best lens for hospital delivery room/OR

Discussion in 'Canon EOS' started by kelly_cash, Jun 1, 2010.

  1. I have a Canon xTi, a Canon 85mm, a Canon 55-250mm, and the kit lens. I am the only person in our family who knows very much about photography (and I am only a novice at best). I tend to be responsible for all family events. Since I will be the one having a baby, I am going to have to depend on someone else (ACK). My husband is not the best photographer. He tends to over think every photo and because of that may get 2 or 3 photos of an entire event. I would hire a professional, however, I am quite certain this will be a c-section and only the spouse is allowed in the OR. I don't want to give up on good pictures of one of the most important days of my life though so it's the hubby or nothing. :)
    I feel quite certain my 85, which would get the best shots, wouldn't work in tight spaces. I definitely don't want him using the kit lens, and the 55-250 wouldn't work good in lower light (or tight spaces).
    I am willing to buy or rent a better lens to ensure the best shots possible. Does anyone know of a good lens that is foolproof (LOL, poor hubby), short range enough in case the OR is tight, but still good in low/hospital light?
  2. Congratulations!
    The Baby I mean, not the Hubby! It does help to have both though! He may very well end up "passed out" on the delivery room/OR floor! Maybe one of the staff will grab the xTi and get a shot of that as well!
    Only kidding!
    The 85mm may be a little long and the 55-250 and kit lens probably not very good in low light or room lighting. I don't know if you will be able to use any flash in the delivery/OR.
    I would suggest the Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 AF SP XR Di II LD IF, with or without the "VC" or Image Stabilization.
    As the "Hubby" is not the Family Photographer, consider setting the xTi on one of the "auto" modes and let him "fire away."
  3. Perhaps you can rent a lens for this special event. Since you own a cropped sensor camera, and because spaceis pretty confined in the delivery room, maybe a 24 mm or 35 mm would be good.
  4. For a non-photographer husband, the suggestion of the Tamron 17-50 is a good one. If you can spring for the VC/Image Stabilization model, I'd recommend it.
    A less expensive option, but still having image stabilization, would be the Sigma 17-70 OS (OS & VC are both forms of Image Stabilization).
  5. Light in an OR is going to be much stronger than a delivery room. The kit lens might be enough, but I wouldn't risk it without knowing the light levels. I'd go for renting something a Sigma 30/1.4.
  6. I agree, renting a Sigma 30/1.4 or a Canon 35/2 would be ideal. Chances are that it's a lens you'd want to keep since it's very rewarding when photographing small ones. Or how about a flash? Tell your hubby, with some emphasis, to use Full Auto and point the flash towards the ceiling for every single shot and you're likely to get at least a fair number of keepers.
  7. I too vote for the Tamron 17-50 2.8 and if you can I would add a flash ( bounced diffused ) Or just rent a Canon 17-55 2.8 IS
  8. Based on my experience as a father present during a c-section twenty years ago:
    The father is constrained to stand by the mother's head and there is a drape he can see over but she can't. Once the incision is made the action happens very quickly and the baby is whisked away to have the APGAR measurements done and be cleaned up. So a continuous shutter mode would be good with a high ISO and an aperture selected for wide DOF.
  9. I suggest going back to the start. for a person who knows little about photography, an XTi on fully automatic might do, but certainly no lens changes.
    Even though I was the father, not the child-bearer, I personally found a decent fully automatic, zoom-lens point and shoot to work best in the fairly stressful situation of the birthing room. That was before anything digital, but the principle still holds. Get your husband the P&S, it will also be handy once the kid starts scooting about. You can just keep it with the baby kit. Have you got the van yet?
    Congratulations and best wishes.
  10. When stuff is happening fast, and the adrenalin is pumping, and it's YOUR child who is entering the world (whether yours or his), it's SO easy for even a good photographer to mess up the shots. Is it possible to perch a video camera on a tripod to catch what your husband doesn't?
    Regarding a lens and camera for your husband, I'd say it MUST be a zoom, because he won't have time to change lenses, and he won't necessarily have any choice in where to stand. He might be by your side, but if stuff gets complicated, he might be shoved aside to another location. If ever there was a place for a zoom lens, this would be it.
    Al's experience with the father at the head and a drape obscuring the womb is consistent with what I remember from 2 C-sections roughly 20 years ago.
    My best advice to you, as someone once fairly close to an obstetric community, is that you should not stress too much on getting photos. This is for two reasons. The first is that too much will be going on, and you and your husband don't need the stress and distraction of a major photo op. Sure, take photos, but keep it simple. The second reason is that it can throw the doctors and nurses out of their routine. They are highly practiced at what they do, and if they stick to their routine, they do it well. Whenever they have to step outside their routine, mistakes can happen.
    If I were you, and if photos really matter to you, I'd hire someone to do the shoot (or even beg a favor from a friend who's good with cameras). That will free you and your husband up to do what you need to do. If you do go to a C-section, I'd hand off a camera to one of the nurses and ask for a snap or two at the big moment -- everything full automatic / dummy mode. If it's a slow day/night, there's often an extra person or two in the room who can do that for you. Don't distract the doctor and nurses with flash. Use natural light. There will be plenty of it under the surgical lamp! Shoot in RAW, so that none of the mistakes of the shoot are engraved into stone. Center-weight your metering (for the best exposure on your child -- where each frame will be centered).
    Get the epidural if you need it!
    Good luck to you, your husband, and your little one! :)
  11. I'd suggest a wide prime. That way you can get more in the frame, it will be fast enough in case you don't want to use flash, and it will be more affordable than a f/2.8 prime.
  12. The canon ef 35mm f2.0 (or the 24/2.8) and a Canon 430EX flash
  13. As you said this is a very spacial moment so why go cheap For weddings I only use Canon L-series lens. For your Canon Xti, the only lens I would use in this situation would be to rent the Canon 16-35 F2.8L. Hubby Proof. That lens even when you take a bad picture they still look great. Put your camera on auto or aperture priority open it up to F2.8 point and shoot to let the lens and camera do the rest for you. This is a heavy lens, but designed for close focus shooting and low light situations. As a low price option it would hurt to get the nifty 50 1.8 which would be the same as your 85 on a Full Frame Camera. The 85 on your camera is like a 135 way too long for the situation. The 50 1.8 only cost $90 and will work in almost any light. It is small very light and again full proof as it can gather so much light.
  14. awahlster

