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SMC Pentax-DA* 60-250mm F4 ED [IF] SDM Review RSS Feed

SMC Pentax-DA* 60-250mm F4 ED [IF] SDM

Reviews Views Date of last review
65 367,635 Sat February 25, 2023
Recommended By Average Price Average User Rating
98% of reviewers $1,150.61 9.57
SMC Pentax-DA* 60-250mm F4 ED [IF] SDM

SMC Pentax-DA* 60-250mm F4 ED [IF] SDM
SMC Pentax-DA* 60-250mm F4 ED [IF] SDM


Like all current DA lenses, the SMC Pentax DA* 60-250mm is designed only for Pentax DSLR cameras.  It was announced in late February, 2007. It auto-focuses with an SDM ultrasonic motor on the K10D (firmware 1.30) and newer cameras. On older cameras the lens will auto-focus with the 'screw drive' mechanism.


SMC Pentax-DA* 60-250mm F4 ED [IF] SDM
©, sharable with attribution
Image Format
Lens Mount
Pentax K
Aperture Ring
Automatic, 9 blades
15 elements, 13 groups
Mount Variant
Check camera compatibility
Max. Aperture
Min. Aperture
AF (in-lens motor or screwdrive)
Min. Focus
110 cm
Max. Magnification
Filter Size
67 mm
Internal Focus
Field of View (Diag. / Horiz.)

APS-C: 26.5-6.5 ° / 23-5.5 °
PH-RBK 67 mm
Lens Cap
Weather Sealing
Yes (AW)
Other Features
AF/MF Switch,Tripod Mount
Diam x Length
81 x 168 mm (3.2 x 6.6 in.)
1040 g (36.7 oz.)
w/ Hood: +75g
w/ Tripod Foot: +115g
Production Years
2007 to 2022
$1296 USD current price
Engraved Name
smc PENTAX-DA* 1:4 60-250mm ED [IF] SDM
Product Code
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
Two ED elements.
Full-frame baffle removal information

Screwdrive AutofocusSupersonic AutofocusQuick ShiftWeather SealedInternal FocusingAutomatic ApertureFull-Frame SupportAPS-C Digital OnlyDiscontinued
Purchase: Buy the SMC Pentax-DA* 60-250mm F4 ED [IF] SDM
In-Depth Review: Read our SMC Pentax-DA* 60-250mm F4 ED [IF] SDM in-depth review!
Sample Photos: View Sample Photos
Price History:

Add Review of SMC Pentax-DA* 60-250mm F4 ED [IF] SDM Buy the SMC Pentax-DA* 60-250mm F4 ED [IF] SDM
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New Member

Registered: February, 2010
Location: Dalarna
Posts: 4

1 user found this helpful
Review Date: February 25, 2023 Recommended | Price: $650.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Colors, FF
Cons: Autofocus
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 10    Autofocus: 5    Handling: 9    Value: 9    New or Used: Used    Camera Used: K-20 K-1   

First used it with K-20 then modified to FF with K-1. The focus area is perfect to FF and I think it fits better on FF than APS-C when modified. Autofocus is tough and not entirely reliable. The sharpness is good and the colors pleasing to the eye. Weight is not a problem, but feels good. The autofocus and sharpness were good when it hit the market, by today's standards the autofocus is a total disaster and the sharpness is only good.

Registered: December, 2008
Location: RSM, CA
Posts: 505

5 users found this helpful
Review Date: December 3, 2022 Recommended | Price: $530.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Optical Quality and Continuous Tracking (on K-3 Mk III only)
Cons: Lack of a focus limiter
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 9    Autofocus: 9    Handling: 10    New or Used: Used    Camera Used: K-3 Mark III and K5II   

Consistency and reliability are the most important traits to me when discussing the topic of Continuous autofocus. This lens fortunately for K-Mount users, now has new life for this kind of work. This is possible because of the best (APS-C) DSLR designed to date by any manufacturer, the K-3 Mark III. On any other body except the K-3 Mark III, I can understand the remarks about its autofocus speed. But not with the K3m3.

Great continuous autofocus performance is a team effort between the camera and the lens, they must communicate well together. More importantly neither should be a bottle neck to one another. That is the first big factor. Secondly, the photographer must choose the right settings for autofocusing in the camera to match the situation they are in. This part is the #1 reason for inconsistency on reports of autofocusing on any camera or lens. Experienced action shooters know how to set up the camera (and even the lens) to best work together as a team for consistent and reliable results. Lastly, brighter aperture lenses let in more light to an AF sensor in a DSLR (or mirrorless), which further aids the camera to make better decisions on subjects, and subject movement.

Just because a lens is fast focusing on a spec sheet doesn't necessarily mean it will reliably and consistently work with a camera body to produce high accuracy rates. Neither too, will a camera on the same merits.

In the case of the K-3 Mark III and the 60-250mm f/4, they make a great pair. The K3m3 is the fastest decision maker of any Pentax brand DSLR to date. This means the lens doesn't have to work as hard to track a moving subject, all it has to do is follow the lead of the K3m3's commands. Once you are focused on a moving subject the K3m3 keeps the lens focused. This has an effect of making the 60-250mm f/4 seem like it's performing better, when in reality, its just that the camera body in this case is not a bottleneck as has been in the past.

I've worked with this pair for well over a year and I have my K3m3 set up in the menu to get the most out of this lens for action work, and I've saved those settings in a custom menu setting. With the brilliant optics of this lens, the awesome handling and build, it makes a near perfect pair to the K3m3, and thus I've found new life from it as a result. Bokeh is awesome, build is awesome, weather sealing awesome, and the optics are some of the best I've seen in a zoom of this class.

I particularly like that Pentax has given a bit more on the wide and tele end compared to its competitions' 70-200mm f/4 rivals, this makes it a 4X plus lens instead of a 3X minus lens without sacrificing optical quality or increasing the size too much. It takes Pentax's weather sealed 1.4X telcon as well, which makes it a constant f/5.6 lens bringing the equivalent focal length up to 126-525mm, with almost no detriment to image quality at all.

Since used prices have come down dramatically for this lens, I find it to be a steal for what you get. Mix in its unique and removable tripod mount foot, AW rating, and supreme pro level build quality, they just don't get better for the money.

Give one a second chance if you have the K-3 Mark III, and feel free to PM me for any questions about what settings you should use in camera. Lastly, remember, even if you have your camera set up right, there is still reliance on actual technique to get things right. No matter how good your gear is, or how well you set it up, YOU still need to learn proper techniques to get great results.
Site Supporter

Registered: June, 2017
Location: 3City agglomeration
Posts: 1,829

3 users found this helpful
Review Date: October 12, 2022 Recommended | Price: $1,399.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Buld quality, image quality, relatively silent AF
Cons: slow AF motor, heavy focus breathing

I got this lens to replace 55-300 PLM which performed less then stellar for my uses. The result is kinda mixed, as image quality shot through the roof compared to 55-300, but AF speed sunk down Mariana Trench. But as I wanted more of IQ improvement I am more happy then not.

Build quality of this lens is superb. It looks, feels and handles like a premium lens despite being aged construction. Only cons about it's build is that it design looks old when compared with modern lenses. Not a drawback by any means, it is is that times changes and lens fashion too

Image quality - nothing to complain about. IQ-wise it is best Pentax DA lens I ever used. It is sharp, OOF areas render nice and smoothily, there is no deterioration when shooting at long distances (something that was a big issue for me with 55-300 PLM). Used on modern camera it performs as expected when it comes to DA* lens and it is pretty future proof I think.

Autofocus - now that sucks. Other then being silent there is really no difference in speed when I compare it with screwdriven Tamron. None. I cannot get why Pentax decided to mount SDM on this lens, but well. It is there. If you search for fast zoom to get most out of K-3 Mk III new AF module - look somewhere else.

Focus breathing - in my case I think at short distances this lens peaks at 150, maybe 180mm. Only beyond ~20 meters (more or less, never really measured) it is reaching up to 250mm focal length. Not an issue for me, I bought it for airshow and airplane spotting mostly so it works as intended but something to think about if you want to use it at short distances. In such case 50-135 may be better option.

Handling - almost perfect. I would not mind zoom ring being further in front so that it does not collide with tripod mount (when attached) but other then this no issues.

All in all - it is great lens worth buying if you want to hunt for objects that are far away. I still hope that Pentax updates it with better AF drive and HD coatings but until then it is best choice in this focal range on DA cameras.

Some photos taken with this lens:

OV-10B Bronco by Jerzy Jabłoński, on Flickr

AS532 Cougar by Jerzy Jabłoński, on Flickr

ATR 72-600 by Jerzy Jabłoński, on Flickr

C-130E Hercules by Jerzy Jabłoński, on Flickr

Dahlia by Jerzy Jabłoński, on Flickr
Junior Member

Registered: August, 2019
Posts: 25

3 users found this helpful
Review Date: April 16, 2020 Recommended | Rating: N/A 

New or Used: New   






New Member

Registered: November, 2018
Posts: 1
Review Date: February 19, 2020 Recommended | Price: $520.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: good sharpness
Cons: size and weight
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 9    Autofocus: 8    Handling: 8    Value: 8    New or Used: Used    Camera Used: K-70   

A bit large and heavy but I guess OK for a premium lens. Good sharpness at all focal lengths. Quick autofocus for still scenes but I have not used it for sports.

Registered: February, 2011
Location: Southern Finland
Posts: 658

2 users found this helpful
Review Date: February 13, 2020 Recommended | Rating: 10 

Pros: Amazing sharpness and image quality, versatility
Cons: (none)
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 10    Autofocus: 9    Handling: 9    Value: 10    New or Used: New    Camera Used: K-5, K-3   

After 7 years of frequent usage I really appreciate this lens. Its sharpness is amazing at any focal length of aperture value. The focal length range is also very versatile, 250 mm being well enough (on crop body) for my purposes.

Of course F2.8 as largest aperture would be better, but I realize it would make the lens also quite a bit bigger and heavier (as it its not so light now either). And I am pretty confident using this wide open at F4, without compromising the image quality.

In some difficult lightning situations there may be a bit "hunting" with the SDM autofocus, but no major problems.

I bought my copy used and it must be nearly 10 years old now. I have shot more than 10 000 pics with it and hope to continue for many years ahead. Well, if I ever move to FF (K-1), I probably have to consider modifying it to avoid vignetting.
New Member

Registered: June, 2016
Posts: 10

6 users found this helpful
Review Date: August 13, 2019 Recommended | Price: $672.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Tack sharp, solid, weather sealed.
Cons: solid means it's hefty!
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 8    Autofocus: 9    Handling: 10    Value: 10    New or Used: New    Camera Used: K1, K3   

I just picked up this lens brand new through a major e-tailer for a price I couldn't say no to. Today was my first day running it through its paces.

I mostly shoot with a K1, so will eventually be looking at de-baffling it; however, my initial field test (i.e. backyard and dog photos) was stock, and I shot with both my K1 and K3 to get a flavor for what the lens can do.

As you've probably noticed in the specs, it's not a small lens. I think for a medium telephoto the size and weight are on point, and I REALLY like how it balances on my K1 - a perfect counter balance. The K1 and lens are just big enough together to fit lengthwise in my camera bag. I found the lens on my K3 was a bit less balanced. Some have commented that the zoom "sticks" in the middle, and my copy feels the same... For me, it gives me more tactile information on where I'm at, not something I really found myself thinking about.

Image Quality
I did a full round of test shooting with both my K1 and K3 to test the sharpness, edges, and inevitable full frame vignetting. My conclusions thus far:
1. On a K3 or crop shot, the lens is as sharp as I could possibly ask for. You'll see some sample photos below which demonstrate the detail captured.
2. On a K1 the vignetting is real when shooting over 100mm, but edge sharpness, even at F4, is crisp
3. On a K1, vignetting after f8 is minimal
4. Really happy with the bokeh given that I'm shooting this at f4+

Auto Focus
I played around with the lens on both cameras, shooting still subjects, my black dog (who is very hard to get photos of), and objects in dark spaces. Even in my basement, with only residual light from upstairs trickling down, I was able to lock focus, so I have no concerns so far. I did run into some auto-focus issues with the K1 when using Live View, but it never seemed to be an issue when using the OVF or when using LV on my K3, so I'll chalk that up to operator error / camera config issue.

After my first day I am very happy with the optical quality of the lens and handling. The lens is for some upcoming travel and I believe it will fair well as an all-around weather proof lens which I can use on my K1 for day-to-day, and my K3 with a teleconverter for when I want to get more into wildlife / sunset / etc. shooting.

Sample photos
As I was running my test photos, I was mostly interested in f4 full frame with my K1, as that seems to be the most stressful test on the lens. As such, all photos below are from my K1 at f4 and are intended specifically to demonstrate vignette, sharpness, and bokeh. Except for the flower photo, all photos just had an exposure bump in Lightroom (the flower photo got the "auto" treatment in lightroom).

These first two photos of my dog demonstrate vignette and sharpness (VERY sharp!) 250mm, K1, f4

This photo of a flower demonstrates bokeh and sharpness. 250mm, K1, f4

This photo of a cedar demonstrates edge sharpness at f4 on full frame

These photos of my shed are at 128mm, f5.6 and demonstrate overall vignette at mid-zoom, and sharpness. The bottom crop demonstrates the bottom centre edge.

