Lens for Newborn Photography

DGoakill

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Congratulations! All good advice so far. I'd reiterate that it really depends on how your going to shoot. From my experience, most of my shots came from when I was alone with the baby, which means you need to be in arms reach. babies are like cheap tripods, they fall down, always. So while the longer lens will be better technically in a portrait sense, really they put you too far away to be useful ...."if" ....you're shooting alone. Next is the lighting conditions, assuming most shots will be in the kitchen, living, or baby's room. how is the lighting in these rooms? How big are these rooms? Will you be right on top of the baby? answer those questions and the right lens may rise to the top as I think it would be different for everyone.
 

jmichael81

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I agree with the recommendation for 45mm. It gives better working distance for someone so small. Watch out for dof though, at those distances you may find yourself stopping down to get all you want in focus.

I would also recommend the Oly FL LM-3 flash for the tilt capability and size. Will need to be modified to use on your GX-85, but it's super convenient vs larger flashes.
 

Photon

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I would also recommend the Oly FL LM-3 flash for the tilt capability and size. Will need to be modified to use on your GX-85, but it's super convenient vs larger flashes.
A good recommendation.

I also purchased some wireless triggers for my flash and placed it in the corner of the room pointed at the ceiling. I found several bennifts to this approach:
  1. I didn't have a large flash unit on the camera (they can be a bit ackward on small bodies like the EM5).
  2. If moving the camera between portrait and landscape orientation I did not need to reorient the flash.
  3. Provides nice soft light that is very flattering for babies.
Off camera flash also lets you experiment with umbrellas and other modifiers. Just get all experimentation out of the way before they are running around and unwilling to sit in one place for more than 15 seconds.
 

mumu

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A good recommendation.

I also purchased some wireless triggers for my flash and placed it in the corner of the room pointed at the ceiling. I found several bennifts to this approach:
  1. I didn't have a large flash unit on the camera (they can be a bit ackward on small bodies like the EM5).
  2. If moving the camera between portrait and landscape orientation I did not need to reorient the flash.
  3. Provides nice soft light that is very flattering for babies.
Off camera flash also lets you experiment with umbrellas and other modifiers. Just get all experimentation out of the way before they are running around and unwilling to sit in one place for more than 15 seconds.
Totally agree. Off-camera flash is very easy to use at that age since they don't roam around and you can choose where they'll be. Using reflectors, softboxes, or even bouncing off walls will generally provide more interesting light that just bouncing off the ceiling which, IMO, is a bit flat.
 

Jonynek

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And here we go again...Our baby boy will be 1 yr old soon.
My gear: GX80, 12-32 + 35-100 (4-5,6) + 25 + 42,5 + Godox tt350 (hardly used)
Does it make sense to think about better kit lens? 12-35? 12-40? 12-45?? It should be mostly for outdoor photography. Which way would you go?
 

StefanKruse

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Lots of good advise here already. One thing to consider is a macro lens or macro-ish lens that would allow you to do some close-up details e.g. hands, feet, eyes etc. these shots are obviously not what you would shot all the time but they can add a different perspective dimension
 

Jonynek

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I think it is too late for macro shoots, our boy is too fast :)
So the question is whether to stay with the basic kit lens 12-32 or... pana 12-35? o12-40? o12-45 if the speed is not limiting ??
 

StefanKruse

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I think it is too late for macro shoots, our boy is too fast :)
So the question is whether to stay with the basic kit lens 12-32 or... pana 12-35? o12-40? o12-45 if the speed is not limiting ??
They do sleep every now and then :)
 

Jonynek

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Do you really want to wake them up? :ninja:
So which kit lens do you recommend? And why? I have the 400€ offer for new 12-45
 

mumu

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And here we go again...Our baby boy will be 1 yr old soon.
My gear: GX80, 12-32 + 35-100 (4-5,6) + 25 + 42,5 + Godox tt350 (hardly used)
Does it make sense to think about better kit lens? 12-35? 12-40? 12-45?? It should be mostly for outdoor photography. Which way would you go?
If you think a faster aperture would be useful then I'd opt for the 12-35 or 12-40.
 
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Do you really want to wake them up? :ninja:
So which kit lens do you recommend? And why? I have the 400€ offer for new 12-45
That is a decent price for a new 12-45. Split from a kit I assume?
Since you have a GX80 I would go for a used 12-35mm f2.8 - mark I or II, there are only cosmetic differences.

I got rid of that lens due to chromatic aberrations on my Olympus but that should be fine on Panasonic bodies.
I have since switched to a 12-40mm and really love that lens, and the output it produces, much more than the Panny, but it's quite a bit bigger and heavier.

