Best Lenses for Product Photography

Finding the right camera lens for any given type of photography can be a chore but that can get even more complicated when you’re not even photographing people or places.

Product photography requires a lens capable of supporting an unmatched level of detail to keep the product looking good yet true to life.

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This means you need cameras and lenses that are ideal for accurate and detailed still photography, and we’ve already done the homework on just that.

Below you’ll find a list of five camera lenses from brands both reputable and third party, all geared towards product photography with their pros and cons clearly listed.

You’ll also find a buyers’ guide where you can read our rationale when deciding how to rate these products, and hopefully you can use it yourself when making future purchases.

In a hurry? This is our winner!

Our rating:
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Nikon AF-S FX NIKKOR 24-120mm f/4G ED Vibration Reduction Zoom Lens with Auto Focus for Nikon DSLR Cameras
477 Reviews
Nikon AF-S FX NIKKOR 24-120mm f/4G ED Vibration Reduction Zoom Lens with Auto Focus for Nikon DSLR Cameras
  • Compact and versatile 5x standard zoom lens with f/4 maximum aperture
  • Maximum reproduction ratio: 0.24x.Focal Length Range : 24 to 120 millimeter, Minimum Focus Distance : 15 feet ( 045 meter)
  • Extended range on Nikon DX format DSLR cameras
  • Nikon VR II (Vibration Reduction) Image Stabilization, Nano Crystal Coat
  • 2 Extra low Dispersion (ED) Elements; 3 Aspherical Lens Elements.Mount Type: Nikon F Bayonet

If you have some products in need of snapping and want to find the right camera lens for the job, take a look at our number one option right here.

We chose to stick with a household name with the Nikon AF-S FX NIKKOR 24-120mm f/4G ED DSLR Lens, a compact lens capable of snapping wider angles whilst making colors pop.

See why we liked it in more detail below:

  • Features a constant aperture value at f/4, performing well in most light levels and when working with the extra sharp wide angles this camera lens can snap.
  • The compact lens has a built-in VR II vibration reduction feature that keeps shots steady and stabilized, which is particularly important if you’re operating at the furthest focal range this camera lens is capable of, 120mm, with a minimum range of 24mm.
  • Two different lens multi-coating, the Super Integrated Coating and the Nano Crystal Coating, which work together to deliver crisp shots and eliminate glare.

Best Lenses for Product Photography – Comparison Table

Best Lenses for Product Photography – Reviews

Our Pick
Nikon AF-S FX NIKKOR 24-120mm f/4G ED Vibration Reduction Zoom Lens with Auto Focus for Nikon DSLR Cameras
Our rating:

The first scope on our list is one from a brand we’re sure you’ve heard of, the Nikon AF-S FX NIKKOR 24-120mm f/4G Lens, a DSLR lens that we think is one of the best out there if you need detailed photographing results.

Why do we think this?

For starters, this camera lens features a constant f/4 aperture at every focal length, enabling great picture results even in lower-light conditions. When combined with the well-lit environment of a product shoot, however, the results pop with detail.

It's extra sharp at wide angles, so it’s also brilliant for picturing a selection of products at once, or larger products like furniture that demand more shooting space.

The shooting angle isn’t the only thing that’s wide with these camera lenses, however, with the focal range spanning from standard 24mm to telephoto 120mm and all delivering a crisp result.

This is partly due to the VR II vibration reduction that’s built into these deceptively small lenses, ensuring your lens is stabilized when snapping photos.

The lenses themselves benefit from Super Integrated Coating, a fairly standard Nikon multi-coating that most of their camera lenses are treated with, but they also have Nano Crystal Coating on the internal lens surface to reduce flare and improve contrast to make colors more appealing.

The corners of your picture results can be dimmer when photographing at wider angles, but that shouldn’t cause too many problems since product photography usually centers the object under well-lit conditions.

Pros
  • Constant f/4 aperture value ensures great performance at most light levels.
  • Extra sharp wide angles give you a lot of room to work with.
  • Wide focal range from standard 24mm to telephoto 120mm.
  • Built-in VR II vibration reduction.
  • Standard Super Integrated Coating and specialized Nano Crystal lens multi-coating.
Cons
  • Corners can be dim at wider angles.

Canon EF 24–105mm f/4L IS II USM Lens, Black - 1380C002
Our rating:

The second lens on our list is also from an established name in the photography industry, the Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS II USM Lens.

It retails for a similar price point as our number one option and is similar in a lot of ways, containing features that are Canon’s equivalent of some of the Nikon tech discussed above.

For example, it features a constant f/4L aperture that sustains this performance from its 24mm focal range to its maximum at 105mm.

