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SMC Pentax-DA L 55-300mm F4-5.8 ED Review RSS Feed

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

Sharpness 
 8.6
Aberrations 
 8.2
Bokeh 
 8.3
Autofocus 
 7.4
Handling 
 8.3
Value 
 9.7
Reviews Views Date of last review
42 185,354 Wed December 19, 2018
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Recommended By Average Price Average User Rating
100% of reviewers $194.43 8.76
SMC Pentax-DA L 55-300mm F4-5.8 ED

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

Description:
The DA L version of the SMC Pentax-DA 55-300mm lens is a budget variant that only comes bundled in camera kits. It lacks quick shift functionality and the bayonet is made of plastic rather than metal.

SMC Pentax-DA L 55-300mm F4-5.8 ED
© www.pentaxforums.com, sharable with attribution
Image Format
APS-C
Lens Mount
Pentax K
Aperture Ring
No
Diaphragm
Automatic, 6 blades
Optics
12 elements, 8 groups
Mount Variant
KAF
Check camera compatibility
Max. Aperture
F4-5.8
Min. Aperture
F22-32
Focusing
AF (screwdrive)
Quick-shift
No
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
425 g (15 oz.)
Production Years
2010 to present (in production)
Engraved Name
smc PENTAX-DA L 1:4-5.8 55-300mm ED
Reviews
User reviews
Notes
Plastic lens mount.
Two ED elements.
Features:
Screwdrive AutofocusAutomatic ApertureAPS-C Digital Only
Sample Photos: View Sample Photos
Price History:



Add Review of SMC Pentax-DA L 55-300mm F4-5.8 ED
Author:
Sort Reviews by: Date | Author | Rating | Recommendation | Likes (Descending) Showing Reviews 1-15 of 42
Loyal Site Supporter

Registered: August, 2018
Location: Philadelphia
Posts: 2,071
Lens Review Date: December 19, 2018 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $75.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Quality Build, Good AF for telephoto, Great Value
Cons: Not macro oriented

Was perusing eBay for Pentax lenses and saw this beauty for sale. Bid $75.00 and won the auction. Lens was sold by District Camera in VIrginia and wow, this mint, former kit lens is excellent....I strapped it on my K-S2 and was extremely happy with the results. For smiles and giggles, I'm going to mount it in crop mode on the K-1ii and see how it renders and report back...Overrall: Pentax makes some great value glass: probably the best in the industry for price to performance ratios. This 55-300mm, is one of these examples.
   
amateur dirt farmer

Registered: December, 2014
Location: probably out in a field somewhere...
Posts: 19,088

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: March 17, 2018 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $120.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: color rendition, clarity, sharpness, ease of handling
Cons: not terribly sharp at 300mm, build quality could be better, aperture
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 8    Autofocus: 8    Handling: 9    Value: 10    New or Used: Used    Camera Used: K-3 and K-50   

Cannot be beaten for the money - for a 300mm consumer zoom lens, this lens punches well above its budget specs.

Mine was purchased for $120US from eBay, without a hood - I purchased a knock-off PH-RBG58, also from eBay. Mine seemed to be unused and may have been from a kit (broken up and sold separately).

Negatives: plastic-build quality; you can feel the plastic and the cheapness here - the zoom ring glides smoothly, but the focus ring is truly awful in its complete lack of tactile feedback. Because of the 55 to 300mm range, the focus can be slow and somewhat loud due to its screw drive. Sharpness at 300mm - this is the downfall of probably all consumer zooms; it is not quite as sharp as I would like, depending upon subject, light, wind, etc; if I know that I need the 300mm for the shot, I'll take a prime along with me.

Positives: color - typical Pentax saturation and rendition. Clarity - as my technique has improved, clarity of focus has come along and if I use a monopod (or even a tripod), my keeper-rate at the long end has gone up. Up to about 250mm or so, this is very sharp for a consumer zoom.

I recommend this lens all the time when the question comes up in the forums: what xx-300mm zoom should I get for less than $200 or $150? The lack of WR or quickshift should definitely be noted - if you need weather-resistance, this is not for you. Some shooters like the quickshift option - I don't miss it in this application.

