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06-30-2018, 11:44 PM   #1
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K30 55-300 Lens advice sought

I'm looking to purchase a 55-300mm lens for my K30
Currently in France we have PENTAX HD DA 55-300 mm f/4.5-6.3 ED PLM WR RE on promo for 349 euros

However having checked Pentax Lens Compatibility Chart it becomes clear that there is an issue, that the aperture cannot be controlled from the camera
The Pentax Camera Lens Compatibility Chart

Looking at the reviews on this lens can anyone recommend a Lens that is compatible that gives the same performance

Thanks in advance

07-01-2018, 01:36 AM - 1 Like   #2
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I've moved your thread from the product suggestions forum into the lens forum, as the former is just for one-way feedback for Ricoh. You'll get better replies here

QuoteOriginally posted by mdewfr Quote
Looking at the reviews on this lens can anyone recommend a Lens that is compatible that gives the same performance
The 55-300mm PLM is unique in the entire Pentax lineup as far as focusing speed goes. You could get the non-PLM version (the HD 55-300mm F4-5.8), which will give you similar image quality. There's also the DA* 60-250mm, which is a notch above in terms of image quality and between the PLM and non-PLM 55-300mm's in terms of focusing speed.

There's a third alternative- install the hacked K-50 firmware on your K-30, which would add support for the PLM lens.

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07-01-2018, 01:45 AM - 1 Like   #3
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there are 4 versions of this lens
DAL plastic fantastic silver band
DA green band ( I have that one)
HD WR red band and
the latest one with a green band , WR and supersonic fast quiet AF
all of them have very similar optics
with K-30 you can use the first three.
DAL has plastic mount, no hood and no quick shift (qooqle it)
DA has a metal mount, comes with a hood and has quick shift, very handy while trying to get a BIF
HD WR has a different coating , otherwise very similar to DA
the last one not compatible with K-30 ( I still have one and still use it , predominantly with Sigma 17-70 28-4.5 macro non HDM - great combo!)
07-01-2018, 02:00 AM - 1 Like   #4
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There are in depth reviews of the PLM and the HD WR 55-300mm zooms in the lens reviews, well worth a read. I have a DAL which I do not regret buying but the HD WR version is the better bet on my K-5 for the weather seals. I use mine mainly at the long end where it is not as good as a prime 300mm for images.
If money is tight, try a DAL version and look to a prime for the focal length you are most interested in.

07-01-2018, 05:44 AM - 1 Like   #5
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I had the 'original' version of the DA 55-300 - very good lens and I used it extensively! I did upgrade to the PLM version and it was better - but not by much! I'd recommend going with the WR version because of the weather resistance.
07-01-2018, 10:10 AM - 1 Like   #6
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The latest K-50 firmware adapted for K-30 allows for aperture controlling on 55-300 PLM.
Here's one of the recent reports.
07-04-2018, 04:06 PM - 1 Like   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by ABel Quote
The latest K-50 firmware adapted for K-30 allows for aperture controlling on 55-300 PLM.
Here's one of the recent reports.
This is what I would do - install the firmware update on the K-30 and get the 55-300 PLM.

I have both a DA-L and PLM. The DA-L is outstanding value and is no less sharp at 300mm f8 than the PLM version. But the PLM is sharper and renders better than the screw-driven versions at wider apertures (particularly from 55mm to about 260mm), and the focus is way superior in speed and quietness. The PLM also has a shorter minimum focus distance, which is handy, and is more compact when retracted.

But be aware that installation of the firmware on the K-30 is unsupported, and if it goes wrong the camera can be bricked. I would take that risk, if I still had a K-30, because (1) I don't think the risk is great if you follow the instructions, (2) the camera is not worth a lot on the second hand market anyway, (3) I would think the risk to be worth taking in order to use the 55-300 PLM and (4) the camera should work with the PLM lens even if the aperture block fails. But you need to weight those things for yourself.
07-05-2018, 09:22 PM - 1 Like   #8

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I had the original DA 55-300mm f/4-5.8, but I bumped it into something damaging the filter threads. That did not impair its shooting ability or performance, just that I could no longer use filters. Then a deal came for the updated version of the same lens, the DA HD 55-300mm f/4-5.8 WR, which also offered the weather seals, so I bought it and gave my old one to a friend. I was surprised to notice a slight but definite imaging improvement with my newer HD version, evidently from the new HD coatings. I compared them before giving away the old one.

This is a good lens, and can usually be found new at a good price.


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