Forgot Password
Pentax Camera Forums Home
 

Reply
Show Printable Version Search this Thread
11-29-2017, 01:44 PM - 2 Likes   #16
Des
Loyal Site Supporter
Loyal Site Supporter
Des's Avatar

Join Date: Jan 2014
Location: Sth Gippsland Victoria Australia
Photos: Albums
Posts: 3,652
QuoteOriginally posted by mikesbike Quote
I also have the very fine KP. I have the DA 55-300mm HD WR, and I highly recommend it. There is very little image quality difference between it and the PLM version. The PLM is reported as faster AF, while my version has a longer focus rotation, which is better for MF fine tuning. The PLM is also internal-focusing, so it will have focus breathing- a shorter FL than specified when shooting at less than long distance. My shot of a bird on a branch taken at 35 ft will likely be significantly larger in the frame than the same shot taken with the PLM version.

I had the original DA 55-300 for a long time (same formula, different coatings for the newer HD WR) but I damaged the front filter threads, otherwise it works fine, so I gave it to friends along with my little K-r body. I have noticed a slight improvement in image quality in terms of contrast compared with the original model, which was already very good. The PLM model is more compact but is slower in aperture. My lens can keep to f/4-4.5 all the way out to 200mm with fine quality, and it is still compact for its FL. It comes with a very good lens hood, and the price is not bad, even new.

If you need the fastest possible AF for shooting fast action at a distance in good lighting, the PLM version has the advantage.

The DA 50-200mm is very compact and lightweight, but it is not as well-built, and imaging is not as good, especially at its longer end. Mine has been gathering dust for years- one of those I should sell!
@Mikesbike has summed up well the comparison between the 55-300 models, but I would emphasize some differences.

I have the DA-L 55-300 and the DA 55-300 PLM. The former cost me about $US120 and the latter close to $US400. Each takes 58mm filters.

The DA-L has the same formula as the DA and DA WR 55-300 f4-5.8, except that the DA WR has newer coatings. Each has screw-driven AF, which is not necessary slow but rather noisy. The DA-L has a plastic mount, isn't supplied with a hood (I got a generic one for a few dollars) and doesn't have Quick Shift, it weighs 425g. The DA adds a metal mount, hood and QS; it weighs 440g. The WR has a metal mount, hood, QS, plus WR and the new HD and SP coatings; it weighs 450g. The construction and build of the WR version seem nicer. Each is a non-internal focus lens, which means that the front element extends during focusing and the degree of magnification of the subject remains constant. For photographing wildlife this is a significant advantage, compared to an IF lens (where the degree of magnification for a given focal length varies - the effective magnification for say 300mm won't be what you would expect, if at all, until the lens is focused to infinity). The flip side of non-IF is that each of the screw-driven versions has a relatively long minimum focus distance of 1.4 metres.

The PLM is a different formula (14 elements in 11 groups). It weighs about the same (440g) and is WR. The construction and build quality are very good. It extends to about the same length but it folds away much smaller. You turn the zoom ring past 55mm and it clicks into a retracted position. There is a button on the zoom ring to release it. The retracting feature works well for me and is very useful. I think the HD and SP coatings are the same as on the screw-driven WR version - it you are used to these coatings on Limited lenses, it is worth getting a version that also has them.

The PLM's shorter MFD of 0.95 metres is a significant advantage.

There is not a lot optically between the screw-driven 55-300 and the PLM, especially at f8. The widest aperture on the PLM is a little slower at a number of focal lengths (e.g. f4.5 v f4 at 55-125mm, f6.3 v f5.8 at 300mm), but in practice I don't think that matters much, for two reasons. First, the widest aperture on the PLM only goes to f6.3 at about 280mm [edit: 260mm, not 280 - see post below]; if you want f5.6 at the long end, just stay under 280mm [edit: 260mm]. Second, from my experience I'd say the PLM is noticeably better wide open or one stop down at the long end than the screw-driven version, which really needs to be stopped down to f8-f11 for best results. The PLM is surprisingly good wide open. It also has rounded blades and the bokeh is generally more pleasant - in fact it's really good for a consumer zoom. (Consistently better than the 18-135 for example.)

And of course the PLM's real party trick is its amazing AF. Almost silent, and almost instant. Even the DC lenses don't come close.

