How to choose the best lens for product photography? All the questions you need to ask

When it comes to packshot photography, the choice of lens is crucial to the success of professional-quality shots. Indeed, packshot photography is designed to showcase products, making them attractive and desirable to potential buyers. And to get perfect images, it’s essential to pay particular attention to lens selection. And it’s only by asking the right questions that we can select the right lens to enhance our products. In this article, we give you all the keys to choosing the best lens for product photography in general and for the products you’re going to photograph.

What are the different types of lenses used in packshot photography, and which one to choose?

Macro lens


product photography of a ring


The macro lens is ideal for photographs of small objects such as jewelry or coins. This type of lens enables you to achieve a 1:1 magnification ratio without additional accessories, while retaining the sharpness and detail of products. With a macro lens, you can capture even the tiniest detail and create exceptional packshots.

Beware, however, of the blurred effect caused by shallow depth of field, which is unavoidable with a macro lens. It’s an effect that photographers generally want and expect, but it’s worth bearing in mind that it can make a macro lens unsuitable for certain uses.

Wide-angle lens


yellow sofa packshot photography


The wide-angle lens has a shorter focal length than the standard lens, enabling it to capture a wider angle of view. It’s ideal for photographing products that need to be presented as a whole, such as furniture.

The wide-angle lens does have one drawback, however: it tends to produce a rounded distortion of perspective, a little like a fish-eye (but much less extreme). This lens may therefore require some post-production corrections.

Fixed focal length lens

The fixed-focal lens is considered a classic in product photography. It’s known for its sharpness and superior image quality. It’s also lightweight and easy to transport. This makes the fixed-focal lens ideal for product photography requiring superior image quality. If you want sharp, crystal-clear images, the fixed-focal lens is an excellent choice.

Note that a fixed-focal lens can also be a macro or wide-angle lens – one does not preclude the other. The fixed-focal lens is best contrasted with the zoom lens.

However, fixed-focal lenses do have a few drawbacks: first of all, you’ll have to move the lens forward or backward, and you won’t be able to zoom directly onto the product. Fixed focal lengths also tend to be more expensive, and you potentially lose versatility as you’ll need several lenses to cover the same focal range, compared to a zoom lens which will often be self-sufficient.

Zoom lens

The zoom lens lets you zoom in on a subject without having to change lenses. This enables you to photograph a variety of products without having to carry several lenses. This makes the zoom lens ideal if you have products of various shapes and sizes to photograph, and are only looking to invest in a single lens. It’s a practical and versatile choice.

However, a zoom lens will tend to capture less light than a fixed-focus lens. It will also tend to be less sharp (a problem most often experienced with economy lenses).

What are the technical criteria for choosing the best lens for product photography?

Choosing the right lens is crucial to obtaining high-quality images in packshot photography. That’s why it’s important to take into account certain technical criteria that will determine the final rendering of the shot. If you’re wondering how to choose the best lens for packshot photography, here are the key criteria to consider.

Focal length

Focal length (expressed in millimeters) plays a crucial role in photography. The greater the focal length, the narrower the angle of view and the higher the magnification. Conversely, a short focal length offers a wide angle of view and low magnification. In packshot photography, it’s best to opt for a focal length of at least 50 mm.


Expressed in f-values (e.g. f/2.8, f/4, etc.), aperture is one of the parameters that have a direct impact on the exposure of your photograph, hand in hand with shutter speed.


how to choose the best lens for product photography : aperture


The aperture represents the variable diameter of the diaphragm, which controls the amount of light entering the lens and reaching the camera sensor. The wider the aperture (f/2.8, f/8, f/11), the wider the lens diaphragm opens and the brighter the photo. On the contrary, the narrower the aperture (f/29, f/25, f/22), the less the diaphragm will open and the darker the photo.

A wide aperture will also reduce depth of field, while a narrow aperture will have the opposite effect.

Another parameter to take into account is shutter speed, which determines how long the diaphragm remains open before the photo is taken, and therefore the amount of light that hits the sensor. Shutter speed therefore has a direct effect on the exposure of the final image.

A medium aperture, such as f/8 or f/11, is often recommended for packshot photography: it offers sufficient depth of field for the entire product to come into focus. That said, it’s always best to test different apertures to find out what works best for your specific situation. It also depends on the size of your product: a piece of furniture will need a large depth of field to avoid unwanted blur on parts of the product, and will therefore require a smaller aperture, while a piece of jewelry may benefit from a larger aperture.

