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10-13-2018, 10:38 PM - 1 Like   #31
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Of course the PLM demands either the K-70 or KP (I haven't decided yet between the two.)

Didnít the K-3s get an update for this mount, to be compatible with the new PLM lens?

---------- Post added 10-14-18 at 06:52 PM ----------

Anyone used the PLM on a K-3?

Keen to see if itís better IQ wise than the standard 55-300 and more importantly if the tracking AF is any better without needing the screwdrive.

The demo I saw of the PLM focussing was insane. So quick and silent! Not sure how the IQ stacks up though, but itís on my radar for sure.

Still not convinced with the IQ of the 18-135. WR and range is awesome though, and no SDM either.

10-14-2018, 12:27 AM - 1 Like   #32
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QuoteOriginally posted by richandfleur Quote
Didnít the K-3s get an update for this mount, to be compatible with the new PLM lens?[COLOR="Silver"]
Indeed they did. Also (somewhat surprisingly) the K-50...
10-14-2018, 12:51 AM - 1 Like   #33
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I bought the 55-300PLM when it reached the market and at the time wrote some PF posts and a blog article (german) on my website about it. Within itís range it even delivers very well compared with the DFA150-450. First I used it only with the K-1 and some months ago I purchased the KP mostly for more lightweight hiking.

IMO this lens delivers in every respect. My hiking set now consists of KP, DA15, DA18-135 and DA55-300PLM. If I want to go less heavy I only take the KP, DA15 and DA18-135 with me. The KP / DA18-135 combo covers all angles of view that I got with ME Super, M28, M50, Viv 70-210 - thatĎs really great!
10-14-2018, 02:02 AM - 5 Likes   #34
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Welcome to PF.

Seems you've now bought the K-70 and DA 18-135 and decided on the PLM, so you are pretty much sorted. I've got both those lenses and they make a great pair. See the threads devoted to each of those lenses:
https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/10-pentax-slr-lens-discussion/179869-da-...at-can-do.html
https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/10-pentax-slr-lens-discussion/365761-hd-...what-cant.html

QuoteOriginally posted by Oktyabr Quote
I'm in love with what I've seen and read on the 55-300 PLM and it looks like it will fit my new personal challenge; collecting at least one quality photo of every bird species in my region; and should be a good fit for the environment as well.
That's my kind of project!

One comment I'd make is that you might want to investigate using a flash - when you are limited to 300mm f6.3, there are many situations in which the light will be insufficient to get good bird shots, even with the decent high-ISO performance of the K-70. Consider getting a flash that does HSS, so you are not limited to the maximum sync speed (1/180th second). Amongst HSS-capable flashes, AFAIK the only speedlight models that are weather-resistant are the Pentax AF360FGZ (mark I or II) or AF540FGZ (mark I or II). But if you can live without that, the Shanny SN600FGZ is a cheap and powerful option. Also consider a flash extender, like the JJC (cheap and flimsy but effective), Better Beamer or MagMod Magbeam (very good but on the heavy side and not cheap).

QuoteOriginally posted by richandfleur Quote
Didn’t the K-3s get an update for this mount, to be compatible with the new PLM lens?Anyone used the PLM on a K-3?
Yes and yes. The PLM works a treat on the K-3, once you have installed the latest firmware.

QuoteOriginally posted by richandfleur Quote
Keen to see if it’s better IQ wise than the standard 55-300 and more importantly if the tracking AF is any better without needing the screwdrive.The demo I saw of the PLM focussing was insane. So quick and silent! Not sure how the IQ stacks up though, but it’s on my radar for sure.
I've got the DA-L 55-300, which is optically identical to the other screw-driven models (except for the HD coatings on the WR version), as well as the PLM. There's not much difference in resolution at 300mm between them (or my copies anyway); at f8 they are quite similar. The screw-driven version is about 1/3 stop faster across most of its range, and notably at 300mm it's f5.8 against f6.3 for the PLM. But the PLM is f5.6 until about 260mm, so if you back off a little you can get the extra 1/3 stop (which might matter for the camera's capacity to AF). And, significantly, the PLM is better wide open. With the DA-L I always try to stop down by one or two stops; it's not as necessary with the PLM.

Resolution with both versions is very good, for a consumer zoom. Of course each lens will struggle to provide adequate resolution when the subject is at a distance and only fills a small part of the frame. But that goes with the territory - you can't expect a lightweight compact consumer zoom at 300mm to perform like a modern 300mm prime.

