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SMC Pentax-DA* 300mm F4 ED [IF] SDM Review RSS Feed

SMC Pentax-DA* 300mm F4 ED [IF] SDM

Sharpness 
 9.7
Aberrations 
 9.6
Bokeh 
 9.3
Autofocus 
 8.1
Handling 
 9.5
Value 
 9.2
Reviews Views Date of last review
81 363,408 Thu August 3, 2023
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Recommended By Average Price Average User Rating
98% of reviewers $1,034.58 9.56
SMC Pentax-DA* 300mm F4 ED [IF] SDM

SMC Pentax-DA* 300mm F4 ED [IF] SDM
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SMC Pentax-DA* 300mm F4 ED [IF] SDM
supersize
SMC Pentax-DA* 300mm F4 ED [IF] SDM
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Description:
The Pentax DA* 300mm telephoto lens features weather-sealing as well as Pentax's SDM focusing technology. It has a removable tripod mount.

SMC Pentax-DA* 300mm F4 ED [IF] SDM
© www.pentaxforums.com, sharable with attribution
Image Format
Full-frame / 35mm film
Lens Mount
Pentax K
Aperture Ring
No
Diaphragm
Automatic, 9 blades
Optics
8 elements, 6 groups
Mount Variant
KAF2
Check camera compatibility
Max. Aperture
F4
Min. Aperture
F32
Focusing
AF (in-lens motor or screwdrive)
SDM
Quick-shift
Yes
Min. Focus
140 cm
Max. Magnification
0.24x
Filter Size
77 mm
Internal Focus
Yes
Field of View (Diag. / Horiz.)

APS-C: 5.4 ° / 4.6 °
Hood
PH-RBK 77 mm
Case
S120-210
Lens Cap
O-LC77
Coating
SMC,SP
Weather Sealing
Yes (AW)
Other Features
AF/MF Switch,Tripod Mount
Diam x Length
83 x 184 mm (3.3 x 7.2 in.)
Weight
1070 g (37.7 oz.)
w/ Hood: +90g
w/ Tripod Foot: +80g
Production Years
2008 to present (in production)
Pricing
$996 USD current price
Engraved Name
smc PENTAX-DA* 1:4 300mm ED [IF] SDM
Product Code
21767
Reviews
User reviews
In-depth review
Unofficial Full-Frame Compatibility Tests by Pentax Forums
★★★ Full coverage at all tested F-stops and all focal lengths
Show details
Notes
Two ED elements.
Designed for APS-C but officially full-frame compatible per Ricoh. The Pentax K-1 includes full-frame correction profiles for this lens.

Features:
Screwdrive AutofocusSupersonic AutofocusQuick ShiftWeather SealedInternal FocusingAutomatic ApertureFull-Frame Support
Purchase: Buy the SMC Pentax-DA* 300mm F4 ED [IF] SDM
In-Depth Review: Read our SMC Pentax-DA* 300mm F4 ED [IF] SDM in-depth review!
Sample Photos: View Sample Photos
Price History:



Add Review of SMC Pentax-DA* 300mm F4 ED [IF] SDM Buy the SMC Pentax-DA* 300mm F4 ED [IF] SDM
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Senior Member

Registered: June, 2011
Location: Arlington, VA
Posts: 187

1 user found this helpful
Review Date: January 7, 2015 Recommended | Price: $1,000.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Build, optical quality, feel in hand
Cons: Stupid lens shade, should be built in
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 9    Autofocus: 8    Handling: 9    New or Used: Used    Camera Used: Pentax K-3   

Extremely well built, superb fit and finish. Color and contrast on the lens fit the bill for me, I haven't noticed any serious CA at all. Fit, finish and the design of the lens are superb. Weight is substantial at about 37 ounces and the lens is a tad over 7" long and with internal focus does not extend, a good thing. It is easy to handled and the balance of the lens on the K-3 is just right. I like the tripod collar configuration with the removable foot in particular. Removing the foot makes the lens a bit thinner allowing the lens to more easily slide in and out of my camera bag. The only thing I do not like about the lens is the removable lens shade. This is a large lens on a K-3 body and it is not exactly unobtrusive. The lens shade adds about 4" to the length and makes it look like a potato launcher. Is it really necessary to have a large PENTAX logo on the shade? A built-in retractable shade would make this lens near perfect.
   
Veteran Member

Registered: October, 2008
Location: Albuquerque NM
Posts: 9,830

4 users found this helpful
Review Date: January 6, 2015 Recommended | Price: $1,060.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Very sharp, well built, silent focus, reasonably compact
Cons: On the heavy side
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 10    Autofocus: 9    Handling: 10    Value: 10    New or Used: New    Camera Used: K3   

Like another reviewer, I had been pretty happy with my 55-300. I purchased this lens with the 1.4 converter for birding. I don't know if I will look at my 55-300 photos the same. This lens puts my nature shots in another league.

The lens is largish, compared to the zoom, but much better built. The lens hood is made of sturdy plastic with a rubberized rim--classy. Focus is quick in decent light, but slower than most in dark conditions. The quick shift manual focus comes in handy. The low light focus speed is more of an issue with the teleconverter. Still, it is pretty impressive.

Handling is good, and the tripod mount is sturdy as well.

This lens on the K3 has put birding on the front burner for me. The first photo of the cranes is with the K3, tripod, and lens, alone. The second is with the DA* 300mm plus the Pentax 1.4x rear converter. The reduction applied for the forum may not do them justice. On the originals, you can pretty much count the hair-like feathers on the head of the bird.

DA*300 F/4.5


DA*300mm + Pentax 1.4x converter F/8
   
Site Supporter

Registered: November, 2010
Location: California
Posts: 2,223

4 users found this helpful
Review Date: November 24, 2014 Recommended | Price: $1,396.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Silent AF, colors, sharp
Cons: AF hunts in low light or stopped down (same thing)- Tripod mount is too small.
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 9    Autofocus: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 10    New or Used: New    Camera Used: K-3   

December 23, 2015 UPDATE:

---------------

I just realized I had not posted any photos with the Pentax HD 1.4TC. After posting on a op that wants to trade the DA300 with the F*300, I am temped to buy it again. Here are some with the 1.4tc:

Red-shouldered Hawk (Buteo lineatus) by Palenquero Photography, on Flickr

Cedar Waxwing & Berries by Palenquero Photography, on Flickr


Cedar Waxwings - Lunch Time by Palenquero Photography, on Flickr


Passeriformes, Bombycillidae by Palenquero Photography, on Flickr


Black_necked Stilt (Himantopus mexicanus) by Palenquero Photography, on Flickr


Green Heron (Butoroides virescens) by Palenquero Photography, on Flickr



PxDA400mmf4-1.4xTC-RedMoon9 by Palenquero Photography, on Flickr


rino1-1 by Palenquero Photography, on Flickr



veano1-1 by Palenquero Photography, on Flickr


Flamingo2-1 by Palenquero Photography, on Flickr



Venadito1-1 by Palenquero Photography, on Flickr



Tern Three by Palenquero Photography, on Flickr


Lechuza1-1 by Palenquero Photography, on Flickr


Pelica Two by Palenquero Photography, on Flickr





=====================================================

Update: August 31, 2015
I just purchased the Pentax HD 1.4x TC and changed my life. This lens is behaving like a true 420mm lens at f5.6. The AF improved so much that I can now take birds in flight with less effort than before.

------------------------------------------------------------------------

I purchased this lens brand new because I wanted the 1-yr warranty. As it turned out, I love it. The AF is very silent, I almost thought it was broken, but it is so fast and quiet. Colors are Pentax typical. Very sharp. It is only an f4, so it is not the fastest lens, so using a 1.4x TC may not be a bad thing with good light, but I normally do not use it. Wide open is sharp, so I only use it that way. In case of low light and/or with TC, the AF hunts a bit. I like the results. I also have the pentax F*300/4.5 and will have to sell it, which is very hard for me. The F*300/4.5 is very small and fits everywhere, pluse the tripod mount is really nice. I whith the DA300/4 had a mount like the F*4.5. I will publish phtos later on. Or, you can see them here.


Update: Feb. 1, 2015:


PxDA300mmf4-RedFlyCatcher4*-1 by Palenquero, on Flickr


PxDA300mmf4-Osprey2-1 by Palenquero, on Flickr



PxDA300mmf4-GrayHeron2-1 by Palenquero, on Flickr





=======================

PentaxDA300mmf4-HermitThrush-1 by Palenquero, on Flickr


PentaxDA300mmf4-Abeja2-1 by Palenquero, on Flickr


Pelican in Flight-1 by Palenquero, on Flickr


Gray Heron 2-1 by Palenquero, on Flickr
   
New Member

Registered: January, 2013
Location: England
Posts: 9

3 users found this helpful
Review Date: October 22, 2014 Recommended | Price: $950.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Sharpness, heft, solid feel, speed of focus, near silence of focus
Cons: None
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 10    Autofocus: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 10    New or Used: New    Camera Used: *ist D, K5IIs, K3   

I bought this a few weeks ago to complement my stable, amassed over more than 20 years as an amateur and professional Pentax user.

It is my first "star" lens, but it has already become my favourite out of all the glass I own, have ever used or get to use professionaly, which includes some camera and zoom lens combos that cost over $100,000.

Others have said that the AF hunts sometimes; I have not found this to be the case, and have been able to get crisp shots of buzzards swooping on their prey, cars driving on the freeway straight towards me (60mph+) and of insects buzzing around flowers a few feet in front of me (notwithstanding the limitation of the minimum focusing distance!) I cannot ask for more from a consumer camera.

Others have said that it is a big lens and/or a heavy lens. As has been pointed out, when compared to what it actually is - a 450mm f4 - it scores very well. I have used several mirror lenses over the years, and still have a SIgma 500mm f8, and this is in a different league for picture taking, but much the same weight and size.
I walk around with this lens on my K3 or K5IIs, and use the appropriate grip to give me something to hold onto (I have big hands) as well as to balance the camera/lens combo rather than for any other function. I often put AA batteries into the grip just to add weight.
I find the weight a positive boon, even when shooting the buzzards last week, which were directly overhead, regularly using shutter speeds down to 1/15th or 1/8th for effect with no camera shake or blur.

Another reviewer has said "What ever you paid to get this lens...you still lost a large amount of $$$". I disagree completely. I still have my first ever Pentax lens (F 50mm f1.7) and used it today photographing dragonflies by a pond. The $950 I paid for the DA* 300mm will probably be the best investment I have ever made for a piece of photographic equipment, and I expect I will still be using it in 20 years' time.
   
Junior Member

Registered: June, 2007
Location: Sweden, Huddinge
Posts: 38

1 user found this helpful
Review Date: July 15, 2014 Recommended | Price: $1,600.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: The lens is sharp, produces a nice bokeh and has a nice quality feeling of metal to it.
Cons: The autofocus could be faster and more accurate
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 10    Autofocus: 8    Handling: 9    Value: 8    New or Used: New    Camera Used: Pentax K-5   

I upgraded to this lens from a DA 55-300 an I will never look back to that lens again. Sometime I do have problems with the lens finding objects that are out of focus at the moment but then the quick shift helps me out. This is also the first SDM-lens I own and I love the silent mechanism!

The image quality from this lens the best I have experienced from any lens so far! I almost always come home with several good photos from a photo walk.

I would recommend anyone that are into longer lenses to buy this one. In the near future I will also try it out with the 1.4x rear converter for birding and other wildlife.


House sparrow by Joakim Östberg, on Flickr

Azure Damselfly x2 by Joakim Östberg, on Flickr

Cow by Joakim Östberg, on Flickr
   
Senior Member

Registered: May, 2013
Location: Lima-Peru
Posts: 118
Review Date: May 18, 2014 Recommended | Price: $900.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Sharp, contrast, colors, resolution,bokeh (in general IQ), weather sealed, quiet AF
Cons: AF hunts sometimes,
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 10    Autofocus: 7    Handling: 9    Value: 10    New or Used: Used    Camera Used: pentax k-30   

I spotted a used deal and i couldn't resiste, my wildlife photography inmediatly got better after this.
Worth every cent, my only complain is the AF (mabe the k-3 do it better than the k-30 that i use) in low light it is not fast, and sometimes has a problem locking in the subject, but as i said, i heard that the k-3 af abilities are better than the k-30.
Hand held photo:
   
Site Supporter

Registered: December, 2008
Location: NJ, USA
Posts: 428
Review Date: May 9, 2014 Recommended | Price: $1,100.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: sharpness, contrast, build quality
Cons:
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 10    Autofocus: 9    Handling: 10    Value: 10    New or Used: Used    Camera Used: K5   

This lens really surprised me. it is light weight for what it is, Nice to look at great to hold. Images are great.