The plastic mount or the lack of hood are non-issues for me; the lens does not weigh enough to be an issue for the mount and the lack of hood is quickly & easily remedied by a visit to either eBay or Amazon.

and the pics:

Laney by Pepperberry Farm, on Flickr

armadillo by Pepperberry Farm, on Flickr

lilies by Pepperberry Farm, on Flickr

Northern Harrier at work by Pepperberry Farm, on Flickr

sunset, on the pond... by Pepperberry Farm, on Flickr

and the rest of my album on flickr for this lens:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/pepperberryfarm/albums/72157665364097036/page1
   
Pentaxian

Registered: January, 2012
Location: Tokyo
Posts: 1,684

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: December 12, 2017 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $100.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Sharpness, bokeh, utility
Cons: Focusing speed/noise
Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 9    Autofocus: 6    Handling: 7    Value: 10    New or Used: New    Camera Used: K-5 IIs   

I bought a used DAL 55-300 about six months ago as a replacement for my FA 100-300, essentially replacing one cheap tele zoom with another. I had actually liked the results from the FA 100-300, but it felt very limiting at the wide end, the construction was loose and the focusing was very slow in most conditions. I was lucky to find a very good copy of the DAL 55-300 for the equivalent of around $100, which came with the hood (not normally included).

The DAL 55-300 is an improvement in all regards from what I had before. The build quality is pretty good for the price - an altogether better class of plastic. The zoom ring and barrel do not feel loose at all on my copy. Since it goes out to 55mm, it is a lot more versatile and reduces the number of lens changes compared to the FA 100-300. Focus is better, but it can still hunt and is noisy.

The lens is the sharpest zoom I have used. Admittedly most of my better lenses are primes. Even when zoomed to 300mm, detail is very clear when viewed 1:1 on screen. I don't see how it could be better. Contrast is also great. I often carry this lens along with the DA 18-135, so there is a fair amount of overlap. I havenít done a controlled test of how they compare in the 55-135 range, but Iím pretty sure the DAL 55-300 is the sharper lens through the whole range, so it makes sense for me switch to the DAL 55-300 if I have the choice.

This is a crop of a shot at 300mm. Itís not a 100% crop, but trust me the smallest tiles on the mosaic and the grouting between are completely clear.



The bokeh is smooth and pleasant. This picture of flowers shows the bokeh a little way behind the plane of focus, which is generally pleasing, even on a busy subject like this. There is some CA that affects the bokeh quality, but it's not too bad at all. Further in the background the bokeh is completely smooth and not distracting at all.



Overall Iím very satisfied. The main areas of weakness are focusing and the lack of weather sealing. These are both fixed on the new PLM version. I would have paid the extra for that lens, but it wonít work on either of my cameras. There are four versions of this lens available. In my opinion the PLM one to get if your camera is compatible and you have the funds. If not the DAL is great as an interim solution.
   
Loyal Site Supporter

Registered: May, 2015
Location: Hampshire
Posts: 885

2 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: July 6, 2017 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $75.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: I.Q. at 300mm
Cons: Plastic mount, wobble, basic features
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 7    Autofocus: 8    Handling: 8    Value: 10    New or Used: New    Camera Used: K-5   

Bought 2nd hand, this lens did not look very impressive. There was a slight wobble on the barrel fully extended, the lens had a couple of tiny black shards in it and the plastic mount looked worn. A 2 hour round trip to look at it meant I was not going to leave without buying it anyway. A hood is on it's way from the far east.

Comparing it to budget zooms by Tamron and Sigma (70-300mm with pseudo macro), this lens is better at 300mm for sharpness. The Pentax shows virtually no CA aberrations. A better buy but it should be considering how much more it would have cost new (rather than bundled) as a long zoom.
Comparing it to the Tamron SP23A 60-300mm, sharpness at 300mm seems about the same, the Pentax however has AF and little or no purple fringing.

Build quality, pseudo macro, and price favour the Tamron (buying 2nd hand) and the extra weight has the effect of reminding me to try and keep it steady rather than rely on SR to compensate for my trembles.
If the lens had quick shift focussing, a metal mount, HD coating and little or no wobble it would be better..... and Pentax made a lens that has that.
Recommended as a budget zoom to 300mm.
   
New Member

Registered: August, 2015
Location: Yorkshire
Posts: 4
Lens Review Date: October 5, 2016 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $150.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Nice colours and can be very sharp
Cons: No hood supplied
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 9    Autofocus: 7    Handling: 9    Value: 10    New or Used: New    Camera Used: K-7   

Bought new as one split from a kit. Came without a hood, but I found a perfectly good replacement on eBay for next to nothing. It has a plastic mount, but I can't see any advantage or disadvantage in that. With a bit of experimentation and practice, it can deliver great results.