    awahlster Moderator

    I'm curious. DO you know if a non sterilized camera will even be allowed in an operating room? Where masks and gloves and sterile gowns have to be worn by the father. When my wife had her C section I can't imagine them having allowed a camera into the room that wasn't hospital equipment.
    having attended 2) births one natural one C section and having been at the birth of my grand daughters (my wife was in the birthing room my daughter by the way was a Navy Corpsman and is currently a Nurse. And there had to be 3-4 people in the room at the time of the birth. No one took photo's of the actual birth no one wanted to gross anyone out that much.
    My wife is an accomplished photographer. And had her Canon G3 with her for both the granddaughters.
    Now within 10min of the births half a dozen of us were in the room with cameras. But by then the required work on the new borns was done and they were ready for their Pulbic.
    I would sure check with the Hospital about dragging a camera into surgery.
  15. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    An F/2.8 lens might be too slow even at ISO1600. (yes we might expect bright lights in some areas, but not others - like on the Mum's face for example)
    I would rent the 24L. . . it is the fastest, widest Canon lens: and those are the two criterion for this task - fast and wide.

  16. sorry, in my post above, I meant a wide prime would be as fast or faster and more affordable than a f/2.8 *zoom.*
  17. [[ I'd hand off a camera to one of the nurses and ask for a snap or two at the big moment -- everything full automatic / dummy mode]]
    When I was in the OR with my wife 2 months ago for the delivery (via C-section) of our second child, one of the nurses offered to take pictures for us immediately after the birth. I was busy staying behind the curtain with my wife. Following the initial check/APGAR test, I was able to come around the sheet to see and photograph my daughter.
    I had with me the Canon 500D and the 35mm f/2. The OR was well lit and the 35mm was fine (in terms of field of view), as I was only photographing my daughter on the warming table.
    The same nurse then photographed my wife seeing our daughter for the first time. The 35mm was a good fit there as well (given the layout of the room, plus equipment, and cords, and other staff, etc.
    If the staff had not been as accommodating, or if the room had been laid out differently, or if I had wanted to photograph my daughter before the APGAR test, the 35mm would have been the wrong choice. A zoom like the 17-50 would have been a better choice. Flash would be an unnecessary distraction, I would not recommend it.
    So, while I felt comfortable with the 35mm f/2, I don't believe that's the right choice for someone unsure of photography. I really do think a large aperture zoom is the better choice for your husband here. And you'll get a nice upgrade from the standard Canon kit lens to boot.
    [[DO you know if a non sterilized camera will even be allowed in an operating room? Where masks and gloves and sterile gowns have to be worn by the father. When my wife had her C section I can't imagine them having allowed a camera into the room that wasn't hospital equipment.]]
    The hospital staff, prior to the surgery, made sure we were bringing a camera into the OR. I would be surprised if one were not allowed in, but different hospitals certainly could have different policies.
  18. For a non-photog who is not rapid fire shooter, I think a kit (slow) 18-50mm lens would be fine. I do not think flash really matters there he takes 5-10 shots. Now a more professional shooter who will take 50 frames, probably should avoid flash. Don't drop the camera :)
    But how about some HD video? You can get reasonable little prints and web pics and the video may be much more telling for this event if shot by a non-pro photog and least for the OR action ... The pics of a baby can be taken with a real camera a little later.
  19. WOW thank you all for all the wonderful opinions and advise!
    I'm fairly certain a camera will be allowed in the OR but I plan to check to make absolute sure (before I agree to a c-section ha ha..who says health and safety comes first? before PHOTOGRAPHS? lol j/k). I have seen some AMAZING shots on Flickr of people's sections. I'm not sure I want the actual surgery part shot, but I would love to have moments afterward when the baby is lifted up away from the incision. Just looking at some of these shots of c-sections, mid-process, makes me woozy and it isn't even my own belly. They are amazing shots though.
  20. Just to chime in - I thought I was a tough guy and could handle anything. I helped my wife with our first child born "naturally" and did fine. Not some much though with the second child that needed an emergency C-section. I was sitting with her behind the drape. I think smells and possibly anxiety were too much - I had to step out of the OR or I would have passed out. Once on the outside of the room I could watch through a window and got some shots with a P&S. Out there I was absolutely fine even though now I could see the cutting and the blood, etc. yet that didn't bother me. As a mechanic I'm used to burns and cuts - heck, I even got 7 stitches in my forehead without anesthesia. So who knows for sure how your husband will react.
    Just thought I would post my experience as it might go the same way. LOL.
    If you could get a nurse to grab a few shots with a P&S and your husband with the DSLR, I think that would be a great idea.
  21. I told myself that if no one else suggested this lens I would so, with apologies, here it is: a lensbaby!
    Congratulations! all the best. cb :)
  22. 28 mm f2.8 should be great. Its fairly fast, wide for crop sensor, light and plenty sharp. Any thing longer and your hubby will have a hard time composing. Mine came out great with the 40D.
  23. I side with JDM and Jay, and would use a P&S set on fully auto rather than thinking about DSLR & lenses. The "window of opportunity" is brief and the simpler the better. I'd go one step further and get a waterproof P&S. As this is a Canon forum, perhaps the PowerShot D10? That way you can use it at bath time, baby swimming lessons, etc.! Best wishes, Jeff
  24. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    "28 mm f2.8 should be great. . . .Mine came out great with the 40D"

    (Just reiterating and expanding my point about F/2.8 lenses shooting sans flash – I am not picking on your opinion, per se)

    What ISO did you use in the 40D shots when you were at the lowest EV scenario?

    This goes to my point about the camera the OP's Husband will be using (and my assumption that he will be reliant upon the TTL meter for "accurate" exposure).

    Opinions vary: but, IMO our 400D shooting under incandescent room lights, performs "OK at ISO400", "Not bad at ISO800" and needs “very accurate work at ISO1600”.

    I do not believe that the 400D has intermediate ISO settings.

    Also our 400D is a little sluggish AF with f/2.8 lenses (in low light) - though I have not used the 28/2.8 on it.

    The 400D's Auto WB is poor in low level room light, I suggest you shoot RAW, or RAW + JPEG(L)

