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SMC Pentax-DA 55-300mm F4-5.8 ED

Reviews Views Date of last review
112 440,853 Thu August 16, 2018
Recommended By Average Price Average User Rating
96% of reviewers $320.96 8.50
SMC Pentax-DA 55-300mm F4-5.8 ED

SMC Pentax-DA 55-300mm F4-5.8 ED
SMC Pentax-DA 55-300mm F4-5.8 ED

The Pentax DA 55-300mm telephoto zoom lens was released in 2008 and retired in 2013 in favor of a WR variant.

SMC Pentax-DA 55-300mm F4-5.8 ED
©, sharable with attribution
Image Format
Lens Mount
Pentax K
Aperture Ring
Automatic, 6 blades
12 elements, 8 groups
Mount Variant
Check camera compatibility
Max. Aperture
Min. Aperture
AF (screwdrive)
Min. Focus
140 cm
Max. Magnification
Filter Size
58 mm
Internal Focus
Field of View (Diag. / Horiz.)

APS-C: 29-5.4 ° / 25-4.6 °
PH-RBG 58 mm
Lens Cap
Weather Sealing
Other Features
Diam x Length
71 x 111.5 mm (2.8 x 4.4 in.)
440 g (15.5 oz.)
Production Years
2008 to 2013
Engraved Name
smc PENTAX-DA 1:4-5.8 55-300mm ED
Product Code
User reviews
In-depth review
Unofficial Full-Frame Compatibility Tests by Pentax Forums
★★☆ Full coverage at some F-stop and focal length combinations
Show details
Two ED elements.
Screwdrive AutofocusQuick ShiftAutomatic ApertureAPS-C Digital OnlyDiscontinued
Purchase: Buy the SMC Pentax-DA 55-300mm F4-5.8 ED
In-Depth Review: Read our SMC Pentax-DA 55-300mm F4-5.8 ED in-depth review!
Sample Photos: View Sample Photos

Add Review of SMC Pentax-DA 55-300mm F4-5.8 ED Buy the SMC Pentax-DA 55-300mm F4-5.8 ED
Sort Reviews by: Date | Author | Rating | Recommendation | Likes (Descending) Showing Reviews 1-15 of 112
Senior Member

Registered: May, 2011
Location: Malmö, Sweden
Posts: 124
Lens Review Date: August 16, 2018 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $450.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Sharp, compact & lightweight, price/quality ratio
Cons: Autofocus noisy & a bit slow, sticky zoom ring
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 8    Autofocus: 6    Handling: 6    Value: 10    New or Used: New    Camera Used: K-5, K-x   

Very good telezoom and excellent value for money. Pictures are sharp with good saturated colours and contrast. (I also have the M*300mm, and while the 55-300 isn't quite as good as that at the long end, it's actually not that far off). It's great as a walkaround lens thanks to compactness and low weight. I'm not a pixel peeper but in practical use I really haven't had any problems with aberrations of any kind.

The downside is that the autofocus is a bit slow and rather noisy. The slowness can be overcome to a good extent thanks to quick shift, it's easy to put it in the right range first and then AF. The focus ring is not really dampened and not much fun for precise manual focusing. At least on my copy the zoom ring isn't really smooth but tends to stick a bit during zooming, which is a bit annoying. But considering the low price this certainly is no deal breaker.

