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11-26-2019, 07:57 AM   #16
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If one has the 150-450mm and doesn't mind the size and weight, it can hang in there because 300mm is right in the middle of the range of the zoom and it should perform flawlessly there. It loses in terms of aperture though, I think it's f5 a 300mm? You lose 2/3 of a stop which might be important for some.

11-26-2019, 08:22 AM   #17
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Don’t even think about upgrades. Think about additional options first. The da 300 is still worthwhile. A ff converter 1.4x/2x would be needed. A 2.8/300 could be more useful.... sold my da 300 and I am not yet convinced how to continue.
11-26-2019, 08:38 AM   #18
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I'm using the DA*300 a lot. Also have the original Pentax 55-300 zoom for times when zooming & compactness is desirable. I find a fairly big gap between the two lenses in image quality. Is the 55-300 PLM optically better than the original 55-300? Know the PLM auto focuses faster.
Thanks,
barondla
11-26-2019, 08:45 AM - 1 Like   #19
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QuoteOriginally posted by barondla Quote
I'm using the DA*300 a lot. Also have the original Pentax 55-300 zoom for times when zooming & compactness is desirable. I find a fairly big gap between the two lenses in image quality. Is the 55-300 PLM optically better than the original 55-300? Know the PLM auto focuses faster.
Thanks,
barondla
user reviews

QuoteQuote:
Pentax Lens Review Database » Digital Era Pentax K-Mount Lenses » DA Zoom Lenses HD Pentax-DA 55-300mm F4.5-6.3 ED PLM WR RE Review RSS Feed

HD Pentax-DA 55-300mm F4.5-6.3 ED PLM WR RE

Sharpness
8.6
Aberrations
8.8
Bokeh
8.6
Autofocus
9.4
Handling
9.0
Value
9.1


Description:
The HD Pentax-DA 55-300mm F4.5-6.3 ED PLM WR RE is a compact, weather-sealed APS-C telephoto zoom lens featuring a retractable barrel design. This lens also debuts PLM (Pulse Motor) autofocus technology and an electromagnetic aperture diaphragm to facilitate smooth focusing and exposure adjustments during video recording.

Unlike earlier Pentax lenses, the aperture stop-down lever in the camera is not used to control the diaphragm of this lens. A DSLR launched in 2013 or later is needed to operate this new system (the K-500 is not compatible).

The optical formula of this lens has been redesigned compared to the previous DA 55-300mm F4-5.8. The new lens now has a rear-mounted focus ring and internal focus, is nearly 3 cm shorter when collapsed, but also loses about half a stop of light at both ends.

Read more at: HD Pentax-DA 55-300mm F4.5-6.3 ED PLM WR RE Reviews - DA Zoom Lenses - Pentax Lens Reviews & Lens Database

in depth review

QuoteQuote:
HD Pentax-DA 55-300mm F4.5-6.3 PLM WR RE
Introduction
If you're a Pentax shooter who's not quite ready to step up to a professional lens like the DA* 60-250mm f/4 or D FA* 70-200mm f/2.8, there are only two homegrown options to scratch the telephoto itch: the DA 50-200mm or the DA 55-300mm. For years, the DA 55-300mm f/4–5.8 was the better of the two choices. This consumer zoom provided ample telephoto reach, weather sealing, and good-enough image quality, all in a portable package.

But it's 2016, and though the DA 55-300 f/4-5.8's image quality is still fine, its autofocus system is definitely showing its age—particularly for the sorts of subjects you're likely to shoot with a telephoto zoom.
Read more at: HD Pentax-DA 55-300mm F4.5-6.3 PLM WR RE Review - Introduction | PentaxForums.com Reviews

11-26-2019, 09:07 AM   #20
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QuoteOriginally posted by UncleVanya Quote
I am.
I'm trying to troubleshoot my 50-135. I might PM you if I need it done. Thanks

---------- Post added 11-26-2019 at 11:11 AM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by Sandy Hancock Quote
I hear you.

I've owned all the DA* lenses, and it is optically the best of the bunch. I've had more luck than you with its focus, but the whole series would be better off rubbed out and started again with real focus motors.

I've only had the one copy of the DA* 300, and I'm keeping it, despite using the DFA 150-450 or DA 55-300 PLM preferentially most of the time.

Of the others:

Two copies of the DA* 16-50. Poor corners at the wide end and, but good everywhere else. Both had failed SDM. One repaired, one converted. Both gone to new homes. The DFA 24-70 on the K-1 is much better, and only slightly bigger.
Two copies of the DA* 55. First one had a dead SDM out of the box. Its replacement is still going strong, but it's not perfect (merely good) wide open and still focusses slowly. I love it though - it's my second best fast fifty(ish) after the mighty DFA*, and much smaller.
Two copies of the DA* 50-135. Lovely portrait lens. I sold my first to a friend after buying the incredible DFA* 70-200. Still fine I think. It's recent replacement fritzed its SDM early in the piece, but its other strengths are such that I'll keep it as a screw drive.
Two copies of the DA* 60-250. Both excellent optically with no SDM problems. I just can't warm to the handling and focus breathing. Despite this, it's the second best DA* and a keeper.
The DA* 200 only lasted a month in my hands. Too much lateral CA.

