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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

Sharpness 
 9.5
Aberrations 
 9.1
Bokeh 
 9.2
Autofocus 
 8.6
Handling 
 9.3
Value 
 9.2
Reviews Views Date of last review
59 301,033 Tue August 13, 2019
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Recommended By Average Price Average User Rating
98% of reviewers $1,179.52 9.57
SMC Pentax-DA* 60-250mm F4 ED [IF] SDM

SMC Pentax-DA* 60-250mm F4 ED [IF] SDM
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SMC Pentax-DA* 60-250mm F4 ED [IF] SDM
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Description:
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
© www.pentaxforums.com, sharable with attribution
Image Format
APS-C
Lens Mount
Pentax K
Aperture Ring
No
Diaphragm
Automatic, 9 blades
Optics
15 elements, 13 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
110 cm
Max. Magnification
0.15x
Filter Size
67 mm
Internal Focus
Yes
Field of View (Diag. / Horiz.)

APS-C: 26.5-6.5 ° / 23-5.5 °
Hood
PH-RBK 67 mm
Case
S100-200
Lens Cap
O-LC67
Coating
SMC,SP
Weather Sealing
Yes (AW)
Other Features
AF/MF Switch,Tripod Mount
Diam x Length
81 x 168 mm (3.2 x 6.6 in.)
Weight
1040 g (36.7 oz.)
w/ Hood: +75g
w/ Tripod Foot: +115g
Production Years
2007 to present (in production)
Pricing
$1096 USD current price
Engraved Name
smc PENTAX-DA* 1:4 60-250mm ED [IF] SDM
Product Code
21750
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.
Full-frame baffle removal information

Features:
Screwdrive AutofocusSupersonic AutofocusQuick ShiftWeather SealedInternal FocusingAutomatic ApertureAPS-C Digital Only
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



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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Sort Reviews by: Date | Author | Rating | Recommendation | Likes (Descending) Showing Reviews 1-15 of 59
New Member

Registered: June, 2016
Posts: 3
Lens Review Date: August 13, 2019 I can recommend this lens: Yes | 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.

Handling:
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.

Thoughts
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.

   
Site Supporter

Registered: October, 2018
Posts: 233

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: March 18, 2019 I can recommend this lens: Yes | 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   

   
Senior Member

Registered: April, 2007
Location: Toronto/Victoria
Posts: 262
Lens Review Date: February 4, 2019 I can recommend this lens: Yes | 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
Lens Review Date: August 29, 2018 I can recommend this lens: Yes | 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:
https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.922916954522954&type=1&l=3d272fb378
   
Site Supporter

Registered: October, 2012
Location: Trail, BC
Posts: 389
Lens Review Date: April 12, 2018 I can recommend this lens: Yes | 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

2 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: June 9, 2017 I can recommend this lens: Yes | 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:
http://iplaylens.blogspot.hk/2017/06/pentax-da-60-250mm-f4-sdm.html
   
Junior Member

Registered: July, 2016
Location: Alps
Posts: 35
Lens Review Date: November 22, 2016 I can recommend this lens: Yes | 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...
   
Pentaxian

Registered: May, 2016
Posts: 1,548

2 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: October 22, 2016 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $550.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: versatile, good quality
Cons:
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

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: September 7, 2016 I can recommend this lens: Yes | 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
   
Otis Memorial Pentaxian
Loyal Site Supporter

Registered: March, 2015
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Posts: 6,095

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: August 2, 2016 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $1,050.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Build quality, image quality, sharpness, bokeh
Cons: None for me.
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 9    Autofocus: 9    Handling: 10    Value: 9    New or Used: New    Camera Used: K-3   

This is a very high quality lens. The AF has been faultless on my K-3, and the image quality is superb. It is reasonably heavy, but quite hand holdable for long periods for me. Being only f4 has not been an issue for me with the type of photography that I enjoy doing. The " All Weather " sealing makes this lens very safe and pleasing to use in all conditions.. When combined with the Pentax HD DA 1.4x AW rear converter, this lens becomes even more versatile. I can highly recommend the DA* 60-250 as a wonderful addition to your photographic equipment.

   
Senior Member

Registered: December, 2012
Posts: 109

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: May 29, 2016 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $1,000.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: A star * 300mm - but zooming.
Cons: It's not under 100 grams
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 10    Autofocus: 8    Handling: 9    Value: 9    New or Used: Used    Camera Used: K5IIS, K3 and K-1   

Read the other threads here under - I loved it now just more!
Now a new lens Fully FF as described here:
https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/10-pentax-slr-lens-discussion/304092-da-60-250-mod-ff.html


Link does not work? - Copy and paste it in the address field above.

