Portrait lens for newborn photography

Started Apr 11, 2012 | Discussions
Weathered
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Nikon 60/2.8
In reply to agc1976, Apr 13, 2012

I was reading this thread, as I'm doing newborn pictures for my 3 week old nephew, and decided to go check out the Micro 60/2.8G. Ended up buying it on the spot. Really impressive lens all around. Look forward to trying it out this weekend.

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Canon EOS 5D Mark II Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM Canon EF 200mm f/2.8L II USM Canon EF 17-40mm f/4.0L USM +3 more
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dbrowdy
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Re: Portrait lens for newborn photography
In reply to mothergoose, Apr 13, 2012

mothergoose wrote:

I recently bought the Nikon 50mm f/1.4 AF-S. I also have the 105mm micro and the 17-55mm f/2.8 for my D90. All are superb lenses, but there's just something about that 50mm lens that I find appealing--so accurate and natural. I almost never need to do any post-processing. It's my first choice for portraits of my two baby nieces and I don't often need a flash for a lens that fast. It does take a bit of practice at first.

I have been trying to stick with D lenses to save money since I got my D90. I recall reading something about the 50mm f/1.4 that it has a reputation for not being as sharp as you'd expect for a 1.4 prime... do you know if that was that the D or the G? The D is pretty cheap for a 1.4 so tempting.

But I still think I'm leaning towards a the Tamron 60 f/2 or the Nikon 60 f/2.8D. Again, I think I read that the Nikon G isn't really much better than the D optically. You gain stuff like manual override and a faster focus motor but optically it a wash. Ahh decisions decisions...

Thanks for the great thread, everyone! :-]

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mothergoose
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Re: Portrait lens for newborn photography
In reply to dbrowdy, Apr 14, 2012

dbrowdy wrote:

mothergoose wrote:

I recently bought the Nikon 50mm f/1.4 AF-S. I also have the 105mm micro and the 17-55mm f/2.8 for my D90. All are superb lenses, but there's just something about that 50mm lens that I find appealing--so accurate and natural. I almost never need to do any post-processing. It's my first choice for portraits of my two baby nieces and I don't often need a flash for a lens that fast. It does take a bit of practice at first.

I have been trying to stick with D lenses to save money since I got my D90. I recall reading something about the 50mm f/1.4 that it has a reputation for not being as sharp as you'd expect for a 1.4 prime... do you know if that was that the D or the G? The D is pretty cheap for a 1.4 so tempting.

But I still think I'm leaning towards a the Tamron 60 f/2 or the Nikon 60 f/2.8D. Again, I think I read that the Nikon G isn't really much better than the D optically. You gain stuff like manual override and a faster focus motor but optically it a wash. Ahh decisions decisions...

The reviews I've read say the G is better than the D version of this lens. Not super sharp at f/1.4 but reasonable and life-like. In most cases its not practical to use wide open because of the razor thin dof--that's just too shallow, esp close-up. Stopped down it's exceptional, esp f/5.6-8. "Pure" is a one word description of this lens.

The Nikon AFS 50mm f/1.8 lens is the better choice--it's a bargain. It was actually my first choice, but my local store didn't have any in stock (wanted it for my grandmother's 93 birthday party last week).

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GlennW
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Re: Portrait lens for newborn photography
In reply to mothergoose, Apr 16, 2012

The discussion on D vs G on a D3100/D5100 is moot since they will not AF on that camera. They may not even meter. For the price, you could try the 40 or 60 AF-S 2.8 lens.

For practice I would use a 18-55 kit lens or a 16-85 VR to see how close I could get with the baby on a nice sheet to provide some background. May even work on a nice bath towel.
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jeremynsl
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Re: Portrait lens for newborn photography
In reply to GlennW, Apr 16, 2012

We have a 1-month old and I'm considering the same lens choices as an upgrade to the d3100 + kit lens.

Right now I've got it narrowed to the af-s 50mm 1.8 and the 40mm 2.8 macro. Both I can get for under $250 cad. Some of the other lenses discussed here are almost double, and thus outside what I can spend now.

Thoughts between these two lenses for baby portraiture? Obviously the 50mm at 75mm on aps-c will give much better subject isolation regardless of aperture... I'm leaning towards that direction.

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dbrowdy
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Re: Portrait lens for newborn photography
In reply to jeremynsl, Apr 16, 2012

jeremynsl wrote:

We have a 1-month old and I'm considering the same lens choices as an upgrade to the d3100 + kit lens.

Right now I've got it narrowed to the af-s 50mm 1.8 and the 40mm 2.8 macro. Both I can get for under $250 cad. Some of the other lenses discussed here are almost double, and thus outside what I can spend now.

Thoughts between these two lenses for baby portraiture? Obviously the 50mm at 75mm on aps-c will give much better subject isolation regardless of aperture... I'm leaning towards that direction.

With regard to the macro lens, subject isolation isn't really necessary when the subject is filling the frame. That being said, the 50 is a lot faster and could potentially be more useful down the line.

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jeremynsl
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Re: Portrait lens for newborn photography
In reply to dbrowdy, Apr 16, 2012

Well, as I said I'm planning on using either lens as a portrait lens primarily. The macro capabilities of the 40mm are interesting but not my primary interest. So subject isolation is very relevant.

I'm still leaning towards the 50mm, but I've heard of some focus shift problems. How bad is it?

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dbrowdy
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Re: Portrait lens for newborn photography
In reply to dbrowdy, Oct 8, 2012

I just thought I'd drop an update in here for posterity (hopefully this will help some other new fathers out there).  My son is now 7 weeks old and I haven't taken my 35mm f/1.8 off the D90 since he was born.  I generally run it stopped down to f/2.8 for sharpness and a more forgiving DoF and usually at 1600 ISO since I run with no flash currently.  I have been very very happy with it.

I just ordered an SB-700 and I'm hoping a little bounce flash at this point should be okay.  I'd like it just to freeze action when he's being bounced and maybe so I can stop down the lens for more DoF.

I never did get that macro lens.  I think my next purchase may be a 16-85 zoom to complement the SB-700.  But I'm in no rush, I'm very happy with my 35.

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Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ70 Nikon D90 Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 55-200mm f/4-5.6G VR Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 35mm f/1.8G +1 more
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