The PLM has more pleasant rendering than the screw-driven version IMO, due in part to its rounded aperture blades. Images from the PLM have more of a quality look about them. Colours and contrast are good, and bokeh is quite appealing (which I can't always say about the DA-L).

The PLM has focus-breathing (unlike the screw-driven versions, which are not IF lenses), but since it also has a shorter MFD the difference is not field-relevant IMO. See the detailed tests here: 55-200, 55-200 WR, 55-300, 55-300 PLM, etc, which telezoom I should get? - PentaxForums.com

People are divided about the retractable feature of the PLM, but I like it; it folds up to a more compact size and fits neatly in my small bag (unlike the DA-L).

There's no comparison between the AF performance of the two. The DA-L is my noisiest lens (it sounds like a coffee grinder) and the PLM my quietest. Its AF speed is astounding. As for tracking, well I think that depends more on the camera. But the AF is so quick that even if it loses focus it can re-acquire it almost instantly.

Overall, the PLM is a much nicer lens to have. But the screw-driven versions are still a good option on a tight budget.

Image samples here:
Pentax DA 55-300 f4.5-6.3 PLM - images - Des(Australia) - Flickr - see the whale breaching sequence for an example of what the AF can do.
Pentax DA-L 55-300 f4-5.8 - images - Des(Australia) - Flickr


Last edited by Des; 10-14-2018 at 02:29 PM.
10-14-2018, 04:04 AM - 1 Like   #35
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I believe the af of the KP is superior to K70 - a big plus with bird photography- although I have not personally tried them for this. More AF points, however. Remember reading somewhere that the weather-sealing is also superior. So, plus two for KP so far. Also, KP has better low light performance, which will come in handy shooting in dark forests with the PLM. Personally, I find 300mm on the short end for all but big birds, so the grip with KP would be a big plus with longer lenses. Not a fan of the 18-135mm because of size and deteriorating sharpness at the longer end of the zoom. I think the 18-55mm is just as sharp, so my choice would be that one for now, and the 16-85mm later as budget allows. Both the 16-85mm and 18-135mm would be better with the KP grip, with the bonuses of using longer lasting batteries and easier/better vertical shooting ergonomics. 16mm perspective will give you better landscapes, if you like to shoot those too. Lastly, the less often you change lenses in wet weather, the better off you will be in keeping your camera safe and operating...

Last edited by mtgmansf; 10-14-2018 at 04:22 AM.
10-14-2018, 05:46 AM - 2 Likes   #36
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One with the K-S2 and 55-300 RE, which is a great lens. https://1.img-dpreview.com/files/p/E~forums/61790743/e8ff8585805444a69a1fab793459e056
10-14-2018, 06:19 AM - 1 Like   #37
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QuoteOriginally posted by richandfleur Quote
Of course the PLM demands either the K-70 or KP (I haven't decided yet between the two.)

Didnít the K-3s get an update for this mount, to be compatible with the new PLM lens?

---------- Post added 10-14-18 at 06:52 PM ----------

Anyone used the PLM on a K-3?

Keen to see if itís better IQ wise than the standard 55-300 and more importantly if the tracking AF is any better without needing the screwdrive.

The demo I saw of the PLM focussing was insane. So quick and silent! Not sure how the IQ stacks up though, but itís on my radar for sure.

Still not convinced with the IQ of the 18-135. WR and range is awesome though, and no SDM either.
Yes, the K-3 did get a firmware update to make it compatible with the PLM. I did the update and bought the 55-300 PLM and the lens works perfectly on the K-3. I also have a K-5 and unfortunately that body did not get a firmware update for the PLM.
10-14-2018, 10:18 AM - 1 Like   #38
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Well, my journey has begun (again)! Thanks to the forum market place I ended up purchasing a low release count K-70 and an 18-135, which I am eagerly anticipating! I also bought an "Excellent" used 55-300 PLM from Adorama and perhaps under the influence of some celebratory single malt, I also bought a "Mint" Pentax 50mm f/1.7 SMC-M Lens as well!

Shopping memory cards, a decent bag, a reasonably sturdy tripod, etc. etc. now.

The KP is still in my future, I'm sure, unless Pentax releases some new model that is at least equally attractive. I couldn't pass up the deal on the K-70 so it will keep me busy until I find the next body to get. But at least I'll have my glass!

Thanks all, for all the replies!