Loyal Site Supporter

Registered: October, 2018
Location: Quebec City, Quebec
Posts: 5,860

6 users found this helpful
Review Date: March 18, 2019 Recommended | Price: $1,200.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Exquisitely sharp and contrasty.
Cons: None
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 10    Autofocus: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 10    New or Used: New    Camera Used: Pentax K3, K3 III   

The lens had sat idle for some time. I was worrying about possible SDM trouble after reading horror stories here and there.
I mounted it on my K3 and it aufocused totally normally the instant I pressed the shutter release. No problem here.


Usable with total confidence between an aperture range of f/6.3 to f/16.


Registered: April, 2007
Location: Toronto/Victoria
Posts: 460
Review Date: February 4, 2019 Recommended | Price: $800.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Great sharpness and colour, relatively compact, AW
Cons: SDM hesitates from time to time
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 10    Autofocus: 8    Handling: 9    Value: 10    New or Used: New    Camera Used: K-1, K100D   

I am very pleased with the 60-250, even on a K-1. While it does not fully cover FF on the K-1, it is not a big enough deal for me to want to crop; the sharpness is excellent pretty much until it darkens. I use it to good effect even wide open.

In addition to the sharpness, the colour of DA* and DA Limited lenses is quite vibrant and noticeably different than FA lenses which tend to be a bit more muted but warm.

The AF is good; the focus ring does not turn when autofocus operates, and it is compatible with my K100D which does not have the PZ/SDM contacts. Once in awhile it fails to lock focus even in good light, but most of the time it doesn't bother me and the best part is the smoothness and minimal noise compared to screwdrive.

While obviously bigger than a small lens like the F70-210, it slots in much smaller than the 70-200/80-200 F2.8 lenses, and has a smaller/more economical 67mm filter diameter. It's also way more compact partially because it extends when zooming.
New Member

Registered: January, 2012
Location: Hong Kong
Posts: 2

4 users found this helpful
Review Date: August 29, 2018 Recommended | Price: $700.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Delicate balance between IQ and usability, custom-made FF compatibility, solid build quality
Cons: Autofocus, price for new copies
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 8    Autofocus: 7    Handling: 9    Value: 8    New or Used: Used    Camera Used: K-1 & K20d   

This is one of the most respectable lenses of DA* line. More-than-enough build quality and balance, convenient ergonomics, image quality marginally inferior to DA* telephoto prime lenses and custom-made compatibility with Full Frame's image circle all make it a very attractive package compared to counterparts from other brands. Its image quality can only be overpowered by DA* 200 F2.8 or 300 F4 when experienced users care about the subtle changes of light and colour as well as the transition between subject and background. Yet, similar to FA* 80-200 2.8 (the best telephoto zoom only second to DFA 70-200 2.8), this lens presents the interesting swirling bokeh, which should be refreshing to those new to it. While there is a DFA 70-200 F4 waiting next year as in the roadmap, you can surely buy a 2nd-handed 60-250 F4 for considerably less than the coming new zoom lens. Based on the photos I have taken with K-1, I expect this lens can at least work with upcoming APS-C DSLRs satisfactorily in terms of resolving power. It is a safe buy.

There are only two mild weak points here. One is undeniably the autofocus system. I am using K-1, with which 60-250 focuses faster than my K20d. Still, it is hard to use it for any serious sport photography. I mainly use it for birding in close range. Its AF efficiency leaves me wanting at times that I switch to MF. I am used to MF lenses anyway. Another thing is its current high price as new. In 2018, looking forward to 2019, if Pentax is not going to update her DA* line drastically, she should lower the prices of these legendary lenses of the digital era a bit more to promote sales and guarantee future development of the whole system.

However, if you are looking for a Pentax high-end zoom lens for portraiture on APS-C bodies, DA* 50-135 would produce much nicer images.

You may take a look of how it performs with K-1 for birding here:
Site Supporter

Registered: October, 2012
Location: Sointula, BC
Posts: 453

2 users found this helpful
Review Date: April 12, 2018 Recommended | Price: $700.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Weather sealing, zoom range, bokeh, sharpness
Cons: Autofocus
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 8    Autofocus: 6    Handling: 8    Value: 8    New or Used: Used    Camera Used: Pentax K5   

This is a great lens in almost all respects, with auto-focus being its major issue. Ninety percent of the time it focuses fast enough and produces excellent results. I may even go higher and say 95% of the time. But in some circumstances it is hit or miss, such as being out on the water in low contrast situations trying to capture whales and other wildlife that may spring into view suddenly and you only have moments to frame the shot and shoot. I have adapted my technique to compensate for this as much as possible. In clear conditions, prefocusing on the area where you anticipate a whale may surface, or switching to manual when the light is low or the environment is misty/foggy and inherently low contrast.

Don't get me wrong, even though it has a little heft I don't have any trouble in carrying it around on the camera for a days shooting and love the results it gives. It is sharp, low CA and nice bokeh for a zoom. I wouldn't part with it for the world.
New Member

Registered: August, 2016
Posts: 2

4 users found this helpful
Review Date: June 9, 2017 Recommended | Price: $900.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: sharp, excellent max. aperture, weather resistance, bokeh
Cons: bit heavy, expensive, not too reliable SDM
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 7    Bokeh: 8    Autofocus: 6    Handling: 8    Value: 9    New or Used: New    Camera Used: Pentax K-1   

After modification the image circle can cover the 135 full frame! and the weather resistance and autofocus are still fully functional. Extra range from 60-250mm is more useful than typical 70-200mm.

It can make a good balance on K-1 and has enough resolution for the 36MP sensor.

Below is my review blog with large size photos:
Junior Member

Registered: July, 2016
Location: Alps
Posts: 35
Review Date: November 22, 2016 Recommended | Price: $1,295.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: IQ, sharpness, contrast, colors, silent AF, great range of focals...
Cons: bulky, external zooming, autofocus could be faster
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 9    Autofocus: 8    Handling: 7    Value: 8    New or Used: New    Camera Used: K-3 II   

Used mainly for sports (Rafting, mountain bike, ski...) and nature / wildlife.
I loved this lens, stunning IQ.
I've also owned the HD 55-300 (the old version, no PLM) and there's no comparison in IQ, not speaking of difficult light conditions. And the autofocus is way better than the small 55-300 which misses focus a lot more in same context.

The new 55-300 PLM that I now own is somehow not far behind in terms of center sharpness, but not on the edges/corners. Also the color/global rendition/resolution/micro-contrast are better on the 60-250 (DA*/Limited rendering, as opposed to DA lenses).

Downsides for me are :
1) too bulky, no smooth zoom ring

2) external zooming / long barrel extension

3) autofocus is just OK, some of the best Pentax I guess... but no match to other big brands.

I ended up selling this lens for getting the DA* 50-135 : handling is MUCH better, internal zooming, lightweight & compactness, 1 stop aperture (& bokeh!)... at the cost of magnification, which is a more than acceptable trade for my use, having the PLM 55-300 if needed. And the DA* 300 in mind...

Registered: May, 2016
Posts: 3,712

4 users found this helpful
Review Date: October 22, 2016 Recommended | Price: $550.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: versatile, good quality
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 10    Autofocus: 9    Handling: 10    Value: 10    New or Used: Used    Camera Used: K-3II   

This is a versatile lens for sports, the range lets you cover the entire width of the field for soccer, football and such. It has some focus breathing but it's only noticeable for very close distances and especially at 250 (almost but not quite 400mm equivalent on 35mm); if the subject is across the field, 250mm really helps and focus breathing is not an issue.
AF tracking works nicely assuming camera settings are right for the situation, but point-to-point af could be a little faster. f4 is fast enough for me, especially since image quality is solid at max aperture, but it is a little softer at 250mm. If you are able to stay under 200mm, no worries at all. Using the lens hood is a must, the lens doesn't flare badly but it is no hd prime either.
Mounted on the k3ii with no battery grip it is hand holdable and it's small enough to move quickly, but not if you are planning to keep it to your eye constantly. I need to look around anyway for what's going on on the the field, so I find using it with no mono/tripod just fine.
Veteran Member

Registered: November, 2008
Location: Ohio
Posts: 339

2 users found this helpful
Review Date: September 7, 2016 Recommended | Price: $1,100.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Great balance of size, weight, speed , range
Cons: none!
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 10    Autofocus: 9    Handling: 10    Value: 10    New or Used: New    Camera Used: K-5   

This is the best lens I have ever used. I love it more than Pentax Limiteds and any other lens I have seen. It's the perfect size for a telephoto, which can be carrtied all day. I have never used the collar and do not see a reason to use that. It might not look like a "walkaround lens" when in city, but in the field, or at zoo, etc it might be it.
The lens can safely be left wide open and the bokeh is great for the range, Sharpness and colors are great too.
Like every other zoom you may sometimes hit the reach limits, but really not often. All in all, if you have not tested it, and reading this, it means you need the lens! Go and buy one
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