  25. The lighting in an OR is bright and most likely fluorescent. The operating spotlights used to focus on the operative field can be very bright relative to the room light. This is mostly tungsten. That said, I find that there is some color cast but mostly auto white balance compensates on the fly. I have lately used the Canon G11 and it gives me operative photos at settings f4 and 1/160. I have used the Nikon D200 f6.3 and 1/125 again on auto. In the operating room in general I have a shot of my assistant at f5.3 1/80 ISO 140 and 95mm focal length on the zoom. The spots tend to give you bright spots and light falls off rapidly from the illuminated field. It would probably be best to zoom in on the action closely rather than wide angle as the exposure will be mostly over exposed for the surrounding less bright area. You could use flash but this might be distracting to the operating team.
    You need to check with the OR team as to whether they will allow a camera during the delivery. I should think that your husband will be too excited with the birth to really be the one to photograph the event. There is plenty of time after your baby is cleaned up to get the shots that you will eventually want to show everyone including your newborn. And yes, these days I have a camera available all the time for operative photos. Either I recruit a member of the team or else I put on an extra pair of sterile gloves and get the shots myself. With the ability to review on the spot, you can check exposure and focus so that there is very little regret during editing.
    Birthing is not terribly photogenic. Heaven knows my family has laughed over the crazy pictures I have taken in the past. And, I can even picture you directing the shoot as the obstetrician works. Don't. Still, I have some doubt as to how intimate you want the pictures to get concerning the anatomy involved. I'm thinking that the C-section will mostly be a red operative field and then the baby's head. By and large it might be a fairly messy operative field that most folks would not save the pictures as keepsakes.
    Still keeping the shots tight or cropping in post process will make the best overall photos. If your husband is allowed to photograph he will probably have a chance to photograph away from the operative field. This might mean he is 6-8 ft away. In that case your choice of a wide angle lens is probably wrong. I don't think your husband will be close enough in the operating room to utilize the wide angle. I would estimate that somewhere around 100mm would work. The Canon 55-250 would likely be the best choice. There is definitely enough light that an f2.8 lens is unnecessary.
    As others have posted, the best shots are really after the birth when your newborn has been wrapped up and cleaned up for his/her intro. Congratulations on your happy event.
  26. Hi William W
    I don't know how many times have you been in the delivery room yourself, twice for me and I have to say few things. There were plenty of lights in the room, anyone using flash during the actual delivery is only asking for trouble so higher ISO is a must, no lower then 400 and most of the shots came in at ISO 800. We were lucky enough that our rooms came with windows so there was extra light coming in.
    A mono pod could solve some issues. Its small, light, will give you extra stability. The newborn is hardly moving around the first 24-48 hours so you don't need fast shutter speeds. Mom understand the importance of holding still, so dad should perhaps practice his steadiness, go with Av mode and keep shooting.
    I did have a faster lens with me, but it did not do me any good since the DOF was a bit too shallow for my taste (I like to see both eyes in focus on my kids, especially since both came with beautiful baby blues). Since Kelly's husband seems to have some issues with photo taking, putting on a f1.4 lens on the camera may only make things worse. So what if you have that extra stop or two, if you don't know what to do with it. I am not saying that he is a bad photographer, but the stress of fatherhood, plus a very expensive lens, plus shallow DOF, plus Kelly's concerns will probably add up to more missed opportunities, the one thing she fear. That is just my take on it.
    One more thing that I will say about the 24 mm is that it just might be a bit too wide, distorting the features of the Mother and the Baby, when you what to take a close up, cropping later may only leave you wishing you had a longer lens, because your 8x10 or 11x14 seems a bit choppy, especially at higher ISO. I will agree with you about a wide ange fixed lens though. A fixed wide lens is the key, a little bit of walking around the room will force the photographer to be more creative.
  27. One more thing, my post does not apply to OR rooms, the lighting can be very unpredictable.
  28. I love how most of us looks at this like a paid shoot. If I had to rent one lens for this, it would be the 17-55 2.8 IS and set the camera on P mode with an ISO of 800, give to hubby and tell him to shoot like a wild man. As a back-up have him prop a camcorder on a tripod away from everyone's reach and zoom in the general area. I'm sure between the 2 methods, you will some great memories. Good luck v/r Buffdr
