Best Lens for Small Product Photography

by Staff October 2, 2016 at 10:14 am

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  1. I have a Nikon D60. Should I set my camera to Macro instead of Manual to get the closeup shots of my dainty jewelry at close range? My lens is Nikon 18-105 mm. Also, what aperture, shutter lens and IS0 settings do you recommend I use. For lighting, I use 3 Canadian Studio lights at, I believe, K5200. Thanks so much for your helpful video.

  2. I was recently asked if I checked the Leica or Zeiss 100mm lens to compare. Since the reply option is not available on this comment, here's my response:

    There really would be no comparison with Leica's $7000+ Summicron-S 100mm f/2 ASPH Lens and the Zeiss Makro-Planar T* 100mm f/2 ZE Lens for Nikon which is priced at $1543 new.

    I have used Zeiss lenses on my Haselblad & film days, so I know the capabilities of these lenses. I especially liked using the Carl Zeiss CF 100mm f3.5 Planar Lens for weddings and engagement portraits. My 35mm Contax was also fitted with a Zeiss 25mm lens that was spectacular. I still have hanging on our wall, a beach portrait taken of my wife and I using this lens and it was amazingly sharp for 35mm format.

    The Nikon lens I am using for photographing small products and jewelry in this video is a more practical solution for the type of images we need. Since these are lower res images of products to be sold on ebay, this is my ideal lens. Here's why: I need to zoom from wide to full zoom that this lens allows. I don't want to keep changing lenses. I need maco capability.

    While this lens may not be as razor sharp as the Leica & Zeiss lenses, it is still reasonably sharp and at a price of about $125, It is a very practical solution for me and may be for many other photographers as well.

    However, If I were shooting high end products for a major company with the right budget  and they needed larger photos, that may be a different story.

  3. Sir, thank you for such a nice video.
    I have a Canon 700d wih 18-55mm + 55-250mm lens kit.
    I tried finding 28-105mm lens in Indian market but it has been discontinued. Its alternative 18-135mm is also very expensive @ $600.

    Could you please recommend some inexpensive method for sharp jewellery photography? Thank you for the help.

  4. I was recently asked "What would be the best lens for a Canon dslr for shooting video of close objects that won't break the bank?" I use the Nikon 28-105mm lens when doing our product photography as this video shows. It is sharp, reasonably inexpensive, has macro capability and does a great job. I believe Canon makes a sililar lens.

    Another lens I use quite often and really like is the TAMRON SP AF 28-75mm f/2.8 Macro XR Di LD Lens. I have had this lens for years. They are currently selling on ebay in the $225-$325 range. and If I need to go closer, I hold a magnifying glass in front of my lens as shown in this video:

    Another option would be to use a close-up lens such as the Cokin P103 Close-Up +3 Lens or the close-up filters made by Tiffen or Hoya. These can be purchased new or used on eBay for under $10.

  5. I was recently asked about  "shooting products so there is no perspective or 'style' so it looks natural" This is a great question! Perspective control, it seems, is something that many new photographers have not heard about. As you may know, using a view camera has the ground glass back and using the swing and tilt adjustments, one can control and correct distorted perspective. This is quite evident when you see beautiful architecture photography and is also used by commercial photographers for photographing products when perspective control is critically important.

    Years ago, when I owned a Kodak 8×10 view camera, I played around with it a little bit but that was the extent of my usage and experience with it since my studio specialized in mostly portrait and wedding photography, for which we used medium format Mamiya and Hasselblad cameras and did not use any perspective control.

    Today, from what I understand, Nikon makes 3 different lenses that give one perspective control by adjusting the focal plane of the lens. They offer the PC-E Nikkor 24mm f/3.5D ED wide angle which would be great for landscape and architectural photography. The PC-E Micro Nikkor 45mm f/2.8D ED is another lens that offers perspective control and macro capability in the standard focal length range. Nikon also has a medium telephoto PC-E Micro Nikkor 85mm f/2.8D which can also be used for product and even portrait photography when perspective control is critical.

    If I were doing high end commercial, product or architectural photography where this type of perspective control is demanded by my clients, then I would consider using one of these PC (Perspective Control) lenses.

  6. What lens would you suggest to use for catalogue technical product photography, that is to say, shooting products so there is no perspective or 'style' so it looks natural.

  7. Hello,
    i need to photograph surgical instruments(small scissors etc ) and bought nikon D3300  with 18-55mm lens but i think i do need better lens . any recommendations because more i search for better lens more i get confused .

  8. thanks for the clear explainations.. but to seems like my Canon L Series 24-105 f4 seems to be haywire shooting indoor small proucts..(setting – F.L 70mm f11 2feets away…IS off. .. AV mode.. ISO 160… room ceiling light turn on…) …shows out most photos are soft and not sharp at all…lens ,sensor all were nicely clean by Canon Service Center less den a month ago…

    If taken outdoor…everything was like magic( this lens was told best for outdoor)…am i missing something wrong ? Most my products have a plastic case layer outside so flash and mono light might cause more reflection on it..Do advise..Cheers…

  9. Weird lens to choose for small product photography. If your going marco, its best to go with a dedicated macro lens and not a zoom "macro" lens because they are not 1:1
    The Nikkor 105 2.8 Micro is much better for what your talking about. 

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