I've only got one DA Ltd, the 20-40 zoom which I acquired recently. But I do have the DFA 100 which is a de facto Limited, and I have the FA 43 Ltd and FA 77 Ltd. I know what the Limited look and feel means. If you want a (non-*) zoom lens that won't feel lonely in a bag of Limiteds, it's definitely the PLM rather than the screw-driven 55-300.

PLM example attached.

Attached Images
View Picture EXIF
PENTAX K-3  Photo 

Last edited by Des; 11-30-2017 at 11:22 PM.
11-29-2017, 03:29 PM - 1 Like   #17
Pentaxian
E-man's Avatar

Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 554
I have the DA L 50-200 WR and from an optical standpoint, it has been a pleasant surprise from day one. My main complaint is the plastic mounting base.
11-29-2017, 05:17 PM - 1 Like   #18
Pentaxian




Join Date: Dec 2016
Posts: 597
If you are going to spend the money... Do a non DA-L 55-300... Either the PLM or the very fine (not super quick focusing) HD WR works too. I have the HD WR version what is still screw drive, but really for a nice consumer grade lens it fits the bill. When new on sale for 300 USD it can't be beat brand new for the money. The image quality it delivers for the price and size are very respectable. I second the thought of passing on a DA 50-200 NOT worth messing with when optically the 55-300 is a better lens, PLUS it goes out that much farther on the long end... Isn't that the point of a telephoto? If you really only want to go out to 200mm and want TRUE Limited level performance than the D FA * 70-200 F2.8 is the way to go - after some focus adjustments I just LOVE mine. However that is not anywhere in the ball park of the other two. For me the 300 vs. 450 USD price difference along with the slight slower F stop made the standard HD WR model the one I picked, as I knew I would get another few telephotos. (Within the next year I had both the DA * 300 F4 and the D FA * 70-200 F2.8 so I figured the I would be covered.)

Moral of the story if you are considering a DA 55-300 just get one - if price is an issue or you like manually focusing get the HD WR version when it goes on sale for 300 bucks it is hard to beat. If you need faster focusing get the PLM version it is an awesome lens too.

Let us know what you decide.
11-29-2017, 06:09 PM - 3 Likes   #19
Pentaxian
jddwoods's Avatar

Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: Newark, Delaware
Posts: 892
I have both the HD DA 55-300 and the PLM version, both bought new. The difference in sharpness is minor, the PLM slightly better. What really makes the difference is autofocus. The HD DA screwdrive is my slowest and nosiest autofocus lens. For photographing birds I usually used quick shift to coarse focus which minimized screwdrive noise. The PLM on the other hand is the complete opposite, it is both the quietest and fastest autofocusing lens I own, even faster than lenses such DA 15, 21 and 40 Limiteds and also faster and quieter than the DA 16-85. If fast and quiet autofocus is something you value then definitely go for this version. I also suggest you see the in depth review of the PLM version on this forum. It has an embedded you tube video where you can see and hear the difference. Good Luck either version is well worth it! One final item, the PLM build quality is noticeably better. Just as Des posted above, this lens feels right at home in my bag with limited primes.


Last edited by jddwoods; 11-29-2017 at 06:17 PM. Reason: added content
11-29-2017, 06:46 PM - 1 Like   #20
Pentaxian
swanlefitte's Avatar

Join Date: May 2015
Location: New Orleans
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 2,070
Dal 50-200 only used in rain, compact but i never liked it. Now i have the 55-300 plm. I wll never use the 50-200 again
My takumar primes, 135, 150, 200, might have better iq. But will see little use because wr and af.
11-29-2017, 07:11 PM   #21
Senior Member
BATMON's Avatar

Join Date: Aug 2013
Posts: 191
Just purchased the PLM today.
Cant wait to use it.
I had the noisy WR for years and im going to have to get used to the silence.
11-30-2017, 01:28 AM   #22
Bui
Senior Member




Join Date: Nov 2016
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 197
Original Poster
QuoteOriginally posted by mikesbike Quote
I also have the very fine KP. I have the DA 55-300mm HD WR, and I highly recommend it. There is very little image quality difference between it and the PLM version. The PLM is reported as faster AF, while my version has a longer focus rotation, which is better for MF fine tuning. The PLM is also internal-focusing, so it will have focus breathing- a shorter FL than specified when shooting at less than long distance. My shot of a bird on a branch taken at 35 ft will likely be significantly larger in the frame than the same shot taken with the PLM version.

