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

Sharpness 
 8.3
Aberrations 
 8.0
Bokeh 
 7.8
Autofocus 
 6.7
Handling 
 8.6
Value 
 9.1
Reviews Views Date of last review
110 409,556 Wed February 8, 2017
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Recommended By Average Price Average User Rating
95% of reviewers $320.86 8.51
SMC Pentax-DA 55-300mm F4-5.8 ED

SMC Pentax-DA 55-300mm F4-5.8 ED
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SMC Pentax-DA 55-300mm F4-5.8 ED
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Description:
The Pentax DA 55-300mm telephoto zoom lens was released in 2008.

SMC Pentax-DA 55-300mm F4-5.8 ED
Image Format
APS-C
Lens Mount
Pentax K
Aperture Ring
No
Diaphragm
Automatic, 6 blades
Optics
12 elements, 8 groups
Mount Variant
KAF
Max. Aperture
F4-5.8
Min. Aperture
F22-32
Focusing
AF (screwdrive)
Quick-shift
Yes
Min. Focus
140 cm
Max. Magnification
0.28x
Filter Size
58 mm
Internal Focus
No
Field of View (Diag. / Horiz.)

APS-C: 29-5.4 ° / 25-4.6 °
Hood
PH-RBG 58 mm
Case
S80-160
Lens Cap
O-LC58
Coating
SMC,SP
Weather Sealing
No
Other Features
Diam x Length
71 x 111.5 mm (2.8 x 4.4 in.)
Weight
440 g (15.5 oz.)
Production Years
2008 to 2013
Engraved Name
smc PENTAX-DA 1:4-5.8 55-300mm ED
Product Code
21727
Notes
Two ED elements.
Features:
Screwdrive AutofocusQuick ShiftAutomatic ApertureAPS-C Digital Only
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
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Sort Reviews by: Date | Author | Rating | Recommendation | Likes (Descending) Showing Reviews 31-45 of 110
Inactive Account

Registered: March, 2013
Posts: 14
Lens Review Date: March 22, 2013 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $362.78 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Light, well built and "tight", sharp, versatile, not a bad price.
Cons: Noisy... very noisy.
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 9    Autofocus: 8    Handling: 9    Value: 10    New or Used: New    Camera Used: K-5 IIs   

Having just bought the K-5 IIs to see if it improves image quality over my "other" D-SLR, which is 18 Mp, BTW, I went for th 55-300 as a more practical "starter lens" for wildlife and general shots. My very first day was not at all disapointing for this lens, giving me some much sharper images than my more expensive D-SLR and "big" 150-400 lens. Apart from initial test shots, my first 3 shots outddors bagged me 3 very useable Nuthatch pic's. Then, switching to AF-S, 4 lovely shots of a finch that was "flapping" near a feeder. Later some more distant shots of a Chinese Water Deer and some nice scenic shoots too.

This lens is not at all a disapointment. What other reviewers are saying about AF being slow, on the K-5 IIs I found that not to be the case at all. On AF-S it snapped into focus in a second; more impressive than my "Bigma" on the "more common" and pricier camera I normally use! On AF-C it can "hunt" a bit, especillay against a dark background, but be fair, so wil any AF-C lens as there's not much to reference in the darkness. If the camera does not pick up enough detail, or laternately if the focus is already just past the point or object (resudual from last shot!) then obviously the screw has to go all the way back before going forward to find the new object; which this lens does admirably quick!

The only real problem with this lens is the "screw drive" noise.. a really horrible noise which can not only scare closer wildlife off but also drive you nuts at "busy" times! Why doesn't Pentax use something quiet like Tamron's "piazzo" drive.. or "pizza drive", as I call it? Change this and pentax will have a champion bargain lens on hand!
   
New Member

Registered: January, 2013
Posts: 3
Lens Review Date: March 3, 2013 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $350.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Good Range and Sharpness
Cons: A bit noisy with screw drive focus - not weather sealed
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 10    Autofocus: 9    Handling: 10    Value: 10    New or Used: New    Camera Used: K5   

I have now used this lens in a wide range of photographic situations.
Where it really shone was at the Port Fairy folk music festival where I was able to capture some really amazing images of on stage performers using only available stage lighting.
Even wide open at maximum zoom the images are very sharp, and the colour rendition is rich and natural. Just need to watch the shallow depth of field at the longer end of the zoom when wide open.
In combination with the K5 I have taken photos that I could only dream about in the days of film cameras.



