My Photography Gear

Camera Body: Canon 5D Mark II

Canon 5D Mark II

Note: If you’re new to photography and would like to purchase an entry level DSLR, I would highly recommend Canon Rebel T1i (Canon 500D in Europe) or Canon Rebel T2i (Canon 550 D in Europe), which will get the job done for a fraction of Canon 5D Mark II’s price. Always buy “body only”. Most of the lenses included in kits are (in my opinion) useless.

Lenses: Canon EF 24-70 mm f/2.8L USM, Canon EF 100 mm f/2.8L IS USM, Canon EF 50 mm f/1.4 USM (or Canon EF 50 mm f/1.8 II)

Canon Lenses

I take most of the photos on this site with Canon EF 50 mm f/1.4 USM and Canon EF 100 mm f/2.8L IS USM and use Canon EF 24-70 mm f/2.8L USM for wide-angle shots. The Canon EF 50 mm f/1.8 II is nearly as good as the f/1.4 version and almost one third of the price, so if you have a limited budget, go for that one.

Tripod: Manfrotto 190 XPROB

Manfrotto 190 XPROB

Tripod Head: Manfrotto 322RC2

Manfrotto 322RC2

Remote Switch: Canon RS80N3

Canon RS80N3

The tripod helps you get better pictures (especially when the light is low) and this remote switch helps even further, tripping the shutter without moving the camera. And if you’re into long-exposure photography (for a shot like this), then you absolutely have to get it.

Memory Cards: Sandisk Extreme IV

Memory Cards

You will need lots of memory cards, especially if you’re shooting RAW.

I have one of Sandisk Extreme IV 16 GB, two of Sandisk Extreme IV 8 GB and three of Sandisk Extreme IV 4GB.

Reflector/Diffuser: Lastolite Circular Bottletop/Diffuser with Gold/White & Sunfire/Silver cover (48″)

Lastolite Circular Bottletop

Filter Kits

Hoya Filters

Here’s a summary of what each filter does (source: B&H):

Ultraviolet (UV) filter: It helps protect your valuable investment (lenses) from dust, moisture and scratches, which can lead to costly repairs.

Circular Polarizing Filter: Light rays which are reflected become polarized. Polarizing filters are used to select which light rays enter your camera lens. They can remove unwanted reflections from non-metallic surfaces such as water or glass and also saturate colors providing better contrast. The effect can be seen through the viewfinder and changed by rotating the filter. The filter factor varies according to how the filter is rotated and its orientation to the sun.

Warming Filter (Intensifier): It controls the bluish coloration that affects daylight film. Also removes excessive blue from the effects of electronic flash. Reduces blue to green color and makes the color of human skin look more sun-tanned.

Filters come in different sizes and which one you’ll buy depends on your lens.

For Canon EF 50 mm f/1.4 USM (or Canon EF 50 mm f/1.8 II): Hoya 58mm Filter Kit

For Canon EF 24-70 mm f/2.8L USM: Hoya 77mm Filter Kit

For Canon EF 100 mm f/2.8L IS USM: Hoya 67mm Filter Kit



I keep lots of batteries on hand, especially when I’m shooting outside. For Canon 5D Mark II you need Canon LP-E6.

Flash: Canon Speedlight 580EX II with Sto-Fen OMEW Omni-Bounce Diffuser


I do not use flash when shooting food, but it is a lifesaver at night when combined with the diffuser, which softens the harsh light.

Camera Bag: Crumpler 7 Million Dollar Home Photo Bag

Crumpler Bags

For me, Crumpler 7 Million Dollar Home Photo Bag is the perfect size. It fits my camera body with any of the lenses attached plus 2 more lenses, a flash if needed, batteries, filters, memory cards – basically anything except the tripod and laptop. If you’re traveling and would like to fit your laptop in the same bag as well, I would recommend Crumpler Brazillion Dollar Home.

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  1. 1 - Newcity on November 12th, 2010

    Great post. Shows that basic and important equipment for the best shooting. Thanks for sharing!