  29. Some doctors allow cameras, others don't. I've experienced both within the last 5 years. I'd contact the hospital and ask. Doctors are wary of possible evidence to use against them in court should a frivolous lawsuit be filed.
    A wide angle zoom is probably fine, the kit lens if you feel confident, a 17-55 f/2.8 if not. I'd go for ISO 400 but might bump to 800. To get an f/1.4 lens then hand it to someone who's not a photographer may mean that you'll have a lot of pics just out of focus where you want it. F/2.8 may be too shallow at times.
    A 430EX(i or ii) would be fine, however you may want to keep the flash to a minimum. The last thing you want is a blind doctor when that precious life is in his hands.
    I'd think twice about a point and shoot, they're known for slow focusing and this is one of those times that you'll want to focus quickly.
    Congrats and good luck.
  30. As a new dad, I would suggest letting your husband savor the moment, rather than have to bother with YOUR SLR.
    I didn't bring my SLR to the OR, only brought a P&S. If I had brought my SLR, I would have been more concerned about getting photos, rather than spending the first few minutes with my son and the new mother.
  31. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    Tom, thanks for answering in such detail about the ISO and the lighting you experienced.
    Twice in a Delivery Room to answer your question; once in an Operating Theatre; and more than a few times at a Post M. I have not been at a Caesarean Section delivery. However, most of my working life I have been shooting AL only.
    The OP mentions an “OR” so I assume she expects the procedure will be done in an Operating Theatre and by all accounts written here, her Husband will be removed from the Bright Lights and the Procedure Area during the Caesar.
    I think that delivery Rooms vary around the World, as do the Birthing Choices which are available.
    In the two Delivery Rooms I have attended I was shooting on average 1/60s @ F/2 @ ISO800 – sometimes I pushed ISO1600 and sometimes I pushed 1/30s. These delivery rooms attempted to keep a reasonable working but soft light level generally.
    I make no assumptions of the overall lighting in any Operating Room, nor make any assumptions that specifically for a Caesarean Section the general room lighting will be as intense (high EV) as for any other “Operation”. I think it reasonable to assume that the lighting situations for C-Sections could vary around the world and that, for example, whilst there might be normal work lights for the surgical staff, the remaining ambient might be less than what is expected in a major Operating Theatre.
    In the “OR” I attended, I shoot some cutaways of staff and equipment and wide overview shots, away from and out of the main operating area, and used on average F/5.6 or F/8 at 1/100 @ ISO400 – so yes that “OR” was quite bright at the edges, but I am not making assumptions that this OR will be lit the same – or, perhaps more importantly that the EV will stay lit the same, after the procedure is complete.
    The main thrust of my original comment was to allow an inexperienced person to use a piece of gear which is unfamiliar and when he was under pressure of time and emotion.
    IMO, a wide lens and a fast lens will allow him to get a set of reasonable images which can be cropped later, if necessary.
    I too would suggest “P” mode (NOT FULL AUTO).
    If the Photographer has a squeamish stomach and still desires to take images then he can turn away and shoot randomly.
    A new born might not move around all that much, but it is likely that the Photographer’s hands will be shaking – if so a faster Tv will be necessary than the 1/30s, 1/15s or 1/8s I (and others) could use.
    “P” mode will attempt to keep the Tv to 1/60 or faster, and the difference between F/1.4 and F/2.8 might mean blur or no blur.
    Yes, there will foreshortening if a 24mm lens on and APS-C body is used up close, there will be so with a 28 also, but not as much – I don’t think this is the worst evil to overcome, though . . . and there are some PP methods of getting around it, somewhat.
    On the other hand, I am not sure I would give, to an inexperienced Photographer, a 55 to 250 zoom on a 400D and expect him to shoot at 6 to 8 ft.
    The FoV at 6ft and FL = 55mm is about 2ft 4inches x 1ft 6 inches. . . that’s an awfully narrow FoV and will likely require some quick movement to get a good vantage point such that no Hospital Staff are blocking the shot.
    However, at 6ft from the action and holding a 24 (or 28) above the head (“Doorstop Style”) the FoV would be around 5ft 6 inches x 3ft 6 inches – and assuming F/2.8 a DoF of about 2 ft. And arguabley the high vantage point would be better.
    In summary, none of us knows what the EV will be; if the EV will be even; if the EV is bright, how long that bright EV will exist; what the spread of light will be; what Vantage Point the Photographer will have; and also what flexibility of movement he will have.