Lens arrived on Friday - purchased online as retail stores in Melbourne too expensive with prices over $650.
Good colour, excellent IQ and bokeh.
Gives the bit extra reach that my 18 - 135 misses.
Focus is quick on K5 but can hunt a bit in low light.
Try setting camera to spot focus to improve autofocus - gets rid of most of the hunting
   
Site Supporter

Registered: February, 2012
Location: Adelaide Hills, South Australia
Posts: 5,806
Lens Review Date: January 19, 2013 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: N/A | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Zoom range, size
Cons: Slow focus and aperture
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 8    Autofocus: 6    Handling: 7    Value: 10    New or Used: New    Camera Used: K-5, K-01   

For a consumer zoom, this really does very well. It is impressively compact and light.
The focus throw is very long, and in less than ideal light it hunts forever. This was the deal-breaker for me.
Still excellent value for money though.
   
New Member

Registered: June, 2012
Location: Beijing, China
Posts: 7

2 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: December 14, 2012 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $350.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Zoom range, sharpness, cost, contrast
Cons: autofocus, aberration in contrast situation
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 8    Autofocus: 7    Handling: 9    Value: 9    New or Used: New    Camera Used: K-5   

If you consider the cost of this lens it is absolutely a must have lens.
The color are great, it is sharp, really sharp (from this point of view there is not much difference between this lens and the DA40 limited or the M50 f1.7) just at the corner it can be a bit softer
The autofocus can get annoying at the beginning if you have high expectation.

I used this lens also with the Raynox DCR-250, with great satisfaction..
   
Veteran Member

Registered: February, 2012
Location: Albuquerque, NM
Posts: 441
Lens Review Date: November 19, 2012 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $240.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Size, farthest reach, IQ
Cons: kind ugly, but way more better than other ones
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 9    Autofocus: 8    Handling: 10    Value: 10    New or Used: Used    Camera Used: K5/K7/K10D/Q/SIGMA DP1X   

Got this lens @ $240 from a PF user as used but in mint condition.
At this Focus length, it reach a good IQ/PRICE ratio.
I have used F 70-210, F 100-300. compare with these two lenses, this 55-300 has a better better IQ when full-open, and pretty well purple fringe control.
It has a better weight (around 350G), a batter size (not @ 300mm), and it completely make a good kit with my $49 used 18-55 AL II.
One this is the kinda ugly appearance when reach to 300mm. However, this does nothing to the IQ. And talking about ugly......the F100-300 is the ugliest one I have ever used, or seen =)
So currently it seems that I have a good set. So what should be my next step, to throw my money to....
   
Site Supporter

Registered: November, 2010
Location: Johannesburg
Posts: 160
Lens Review Date: October 15, 2012 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $420.00 | Rating: 7 

 
Pros: Zoom range, handling
Cons: Auto focus, PF

I picked up this lens used as a companion to the 18-55WR kit lens. The ideas was that I could travel with two lenses and be able to cover almost anything. I got to test this lens extensively last month at the Chobe National Park in Botswana. Our flying club went there with four aircraft and 16 people so luggage was extremely limited. The 55-300mm range is very usable. Some other people with zooms from 70 or 80mm just couldn't go wide enough on some shots. The Bigma (50-500mm) is definitely the ultimate wildlife zoom range.

I spent about half the time on manual focus as it was often ever so slightly out of focus. Of course, trying to autofocus on something over 50m away at full zoom is often a tough call anyway. When the focus was spot-on, the sharpness was very good! Most of the shots were taken at F8 and 500/s wih the ISO varying between 100 and 1600. I would have expected F8 to give a slightly better depth of field. The autofocus was quick, but not always accurate.

I do not recommend shooting against the light, even with a hood. I got fringing on most of those shots. I will see what I can remove in post-processing. Shooting with the light gave very good results with no noticeable fringing. Lens flare was reasonably well controlled except when shooting directly into the sunset. The bokeh is weird, especially against stripy backgrounds (zebra against trees). In some cases it detracts from the photo.

For a "budget" lens it performs well, but be mindful of how you use it. Will I keep it, definitely! If I can only take one long light zoom with me, this will be it. I would give it a 7.5, but I dont feel it deserves an 8.
   
Senior Member

Registered: January, 2011
Posts: 293

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: October 10, 2012 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: N/A | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Color, clarity, size, price
Cons: noisy focus sound
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 8    Autofocus: 7    Handling: 9    Value: 10    New or Used: Used    Camera Used: K5   

I'm rating this lens highly based on what you get for the price. It's great value.

The colors are vibrant, and just as important, the contrast is strong which gives photos nice depth and clarity.

I prefer the term clarity vs sharpness, which to me is a word that gets bludgeoned to death like nothing else matters with a lens. I'd say this lens has some character to it, and the photos are clear. The bokeh is pleasing when it's used for close-ups. I've gotten some lovely macro-type shots from it.