A real tele on the K3 and a Master on the K-1.


/Gutta Perka
   
Veteran Member

Registered: September, 2012
Location: Gloucester
Posts: 1,105
Lens Review Date: May 18, 2016 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $1,600.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Relatively light and compact; Renders well, Fairly close focussing
Cons: Autofocus could be faster
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 8    Autofocus: 9    Handling: 10    Value: 10    New or Used: New    Camera Used: Pentax K-1   

I have had this lens for a few years now, and without doubt it is my favourite Pentax lens, narrowly pipping the 77mm f1.8 Limited. It has a very useful focal range, and focuses fairly close, too. And it is very sharp, even wide open. Although it is designated as a APS-C lens, I have found that it works very well on the full-frame K-1 body, with only a little vignetting at the longer focal lengths. The vignetting is small, but quite noticeable at 250mm, reducing with focal length. I didn't do any specific tests to see when the vignetting actually disappears, but it seems to be all but gone at 120 mm at f5.6, as evidenced by the photograph below. In all cases, it will allow a much larger crop than just APS-C sized. The bokeh on the lens is quite pleasing, though I don't tend to use it in situations where background blur is particularly important.
   
New Member

Registered: August, 2015
Posts: 13
Lens Review Date: April 5, 2016 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $700.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Sharp telezoom, low CA, silent AF, water resist.
Cons: not so big aperture, sharpnes loss @60&250mm, lazy AF, overpriced new
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 8    Autofocus: 8    Handling: 10    Value: 9    New or Used: Used    Camera Used: K-3   

So I bought a copy for a fairly reasonable price, so I can not say that I was disappointed lens. But I would not buy it at the price of "B&H". Someone having more fat wallet may think otherwise. In relation to the optical lens is almost perfect. This "almost" means that if you want to get razor-sharp picture on the extreme focus, you need to stopped down the aperture (at f/5.6 it perfect). Autofocus is very quiet and smooth, thanks to the SDM. But it is more thoughtful than I would like - you can miss the object, if it is very fast. Aperture just slightly out of reach entirely comfortable number, so bokeh can not qualify for a high score, despite the long focal lengths. Just because of this, we will have to increase the ISO in low light conditions. Size and weight are not a problem - they are quite reasonable for such a lens. Size and weight are not a problem - they are quite reasonable for such a lens. In general, the lens is quite compact and reliable made, comfortable to use. There is no backlash.
I also should mention that this is the second instance, which I held in my hands, when I bought it. The first was an internal defect because of which he could not focus to infinity at a focal length 135mm. Something jammed inside so that the focus stop 15 meters. I had to return it to the owner. The second proved to work, and I hope to do a lot of good photos this summer.
   
Senior Member

Registered: May, 2011
Location: Hanoi
Posts: 199
Lens Review Date: August 27, 2015 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $1,200.00 | Rating: N/A 

 
Pros: good build, WR
Cons: autofocus
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 9    Autofocus: 9    Handling: 10    Value: 10    New or Used: Used    Camera Used: Pentax K3   

It would be a great statue in the museum of zoom lenses systems. However, the speed of autofocus need to be improved. I would expect to the next generation DFA 70-200 f2.8.

Rock concert 2014 - Battle ship, on Flickr


Rock concert 2014 - Battle ship, on Flickr


5C, on Flickr


5C, on Flickr


5C, on Flickr


Oringchain, on Flickr


paragliding, on Flickr


paragliding, on Flickr


paragliding, on Flickr


paragliding , on Flickr
   
Forum Member

Registered: February, 2010
Location: Carlisle Cumbria England
Posts: 68
Lens Review Date: May 29, 2015 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $1,400.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: light for focal length, sharpness, size, ergonomics
Cons: Autofocus not the best for fast action
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 9    Autofocus: 8    Handling: 10    Value: 10    New or Used: Used    Camera Used: K3   

I don't normally bother writing reviews but, I can't let this lens get a bad rap!
For a four and a bit times zoom it is simply fabulous! The range is far more useful than a 70-210 and no doubt sharper than the latter with a 1.4 convertor. One of the Jewels in the Ricoh/Pentax crown.
Add the HD tc to this lens and you have a very versatile and high quality set up.
Thoroughly recommend!
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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