SAL35F18 for photographing baby/children indoors

Started Dec 27, 2012 | Discussions thread
Alphoid Veteran Member • Posts: 5,333
Correct conclusion, incorrect reasoning

A 35mm from 3.5 feet will not look the same as a 50mm from 5 feet, although the subject will be the same size.

As you come closer to the subject, you have an effect called perspective distortion. If you're 2 feet from your subject, the nose will be 25% closer to the camera than the ears, and you get a big nose relative to the rest of the head. If you're shooting from across the room, they stay the same size. Your 35mm is not e.g. a good portrait lens. For good portraits, 50mm is the bare minimum, and they don't start to look really good until about 85mm. For some people, too long is also not great. Folks start to look flat (babies are a bit in this category).

A long lens will also isolate the subject. You will see just the person's face, and nothing else. If you shoot a portrait of your wife with a 200mm lens near the grand canyon, you'll get just the wife, and no grand canyon. Short lenses put your subject in context. With a 24mm, I can do an (slightly uglier) full-face shot of my wife, but showing the whole canyon behind her. Which is better? It depends on what you want.

Neither of these examples matter specifically to you, but I give them to illustrate the difference in purpose between focal lengths. For baby shots, you probably usually want something in the range of 24mm-35mm on crop sensor. This is less easy to explain, but when shooting kids, you want to maintain the kid's perspective of the world. There's a lot of aspects to this (e.g. once your kid starts to toddle, should from the ground, and not from standing height), but making the lens too long makes this really hard.

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