Initial Test Results: Pentax 100mm F/2.8 WR Macro

I really should have known better than to buy the kit lens, since one of my nicknames is F/stop. A misguided frugality won that battle, however, and now I've missed a lot of shots and worn down the contacts on the one good prime lens I own because I hate to use the nasty 18-55mm F/3.5 that Pentax bundles with its lovely camera bodies. Enter for some auditions. 

I haven't relaxed for more than a few hours at a time since early September, so now that my job applications are sent and a flower photo contest deadline looms, a telephoto macro takes the stage to bring some much-needed fun. I would have to save for years to purchase this one -- it retails at close to $800 -- but I'm obsessed with both sharpness and close-up photography. Sticker shock may have biased my first impressions, however. The lens hunts for focus noisily and long, has no focus limiter, and is useless for handheld portraits at shutter speeds under 125. But then it gave me this:

1/60 sec at F/2.8, ISO 200, no post-processing besides watermarking/resizing for web. Ranunculus flower.

Straight-out-of-camera sharpness like that, with no evident signs of vignetting, edge distortions, or  or chromatic aberration? Pretty satisfying. Post-processing this one will be a joy rather than triage. This lens is a one-trick pony, but it is probably also the best in its class. I don't see myself needing the weather sealing for macro work, and I'll probably replace my kit lens with a Sigma 17-50mm F/2.8 walkabout first. That said, I shoot macro enough that I'm putting this specialty number on my wish list, though I might try to compare it to the Tamron 90mm F/2.8 Macro that is getting such good reviews. Maybe once I have a telephoto macro and a fast standard-range zoom, I'll never want another lens.

Yep. Because that's exactly how lens envy works.