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HD Pentax-DA 55-300mm F4.5-6.3 ED PLM WR RE Review RSS Feed

HD Pentax-DA 55-300mm F4.5-6.3 ED PLM WR RE

Sharpness 
 8.6
Aberrations 
 8.8
Bokeh 
 8.6
Autofocus 
 9.4
Handling 
 9.0
Value 
 9.1
Reviews Views Date of last review
27 75,900 Fri July 5, 2019
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Recommended By Average Price Average User Rating
89% of reviewers $400.39 8.92
HD Pentax-DA 55-300mm F4.5-6.3 ED PLM WR RE

HD Pentax-DA 55-300mm F4.5-6.3 ED PLM WR RE
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HD Pentax-DA 55-300mm F4.5-6.3 ED PLM WR RE
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HD Pentax-DA 55-300mm F4.5-6.3 ED PLM WR RE
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HD Pentax-DA 55-300mm F4.5-6.3 ED PLM WR RE
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HD Pentax-DA 55-300mm F4.5-6.3 ED PLM WR RE
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HD Pentax-DA 55-300mm F4.5-6.3 ED PLM WR RE
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Description:

The HD Pentax-DA 55-300mm F4.5-6.3 ED PLM WR RE is a compact, weather-sealed APS-C telephoto zoom lens featuring a retractable barrel design.  This lens also debuts PLM (Pulse Motor) autofocus technology and an electromagnetic aperture diaphragm to facilitate smooth focusing and exposure adjustments during video recording.

Unlike earlier Pentax lenses, the aperture stop-down lever in the camera is not used to control the diaphragm of this lens.  A DSLR launched in 2013 or later is needed to operate this new system (the K-500 is not compatible).

The optical formula of this lens has been redesigned compared to the previous DA 55-300mm F4-5.8.  The new lens now has a rear-mounted focus ring and internal focus, is nearly 3 cm shorter when collapsed, but also loses about half a stop of light at both ends.


HD Pentax-DA 55-300mm F4.5-6.3 ED PLM WR RE
© www.pentaxforums.com, sharable with attribution
Image Format
APS-C
Lens Mount
Pentax K
Aperture Ring
No
Diaphragm
Automatic, 9 blades (rounded)
Optics
14 elements, 11 groups
Mount Variant
KAF4
Check camera compatibility
Max. Aperture
F4.5-6.3
Min. Aperture
F22-32
Focusing
AF (in-lens motor)
PLM
Quick-shift
Yes
Min. Focus
95 cm
Max. Magnification
0.3x
Filter Size
58 mm
Internal Focus
Yes
Field of View (Diag. / Horiz.)

APS-C: 29-5.4 ° / 25-4.6 °
Hood
PH-RBK58
Case
S80-120
Lens Cap
O-LC58
Coating
HD,SP
Weather Sealing
Yes (WR)
Other Features
Retractable,Electromagnetic Aperture Diaphragm,Focus by Wire
Diam x Length
76.5 x 89 mm (3.01 x 3.5 in.)
Weight
442 g (15.6 oz.)
Production Years
2016 to present (in production)
Pricing
$396 USD current price
$399 USD at launch
Engraved Name
HD Pentax-DA 1:4.5-6.3 55-300mm ED PLM WR RE
Reviews
User reviews
In-depth review
Unofficial Full-Frame Compatibility Tests by Pentax Forums
★☆☆ Usable with reservations at select F-stop/focal length combinations
Show details
Notes
High-precision exposure control in movie mode thanks to the electromagnetic aperture diaphragm.
NOT COMPATIBLE with the K-500 and with Pentax DSLRs launched before 2013.
Firmware update needed for compatibility with the Pentax K-S2, K-S1, K-3 II, K-3, K-50, and K-1. Fully supported by newer bodies.

