LENCLUME – What`s the best Camera for the Geeky food blogger.

If i were to hazard a guess I think you`ll all know pretty well by now that i`m quite a big fan of Chef Simon Rogan and his Lenclume restaurant in the Cumbrian village of Cartmel. I suppose i can even manage to call it my “local” seeing as though it`s only an hours drive away . Going from strength to strength in its 10th year of the business and currently standing at 10/10 in the Good food guide 2013 , 5 Rosettes in the AA guidebook Lenclume is finally getting the recognition it deserves with Michelin awarding the restaurant 2 stars in the 2013 guide.

During this visit i also finally managed to get a tour of the gardens off Chef Dan Cox. I was so impressed with the produce available at the moment throughout the gardens.It`s pretty cold up north in October and after a horrendous summer of constant rain i was pleasantly surprised at the amount and quality of herbs , flowers and vegetables in full bloom and fruit….it really is one hell of an operation going on there. They`re even doing research on chicken breeds and the correct diets just to get the perfect Egg yolk for one of their dishes. The whole Rogan operation is all coming together and boy is it looking great.

So i`m sure i`ve said almost all that i can say on the Lenclume food on my previous posts , everyone knows what i think of Rogans food so i`ll do something different this time…. Hows about – The trials and torment over my camera choice for food blogging ?

Over the past couple of years I`ve lost count of cameras and lenses that ive purchased for my geeky hobby of taking food related photographs , and obviously from the amount ive bought i still haven`t found the right one yet…or have i ?

My Panasonic Lumix LX5 has been my trusty pocket camera of choice over the last year or so and that`s been used for both my website photographs HERE and my Cumbriafoodie blog. This camera is currently running around £150 , an amazing bargain that wont break the bank. The new Panasonic Lumix LX7 has just been launched so i`ve gone out and bought one of those to use for my food blogging from now on….the quality is totally amazing as it`s fitted with Leica glass – it`s pin sharp. The LX7 is currently running at £330….Just go out and buy one , they`re amazing wee things. Tomatoes below were taken with the Lumix….point n shoot on food setting.

As for SLR`s , well I`ve also been struggling quite badly finding something i`m comfortable with . I tried a Canon 7D and a few different lenses but it wasn`t anywhere close to the Lumix LX5 for quality close ups so that one`s heading on holiday to ebay. In the last few months Nikon have launched an amazing new camera , The Nikon D800 and at 36 MP it processes images the size of a house end….if you need them that size. The D800 ( body only ) has now come down in price and is available for less than £2k on Amazon. Obviously you`ll need quality lenses to go with the camera so i`ve ended up buying a 24-70 Macro , a standard 50mm and a 105 Macro….and that`s my lot….No more purchases. Oh and i really must learn how to use this camera. It`s very technical and definitely not a little discreet point n shoot either. As for quality , well it`s tip top and the best of the best….If it`s used properly. Unfortunately so far my little Lumix is wiping the floor with the Nikon in terms of sheer quality close ups….so think carefully before you purchase…Does anyone need to spend over £300 when it takes photos like the ones below ? Fair enough for anything larger than internet or A3 / A4 quality then you`re going to need the higher resolution and quality lenses but for food blogging and general shooting then you just dont need to spend silly money on a camera.

The Panasonic Lumix LX7 ( Macro setting , Food setting )

Lumix LX7

The Nikon D800 ( Sigma 105mm Macro , spot focus, spot meter , sharpened )

Nikon D800

So here`s my 19 course Sunday lunch at Lenclume and also a little comparison between a £330 Panasonic Lumix and a £ 2,700 Nikon D800 Camera and lens…Make of them what you will…I`ll go with the Lumix.

Oyster Pebbles and a straight comparison between the Nikon, top and Lumix below.

Here`s a little look inside the pebble , Fresh Granny smith apple cubes in an Oyster cream. ( Lumix on Macro mode and food setting )…and yes , the camera actually does have a setting for food photography.

Butternut and Fresh Curds –  First photo taken with the Nikon D800 , Second with the Lumix , ( note the loss of white highlight detail in the Lumix shot )

Smoked Eel with Ham fat. Nikon top , lumix below.

Squid and Chicken , Parfait , crispy chicken skin and Squid ink wafer..( Lumix )

Crispy Potato , Coddled Eggs, Nikon top , lumix below.

Cod `Yolk` , Sage cream , Radish , Salt and Vinegar. Nikon top , lumix below.

