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12-30-2011, 02:23 AM   #1
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Best lens/combo for shooting babies?

Hi everyone!

I haven’t posted too many messages here, but I have been browsing the forum for years.

In few months we are expecting our first baby. I’ve been searching and reading posts from this and the other forum to get some idea what lens I should get to shoot newborn babies and later toddlers.
I would appreciate any comments, suggestion and help on this

Currently I have K-7, DA 18-135mm WR and DA 55-300mm.
I’d like to get some faster lens(es) to shoot inside and also outside for nice bokeh
My budget is no more than $1000.

Thinking about it again and again I ended up with the following choices:
1. DA 35mm F2.8 Macro Ltd & DA 70mm F2.4 Ltd – cons: not as fast as choice 2., 5, or 7.; pros: both are excellent primes, macro can be useful for shooting baby close ups or other
2. DA 35mm F2.4 & FA 77mm F1.8 Ltd – cons: DA 35mm F2.4 is plastic, has no quick shift, not as sharp as the macro ltd; pros: FA 77mm is superb quality and fast
3. DA* 50-135mm F2.8 – cons: bulky, heavy, I have the range covered by my DA 18-135mm WR; pros: zoom, faster than the 18-a35mm WR
4. FA 31mm F1.8mm – cons: expensive, can’t afford to buy second lens with this one (DA 70 or FA77); pros: one of the best lenses, fast
5. FA 50mm F1.7 (or F1.4) ? – I could get this one to start with, it is fast, sharp and cheap, and I could decide what to get later
6. FA 43mm F1.9 - pros: super sharp, good focal length; cons: can't think of any other than I don't know which other lens to add here...

EDIT: after looking at the reviews I had to add FA 43mm Ltd to my list too! Gosh the decision is becoming harder and harder!

Cheers,
Marek


Last edited by mKlus; 12-30-2011 at 03:33 PM. Reason: Added FA 43mm Ltd to do list :O
12-30-2011, 02:38 AM   #2
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if someone welded my DA*55 onto my k-5, i probably wouldn't mind too much, so i say go for the 50
another choice you can add to that jumble of combos could be the sigma 30mm
12-30-2011, 03:17 AM   #3
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Babies are easy - they don't move around much. When the tyke gets mobile however things tend to change drastically. If you're shooting indoors under dim light, expect to learn the art of manual focus unless you're simply going for snapshots where quality isn't a high priority.

I've learned its far easier to use a fast manual prime than it is one of my autofocus lenses unless I'm in bright and my kid isn't moving much.

Granted, my experiences with autofocus are on budget lenses, so something higher quality might be able to hunt and peck for focus better than my stuff does.

Of the lenses you listed, I'd go for options 2 and 5, simply because of the better low light capabilities.

You might want to go for a 135mm prime as well - when your kid is not zipping around, you can get some really nice results. from the depth of field they produce. I want to get a manual 85mm f/2.0 (or if I get lucky, your 77mm f/1.7) some day because I feel it could give the best of both worlds as far as portrait ability goes.

So basically what I'm saying is go for a good automatic for decent light, but invest in a good manual prime (or auto you can shoot in manual) for when the lighting sucks, because that situation will come up more often then you'll like.

Just as a quick example, this was shot with an old 135mm manual Sears lens at f/2.8 or f/4 or so. There's no way my kit 18-55 could have focused properly before he started moving about again since the lighting was so low. Plus, I was able to get some nice bokeh going because I was using a longer lens from about 8 feet away or so.


12-30-2011, 03:33 AM   #4
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I have two lenses to shoot my kids with: The sigma 28-105 2.8-4.5 and the DA16-45 4.0. The sigma I used also when they both were babies, and even though I am more of a prime lens guy. For the kids I do prefer zooms, lot easier as they move around so much. And yes babies do not move........yet. Just wait a few months. So out of the choices you have there I would say the 50-135. But why not the 17-70. The wide angle will give nice effects with them

12-30-2011, 03:35 AM   #5
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oh and on the 35 2.4, the plastic is not a con at all, I have it and have had no problems with it, and it is very sharp, really very sharp
12-30-2011, 03:50 AM   #6
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No contest, FA31 is king for indoor & family shots.
12-30-2011, 03:52 AM   #7
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These were shot at ISO 6400 at f5.6 and about 1/25 with the FA50-1.4 (yes.. The ISO is really high and the images fairly noisy, in my defence the room was very dark and I didn't want to open up the lens or use flash... I could have done better though)
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12-30-2011, 04:00 AM   #8
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Dave, thanks for showing the pictures, they are lovely
Was that taken with Pentax K-x? I would expect the K-7 to perform slightly worse at ISO 6400

Cheers,
Marek

QuoteOriginally posted by DaveHolmes Quote
These were shot at ISO 6400 at f5.6 and about 1/25 with the FA50-1.4 (yes.. The ISO is really high and the images fairly noisy, in my defence the room was very dark and I didn't want to open up the lens or use flash... I could have done better though)


12-30-2011, 04:02 AM   #9
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But it is the most expensive one Wouldn't the DA35 ltd or plastic be good enough?