Features:
Supersonic AutofocusQuick ShiftWeather SealedInternal FocusingAutomatic ApertureAPS-C Digital Only
Purchase: Buy the HD Pentax-DA 55-300mm F4.5-6.3 ED PLM WR RE
In-Depth Review: Read our HD Pentax-DA 55-300mm F4.5-6.3 ED PLM WR RE in-depth review!
Sample Photos: View Sample Photos



Add Review of HD Pentax-DA 55-300mm F4.5-6.3 ED PLM WR RE Buy the HD Pentax-DA 55-300mm F4.5-6.3 ED PLM WR RE
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Sort Reviews by: Date | Author | Rating | Recommendation | Likes (Descending) Showing Reviews 1-15 of 27
New Member

Registered: March, 2016
Posts: 5

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: July 5, 2019 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $400.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Fast precise AF, focal range, WR, size, weight, IQ
Cons: to work/play ONLY with quite light, I want all my lenses PLM
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 10    Autofocus: 9    Handling: 9    Value: 10    New or Used: New    Camera Used: K70   

It is an impressive lens, robust but light, small but powerful, economical but very good quality. The only negative thing is that in low light it can be useless without tripod.
Super fast and precise autofocus (hsm, screw or sdm is sh*t in comparison)
If I had to choose a single lens on a bright day it would be this, no doubt.
I have tried it with the Kenko 1.5x and it loses the very fast autofocus although with generous light it continues to AF much faster than the first 55-300 without the 1.5x. The quality of the combo is superior to croping, loses a bit contrast, microcontrast and sharpnes, but it still good.

Here is an example with the Kenko 1.5x 100% crop, wide open f:6.3 @300 iso200 1/250
Real unedited RAW from RAWTherapee, not from Photoshop that adjust the images before you (maybe i dont know use it)



And the adjusted RAW...

   
Site Supporter

Registered: January, 2019
Location: Geelong, Australia
Posts: 79
Lens Review Date: March 19, 2019 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $400.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: WR, blistering fast autofocus, range of zoom itself.
Cons: Focus hunting.

Crystal clear pics. Bought new and instantly fell in love with the autofocus speed.
Much better than any other 300mm lens I have ever used. I have yet to use a DA*300
   
New Member

Registered: September, 2010
Posts: 21
Lens Review Date: February 7, 2019 I can recommend this lens: No | Price: N/A | Rating: 6 

 
Pros: sharpness
Cons: Durability
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 6    Autofocus: 9    Handling: 9    Value: 8    New or Used: New    Camera Used: K3   

I had this lens for only a short time and truly enjoyed it, sadly I would not buy again though because as I was getting out of my truck after coming home from a winter hike on the beach the lens barely tapped my steering wheel. I looked in amazement because it had snapped in half along the barrel. When I looked closer at it I could see it was the thinnest of plastic. I do most of my shooting outside and I know I can be hard on my gear but as a 30 year user (and bragger) of Pentax equipment I was quite disappointed to say the least. I also own a 16-85 that has been at the shop more than in my bag. I use primes 90% of the time but still expect better from Pentax zooms.
   
Site Supporter

Registered: November, 2014
Posts: 93
Lens Review Date: December 14, 2018 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $347.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Sharp, fast and silent AF, WR, build quality, price
Cons: None yet
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 9    Autofocus: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 10    New or Used: New    Camera Used: K3 & K-S2   

Upgraded from a DAL 55-300 that I've used for 4 years with some very nice favorite photos... but I've also missed many photos because of truck like slow screw drive AF on the DAL 55-300.

The new PLM 55-300 is a major step up in AF, WR and IQ. I've taken many shots from the outlook 25 miles away from NYC and the PLM was far and away the sharpest with hundreds of individual windows clearly visible when Pixel peeping.

I was debating between the PLM 55-300 and DA* 300... I was really looking forward to the DA* 300 sharpness, IQ and build quality, but, budget considerations won out.

I thought I was going to be disappointed with the sharpness in order to save over half the money by going with the PLM. I'm sure the DA* 300 is sharper and better IQ but I'm very pleased with the PLM 55-300. If you can afford it then by all means get the best... or both!