Updating SDM should have been a bigger priority when Ricoh acquired Pentax in my opinion (at least make repairs free or lower cost for those that purchased these products in good faith). Who knows how many people left the Pentax stable after becoming frustrated with dealing with SDM issues.
11-26-2019, 09:54 AM   #21
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QuoteOriginally posted by dcpropilot Quote
I'm trying to troubleshoot my 50-135. I might PM you if I need it done.
Happy to help.
11-26-2019, 10:27 AM   #22
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I wonder whether that's a common characteristic of all the 300mm primes (there have been lots of editions and variations of that lens) Or are there some that are better than the others?
11-26-2019, 03:23 PM - 1 Like   #23
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QuoteOriginally posted by TER-OR Quote
I'd like to evaluate the 150-450 at some point. Maybe next spring I'll rent one during warbler migration. The zoom does let one find the subject then isolate it. The little warblers rarely sit still. The DA300 I have is fantastic though, even on my secondary body, the K5.
Yes, the time to achieve focus with birds that refuse to stay still was one of my key reasons for getting the DFA 150-450. I considered getting a Canikon just for different options for a telephoto lens. You really should try the DFA.

QuoteOriginally posted by SteveinSLC Quote
I've had most of the options in this range, and pretty much come to the same conclusion. The 300 is an excellent lens, but the optical quality doesn't matter if it can't get the focus right. The 150-450 is pretty much just as good at 300, plus faster focusing and zoom flexibility(though it's larger). The 60-250 I had seemed good, but not great optically, and was very slow on the focusing. The DFA* 70-200 was A LOT better on both fronts, though much more expensive, heavy, and larger. Even the Tamron 70-200 seems better than the 60-250. The 55-300PLM is night and day faster focusing, surprisingly good optically, and much smaller and lighter.
Agreed - at least with respect to the lenses I have experienced.

QuoteOriginally posted by aslyfox Quote
If I had to choose one of the three to get rid of
it would be the prime
what do you folks think
what do you think of the IQ between the choices
I always have to temper my own experiences with the knowledge that my equipment operates with a big problem from the start
Operator Error
I'm happy with the DFA 150-450 and HDDA 55-300. The resolution of the DFA lens seems higher than the DA*300 and higher than the K3 can capture. The DA*300 has that "pixie dust" aspect about how it treats the light, but the DFA lens is more useful for me.


QuoteOriginally posted by BigMackCam Quote
The DA*300 is a fantastic lens, no doubt about it, but I understand your decision.
I'm using my DA*60-250 less and less these days, favouring the screw-drive HD DA55-300 whenever natural light allows. The DA* is a better lens optically, but the size, weight, focus breathing and - to a lesser extent, admittedly - slower focusing discourage me from using it as much as I'd like. The HD DA55-300 trades constant aperture and a bit of image quality for its compact dimensions and light weight, but I've found I'm OK with those compromises most of the time. It's easily sharp enough when used sensibly, it renders nicely, and it's just so convenient to carry around...
Similarly I travel with the HDDA 55-300 PLM which is even lighter and more compact than my older DA 55-300.


QuoteOriginally posted by jacamar Quote
I'm happy with the way my DA* 300 is performing at the moment, but if there is to be a re-do it should also include an improvement to those fragile electrical contact tabs (and the ones on the 1.4x TC as well). I don't think I'm clumsy when changing lenses but they get bent out or, worse, broken from time to time.
Fingers crossed I haven't has any issues with this so far. Since getting the DFA 150-450 I haven't used the TC much, because the field of view becomes very small and the lens hard to hand-hold without blur.

QuoteOriginally posted by UncleVanya Quote
You might try converting to screw drive. I've seen other lenses show improvements in focusing behaviors particularly failure to lock. This isn't universally true, but when a copy of an SDM lens has issues the other copies are not known for, I suggest a conversion to test it the problem can be rectified in this way.
If you have the know how and an appropriate older body you can convert the lens back and forth to test.
Fair enough!

---------- Post added 27-11-19 at 09:45 AM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by ChristianRock Quote
If one has the 150-450mm and doesn't mind the size and weight, it can hang in there because 300mm is right in the middle of the range of the zoom and it should perform flawlessly there. It loses in terms of aperture though, I think it's f5 a 300mm? You lose 2/3 of a stop which might be important for some.
I find that the DFA 150450 has a huge amount of shadow detail where the HDDA 55-300 doesn't. The lens being a bit slower means higher ISO settings, but I haven't found it to be too much of a problem.


QuoteOriginally posted by zapp Quote
Don’t even think about upgrades. Think about additional options first. The da 300 is still worthwhile. A ff converter 1.4x/2x would be needed. A 2.8/300 could be more useful.... sold my da 300 and I am not yet convinced how to continue.
A faster prime would be nice but I can't see it happening.


