Forgot Password
Pentax Camera Forums Home
 

Reply
Show Printable Version Search this Thread
09-30-2012, 09:31 AM   #1
Junior Member




Join Date: Feb 2012
Photos: Albums
Posts: 26
Imminent baby: New lens of flash?

The wife and I are expecting our first born in just under a month.
We were at a baby show yesterday and she liked the rather expensive baby portraits the baby photographers were advertising. When I saw the price I said I could do something similar for a fraction of the price. To cut a long story short, I've managed to convince her that in order to get great portraits of the baby I'm going to need a new lens or flash :-)

The question is, do I?

My current setup is K-r with Tamron 17-50 f2.8, Tamron 70-300, DA18-55, Manual 50 f1.7 and 24 f2.8.
I also have a Pentax LX5 which should do for closeups and macro work.

Basically, do I go for a flashgun and start up a new aspect of photography. Something like the Sigma 610 or Metz AF50? I'm not bothered at the moment with a multiple flash setup but off camera flash seems like something I might want to try to get better lighting of the little one sleeping or in staged shots (like in an old metal wash basin wrapped up in a nice blanket or some nice skin to skin portraits with mum or me?). As long as it had full auto pttl for quick daily use I wouldn't mind as long as the cost was down so the Yongnou or full manual flash looks to be a no go. 150 would be the limit.

Or do I get a wider lens (small house and no massive rooms to justify something like a 70mm portrait lens) in which case something like the Sigma 10 20 or Tamron alternative or even the Rokinon 8 or 14mm?

In terms of the flash, I'd want something to bounce the flash and avoid harsh light on little ones eyes.
I must admit that the lens would be self indulgent as I've been looking at ultra wides for a while but couldn't justify it till now.

My last option would be to get the official wide angle converter for my LX5 which would give me a 17mm f2.0 which could negate the need for flash in some circumstances. It would be the same price as the Metz 50 or similar.

Anyone on this forum been in similar circumstances to me?
Any advice welcomed.

09-30-2012, 09:51 AM   #2
Veteran Member
Docrwm's Avatar

Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: Somewhere in the Southern US
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 11,275
Most portraits are done back a few feet and with a longer lens like an 85-115mm on FF. You have two 50mm options that are pretty nice with the 17-50/2.8 and the 50/1.7. For babies flashes are a bit of a problem as they tend to start crying, etc. Natural light from a northern facing window, perhaps with some fine white curtaining material to diffuse the light, and a fast lens like your 50/1.7 should work a treat.
09-30-2012, 10:00 AM   #3
Site Supporter
reivax's Avatar

Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: California
Posts: 740
QuoteOriginally posted by matt_not_andrew Quote
Anyone on this forum been in similar circumstances to me?
Any advice welcomed.
Without knowing what kind of picture you plan on taking, it's really hard to recommend what you might need. The possibilities are endless.
09-30-2012, 10:03 AM   #4
Pentaxian
reeftool's Avatar

Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Upstate New York
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 8,155
In my opinion, you have plenty of very capable lenses and a camera with decent high ISO capability also. You have all the tools you need. A flash can be useful if you don't own one but there is a learning curve in using one. A diffuser also although paper towels and a rubber band can accomplish the same thing. Your post brings back memories as I purchased my first SLR not long before my first daughter was born. My outfit consisted of a Miranda Sensorex ll camera and a 50/1.8 lens, a Soligor 2x converter and a Honeywell flash. Of course, that was back in the film era (1973). I took tons of pictures of my kids and probably brought the family to the brink of bankruptcy with developing costs and I began shooting B&W film and developing my own.

Get a decent flash. I use a Metz 48. Maybe the 50 is a newer version? It works well for me. Of course, you don't have to wait a week to see your shots so you can make instant adjustments. Your camera is capable of some pretty good high ISO shots so even without the flash, you can get some great shots. Some of the family favorites are shots I took indoors in available light with Tri-X film. 400 was high speed back in the day. If you're anything like me, you will torment your kids with that little black box you keep sticking in their face. Keep in mind that some kids just don't like flash. It scares them and they cry. Congrats on the new family and I wish all the best.

09-30-2012, 10:43 AM   #5
Junior Member




Join Date: Feb 2012
Photos: Albums
Posts: 26
Original Poster
Most of the shots will be candid ones - she looks cute, grab the camera and fire. I'll probably just leave the Panasonic out for that.

The more staged shots will be in her crib, in a makeshift studio shoot (we like the ones where baby is posed in old buckets, crates etc in soft linen or wraps). I'm going to be working flexible shifts so plan to spend the odd days playing with the camera as she sleeps.