   
Seeker of Knowledge

Registered: August, 2016
Location: Topeka, Kansas
Posts: 14,129
Lens Review Date: December 1, 2018 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $346.95 | Rating: N/A 

 
Pros: size, weight
Cons:
New or Used: New    Camera Used: K 3 II, K 3   

just bought this lens due to sale price

amazed at the silence

and the size

surprised at locking system, had to figure that out, not explained well enough for me
   
New Member

Registered: April, 2014
Posts: 5

2 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: September 9, 2018 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $368.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Sharp, light for a telephoto lens, silent autofocus, build quality, compacteness locked
Cons: Slow aperture, zoom ring a bit difficult to turn
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 10    Autofocus: 10    Handling: 9    Value: 9    New or Used: New    Camera Used: Pentax kp   

This lens was a real surprise. For its cost it is really an excellent travel companion for portraits, details and nature. Well built, fast autofocus, nice bokeh, light and even wr. And above all, it guarantees a good image quality. Currently I also have a 50-135 that in the last holiday I left for this lens.
Below are cropped photos of birdlife taken with KP.









   
New Member

Registered: July, 2008
Location: Arizona
Posts: 10
Lens Review Date: September 6, 2018 I can recommend this lens: No | Price: $375.00 | Rating: 4 

 
Pros: Smaller than the DA 55-300
Cons: Terrible sharpness-auto focus OK
Sharpness: 3    Aberrations: 5    Bokeh: 5    Autofocus: 4    Handling: 5    Value: 5    New or Used: New    Camera Used: Pentax k3II   

Bought this with a new K3ii hoping for a combo for sports. Big disappointment. Bought them online from a NYC vendor. Normally they accept returns within 30 days-after two weeks tried to return both-they would take the camera back but not the lens-that tells you something. Terrible low light combination-my K5iis blows it out of the water. Can't try it on another camera because of the new mount-don't even think about sending to the repair center for evaluation. If you buy this lens make sure you ask if you can return it-caveat emptor
   
Junior Member

Registered: July, 2016
Location: Alps
Posts: 35

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: August 7, 2018 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $350.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: high image quality for the price, compactness & weight, handling, autofocus
Cons: 200-300mm sharpness, low light AF
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 9    Autofocus: 9    Handling: 10    Value: 10    New or Used: New    Camera Used: K-3 II   

This is a fantastic lens. Arguably the best quality/price tele for pentax.
I've extensively used the DA* 60-250, to which I can compare.


Sharpness:
Until 200mm : Excellent at the center ! It's hard to tell the difference with DA*60-250. Micro-contrast is excellent also.
Ok on edges/corners, but a step down the DA* telezoom.

At 300mm, sharpness across the frame is WAY worse.


Colour rendition:
It's OK but I prefer the rendition of the DA* 60-250.

The 55-300 feels in the same league as other DA (not star *) lenses, while the DA* 60-250 if more of the DA* / Limited rendering.


Bokeh:
To me, better than the DA* 60-250.

The smaller aperture make it sometimes impossible to achieve though, but on proxy shots it's gorgeous.

Autofocus:
Blazing fast AF, great subject tracking, provided the light is good.
Once it gets really cloudy, or at the shadows, AF is not that good and it can be difficult to follow a slow moving subject getting images sufficiently sharp.


Handling:
It's a joy to use : lightweight, compact, reactive.

Only downside would be the barrel extension while zooming... but you can't have it all ! Even the DA*60-250 extends.

And for having used both for maybe 30 000 shots each, the latter feels a lot more bulkier. Manipulating the new 55-300 is a pleasure.

Value:
Unbeatable !

Other pros:
Wide range, sharp wide open, quite small retracted.


For the story, I've broken my DA* 60-250 and had to use my "backup" 55-300 PLM for a few weeks of everyday river-sports shooting - photos I make money with. I was sceptical on the quality, and specially afraid of poor subject tracking, having owned the older 55-300.
I ended up completely sold on the 55-300 PLM, with the main downside being the look of the lens that's not pro like DA*, which unfortunately has some importance when you sell your pictures.

Finally I chose to replace my 60-250 with the DA* 50-135 mostly for handling reasons, and I just love that new lens too, but that's another topic.

Anyway I know I can count on my 55-300 PLM if needed even professionally.

This is my go-to lens for shots needing reach, wildlife, travelling (along with HD 16-85).
   
