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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 
 9.3
Aberrations 
 9.3
Bokeh 
 9.0
Autofocus 
 9.5
Handling 
 9.3
Value 
 9.0
Reviews Views Date of last review
8 24,714 Sun July 2, 2017
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Recommended By Average Price Average User Rating
88% of reviewers $447.13 9.25
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
Image Format
APS-C
Lens Mount
Pentax K
Aperture Ring
No
Diaphragm
Automatic, 9 blades (rounded)
Optics
14 elements, 11 groups
Mount Variant
KAF4
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
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
Pricing
$446 USD current price
$399 USD at launch
Engraved Name
HD Pentax-DA 1:4.5-6.3 55-300mm ED PLM WR RE
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



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Sort Reviews by: Date | Author | Rating | Recommendation | Likes (Descending) Showing Reviews 1-8 of 8
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: 42
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!
   
New Member

Registered: October, 2010
Location: Liverpool, UK
Posts: 13
Lens Review Date: March 8, 2017 I can recommend this lens: No | Price: $400.00 | Rating: 6 

 
Pros: Light, sharp, quick, compact.
Cons: Fragile
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 9    Autofocus: 8    Handling: 8    Value: 7    New or Used: New    Camera Used: K-3 II   

Good:
Great focal length
Very sharp
Lens focusing is very quick
Light and small for its focal length

Bad:
Irritating having to remember to extend the lens - a downsize to its compactness
Aperture range
The lens may be quicker at focusing, but the camera is still glacial

Ugly:
My daughter knocked my camera and lens onto the floor - a drop of 30cm, and the lens acquired a small bend. Worked perfectly, even so. Took it to the Pentax service centre in the UK, where he took the mount off, and showed me the plastic component that had broken - typically £20-60 to repair, he said, for comparable lenses. The next thing I heard, it had to be sent to Japan for assessment, and then they said that repairs would be £330 - for a lens I paid £250 for in the sales. I've gone through the house insurance and got a replacement in the end, but it means that I don't feel I can recommend the lens - hopefully, others won't have similar problems, and I've just been extremely unlucky.
   
Site Supporter

Registered: February, 2009
Location: San Mateo, CA
Posts: 124
Lens Review Date: March 2, 2017 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $397.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Fast focus, IQ, small and light, affordable
Cons: None, really
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 9    Autofocus: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 10    New or Used: New    Camera Used: K-3   

I have owned the non-WR 55-300 and Sigma 120-400 (both sold); I have the DFA 150-450, which is a great performer but quite bulky. I wanted another walk-around long zoom, so I bought the 55-300 PLM.

Iíve had the 55-300 PLM for two months, but havenít had a chance to test it thoroughly till the past week. Record rain in California got in the way. I already knew that focusing was quick and accurate, but the bee photo below really impressed! I used AF-S with the back button without pre-focusing at f/6.3.

The second photo of the red flower was for testing focus (with back button), color, and bokeh at f/5.6. It was exported from LR with no PP other than the default 25 sharpening. Iíd say the color is quite good, and the bokeh on both flower and bee shot is smooth, not distracting.

For very long range and BIF shots, the 55-300 PLM is not equal to the DFA 150-450. But it is much more than good enough for walking around. Highly recommended!
   
New Member

Registered: December, 2016
Posts: 21
Lens Review Date: February 16, 2017 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $700.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Sharp image, good contrast, fast autofocus, no aberration
Cons: sometimes unaccurate AF, dark lense
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 10    Autofocus: 9    Handling: 10    Value: 8    New or Used: New    Camera Used: Pentax K-70   

It's mine main lense - very universal. The image is very, very sharp - you can crop a small detail from the picture and it will be sharp enough.
AF is fast but it's sometimes fail a little bit, so you are sure you catch sharp image but you didn't - it's almost there It becomes a real problem when it's dark around.
Anyway it's damn fast - capturing a bird or the other animal in motion it's not a problem.
I've never spot any sign of chromatic aberration!!! Nice!

Can't say much about bokeh - im not the one who care about it.

It's very small and light lense, especially when it's locked


What else could be better? It's a dark lense so you need a lot of light especially indoors or after dark.

About teleconverters. So - the manual teleconverters won't work with this lense. It's all electrical so it won't work without any connection with the camera. I tried it with Tamron -F AF 1.4x Pz-AF MC4 teleconverter but it fail to catch sharpness most of the time.
Anyway it's work nicely with pentax DA HD 1,4x TC. So it's easly become, fully working 420mm/f9

My photos are posted here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/149888508@N06/

Most of them are made with PLM 55-300 - check the image details
   
New Member

Registered: May, 2016
Posts: 1

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: February 7, 2017 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $515.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: small, light, good optics
Cons: Dust into lens
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 10    Autofocus: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 9    New or Used: New    Camera Used: K3-II   

IMGP5921 by Peter Kao, 於 Flickr
IMGP5976 by Peter Kao, 於 Flickr
IMGP5989 by Peter Kao, 於 Flickr
IMGP6047 by Peter Kao, 於 Flickr
IMGP6056 by Peter Kao, 於 Flickr
IMGP6057 by Peter Kao, 於 Flickr
IMGP6064 by Peter Kao, 於 Flickr
IMGP6084 by Peter Kao, 於 Flickr
IMGP6102 by Peter Kao, 於 Flickr
IMGP6134 by Peter Kao, 於 Flickr
   
Forum Member

Registered: January, 2011
Location: Berkshoire, England
Posts: 72

10 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: November 27, 2016 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $410.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Smaller, lighter, fast and silent focusing
Cons: Unlocking mechanism
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 9    Autofocus: 9    Handling: 9    Value: 10    New or Used: New    Camera Used: K3II   

I'm surprised no-one has reviewed this lens yet, but I guess the question most people will be asking is - "Is this worth upgrading from the original 55-300mm"? From my perspective, coming from the latest version of the old design, it's an unequivocal yes, it's a no-brainer for the following reasons:

1. It's significantly shorter ( Though a bit wider ).
2. It's 10% lighter.
3. Focusing is virtually silent.
4. Focusing is significantly quicker.
5. It has closer focusing, and with an achromatic/close-up lens such as the Canon 500D it makes a decent macro lens.
6. It handles CA better.
7. It's a bit sharper.
8. 9 aperture blades giving better bokeh characteristics.
9. Build quality is essentially the same.
10. It's better for video.

All in all it's a worthwhile upgrade with the advantages listed above. About the only thing I can criticise it for is the unlocking mechanism which is required to shoot with the lens. In essence you push a button to expand the lens to 55mm and carry on shooting. If you switch the camera on without doing it then you will get a message telling you to do it on the LCD. Personally this isn't an issue to me, it makes the lens shorter, but to some it might. The zoom is also quite stiff but I expect that to loosen off over time and I prefer that to it being overly loose. Colour and contrast appear to be the same as it's predecessor, which is to say pretty good, though it fades at the long end as expected. The bokeh is the other thing worth noting, it really is very decent in many situations. If you've been hesitating on whether to upgrade from the old version to this one then don't, it's well worth it. here are a couple of macro examples from this lens, using the Canon 500D close-up lens.



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