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Delivery Room Lens: Buy or Use Current Lens

Discussion in 'Lens Lust' started by vr6veedub, Aug 4, 2009.

  1. Hello all...

    I am opening up this discussion again. I found one similar post through the search but I wanted to get more feedback.

    My wife and I are expecting near the end of Sept (our second baby). When my first son was born I just got my first DSLR (Canon XT w/ 18-55 f/3.5-5.6). I mainly used this camera as a glorified point and shoot for several years.

    About a 1 1/2 years ago I started getting more serious about photography. My skills and knowledge have definately increased since then. The amount and quality of equipment I have now is also a lot better.

    My question is, what do most people find to be the "best" lens to use in a delivery room? From what I could remember about my first experience the rooms tend to be poorly lit with natural light and fluorescent. I wont be using a flash.

    I do not mind having to purchase another lens if necessary but I am also open to using what I have. I have an idea but because of this important occasion I would rather get some advice from the Cafe from those who have gone through this recently.

    Here are some examples of my first experience:

    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 5, 2009
  2. small, light, and not in the way --- 35 1.8 would be it.
  3. For the delivery room the 50 or the 35 should work pretty well ISO 400 and stop down to about 2.8. At least that is what I used last year for the delivery of my second son.
  4. Preston


    May 2, 2005
    Reno, NV
    The 50 is most likley perfect, but use a flash and bounce it off if the ceiling it will make a huge difference.
  5. SP77


    Jun 4, 2007
    Rockville, MD
    Since you're shooting DX, I'd usually say that you NEED an f/1.4, although you could probably get by with either of your f/1.8s if you're willing to push ISO a little more.

    This was on my D40 at f/1.4, 1/60s, Auto ISO at 1250. 1/60s was the bare minimum shutter speed, 50mm f/1.4G AF-S lens.


    With an f/1.8 either I would have started losing a lot of photos due to subject motion blur, or I would have had to push ISO past 1600 and started to get really ugly shots. 1.8 vs 1.4 doesn't seem all that big, but two-thirds of a stop is two-thirds of a stop. It's the difference between 1/60s which is just fast enough, and 1/40s which is too slow. It made a nice difference for me. Everybody seems to have different limits as far as what ISO they're comfortable with on different bodies, so just use this as a reference point.
  6. pure jazz

    pure jazz

    Feb 5, 2009

    just be careful where you point it.
  7. 2 years ago..used the Sigma 30 1.4 and a d40...

    will be doing it again in 7.5 months...this time.. d700 siggy 50...:) 

    then I will call it quits............................!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    oh..and congrats..
  8. Dr A

    Dr A

    Feb 2, 2008
    State College, PA
    I used the 35/2 and it was great. I'd stick with the 35/1.8 and you should be good to go.
  9. Marc, one more thing that I used during the delivery in the OR was to change my metering mode to CW of Spot because of the bright lights that your wife and baby will be under. At ISO400 I was still getting 1/400sec shutter speeds at f/2.8 enough to have the baby face in the focus plane and blur the BG a bit.
    The heat lamp where they check the baby and move it to the recovery room will be the where you'll get the most shots.

    Good luck, and congratulations!
  10. Thanks to everyone that has responded so far.

    bdelva: What body did you use? Did the baby come during the day or night?

    Then it's safe to assume shooting at 1.8 with either the 35 or 50 would be the way to go. I'm not that afraid of pushing the ISO on the D300 that much. Hopefully it has slightly better ISO performance than the D40.

    My other concern shooting at 1.8 is the narrow DOF. I dont want half the baby's face blurry. I know I could just step back. Problem is I'd rather stay as close to the wife for support of course. Dont want her thinking I'm just there as a photographer :eek: .

    Ok now....what are the advantages (if any) between the 35 or 50.
  11. You'd be better off with the 35, over the 50. Don't forget the crop factor on a DX sensor. The 35 will be closer to 50 and the 50 will be like a 75 - entirely too long if you want to stand anywhere near your wife.

    I find that, even when shooting parties, with the 50, I end up having to stand on the other side of the room to get people in frame.

    See if you can rent a 24-70 2.8 (even a sigma, if you get a decent copy). You can get a flash diffuser for the pop-up from Amazon for like $10.

    On a related note, I'll be taking baby pictures for my sister at the hospital (not necessarrily in the delivery room) and plan on going with the 24-70 and an SB800. Worse comes to worse, I can bounce off a back wall for full diffusion.

  12. Fred, thanks for the clarification on the choice between both lenses. Pretty much what I was thinking, but I kept convincing myself otherwise.

    I own the Nikon 24-70 already. The only reason I didn't call it out as an option for this occasion is the weight. Maybe I'll switch to it after the birth. But just after the delivery, when just my wife and I are in the room, I wanted to go as light as possible. I'll have the 24-70 there for when the family is allowed in and everyone meets the baby for the first time.

    I've still decided to stay away from using a flash because of the lack of research on how bright flashes affect baby's eyes. I know many children have had a flash in their eyes from the 1st min of birth, but I'd rather not take that chance. I would have loved to set up 2 flashes and use CLS to get the best shots possible. In this case....I'll err on the safe side. Plus my hospital does not allow flash...
  13. SP77


    Jun 4, 2007
    Rockville, MD
    I'd go with the 50mm for most baby shots since it'll give you more working distance. 35 would come in handy too, but I pretty much shot the entire experience of my baby boy (now 5 months) being born with just a 50mm lens. There was enough room that I could back up and get what I wanted with the 50mm.
  14. sypher


    May 24, 2006
    Cougar Country
    I used "the beast" on our last son on my d200...believe me you wont notice the weight. I was glad I had the flexibility of the zoom. So, the 24-70 would be my choice.
  15. Thanks Brian, I probably wont notice the weight because I'll be numb during the delivery hahaha jk. But just in case I do faint then I'll hit the ground a lot faster with the weight of the D300 gripped and the 24-70. I'll keep it in mind. I will definately have all 3 lenses there that day. I'll leave the 105vr at home.
  16. I suggest you put the cameras away and concentrate on supporting your wife, and enjoying the birth of your child. You'll have a lifetime to take photos of your child under more appropriate conditions.
  17. When I went in for #2 (scheduled section, after #1 being emergency :rolleyes: ), I set hubby up with D3 and 50/1.4 I wanted light-weight for no "shaking, it's a new baby, holy cow!" moments......and knowing it would be horrible light in the OR (mixed colors/temps), wide apps were best. We stayed with 50mm for the day, and then I slapped on the 28-105 for my own shooting until I escaped from L&D (no, staying in bed is NOT fun!).

    Shooting DX, I'd highly recommend 35mm (a fav from my D200 days). You can always crop out extraneous stuff, but you can't add in missed portions of a shot.

    As a paramedic, I will strongly warn against bigger/expensive looking lenses. Sadly, there is a lot of theft in hospitals. I used to coach my pts to take as little as possible ..... in case it didn't return.
  18. bbcoach15


    Jan 8, 2009
    Best of luck in making this decision. I wish I would have when my son was born. He was born in October last year. My point and shoot Sony, which I believe set me back $400, took absolutely terrible pictures in the poor lighting of the room. The classic baby on the scale picture was wasted due to extreme blur and lighting streaks. Needless to say, it was the last time I allowed this camera to ruin a big moment. My D80 arrived within the month, and my new hobby to date has probably cost me more than the new baby so far!
  19. Fallys


    Apr 27, 2008
    Ottawa, Canada
    My tip(s): Don't ask the doctor to move over, even if slightly, because he or she's in some of your better light (as experienced by our doctor friend!). Just calling it a hunch that they are more necessary in the room than you would be to them at that point! :) 

    Also, while the birth of your child is a beautiful event, your partner may not be after going through all of that, so be sensitive to what pictures you take with the anticipation of showing off to all of your family/friends.

    Oh, and make sure the baby sees your face first, not the over-sized flashing "monocle" protruding from your face, like one of the Borg from Star Trek.

    All that from someone with no kids! :p 

  20. SP77


    Jun 4, 2007
    Rockville, MD
    Yeah I did all that too. :smile:
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