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04-27-2018, 01:49 AM   #1
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Vulnerability of modern lenses

Since i am about to buy a HD Pentax-DA 55-300mm F4.5-6.3 PLM WR RE, I was wondering if any of you have experience with the build quality of this lens. To me it seems awfully fragile. Lots and lots of things to go wrong. Focusing, electronic diaphragm, collapsable lens etc. My favourite lens is the A 33-105 F3.5. 30 years old and still working and looking as if it was bought yesterday. I have no illusions about the 55-300 stil working after 30 years, but 10 would be nice.....
Wat do you think? Will it last a little?

04-27-2018, 02:21 AM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by bavd Quote
Wat do you think? Will it last a little?
The reviewers on this site seemed to feel that it was a step up in build quality over the DA 50-300/3.5-5.8 ED WR which is not a flimsy lens. OTOH, it is a new design with one key feature that is new to Pentax, that being use of an in-lens motor to control the aperture. If one is not fond of AF and prefers mechanical aperture coupling to the body along with all-metal construction in a zoom, then there are few choices that will give give you the 5x range and the optical quality. The Tamron SP 60-300/3.8-5.4 (23A) might be a contender. Even the youngest examples have already gone almost two decades.

HD Pentax-DA 55-300mm F4.5-6.3 PLM WR RE Review - Construction and Handling | PentaxForums.com Reviews


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04-27-2018, 06:04 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by bavd Quote
My favourite lens is the A 33-105 F3.5. 30 years old and still working and looking as if it was bought yesterday.
Yet people sometimes worry about the fragility of the aperture ring on A lenses.

Relax and enjoy your PLM!
04-27-2018, 06:18 AM   #4
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I have had the DAL 55-300 for 8 years. It is the cheap plasticky version and I haven't had any problems with it. I would expect the PLM to be even better.

04-27-2018, 07:29 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by lytrytyr Quote
Yet people sometimes worry about the fragility of the aperture ring on A lenses.
Only the one that is almost always broken!
(The Pentax-A 50/1.7 has a weak place in its aperture ring that has or will likely fail in a majority of copies, rendering the aperture ring very difficult/impossible to turn.)


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04-27-2018, 09:16 AM   #6
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Speaking of the A 50 1.7. I have it and the 55-300 plm. They are my most fragile lens. The 50 is from 1985 and still works fine. So 33 years of fragility and going strong. I ride my bike with the 55-300 with it clanking sometimes on the bike with no worries but i think if i dropped it it would break. Most
Lenses i would just hope they were not too damaged to still work. Its light weight and small size with decent iq make the trade off worth it in my opinion.
04-27-2018, 09:11 PM   #7
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I've got the 55-300 PLM and the DA-L 55-300. The build quality on the PLM is better - something like that of the DA 18-135.

My DA-L has developed a little bit of wobble in the barrel. Frankly, I think that's to be expected of most consumer telephoto zooms after some years of solid use, when the longish barrel is often extended.
04-28-2018, 02:53 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by bavd Quote
Since i am about to buy a HD Pentax-DA 55-300mm F4.5-6.3 PLM WR RE, I was wondering if any of you have experience with the build quality of this lens. To me it seems awfully fragile. Lots and lots of things to go wrong. Focusing, electronic diaphragm, collapsable lens etc. My favourite lens is the A 33-105 F3.5. 30 years old and still working and looking as if it was bought yesterday. I have no illusions about the 55-300 stil working after 30 years, but 10 would be nice.....
Wat do you think? Will it last a little?
anything is possible

and then there are things that are probable

I try to worry about probable

if buying new, you do have the warranty back up and some times you might be able to buy an extended service contract as well

04-28-2018, 09:03 AM   #9
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"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." George Santayana

I share the OP's concerns not only as to whether this lens is reliable (as the first and currently only Pentax PLM lens, we don't have that much to go on) but also as to how Pentax will respond if an issue does arise.

