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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 
 8.8
Aberrations 
 9.1
Bokeh 
 8.8
Autofocus 
 9.7
Handling 
 9.2
Value 
 9.3
Reviews Views Date of last review
20 51,981 Tue August 7, 2018
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Recommended By Average Price Average User Rating
95% of reviewers $410.12 9.10
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
supersize
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
$359 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
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 20
New Member

Registered: July, 2016
Location: Alps
Posts: 12
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, impressive autofocus
Cons: aperture, external zooming... but it's impossible to have it all!
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 9    Autofocus: 10    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:
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.

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 !

But... subject tracking (AF.C, 1 point selection) is less secure than SDM lenses, at least with my K-3 II.

Both DA* 60-250 and DA* 50-135 are able to follow a relatively-slow-moving subject with almost never missing the focus.

With this 55-300, be aware that it happens quite more, even if not missing by much, and at an acceptable rate. The older 55-300 was worse in that matter from what I remember.

Hopefully new algorithms / future bodies will unleash the potential of this PLM.

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 the latter for maybe 30 000 shots, it feels a lot more bulkier, and 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: 382
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: 204
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: 2,466

2 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: 1

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: 647
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: 8    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 7    Autofocus: 7    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.

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: 1

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: March 24, 2018 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $340.00 | Rating: 9 

 
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 finging, 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: 3,118

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.
   
Pentaxian

Registered: May, 2016
Posts: 664

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: March 3, 2018 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: N/A | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: af speed, close focus, value, bokeh
Cons: minor sharpness drop over 250mm
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 10    Autofocus: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 10    New or Used: New    Camera Used: K-3II   

In a similar focal length range, I used to have a 60-250 but I sold it because it was too big after I mostly stopped shooting sports. Comparatively, the 55-300 plm has colder colors, is slightly less sharp (in relative terms, I have no issue using this one at max aperture), but has better contrast and smoother bokeh. It's f4.5 up to about 150mm, which means this lens can do most but not all of what the bigger and more expensive alternative can. I like the 55-300 plm, for me it works best in terms of performance and value.
Build quality is on par with the 16-85, which is good but utilitarian. The retractable design doesn't bother me and I appreciate the more compact size.

260mm f5.6


300mm f8


edit: I removed the narrow focus ring as a downside after getting used to manually focus with my left thumb, the rest of the hand normally supporting the camera/lens from underneath. I also can confirm after more use that af (speed, accuracy, tracking) is quite good on the k3ii.
   
Pentaxian

Registered: August, 2010
Location: Alexandria, VA
Posts: 1,754

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: February 13, 2018 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $375.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: compact, fast autofocus, silent and sharp!
Cons: need to unlock it before shooting
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 9    Autofocus: 10    Handling: 8    Value: 9    New or Used: New    Camera Used: K-50   

This is an outstanding zoom lens and easily surpasses my previous smc-DA 55-300mm (non-WR, green ring version), which I also thought was sharp but it suffered from slow and loud autofocus. I recently bought this zoom and used it on a dolphin-watching boat trip while visiting my in-laws in Florida. We were lucky to run into a big pod of dolphins who were, shall we say, feeling "frisky." If you look closely, one of the pictures below shows a dolphin male genitalia. The new HD DA 55-300 WR RE was an outstanding performer for this sightseeing trip on the water, and I loved how it handled-- compact when retracted, fast, accurate, and quiet autofocus. Love the build quality-- no wobbles. It's one of the best lenses I've purchased for my K-50 and I have quite a few lenses!! If you don't already own a 55-300, your choice of this model is pretty easy. If you already have an older 55-300, I say sell it and pick one of these up. It has revitalized my interest in using this zoom range. PS: all of these images taken at 300mm I think.











   
Forum Member

Registered: April, 2016
Posts: 60
Lens Review Date: November 1, 2017 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: N/A | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Lightweight, optical quality especially at close focus and 100-200mm
Cons: Less details at longthrow with 300 or 420 (with TC)
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 10    Autofocus: 10    Handling: 9    Value: 9    New or Used: New    Camera Used: K1   

Fine close ups with little vignetting on 55mm and full format; very nice between 100 and 200mm. Less details on long throw at the end on 300mm or 420mm (with TC).
Must keep in mind the airflow in the camera while running through the zoom range.
   
Junior Member

Registered: November, 2016
Location: Vungtau
Posts: 36
Lens Review Date: August 11, 2017 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: N/A | Rating: 9 

 
Pros:
Cons:
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 9    Autofocus: 10    Value: 9    New or Used: New    Camera Used: Pentax K-P   

not very sharp at 300mm
Very fast focus with my K-P!
   
