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09-06-2019, 10:00 AM   #1
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New or Used DA zoom lens for K3II camera

Looking for a good late model design zoom lens. Non PLM. What type of motor drive has the best auto-focus performance?
Been using a DA 18-250mm F3.5-6.3 ED AL but not happy with the PLM drive.

09-06-2019, 10:08 AM - 1 Like   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by TommyRingo Quote
Looking for a good late model design zoom lens. Non PLM. What type of motor drive has the best auto-focus performance?
Been using a DA 18-250mm F3.5-6.3 ED AL but not happy with the PLM drive.
The DA 18-250mm F3.5-6.3 ED AL is not PLM, only the HD Pentax-DA 55-300mm F4.5-6.3 ED PLM WR RE is... and that lens has Pentax's fastest AF performance.
09-06-2019, 10:12 AM   #3
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Of the non-screwdrive motor designs, the DC motors are probably the most reliable. They're not lightning fast, though.

For single AF you won't see a huge difference between screwdrive and the various micromotors.
09-06-2019, 10:15 AM - 1 Like   #4
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The 18-250 uses a screw drive auto focus, no? The PLM is a super fast focus-by-wire autofocus. If you don't like the 18-250's AF then it's the screw drive you don't like.
The PLM on the 55-300 RE is the fastest that Pentax has to offer. However, if you want to keep on the wider (18mm) end of the zoom range then maybe consider the 18-135mm that uses a DC moter - faster than screw drive and I believe the optical performance of the 18-135 is better than the 18-250.

09-06-2019, 10:17 AM - 1 Like   #5
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I wonder if the OP has looked at the owners' reviews and in depth reviews of the various DA zooms ?

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

if not, I would recommend that be done

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QuoteOriginally posted by FozzFoster Quote
The 18-250 uses a screw drive auto focus, no? The PLM is a super fast focus-by-wire autofocus. If you don't like the 18-250's AF then it's the screw drive you don't like.
The PLM on the 55-300 RE is the fastest that Pentax has to offer. . . .
correct

QuoteQuote:
Focusing
AF (screwdrive)
https://www.pentaxforums.com/lensreviews/SMC-Pentax-DA-18-250mm-F3.5-6.3-Zoom-Lens.html


--------------------
QuoteQuote:
The HD Pentax DA 55-300mm F4.5–6.3 ED PLM WR RE is the first lens in brand history to use a pulse motor for autofocus,


Read more at: https://www.pentaxforums.com/reviews/hd-pentax-da-55-300mm-f45-63-ed-plm-wr/...#ixzz5ylamsPFx

Last edited by aslyfox; 09-06-2019 at 10:28 AM.
09-06-2019, 11:27 AM   #6
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Please be more specific about what you don't like about that lens' focusing ability. In order of preference for zoom lenses, I would pick the Pentax 16-85, the Sigma 17-70, the Pentax 18-135. The 18-135 is the most versatile, the 16-85 has the best image quality. If you don't want a silent focus motor at all, and insist on screw drive, the V1 Sigma 17-70 is quite nice, and quite cheap used. This one: Sigma 17-70mm F2.8-4.5 DC Macro Lens Reviews - Sigma Lenses - Pentax Lens Review Database

If you want to take the next step up in IQ, with still less versatility, the Sigma 17-50/2.8 is available quite cheaply these days. I wouldn't recommend the 16-50 Pentax for you because the SDM is unreliable. I use the 16-50 and live with that risk because I insist on WR, so that's a choice, too.
09-06-2019, 12:50 PM   #7
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Another idea, as my "all inclusive lense" I have the Sigma 18-250 HSM DC Macro (bought as used)
and can recommend this lense. Maybe I was lucky to caught a real good one.
I use that lense at the K3 I and the K50 and got sharp and good photos on both cameras.
09-06-2019, 01:12 PM   #8
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I have a Sigma 17-70mm F2.8-4.5 DC Macro, and am very happy with it. Several of the pictures in my albums here on PF were taken with it.

09-06-2019, 03:00 PM   #9
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As people have said, the DA 18-250 uses screw-driven AF, not PLM. PLM is waaaay quicker and quieter.

I used to have the Tamron-badged version of the DA 18-250. As screw-driven AF lenses go, its AF is not too bad.

Maximum aperture is a significant limiting factor in AF performance. A lens with a wider maximum aperture will allow in more light so that the camera can find focus better. Conversely, in less than ideal lighting, a lens with a slow maximum aperture might not allow the camera to focus effectively. f5.6 is often a tipping point because of the sensitivity of the camera's AF points.

At the wider end, the maximum aperture of the 18-250 is:
18-34mm f3.5
35-49 f4
50-69 f4.5
70-99 f5
100-199 f5.6
These apertures should allow reasonable focus performance in most conditions, particularly in the 18-69mm range (although of course they could not match an f2.8 lens). The maximum apertures are comparable to the maximum apertures of the DA 16-85 and 18-135 in their common range. I have the DA 18-135 and it focuses well across the range on all the cameras I have used it on (K-3, K-S2, KP).

I find the DC lens motor in the 18-135 quicker than the screw-driven AF in the 18-250, but the most striking difference is the quiet. The 18-135 also has much better centre resolution and better microcontrast. It can offer a level of 3D pop that I never got from the 18-250.

I found the focus performance of the 18-250 more problematic at the long end (200mm and longer) where its maximum aperture is f6.3. Don't be surprised if it struggles to focus in less-than-ideal conditions at these focal lengths. Even the HD-DA 55-300mm f4.5-6.3 PLM lens can struggle to achieve focus at 300mm where its maximum aperture is also f6.3. (It's often better with that lens to back off to about 270mm, where the maximum aperture is f5.6.)