I'd wholeheartedly recomend this lens to anyone needing a bit of range without having that much money to spend.
Senior Member

Registered: February, 2017
Posts: 125
Lens Review Date: December 29, 2017 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $201.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Lightweight and fairly small, Overall IQ, Simplicity
Cons: Dreadfull AF speed, Sharpness not great at max aperture at 300mm, Quite expensive (would never buy it new)
Sharpness: 7    Aberrations: 7    Bokeh: 8    Autofocus: 4    Handling: 8    Value: 6    New or Used: Used    Camera Used: K-70   

Decent compact wildlife lens.
New Member

Registered: November, 2013
Location: Odessa
Posts: 19
Lens Review Date: February 8, 2017 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: N/A | Rating: 8 

Pros: Cheap, Graet Reach, overall sharpness, Bokeh
Cons: Really NONE
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 8    Autofocus: 8    Handling: 8    Value: 10    New or Used: Used    Camera Used: K30   

I rate this lens true 8.
It's nearly glued to the body. So great for walking! I do like it's bokeh and IQ. You can use it wide open and it will give you great results. There is no near any lens to compete with it. Solid build, nice look, easy to use.
I bought it instead of 70 lim which is limiting me a lot. And I am very happy.

What else I must say? It produces pics in cold tones with so sweet reds!
Senior Member

Registered: April, 2015
Posts: 156
Lens Review Date: December 17, 2016 I can recommend this lens: No | Price: $100.00 | Rating: 6 

Pros: Long reach, light weight
Cons: slow af, variable sharpness, bokeh meh
Sharpness: 7    Aberrations: 6    Bokeh: 6    Autofocus: 5    Handling: 7    Value: 7    New or Used: Used    Camera Used: K5 K5iis   

Got this lens for a bargain price. First off, this is way better than the 50-200, BUT the 50-200 is just so awful so that is saying not much.
The 55-300 is capable of delivering some very pleasing results, but within limited parameters> something like 55-180, at f8 you will get some really nice shots. Outside this you are going to have a lot of chuckers. Eventually this led me to get rid of the lens. For wildlife it is a non-starter really, too slow and not really adequately sharp wide open.
The AF is screw-drive, slow and noisy. The bokeh is not too pleasant to my eyes.
Weighs so little and it's cheap so it's a bargain if you need some drag anywhere lens, but I don't recommend it for critical work. I believe the Tamron 70-300 may be better, and perhaps even cheaper.
Site Supporter

Registered: December, 2011
Location: North Rhine-Westphalia
Posts: 447

4 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: July 13, 2016 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $325.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Serious telephoto reach, versatile zoom range, unusual IQ for a consumer zoom (including snappy contrast), light and compact, allows for flexible hand-held shooting, decent build, affordable.
Cons: Not the fastest aperture, fairly slow and noisy AF prone to some hunting (prefocusing helps a lot, though), no WR.
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 9    Autofocus: 8    Handling: 9    Value: 10    New or Used: New    Camera Used: K-3, K-7   

Have been shooting this one since 2011; it was my first extra lens beyond the 18-55mm kit lens, and I've never looked back. It remains my telephoto workhorse, capabable of coping with pretty much anything you throw at it that requires a little more reach.

There sure are telephoto offerings out there with that nth-degree resolution, but they are easily three times the price of this immensely versatile piece of glass. Contrastwise, the lens does not disappoint, not even at the long end, where many zooms of this type struggle. Wide open at F5.8, the 300mm are usable, by stopping down to F6.3, my most-used aperture on this lens, perceived sharpness is actually quite decent, and at F7.1 I have no qualms about sharpness at all.

Likely due to its fairly low element count and dependable coatings, the lens renders lively colours. There is some distortion at both ends of the zoom range, but nothing that would cause particular concern. Likewise, the residual purple fringing is easily corrected in post. Flare resistance is about average, I'd say, but the hood that comes with the lens takes care of that in most situations.

Subject tracking may not be a forte of the DA55-300mm, but given that it is the only lens with this kind of reach I got, I have used it on moving subjects, and under less than ideal lighting conditions, at events, zoo outings, and on other occasions and did return with a fair number of keepers.

In fact, this lens is probably responsible for more well-received images than any other glass I own, in a kit that also includes two DA Limiteds, and it's also among those that spend the most time on my camera, which should be saying something, I guess.