QuoteOriginally posted by barondla Quote
I'm using the DA*300 a lot. Also have the original Pentax 55-300 zoom for times when zooming & compactness is desirable. I find a fairly big gap between the two lenses in image quality. Is the 55-300 PLM optically better than the original 55-300? Know the PLM auto focuses faster.
The HDDA 55-300 PLM seems to be at least optically equivalent to the DA 55-300 if not better, but the variation between copies may be significant too. When I found out how good the optical quality of the PLM was, I also stopped using my older DA 55-300.

11-26-2019, 07:15 PM   #24
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I understand where you're coming from. I don't have the 300, but I have the 60-250, and if for nothing other than focus speed, which is usually important if I'm using a longer lens, the 55-300PLM goes out and plays the the 60-250 stays home, and if I am "serious" about it all, I'll take the 150-450 and the 55-300PLM, and my 60-250 again stays home. If I'm going for a walk to chase flowers, the 60-250 gets a chance. I can see the 300 following suit.
11-26-2019, 07:36 PM   #25
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QuoteOriginally posted by clickclick Quote
I understand where you're coming from. I don't have the 300, but I have the 60-250, and if for nothing other than focus speed, which is usually important if I'm using a longer lens, the 55-300PLM goes out and plays the the 60-250 stays home, and if I am "serious" about it all, I'll take the 150-450 and the 55-300PLM, and my 60-250 again stays home. If I'm going for a walk to chase flowers, the 60-250 gets a chance. I can see the 300 following suit.
I've also used the DFA 150-450 quite successfully for flowers.
11-26-2019, 08:21 PM - 2 Likes   #26
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QuoteOriginally posted by dlh Quote
I wonder whether that's a common characteristic of all the 300mm primes (there have been lots of editions and variations of that lens) Or are there some that are better than the others?
The F*300 4.5 is the bees knees....
11-26-2019, 09:27 PM   #27
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QuoteOriginally posted by RobG Quote
I've also used the DFA 150-450 quite successfully for flowers.
LOL - me too. More than once when chasing birds, I realized I was standing next to some nice flowers. The lens actually has very pleasant bokeh too.
11-26-2019, 11:24 PM   #28
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Such user reports are the reason I haven't buy the DA* 300 yet. For aviation photography 300mm are a must, but you need a very fast f2.8 lens for low light conditions with fast AF. Since I got the DFA* 70-200/2.8 and also having the DFA 150-450 there is no real need for the 300/4. I prefer a very fast MF lens that is cheaper, I would buy a good 300/2.8 MF lens, if someone has anything to propose, it would fill maybe the last gap for what I shoot (aviation related).
11-27-2019, 12:00 AM   #29
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QuoteOriginally posted by RobG Quote
I would have agreed with you until I got the DFA 150-450 and the PLM. Both are much faster to focus than my other Pentax lenses, and the capability of the K3 seemed to increase with these on the camera. I'd like to try them with a K1 or KP to see how much it improves. Or better still, the yet to be released successor to the K3. Since I have been using the DFA 150-450 I feel much more like the limitation is my technique with using the camera and lens than the lens itself (or the camera). To a degree I think the K3 was held back by the DA*300, and the newer lenses let me experience the camera's ability more.
How much of a noticeable difference is the AF between the two? I had a PLM for the Oshkosh EAA Airventure this year, but I need a bit more reach. Military planes are doable with cropping, but smaller acrobatic planes are problematic for me. Since I only go a couple/few times a year to an airshow, I'm not sure I should bother spending so much for the lens. I wanted to purchase the DA*300+TC, but I fear the SDM's speed.
11-27-2019, 02:37 AM - 3 Likes   #30
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QuoteOriginally posted by NomNamNom Quote
How much of a noticeable difference is the AF between the two? I had a PLM for the Oshkosh EAA Airventure this year, but I need a bit more reach. Military planes are doable with cropping, but smaller acrobatic planes are problematic for me. Since I only go a couple/few times a year to an airshow, I'm not sure I should bother spending so much for the lens. I wanted to purchase the DA*300+TC, but I fear the SDM's speed.
I believe you can hire the lens in the USA? Maybe that would be a way to try it and see how it works for you. If you don't have another use for the lens, it would be a lot to spend. I take photos of birds and animals all the time, and of planes when I get the chance. So I have used the DFA 150-450 a lot. I don't know that I'd use the DA*300 and TC in an airshow. I have tried it, but I wouldn't recommend it for that situation. I'll see if I can find an example. At least with a target as large as an aircraft you can use more than centre spot AF. However, with the DFA 150-450 you can also set the focus limiter so that it won't hunt to the full range of the focus. With the DA*300, it seems to default to going as short as possible (which takes time) then going back toward infinity (which takes even more time). The DFA 150-450 seems to hunt in the correct direction and a lot less often, so it gets to the correct focus faster, even aside from the speed of the motor. I am convinced that part of the problem with the DA*300 is the way its behaviour is programmed.

Here's a Pitts with the DFA 150-450


Looping the loop
by RobGeraghty, on Flickr
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