QuoteOriginally posted by twitch Quote
No contest, FA31 is king for indoor & family shots.
12-30-2011, 04:04 AM   #10
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I'm very much tempted by the DA 35mm plastic one and FA77 ltd.
The 35mm is so cheap and from what I've seen the images are great!

QuoteOriginally posted by Macario Quote
oh and on the 35 2.4, the plastic is not a con at all, I have it and have had no problems with it, and it is very sharp, really very sharp

Last edited by mKlus; 12-30-2011 at 04:35 AM.
12-30-2011, 04:07 AM   #11
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For me the smaller is better, so the DA* zoom is last on my list. I was even thinking to wait and see what is the "new" Pentax mirror less like, but nt sure if it is worth waiting. The Pentax pancakes are like gold...

QuoteOriginally posted by Macario Quote
I have two lenses to shoot my kids with: The sigma 28-105 2.8-4.5 and the DA16-45 4.0. The sigma I used also when they both were babies, and even though I am more of a prime lens guy. For the kids I do prefer zooms, lot easier as they move around so much. And yes babies do not move........yet. Just wait a few months. So out of the choices you have there I would say the 50-135. But why not the 17-70. The wide angle will give nice effects with them
12-30-2011, 04:11 AM   #12
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Sagitta, thanks for the detailed reply!
Good to know that manual focusing is very handy.

Does anyone know if the FA limiteds and FA 50mm have quick shift to manual focus?

Cheers,
Marek

QuoteOriginally posted by Sagitta Quote
Babies are easy - they don't move around much. When the tyke gets mobile however things tend to change drastically. If you're shooting indoors under dim light, expect to learn the art of manual focus unless you're simply going for snapshots where quality isn't a high priority.

I've learned its far easier to use a fast manual prime than it is one of my autofocus lenses unless I'm in bright and my kid isn't moving much.

Granted, my experiences with autofocus are on budget lenses, so something higher quality might be able to hunt and peck for focus better than my stuff does.

Of the lenses you listed, I'd go for options 2 and 5, simply because of the better low light capabilities.

You might want to go for a 135mm prime as well - when your kid is not zipping around, you can get some really nice results. from the depth of field they produce. I want to get a manual 85mm f/2.0 (or if I get lucky, your 77mm f/1.7) some day because I feel it could give the best of both worlds as far as portrait ability goes.

So basically what I'm saying is go for a good automatic for decent light, but invest in a good manual prime (or auto you can shoot in manual) for when the lighting sucks, because that situation will come up more often then you'll like.

Just as a quick example, this was shot with an old 135mm manual Sears lens at f/2.8 or f/4 or so. There's no way my kit 18-55 could have focused properly before he started moving about again since the lighting was so low. Plus, I was able to get some nice bokeh going because I was using a longer lens from about 8 feet away or so.


12-30-2011, 04:19 AM   #13
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The Sigma is bit big for me, so is the DA*55mm

QuoteOriginally posted by adpo Quote
if someone welded my DA*55 onto my k-5, i probably wouldn't mind too much, so i say go for the 50
another choice you can add to that jumble of combos could be the sigma 30mm
12-30-2011, 04:23 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by mKlus Quote
I'm very much tempted by the DA 34mm plastic one and FA77 ltd.
The 35mm is so cheap and from what I've seen the images are great!
when not shooting my kids or sports, it is my fav lens. 2.4 is fast enough for me, as it is already sharp at 2.4
12-30-2011, 04:47 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by mKlus Quote

Does anyone know if the FA limiteds and FA 50mm have quick shift to manual focus?

Cheers,
Marek
No they don't. That's a big advantage to the DA, DA* and DA Limiteds.

Just a note...
My FA 50 is a hard lens to focus in low light - the lowly and humble DA18-55 blows it away for low light focus speed, despite the significantly slower aperture.
I find even if you get the advantage of the faster aperture, the only way to focus is manually, which is pretty difficult at f1.4. So I much prefer my DA 35 limited in low light for hand held. These observations made on the K-7 and K10d. Perhaps newer bodies perform better with the FA50?
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