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Advice please for best small camera for photographing food items for a new bussiness

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susanbarton
14 Sep 2012 - 9:06 AM

My daughter is starting a new business venture producing designer cakes and chocolates, she needs a simple camera that produces good results her budget is around 200. She needs good clear results and ease of use, she will be uploading to a website and printing out on leaflets and advertising material. I have a Canon G11 and although out of her price range I find too many 'buttons' on the back which are so sensitive they activate easily when not wanted. This is something I want to avoid.

Your opinions will be greatly appreciated


Susan

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llareggub
llareggub  4678 forum posts United Kingdom
14 Sep 2012 - 9:30 AM

A suggestion out of left field from me based on e the fact that one of the most prevailing styles in food photography is shallow depth of field (not with standing the current trend for overhead shots) and you will not get that with a small 200gbp P&S.

Maybe look at something like an older used Canon 30D and pair it with a Canon 50mm f1.8, stick it in av mode with an aperture of f2.8 ish and snap away, it is stall a more than capable camera and the 8MP is more than big enough for web shots and print for leaflets etc. I had a brief look on eBay and decent condition 30D's seem to be going for about 130-160 GBP and a 50mm for about 60-70gbp...

Kinda hits your budget and if the business takes off there is more than enough room to improve the images by adding things like lighting etc Smile

Helpful Post! This post was flagged as helpful
LenShepherd
LenShepherd e2 Member 62450 forum postsLenShepherd vcard United Kingdom
14 Sep 2012 - 10:34 AM

It depends whether she wants "second rate" or good pictures Sad
Getting the lighting right needs skill, reflectors, ideally extra lighting, and a lens with shift movement.
Your daughters products will likely command a price premium - some customers will doubt the product quality if the illustrations are not of a high standard.
My advice is forget "do it yourself", get a competent photographer to take the pictures, and do not waste 200 on an entry level product that, although good for the money, is far from the right equipment.

ChrisV
ChrisV  7763 forum posts United Kingdom26 Constructive Critique Points
14 Sep 2012 - 10:43 AM

Food shots are an art all of themselves. As the poster above outlines, a shallow depth of field is the most frequently used technique in isolating subject in food shots. But that aside [and again as has been suggested you're going to really struggle to get that without a larger sensor and a fast lens] more important is the preparation of the food and its setting.

Everything has to look completely immaculate and pristine and that's much much more easily said than done- you can have the kit, you can have the technique, but no one is going to make casually prepared food [which invariably looks sloppy in photographs] or scruffy place settings look good. Very few amateur-photographed plates of food look 'good enough to eat'.

Sorry if that's discouraging, but it's realistic. If you want professional looking results you really need a pro to make it look professional. Look at it this way - would you ask a photographer to produce the chocolates if you loaned them the kit, or worse - think they could do it on a tenth of your budget?

Edit: Len, you beat me to it.

Last Modified By ChrisV at 14 Sep 2012 - 10:45 AM
susanbarton
14 Sep 2012 - 11:41 AM

Hi Brian thanks for your comment most helpful and positive so far! As she and her husband both have degres in design, I don't think they will have problems setting up, I have a Canon 350 and find it great so the higher spec 30D should work well for them, I have found your comment most useful.

Susan

PS love your website! Enjoy the goodlife!

Andy_Cundell
14 Sep 2012 - 11:55 AM

For lighting, a small 'light tent' can be picked up with lights for around 40-60. If you search 'light tent' on a popular search engine or EBAY, you will see what I mean.

Andy

thewilliam
14 Sep 2012 - 12:10 PM


Quote: For lighting, a small 'light tent' can be picked up with lights for around 40-60. If you search 'light tent' on a popular search engine or EBAY, you will see what I mean.

Andy

With the greatest respect, light tents give flat light and that's probably the worst sort for showing food at its best. Just take a look at some really good food pix in high-end ,agazines or cookbooks.

In my younger days, I assisted part-time in a studio that did food shots for magazines. The boss used to say that, with proper lighting, a pile of dog turds could look mouthwatering.

Lighting is the key. Rotovision do a very sensible book on food photography and you could pick up a used copy for a fiver. It shows you exactly how to do the illustrated food shots with diagrams of light and camera positions.

llareggub
llareggub  4678 forum posts United Kingdom
14 Sep 2012 - 1:35 PM


Quote: Hi Brian thanks for your comment most helpful and positive so far! As she and her husband both have degres in design, I don't think they will have problems setting up, I have a Canon 350 and find it great so the higher spec 30D should work well for them, I have found your comment most useful.

Susan

PS love your website! Enjoy the goodlife!

You are more than welcome Susan, I believe that Nikon have a similar lens to the Canon 50mm f1.8, as the camera has a specific purpose you should be able to get away with any "older" DSLR and get some decent results, far better than you yould get with a P&S at that kind of money Smile

Glad you like my website, the good life is nearly over for another 5 months, harvest will be done in 4 weeks time and we can sit back and relax till March Grin

thewilliam
14 Sep 2012 - 2:29 PM

I completely ignored the original question in my last post. Sorry!

Assuming that the largest reproduction will be A4, pretty well any DSLR would do the job. Susan doesn't need a huge pixel count or brilliant high ISO performance so something like a Nikon D70 and 18-55mm kit lens would do the job. And they're available used and in nice condition for about GBP150.

Get a sturdy tripod. Two of my Gitzo tripods came from antique/charity shops for about a tenner each.

The key is lighting because the food needs to look mouthwatering. Just showing it in a factual manner isn't good enough. Invest a fiver in a used copy of the Rotovision book and follow the instructions.

miptog
miptog  83532 forum posts United Kingdom61 Constructive Critique Points
14 Sep 2012 - 4:02 PM

Being able to light and stage the cakes and chocs effectovely can make a real difference. Its possible that if they can do this well that a simple point and shoot, or perhaps they may already have something like an Ipad or simple camera that would do the job. Essentially this is "still life" or "table top" work, and is a skill in its own right.

Also bear in mind different lighting options, natural light, continious light, strobe.

lemmy
lemmy  71814 forum posts United Kingdom
18 Sep 2012 - 6:34 PM

Best bet is to look at the pix in magazines and cookbooks. If they are both degree level designers they shouldn't have too much trouble sussing out how it is done.

Most of us learn by copying others in initially.

User_Removed
19 Sep 2012 - 7:59 AM

There isn't a better camera for under 200 quid brand new than this Canon. It's an absolute steal at that price. Read the customer reviews on that website if you need convincing. It's basically a simplified version of a G12.

susanbarton
19 Sep 2012 - 8:28 AM

Hi Chris, you have sent wm a link to a camera wrap, I am interested please identify the camera

Thanks Susan

Snapper_T
Snapper_T e2 Member 10848 forum postsSnapper_T vcard United Kingdom
19 Sep 2012 - 8:45 AM

The suggestion of a s/hand DSLR is a good I think, as for lenses, a try a 50mm with extension rings. This will give good quality closeups without the cost of buying a dedicated macro.

As said above already, learn about lighting, both flash and more importantly natural light.
Trev

thewilliam
19 Sep 2012 - 9:52 AM

You'd be surprised how close many of the cheapie kit lenses go.

To get sensible depth of field, you'd need to shoot at f11 where pretty well every lens performs well. For the price, the Nikon 18-55 is a little gem.

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