I own a Nikon D3500. I want to buy a lens so I can take photos of products (Flowers - Bouquets - Plants) to upload to my e-shop. I am working on a flower shop. I already have a white studio 90cm X 90cm and lights 4000K. I know the lights are not perfect... I was thinking of buying one of these lens (35mm - 40mm Micro - 50mm). How do I choose which lens to get?
The Nikon D3500 sports an APS-C size image sensor. This sensor measures 15.6mm by 23.5mm. Lenses for any format revolve around the corner-to-corner (diagonal measure) of the camera’s imaging chip. For this Nikon, that dimension works out to 28mm.
If we mount a lens with a focal length about equal to the diagonal, this lash-up delivers a “normal” view. ”Normal” means, not wide-angle and not telephoto. In this instance, if you mount a “normal” lens of 28mm, the angle of view with the camera held horizontally will be about 45°. If your goal is to image flower arrangements, your best bet is likely to mount a “normal” lens.
Now a fixed focal length lens, in the jargon of the photo industry is labeled “prime”. The word “prime” implies best quality. No one will dispute that prime lenses deliver; however, the trade-off is reduced versatility.
The Nikon D3500 is generally sold boxed (kit) with a zoom lens. A zoom lens provides flexibility in that the user can alter the focal length easily. Thus the kit lens commonly sold spans the focal length range of 18mm thru 55mm. Note that the center of this range falls within the “normal” range. As a general rule, 70% of “normal” is considered the beginning of the wide-angle range and twice “normal” is the beginning of the telephoto range. What I am telling you is, your kit lens was intentionally configured so that, right out of the box, you have what you need. In other worlds the kit lens delivers a good introduction to the world of imaging.
You already have what you need for the task you asked about. The question is, will this lens deliver the needed acuity? The answer is, yes, it is unlikely, for the task you outlined, to ever need better. If you have deep pockets, you can go crazy buying primes and macro zoom lenses.
I would choose a 50mm f/1.8 lens for such product photography. It has 45cm shortest focus distance. At this distance, the frame is 21 x 14 cm. I think it's about right for 10 cm high products. A longer focal length also "compresses" the background and results in more natural looking product photograph.
The reason I would favor this lens is that it has a fast f/1.8 aperture. It means you can achieve shallow depth of field if you want it. For product photography, you want that the viewer's attention is focused on the product, meaning the background must be out of focus.
Of course, at 45cm distance you don't want to use f/1.8 aperture, but fortunately, you can adjust the aperture of the lens. At longer distances, the f/1.8 may become useful.
You should also purchase a small tripod. One such tripod would be Gorillapod. Without a tripod, you may end up with shaken photos.
If you want to take photos of really large products and can't step back enough for 50mm to work, 35mm might be better than 50mm. There's also 35mm f/1.8 that has 30cm shortest focus distance.