    What we do know is the 400D is “OK at ISO800” and “better at ISO400”.
    We also know that the Photographer is inexperienced and likely will be nervous and emotional. I think having a monopod attached to the camera would be dangerous.
    IMO for this task one should choose the lens (which was the question) which will make the task the most simple in the most severe technical (and personal) circumstances we can reasonably assume: in this regard the lens I suggest is the 24L.
    I suggest: “P” Mode; Capture RAW + JPEG (L), (most likely) ISO400 or ISO800; All AF points; Auto WB; AF set to half shutter depress; and instruct the Photographer look through the viewfinder and ghet the shot centred and also to shoot “Doorstop Style” or even looking away, if necessary . . crop and PP the images later.
    So, IMO for an inexperienced user, with a 400D, in a tight area, unknown lattitudes of vantage point and movement, with room lights of unknown and likely varying / various EV: . . .
    A wider, fast lens is the answer – the fastest wide lens in the Canon range is the 24L.
    Having an F/1.4 lens does not mean that F/1.4 will be used or that images will necessarily be out of focus.
    As much as choosing the correct lens with the most lattudes, the correct settings and techniques for taking the shots by an inexperienced chap are necessary also - I have hinted at some of those settings and techniques, but that was not the question, the question was what lens to choose.
    Nor was the question "should I get my husband to take these shots with my camera, what's all your opinions?" . . . I find it interesting how many answered that quetsion which was not asked, though.
  32. I just had my second little boy 6 weeks ago by c-section. I handed my husband our little Canon point and shoot and our pics came out fine ! There are simply too many things he can mess up with my DSLR. With the Point and shoot all he has to do is take the picture. It's a no-brainer. If you were to go with a DSLR I would just rent the fastest prime you can get, and I would go wide, maybe 24 or even wider.
    I realize this wasn't your question, but I wanted my husband to be there for me, not distracted taking pictures. I think the birth of your child is one of those things you really want to experience to the fullest. Pictures are important, but once your baby is there the memories are a lot more important. Maybe you could hire a professional to come to the hospital right after baby is born to do some nice pics once your back in your room.
    I'm going to try and post some of the pics my husband took with our P&S, I haven't edited them at all, besides resizing. I think he did a pretty good job, considering he was just aiming the camera over the curtain.
    Good luck with your baby !
  33. And this one ...
  34. I'm sorry that you may have to have a c-section, Kelly. My wife and I have had two midwife attended homebirths that both went beautifully. I wish every mother and father could have such birth experiences.
  35. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    I was curious:
    “Finn” was shot with a Canon PS1100 IS.
    The far shot (the second one posted in line) FL = 6mm: F/2.8 @ 1/500s @ ISO400
    And the close shot FL = 6mm: F/2.8 @ 1/250s @ ISO400
    Both used Pattern Metering.
    FL = 6mm on the Powershot is about FL = 24mm on a 400D so the second image gives an idea of the Foreshortening, at very close range.
    (from my memory of the "P" mode algorithm’s output) -If a 400D were set in “P” Mode and metered the same EV as for those two shots, the 400D at ISO400, would have selected:
    F3.5 @ 1/320s and
    F/2.8 @ 1/250s, respectively.
  36. Been there. I am a pretty accomplished photographer. When I went into the OR for my spouse's C section - emergency - I put on an external flash and everything on green - no think. I got some good shots but mostly dodged shooting blood and jeers from the OB. The OB was a friend and I am a lawyer - not the hypothetical doctor's friend even though I do mergers and acquisitions - not med mal. Go full auto.
  37. Hi,
    Keep it simple. I used low end EOS 350 D with EF 18-55 lens + Metz 32 Z-2 flash (small but versatile unit with
    tilting head). ISO 400, 1/30, f/8. Manual settings were the same in all pictures.
    Esa Kivivuori
    Hyvinkää, Finland
  38. A lot of responses already, didn't read them all, so sorry if this is double.
    I just became a father for the first time less than three weeks ago, and I took a lot of pictures. I didn't pick up the camera until the baby was actually out. Until that time I was busy supporting my wife, you may prefer that as well, think about it.
    I used only one lens, my Sigma 18-50 2.8 on a Canon 40D. I found it covered most of what I needed in focal length. I used bounce flash (Metz 48 AF-1) for all the pictures. It works really well because the ceiling is white and low, and gives nice soft light. It is slightly more difficult than direct flash (you have to remember to rotate the flash for portrait shots) but perhaps preferable anyway.
    Congratulations and good luck, Allard
  39. "I'm sorry that you may have to have a c-section, Kelly. My wife and I have had two midwife attended homebirths that both went beautifully. I wish every mother and father could have such birth experiences."

