Foodie Question of the Day

September 11, 2008 at 3:26 pm 16 comments

What camera do you use to take your foodie pictures?

I have a confession.

I am jealous.

Jealous of all the fabulous food pornographers out there.

So when T asked me what I want for Christmas (we start drafting our xmas lists in September. We’re kinda funny/crazy like that), it took me a split second to say…

“A realllllllly sweet camera!”

Right now I have a Sony DSC-S700. It’s great for a food photography newb like me but I am ready for something bigger and better. I’ve heard really good things about the Nikon D40. Anyone have one of those?

PS. Kim, if you are reading this, I want to take pictures like you. Tell me what you use!

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Entry filed under: Foodie Question of the Day.

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16 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Jen  |  September 11, 2008 at 3:42 pm

    I have a Nikon D40 and I LOVE it! You can totally see a difference in the photos I take now compared to last year. I really think natural sunlight is the key. And time to set up and take a ton of pictures. When I bake, I usually take pictures the next day since I do a lot of weekday baking. For dinners there is pretty much no hope for a good picture from me. By the time I work, come home, and cook, I’m ready to eat and the sun’s down anyways.

    Today I went to a scrapbooking store to get some papers for backgrounds. I’m excited to use them :) I use a variety of backdrops. Usually cardstock or tissue paper.

    Also, I got my camera at Ritz Camera. One of the reasons I did that is because they offer free classes when you buy a camera there. They range from really basic to more advanced. They even have classes for your specific camera. It might be worth checking out. I also subscribe to http://digital-photography-school.com/blog/ through my GR. They have some good stuff about aperture and shutter speed and stuff.

    The other thing I want now is a tripod. I usually prop my camera on something to hold it steady if I’m getting blurry pictures.

    As far as why I chose the D40, I was looking at that or the Canon Rebel since they are pretty similar. I went to Ritz and had a heart to heart with the sales person and she convinced me that Nikon is the way to go. I would have been happy taking either one home and I trusted her. I’m VERY happy with my purchase.

    Sorry to write a book here, but if you have any questions or want to chat about my D40, email/gchat me – purduejen at gmail

    Reply
  • 2. Jen  |  September 11, 2008 at 3:42 pm

    Wow my comment is longer than your post…

    Reply
  • 3. CB  |  September 11, 2008 at 4:09 pm

    JEN, Wow. You totally rock! Thanks for all the helpful tips about your Nikon. What a great idea about buying from the Ritz store (I wonder if there’s a significant price difference from BB) and getting classes. I definitely wouldn’t mind learning how to use my new camera. I am not a “read the manual” type of girl. HAHA. Definitely will hit you up with an email if/when I get it! ::off to read the blog you suggested::

    Reply
  • 4. Tanya  |  September 11, 2008 at 5:25 pm

    I know what you mean. I am so jealous of other food photographers. I’m rejected from Tastespotting and FoodGawer almost every single time. I own a Fuji FinePix S5200, which takes great pictures. It’s kind of like a DSLR, but not. I really love it. I want a DSLR camera, but cannot afford it at all. Someday when I’m rich.

    By the way, the reason my photos come out so crappy is because I get barely any natural light into my apartment, and I suck at setting up a light box. The camera really takes beautiful pics.

    Reply
  • 5. Shari  |  September 11, 2008 at 6:17 pm

    This is a great question, CB! I always want to know what equipment people are using too. I have a Nikon D80 with a macro lens (Sigma 17-70mm). Bakerella recently posted what she has (http://bakerella.blogspot.com/2008/09/cupcakes-and-cameras.html). I think I’ll add a light box to my xmas wish list!

    Reply
  • 6. CB  |  September 11, 2008 at 6:52 pm

    TANYA, me too! I don’t really submit to FG anymore. For some reason TS accepts my pictures more so I focus on submitting with TS more now. I totally hear you about natural lighting. I live in a cave so most of my light comes from the kitchen ceiling. Not good but I make do. I think my realtor will thinking I am crazy when I have “natural lighting” on my list of house requests. HAHA.

    SHARI, Nikon D80. I’ll have to go google search and compare with the Nikon D40! I love your food pornography too so I’ll definitely have to look into your camera. Thanks for Bakerella’s link too :)

    Reply
  • 7. food librarian  |  September 11, 2008 at 7:39 pm

    CB, First, your photos are really, really good so don’t sell yourself short! Your food always looks delicious and your write ups are wonderful! (I especially like the husband and wifey ratings)

    But I have to say that having a “big” camera is great. I started my blog with a point and shoot (and finally discovered the macro button), and now use a Canon and the big camera is much easier!

    As the other bloggers say, the camera helps you keep a longer exposure or faster film speed to capture light.

    Here is what I have (and LOVE):
    – Canon EOS Rebel XTi (I think it is the same as the 400D) body (I didn’t buy the kit)
    – EF 50mm f/1.8 – cheap good lens
    – EF-S 60mm f/2.8 Macro lens – my favorite ever (around $400 though!)
    – 430EX Speedlite Flash – really wonderful flash

    Just so you know, I basically bought whatever David Lebovitz recommends (although my photos don’t even come close to his! I need to get his eyes and artistic ability too!!) Here is his post about it: http://www.davidlebovitz.com/archives/2008/04/my_food_photogr.html

    I’m saving for a 18mm-55? lens with nice “glass” and a better tripod. I bought my on Amazon but wish I signed up for classes! I’ve been trying to read up and watch some youtube videos! If you hear of classes in LA, let me know!

