Over the years, here are my truthful food photography companion:
1. Canon Powershot A400 (2003-2010)
It's bulky, it's heavy, it's 3.2 Mpx only, and it's a barely working camera indoor, but it creates good enough picture under natural lighting. Its lens has a quite short focal length though, making macro shots only capable to captures highly cropped images. It has however, created many amazing shots during its lifetime.
The funny thing with this camera is that it can still be used to capture indoor shots with good details, though severely under exposured, using long shot method involving "glasspod", "bottlepod", or even "headpod." The end result later goes into extensive editing under Adobe Photoshop, with quite acceptable result.
2. Panasonic Lumix FH7 (2011-2014)
It has good macro, huge megapixels, can produces sharp and crisp pictures most of the time, a lens with good enough focal length though cropping at times are unavoidable. There are several quick mode/programs available, and I set it on two mode: manual with ISO 400 max and macro shot mode, or "food shot" that help balances photos taken indoor under artificial light to retain its natural colors. The real fancy stuff from this camera though, is its touch screen doubles as camera button that works really well in isolating a focus area, which is crucial in taking macro shots. Just touch the part of the picture you want on the screen, and depends on how well you arrange the shot, it creates good depth with focus on the selected region.
However outside of its quick mode/programs presets, long shot indoor shooting using similar methods with the previous A400 doesn't help; and despite it has an anti-shake mode, it tends to erase the detail from the picture making macro food shots under limited lighting completely useless. Its flash is also a no hope; it fails to light up even regular portraits indoors.
p.s.: That's why I uses it in combo with my LED torch.
3. Canon EOS 550D (2010-2013)
It's an all-round affordable DSLR that can do magic; except on formal dinners where most of the time I have problem of storing it aside in between courses. It's heavy so to let it hanging on your neck is a sure recipe for stiff neck and headache, and on top of that it's still a dead meat under very limited light (i.e.: candle light dinners), and due to its bulkiness I can't operate it in pair with a torch. Flashlight is a big no since it makes other guests dizzy, while macro flash ring is a "come on dude?!" kind of solution.
That's why I only brings out this big gun for daytime shooting, or indoor/at night but with an assistant.
3. Samsung Galaxy Grand Duos (2013-present)
Not the best breed in its class, nor the cheapest, but its camera quality excels its competitors. Paired with a photo torch, it helps me in many tricky dim-light dinner situation, with dramatic photo outcomes.
4. Samsung NX300 (2014-present)
Not to mention it looks cool, don't you think so?
What about you? What tools are your favorite? Share your thoughts on the comment section below. (byms)