I had the original DA 55-300 for a long time (same formula, different coatings for the newer HD WR) but I damaged the front filter threads, otherwise it works fine, so I gave it to friends along with my little K-r body. I have noticed a slight improvement in image quality in terms of contrast compared with the original model, which was already very good. The PLM model is more compact but is slower in aperture. My lens can keep to f/4-4.5 all the way out to 200mm with fine quality, and it is still compact for its FL. It comes with a very good lens hood, and the price is not bad, even new.

If you need the fastest possible AF for shooting fast action at a distance in good lighting, the PLM version has the advantage.

The DA 50-200mm is very compact and lightweight, but it is not as well-built, and imaging is not as good, especially at its longer end. Mine has been gathering dust for years- one of those I should sell!
Thank you for your advice. I don't do a lot of action photography, but say, I'm in a stand watching a kids show, or a football match, is the non-PLM 55-300 AF fast and accurate enough?

Also I currently have an offer of a DAL 50-200 for just 40 euros, now after reading all of your advises, doing a bit of search, knowing that for sure one day I will get the 55-300, I don't know that 40e would be a good "interim" investment, or a waste of money anyway, it's still money at the end of the day
11-30-2017, 01:35 AM   #23
Pentaxian
Paul the Sunman's Avatar

Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Melbourne
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 2,065
The 50-200 would just gather dust once you have the 55-300.

11-30-2017, 01:36 AM   #24
Bui
Senior Member




Join Date: Nov 2016
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 197
Original Poster
QuoteOriginally posted by UncleVanya Quote
I wrote and wrote but let me ask before I respond further:

Since the primes cover 98% of the need - what is the need exactly? Would a prime of a slightly longer nature be sufficient to cover most of the gap? Would 100mm work, 150mm? 200? 300? Do you really think you will use the zoom given your prime background?
Hi, thank you for your question. The fact that I don't have much need for telephoto (but it's still there) is exactly the reason why I want to invest of a versatile telezoom instead of a teleprime. Opportunity to take a telephoto raises occasionally, but it also varies, for example, a church, a top of mountain 3km from my standpoint, sometime it's an animal running pass the forest, or every once in a while, I go to the stadium watching football. My little girl is also going to school next year, and I'm imagining sitting on the stand watching her performing a show with friends (a little bit to far maybe). But I would hesitate to invest in a long prime, they're are generally expensive, and I'm not sure which focal length would cover all those kinds of thing.

On the short side, although I have some DA ltd primes, I also have the 20-40 zooms to do most of the tasks when travelling

---------- Post added 11-30-17 at 01:39 AM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by Des Quote
@Mikesbike has summed up well the comparison between the 55-300 models, but I would emphasize some differences.

I have the DA-L 55-300 and the DA 55-300 PLM. The former cost me about $US120 and the latter close to $US400. Each takes 58mm filters.

The DA-L has the same formula as the DA and DA WR 55-300 f4-5.8, except that the DA WR has newer coatings. Each has screw-driven AF, which is not necessary slow but rather noisy. The DA-L has a plastic mount, isn't supplied with a hood (I got a generic one for a few dollars) and doesn't have Quick Shift, it weighs 425g. The DA adds a metal mount, hood and QS; it weighs 440g. The WR has a metal mount, hood, QS, plus WR and the new HD and SP coatings; it weighs 450g. The construction and build of the WR version seem nicer. Each is a non-internal focus lens, which means that the front element extends during focusing and the degree of magnification of the subject remains constant. For photographing wildlife this is a significant advantage, compared to an IF lens (where the degree of magnification for a given focal length varies - the effective magnification for say 300mm won't be what you would expect, if at all, until the lens is focused to infinity). The flip side of non-IF is that each of the screw-driven versions has a relatively long minimum focus distance of 1.4 metres.

The PLM is a different formula (14 elements in 11 groups). It weighs about the same (440g) and is WR. The construction and build quality are very good. It extends to about the same length but it folds away much smaller. You turn the zoom ring past 55mm and it clicks into a retracted position. There is a button on the zoom ring to release it. The retracting feature works well for me and is very useful. I think the HD and SP coatings are the same as on the screw-driven WR version - it you are used to these coatings on Limited lenses, it is worth getting a version that also has them.

The PLM's shorter MFD of 0.95 metres is a significant advantage.