I have been playing with Long lenses for some time and had extensively tested used
- DA55-300
- Tamron f2.8 300mm Adaptall
- Tokina 80-400 4-5.6
- Original Sigma 50-500
- Pentax 400mm f5.6 A

As you would expect, the DA 300 beats everyone of these lenses at every aperture. In the case of the 400mm f5.6, the 300mm either cropped or with a Kenko produced better images.

Compared to the Tamron f2.8, the Pentax 300 beats it at every aperture and with TC
TAMRON 300F2.8 Shot at F4 with TC 1.7 (pentax) = f6.7. Tripod with MLU

PENTAX 300f4 shot at F4 with TC 1.7 (pentax) = f6.7 Tripod with MLU
.
   
New Member

Registered: May, 2012
Posts: 15

1 user found this helpful
Review Date: January 17, 2014 Recommended | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Sharpness, quick shift, compact
Cons: price, SDM- AF speed might be better
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 9    Autofocus: 8    Handling: 9    Value: 5    New or Used: Used    Camera Used: k10d, K-5IIs   

Fine compact, well built tele lens- razor sharp, on bodies under k-5IIs aperture only determines depth of field (and exposure parameters, of course)- couldn't notice it's effect on sharpness.
AF might be faster, especially with such short throw of focusing ring. Also hood might be better designed- "bayonet's" teeth are hard to fit properly.
I'm still worry about SDM condition (Suspected Disfuncition Motor)- motor does it's work, but sounds like T-34 tracks from movie "Czterej pancerni i pies".
   
New Member

Registered: December, 2013
Location: wellington new zealand
Posts: 21
Review Date: December 24, 2013 Recommended | Price: $1,400.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: light sharp ,weather sealed.small
Cons: still looking
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 9    Autofocus: 9    Handling: 10    Value: 9    New or Used: New    Camera Used: k3.k511s,LX FILM   

perfect, people say its big and heavy its equivalent to a 420mm f4 ff lens they r 3 times the size of the pentax i can hand hold mine just but usually use a mono pod i have had mine for about 2 years and never had a problem.i have a lowepro dryzone 220 backpack which holds my 300mm ,200mm2.8,50-135mm2.8.100mm2.8 macro old 18mmfisheye.k3 with battery grip,k511s with battery grip af ftz 540 flash after market ring flash. all this gear goes were i go its about 30 kg so the 300 is about the same weight as my k3
   
Otis Memorial Pentaxian

Registered: December, 2009
Location: Canberra
Posts: 8,891
Review Date: December 6, 2013 Recommended | Price: $1,160.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Sharpness, lack of flare, bokeh, quick shift
Cons: Fiddly to reverse hood, hunts sometimes
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 9    Autofocus: 8    Handling: 10    Value: 10    New or Used: New    Camera Used: K5iis   

These are simply first impressions because I only got the lens yesterday, but it's certainly the best Pentax lens I have so far. I was surprised to find how fiddly the hood is to reverse - never had a challenge with the DA55-300. The trick is to ignore the alignment dots when reversing it. The lens can be used hand held, but it's quite heavy, which adds a bit to the risk of camera shake. It is unbelievably quiet. Perfect if you are close to a bird or animal and you don't want to disturb it. It's a big lens, so it doesn't work well with my existing camera backpack. It's nowhere near as compact as the DA55-300, so bear this in mind. The view through the viewfinder is fantastically bright with this lens, which makes focussing much easier, even without a third party focussing screen. Quick shift is easy to use - moreso than on other lenses I've tried. Given that it's an f4 lens, I will also try it for astro-photography - I'm keen to see if smaller objects can be captured without a motorised tripod mount by using the O-GPS1. I just edited the ratings to drop the bokeh to 9 - it's not quite as nice as I thought.
   
Moderator
Site Supporter

Registered: February, 2012
Location: Adelaide Hills, South Australia
Posts: 11,273

3 users found this helpful
Review Date: August 31, 2013 Recommended | Price: $1,400.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: pretty much everything
Cons: long focus throw takes some getting used to
New or Used: New   

I have just finished a month of shooting with this lens every day.

The DA*300 is, quite simply, a bloody great lens.

Not surprisingly, it is quite large, but in reality it is on the small side for such a lens; it is right on the limit of portability for me; it *just* fits in my LowePro Nova 4 AW shoulder bag, and is *just* OK for walk-around hand-held shooting, which is how I like to operate. With that said, it is about the same size, but lighter, than my Sigma 70-200/2.8. Build quality is everything one would expect from a top-notch pro level lens, and it handles brilliantly, although the focus throw is pretty long due its remarkably close minimum focal distance. The weather resistance is very reassuring for field shooting, which is of course what this lens is designed for.

Image quality is truly exceptional; very usable wide open, and stopped down beyond f/8.0 it may well be the sharpest lens in my kit. Subject isolation is great, and bokeh is buttery. Colours are gloriously rendered and chromatic aberration is virtually non-existent. Adapted on the Q its central resolution holds up very well indeed.

Is there anything I don't like about it? Actually, no

Some photos from my Single in August 2013 challenge:

   
Forum Member

Registered: February, 2011
Posts: 84

2 users found this helpful
Review Date: August 19, 2013 Recommended | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Handling, IQ
Cons: Price, AF speed
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 10    Autofocus: 7    Handling: 10    Value: 9    New or Used: New    Camera Used: K-5   

This lens is the thing. If only it cost something reasonably affordable for the casual photographer.

I find the lens to sit perfectly on my K-5, and feel great to use. That is, the lens is barely noticeable, from the feel of the surface textures, to the sound of AF - it just isn't there in any obtrusive way. It feels really pleasant. Using it feels so good I'd like to lick it.

The annoyances are:
- AF speed. Come on. No really, lens, come on and focus already.. The speed is not for the fast action sport, and on top of that it has a habit of going the wrong way. All the way. For the action shots window is often gone when AF quirks. Some sporty sigmas do way faster job.
- The price. What ever you paid to get this lens, no matter if you got a good deal or great deal, you still lost a large amount of $$$.

The good stuff is:
- Results
- ...and when you get the results, does anything above or anything else matter. No.





This guy knows what it feels to shoot this lens:



And here's a picture of Sir Sigma, after Pentax decides to do the right thing, and sell the DA*300 for something more like $499:

   
Inactive Account

Registered: July, 2013
Posts: 14
Review Date: July 15, 2013 Recommended | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Sharp as a Knife.
Cons: None that i can think of.
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 9    Autofocus: 8    Handling: 9    Value: 10    New or Used: New    Camera Used: K-5II   

Only just got it to complement my 60-250 which is excellent as well, the Da*300 is in a league of its own sharp as a razor with excellent Bokeh.
   
Senior Member

Registered: May, 2011
Location: Herefordshire, UK
Posts: 197
Review Date: May 30, 2013 Recommended | Price: $1,050.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Sharp, bokeh
Cons: None
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 10    Autofocus: 9    Handling: 10    Value: 10    New or Used: Used    Camera Used: K-5 IIs   

Went to buy a 60-250 lens, and there wasn't a good copy in stock. Took a look at the 300 and was instantly sold on it. It's now my favourite lens.

The AF could do with being a touch faster, but that is nitpicking.

I'd recommend one of these without hesitation.
   
Senior Member

Registered: March, 2010
Location: Svealand
Posts: 172
Review Date: May 1, 2013 Recommended | Price: $945.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Sharp, color rendition, bokeh
Cons: No aperture Ring, lens hood made of plastic
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 10    Autofocus: 9    Handling: 10    Value: 10    New or Used: New    Camera Used: Pentax K-5   

Bought this lens new at a Amazon "Crazy sell" for 610 GBP. One can't hardly take a bad photo with this lens, every time you use it the photo looks just amazing. i think it's sad that Pentax saved money by making the lens hood of plastic instead of metal.

Edit:
I sold this lens in the summer of 2014 and bought a FA300 f/4.5 instead. Is the DA300 or FA300 best? They are both excellent lenses. The DA300 is a little faster and AW but I have never had any use of AW so I decided to get the slighly smaller FA300 instead as size and weight is more important for me.
Add Review of SMC Pentax-DA* 300mm F4 ED [IF] SDM Buy the SMC Pentax-DA* 300mm F4 ED [IF] SDM



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