There’s also a circular, 10-bladed aperture which softens the background of your shots, meaning that your product can take center stage and the background won’t distract too much from them.

The lens is coated with Air Sphere Coating (ASC) which eliminates flare and any ghosting effects that could happen when photographing.

This is useful when taking many shots whilst moving, these lenses also feature an Image Stabilizer that provides shake corrections so that your images can stay still and sharp.

If you need even more performance, you can also choose the UV Filter version to get one with your purchase. You should be aware, however, that the lens is noisier than other lenses available on the market.

Pros
  • Constant f/4L aperture that’s maintained at all focal ranges.
  • Circular 10-bladed aperture softens the background.
  • Air Sphere Coating reduces flare and ghosting.
  • Image Stabilizer performs to 4 stops of shake correction.
  • Available with a UV Filter option.
Cons
  • It can be very noisy when using it.

Sony SEL90M28G FE 90mm f/2.8-22 Macro G OSS Standard-Prime Lens for Mirrorless Cameras,Black
Our rating:

Our third lens for product photography is an FE 90mm f/2.8-22 Lens, a humble offering from Sony that should have your lower aperture values covered if you’re not in the market for as powerful a camera lens as the first two lenses.

The focal range is fixed at 90mm, which should be fine for most product photography but that means this isn’t your option if you want a versatile focal range.

The lens has Optical Steady Shot image stabilization that smooths out micro-movements, making it the perfect lens for those overly concerned with handheld product photography.

The lenses also have Nano AR coating which makes sure common problems like ghosting and flare don’t rear their ugly heads, the latter being particularly valuable given the very well-lit conditions that product photography is usually done in.

If you have multiple products to capture in one photo, the Advanced Spherical elements of this Sony FE lens makes sure that your captured images are sharp from corner to corner, so they won’t dim and obscure the edges of your shots.

It features a focus hold button that keeps focus for as long as you want it to when the button is kept pressed, enabling you to keep a still shot to get the product photographed with ease and accuracy.

It also has Direct Drive SSM which means it focuses very quietly, and so won’t disturb you or the shoot.

This is the most expensive lens on this list, but only by a relatively small margin compared to our products at numbers one and two.

Pros
  • Optical Steady Shot image stabilization makes it handy for handheld shooting.
  • Nano AR coating stops ghosting and flare.
  • Advanced Spherical elements provide corner to corner sharpness.
  • Focus hold button keeps focus for a prolonged period.
  • Direct Drive SSM enables very quiet focusing.
Cons
  • Fixed focal range at 90mm.
  • The most expensive lens here.

Tamron Auto Focus 70-200mm f/2.8 Di LD IF Macro Lens for Canon Digital SLR Cameras (Model A001E)
Our rating:

At four is our favorite third-party lens for product photography, the Auto Focus 70-200mm f/2.8 Macro Lens from Tamron. With this camera lens we have the largest maximum focal range this list has seen yet at 70mm to 200mm, so it’s perfect for both zoomed out wide shots and close, intimate detail when trying to advertise products.

As the product title suggests, the aperture is at f/2.8 which is great for a third-party camera lens of this price and helps it to maintain a sharp, well-lit image no matter the focal range you have it set at.

The lenses are also Digitally Integrated, a Tamron brand-specific designation that ensures great imaging across the entirety of the picture field.

Another Tamron benefit this product has is its Low Dispersion glass that sharpens the image quality that these lenses provide, so you should have no trouble getting crisp and detailed product stills during shooting sessions.

The lenses are part of Tamron’s Super Performance series, which is dedicated to delivering a professional standard of photography to their consumers.

When autofocusing it can be quite sluggish, so you may find it better to manually adjust the focus as you see fit.

Pros
  • Wide variable focal zoom range of 70mm to 200mm.
  • F2.8 constant maximum aperture.
  • Digital Integrated lenses provide top imaging.
  • Low Dispersion glass sharpens image quality.
  • Part of the Tamron Super Performance series constructed to a professional standard.
Cons
  • Slow to focus on auto mode.

Tokina at-X PRO M 100mm F2.8 D Macro Lens - Nikon AF Mount
Our rating:

The final scope on our list is yet another third-party one, the Tokina 100m f/2.8 AT-X Lens, which is the perfect option for those looking for a capable product photography lens when on a budget.

It’s great for both analog and digital cameras, working well with both, so there’s a lot of camera bodies that this lens will be compatible with.

This lens employs all-glass aspherical elements that correct the spherical aberration that can occur when you’re working with many elements, something you’ll need when using wide-angle zoom lenses.