There is not a lot optically between the screw-driven 55-300 and the PLM, especially at f8. The widest aperture on the PLM is a little slower at a number of focal lengths (e.g. f4.5 v f4 at 55-125mm, f6.3 v f5.8 at 300mm), but in practice I don't think that matters much, for two reasons. First, the widest aperture on the PLM only goes to f6.3 at about 280mm; if you want f5.6 at the long end, just stay under 280mm. Second, from my experience I'd say the PLM is noticeably better wide open or one stop down at the long end than the screw-driven version, which really needs to be stopped down to f8-f11 for best results. The PLM is surprisingly good wide open. It also has rounded blades and the bokeh is generally more pleasant - in fact it's really good for a consumer zoom. (Consistently better than the 18-135 for example.)

And of course the PLM's real party trick is its amazing AF. Almost silent, and almost instant. Even the DC lenses don't come close.

I've only got one DA Ltd, the 20-40 zoom which I acquired recently. But I do have the DFA 100 which is a de facto Limited, and I have the FA 43 Ltd and FA 77 Ltd. I know what the Limited look and feel means. If you want a (non-*) zoom lens that won't feel lonely in a bag of Limiteds, it's definitely the PLM rather than the screw-driven 55-300.

PLM example attached.
Great post I would like to try the PLM AF too, but apart from convenience, is the difference in AF between the PLM and non-PLM really critical? For example between having a photo and not? Does the non-PLM hunt a lot?

---------- Post added 11-30-17 at 01:42 AM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by gm4life Quote
If you are going to spend the money... Do a non DA-L 55-300... Either the PLM or the very fine (not super quick focusing) HD WR works too. I have the HD WR version what is still screw drive, but really for a nice consumer grade lens it fits the bill. When new on sale for 300 USD it can't be beat brand new for the money. The image quality it delivers for the price and size are very respectable. I second the thought of passing on a DA 50-200 NOT worth messing with when optically the 55-300 is a better lens, PLUS it goes out that much farther on the long end... Isn't that the point of a telephoto? If you really only want to go out to 200mm and want TRUE Limited level performance than the D FA * 70-200 F2.8 is the way to go - after some focus adjustments I just LOVE mine. However that is not anywhere in the ball park of the other two. For me the 300 vs. 450 USD price difference along with the slight slower F stop made the standard HD WR model the one I picked, as I knew I would get another few telephotos. (Within the next year I had both the DA * 300 F4 and the D FA * 70-200 F2.8 so I figured the I would be covered.)

Moral of the story if you are considering a DA 55-300 just get one - if price is an issue or you like manually focusing get the HD WR version when it goes on sale for 300 bucks it is hard to beat. If you need faster focusing get the PLM version it is an awesome lens too.

Let us know what you decide.
Thank you for your advice, I will follow closely the price, and which I will get will be decided by which cheap one comes first (taken into account the difference in price between them)
11-30-2017, 03:05 AM   #25
Des
Loyal Site Supporter
Loyal Site Supporter
Des's Avatar

Join Date: Jan 2014
Location: Sth Gippsland Victoria Australia
Photos: Albums
Posts: 3,652
QuoteOriginally posted by Bui Quote
I would like to try the PLM AF too, but apart from convenience, is the difference in AF between the PLM and non-PLM really critical? For example between having a photo and not? Does the non-PLM hunt a lot?
For a fast-moving subject, like a bird in flight, yes the difference in AF speed can be critical. (I've got BIF shots with the PLM that I could not have got with the DA-L version.) Maybe also for fast-moving professional sport. For a young kid playing sport, or performing on a stage, probably less often.

Either version will hunt for focus if there is insufficient light/contrast; I can't say the PLM is clearly less prone to hunting than the screw-driven version (although I haven't done a direct comparison). Maybe the AF performance of the camera is a more important determinant of focus accuracy than any slight differences between the lenses in aperture or light transmission? That seems to be the view taken here: Hands-On with the Pentax DA 55-300mm PLM WR RE - Hands-On Tests | PentaxForums.com One way to look at it is that AF accuracy will be limited by your current body; the other is that as AF tech improves in successive camera models, the PLM will be more capable of taking advantage of it.

One other thing to remember is that the AF is notably loud on the screw-driven version - louder than any other screw-driven AF lens I have used - and notably quiet on the PLM. The difference matters for shooting easily-startled wildlife, and might also matter for a school concert.
11-30-2017, 03:33 AM - 1 Like   #26
Pentaxian
kh1234567890's Avatar

Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: Manchester, UK
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 2,543
QuoteOriginally posted by Bui Quote
Thank you for your advice. I don't do a lot of action photography, but say, I'm in a stand watching a kids show, or a football match, is the non-PLM 55-300 AF fast and accurate enough?

