On Boxing Day I picked up Pentax’s DA* 50-135mm F2.8 zoom; herewith a picture and some notes; plus a super-ultra-hardcore lens-otaku link.
Another G1 · Not my phone I mean, it’s Panasonic’s new-ish “Micro four-thirds” camera, that being a system alleged to deliver SLR functionality into a smaller lighter package. It’s a lovely-looking little camera and apparently takes good pictures; if I weren’t so bought into Pentax and were looking for a new primary camera, I’d be considering it seriously. Unfortunately, there are only a couple of specialized lenses available for the new system. Fortunately, there are adapters available that let you attach almost any lens conceivable to it And 中村文夫 has been doing that; check out his illustrated write-up 「LUMIX DMC-G1」で楽しむマウントアダプター（ライカMマウント編）. In particular, search forward looking for “0.95”. Oh my goodness gracious.
Oh Yes, That New Lens · I’ve been living the ascetic prime-lens-only lifestyle for a few years now (see No Zoom, for example) and I’m still firmly attached to it, in particular for my favorite kind of photography, which is walking around an interesting place with a camera in my hand waiting for a picture to happen.
But lots of photos happen in set-piece situations, and what pushed me over the edge was the our son’s Christmas Concert last year; I just couldn’t get close enough for a good shot of the boy sawing angelically on his fiddle. A survey of the midrange-zoom market seemed to reveal a remarkable proportion of fannish gushing over this particular chunk of metal and glass. Also the “DA*” in the name means it’s got extra weather-sealing, which is a big deal up here in the Pacific Northwest. So I picked it up on Boxing Day at a camera store in Saskatchewan.
Wow, It’s Fun! · If you’re used to Pentax’s “pancake” primes, this lens seems just unreasonably big and heavy. Once you get past that, I’ve got no gripes at all. It’s smooth and fast to operate, really sharp, has elegant bokeh, and F2.8, with the K20’s image stabilization and decent ISO1600, makes it perfectly usable indoors except where really dim.
I can just barely stuff the camera, both pancake primes, and the new zoom in my cute little camera bag, at which point you’re walking slow and at a tilt.
But I don’t think I’ll work that way much. The decision procedure should be easy: For set-piece situations, the zoom will become the main lens I think. But for the woods or strange new cities or just walking around when the light’s good, I think I’ll stick to the pancakes.