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The right lens for baby photography

James Photo , May 17, 2007; 12:48 p.m.

Currently I own a Canon 350D + 17-40L + 70-200L.

Within a few months a new baby will be joining the family. I was wondering what lens should I buy for shooting a baby especially indoors ?

1) Canon EF 50 f/1.8

2) Canon EF 50 f/1.4

3) Canon EF 50 f/2.5

4) Canon EF-S 60 f/2.8

Any suggestions or recommendations would be appreciated.



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Alvin Hear , May 17, 2007; 01:02 p.m.

3 or 4 so you can get close if you want to.

Bob Atkins , May 17, 2007; 01:11 p.m.

Any or all of the above.

Personally I think the 50/1.8 is just fine and a lot cheaper than the others.

You really don't need a macro lens unless you want frame filling shots of your baby's eye.

Mark U , May 17, 2007; 01:48 p.m.

You might even want to look into the 135 f/2.8 SF.

Vivek Khanzode , May 17, 2007; 02:30 p.m.

Or my favorite 35 f/2, but the 50/1.8 is the best bang for the buck

-- V

Howard Slavitt , May 17, 2007; 02:40 p.m.

35mm f2 on a crop sensor camera is what I would get.

Stephen Sullivan , May 17, 2007; 02:57 p.m.

EF 50mm f/1.4 or the EF-S 60mm f/2.8. Or, not listed, the EF 85mm f/1.8.

I'd lean towards the EF 85mm f/1.8. For the money, it's Canon's best lens.

Next, two weeks ago, I took a few photos of my cousin's newborn. This was indoors with a 20D + EF 28mm f/1.8 USM [with flash]

This is why I'd lean towards the EF 85mm. Newborns [week to a year] eyes are so sensitive to flashes of light. You'll never get expressions from a babies face that you'll be looking for. Why, because the kid will know any second they going to get hit by a big flash of light. Look at a newborns face. Being flashed by a bright light source, 5' to 7' feet from their eyes, hurts.

With the EF 85 or EF-S 60, you'll be further away and when the flash goes off it won't hurt the babies eyes.

Now, if you're going to be outside- no flash- EF 50 f/1.4

Brian Pape , May 17, 2007; 02:57 p.m.

I will once again profess my preference for the EF 50 f/1.4 over the f/1.8 so that you can manually focus. The f/1.8 is optically just fine, but when you're dealing with the razor thin DOF at f/1.8 or 1.4, you simply must be able to decide if you're focusing on the nose, eye, eyebrow, etc., or you're going to end up with dozens of out of focus pictures.

Certainly when the child gets older and starts moving faster, that aspect won't be as important- but the f/1.4 also auto focuses faster.

For this application, if you're comfortable with the 50mm focal length on a crop sensor camera, I would highly recommend the f/1.4 over the f/1.8 -- and this is from personal experience.

Keep in mind that anything over 50mm is going to be way too long for indoor shots, so you'll probably want to stick with the 35mm-50mm range. Another option is an f/2.8 zoom of some sort. With the low light indoor conditions you'll likely be shooting in often, a faster lens is convenient if you don't find the fixed focal length too limiting.

David Morlock , May 17, 2007; 03:01 p.m.

Another vote for the 85/1.8

Great sharpness, depth of field, and I like the perspective better, even on a crop body, compared to a 50mm.

Brian Pape , May 17, 2007; 03:02 p.m.

If you're going to use flash, bounce a speedlight off of the ceiling.

If you back off with an 85mm all you're going to be doing is using more flash power to illuminate your subject- keep in mind that if you're farther away, MORE light has to hit the subject in order for the SAME amount of light to hit the sensor.

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