New Member

Registered: March, 2012
Posts: 6
Lens Review Date: July 2, 2017 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $405.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Sharpness, focus speed, build quality.
Cons: Weight, zoom ring control.
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 8    Autofocus: 10    Handling: 9    Value: 9    New or Used: New    Camera Used: KS-2   

I recently purchased this lens as an upgrade to my old Pentax DA 55-300 lens (the older one released in 2009ish, not the WR re-release). That lens I had purchased as an upgrade to the Sigma 70-300 lens, which was okay but kind of a beast (extremely loud autofocus, very heavy, and quite large). I had been satisfied with the DA 55-300; it was sharp and produced nice photos. However, it was bulky and the autofocus was not very good. It was loud, slow, and hunted badly under anything less than optimal conditions. I sold the lens in advance of purchasing this one - and luckily got a decent price on it.

I am not a picky photographer, I am mostly interested in OOTC jpgs to look at and appreciate. I do some light pixel peeping but that's it. So that's the background context for my expectations. With that in mind, I am very satisfied with this lens. It is solidly built and comfortable to use. It has the same button-release "feature" as the new DA 18-50 kit lens that came with my KS-2. You push the button to unlock the lens to 55 and then it smoothly rotates from 55-300. To collapse the lens you need to push the button past 55, release it, and then rotate to the dot. The lens has quick shift focusing but I almost never use that. It lacks an aperture ring but I don't miss it.

The biggest advantage to this lens that I see is the PLM-based focusing. It is outstanding. I don't think I own a faster focusing lens in my collection and in comparison to the old screw drive 55-300, it is sports car vs. moped speed. When taking far zoom shots, such as the dragonflies (shown below), that near-instantaneous focusing is fantastic. I find the pictures produced are sharp, with good contrast. There's some purple fringing in the extreme but nothing too surprising. Bokeh seems okay to me, I suppose not too distracting but not outstanding either.

I also appreciate the weather sealing which complements my sealed KS-2. I am a big fan of Pentax's weather sealing and while it may be a bit basic, it does give me that added peace of mind, especially for taking zoom shots in the rain, snow, or dust.

I paid $525 Canadian dollars (including tax and shipping) for this lens in May 2017, which is roughly equivalent to $403 USD. I think this lens is well worth the money and I see it having a home in my kit for a long time.









   
New Member

Registered: May, 2017
Posts: 2
Lens Review Date: May 2, 2017 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $325.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: fast focus, sharp IQ, lightweight & compact for its reach
Cons: focal length ring is a little stiff--maybe it will loosen with wear
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 8    Autofocus: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 10    New or Used: Used    Camera Used: K-3   

Bought it used but this lens is only 2 months old and looks new. Even at the going retail cost, I would buy this lens again--no hesitation. It is incredibly sharp for a lens in this price range and the new PLM focus system makes it the fastest focusing and most quiet lens I have. Understand that it is not the all-around perfect long zoom (I doubt there is such a thing)--it is a dual aperture lens and will struggle in low light. Use it in the daylight/well lit spaces or with a flash and it will amaze. Sharp, fast & quiet focus, inexpensive, good build, light weight, small--what else can you ask of a $450 (new) lens?
   
Junior Member

Registered: June, 2009
Location: New York City
Posts: 43
Lens Review Date: March 13, 2017 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $425.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Silent focus; weather sealing; build quality
Cons:
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 9    Autofocus: 10    Handling: 8    Value: 9    New or Used: New    Camera Used: KS-1   

I also have the original non-HD screw drive version of this lens, and although it is a decent lens, I rarely used it due to its size and noisy focus. This new version, which, by the way, works perfectly on my lowly KS-1 after firmware update, is much better in almost every category except zoom range, which is the same, and perhaps the slightly smaller f-stops that in reality are not even noticeable in actual usage. I compared the images between the two using the same camera and same settings and to my eyes, the new lens has better color and sharpness. Focusing speed is obviously superior and so quiet, it makes the old model sound like an angry rattle snake! The button you have to press to extend the lens to working position takes a little getting used to, as does having the focus ring in front of the zoom ring, but I don't consider these things as negatives. Build quality looks good and the lens feels quite sturdy, certainly nowhere near " delicate". If the PLM motor holds up, like the DC on the 18-135 that I've had since that lens first came out, I will be overjoyed!
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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