35mm f/2.8 macro: a good baby lens for SLR?

Jeremy Z

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Jan 4, 2007
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I've been thinking about the Pentax Limited 35mm f/2.8 Macro for my Pentax dSLR. I wanted to get the forum's opinions on a lens like this for baby photography. (my wife is due in a month) The camera has a 1.5x crop factor.

1) For those of you who have a similar lens for your dSLR, what do you think of it in general?

2) Do you find this is a better lens for baby work than a 50mm f/2?

3) If you have a similar lens, do you find it is a reasonable lens to leave on for all around work? Specifically, compared to a kit zoom lens. The macro will be sharper and faster, so I won't need flash as often. But no wide angle or telephoto. I figure, initially at least, she won't be moving much, and I can move back as I see fit.

4) Other lenses I have: 18-55 f/3.5-5.6 kit lens. It's a very nice kit lens; better than average. 55-200 f/4-5.6 telephoto. 50mm f/2 manual focus with auto exposure. (older Pentax manual focus lenses didn't have the 'A' on the aperture ring for use with modern cameras)

I also have this wonderful brand new Olympus XZ-1, which I should probably be using, instead of thinking about dropping $500 on a new SLR lens, but you know how it goes. I want to have the perfect tool for the things I shoot the most of, and for the next 15-20 years, I think it will be our daughter. ;)

Edit: Here's the lens in question: http://www.amazon.com/Pentax-2-8-Ma...UTF8&coliid=IAK8IOZ5W4OCB&colid=28I78N2NAL6TG
I can't speak to this lens specifically, but a few general thoughts: Pentax has always made excellent glass, and I doubt that you would go wrong with any of their products. That said however, I think given the physical size of an infant to young child, even on a crop-sensor body, I would prefer the added reach of a 50mm. I think as well that the 1/2 stop afforded by the f2 aperture of the 50mm would be beneficial.
Good points, tirediron.

However, going from f/2.8 to f/2 is a full stop. (which makes your point even stronger)
Before you get ahead of yourself with a lens... How are you lighting these newborn photographs? A lot of newborn photography is done with flash, and even at f/2.8 (on the 35mm) or f/2 on the 50mm, you're still going to be at least at ISO 400 indoors with available light.

You may get solid results if you bought a cheap off camera flash, umbrella, and a trigger to use with your kit lens. That is unless you're thinking you're going to do available light photography, which would be kind of tough with a newborn, but not impossible.
Before you get ahead of yourself with a lens... How are you lighting these newborn photographs?

I've got a good bounce flash for the Pentax, but no umbrella or anything.

I was thinking I'd like to try to do it with natural light, so as not to be blasting her in the face with flash all the time. I don't want her to grow up resenting cameras!

I plan on shooting at ISO 800; there's not much noise at ISO 800 on my K100D.

I agree about the low light; it will be tricky indoors during the evenings. I'll try to use window light during the day.
Keep in mind that most newborns will likely be asleep for the photoshoot, so using flash shouldn't be an issue.

As far as I've read, flash doesn't negatively effect newborns or children... So it may help you out to have the added light from the bounce flash. If you can get away with windowlight and a reflector, go for it. The 35 or the 50 should do just fine in that scenario.

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