Farewell to an Old Friend


I just mailed off my Pentax DA 12-24 f4 lens to an ebay purchaser. This was the first high-end lens in my collection and the second most valuable piece of glass I’ve ever owned. It was in many ways a very fine lens, capable of producing stunning images. Popular Photography selected it as “best in class” among APS-C wide-angle zooms. The lens had unique rendering properties that brought an extra sparkle and snap to the images. It also rendered blue and green as well as any lens I have ever used. But after purchasing an old 20mm lens earlier this year, I found myself using the lens less and less, and it just didn’t make sense to hold onto it. On my recent trip to Colorado, I found myself increasingly frustrating with the lens. I’m shooting more with primes nowadays, and only turn to zooms for focal ranges I don’t shoot at very often or when I need versatility. The DA 12-24, whatever it’s merits, is not a particularly versatile lens. In Colorado, I was always finding it to be too wide. It does a great job of covering the wide end of things; but it just lacks the versatility I need in a zoom. So I have replaced it with the cheaper but nearly as good DA 16-45 f4. When I need versatility, that lens will deliver in ways not possible for the DA 12-24.

Still, I will miss the 12-24. The ability to zoom out all the way to a 99º field-of-view is exhilarating; and the lens helped me take some of my favorite photographs: