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08-10-2018, 10:35 AM   #1
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DA-L 55-300mm F4.0-5.8 ED Versus HD PENTAX-DA 55-300mm f/4.5-6.3 ED PLM WR RE

Hello,

Can someone tell me if the there is a huge difference between these two lenses? I have found #1 for $180.00 CAD versus $414.00 CAD for #2 . Is the difference of lens quality worth the price difference?


1) Pentax DA-L 55-300mm F4.0-5.8 ED Lens
2) Pentax HD PENTAX-DA 55-300mm f/4.5-6.3 ED PLM WR RE Lens

I have a Pentax K-S2

Thank you,

Nick

08-10-2018, 10:51 AM   #2
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The difference lies in focusing speed. The old lens is slow, while the new PLM lens is the fastest in Pentax's lineup, even alongside pro lenses.

If you only care about image quality, you can go for the old lens. Note that the DA L version is a slightly more stripped down version of the base lens, with a plastic mount and no quick shift manual focus. Being the first-generation lens in the series, it also lacks weather sealing.

Specs and reviews for both lenses are available here:
55-300mm: DA, DA L Series Lenses | PentaxForums.com

Adam
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08-10-2018, 10:57 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by Adam Quote
The difference lies in focusing speed. The old lens is slow, while the new PLM lens is the fastest in Pentax's lineup, even alongside pro lenses.

If you only care about image quality, you can go for the old lens. Note that the DA L version is a slightly more stripped down version of the base lens, with a plastic mount and no quick shift manual focus. Being the first-generation lens in the series, it also lacks weather sealing.

Specs and reviews for both lenses are available here:
55-300mm: DA, DA L Series Lenses | PentaxForums.com
Thank you!

I went with #2 option!

Nick
08-10-2018, 11:06 AM   #4
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I Just got the PLM version , At one time , I have the DA-l, was good but hunting a lot.

08-10-2018, 12:22 PM   #5
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The DAL series lenses also typically lack an included hood. But one can be added.
08-11-2018, 12:08 AM   #6
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I have the da-l. It is a very good lens and performs similarly to the plm, however I live in a rainy part of the world and would love the wr that the plm gives but I can't afford it. The plm is undoubtedly the better lens but it is also much more expensive. However, if I was in your position I would save for the plm.
08-13-2018, 03:49 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Cerebum Quote
I have the da-l. It is a very good lens and performs similarly to the plm, however I live in a rainy part of the world and would love the wr that the plm gives but I can't afford it. The plm is undoubtedly the better lens but it is also much more expensive. However, if I was in your position I would save for the plm.
Thank you all!
08-13-2018, 05:50 AM   #8
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I have chosen from reviews the following:

DA - slow and AF hunting in low light
DAL - fast and AF is noisy, bigger aperture, weight less than DA, better sharpness

08-13-2018, 06:13 AM   #9
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Pen, both the first 55-300's and the RE PLM 55-300 are considered DA lenses. You'll have to be more specific. Additionally, if we're talking about all of the 55-300's prior to the RE PLM item, they should focus with the same speed and accuracy. Differences are either down to copy variation/faults, or different camera bodies focusing better than others (like a K-3 II should offer better AF performance than a K100D).
08-13-2018, 07:38 AM - 1 Like   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Penview52 Quote
I have chosen from reviews the following:

DA - slow and AF hunting in low light
DAL - fast and AF is noisy, bigger aperture, weight less than DA, better sharpness
This is not an accurate view, expectations of the users skew the results. All of the non-plm lenses DA and DAL are in fact the same focus speed. They are all the same aperture etc. The PLM version is only offered as DA and is lightning fast at focusing and quiet. It is slightly slower from an aperture perspective.

DA version without weather resistance and with screw drive focus: SMC Pentax-DA 55-300mm F4-5.8 ED Reviews - DA Zoom Lenses - Pentax Lens Reviews & Lens Database

DA version with weather resistance and with screw drive focus: HD Pentax-DA 55-300mm F4-5.8 ED WR Reviews - DA Zoom Lenses - Pentax Lens Reviews & Lens Database

DA-L version without weather resistance and with screw drive focus: SMC Pentax-DA L 55-300mm F4-5.8 ED Reviews - DA L Zoom Lenses - Pentax Lens Reviews & Lens Database

DA version with weather resistance and with PLM in lens focus motor:
HD Pentax-DA 55-300mm F4.5-6.3 ED PLM WR RE Reviews - DA Zoom Lenses - Pentax Lens Reviews & Lens Database

Only the very last version listed above has the fast quiet in lens focusing motor. It is also shorter and slightly thicker.
08-13-2018, 08:30 AM   #11
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You are all correct, what i posted are the experiences of this lens user and they emphasized the pros and cons of these lens regardless of the camera used.

If you agree or not, the buyer must go on with the budget consideration/s regardless of the reviews.
08-13-2018, 10:09 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Penview52 Quote
You are all correct, what i posted are the experiences of this lens user and they emphasized the pros and cons of these lens regardless of the camera used.

If you agree or not, the buyer must go on with the budget consideration/s regardless of the reviews.
There isn't enough information in your post to identify which DA lens you are identifying. All variants of the DA/DAL that are non-PLM have virtually the same specs and performance. The only lens that is different here is the DA PLM WR RE variant which is light years faster focusing than the other lenses. It is slightly slower in light gathering (4.5-6.3 vs. 4-5.8; which is roughly 1/3 of a stop on the wide end and less than 1/3 of a stop on the long end.)

QuoteOriginally posted by Penview52 Quote
I have chosen from reviews the following:

DA - slow and AF hunting in low light
DAL - fast and AF is noisy, bigger aperture, weight less than DA, better sharpness
It isn't clear what "slow" means for the DA or which DA you are talking about.

Here's the consensus view I have seen in forum posts:
  • DA (Standard non-PLM, both SMC and HD WR versions): Slow to focus, easy to overshoot while focusing and takes a long time to recover, slightly wider aperture (1/3 of a stop more at wide, less than 1/3 more at long).
  • DAL - See above - identical. (EXCEPT: Doesn't support quick shift, does not have metal mount, does not typically come with a hood).
  • DA (PLM RE version) much faster to focus, narrower aperture as noted above. I have not seen data that clearly details hunting behavior of this lens compared to the others in low light.
08-13-2018, 12:07 PM   #13
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The most acceptable findings are these;

For DA F 4-5.8 the sharpness of object is 8.2 out of 10

For DA L F 4.5-6.3 the sharpness of object is 8.6 out of 10

They have both 25 degrees wide horizontal angle of view.
08-13-2018, 02:52 PM - 1 Like   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Penview52 Quote
The most acceptable findings are these;

For DA F 4-5.8 the sharpness of object is 8.2 out of 10

For DA L F 4.5-6.3 the sharpness of object is 8.6 out of 10

They have both 25 degrees wide horizontal angle of view.
First look here:

Pentax DA L Zoom Lenses - Reviews and Specifications - SLR and Interchangeable Lenses - Pentax Lens Reviews & Lens Database
Pentax DA L Zoom Lenses - Reviews and Specifications - SLR and Interchangeable Lenses - Pentax Lens Reviews & Lens Database

There is no DA-L version that has the f/stops of f/4.5-6.3. The DA-L version is f4-5.8 just like the SMC DA and the HD DA WR version. It is very complicated to talk about these lenses since three are nearly identical but not exactly the same.

I would also suggest that the user supplied sharpness ratings hold no objective factual relevance. These are purely subjective and there is not a test or any standard by which they are rated. Users often do not own multiple lenses of similar focal lengths and can't even subjectively rate them against one another unless by memory or reputation which is highly suspect. Looking above - if the DA-L you are pointing out is the f/4-5.8 which I think it is, the sharpness rating of 8.6 matches what I found in the database. Looking at the fact that the superior SMC DA only rated 8.2 which has the same coatings (SMC), the same exact aperture (f4-5.8), the same exact optical design, and the same focusing system (screw drive) and then has a metal mount, quickshift and a hood making it the better lens - and yet it is rated lower. In other words there is absolutely NOTHING in the design that should result in better performance. Any performance differences are either sample variation, a weird interaction with the plastic mount, or simply biased results based on expectation and price.

What's more reliable? Chart based tests can give some objective data, but that's only part of the way you evaluated a lens. Honestly finding shots online and viewing them to see if there are differences that you can spot is sufficient. In the few head to head shootout sessions I have seen between the HD DA WR and the HD DA WR PLM RE I have seen slightly higher telephoto sharpness on the older HD DA WR at the 300mm mark, but little differences below that and the differences have been very subtle.

I suggest these factors in this order should guide any decision between these lenses:

1) Does the newer PLM lens work on your intended camera(s)? Most modern bodies are covered back to the K-50 but notably exceptions exist (K-5 series, K-30). If it doesn't, upgrade your body or move on.

2) Does your budget permit you to consider the PLM lens over the older screw drive lens? If so, look further, if not pick one of the older versions based on budget. HD WR, SMC DA, SMC DAL is how these older lenses usually rank in cost from high to low.

3) Do you think the focus speed of the PLM or the slight advantage in aperture (1/3 stop at most) or slight sharpness advantage at 300mm for the HD DA WR is more important? If you think focus speed - buy the PLM. If you really need the extra aperture speed - consider trying to stretch for something like the DA* 60-250 and the HD DA 1.4x tc or a 300mm prime, or take the HD DA WR and don't look back.
08-13-2018, 03:53 PM - 1 Like   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by UncleVanya Quote
There isn't enough information in your post to identify which DA lens you are identifying. All variants of the DA/DAL that are non-PLM have virtually the same specs and performance. The only lens that is different here is the DA PLM WR RE variant which is light years faster focusing than the other lenses. It is slightly slower in light gathering (4.5-6.3 vs. 4-5.8; which is roughly 1/3 of a stop on the wide end and less than 1/3 of a stop on the long end.)



It isn't clear what "slow" means for the DA or which DA you are talking about.

Here's the consensus view I have seen in forum posts:
  • DA (Standard non-PLM, both SMC and HD WR versions): Slow to focus, easy to overshoot while focusing and takes a long time to recover, slightly wider aperture (1/3 of a stop more at wide, less than 1/3 more at long).
  • DAL - See above - identical. (EXCEPT: Doesn't support quick shift, does not have metal mount, does not typically come with a hood).
  • DA (PLM RE version) much faster to focus, narrower aperture as noted above. I have not seen data that clearly details hunting behavior of this lens compared to the others in low light.
You were right about the focus ring listen to Vanya, he knows his stuff
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