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08-23-2017, 12:35 AM   #1
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RTogog's Avatar

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Pentax RE type lens

What do you think of this RE (retractable) type lens ?

Pentax DA 18-50mm f / 4-5.6 HD DC WR RE
Pentax DA 55-300mmF4.5-6.3 HD ED PLM WR RE

I am quite happy and warmly welcome when Pentax introduced this lens some time ago.

These lenses make traditional DSLRs more compact and challenging the mirrorless camera and are ideal when traveling.

I really hope this type of lens not only stops here but is followed by the next production which takes into account the optical side enhancement and the durability of its construction.

Regards,
RTogog

08-23-2017, 01:16 AM   #2
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Don't want to be the party pooper here, but I'm generally fairly sceptical of those retractable designs.

Mechanically, the retracting mechanism is just one more thing that can wear and ultimately break. How fumbly it is, I can't tell from personal experience. Optically, the new DA 55-300 RE may be a hair better than the earlier DA 55-300s, but the DA 18-50 has little to offer over the older DA 18-55mm (HD coating, perhaps). Aperture-wise, both lenses are slightly slower than their counterparts, although they have more sophisticated AF drives.

I dig why Ricoh is doing it and what kind of user this may appeal to, but personally I'd rather see more conventional-design updates. It's not that Pentax APS-C lenses are bulky to begin with.
08-23-2017, 01:49 AM - 1 Like   #3
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The 55-300 PLM RE is very good lens in it's price range. I had the HD version and this new design is definitly better at the long end. But the main advantage is it fits in my bag without packing out all the primes or a normal zoom.
08-23-2017, 05:15 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by Madaboutpix Quote
the DA 18-50 has little to offer over the older DA 18-55mm
Based on my experience of both lenses, I have to disagree with this assessment.

The DA 18-50 has a much nicer rendering than the muddy DA 18-55 II,
and the retractable design makes it much more compact to carry.

I've found that you do need to help the mechanics along when closing the DA 18-50.
Gentle pressure on the front of the barrel as you turn the zoom ring to retract,
at least at the beginning.

08-23-2017, 07:25 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by Madaboutpix Quote
Don't want to be the party pooper here, but I'm generally fairly sceptical of those retractable designs.

Mechanically, the retracting mechanism is just one more thing that can wear and ultimately break. How fumbly it is, I can't tell from personal experience. Optically, the new DA 55-300 RE may be a hair better than the earlier DA 55-300s, but the DA 18-50 has little to offer over the older DA 18-55mm (HD coating, perhaps). Aperture-wise, both lenses are slightly slower than their counterparts, although they have more sophisticated AF drives.

I dig why Ricoh is doing it and what kind of user this may appeal to, but personally I'd rather see more conventional-design updates. It's not that Pentax APS-C lenses are bulky to begin with.
I have both of them, and their predecessors. I love their compact size in my bag- a very valuable asset. The 18-50 came as a package deal with the K-S2, as I recall, and it definitely does out-perform the original optically, but I find the retract mechanism a bit wonky. Very good IQ for a kit lens.
The 55-300 PLM, though. This lens is a JEWEL. The retract system is more evolved and is no problem at all to actuate. The lens is solid and tight (although the zoom is a bit too tight, due to the WR) and it's amazingly light. And the IQ just blows away the older optics- it's very sharp and free from most of the usual optical maladies- so much improved over the original! The auto focus is the best and fastest that Pentax has in a DA lens, and I'm very happy with it, it's a go-to lens.
08-23-2017, 09:35 AM   #6
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I bought a used 18-50 precisely because of its small size when collapsed. Other than a Sigma 70-200 it is my only zoom lens as I now have all the DA non macro limiteds. I like it. Surprisingly it spends most of its time mount on my IR converted K01. I would not get the 55-300 as I shoot a K5iis 😣
08-23-2017, 05:08 PM - 1 Like   #7
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I shoot mostly primes (DA Limiteds) but wanted a good quiet focusing zoom for those outings where I do not want to change lenses. I ended up passing up the HD DA 18-50 because of the reviews which seemed to indicate it is somewhat a flimsy lens. Thats too bad since it otherwise has everything that I would have wanted, WR, quiet autofocus and compact. Many users seem to like it so it is possible it would have been a good choice. I ended up getting a used DA 16-85 in like new condition and this is a really nice lens but bigger and heavier than I was originally looking for. Being used to high build quality lenses, I can only wonder how I would have perceived the HD DA 18-50.
I did buy the HD DA 55-300 PLM and this has become a lens that I take with me all of the time. Nothing flimsy about this lens, it is well built, sharp enough for my needs and compact. Not the least of which is super quick and quiet autofocus. I have had the lens for a year now and no worries about durability. The only issue and it is a very minor one is the hood is a bit loose and wobbly. Not the lens barrel, absolutely no wobble there. This has become one of my favorite lenses.

Last edited by jddwoods; 08-23-2017 at 05:08 PM. Reason: correct typos
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