So you just have a new baby, or perhaps one of your best friends/relatives is having a baby and you want to shoot gorgeous timeless photos of them. First, you need a DSLR for sure. Forget point and shoots - they're great for casual occasions, but when it comes to taking pictures of babies, you want it right the first time, there's never going to be a second time, right? Here are our favorite DSLRs for shooting baby photos:
1) Pentax K-X
When choosing a DSLR for shooting babies, you need one that performs as well as possible in high ISO. This is because you're primarily be doing indoor shooting rather than outdoor shooting. For that, the Pentax K-X is an excellent choice.
The Pentax K-X is considered an entry level DSLR with fast performance, good image quality, and exceptional high ISO performance. The viewfinder is perhaps one of the best we've seen. It's big with great coverage and good magnification.
It takes just .7 seconds to power on and shoot - not bad. But here's the impressive stats: just .3 seconds from focus to shoot in good lighting, and .5 seconds in low light. Continuous shooting in JPEG takes .4 seconds, and .6 seconds for RAW. Burst speed is good too at: 4.2 frames per second.
As we mentioned, the high ISO performance is what makes us recommend the K-X. We shot photos of babies using an ISO as high as 1600, and all of the photos still looked okay. It's only when you go up to 3200, that the details are lost a little. Since you'll be shooting photos of your baby indoors 99% of the time, you need a camera that delivers excellent noise reduction in high ISO, and the Pentax K-X certainly does that.
Using the 18-55 mm kits lens is good enough, though you can upgrade for a better one if you really want to.
There's only the ability to shoot videos of your baby using the K-X, but it's just average quality at just 24 frames per second. It also doesn't have shake reduction, so we wouldn't rely on it 100%. Since the Pentax K-X is very reasonably priced, consider the video mode a bonus since most DSLRs don't even have one in this price range.
All in all, the K-X delivers in both good lighting and low lighting, and is our top recommendation for shooting baby photos. It's very reasonably priced, a plus since you probably need to save money for baby food and clothes!
2) Pentax K200D
We think the K200D from Pentax offers the best bang for you buck for shooting baby photos and ideal for beginners.
The K200D is a pretty compact designed DSLR that has a comfortable grip. It's fairly protected from dust and water, but it's not entirely waterproof.
You can buy the Pentax K200D with the body only, or the kit lens which is a 18-55 mm focal length range, and f/3.5-5.6 maximum aperture range, fairly typical.
Performance met our expectations. From start up to first shoot takes just .2 seconds (pretty fast, huh?), and focus to shot takes .5 seconds with no flash, and .6 seconds with the flash. Shutter lag is just .4 seconds and the burst mode is 3 frames per second. Pretty good numbers overall.
The image quality is also solid. Colors are fairly accurate - if you have a really keen eye you might notice something off, but the results are more then acceptable. We took several portraits of babies with this camera, and all of the photos turned out to be very sharp, with fine details. Even when we used a high ISO of 1600, the details were still there. You will see some noise, but the results will be more than pleasing.
Overall, we highly recommend this camera. It offers great performance and image quality for a low reasonable price. While it lacks some features such as a live view mode, it's more on the affordable side.
3) Nikon D90 DX
The D90 DX is a more expensive camera for those that really are serious about having the highest quality baby photos.
We took several baby photos with these camera, and posted them to Facebook for everyone to see. Everybody was curious and asked us what camera we used. The photos looked so crisp, detailed with vivid colors. The D90 DX performs good noise reduction at high ISOs. We compared photos taken in a high ISO level of 3200 with the D90 and other similar cameras like the D300, and the D90 produced better, more accurate, though a bit underexposed photos. Like the other 2 cameras here, the D90's high ISO performance will come in handy when taking photos of your babies in low light conditions.
The performance of the D90 is amongst the fastest in its class. It takes just .2 seconds to power up and shoot, and shutter lag is just .4 seconds for good light, and .9 seconds for dim light. Continuous shooting takes .5 seconds, while burst mode speed is a pretty decent .7 secs. So when your baby becomes bigger, and starts to run, the D90 should handle those close up action shots very well.
This is a great camera to hold, and comfortable as well. If you've used any Nikon SLR before you should quickly be familiar with all the controls. If you're switching from Canon or another brand, it shouldn't take long until you figure how to change the ISO, white balance and everything else.
The D90 DX also has a live view, which can be convenient at times. The movie mode also lets you take videos of your newborn baby. At 24 frames per second, and 1280 X 740 pixel motion JPEG, this is actually one of the better video quality DSLRs in the market. Unfortunately HD clips are maxed out at 5 minutes.
Overall, the D90 earns our recommendations because it offers such a fun, easy shooting experience that produces high quality photos in both good and dim lighting conditions indoors. It's considered a good bang for your buck DSLR at under $1000.