while ago I ordered some softboxes, but I realized that it still wasn’t enough and I end up ordering the whole kit. Also, to get some backgrounds for the images. However, I feel that I’m still in the learning process with the studio light.
My list for the future:
- Nikon AF-S 105mm f/2.8G VR OR Tamron SP 90mm F/2.8 OR Sigma 105mm f/2.8 EX DG OS HSM Macro;
- For traveling: Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 24-70mm f/2.8 and Tamron SP 70-200mm f/2.8 Di VC USD G2.
Which camera and lens is your favorite? Which lens should I buy next or which lens would you like to buy next?
I personally like Nikon. However, I still need to repeat that when you are just starting out with photography, then you don’t need an extra expensive camera gear. All you need is a basic camera, desire to learn and practice. First, it is important just to start. If someone doesn’t understand what means ISO, shutter speed and aperture, then I think they don’t need a camera which costs 3000 dollars. It is just my personal opinion. I believe that it’s better to start smaller and leave yourself room to grow. I like to challenge myself and set myself a goal that I need to achieve before I can buy new camera gear. I’ll suggest you try this one as well. For example, shoot 1000 good images for the next three months and then you can buy some new camera gear?