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11-29-2017, 09:45 AM   #1
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55-200, 55-200 WR, 55-300, 55-300 PLM, etc, which telezoom I should get?

Hello again,

For Christmas (trying to find an excuse for LBA), I would like to add to my lens collection a telephoto lens (I only use DA limited lenses, and because of that, 70mm is the longest one in my gear). The DA Limiteds suit my need for 98% of the time, however, there are still some occasions I wish for a longer reach.

Since telephoto lens would be more of a bonus than a desperate need, I would like to by a compact telezoom (primes at this range are generally expensive and heavy, and not very flexible I would say), of course with acceptable image quality and acceptable price, I don't want to pay 400 for it.

Looking at an used 50-200, can be had for very cheap, I realize Pentax has several version of it (DA, DAL, WR), also there are the 55-300 family. Is there any big difference between IQ and weight between those? The 55-300 PLM seems nice, the most modern one, and I heard it had the fastest auto-focus of Pentax, but it will be on the more expensive side. Is it worth to get it, instead of just under 100 for a DAL 50-200?

Thanks.

11-29-2017, 09:55 AM   #2
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Only suggestion I can give you is to check the reviews under " Lenses " above and the market place
11-29-2017, 10:01 AM - 1 Like   #3
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50-200 is modest performer compared to 55-300 which is larger and slightly heavier.
11-29-2017, 10:36 AM - 1 Like   #4
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In general the 55-300 gets better marks than the 50-200. Other than price there is no reason (IMHO) to get the 50-200 instead of the 55-300. Which 55-300 is another question. The least expensive will be the DAL model which drops a few non-essential features in favor of price but is optically the same as the DA model. The DA PLM is different optically and otherwise but is of course more expensive.

11-29-2017, 10:46 AM   #5
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Okay, so conclusion for the moment is, 55-300 should be given priority over 50-200, DAL if I donít need WR or quick shift, PLM if I want the best IQ possible?
11-29-2017, 10:53 AM   #6
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I'd get the 55-300 RE PLM if only for the AF speed.
Assuming the camera is KAF4-compatible, of course.
11-29-2017, 11:24 AM   #7
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Mine is the KP, but Iím more interested in IQ and compactness than AF speed (of course itís very nice to have)
11-29-2017, 11:34 AM - 1 Like   #8
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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!


Last edited by mikesbike; 11-29-2017 at 11:45 AM.
11-29-2017, 11:44 AM   #9
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PLM should work on any Pentax DSLR supporting in-lens AF motors - that is, starting with the K10D (firmware 1.3) and K100D Super. But I never tested those cameras with the PLM lens.

KAF4 support is the issue here; and there are 8 cameras supporting KAF4: K-1, KP, K-3 II, K-3, K-70, K-S2, K-S1, K-50. A firmware update might be required.
11-29-2017, 11:45 AM - 1 Like   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Bui Quote
Mine is the KP, but I’m more interested in IQ and compactness than AF speed (of course it’s very nice to have)
QuoteOriginally posted by Kunzite Quote
PLM should work on any Pentax DSLR supporting in-lens AF motors - that is, starting with the K10D (firmware 1.3) and K100D Super. But I never tested those cameras with the PLM lens.

KAF4 support is the issue here; and there are 8 cameras supporting KAF4: K-1, KP, K-3 II, K-3, K-70, K-S2, K-S1, K-50. A firmware update might be required.


the 55 - 300mm PLM per the in depth review, will work with the KP right out of the box:

As a Pentax lens designed for digital, the 55-300mm PLM supports in-camera image corrections and alternate program lines (such as MTF).
*This lens uses an electric focus-by-wire system and will not focus (even manually) on cameras older than the Pentax K100D super (2006).
**Because the aperture is controlled electronically, this lens can only stop down when used with compatible cameras. The Pentax K-50, K-S1, K-S2, K-3, K-3 II, and K-1 are supported via a camera firmware update; the Pentax K-70, Pentax KP and all 2017 or newer bodies will work out of the box. The aperture diaphragm will always remain wide-open on unsupported bodies.
In an nutshell, this lens fully compatible with recent DSLRs but shouldn't be used on older bodies or film cameras.


Read more at: [url=https://www.pentaxforums.com/reviews/hd-pentax-da-55-300mm-f45-63-ed-plm-wr/specifications.html#ixzz4zqbfZYIC]HD Pentax-DA 55-300mm F4.5-6.3 PLM WR RE Review - Specifications | PentaxForums.com Reviews[/url
11-29-2017, 12:31 PM - 1 Like   #11
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Since you are generally accustomed to using Limited Primes, I personally feel that the 50-200mm would feel like a step down from your existing setup. In my experience, the 55-300mm WR lens is better performing than the 50-200mm. I'd love to try the new PLM version for the instantaneous focusing I've read about, but can't justify spending the money when I already have the 55-300mm WR.

If you do decide to go with the 50-200mm, many feel that the WR version is slightly better than the lesser versions. Anyway, one person's opinion.
11-29-2017, 01:05 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Kunzite Quote
KAF4 support is the issue here; and there are 8 cameras supporting KAF4: K-1, KP, K-3 II, K-3, K-70, K-S2, K-S1, K-50. A firmware update might be required.
Add to the list K-30 and K-500 running modified K-50 firmware. It's possible, because their hardware is so similar; they just have to be 'fooled' to accept FW intended for their younger sibling.
11-29-2017, 01:14 PM - 1 Like   #13
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Although not a top-grade lens, the DA 55-300 (non-PLM) is a very useful lens with pleasing rendering. I recommend it highly, either the SMC or HD version.
11-29-2017, 01:35 PM - 1 Like   #14
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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?
11-29-2017, 01:37 PM - 1 Like   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Bui Quote
Okay, so conclusion for the moment is, 55-300 should be given priority over 50-200, DAL if I don’t need WR or quick shift, PLM if I want the best IQ possible?
You got it. I've no experience with the PLM version but it gets very good marks. I have the DAL version, and was quite happy with it for a number of years. Replaced it with the DA*60-250 and passed it on to my wife.
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