Pentaxian

Registered: December, 2013
Posts: 489
Lens Review Date: July 8, 2018 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $470.00 | Rating: 7 

 
Pros: Small, WR
Cons: Mediocre IQ, slow aperture
Sharpness: 7    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 7    Autofocus: 10    Handling: 9    Value: 9    New or Used: New    Camera Used: KP   

This lens is a very good consumer tele zoom. The price/perfomance is excelent with this lens and gives a very good reach. Altough I don't like how it renders the images after getting the FA limiteds and the DA*200. This lens is a perfect consumer lens, but not a pro grade one.
My favorite thing about this lens is the size. I can fit it in my bag easily in the retracted position. This lens is small and light for its zoom range.
The AF performance is excelent even in AF-C mode.

Here are some images:
IMG170830_0013 by Benjámin Czétényi, on Flickr

IMG170830_0015 by Benjámin Czétényi, on Flickr

IMG170630_0077 by Benjámin Czétényi, on Flickr

IMG170416_0019 by Benjámin Czétényi, on Flickr

IMG170402_0009 by Benjámin Czétényi, on Flickr
   
Senior Member

Registered: July, 2009
Location: London
Posts: 211
Lens Review Date: June 15, 2018 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $400.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: All round ability
Cons: Zoom control stiff
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 8    Autofocus: 10    Handling: 9    Value: 10    New or Used: New    Camera Used: K-S2   

Every so often a design is right. This lens meets that level of ability. Taking into consideration, price and overall performance, I cannot see another brand matching it. It has to be used to appreciate how good it is.
   
Pentaxian

Registered: February, 2010
Location: Eureka, CA
Posts: 3,324

4 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: May 21, 2018 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $360.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Compact, excellent image quality at wide end
Cons: Only moderately sharp at long end
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 9    Autofocus: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 10    New or Used: New    Camera Used: Pentax KP   

I was tempted to give this lens a rating of ten, because in the range I mostly use it (i.e., 55-135), it's very close to ten. It's sharp edge to edge, with outstanding contrast and excellent color rendition, and is capable of producing images that come very close to what you can get with professional glass. This lens provides me with something I've wanted for years: a compact telephoto zoom for landscape photography. For years if you wanted excellent quality image quality in a telephoto zoom, you had to go with large, heavy and expensive lenses like the DA* 50-135, the DA* 60-250 or the Tamron 70-200 f2.8. I own the Tamron and have rarely used it for landscape photography because it's just too heavy to take wherever I go. The 55-300 PLM provides sharp, contrasty images with Pentax colors in light, compact form factor. I've used retractable lenses on m43 cameras and really appreciate the concept. In retracted form the lens is not only smaller and thus easier to carry around, but it's sturdier and better protected. The quick focusing action via the PLM is an added bonus.

The lens does lose some resolution toward the long end. At 300mm it's only moderately sharp, plus it's only f6.3. In decent light combined with solid technique, you can still get an image good enough for an 18 inch print, but if you shooting in poor light and want to print large, this is not the right tool for the job, at least not at 300mm.

Whether you own some of the larger professional quality telephoto lenses out there or not, I'd still recommend this lens for its compact size. It's a lens that you can take wherever you go and still count on getting excellent quality in the wider range and at least fair quality at the long range.

Some samples, taken with the KP, the first three using PS, beginning with an image shot at 55mm:



@88



@230mm:



@300mm:

   
New Member

Registered: January, 2017
Posts: 8

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: May 18, 2018 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $280.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Very fast autofocus, quiet, very sharp
Cons: Limited in lower light
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 8    Autofocus: 10    Handling: 9    Value: 9    New or Used: Used    Camera Used: K-S2   

Purchased this lens used to replace and upgrade my 50-200mm Pentax DA L WR. I was looking for something to take on hikes and travel that gave me a bit more range, quicker and sharper focus, less hunting,---without breaking the bank. (At the 200mm range I also use the Tamron 70-200mm F2.8 which I love, but its just too large for those hiking trips).

So I took this along on a trip to Europe, shooting mostly cityscapes and nature. Big difference in quality of course vs the 50-200mm Pentax, and in particular the sharpness and focus. This is also night and day in terms of how quiet this lens is. I really liked the locking and retractable lens for when the camera is out on my shoulder. The sharpness alone in good light is amazing--have not done much with it where the lighting has been low.