Here are some zoo images I shot with the DA55-300mm:
Junior Member

Registered: August, 2011
Location: Bournemouth
Posts: 29
Lens Review Date: August 13, 2015 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $187.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: light, durable construction
Cons: purple fringing in direct sunlight
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 6    Autofocus: 7    Handling: 9    Value: 10    New or Used: Used    Camera Used: Pentax K-30   

I caught this lens at ebay UK and won the bid at £120 while I was preparing to attend the Royal International Air Tattoo and Farnborough last year (2014). I was impressed by the results having a light zoom lens which gives me the freedom to raise my camera for the whole day while pointing it on airplanes flying. As I have owned an earlier version of this lens with plastic mount I already had an idea what it could do and I was impressed that this metal mount version is a lot better. With the downside of purple fringing when shooting planes in direct sunlight with the reflection on the fighter jets canopies, the rest are desirable results you would have expected in images taken at high speed handheld without the burden of having a tripod or monopod because of the weight of the lens which allows you to save your effort in lifting it.

I have the image samples for your own consideration.

New Member

Registered: February, 2013
Posts: 2
Lens Review Date: February 5, 2015 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $450.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: range
Cons: hunts in low light
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 8    Autofocus: 6    Handling: 8    Value: 8    New or Used: New    Camera Used: K30   

New Member

Registered: November, 2012
Posts: 1

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: December 11, 2014 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $240.00 | Rating: 7 

Pros: Sharpness, colour
Cons: slow, aberation, good value for price
Sharpness: 7    Aberrations: 3    Bokeh: 7    Autofocus: 4    Handling: 7    Value: 9    New or Used: Used    Camera Used: Pentax K10D   

I used ordinary kit DA 50-200 previously. And to be honest, 55-300 beats it almost everywhere.
Sharpnes in much better, colours are more pleasen, more accurate. Abberation is simmilar, both lenses are slow - dofinitely not for sports.

I was using it half year for landscape photography and I can say - try it. It it not heavy, and around 200mm pretty sharp. And most important thing - you will learn how to select important things into your picture. Your eye will become more careful, more focused on details, curves.... I am not able to imagine landscape photography after spending so much time with this lens.

Portraits - also nice, bokeh is not creamy, but I like it. It is like Gaugains

in general - go for it. You will not regret money. Perfect update from 50-200mm, if you have limited budget.
Inactive Account

Registered: September, 2014
Posts: 4

3 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: November 30, 2014 I can recommend this lens: No | Price: N/A | Rating: 8 

Pros: Lightweigth, sharp in sunny condition, good price
Cons: not for the rainy days, slow autofocus, loss of sharpness at the tele end
Sharpness: 5    Aberrations: 7    Bokeh: 7    Autofocus: 6    Handling: 8    Value: 7    New or Used: New    Camera Used: Pentax K-30   

Before purchasing this lens, I tested it on a weekend. I thought this lens could be a replacement for my 18-135 WR on the tele end. An everyday lens for hiking and days in the nature.
I am very satisfied with the 18-135 but I want more zoom
Maybe I was wrong. Here are the facts: (this is a usability review, not a professional one)

The lens is a lightweight and eays to use. The "wheels" are easy to handle and you can take pictures without a tripod.
My first impression while shooting was a bad one: what a loud and slow autofocus. This is a fact I can handle with, but the birds fly away, when they hear the focus.
The first day was a dark day and I was very sad about the pictures I made:


55mm - 55mm - 300mm

As you recognize there is a loss of sharpness on the 300mm pic. At all these pictures are too bad for me.

At the next day, it was sunny.


150mm - 210mm - 300mm

Bird table

170mm- 210mm - 300mm

Surprise. These pictures are much better. But you will again see the loss of of sharpness and even focus in the 300mm pictures.

Garden (nearly perfect condition - the lawn and the light)

55mm - 78mm - 135mm - 300mm

Wow, look at the 300mm picture. This is the first sharp and acceptable shoot with this lense.