The trouble is that a longish AF telephoto lens with a wider maximum aperture (say f4 or f4.5 at 300mm) is going to be larger, heavier and more expensive - like the DFA 150-450, for example, which costs a lot and weighs about 2kgs. A 300mm prime lens (e.g. the FA*300 f4.5 or DA*300 f4) is a good compromise but many users might still find such a lens too heavy and/or expensive. There's no free lunch with long telephoto AF lenses.

Last edited by Des; 09-08-2019 at 03:14 PM.
09-06-2019, 04:50 PM - 1 Like   #10
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As Des states above^. The very versatile but very well-performing DA 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 DC WR has one of the fastest, and most accurate AF of available lenses, and reliably so on a wide spectrum of Pentax bodies, newer and older. I certainly have enough lenses and bodies to know. The AF is not only quick and accurate, but quiet. It is well-built yet compact. It features weather-resistant (WR) construction. Its corner and edge performance is not as sharp as it is zoomed to its longer range ( a common thing with lenses having great zoom range), but in this case, the central area remains of exceptional quality throughout, which is an outstanding accomplishment for a lens of this zoom range. This is usually just fine, because in dealing with telephoto shots, the central area is generally more important than are edges.

The longer telephoto range is best realized by a lens designed for that, like the DA 55-300mm, either the faster-focusing f/4.5-6.3 PLM or the older screw-driven but faster aperture DA HD 55-300mm f/4-5.6 which is still available new. Image quality is very good to excellent with either.

Last edited by mikesbike; 09-06-2019 at 05:11 PM.
09-06-2019, 09:43 PM   #11
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The DA 55-300 PLM autofocuses very fast and quiet, the older DA 55-300 has a painfully slow and noisy autofocus (never used the DA 55-300 WR). The DA 18-135 is not bad either and also quiet, but not nearly as fast as the PLM. Either of these lenses should also give you better overall performance than the 18-250 also.
09-07-2019, 02:44 AM   #12
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As others have already mentioned, I think you are a little confused.

The newest 55-300 (the HD Pentax-DA 55-300mm F4.5-6.3 ED PLM WR RE) is easily the fastest focussing long lens in the Pentax stable.

Your body supports PLM/KAF4. That's the lens you need.

Last edited by Sandy Hancock; 09-07-2019 at 04:05 AM. Reason: Realised what body you have!
09-07-2019, 03:57 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Sandy Hancock Quote
As others have already mentioned, I think you are a little confused.

What body are you using? The newest 55-300 (the HD Pentax-DA 55-300mm F4.5-6.3 ED PLM WR RE) is easily the fastest focussing long lens in the Pentax stable.

If your body supports PLM/KAF4, that's the lens you need. If it doesn't, and AF speed is your main priority, consider getting a newer body.
this might be helpful to the OP and others

follow the links below for helpful information



QuoteQuote:
Pentax Lens Compatibility Chart
Copyright 2006-2018 Mosphotos.com. All rights reserved.

Pentax bayonet lenses labeled "SMC Pentax" are referred to as "K" lenses in the table below. Other Pentax bayonet lenses have the lens designation as a part of their name as in "SMC Pentax-FA".
Note that "star" lenses work like their "non-star" counterparts unless they are singled out in the table below. So for compatibility of a DA* lens, look under DA lenses, etc.
Exceptions:
FA and F "soft" lenses behave like M lenses in terms of metering.

Check this page out for more on the Pentax lens nomenclature
The Pentax Camera Lens Compatibility Chart
QuoteQuote:
Pentax K-Mount Lens Series Explained: The differences between various Pentax lens series

In a nutshell
There are several series of Pentax K-mount lenses; the ones currently being produced include the DA (digital), DA L (cheap digital kit), D FA (full-frame, digital optimized), and FA (full-frame) series. While all Pentax K-mount lenses ever produced are compatible with all current Pentax DSLRs (in some cases with restrictions in that not all exposure modes of the camera are supported by old lenses), there are significant differences between each lens series and each has different features. Furthermore some of the newer lenses do not work with older cameras. We'll be exploring the differences between the various K-mount series lenses in this article. Read more about specific K-mount lens/camera compatibility here.

The DLSR designation below encompasses the mirror-less K-01.
https://www.mosphotos.com/PentaxLensesExplained.html

Last edited by aslyfox; 09-07-2019 at 08:34 AM.
09-07-2019, 11:22 AM   #14
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Once you upgrade your lenses, you might consider keeping your DA 18-250mm anyway. It is just the tool for certain large social events like graduations, where you'd want to change from a large group shot to one singling out an individual without moving from your location. There are a number of such circumstances where this lens could be handy, and the image quality good enough for the purpose. Being at a larger outdoor concert with friends in good lighting, also comes to mind.

I will say, however, I have indeed shot high school graduations using the DA 18-135mm lens with great success. Good for weddings too. But with a college graduation, I took it for the outdoor smaller family group shots, etc, but for the event itself held in a huge sports venue, I also brought a longer tele-range lens. I have the older DA HD 55-300mm f/4-5.6 WR lens, which works fine in this case. Its AF can be slow if going from a near to a far distance, but if everything being shot is either at farther distance or in closer, the AF is fast enough, so I'm keeping it instead of going for the PLM version. It is somewhat larger, but quite well-built. If needing to go from near to far, and in good lighting, shooting a moving subject, the DA 55-300mm f/4.5-6.3 PLM RE WR lens would certainly be the best choice with its fast AF.

Last edited by mikesbike; 09-07-2019 at 11:31 AM.
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