    Most births that I know about are pain ridden journeys to hell and back. My wife was in a labour ward giving birth naturally (i.e. accompanied by lots of pain and screaming) when our baby's heartbeat slowed to half the normal rate. Within minutes she was in an operating theatre having an emergency C section (gas, not epidural). We now have a beautiful 4 year old daughter. If we'd been at home we would probably just have a grave to visit. A birth is a potential medical emergency. My wife and I would vote for as much medical intervention as possible.

    Just another point of view.

  40. I am speaking as a childless man, but as one with a great interest in matters medical so take this as you will.
    Delivery staff are very aware that the present day trend for fathers to be present at the delivery is a double-edged sword. On the one hand there is all the joy that the father can share at the birth and the support he can give to the mother. On the downside is that you never know how people are going to react, and just as often it is the mother who becomes nervous and self-conscious knowing her partner is watching. This may apply more to 'natural births' than C-sections but it shows how unpredicable the whole thing can be.
    I don't want to be negative, I am just saying that be careful what you are planning. I think your best bet will be a point and shoot (think G10, S90) where you can shoot RAW to adjust white balance, but at the same time get good quality pictures, and you would get good depth of field even when zoomed in. Its simplicity will also help him deter him from over-thinking.
    For those more experienced at shooting in OR with a SLR, it would be interesting to know how you very first shoot worked out. Did you didscuss with the staff before hand what you could/could not do and what to expect? Was it as successful as you hoped? I think this would be useful ground-check to see what Kelly should be aiming for.
    What ever happens I wish you all the best for this wonderful part of your life.
  41. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    "For those more experienced at shooting in OR with a SLR, it would be interesting to know how you very first shoot worked out."
    Near Perfect - I took only eight frames in total – two only, I recall, at the birth itself. It was at the birth of my first Child. No I did not discuss with any Hospital Staff beforehand. Yes I believe I did know what to expect both technically and medically. Yes, I had a Plan B and a Plan C.
    My Photographic results in a Delivery Room do not have any bearing the quality of your advice or the point you are making to Kelly – which, BTW, I believe is from the heart and intended to be most courteous
    If we are to get off the topic of the question, I agree, that Kelly (anyone wanting to Photograph a Birth) should reconnoitre all aspects and evaluate all that could happen.
    However, I did not assume that Kelly, (and her Husband), have not already made complete reconnoitre and evaluation: nor did I assume that a C Section was not of her choice or was necessarily a shame – nor did I assume that Kelly would want her Husband to use Flash - nor did I give my views on pain - pain management – hell - or birthing options . . .
    I merely answered the question about which lens to use, on a 400D.
    In these types of topics I think it is better to wait to be asked before going too deeply into for the peripheral advice and comment – I think “Reconnoitre it properly”, is good advice.
  42. Despite Esa's valiant attempt above (kudos to Esa, by the way), my personal opinion about the moments of childbirth, having witnessed my wife giving birth first via a c-section and then naturally, is that they do not make for artistic still photography. Not only is there a gross-factor for anybody beyond the immediate family, which seemingly is amplified in stills, it is extremely difficult to control and eliminate distracting objects from showing up in the frame. On the other hand, I do believe that it is a wonderful subject for videography, a video camera will do a far better job in recording the event faithfully and with far more emotional and environmental detail. The fact that the motion is continuous and not a moment frozen in time, somehow helps one to not notice the distracting elements still present in the video much like it would be on the still.
    Once everything calms down, and a serene mood inevitably fills the room, now that makes for great opportunities for still photography that includes both mother and child.