Overall I am very happy with the lens and it is well worth the upgrade.

   
Pentaxian

Registered: May, 2008
Location: London, UK
Posts: 929

2 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: May 9, 2018 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $400.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Focus Speed - the 1st time!
Cons: Refocusing speed!
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 7    Autofocus: 9    Handling: 8    Value: 8    New or Used: New    Camera Used: K-3 K-3 II   

I used my copy for the 1st time "in anger" at an airshow a few days ago, and on both the K-3 and K-3 II.
Overall, it worked pretty well on both of them - BUT I noticed one significant thing as compared with the Sigma 100-300 F4 and Sigma 1.4TC that I was using on the "other body" at the same time:

- the Pentax would lock on (using 9 point Selective) on the first occasion very quickly - but if the subject moved out of the focus area then the lens "didn't know what to do" and just focused "somewhere" = totally blurred image, that was only recoverable when I manually refocused using the manual focus ring (which I don't now like because of where it is positioned and because there is no "feel" to it).

- by comparison, the Sigma combo almost immediately refocused pretty much correctly on the subject.
Edited 8th Sept 2018:
Now roughly worked out what this lens is good at (and what it's not!). Extremely sharp in favourable circumstances and very pleased with it under that, but you need to careful tracking objects which rapidly move towards the camera - that's when things can go haywire!
I swopped the lenses over several times and found the effects to be pretty consistent, regardless of which lens was on which body at any particular time.
   
New Member

Registered: December, 2013
Posts: 2

2 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: March 24, 2018 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $340.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Sharp, consistent, nice bokeh
Cons: slow
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 9    Autofocus: 10    Handling: 9    Value: 10    New or Used: New    Camera Used: k70   

I got this as an upgrade from the old non WR version. I bought an open box one for Ł280, and I couldn't be happier with it.

It is most definitely sharper than my old one, and very consistent. Ok, there is still perhaps a little bit of softness towards 300mm, but overall edge sharpness is much improved, and most focal lengths are centre sharp from wide open.

It's has nice accurate colour rendering, better contrast, much smoother bokeh, and produces really nice portraits. The MFD is considerably less than the old one, so it's a handy pseudo-macro to boot. Ok, it's not going to better my FA77 or DFA100, but still, if you are out and about and want to stick with weather resistant zooms, this is an absolute winner. Another IQ aspect which ěs hugely improved is the almost total lack of fringing, which for a cheap as chips tele zoom is impressive.

I find the handling is good. The big advantage of the retractable design for me, is that you can put the camera on a sling and lock the zoom so it stays compact as it's swinging around. Unlocking it becomes second nature very easily.

The focussing is super quiet, fairly quick, and pretty reliable too. I have even managed to capture some birds in flight, which was just impossible with the old one. I love the way the focus by wire kicks in automatically when you switch the camera on.

It pairs well with my 16-85mm, which is also sharp from wide open throughout the range, and with the ISO performance I'm getting from my K70, the slowness of these lenses on paper doesn't really hold me back much in practice. Goes against the common wisdom, but that's Pentax for you. I don't think you can expect better value. If your camera is compatible, get one. I simply can't imagine there is a better affordable long zoom out there.
   
Site Supporter

Registered: January, 2016
Location: Alberta
Posts: 3,562

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: March 20, 2018 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $420.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: ridiculously fast af, focal range, weather-sealed, retractable, build quality
Cons: slightly more soft at 300
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 8    Autofocus: 10    Handling: 9    Value: 10    New or Used: New    Camera Used: K-S2   

What a great lens!
I upgraded to this lens from a Sigma 70-300 f/4-5.6 DG Macro..

Compared to my Sigma, this lens produces SO much sharper and beautiful images!

The retractable button doubles and a zoom lock so it doesn't extend hung on your strap while walking.
It's great being 15mm wider than my Sigma!
I miss the macro function a bit.
Love how much smaller and lighter my Pentax lens is!

I've heard this lens focus-breaths a fair bit, but I haven't noticed really for my purposes.
Add Review of HD Pentax-DA 55-300mm F4.5-6.3 ED PLM WR RE Buy the HD Pentax-DA 55-300mm F4.5-6.3 ED PLM WR RE



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