Westcombe Dumplings , Beetroot and Watercress. The first photo is what it looked like straight out of the Nikon with no editing. The second shot is a crop of the first and then photoshopped to bring out the beautiful colours.I really love this photo and probably my favourite of the session. The last shot was taken with the Lumix…quality close up on macro food setting.

Valley Venison , Charcoal oil , Mustard and Fennel. Nikon top , lumix below.

Grilled Prawns and Carrots , Broccoli Tops and Puffed Barley. First shot Nikon , second and third Lumix.

Jerusalem Artichoke , Lovage , English Truffles , Ragstone –  Nikon , then Lumix.

Heritage Tomatoes in Rosehip , Smoked Marrow and Borage. Nikon then Lumix.

Plaice with sea asters , Mussels and Leeks. – Nikon then Lumix.

Reg`s Duck breast and Duck Sweetbreads , Turnip , Sweetcorn and Damson. – Very similar shots , Nikon first then Lumix below.

Chestnut cream , Apple , Woodruff. –  Nikon then Lumix.

Cumbrian slate , Grape , Sorrel and Hazelnut. – Nikon then Lumix.

Blackberry with Plum , Malt and Stout. – Nikon , then Lumix.

Celery , Pear , Sweet Brackens. – Nikon then Lumix.

Aerated Chocolate Kendal mint cake ice taken with the Lumix.

Lenclume Bread – Nikon then Lumix.

As always , All of the photos can be viewed HERE on my Flickr page.
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13 Comments Add yours

  1. nick says:

    Hello, wondering if you can tell me what is the base or even recipe they use to make the meringue for the oyster pebbles?

    1. Hey, i can tell you nick but then there would be a price on my head. I believe it involves squid ink and rather a long winded process.

  2. cwildman says:

    Wow & I get slagged off by the wife for taking food photo’s, not a patch on your epic photo food journalism, great work. I use a D60 with a AF-S 35mm 1:1.8G or when unprepared iPhone 4s. Heard some great things about the new LX7 though.

  3. What fantastic pictures and really helpful. I’ve got a new fancy camera but I’m still learning how to use it:) . I had the meal on 13Oct.

  4. mycookinghut says:

    Lumix may be a good and handy camera to bring along to a restaurant. But, if you examine the difference in great detail, you will see the DoF that DSLR produces which you can never achieve with a PnS.
    With Nikon D800, of course you need a lot of practices to know the camera well and know to use all the features that it has to offer. Also, it is a Pro camera, so there are only 4 modes that can choose. Doesn’t matter if you have only 1 lens. As soon as you get a grip of it, then with just one lens you can make great photos too. 24-70mm is a superb lens with great flexibility. 50mm is my favourite. And for macro my current favourite is 60mm.

    1. I agree , the D800 is a powerhouse and yes…i do need to learn to use it also. I have the 50mm , 27-70 and the 105 macro so plenty of choice there….However for sharpness and quality close up clarity…ill take my Lumix any day of the week.
      I`ll take your points on board though …Thank you.

      1. mycookinghut says:

        Actually, I do understand that sometimes, due to light weight, I also love my 35mm x100. 🙂

  5. What about the Sony RX-100? Would you consider the Sony over the LX7?

    1. Absolutely, its an awesome little Beastie and I’m itching to try one out….go for it.
      The LX7 is still amazing for macro shots though.

      1. Having read a bit about them both, I think I’ve decided on the LX7. It seems far less complicated than the RX-100. I re-assess it once I know what I’m doing, photography-wise, but it should be enough camera for me at the moment 🙂

        Is the LX7 OK for low-light shots: for example, in restaurants?

      2. Rob says:

        I have the LX7 and Rx100, I noticed the rx100 takes better food photos, but the lx7 does seem to take better low light pictures outside under automatic mode.

      3. Thanks for that Rob. The RX-100 seemed a bit tricky for somebody with my lack of photography experience. Would you say that the RX-100 is significantly better? I know that’s a difficult question to answer objectively 🙂 Anyway, I’ve bought the LX7 and we seem to be getting along for now.

  6. Véronique says:

    An incredibly useful post! {especially the comparative photos} I have to say though, I just forked out bit of an investment on my first ever Dslr {I opted for the Cannon 600D with a 50mm & 18-55mm in the end} and now I’m wondering if I didn’t make a mistake when the Lumix has the exact sharpness I was looking for!

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