  43. Did you check with the hospital administration, often they have a couple approved pros which are allowed in the or and rehearsed on the do's and dont's in the room. I would have been useless as the shooter (i'm the dad) and preferred my role as side kick/ hero support. Congrats and good luck
  44. My best advice for a father taking photos of his chld being born is to remember what he's there for -- and it's not to take pictures. I'm a former newspaper photographer and former PPA member so naturally I took my camera into the OR when each of our children were delivered by C-section. My wife is a doctor, so I had a complete rundown on what to expect. My job before and during the actual delivery was to sit there next to her head and hold her hand while she squeezed mine so hard I thought she was going to break every bone. (Anesthesia handles the pain, but having a baby can still be very scary for the mother, especially the first time around.) Trust me, there was no opportunity to shoot the baby coming out short of abandoning my duties to comfort and reassure my wife. One the baby was out, I picked up my Nikon FM with 50mm f/2 and got picture of him (and two years later her) wrapped up in a blanket on the table after they've done the tests, then being held next to Mom. Obviouosly other people get very into taking pictures during the actual delivery, but to me, you're taking pictures and being a photographer at that point, not taking part in the actual experience. There's plenty of time for pictures later, and much more flattering pictures of both the baby and Mom, once you're out of the OR or delivery room.
  45. Been there and done that, albeit 20 yrs ago. I had great intentions and thought I was going to be able to capture it all with a FM/ 50mm 1.4 also. I was going to be allowed to shoot only from the head area, not from the other side of the action by my wife. I brought a small kit, lenses with flash etc. My wife was giving birth to twin girls, 5 weeks early. I am a dentist and have seen and done surgery so I felt at the time I was prepared for anything. It was a natural birth with epidural. No comment on the rest, whatever is right for you and your wife and the medical status. We had been prepared if things needed to change and have the section, but in this case even though they were premies, all went ok. When the time came I was more interested in staying with my wife and offereing support then shooting lots of images. Also, at that time, keeping a steady hand shooting was not part of my abilities when circumstances arrived. Doubt I would have ended up with anything worthwhile image wise. Today with IS or VR, things might be different, but in the end there are far more important things then getting a closeup of the whole thing from the business end. Most of your family and friends will not care to see the actual birth up close and personal. The images of your sweet child after they are all cleaned up is how you will want to remember them and can be done with ease. I also don't know even if the doctors allow any images, video or still, that having another light source or flash, could be a distraction to them and their staff. NOT A GOOD THING, common sense wise, I am sure you would agree, as your child's well being is the most important. I would take a dslr and a 35 -50mm prime and shoot if things go OK and you are able to actually shoot adequately. Having evidence to use at a trial, is the least important thing that should be on your mind.
  46. "As a new dad, I would suggest letting your husband savor the moment, rather than have to bother with YOUR SLR."​
    I couldn't agree more. Don't burden your husband with the task of taking pictures. Some moments are best recorded in memory alone.
  47. Scanning through this thread, I just can't believe these answers. I am a passionate photographer, a nurse, a mom who had both c-sections and a regular deliveriy, but having these techno babble conversations is ridiculous. I am with Catherine. A simple P&S should suffice.
    This was a similar hilarous thread.
  48. BTW, as already vividly illustrated, there are many parts of this experience that do NOT really NEED to be documented and particularly not shared. After the intensive biology of it all from lamaze classes to pheromone overload, one tends to lose perspective on what is really appropriate for a general audience. As I was reminded, when showing an old friend pictures of the birth of my daughter. "Um, that's kind of intimate, isn't it?"
    If you reflect on it, this is a life-changing rite of passage, not a photo-op.
  49. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    Are you still reading, Kelly ? ? ?
  50. some things are mean to be remembered, others forgotten. focus on the end result, not the process.
  51. it