If I'm honest, I'll get most out of a flash as I don't have one at the moment. It would be for fill and bounce lighting rather than harsh direct.
09-30-2012, 11:08 AM   #6
Veteran Member
Sol Invictus's Avatar

Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Calgary, Alberta
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 392
Get a Yongnuo 560 manual flash (or a couple), triggers, an umbrella and a light stand. You can build the whole set for under $200. Especially for a newborn who is not going to be moving a lot, this will give you plenty of bang for the buck.

Plus, it's the best way to get started in portrait and strobist photography.
09-30-2012, 11:11 AM   #7
Pentaxian
Sagitta's Avatar

Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: Maine
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 2,939
If you have good 50's, I agree about getting a decent flash. You may want to avoid it at first with the little one, but little ones don't stay little long, and when they get mobile you're going to be shifting from propping the little one up and being artsy to chasing after them as they start exploring their world. Chasing means you'll need flash of some sort, and if you can bounce it, it'll make for better shots then dead on with what you have on the camera.

FWIW, my best shots of my son have been with my 50mm f/1.7 manual, my plasticy FA 28-90 and my Sigma 70-300. I sequed from the 50mm to the FA/Sigma as he started getting mobile. Unless you're a MF ninja, as soon as your kid gets to where they're not holding still anymore, MF can be thrown out the window except for the rare cases where they're sleeping or actually sitting still and focusing in on something.

What I'd suggest if you go for a lens is to get a zoom that can cover a wide range of focal lengths. Save the primes for staged portraits. The 18-135mm has been what I'm focusing on for my 'one lens purchase' come tax season for that exact reason. From everything I read it has a LOT of plusses for kid photography - a relatively fast AF, a relatively silent AF (this is key for candids), and it has the range to capture most of what you'd need for someone running around.

Some of my absolute best kid shots of my son have been with the FA28-90 simply because it allows me to go as long as 90mm, and moves the 'heart' of the lens to around 50-55mm giving me better IQ then an 'at its max' kit lens does. The FA28-90 also has a relatively quick focus and is quiet enough to not draw unwanted attention from him.

YMMV of course depending on what kind of shots you want, but personally I'd aim for something versatile over dedicated as far as child shots go. I've been in the situation where I had the MF 50mm on and suddenly he darts off to do something cute, and has moved on before I've had a chance to scramble back to where he is and try to get focus on him again.

Last edited by Sagitta; 09-30-2012 at 11:30 AM.
09-30-2012, 12:51 PM   #8
Veteran Member
ChooseAName's Avatar

Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Southeast USA
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 390
QuoteOriginally posted by matt_not_andrew Quote
Most of the shots will be candid ones - she looks cute, grab the camera and fire. I'll probably just leave the Panasonic out for that.

The more staged shots will be in her crib, in a makeshift studio shoot (we like the ones where baby is posed in old buckets, crates etc in soft linen or wraps). I'm going to be working flexible shifts so plan to spend the odd days playing with the camera as she sleeps.

If I'm honest, I'll get most out of a flash as I don't have one at the moment. It would be for fill and bounce lighting rather than harsh direct.
I think you're alright as far as lenses go. I got my K200D in similar circumstances as your's (daughter was 2 months) and I used the FA 50/1.4 as my only lens for the next year.

Depending on your budget, you could bounce your on-board flash using an index card like I did; however, this could become a great hassle if you're not using an autofocus lens. Eventually I buckled down and bought a Metz 48 when she was 4 months old.

For my own photographic interests, my next step would be to acquire the necessary equipment for off-camera flash. I have a kit on a wishlist that consists of a flash stand, wireless trigger, flash/umbrella mount assembly, and umbrella reflector - this would be approximately $61 for a beginner's off-camera flash kit.

09-30-2012, 04:27 PM   #9
Pentaxian




Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Alameda, CA
Posts: 3,198
If you can afford it, get a Pentax AF540FGZ or a Metz 58 (not sure the version). Besides the features of high-end flashes, they have auto flash mode.

If you don't want to spend a lot of money on a flash, get one or two of these: Pentax AF280T, Metz 54MZ (either -3 or -4 or -4i, doesn't matter), Sunpak 444D, 422D, 36DX, 30DX, Vivitar 5600, Nikon SB-25, SB-26, SB-28. They all can swivel and bounce, have auto mode, and have power ratio settings in manual mode. Later if you buy a "better" flash, your old one can always be used as a back-up or a remote-triggered flash (RF remote flash triggers are not expensive).

I would not buy any flash that is p-TTL only (e.g Sigma 610 or Metz AF50). When used with manual lenses, a p-TTL only flash will fire at full power. That's not the end of the world, but clumsy and inconvenient, in particular if you want to bounce the flash.
09-30-2012, 07:29 PM   #10
Veteran Member




Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Manila
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 2,190
To OP:

You can actually do a lot of great baby shots with the current setup you have, but the flash will be a very good addition
09-30-2012, 08:49 PM   #11
Veteran Member




Join Date: Oct 2011
Posts: 818
To OP:

I think your Tammy 17-50 is good enough. As to your question, lens or flash?
Answer: Flash!

