It’s a little sad when you peruse my collection of pictures on my computer. There are a few folders of people on vacation, but the vast majority of my pictures are pictures of food — mediocre pictures I promise to myself I’ll post on this website and share extensive recipes. But then grad school, research, life gets in the way and I forget. So I thought to myself: what if I just spent a ton of money on fancy gear that would make my pictures better? That will solve all my problems!

This is where you come in.

I simply can’t friggin’ figure out the tech talk. Basically, I want to be able to take nice pictures in low-light/indoor situations. I have a tendency of getting up close and personal with my food so something with a decent depth of field and could do macro/focus on close objects would be nice. I have a Nikon D40 and the lens that came with it (18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G)

  1. Can I buy lenses/flashes from brands other than Nikon?
  2. If I just want to be able to take brightish pictures that don’t all look orange because of the poor lighting in my living room would it be savvier to buy a flash (I’ve been suggested this one) or to invest in a lens with a low max f-stop (like f/1.4 or 1.8…?)
  3. Why is the Nikon 55mm f/1.8D only $150 whereas the Nikon 55mm f/1.4D is almost $400?
  4. Any other suggested products?
  5. Or would you suggest that I just don’t know how to take pictures and that the lens I have should be fine for what I’m doing? (I will not be offended if you answered yes to this question)

Thanks everyone in advance for the advice! Also, in case you’re wondering what my mediocre pictures end up looking like at this moment, here are some pictures of my dinner tonight: Crispy fried pork belly sandwich with melted swiss cheese and an over-easy egg. It was pretty much the best sandwich I’ve ever had. The pictures look sort of ew though (fault also in poor food presentation and lack of photography skills…)

Picture taken under fluorescent kitchen lights

Picture taken under kitchen fluorescent lights

Picture taken under dining room halogen track lights