K-7 1/000 sec f5.6 ISO280
   
New Member

Registered: August, 2015
Posts: 1

3 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: August 8, 2015 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: N/A | Rating: 9 

 
Pros:
Cons:
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 9    Autofocus: 8    Handling: 9    Value: 9    New or Used: New    Camera Used: Pentax K5   

According to price very successful lens










   
Inactive Account

Registered: August, 2014
Posts: 3

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: May 31, 2015 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $130.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: very sharp, nice colors, light weight
Cons: no for that price
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 10    Autofocus: 8    Handling: 10    Value: 10    New or Used: Used    Camera Used: k-5   

all photos are made in manual focus mode...



   
New Member

Registered: May, 2014
Location: Fraser Coast
Posts: 9
Lens Review Date: October 26, 2014 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $115.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Sharpness, Great focal range, Value for money
Cons: Considering the price, nothing.

Beautiful colour rendition and sharpness. Value for money for a kit lens, this is about as good as it gets. Focal range is great and build quality is above average. The only thing I could give it a negative for is the plastic mount. But for the price and considering it has the same optics as the DA one can live with this flaw.
   
Pentaxian

Registered: April, 2013
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
Posts: 430

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: May 12, 2014 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $150.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Great bokeh possible, low price, great sharpness
Cons: Loud autofocus, plastic mount
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 8    Autofocus: 6    Handling: 7    Value: 9    New or Used: Used    Camera Used: K-5II   

You really can't beat the value for what this zoom can do. I normally have a strange prejudice against zooms, but have no issues using this is my only long lens when I go out on hikes. Others have said that the IQ and sharpness suffer when shooting wider than f/8... I'll let the images speak for themselves. Besides that, the manual focus isn't the smoothest, the AF is kinda loud - esp if its hunting for an object that is hard to focus on. Sure, the DA version comes with a hood, has a metal mount, and has quick shift focus, but I definitely got my money worth on this one and have no desire to upgrade it.

f/6.3 135mm


Golden Fall Foliage at North Park by JBaron Studios, on Flickr

f/11 55mm

f/5.8 300mm


f/8 300mm


f/8 300mm
   
Veteran Member

Registered: October, 2008
Location: Greensboro,NC
Posts: 503
Lens Review Date: March 27, 2014 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: N/A | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Great color/contrast, fairly sharp, good range
Cons: rather slow, cheap build
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 7    Autofocus: 8    Handling: 8    Value: 9    New or Used: Used    Camera Used: K200D, K100D   

This is a pretty good lens, It can actually produce some pleasing bokeh if you know where to find it. I bought it so I could have the complete range from 18mm all the way to 300mm just in case I needed it. It's cheap and sort of feels cheap but the glass is very good for the price, it has great color and contrast. I highly recommend this lens if you are on a budget.

a few examples:
http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7296/12488364444_15f314243c_z_d.jpg
http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2831/12487996733_cafed8ae9c_z_d.jpg
   
Pentaxian

Registered: November, 2013
Location: Barcelona
Posts: 463
Lens Review Date: November 24, 2013 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $350.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Everything
Cons: F4.5-5.8
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 9    Autofocus: 8    Handling: 8    Value: 9    New or Used: New    Camera Used: K-r   

I am the happy owner of a copy of this lens. I bought it in the US when visiting NYC in 2011 when I got my K110D.

At the time I wasn't sure this lens would give me so many satisfactions, but it did and does.
I am a petrolhead, so I do love to go watch cars races and so I knew I needed a lens like that one.

I am very happy with it, it's sharp, it's fast focusing, it has some bokeh if you try to find it, so usually I won't complain.

The only problems? It's weight, and it's f4.5-5.8, if that lens would be brighter that would be amazing (and of course probably it's price would be the double).