    Wow, so much typing over such a little question.
    Get a 50mm.
  52. Kelly, I used 50/1.4 on FF camera for delivery and I would use it again. Since you have an APS body, I would recommend 35/1.4. It's speed will be also useful in the following weeks and months after the delivery when the baby does not respect the clock, photographic opportunities happen when no reasonable available light is available and you will hate to fire flash to your baby's face. It is a great lens to keep, but if you want, you can sell it later with minimal loss.
  53. I AM still reading and I value every reply! The photos are thoughts and comments are exactly what I was looking for! Thank you all! This isn't our first child or c-section, but it is our first since I valued good photography. :) I am very eager to check out and try out these lenses suggested here.
  54. I'm surprised nobody suggested a Lensbaby!
  55. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    "I'm surprised nobody suggested a Lensbaby!" - - - - too long looking down that microscope yer eyes have gone fuzzy . . . . :)
    Charles Becker [​IMG], Jun 01, 2010; 05:16 p.m.
    I told myself that if no one else suggested this lens I would so, with apologies, here it is: a lensbaby!
    Congratulations! all the best. cb :)
  56. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    'I AM still reading and I value every reply! The photos are thoughts and comments are exactly what I was looking for! " . . .
    Nice :)

    Thanks for answering my question.
  57. Ok so I have never heard of Lensbaby but I looked it up and don't fully understand it. Can someone explain it to me?
  58. Kelly, the Lensbaby is a joke, in this case. What lens to photograph the birth of a baby? Lensbaby.
    Whether or not Lensbabies are a joke in general is a very different discussion. They are low-quality lenses with some unusual controls that can create unusual creative effects. In the right hands they can deliver interesting results.
    As a warning of what might happen if you follow the advice I posted earlier, I'll attach a photo my wife took of me putting on our baby's first diaper. Camera was on manual and flash turned off. (She can usually take reasonable photos with the camera, but I'm the photographer in the family).
  59. I'm glad I came across this helpful thread :)
    William W, would the same advice (regarding the 24L) apply for a 60D?
  60. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    William W, would the same advice (regarding the 24L) apply for a 60D?
    My responses on this thread were relevant and specific to:
    • the camera the OP was using and particularly its ISO limitations;
    • the fact that she mentioned low light;
    • the fact that we could not determine how much light she would have
    • the fact that we could not determine the size of the room
    • the fact that we could not determine where the camera vantage point might be.
    From that point I argued and recommended that wide and fast would be best.
    Wide becasue we could crop later if we we far away, but if we had a longer lens and we were in a small room we might not be able to get back far enough for the shot.
    Fast to keep the ISO the lowest and or to allow a shutter speed useful to freeze motion and camera shake, if the room was really dark.
    The widest/ fastest canon prime is the 24L so I suggest that lens.
    Using a 60D and giving the same unknowns, I would argue that the most leverage would be gained by using the EF-S 17 to 55 F/2,8 IS USM.
    I base that recommendation on the fact that the 60D could work “Good” at ISO3200 and OK at ISO6400, but it is likely that it would be working at ISO1600 anyway with a lens at F/2.8.
    I feel that with a 60D and the advantage of extra useable ISO, the advantage of ZOOM and the advantage of IS would outweigh the disadvantages of not having the two extra stops of lens speed of the F/1.4 Prime.
  61. William, thank you for the thoughtful response. I read through everything on this thread and what you said regarding ISO performance on the two bodies makes sense to me. Although the 24L would be amazing to own, I think I will put that purchase off for now :) Thanks again for your insight on this!
  62. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    You are welcome.
    I note that you are a new member. For your information it was fortunate that I still had the response alert notification active on this thread, otherwise I would not have responded, because I would not have known the question was asked.
    In this case, you could begin a new question, to get the answer you required. You could mention this old thread if you wanted to be specifically referring to it.
    The 24L is one of my favourite lenses, but I did not recommend it to the OP because I like the lens, but because I thought it was the best for her job.
    I have pushed to 24 to what I consider close to its limits - like here in this indoor scene shot at F/1.4:
    And outside using F/1.4:
    And it is pretty handy inside also as a portrait lens @ F/2.2:


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