Be careful of the long end. It's really great up to about 240mm. I've now compared it to the 60-250 and can say that it is quite competitive even at its wider apertures. I'd suggest shooting at 240mm max and cropping rather than trying to shoot anything at distance at 300mm. You'll get a cleaner photo in the long run with a lot more resolution.

Pentax Ricoh: please make a Mark II model with WR and a DC motor. You'll sell lots of them. I'd pay a premium for that.

A real bonus of this lens is that it's actually quite fast: f4 up to and past 100mm, and f4.5 all the way to 190mm. This allows for some good control of depth of focus.

I can't disagree too much with what others say. It's of basic build, the autofocus is noisy (which may be not an issue for you), but it's good enough. What you get out of it is where it counts: good image quality.

The DA55-300 is pretty easy to throw in the camera bag compared to heavy, large 60-250 or 70-200. A step-up ring for shared filters makes it a nice complement to the DA16-45. Both are humble, screw-driven lenses with no WR, but with interesting zoom ranges, lightweight construction, and high quality glass. I'm starting to rethink my kit around such lenses.

Here are a few shots taken with it:




   
New Member

Registered: August, 2008
Location: virginia
Posts: 12
Lens Review Date: August 13, 2012 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $285.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: sharpness, range, color
Cons: speed, focus
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 7    Autofocus: 7    Handling: 10    Value: 10    New or Used: New    Camera Used: k-5   

I go to this lens often; when ever the subject is moving around, like kids at a b-day party or on the beach, this lens is the only tool that can do the job with respectable results. The focus is a bit tricky, you need to get it close by hand then use AF (only when zoomed in over 250). The picture quality will blow you away when the light is used right.

beside one of Pentax's limited there is no zoom that compares. along side such a prime this lens would be an 8, but I look at all the reviews of lenses I have used on this forum and in that light this lens is a 9.5. I've owned at leaste 10 other zooms and this one is better than them all. shorter zooms are not any more crisp, faster lenses have worse aberations, this lens is in my opinion the best of all worlds. I sold my tamron 28-75 F/2.8, pentax 50-200, and sigma 18-250... they are dogs by comparison and more over the tamron which I wanted for low light would disapoint so often that I had to laugh. the 55-300 was crisper with a higher ISO than the tamron wide open. I lost so many good pics with the tamron that I wanted to throw it against a wall... The 55-300 never let's me down.
   
New Member

Registered: April, 2012
Posts: 13

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: July 27, 2012 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $416.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: price,IQ,light
Cons: litle slow focus ( optioal )
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 9    Autofocus: 9    Handling: 9    Value: 10    New or Used: New    Camera Used: k5   

.nfm.
   
Pentaxian

Registered: December, 2008
Location: Perth, Australia
Posts: 1,387
Lens Review Date: July 15, 2012 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: N/A | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Image quality
Cons: Auto focus
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 8    Autofocus: 6    Handling: 9    Value: 8    New or Used: New    Camera Used: K-7   

A bit hit and miss to focus with my K-7, particularly if focus has to move from far to near. However, the quick shift focus can save the day.

The sharpness of this lens is really, really impressive and it's good wide open and it stays sharp to the edge of the frame. As a nice bonus, it's F4.5 at 190mm and very compact - about the size of a soft drink can.

All in all, a really useful lens with no major negatives. Great value.


   
Pentaxian

Registered: September, 2010
Location: Manchester, UK
Posts: 2,416

2 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: June 16, 2012 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $350.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Good contrast and colour
Cons: Size, weight, no WR
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 8    Autofocus: 7    Handling: 5    Value: 8    New or Used: New    Camera Used: K-7, K-5ii   

I must live in a different world from some of the other reviewers. I also have the 50-200mm WR so I can't help but compare the two.

The 55-300 feels bulky, heavy and since fully extended with the hood on it hits some 23cm in length it also feels long. Not being into birding, this matters to me - it is hard not to be conspicuous with this lens on your camera.

AF can be noisy and slow but that is the price you pay for a long spin on the focus ring which actually makes it possible to accurately focus manually (no damping of course because of the AF). Performance-wise it is good but not significantly better than the 50-200mm. There is little CA or vignetting and very little purple fringing - what CA there is does vary with focal length, becoming quite noticeable at the long end. Bokeh is very pleasant and sharpness is good, as is contrast and colour.

Manufacturing quality control is abysmal - my first sample was badly de-centered. So if you get one and aren't happy with it throw it back at whoever sold it to you, the replacement might be better. However, do set up the fine AF correction properly, preferably at infinity, it does make a difference.