Some samples here:






   
New Member

Registered: February, 2013
Posts: 4
Lens Review Date: October 19, 2013 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: N/A | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: IQ, range, weight, price
Cons: loud AF
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 10    Autofocus: 7    Handling: 9    Value: 10    New or Used: New    Camera Used: K-01   

I got this baby with my k-01 as double zoom kit lens, paid 42000 JPY for the kit with the DA L 18-55. As much as i got used to it, i did not need the 18-55 unless i need wide angle, e.g. indoors, and when i am out for shooting, most of the time it is on.
Nice color rendering, very good bokeh, decent sharpness even wide open at the short end, gets even sharper when stooped down around 2 -3 steps. I found it a little bit soft at the long and, but it gets sharper if stopped down a little more, especially on a tripod.
AF is loud and may hunt sometimes, and i had false focusing a couple of times, -due to contrast dedection AF system on the body i guess-.
For the price there is no other better 300mm zoom lens, so this baby deserves 10/10 overall.

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/members/57628-ozankocoglu/albums/7405-k-01/picture65374.jpg
https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/members/57628-ozankocoglu/albums/7405-k-01/picture65372.jpg
https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/members/57628-ozankocoglu/albums/7405-k-01/picture65371.jpg
   
Pentaxian

Registered: September, 2013
Location: Phoenix, AZ
Posts: 989
Lens Review Date: September 18, 2013 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $178.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Relatively Sharp, good performer for the price
Cons: Plastic mount, lack of features
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 9    Autofocus: 8    Handling: 8    Value: 8    New or Used: Used    Camera Used: K30   

This Pentax 55-300 DA-L lens can deliver reasonably sharp photos at 300mm and with the aperture wide open. It also has good contrast and minimal chromatic aberrations or purple fringing. Stopping down the aperture a little bit will improve sharpness more, which is already pretty good to begin with. I think the bokeh this lens produces can be rather good, and the SP coating used on the front lens element really makes it easy to clean if it gets dusty. My copy has no zoom creep and is all solid when mounted on my K30. In comparison to other long zoom screw drive autofocus lenses I've used, the autofocus is rather slow and noisy but still performs adequately in most situations. The Pentax 18-55 kit lens focuses noticeably quicker in comparison though. One worry I have is that this lens is a little bit big and heavy to be using a plastic mount, but you can supposedly order a replacement mount for a low price. It may be better for the plastic mount to break off than a metal mount to damage the camera mount in the event of a catastrophic camera fall. After a few lens changes I did start to notice a bit of wear on my plastic lens mount, however.

It's a little annoying that there is no distance scale printing on the lens, but the manual focus ring is definitely usable. Something that is more annoying is the fact that "Quick Shift" is not included on this lens, which would basically allow you to turn the focus ring at any given time to manual focus without having to flip the switch on the camera body to manual focus. Since this lens can have trouble getting in focus, such a feature should be standard. The DA 55-300 (non L) version of this lens has a metal mount, Quick Shift, a distance scale, comes with a lens hood, and only costs around $30 more on the used market. For these reasons, I would recommend buying it instead. The optical formula of the DA-L 55-300 is said to be the same as the DA 55-300 version, so if you can't afford the DA version, the DA-L is still not a bad choice if you are willing to live with it's shortcomings because both are pretty good performers. If you want weather resistance, you will have to pay quite a bit more and get the HD 55-300 WR version of this lens, which is the most modern of the bunch.

Ok, now I will let the DA-L 55-300 speak for itself. Here's some samples:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/adudenamedjosh/9902833244/
https://www.flickr.com/photos/adudenamedjosh/13490912965/
https://www.flickr.com/photos/adudenamedjosh/11262333766/
https://www.flickr.com/photos/adudenamedjosh/10769078414/
https://www.flickr.com/photos/adudenamedjosh/13748576654/
https://www.flickr.com/photos/adudenamedjosh/13490928845/
https://www.flickr.com/photos/adudenamedjosh/9740990177/
   
New Member

Registered: March, 2012
Posts: 2
Lens Review Date: April 27, 2013 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $250.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Sharp, light great colors
Cons: Cheap build, plastic mount
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 7    Autofocus: 7    Handling: 8    Value: 10    New or Used: New    Camera Used: Pentax k5   

Cheap, light. Quite sharp at f8. A lot of fun and a lot of bang for the buck. If you want a telephoto but don't want to spend much money, this lens is for you
   
New Member

Registered: February, 2012
Posts: 14
Lens Review Date: October 31, 2012 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: N/A | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: lightweight, useful range
Cons: no hood available, plastic mount
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 10    Autofocus: 9    Handling: 9    Value: 10    New or Used: New    Camera Used: K-x/K5   

Useful lens, need to know about it to enjoy its potential. Some occasional CA. Stopped down produces very crisps images. Not to heavy to carry along.






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