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04-14-2017, 07:27 PM   #1
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DA or DA L

Hi
New to Pentax and was wondering if there is a difference between the 55-300mm DA lens and the 55-300mm DA L, is one an older model. I have just purchased the DA L version and was wondering if i bought the right one.

Thanks In Advance
Tim

04-14-2017, 07:35 PM - 1 Like   #2
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Welcome to the forum Tim.

There are a number of different 55-300's. See here Pentax DA Zoom Lenses - Reviews and Specifications - SLR and Interchangeable Lenses - Pentax Lens Reviews & Lens Database and here Pentax DA L Zoom Lenses - Reviews and Specifications - SLR and Interchangeable Lenses - Pentax Lens Reviews & Lens Database.
04-14-2017, 07:38 PM   #3
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Same optics for the F4-5.8 variants, but the DA L doesn't give you full time manual focus override and it has a plastic mount.

There's also a new 55-300mm F4.5-6.3 PLM with lightning-fast focus.

Adam
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04-14-2017, 07:46 PM   #4
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Thanks Guys

04-15-2017, 04:44 AM   #5
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I have the DA L version of this lens and love it - it's light, has a huge range, accurate colors, and focuses reasonably quick (for a 'superzoom')...
04-15-2017, 05:18 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Wizhunter Quote
Hi
New to Pentax and was wondering if there is a difference between the 55-300mm DA lens and the 55-300mm DA L, is one an older model. I have just purchased the DA L version and was wondering if i bought the right one.

Thanks In Advance
Tim
What model camera do you have? I would go straight for the PLM version if you have K50, K-3 or newer. Between the older DA and DAL versions the DA has one significant advantage with quick shift which can effectively reduce screwdrive noise by allowing you to manually pre-focus close to your subject and let autofocus just do the fine focus. That worked for me when shooting birds until I upgraded the firmware on my K-3 and got the PLM version. I do not pre-focus with the PLM version, it is so fast and quiet I just use autofocus for everything I shoot with it. Also I do not use my HD DA 55-300 anymore.
04-15-2017, 07:23 AM   #7
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Bought the 55-300mm DA L, i normally don't rush in and buy without checking but i did this time. I am starting to wish i hadn't got the DA L version now, as long as the images are ok it won't bother me too much. Really wanting the Sigma 50-500 for my wildlife shooting, then maybe a Nifty Fifty
04-15-2017, 12:06 PM   #8
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I have always thought of DA L lenses as the 'cheapie' versions with their plastic mounts and often lack of included lens hoods. I got an 18-55mm DA L lens with my K30, took a couple of shots with it to confirm it was functional and promptly sold it off with another camera. I saw no reason to keep it when I already had two 18-55mm DA lenses. Later, when I decided I wanted a WR (weather resistant) lens to use with my weather resistant camera bodies, I found a very reasonably priced 55-200mm DA L WR lens and while hesitant to pull the trigger at first because of the plastic mount, I'm glad I did. It's just about the sharpest lens I own. I have now revised my position on DA L lenses and now feel like they can represent a good value proposition if you can get one inexpensively that's in nice shape. Just remember to be careful with the plastic mount and keep in mind you may need to purchase a lens hood to go with it.

04-15-2017, 01:07 PM   #9
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Lens hoods are super cheap on ebay (just get a no-name one, pentax branded ones are pretty expensive for a piece of plastic.)

Biggest difference is the quickshift and plastic mount. As long as your careful, the plastic mount should last you years (I had a DA L 18-55 kit lens for probably 5-6 years, and never once had an issue). Quick shift is definitely nice, but unless you need to reduce the screw-drive noise, the amount you save in overall cost can easily be a bigger selling point.

I bought the HD DA 55-300 because it was WR, and at the time, they hadn't released the upgrade to the firmware for the KA4 mount. And I plan on using it for wildlife. If I wasn't, I would have easily spent over half as much on a DA version. I've seen tons and tons of beautiful pictures taken from DAL versions.

**less than half. I paid 300cdn for it brand new, and a DAL would have run me maybe 120 at the time. It was a hard decision with that much difference**

Last edited by Ragnarkov; 04-15-2017 at 06:27 PM.
04-16-2017, 05:26 AM   #10
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Thanks for the advice, from what i have seen of the Lens with the images posted on the forum, i think it maybe a good lens to use and am now looking forward to it. Roll on Thursday when the camera should arrive
04-16-2017, 05:07 PM   #11
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To underline Adam's point, the DA-L 55-300 has the same optics as the DA and DA WR versions (the WR version has newer coatings), for considerably less money. The plastic mount is more durable than it looks. QuickShift and WR are nice to have, but aren't related to image quality. Buy a generic hood for $5 and you are set.

For about $US120-160, it's one of the best value buys around. It can produce very good images.

Use it for a while and enjoy it. If you decide to upgrade to the PLM 55-300, you won't lose much on selling the DA-L.

As for the Sigma 50-500, it's known as the Bigma for good reason. A 2kg lens is a beast to carry and use. If you haven't shot much telephoto before, the 55-300 is a good lens to start practising with. Works nicely with the K-S2 as a walk-around combination. Even if you end up buying something with more reach, you will probably still want to keep a 55-300 as a lightweight and portable option.

Technique matters a lot in shooting with long lenses. See this very helpful article: Making the Most of Long Exposure Handhelds - Introduction - In-Depth Articles (It's about long exposures, but it's really about steadiness generally.)

Last edited by Des; 04-19-2017 at 02:37 PM.
04-16-2017, 05:48 PM   #12
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QuoteQuote:
Same optics for the F4-5.8 variants, but the DA L doesn't give you full time manual focus override and it has a plastic mount.

There's also a new 55-300mm F4.5-6.3 PLM with lightning-fast focus.
And no hood. (?)
04-16-2017, 11:28 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by SpecialK Quote
And no hood. (?)
Correct. No hood was supplied with the DA-L when it was new (as people have mentioned above). But a bayonet-fit hood costs about $5.

Last edited by Des; 04-19-2017 at 02:36 PM.
04-19-2017, 08:02 AM - 1 Like   #14
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Got a used DA L 55-300 today and it came with a hood although i am not a big fan of them, can't wait for some decent weather to use it
04-19-2017, 02:41 PM   #15
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Enjoy it Wizhunter. I take it the camera arrived too? K-S2 wasn't it?

One tip with the 55-300: try to stop down one or two stops at the telephoto end, if the light allows. Resolution is better at f8-f11.
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