using a macro lens for a photo session of a newborn
I had the pleasure of photographing the newborn baby of Jen and David recently. (David regularly follows the Tangents blog!) Aside from photographing the proud parents with their little one, I also needed to get detail photos of the baby.
With detail images, you see even more clearly just how small this newborn baby is, when you show the scale. A tiny hand clasping a finger. Tiny toes gently flexing against her mother’s hand.
For this, a macro lens is an essential part of my camera bag …
Since I like to shoot this with available light, the lens needs to be stabilized. Canon lenses have IS (image stabilization), and Nikon lenses offer VR (vibration reduction). With IS / VR, you can shoot at a much lower shutter speed than normal, and still get crisp images.
Both these images were shot wide open on the macro lens at f2.8 @ 1/100 @ 1000 ISO
macro lens – maximum aperture shift
Because of the way the optics shift when you focus very close, the maximum aperture shifts. Nikon shows effective aperture, and you can see your actual aperture. In this case, even though I had set f2.8 the lens gave me f3.5 and shows it in my display. Canon works differently. With Canon, the set aperture shows … but the exposure will vary as you get closer, meaning the aperture did actually change as you focused closer.
It is just something to be aware of. It’s just how the optical configuration of macro lenses work. I know than Nikon shooters who are new to using macro lenses, are often concerned that they aren’t getting the f2.8 maximum aperture. Canon shooters are generally not aware of this change in aperture, since the camera doesn’t show it.
macro lens choices
I favor the 100 / 105mm focal length when it comes to macro lenses. This gives me a comfortable working distance on a full-frame camera. And it also doubles as a portrait lens if I need to.
If you are using a crop-sensor camera, then there are other good choices which would effectively give you a similar focal length (if you frame the image the same):