Also I currently have an offer of a DAL 50-200 for just 40 euros, now after reading all of your advises, doing a bit of search, knowing that for sure one day I will get the 55-300, I don't know that 40e would be a good "interim" investment, or a waste of money anyway, it's still money at the end of the day
As far as image quality goes there is not that much difference between my DA50-200 and DA55-300 - neither will be as good as your Limiteds. The DA55-300 is a fair bit bigger and heavier, mine often gets left at home only because of this. The extra reach of the DA55-300 is handy to have though. Quick shift (which the 'L's don't have) is useful with telephotos, but it depends on your shooting technique. 40e for the DA50-200 seems a nice price, if it is a good specimen.

Some shots : DA50-200WR and the old, non WR, DA55-300

Last edited by kh1234567890; 06-13-2018 at 03:26 PM.
11-30-2017, 04:47 AM   #27
Loyal Site Supporter
Loyal Site Supporter




Join Date: Dec 2016
Location: Ulfborg, Denmark
Photos: Albums
Posts: 303
I have the PLM lens, it's simply fantastic (said by an amateur photographer), fast AF even in low light, it's silent as well, high keepers rate which makes it a lot more fun to take pictures. My daughter has a Tamron 70-300mm lens for her K-S2, it's noisy (and slow) as a tractor, I almost feel guilty in a crime for giving it to her as a birthday present.
You can check some of my PLM pictures here (all the airplane and football/soccer pictures taken with the PLM lens): Keld Henningsen | Flickr
11-30-2017, 05:44 AM   #28
Seeker of Knowledge
Loyal Site Supporter
aslyfox's Avatar

Join Date: Aug 2016
Location: Topeka, Kansas
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 13,162
for anyone interested in spending money now, they should look at B & H

QuoteOriginally posted by anselesn Quote
As of this morning, nice reductions on the following:

DA 35 F2.4
55-300 PLM
DA 50 f1.8

All discounted at b&h. Possibly others, too. Didn’t check all.

Adam, how do we support the site with purchases through B&H? . . .
https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/94-pentax-price-watch/356803-price-drops...ml#post4146257

about $80.00 between cost of the PLM and WR versions of the 55 - 300mm

https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1008125-REG/pentax_hd_pentax_da_55_300mm_f_4_5_8.html $296.95

https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1259031-REG/pentax_21277_hd_pentax_da...f_4_5_6_3.html $371.95

Last edited by aslyfox; 11-30-2017 at 05:52 AM.
11-30-2017, 06:15 AM   #29
Bui
Senior Member




Join Date: Nov 2016
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 197
Original Poster
Nice price, but I'm living in Europe, unfortunately
11-30-2017, 06:24 AM   #30
Seeker of Knowledge
Loyal Site Supporter
aslyfox's Avatar

Join Date: Aug 2016
Location: Topeka, Kansas
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 13,162
QuoteOriginally posted by Bui Quote
Nice price, but I'm living in Europe, unfortunately
is it worth a phone call or email to find out shipping and other charges ?
Reply

Bookmarks
  • Submit Thread to Facebook Facebook
  • Submit Thread to Twitter Twitter
  • Submit Thread to Digg Digg
Tags - Make this thread easier to find by adding keywords to it!
af, coatings, da, da-l, hd, k-mount, lens, ltd, pentax, pentax lens, plm, price, slr lens, telephoto, telezoom, version, wr
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
DA 55-300 vs 55-300 PLM John A. Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 18 11-03-2017 06:18 AM
55-300 PLM or non-PLM version to K-1? Vignetting etc? HankVonHeaven Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 7 01-29-2017 09:54 AM
18-135 or new 55-300 PLM as an WR upgrade for old DA 55-300 - HELP :) gelokrol Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 6 12-15-2016 11:53 AM
Other PLM lenses or updates with plm motor? Pentigor Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 7 07-05-2016 11:00 AM
Should I get the 28-105, or, should I just get the 24-70? VoiceOfReason Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 22 05-20-2016 10:20 AM



All times are GMT -7. The time now is 04:25 PM. | See also: NikonForums.com, CanonForums.com part of our network of photo forums!
  • Red (Default)
  • Green
  • Gray
  • Dark
  • Dark Yellow
  • Dark Blue
  • Old Red
  • Old Green
  • Old Gray
  • Dial-Up Style
Hello! It's great to see you back on the forum! Have you considered joining the community?
register
Creating a FREE ACCOUNT takes under a minute, removes ads, and lets you post! [Dismiss]
Top