I like to travel light and hence I still prefer the 50-200 to this one.

Some pics :





   
Forum Member

Registered: April, 2012
Location: Belgium
Posts: 61
Lens Review Date: May 18, 2012 I can recommend this lens: No | Price: $400.00 | Rating: 5 

 
Pros: Not expensive
Cons: soft @300mm, AF hunt in low light, AF noisy
Sharpness: 5    Aberrations: 6    Bokeh: 6    Autofocus: 5    Handling: 7    Value: 5    New or Used: New    Camera Used: K5   

Maybe i had a bad copy but i was not satisfied with this lens for the main reason AF was so noisy!
AF is not quick and hunt in low light.
   
Site Supporter

Registered: April, 2011
Location: Lost in translation ...
Posts: 16,582

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: April 28, 2012 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: N/A | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Sharp, zoom range, Quickshift, colors ...
Cons: Slow-ish AF, would love to see a "WR" version ...
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 7    Autofocus: 7    Handling: 9    Value: 9    New or Used: New    Camera Used: K-r, K-5, K110D   

Bonjour,

I got this lens over a year ago after being disappointed by the top end sharpness of my Sigma DG 70-300 APO lens. Pentax is much better at the upper FL's than this Sigma IMHO.

This lens is now glued to the K-r which my wife uses for her backyard "birding" shots ... shot the bird, ID it and then document sighting on the local French"LPO" website ("Ligue pour la Protection des Oiseaux").

Not much to add because all has been pretty much been said in previous posts ... Below is a photo or two that I took with the K-r and the DA 55-300 with an "el cheapo" 2x tele-converter on an over-cast day ... just goofing around one day and a meager contribution.

[B][I]Allez et prenez des belles photos - Salut, [COLOR=DarkOliveGreen]John le Frog

(Non working links deleted)
   
Senior Member

Registered: October, 2006
Location: North Face of Mount Shasta
Posts: 107

2 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: March 31, 2012 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $265.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Sharpness, Build, Handling, Versatility, Contrast, Color Rendition
Cons: Auto focus a little slow, but accurate
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 9    Autofocus: 8    Handling: 9    Value: 10    New or Used: New   

I purchased this lens the same time I purchased my K20d 4 years ago. This has been my goto lens since that time. I have used it for portraits, floral, butterflies & dragonflies, sports and just about everything else. I trust the lens from wide open and at all focal lengths. Sure it could focus a little faster, be a tad quieter, be all metal construction and maybe even a tiny bit sharper ... but not for this price. Pentax has truly hit a home run with this lens. If there is a consumer lens in this focal range that can touch this lens in handling, sharpness or build quality, I surely don't know what it is.
If you want a lens that can produce images that you can be proud of and can't afford a months salary to purchase it, give this lens a close look.

A couple of my examples;


California Spreadwing (Archilestes californicus)


Two-tailed Swallowtail (Papilio multicaudata)
   
Pentaxian

Registered: January, 2011
Location: Skåne, Sweden
Posts: 422
Lens Review Date: March 20, 2012 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $265.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Affordable, no major weakness
Cons: Nothing extraordinary, not "fun"
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 7    Autofocus: 7    Handling: 7    Value: 10    New or Used: Used    Camera Used: K-5   

PROS
  • No major weakness
  • Great value

CONS
  • Not "fun"
  • Wish it was weather sealed

I have some mixed feelings about this lens. For what it is (long range, low price) it is a pretty decent performer, probably the best choice out there. It has no major weaknesses. However, it doesn't really excel in any aspects either.

Image quality is overall satisfying. It is reasonably sharp, but needs to be stopped down when possible. This is especially important the closer to 300mm you get, and at 300mm and ~F8 or so you usually need to start raising the ISO even in daylight. I never experienced any problem with aberrations, but I always shoot RAW and process with the lens profile in Lightroom. Bokeh, especially in transition areas, can be a bit nervous at times.

The lens is not that heavy, but pretty large. Weight is pretty far out when at tele end, getting a bit clumsy (I like the limiteds...). Autofocus can hunt sometimes, and is pretty noisy.

Even though it is great value, and has no major weakness really, I usually leave this lens at home. It just lacks that something extra to consistently make it into the camera bag. It is not super-sharp, it is not small, it is not fast (in terms of both aperture and autofocus). I used the DA-L 50-200mm quite a bit when I was new to Pentax, and this is like the big brother to that, a little better in most aspects, but I have somewhat the same feeling for both of these lenses.

6-7km distance to ship, F11, tripod ("ideal conditions")




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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