One of my most favorite things in the world is getting a new lens to play with. I have a fairly complete lens kit now, not totally complete but fairly complete. The lack I addressed with this purchase was for an autofocus portrait length lens (50-55mm on APS-C cameras) I have an old manual focus 50mm f1.4 which is a great lens, though the color rendering has always left me a little meh. It was also devilishly hard to focus wide open or close to it. Thus making it a little hard for fast progressing photo shoots (Engagement shoots etc...) that I really don't have the time to manually fine tune the focus. So... I searched, and looked, and asked around, I considered a bunch of lenses, both older autofocus designs, and newer. I had the luxury of being able to take my time and make a rational decision. The lens I purchased, the Pentax DA*55mm f1.4, fit the bill for me nicely. I bought it used from KEH.com, but in essentially new condition. My primary considerations were that it had to have the best Image Quality of the available choices in the range from f2.0 to f4.0, and I wanted it to be weather resistant. That last quality was the one that narrowed down my choices to only one. I already have one WR lens (my DFA 100mm f2.8 Macro) and I really wished to have another lens of a shorter focal length for poor weather shooting. Now I just need to get Pentax/Ricoh to make a 24mm f2.0 lens in a WR casing. That would just ice the cake for me.
Back to the new lens, I received it in good working order, and while biking to work the next day had a bad accident and gave myself a grade III separated shoulder. Putting a crimp in my plans to spend time testing my lens... (Boo!) After healing a bit, I did some medium distance testing of sharpness, and the lens did just fine, after dialing in +10 focus correction. I could probably use +12 or 13 but that will have to be done at a service center that has calibration equipment, and at F2.0 and better I get the focus plane where it needs to be.
I haven't had a chance to do a portrait session, just a few quick snaps of family members (Which I don't post on this public blog), BUT I did get to try it as a walk around lens in downtown Salt Lake City for a few minutes last monday and was very favorably impressed.
This shot was taken at f3.2, plenty sharp and excellent colors.
f4.0 and looking nearly straight up, the building is sharp and the clouds sharp enough.
So far I really like what I have, as I learn the quirks I think it will be a valuable lens for me.