Minimum focusing distance

The minimum focusing distance is essential for close-up photography. The shorter this distance, the more suitable your lens will be for close-up shots. This allows you to capture all the details of the object and highlight certain important features.

Optical quality

A low-quality lens can create defects such as chromatic aberration, inaccurate focusing and distortion. So it’s important to invest in a quality lens for sharp, high-quality images.

Magnification ratio

In packshot photography, one of the most important criteria for choosing the right lens is the magnification ratio. This measures the size of the image projected onto the camera’s sensor in relation to the actual size of the object photographed.

For example, let’s say you’re photographing a coin measuring 2 cm in diameter. With a magnification ratio of 1:1, the image of the coin will be projected onto the sensor with an identical size of 2 cm. On the other hand, if you use a lens with a magnification ratio of 1:2, for example, the image of the coin will only measure 1 cm on the sensor.


magnification ratio in product photography


In concrete terms, a magnification ratio of 1:1 is preferable, as it enables you to obtain much more detailed photos of your small products: you can zoom in without any loss of detail, pixelation or blur, and produce high-quality images that are perfectly suited to commercial use.

Are there any non-technical criteria to bear in mind when choosing the best lens for your product photography?

When choosing a lens for packshot photography, it’s easy to focus solely on technical features such as focal length, maximum aperture and optical quality. However, there are a number of other crucial factors that should affect your decision.

The budget: how much should you budget for a good lens?

Lenses come in a wide range of prices, depending on optical quality and brand. If you want the best possible lens at all costs, you’ll need to be prepared to invest a considerable sum: a quality professional lens can easily cost up to €3000, and even more depending on the model…

However, this doesn’t mean that you can’t find cheaper lenses that are just right for your needs, as long as you look hard enough: Canon lenses, for example, start at €130 in the entry-level price range for general use, can go up to around €700 or €800 in the higher price range (amateur or enthusiast level), and reach €1,500, €2,000 or even €3,000 for lenses designed for professionals (or even €10,000 for certain specialized, top-of-the-range lenses).

Brands and models: check compatibility with your camera!


how to choose the best lens for product photography : brands and models compatibility


There is a vast choice of lens brands (Nikon, Canon, Sony, etc.) and models on the market, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. Make sure you choose a quality lens from a reliable brand, and don’t hesitate to read reviews and comments from professional photographers to help you make an informed decision.

It’s also entirely possible to buy lenses from third-party suppliers, such as Sigma or Tamron. These lenses are often less expensive, without compromising on quality. However, be sure to check compatibility with your camera before buying a third-party lens.

Choosing the best lens for the right product photography: a few examples

How to choose the best lens for jewelry product photography

When you’re taking photos of jewelry for your e-commerce site or social networks, it’s essential to have the right lens to capture the finest details, textures and colors that make each piece unique.


how to photograph earrings with packshot photo studio


First of all, you’ll need a macro lens. A macro lens will enable you to take very close-up photos and capture every little detail of your product.

The ideal focal length for photographing jewelry is usually 100 mm or more. Such a focal length allows you to keep the camera close enough to the subject while still having a small field of view, which is preferable for jewelry photos. We also recommend a magnification ratio of 1:1, so that the object photographed can be seen at its actual size.

In particular, we can recommend the following lenses for jewelry photography:

The technique of focus stacking is also important to master when photographing jewelry. When you take a photo of a piece of jewelry, your camera and its macro lens will focus on a particular area of the jewelry, causing the rest of the product to blur. Focus stacking involves taking several shots of a product, focusing on different parts each time, then assembling these shots using software. The result is a picture of perfectly sharp jewelry.

While it’s entirely possible to carry out manual focus stacking by taking the various shots required by hand, it’s a time-consuming and tedious process. With an automated photo studio like Orbitvu’s, you can achieve automatic focus stacking quickly and effortlessly.

How do I choose the best lens for clothing product photography?

First and foremost, we’ll only be talking here about photographing clothes on a mannequin or model.


Men Street style fashion photography


In terms of focal length, we recommend using a lens around 50mm. This will enable you to capture the image of the mannequin and clothes from a natural, undistorted perspective.

You should also choose a lens with a wide aperture (from f/8 upwards to guarantee sharpness). This will enable you to capture more light, for sharper, brighter images.

The choice of the best lens for product photography is therefore a crucial step in successfully showcasing your product. However, don’t forget that the quality of a packshot depends not only on the lens used… But also on many other factors such as composition, light, background, and much more.

If you’d like to learn more about packshot photography, take a look at our complete guide to packshot photography. With all these tools in hand, you’ll be able to create images that show off your products in the best possible way.

Become the photographer of your products

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