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Author Topic: Best Lens for photographing children  (Read 13614 times)

nvsravank

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Best Lens for photographing children
« on: November 14, 2012, 01:52:01 PM »
Hi folks,

What is the best lens to take photos of toddlers and moving babies. With just borns it is easy - My 100MM macro works perfectly (f2.8). just born don't move much and the speed of focus is fast enough.

This weekend i was taking photos of children at a birthday party (friends party and i was just a guest playing with my camera) and found that i like the separation of the 100 mm macro, but the speed of focus was not enough. I took out my 24-70 and found the focus OK but the separation wasn't there. I also felt that the 100 mm was just a tad too long for the space i had at the party.

I was first thinking 85mm F1.2, but then realized that the focus speed is too slow. So my question on what is best?

I also have a 70-200 zoom, but that just scares the kids and I can't run around the place as easily with the monster zoom :)

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Best Lens for photographing children
« on: November 14, 2012, 01:52:01 PM »

neuroanatomist

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Re: Best Lens for photographing children
« Reply #1 on: November 14, 2012, 02:08:04 PM »
Perhaps the 85/1.8 or the Sigma 85/1.4?  However, I've had good success with the 85L II at kids birthday parties.  Shooting at f/1.4-f/1.6 is a great way to isolate one kid from the crowd and melt the rest of them into a colorful blur.
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IIIHobbs

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Re: Best Lens for photographing children
« Reply #2 on: November 14, 2012, 02:21:43 PM »
Depending on body (Crop vs FF) even the 85 could be long inside.

A 50mm on a crop is an excellent focal length for your intended shooting and offers several options for max aperture (1.2, 1.4, 1.8).

Random Orbits

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Re: Best Lens for photographing children
« Reply #3 on: November 14, 2012, 02:50:43 PM »
Inside:  a fast 35 or a fast 50.

Outside:  The 70-200 comes out anyway!    ;D

nvsravank

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Re: Best Lens for photographing children
« Reply #4 on: November 14, 2012, 02:51:15 PM »
FF 5D3 is the camera.
I dont want 50 mm since I want to stand a bit off and capture the kids as they are kids and not for posed shots of the kids. Even with 70 mm i was getting too much of the background which was taking it away from the kids faces. When I say too much - it is too much context, too much detail in the background (Bokeh) etc.

I am not trying for full length shots of the children with their wonderful dresses. I have another lens for it. I am trying for tight shots of their face or at most them interacting with an object or another kid.

Parents want a photo of themselves with the kids but the most memorable shots that i have taken are of kids when they are just playing. As soon as they know i am taking their photos - the childishness disappears as they are scared or they become more playful and make faces at me or just scamper away depending on the kid and my previous interaction with them. neither of these outcomes are what i am trying to capture. So i need to stand a bit away.

I tried the 100 mm macro because i did not know what would be the best distance to take these shots and it was a Lens I had.

I am taking these in parties and they normally have enough space for a 100mm also. The problem with the 100 mm length was that the folks in the room did not realize i was taking photos of kids and kept coming in between me and my subject. I guess i want to be far away to not distract the kids but close enough that the parents know what I am trying to do.

neuroanatomist

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Re: Best Lens for photographing children
« Reply #5 on: November 14, 2012, 02:57:50 PM »
FF 5D3 is the camera. ... I am trying for tight shots of their face or at most them interacting with an object or another kid.

Have to say...I read that, and I immediately think 135mm f/2L.  It's just about the perfect lens for tight portraits on FF. 