Here are some pictures to compare:

18-135WR 18mm - SMC A 1.7/50mm - 18-135 at 135mm

So, what is my opinion about the 55-300.
This is definitely a "good weather" lens, much more than my 18-135 is. You can make sharp 300mm pictures, but there has to be the right light.
Handling is easy, it is lightweighted and not too long, it comes with a bag.

At all it is not the travel and hiking zoom I need. The pictures at the 300mm tele end are bad, although the quality rises fast and from 200mm you will have some good pictures.
Site Supporter

Registered: February, 2012
Location: Houston
Posts: 129
Lens Review Date: November 27, 2014 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $350.00 | Rating: 7 

Pros: light, price
Cons: Slow AF, not very sharp
Sharpness: 7    Aberrations: 7    Bokeh: 5    Autofocus: 2    Handling: 7    Value: 7    New or Used: New    Camera Used: k5   

Nice cheap zoom but beware that Autofocus can be slow and hunt.
New Member

Registered: December, 2013
Posts: 1

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: November 21, 2014 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $80.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Image quality, Handling, Price
Cons: None
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 7    Bokeh: 8    Autofocus: 5    Handling: 8    Value: 10    New or Used: Used    Camera Used: k30   

Great value lens. Pentax cameras generally have good ergonomics and this lens just feel great on the camera with its lightness and big grippy zoom ring. One small gripe is that the focus ring is a bit out of the way and with the hood in storage position you can't actually get to it at the wide end, making quick shift inaccessible for quick grab shots.

I find the image quality is decent throughout the range good sharpness for a super zoom with nice rendition. The Autofocus does hunt a bit in low light. On the older DSLRs the slowness is a real problem but with the improving ISO performance, you can get good resolution at 800+, and actually the 5.8 becomes 5.6 from 270mm.
New Member

Registered: January, 2013
Location: England
Posts: 9

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: October 22, 2014 I can recommend this lens: No | Price: $475.00 | Rating: 5 

Pros: Light weight, good reach
Cons: Sharpness, slow AF, noisy AF, poor lens hood design
Sharpness: 4    Aberrations: 7    Bokeh: 7    Autofocus: 2    Handling: 6    Value: 5    New or Used: New    Camera Used: *ist D, K5IIs, K3   

I bought this lens, new, around December 2012, instead of the DA 50-200mm that I went to the shop to buy, after the guy in the shop advised me that this lens was sharper throughout the range.

I have used this lens as my walk around lens for over a year (with an F 28mm f2.8 on the *ist D for shots where the 55-300mm is just too telephoto) and have finally decided enough is enough.

The shots I have taken with the 55-300mm are not sharp by any measure, noticeably less sharp than the DA 50-200mm at any focal length (which I bought about 3 months later when I realised the guy in the shop had led me up the garden path), with a less pleasant bokeh. I have also taken to leaving the lens hood at home, as it falls off whenever touched. It often focuses right past the correct point, out to infinity, focuses back to "zero" and then out to the correct point, taking 4-5 seconds to do so. This is true on all three digital body types (I have two *ist D's, and borrowed another K5 for a recent photo shoot) I have tried it on, so do not think it is the camera, but the lens.

Others have tempered their reviews by pointing out that this is a consumer lens, not a professional one. But given that Pentax do not produce a comparable "pro" lens, with the nearest thing, the DA* 60-250 being shorter at both ends of the focal range - the cut-off at 250mm instead of 300mm being particularly limiting - there really isn't any justification for this.

If there was such a thing as a DA 60-300 [IF] for around $900-1000 then I would buy it, but as the DA 55-300 is currently hovering around $450 and the DA* 60-250 is around $1450, there is a lot of space between the two for Ricoh/Pentax to produce a "prosumer" lens with a 5:1 (or better) zoom range.