The 12-45 F4 seems like the worst of both worlds if you're using a Panasonic body. It's only slightly smaller than the 12-35mm but much slower, and not as good as the 12-40 Pro either.
For Olympus users the 12-45mm is a fine daylight lens, but in the evening would be complemented with faster primes.

And as for the original question "does it make sense to get a better kit lens?" my answer is Yes
Especially for landscape shooting due to flexibility and quality, good sharpness across the frame and wide angles.

Even more so as a parent when you don't have time for lens changes. I've been finding when I'm out and about with the family I don't want to change lenses so much, and don't have time for the slowed-down walk-to-zoom approach to photography associated with primes.

If I could only get one, I would go for the faster lens to allow you to shoot great photos all day and into the evening hours.
 
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PhotoCal

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If you spent less on gear you probably wouldn't have to ask for help to pay for your kid's education.
 

demiro

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If you spent less on gear you probably wouldn't have to ask for help to pay for your kid's education.
That's true. I went with f/1.8 primes instead of 1.2s and now I'm all set to pay for Harvard. Now maybe I'll sell my second body and be good to cover grad school as well. Really great advice.
 

Jonynek

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Did I miss something? I had to put my son to sleep...

Shreebles, thank you. You hit the nail on the head. As a parent I don't have time to waste time.You have inspiring advice for me. I have cancelled the 12-45 offer (split from a kit).
12-40 is better than 12-35...but on my Panasonic body is 12-35 better due to chromatic aberrations ? Do I get it right? :hmmm:

PhotoCal, probably something is bothering you at home. You should move to the Czech Republic. Our university system is much better than the current covid situation.
 

Mike Wingate

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P42.5mm f1.7. Perfect, versatile and it has other uses. A great lens for flowers too.
 
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Shreebles, thank you. You hit the nail on the head. As a parent I don't have time to waste time.You have inspiring advice for me. I have cancelled the 12-45 offer (split from a kit).
12-40 is better than 12-35...but on my Panasonic body is 12-35 better due to chromatic aberrations ? Do I get it right? :hmmm:
You are welcome, happy to supply my own experiences.
The Panasonic 12-35mm and Olympus 12-40mm are equally fast, but according to some subjective opinions the 12-40 is just a tad better. Objectively, it is also slightly larger and quite a bit heavier, so this becomes a trade-off of sorts.
The 12-35mm is a fine lens in its own right and equally capable of fantastic landscape photography as the 12-40 pro.
So, on a Panasonic body, it's a small difference, if you prioritize size and weight choose the Panny, otherwise the Olympus could be better.
If you're only ever going to use Panasonic cameras you can stop reading here.

If you use an Olympus body, the difference between the lenses seems bigger because there are some chromatic aberrations caused by Panasonic lenses on Olympus cameras. You can of course correct this easily in software, but I don't want to edit every image and 80% of the time I'm happy with the jpegs out of camera. Therefore I switched from the 12-35mm to the 12-40mm.

I could bore you to death with the technical explanation but lets just say that Panasonic and Olympus have chosen different ways to handle certain wavelengths of light, which can become visible as purple chromatic aberration if you use some Panasonic lenses on Olympus cameras.
Good explanation with pictures and list of lenses suffering from this problem, here: https://alanwatsonforster.org/writing/mft-purple.html

PS: for size comparison take a look. I mean yeah the 12-45 is smaller but it's F/4. At 50 grams more you can get the 12-35 with f/2.8. The 12-40mm adds a few mm, and also 80g of weight at the same speed as the 12-35mm. That's why I suggested that lens for you, even though I didn't keep mine.

https://camerasize.com/compact/#673.852,673.336,673.626,673.412,ha,t
 
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Photon

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One item I will add is that as my daughter gets older (she is 3 now) I find more and more uses for telephoto lenses. I have the 12-40mm pro, and there are certainly times I wished for more reach.

I suppose I may ask if you wish to use the zoom primarily indoors or outdoors. If indoors, stick with one of the f2.8 zooms. If outdoors, I would be tempted by the Olympus 12-100 pro (particularly if I had an Olympus body).

I personally shoot prime lenses indoors, so I have considered selling my 12-40mm pro for a 12-100mm pro. Alternatively, I may add a 40-150mm. Decisions, decisions, decisions... 😀
 

Jonynek

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Shreebles, thanks for so much helpful information :thumbsup:

I didn't want to carry heavy SLR equipment anymore. So that's why I have chosen the MFT and Panasonic body for better video recording. So I guess with the current lenses I'm forced to stay with Panasonic's bodies.

I think 12-100mm would bring me back again - a large piece of lens. But on the other hand, I agree that taking pictures unnoticed, especially by children, can give interesting results. I shoot primes indoors.

I'll look after used 12-35. Interestingly, they sell for the same price as new 12-40 (split from a kit). +-550EUR
 

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