10-14-2018, 11:39 AM - 1 Like   #39
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That's a really nice kit and with the M 50 1.7 you have a low light & portraits machine in your hands. Go shoot the daylights out of it and share your results! Good luck!
10-14-2018, 12:02 PM - 1 Like   #40
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QuoteOriginally posted by Oktyabr Quote
Well, my journey has begun (again)! Thanks to the forum market place I ended up purchasing a low release count K-70 and an 18-135, which I am eagerly anticipating! I also bought an "Excellent" used 55-300 PLM from Adorama and perhaps under the influence of some celebratory single malt, I also bought a "Mint" Pentax 50mm f/1.7 SMC-M Lens as well!

Shopping memory cards, a decent bag, a reasonably sturdy tripod, etc. etc. now.

The KP is still in my future, I'm sure, unless Pentax releases some new model that is at least equally attractive. I couldn't pass up the deal on the K-70 so it will keep me busy until I find the next body to get. But at least I'll have my glass!

Thanks all, for all the replies!
The M 50 may be tough to get used to focusing and metering but should work well. I recommend reading this:

How to use/meter Manual & M42 Lenses on all Pentax DSLRs (K-1, K-3, K-5, K-30, etc) - PentaxForums.com

It also is important to know manual focus is harder to do on a dslr due to the screen which is made for working well with slower at lenses. The catch in focus method and the magnified live view with focus confirmation work best fir me.
10-14-2018, 12:07 PM - 1 Like   #41
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QuoteOriginally posted by Oktyabr Quote
Well, my journey has begun (again)! Thanks to the forum market place I ended up purchasing a low release count K-70 and an 18-135, which I am eagerly anticipating! I also bought an "Excellent" used 55-300 PLM from Adorama and perhaps under the influence of some celebratory single malt, I also bought a "Mint" Pentax 50mm f/1.7 SMC-M Lens as well!

Shopping memory cards, a decent bag, a reasonably sturdy tripod, etc. etc. now.

The KP is still in my future, I'm sure, unless Pentax releases some new model that is at least equally attractive. I couldn't pass up the deal on the K-70 so it will keep me busy until I find the next body to get. But at least I'll have my glass!

Thanks all, for all the replies!
Congratulations!

I'm sure you'll like the K-70 a lot. You might even like it so much that, when the time comes, you feel no need to get a KP or other model. It's a hugely capable camera.

Enjoy, and do let us know what you think of the camera and lenses when you get them!
10-14-2018, 01:56 PM - 1 Like   #42
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QuoteOriginally posted by UncleVanya Quote

It also is important to know manual focus is harder to do on a dslr due to the screen which is made for working well with slower at lenses. The catch in focus method and the magnified live view with focus confirmation work best fir me.
Yep, mirrorless cameras offer the best gear for this.
The K-1 should be similar to the 'old days' with a big FF viewfinder, but for APS-C I've found digital zoom and focus peaking help much more than the smaller optical viewfinder.
Digital cameras don't work well with the old split screen focus aid either, as this mucks with the exposure reading.
10-14-2018, 09:43 PM - 1 Like   #43
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QuoteOriginally posted by Oktyabr Quote
The KP is still in my future, I'm sure, unless Pentax releases some new model that is at least equally attractive. I couldn't pass up the deal on the K-70 so it will keep me busy until I find the next body to get. But at least I'll have my glass!
If you pursue the birding image plan, my tip is that your next wish will be for a faster and/or longer telephoto lens (e.g. the Sigma 50-500, Pentax DFA 150-450 or Pentax DA*300 f4) before another body! But you have plenty to go on with in the meantime. Enjoy your new kit.
10-15-2018, 01:59 AM - 2 Likes   #44
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QuoteOriginally posted by Des Quote
If you pursue the birding image plan, my tip is that your next wish will be for a faster and/or longer telephoto lens
Fully agree. Itís the lens that grabs the light and focuses it onto your sensor.

All cameras are pretty good these days, but itís the lens that will give you the greatest improvement for birding.
10-15-2018, 04:02 AM - 1 Like   #45
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Hmmm... that's a good tip! Due to the inclement environment I frequently find myself in, it must be WR or AW. Buying anything else for this particular purpose is just throwing away money, and I don't make near the sort of salary that might justify replacing a four digit telephoto on a regular basis.

I'm hoping that the 55-300 PLM, between it's WR and compact build, will survive at least an entire season at my job, and may well prove adequate for the birds near enough that I even spot them with my naked eye. Similarly, I may carry a tripod on occasion, but most shots, I suspect, will be taken handheld in a fleeting moment. We'll see! Answers to questions like that are exactly why I'm getting back into this hobby.
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