A recent contract completion gave me some cash in the bank so the DA* 300mm has joined my burgeoning collection - I found one for $950 boxed and sealed - and am now starting the process of clearing out my cupboards of old glass (F, FA, DA L, DA, etc.) to make way for more FA*/DA* lenses, as I now realise the sharpness I have been craving since my film-only days can only be achieved through lenses with a star in the title.

My recommendation to anyone with a Pentax DSLR would be to buy fewer lenses, but make them good ones.
Junior Member

Registered: September, 2014
Posts: 34
Lens Review Date: September 29, 2014 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $300.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Light weight, sharp, telemacro, quick shift
Cons: loud, focus can hunt, not weather sealed
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 6    Autofocus: 7    Handling: 9    Value: 10    New or Used: Used    Camera Used: K30   

The reviews of this lens were one of the big things that convinced me to go Pentax. The lens is plenty sharp for its price range, and light enough to shoot one handed. This is the lens I've got on my camera more than any other because its range is so versatile. Its great for walking around the park because you can get everything from distant animals to right up close insects. For example, the FA*300 cannot focus anywhere near as closely as this lens can.
While it's true this lens hunts, the quick shift makes this problem much more manageable, especially if your subject is at infinity.

Overall, if I ever got a mirrorless camera, I'd probably adapt this lens to it because it is so useful, even if I'd lose autofocus and auto aperture.
New Member

Registered: December, 2012
Location: Moscow
Posts: 13
Lens Review Date: September 2, 2014 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $150.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Size/weight, contrast, IQ (yes!), 190/f4.5, sharp
Cons: Noisy AF, quality varies from piece to piece, odd bokeh
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 7    Autofocus: 8    Handling: 8    Value: 10    New or Used: New    Camera Used: K-30   

I bought this lens as compact tele-zoom to extend my 70-210 Tokina. It allows 190/4.5 and 260/5.6. It's quite good for cheap lens.
You should purchase this lens carefully with testing - some pieces are good, some are not. My ticket was lucky.

I was surprised by sharpness and contrast, using the lens as tele-portrait. But don't expect great bokeh - it's absolutely boring, even if you'll compare it with DA 50-200.
The AF lifehack for this lens: if you want to speed up your AF, don't use it longer than 260mm. It will give you /f5.6, and AF speed will really improve.

However, it's noisy and I'm always afraid, it will self-destruct. But you have no other options for cheap tele-zooms. I tried Tokina 70-210 and 75-300, some Sigmas 75-300 and Tamron. No other choice. Nothing compares with this one - if you are lucky.

My other shots by this lens

Registered: November, 2013
Location: Barcelona
Posts: 373
Lens Review Date: July 11, 2014 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $400.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Focus Range,
Cons: Focus, maybe not that bright
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 8    Autofocus: 7    Handling: 8    Value: 8    New or Used: New    Camera Used: Kr   

I bought this zoom lens 3 years ago and still love it. It was in my first trip with my old K110D, and I must say I had no idea about zooms. I was looking for a 300mm as my goal was to use it in race tracks, and outdoors to take pictures of race cars. Once in NYC we've found that shop and well, I ended up buying it.

Today I must admit most of my best pictures have been done with that lens, as most of my pictures are about Rally, MotoGP, F1, or some other motorsports, and I might say the lens has impressed me because it even has bokeh! Yes it does! It's such a surprise for me finding that in a 55-300mm lens.

It is nice to use, but sometimes it is slow focusing, in low lights you won't do much, and it is not super bright; i would like it to be f2.8 or even f4 constant, but well.... you can't ask for everything.

It is a great lens to use during day light to shoot at vehicles, even at night if there is some light, of course if it's total dark and you depend on the car lights, you'll suffer, as it lost focus with them; you might need the help of a flash light.

Anyway, if you find it at a good price, I'd say you won't be dissapointed.

Here you can see some examples of what you can do with that lens:

Add Review of SMC Pentax-DA 55-300mm F4-5.8 ED Buy the SMC Pentax-DA 55-300mm F4-5.8 ED

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