You might have the issue with people stepping in front, but even awareness of your presence won't prevent that. 
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Jay Khaos

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Re: Best Lens for photographing children
« Reply #6 on: November 14, 2012, 03:04:40 PM »
1dx with 200mm f2 IS  w/ tele extender (the only choice)

great quality and bokeh but with reduced diaper-coloration aberrations and crying volume (stand far away)

plus with the 1DX you can catch all diaper crappings at 12 frames per second
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Re: Best Lens for photographing children
« Reply #6 on: November 14, 2012, 03:04:40 PM »

crasher8

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Re: Best Lens for photographing children
« Reply #7 on: November 14, 2012, 03:35:18 PM »
When light is abundant I love the 70-200 f/4L for shooting kids outdoors. I use it between 85-135. I have no issues with the 24-70 2.8L Mk1 with regards to speed of AF but the color rendition isn't as nice as the 70-200. I love my 100 2.8 Macro for portraits and candids. Especially with film at 100 ISO. On the 5D3 it's razor sharp and speedy as well. The 85 1.8 would be a great choice but you might have some purple fringing correction in post.

Bottom line…kids are tough!

Eli

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Re: Best Lens for photographing children
« Reply #8 on: November 14, 2012, 04:31:24 PM »
This weekend i was taking photos of children at a birthday party (friends party and i was just a guest playing with my camera) and found that i like the separation of the 100 mm macro, but the speed of focus was not enough. I took out my 24-70 and found the focus OK but the separation wasn't there. I also felt that the 100 mm was just a tad too long for the space i had at the party.

Do you have the L or non L? My 100L focuses quite fast. Did you try with the focus limiter switch?

nvsravank

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Re: Best Lens for photographing children
« Reply #9 on: November 14, 2012, 04:37:28 PM »
100L . I forgot about the focus limiter. I will try with that next time before i go buy something :)

DrDeano

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Re: Best Lens for photographing children
« Reply #10 on: November 14, 2012, 04:46:17 PM »
Outdoors or in a well-lit location I use 70-200. If it's a spacious yard, I even pop the 2X extender on.

Indoors I agree that the 85mm is a good idea because it's a good focal length for tighter shots and will still give you a few stops of light.

If you really want to nerd out, use the 70-200 indoors and set up some off-camera flashes around the room.

For one party I set up my Ranger RX unit with two heads aimed at the ceiling so I could have beautiful light.

Kids are challenging to photograph, but IMO they are the most fun because of how genuine and real they look when captured as stills.

robbymack

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Re: Best Lens for photographing children
« Reply #11 on: November 14, 2012, 05:05:33 PM »
Nothing screams creepy more than some dude taking photos of kids from a block away with some huge white telephoto. 85 1.8 or 135L are good choices. They are relatively small and most importantly black so you don't stick out like a narc.

DrDeano

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Re: Best Lens for photographing children
« Reply #12 on: November 14, 2012, 05:12:29 PM »
Nothing screams creepy more than some dude taking photos of kids from a block away with some huge white telephoto. 85 1.8 or 135L are good choices. They are relatively small and most importantly black so you don't stick out like a narc.

Methinks if appearances mean more than getting the great shot, you should probably just stick to your point and shoot.

When shoot my kid's parties or at friend's kid parties, they can't wait to see the shots because they know they will be great.

Why people get hung up on the "white lens" thing is beyond me.

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Re: Best Lens for photographing children
« Reply #12 on: November 14, 2012, 05:12:29 PM »

Quasimodo

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Re: Best Lens for photographing children
« Reply #13 on: November 14, 2012, 05:19:19 PM »
I would agree with several here about the 135 and 85L II. they can separate the kids from the crowd, and you having a 5D III gives you quite a range in ISO performance. AI Servo will be good though. I have lost a lot of shots of my two young boys trying to capture them in One shot mode :)

Myself, I don't have the 85L II (I got the Siggy 1.4 which is also great, at least until you have tried the 85L II :( )
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crasher8

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Re: Best Lens for photographing children
« Reply #14 on: November 14, 2012, 06:23:15 PM »
When they are your own kids, or at a location where most to everyone is comfortable with you shooting, only the paranoid will have issues. I do not give a rat's ass what people think of me and my camera, big lenses or small when I'm shooting my kids at public places. If anyone has the issues robbymack does well they haven't had the balls to approach me about it.

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Re: Best Lens for photographing children
« Reply #14 on: November 14, 2012, 06:23:15 PM »