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04-07-2010, 08:44 AM   #1
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The DA-L 55-300mm or Kit version is a great lens

Recently I've read more than a few posts, at various sites, describing the DA-L or "lite" version of the 55-300 as "cheaped down" or otherwise degraded as unworthy.
The kit version of the Pentax 55-300 is different from the regular version but to call it cheaped down is a real dis-service. For those considering the purchase of this lens with the KX, they should know the whole story. I speak because I own both versions. Among Pentax owners the 55-300 is widely considered a high IQ lens at a bargain price. I bought the regular version and fell in love. I found the "lite" version at a good price to have as a backup. I took it out for a test run and it now sits semi-permanently on one of my cameras. Optically they are identical.

The lack of a distance scale seems irrelevant since I'm using AF

The lack of a hood has caused me no problems. I use my lens to shoot skydivers landing which means outside, bright sun, and all kinds of angles, with no hood and flare has simply not been an issue. But the lens will accept the regular hood, it simply doesn't come with one.

On the regular version, you can with no special action adjust focus on the lens even in AF mode. Called quick shift focus you can pre-focus manually or tweak focus after using AF. What you're really missing is the "quick" aspect because the AF/MF switch is easily reached, go to MF, tweak focus, and carry on. It very much depends on how you use you lens whether loss of the quick shift feature is a problem.

But as an observation, the lite version without quick shift seems a bit more precise with the AF.

Generally the build quality of both versions is quite good, The main knock against the "lite" version is the plastic mount plate versus the metal mount on the regular version. I'm not sure if it's that much of an issue, but it might be if I was constantly changing the lens off and on the camera, and wasn't being careful or was in a hurry. I have a couple of lenses with plastic mounts and so far have had no problems but I won't speak for others. I do know that using the right kind of plastic in the right application can deliver a better product despite appearances. Whether that's true here I don't know for certain but for me and how I use the lens I do not expect any problems.

Bottom line the DA-L is a very good lens that gets some unfair criticism. Anyone considering the KX would be well advised to get this version with the kit because it is a bargain

04-07-2010, 09:22 AM   #2
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I really want the DA L, might just buy a K-x kit and sell the K-x...

For non QS on longer lenses where my hand isn't by the AF/MF switch, what I do is put it in AF.C (or AF.A?) mode and use my right hand to push the lens release button to do a QS and shoot. Works great for me.

One thing I'm worried about is that I have seen some less than happy 55-300mm users, wonder if they had gotten a bad copy.
04-07-2010, 09:35 AM   #3
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Original Poster
QuoteOriginally posted by Eruditass Quote
One thing I'm worried about is that I have seen some less than happy 55-300mm users, wonder if they had gotten a bad copy.
I haven't seen that, what's been the complaints
04-07-2010, 10:52 AM   #4
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People only want the green stripe

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