Aspherical optics prevent light rays from bleeding in at the edges, keeping the entire picture clear, focused, and undistorted.

There’s also chromatic aberration that can occur, where telephoto lenses split rays of light to reveal the light’s rainbow effect, like when light is shone through a glass prism and the spectrum of light is revealed.

You obviously don’t want this interfering with your product photography when working in well-lit environments, so these lenses have SD Super-Low Dispersion tech that makes sure this splitting doesn’t occur.

It also has Tokina’s patented Focus Clutch mechanism, which provides a fast focus whether you’re focusing manually or automatically.

When focusing automatically, however, you’ll find that the autofocus motor inside the lens can be loud and distracting.

Pros
  • A macro lens that works with both film and digital cameras.
  • Aspherical optics reduce the chance of spherical aberration.
  • SD Super-Low Dispersion avoids chromatic aberration.
  • One-touch Focus Clutch mechanism makes focusing a fast process.
Cons
  • The autofocus motor is loud when in use.

Best Lenses for Product Photography – Buyers Guide

How to find the best product photography camera lenses?

When buying lenses or wholesale cameras to photograph products, a lot of the usual properties you’d usually look for are mostly redundant. This is because the subjects of your photography are, well, literal objects that don’t move, or at least shouldn’t be without you touching them. This doesn’t mean that aperture isn’t important, however.

So, what do you look for when choosing the right camera lens? First of all, you should be going for macro lenses so you can capture the object on a 1:1 scale, meaning that it’ll be as large or small in your viewfinder as it is in real life.

They also get a very detailed and clear image from very short distances, making them best for still life photography. Otherwise, any camera lens is only as good as the image quality it gives you, so that should be your second concern.

You can also judge lenses on aspects like their aperture, focal length, and how the lens actually handles and feels when mounted on your camera and held in your hands.

Image Quality

You want a lens that produces high quality, very sharp images at close ranges, which isn’t usually what you get when grabbing commercial lenses intended for use in wider spaces. You also want to make sure that the sharpness covers every corner since this means it won’t blur or fade details, which can be very important if you’re photographing ingredients sections or other informative product labels.

To fight this fading, look for products that have precautions to avoid spherical aberrations, such as aspherical optics. You should avoid chromatic aberrations where your images will get ruined either by a flare of spectrum light.

Aperture

Aperture is usually the lens speed, which gets described by F-stops. Smaller F-stop values mean they let in more light, which is great for darker environment photography but, since you’ll be working in areas with a lot of artificial lighting, grabbing all the light you can isn’t so much of an issue.

Faster lenses, however, allow a shallower depth of field which can be handy for photographing products in a lot of detail, like food labels. They also capture more ambient light which can be handy when seeking to use light reflections or glistening light rays to enhance how certain products, such as those made of metal or leather, look.

Focal Length

When shooting products with your camera, you want lenses that lean towards the longer focal lengths, from about 80mm to 200mm. This will make your shots compressed, and so very detailed, rather than suffering from wide-angle distortions that can occur with shorter focal lengths. That isn’t to say you can use shorter lenses, however, if operating in the right environment with the right know-how.

You’ll see that lenses either have fixed focal lengths or a focal range that they operate within, so they’re able to change depending on the situation. We tend to prefer variable focal lengths simply because they offer more versatility in how they can be used, like how they can photograph objects of varying sizes with ease and some small adjustments.

Minimum focus distance should also be considered since this will dictate how close you can stand to the products when photographing them. This becomes more important when photographing small products, since it’d be ridiculous to stand so far away just to get the shot.

Focal length should be managed by which items you’ll be photographing. It’s rare for a product photographer to only capture products that are all the same size and level of detail, you’ll likely be working with a lot of different products, from confectionaries to furniture. This is why we think it’s best to have variable focal lengths, but fixed lengths are still viable, especially if the shooting spaces will be tailored to the different products when you shoot them.

Handling

Your last consideration should be how these lenses will feel when you have them in your hands. The focusing mechanism can be added here too, particularly if it’s a manual focusing ring that you’ll have to manipulate yourself.

Look for larger focusing rings so that it’s easier for you to use, though rest assured that autofocusing comes with most macro lenses that you’ll want when photographing products.

Construction quality can also be an indicator of how heavy any given lens will be and, when in doubt, the product listing page should have weight information for any lenses you’re interested in.

You should also look for signs of a quality construction when buying any tech, since it’ll be a sign of how durable the lens will be. That said, you should also limit your expectations and buy according to your skill.

If you’re relatively amateur, then we wouldn’t suggest going all in since a cheaper model will probably do the job you have planned.

Last Updated on 2020-07-02 //Source: Affiliate Affiliates

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