I currently have a Nikon D3100 with the kit 18-55mm lens, which I have decided to sell. I am looking to start getting more 'into' photography, and me and my fiancee have a baby on the way which we want to photograph a lot! The main reason for upgrading the body was for the extra megapixels - we want to have some canvas prints of some of the images I take. Note I also have a Nikkor 35mm 1.8mm prime lens and a Nikkor 55-200mm zoom lens, which I'll be keeping.

So I decided on the Nikon D5500 as from the reviews I've seen it seems great - I have the version that comes with an 18-140mm kit lens, but ideally I want a macro lens for capturing close up shots of our baby, plus I'd generally like to explore macro photography.

I was initially looking at the Nikon 3.5 85mm Micro lens, but it seems slightly expensive plus the reviews aren't that great. I've very interested in the Tamron SP AF 90mm F/2.8 lens however, as this seems cheaper than the Nikkor 85mm plus has a larger aperture. However it appears to be an FX lens so I imagine the focal length will be about ~130mm on my D5500, plus I'm assuming it hasn't got any auto focus motors built in.

I could live with the up potentially, but I'm just wondering what else is out there? Also, aside from Macro lens, any other recommendations for infant photography?


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    Note Does my crop sensor camera actually turn my lenses into a longer focal length?. Both the 85mm Nikon and 90mm Tamron lens are specified with their real focal length, regardless of the format they are designed for. On DX, the Nikon 85mm would have a field of view roughly equivalent to 127mm on FX. So don't make that your deciding factor. – Please Read Profile Jul 15 '15 at 15:06
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    You maybe interested in this previous answer on how to best improve your baby photos -photo.stackexchange.com/a/6252/34085 – Abdul Quraishi Jul 15 '15 at 15:47
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    If you can break up your question into separate smaller questions, I.E - What style of Baby Photos you want? Perhaps you can insert a sample.. What type of Baby Macro you are look for? what type of General macro you are looking for? You will get get more targeted responses. Specific Lens recommendations are always difficult as they can be subjective but can be made at times if the exact nature of the end result is known. Hope this helps. – Abdul Quraishi Jul 15 '15 at 16:06
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    As both answers have already stated, IMHO while the D5500 is a decent jump up from the D3100, it is not enough of a jump to justify the expense when the D7100 that is only about $145 more than the D5500 gives you so much more. And the D3100 is perfectly capable of producing large canvas prints. – Michael C Jul 15 '15 at 22:50
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    The Tamron 90mm f/2.8 Di VC USD Macro Lens is, in fact, a Full Frame lens, not a DX/APS-C only lens. – Michael C Jul 15 '15 at 22:51

Just my opinion, but first off, trading in an entry-level dSLR for another slightly-higher end entry-level dSLR, to me, isn't really as sizable an upgrade as moving to a prosumer body. While you do get the sensor/processor upgrades of the generations, you don't get the physical UI upgrades that come with moving upwards through the tiers, such as a focus motor, dual-wheel controls, and a more sophisticated AF system. There is also the fact, as Rahul notes, that your D3100 is still perfectly capable. And spending the cash on glass--and lighting gear--may actually be a better upgrade than a new body. Bodies come and go and break down like the digital electronics they are. The other bits of the system are what stay with you.

I would also say that if you want to concentrate on macros, then get a macro lens. If you want to make baby portraits, then get a portrait lens. While a macro can do double-duty as both, you're going to be compromising on the portrait side of things a little imho (others disagree, naturally). Macros tend to be THE sharpest lens in any lineup. And while that's great for showing off bug antennae, with portraits, having a lens that's sharp enough to resolve every pore, nose-hair, and wrinkle can sometimes be not-an-asset with portrait shooting (depending on your post-processing skillz, the importance of this can vary). You're also not gonna be able to go any wider than f/2.8.

To me, your 35/1.8 is probably just fine for a lot of the baby portraits you want to take. You may want to consider getting a 50/1.8 or 85/1.8 if you feel it's too short, but probably better to just wait and see. So, I'd say just concentrate on a macro lens for macro use, and budget for a portrait prime later if you need one. And as children start to run around, your needs will change, with the possibility of prioritizing autofocusing speed over sharpness. At which point a higher-end body with a better AF system, higher burst rate, bigger buffer, and more flexibility on configuring AF controls may be something you really wish you'd waited and saved up to buy. A used D7100 isn't that much more expensive than a new D5500. Just saying.

For the baby portrait-taking, I'd actually advocate learning to light. Preferably with off-camera flash, but even just bouncing a flash or using a reflector can make a huge difference. Take a spin through Jason Lee's flickr site, if you want to see the difference knowing how to pose, light, and process images can make when it comes to pictures of your kids.

  1. I do not really understand when you say "more 'into' photography" because the current objective of photographing a baby could well be achieved by the 35mm lens you have along with the current camera you have i.e. D3100. No need to invest in a new one! I would suggest you to keep the current camera and take a new 50mm (if you have to).

  2. "The main reason for upgrading the body was for the extra megapixels - we want to have some canvas prints" - D3100 is good enough for even large canvas prints (64 inches x 42 inches approx).

I think you do not need to upgrade based on the reasons your provided. But hey, it's your money :)

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