I know you can bump ISO up and bla bla bla, but your wife has stated she likes those expensive portraits, and assuming your shots are so damn good, she might requests for it to be printed out damn huge and hung up on the wall! Then, uh-oh.......
10-01-2012, 12:13 AM   #12
Pentaxian




Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: North
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 3,921
Get the flash, your lenses will do fine.
Many of my best baby shots have been with the FA43ltd and FA35/2.
With some time left before baby comes, learn how to bounce the flash.
Using bouce flash, you will be able to get directional light that will help create better dimension to your shots.

If you want even better shots with the flash, you will have to get it off camera via a wireless trigger or use the wireless feature on the better flashes like Metz or Pentax.

Window light will work very well too.
No matter what, imho, don't compromise or be lazy and use either the flash or move baby to a better lit area.
It will be worth it.
10-01-2012, 02:09 AM   #13
Pentaxian
Jonathan Mac's Avatar

Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Madrid, Spain
Posts: 4,348
Your lenses are fine, the Tamron 17-50 will probably produce the best results. At f/2.8 with the K-x you will probably be safe to get decent shots from ISO 1600 in an average, decently-lit room. I understand the K-x should be quite good at that ISO. However, if you get a flash that can bounce then you will be able to reduce the ISO to 100 or 200 & stop down a bit to get better depth of field and a reduced number of focusing errors.
10-01-2012, 02:18 AM   #14
Junior Member




Join Date: Feb 2012
Photos: Albums
Posts: 26
Original Poster
Wow, thanks so much for the helpful replies. Lots to go through and mull over but can anyone confirm the following:
With a flash like the AF280, as well as using it in manual, can I use it in a lazy way with an FA lens and set it to auto where all I need to do is point and click. Indoors I'd like to set my aperture and let the camera sort out iso and shutter and let the flash work itself out? Not always but on occasion when I just want the quick pic with little fuss.
Also, can someone explain the difference between using something like the Metz AF50 in p-ttl, manual and auto and the Pentax AF280 in ttl and whatever auto/manual setting it has? Is the Metz' only failing to fire full power with a manual lens? Will they work auto and manual with my Tamron and DA kit lens? If so, I could live with that.

Sorry to sound like a numptie but flash photography is new to me. I'm off to the corner to read a book in the subject if anyone needs me...
10-01-2012, 03:40 AM   #15
Veteran Member
ChooseAName's Avatar

Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Southeast USA
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 390
QuoteOriginally posted by matt_not_andrew Quote
Is the Metz' only failing to fire full power with a manual lens? Will they work auto and manual with my Tamron and DA kit lens? If so, I could live with that.
I don't know how to answer other parts of your post, but if you have a Metz flash (or any non-auto flash) with a manual lens, you can manually dial down the flash power by putting the flash in manual (M) mode and dialing in the appropriate power increment (1/1 full power, 1/2 half power, 1/4 quarter power, etc..). With an A series lens, you can use P-TTL mode where (I think?) the flash will adjust power accordingly with the camera's exposure settings. (I'm somewhat unsure of that last sentence so someone please correct if wrong)
Reply

Bookmarks
  • Submit Thread to Facebook Facebook
  • Submit Thread to Twitter Twitter
  • Submit Thread to Digg Digg
Tags - Make this thread easier to find by adding keywords to it!
baby, circumstances, flash, k-mount, lens, lx5, metz, pentax lens, portraits, price, skin, slr lens, tamron
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Strike or war with Iran imminent Medium FormatPro General Talk 28 10-02-2012 06:47 AM
Full Frame Sony NEX imminent? falconeye Non-Pentax Cameras: Canon, Nikon, etc. 46 08-22-2012 01:38 AM
Have baby need swivel head flash Alfisti Flashes, Lighting, and Studio 8 01-13-2012 09:31 AM
UARS re-entry imminent jolepp General Talk 4 10-23-2011 01:58 AM
Baby steps in flash - one photo fine, next black? paddy567 Troubleshooting and Beginner Help 8 11-22-2010 07:46 AM



All times are GMT -7. The time now is 09:06 AM. | See also: NikonForums.com, CanonForums.com part of our network of photo forums!
  • Red (Default)
  • Green
  • Gray
  • Dark
  • Dark Yellow
  • Dark Blue
  • Old Red
  • Old Green
  • Old Gray
  • Dial-Up Style
Hello! It's great to see you back on the forum! Have you considered joining the community?
register
Creating a FREE ACCOUNT takes under a minute, removes ads, and lets you post! [Dismiss]
Top