  2. 2 - Altug on February 9th, 2011

    Thank you for your explanation Cenk. After I read that article, I decided to take more photos like good old days =). You inspired me =).

  3. 3 - Elizabeth on May 30th, 2011

    Hi Cenk, I just found your great site. Your photos are an inspiration in themselves. I’d love to take food pictures like yours. However, I live in Bağdat Cadessi, and can’t find where to buy specialist camera equipment – especially like the lenses and diffusers you describe above. TechnoSA doesn’t quite cut it!

  4. 4 - Cenk on June 1st, 2011

    Elizabeth – The prices are insane in Turkey, but your best bet would be Erkayalar.

  5. 5 - Elizabeth on June 3rd, 2011

    Thanks Cenk. Success, although I only bought the minimum for the moment – enough to practice with. You’re right, the prices here are eye-watering!

  6. 6 - Dominic Munnelly on December 4th, 2011

    Cheers Cenk and lots there to pick from and its going to be a great addition to be able to add higher quality photos for my site. Thanks again and keep up the fantastic work

  7. 7 - Dominic Munnelly on January 25th, 2012

    Must say my wife is delighted with your recommendations. Made a massive difference to her photos on her cooking/food site. cheers again and love your work

  8. 8 - Emel on August 18th, 2012

    Hi Cenk,
    I am a big fan of you,your blog and your gorgeous photos. Even though I follow your fabulous blog for two years, I haven’t left a comment before. I make my comments about your blog to the people I know. I live in Pittsburgh and I love to cook food from all around the world beside traditional ones. I want to take pictures of them. I have just bought Nikon D-SLR 5100 kit with 18-55 & 55-300 mm lenses. Somehow I didn’t see this article before. If I knew it, I was gonna buy Canon Rebel T2i or T3i. After I saw your recommendation about camera, I couldn’t decide that if I should keep that or return it back. I know you are busy with your book and you don’t have enough time to search it. I am just asking if you have any idea about Nikon D-SLR 5100. Thank you very much for your time.

  9. 9 - Cenk on August 19th, 2012

    Emel – Thank you! I absolutely have no idea about the camera you mentioned. Actually, I don’t have any idea about any of the cameras introduced after the model I’ve bought. I’m sure they have more advanced features, etc. I wouldn’t worry about the camera too much – lenses are much more important than cameras. I’m not sure what your needs are, but if I were you, I’d return at least one of those lenses. You can keep the 18-55 as a walk-around less if you like. I don’t like kit lenses. I’d recommend investing in good quality prime lenses that will suit your needs.

  10. 10 - Marcus on February 2nd, 2013

    Hi Cenk. Really cool post. And almost exactly what I was looking for. I am headed to Chicago in a few days for a gastronomy trip. Since we are always traveling around to eat at restaurants, we need a camera that can take good pictures with low light, no tripod or flash. I read that the Canon is easier than the Nikon. And since I am most certainly not a photographer, I was wondering which camera would you reccomend. Cheers!

  11. 11 - Cenk on February 2nd, 2013

    Marcus – If you’re going to buy a DSLR, I’d recommend getting the lightest (and probably the cheapest) one and a 50 mm 1.8 lens. If not, people say good things about Canon G10.

  12. 12 - Wilson E. Stevens on August 11th, 2014

    Nice comments on camera equipment, though I am a Nikon user buying my first Nikon F in 1960. My question is how do I learn to take photo’s of food, and stage the food photo’s like you are doing. I don’t see any books or instructions, and you must have learned it some where. Please advise if you have time. Thanks for the great recipes and photo’s.

  13. 13 - Cenk on August 22nd, 2014

    Wilson – I learned most of what I know through trial and error. Check out blogs you like and try to replicate the photos. In time, you2ll learn about light, shadows, etc. There are a few books on food styling as well. I’d recommend Plate to Pixel: Digital Food Photography & Styling

  14. 14 - Ayşe Hande Günaydın on January 26th, 2015

    Thanks for the detailed post. It really helped. Love your food and pics, and of course waiting for more 🙂

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