My longest lens is currently the 18 - 135 WR, which is not quite enough in some circumstances. (Birds. I can "zoom with my feet", but I can't fly... ) The 55 - 300 PLM with its small size, quicker focus, decent image quality and affordable price seems like a very good fit. I want to thank and reward Pentax for creating a lens like this and offering the firmware update that makes it possible to use it on my K50 and the way to do that is by buying one.

My camera is the K50, and it is now out of warranty. So far, I haven't had any aperture block problems myself, but I'm certainly aware of the issue. One of the reasons for choosing the PLM vs a now very affordable earlier versions of the 55 - 300 is that in the event that that issue occurred, I'd still be able to use the PLM lens. But the very fact that reason exists is what gives me pause. I was and am disappointed by Pentax's handling of the aperture block issue, both in terms of continuing to produce and ship cameras with the defect long after it became a known issue and the lack of support for people whose cameras experienced this out of warranty. What if this lens is susceptible to some yet unknown issue, and it shows up after the warranty expires?

I know I can buy an extended warranty, but that adds significantly to the cost, (and there's 13% sales tax on top of that...)

I'm also planning to get one, but I'm still not 100% sure.

Last edited by eyrr; 04-28-2018 at 09:16 AM.
04-28-2018, 10:13 AM   #10
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I like the idea of this lens for portability. My big concern with it is that it might not stack up well to my DA*60-250 in IQ, and I won't use it.
04-28-2018, 10:21 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by eyrr Quote
What if this lens is susceptible to some yet unknown issue, and it shows up after the warranty expires?
Well, if that is a concern and an extended warranty is not an option, then one would do well to purchase lenses and cameras from makers that offer either exceptional warranty terms or much lower than average defect rate. The unknown, after all, is incredibly difficult to anticipate.


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04-28-2018, 10:38 AM   #12
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I've had my 55-300 Pentax lens since June 2008...that's about 10 years. It was the first iteration of this lens...out on the market.

I've taken it on trips to many places, used it in cold weather...-25 to -30 C. I haven't had any problems with it so far...touch wood.
I also have a 35-105 A Macro zoom, since 1984...no problems with that either and many trips, many uses.

The old 35-105 appears to be built like a German tank with the precision of a Swiss watch...my 55-300 not so much. But I do take care of both of them, carry them in padded cases, put them..and camera body...down gently and this seems to work as far as keeping them going.

My experience...is that take care of your equipment and your equipment will last.
04-28-2018, 10:56 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
Well, if that is a concern and an extended warranty is not an option, then one would do well to purchase lenses and cameras from makers that offer either exceptional warranty terms or much lower than average defect rate. The unknown, after all, is incredibly difficult to anticipate.


Steve
Pentax's response to the unknown ( - defined as a defective component - ) is not at all difficult to anticipate. Possibly difficult to live with though.
04-28-2018, 12:05 PM - 1 Like   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by normhead Quote
My big concern with it is that it might not stack up well to my DA*60-250 in IQ, and I won't use it.
At distance i prefer my takumars, but like it better than my tamron 18-250. Surprisingly at the 250 end with the 1.4x tc up close it complements my sigma 70. When i just can't get close enough i won't think twice about it.

---------- Post added 04-28-18 at 12:34 PM ----------

I had just been out shooting my backyard with the 55-300plm 1.4x combo handheld but went to the sigma on tripod due to the angle I wanted. So here is a comparison close enough to give you and idea.
55-300 neither RAW was processed except a little exposure maybe.

70


The 55-300 is about 3 feet away and the sigma is about 3 inches away.

Last edited by swanlefitte; 04-28-2018 at 12:36 PM.
04-28-2018, 12:41 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by swanlefitte Quote
At distance i prefer my takumars, but like it better than my tamron 18-250. Surprisingly at the 250 end with the 1.4x tc up close it complements my sigma 70. When i just can't get close enough i won't think twice about it.
You might be interrsted in this....
Lens comparison- which is which - PentaxForums.com
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