    Sorry for writing a book! :)

    Reply
  • 8. kim  |  September 11, 2008 at 8:16 pm

    haha, i thought i posted what i use but it must be somewhere deep in my blog comments! i’m definitely planning to do a post about all of my equipment… (i am sort of an equipment junkie… it’s not good)

    anyway, i have a canon 30d that i got a couple of years ago, and i also got a super fancy zoom lens (24-105L IS, for travel and also because i take a lot of rugby pics). when i started doing food i got a 100mm macro, which is awesome. the zoom lenses are definitely more versatile, but the prime lenses are always super sharp, and less moving parts to worry about.

    the food librarian’s recommendations above sound great for starting out with a digital SLR. my friend at work has a nikon and loves it, and i love canon, and honestly, there’s not much of a difference for what you want to do with it… i have canon because i had a canon film slr before.

    as for lighting, that is a whole different story! i feel your pain about living in a cave, plus i usually am taking pics at night. check out this flickr pic for the light setup i used in that cookie pic: http://www.flickr.com/photos/22501544@N04/2546780677/
    it is just a cardboard box with the sides, top and bottom cut out and it has tissue paper to diffuse the light from the flash. another thing you can see there is that i try to shoot connected to the computer, so i can check focus on the large screen (this doesnt always happen due to laziness). i am still learning a lot about lighting, and i’ve been using that box a ton. the strobist is a giant, sprawling resource about off camera light that i have been slowly getting through: http://www.strobist.com

    another flickr group that i idolize is Food Photography Club: http://www.flickr.com/groups/food-photography-club/ i am so bad at setting up props and everything… but working on it ;)

    good luck!! btw… definitely try to go to a camera store so you can try out the feel of the camera before you buy it! :)

    Reply
  • 9. kim  |  September 11, 2008 at 8:52 pm

    DUH… i forgot to mention…

    http://stilllifewith.com/
    http://stilllifewith.com/2006/12/12/my-guide-to-food-photography-gear/

    a ton of resources and inspiration.

    Reply
  • 10. Nicole  |  September 11, 2008 at 8:57 pm

    I used a Canon Digital Rebel XT. I really love it! I’m still learning how to use it to it’s full capacity, but so far I’ve taken some really neat pictures.

    Reply
  • 11. CB  |  September 11, 2008 at 9:03 pm

    FOODLIBRARIAN, aaww thanks for your sweet compliments! I definitely think I’ve gotten better at “staging” but I know there is still ALOT of room for improvement. Thanks for telling me about your camera. Wow. I can see the photography is gonna be an expensive hobby! haha. I love D. Lebowitz. I’d say that if he recommends it, you know its gotta be good. Good idea about youtube videos. I live in OC so if you do find some classes in LA I might have to check them out too! Let me know, k?

    KIM, Thanks so much for all the great info and websites. I looked up the Canon 30D on the Ritz site and holy crap its expensive! I am not sure I can go that much “bigger and better” yet. HAHA. Love your little photo box studio set up! So cute! I totally wanna get better at props, backgrounds, lighting etc etc. Thanks again for the links! I am off to go check them out :)

    NICOLE, Nice! That was another camera that a friend recommended to me too. Seems that many love their Canon. Thanks for the review!

    Reply
  • 12. Jen  |  September 12, 2008 at 3:52 pm

    I have the Nikon D80. It is more advanced than the D40. It is a fantastic camera!

    Reply
  • 13. Jaime  |  September 12, 2008 at 8:18 pm

    i wouldn’t even know where to begin, learning to use an SLR camera. you probably read my recent post but i use a point and shoot canon powershot sd1000 and some of the pics in my blog are from my older powershot sd550. i don’t have any tips beyond what was already mentioned above, except to check out lightroom (from adobe) – it allows me to increase the exposure when i shoot when the sun has almost set and make the best of less than ideal photos – i have before and after pics i can show you if you’d like!

    Reply
  • 14. CB  |  September 12, 2008 at 10:29 pm

    JEN, damn girl. Swanky camera! I don’t have the cashola for that one yet. haha.

    JAIME, Your pictures are always fabulous. Alot of ppl love Canon powershot. I will definitely have to check out lightroom. I live in a cave so anything that can help my light sitch would be an improvement. Thanks!

    Reply
  • 15. Jenny  |  September 13, 2008 at 3:05 am

    Sounds like you have alot of help already on this one – I use an Olympus E-volt 500 but would trade it in a heart beat for a Nikon D-80. Mine was a gift though, which is why I don’t have the Nikon (yet). And yet the Olympus is a good camera and I am happy with mine.
    So you know, the D-40 is considered to be a beginners DSLR camera, but is a good camera. The big differences between it and the D80 is the ability to take RAW images and the D-80 will also allow you to use manual lenses in addition to DSLR lenses, which is good if you want a digital camera but do not always want to use the automatic features. Not huge differences, depends on what you want, so if you don’t care for manual pictures much, save yourself the money and go with the D-40.
    I also found “hand feel” was as important as features in a camera. Find a good store that will let you play with the camera, holding it and taking pictures within the store. What feels right, weight and size wise, in your hand. A camera that weighs too much won’t get the use as one that fits nice and comfortably in your hand. That said, I would not buy a canon no matter what, lots of bad experience with their products and customer service.
    Good luck!

    Reply
  • 16. CB  |  September 13, 2008 at 4:47 pm

    JENNY, Glad to hear more info about the d40 and d80. I am leaning towards the d40 for the beginner aspect (and also the price is a factor). Good tips about trying out the camera in the store. I am definitely one of those ppl that needs some comfort and portability with my technology. Sorry to hear about your less than stellar experience with Canon. That totally sucks… Thanks for the luck! I am gonna need it. HAHA

    Reply

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