Forgot Password
Pentax Camera Forums Home
Log in or register to remove ads.

Pentax Lens Review Database » Digital Era Pentax K-Mount Lenses » DA Zoom Lenses
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

Reviews Views Date of last review
46 169,199 Sun January 28, 2024
Recommended By Average Price Average User Rating
89% of reviewers $393.97 8.89
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
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
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
HD Pentax-DA 55-300mm F4.5-6.3 ED PLM WR RE


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
©, sharable with attribution
Image Format
Lens Mount
Pentax K
Aperture Ring
Automatic, 9 blades (rounded)
14 elements, 11 groups
Mount Variant
Check camera compatibility
Max. Aperture
Min. Aperture
AF (in-lens motor)
Min. Focus
95 cm
Max. Magnification
Filter Size
58 mm
Internal Focus
Field of View (Diag. / Horiz.)

APS-C: 29-5.4 ° / 25-4.6 °
Lens Cap
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.)
442 g (15.6 oz.)
Production Years
2016 to present (in production)
$376 USD current price
$399 USD at launch
Engraved Name
HD Pentax-DA 1:4.5-6.3 55-300mm ED PLM WR RE
Product Code
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
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.

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
Price History:

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
Sort Reviews by: Date | Author | Rating | Recommendation | Likes (Descending) Showing Reviews 1-15 of 46
Site Supporter

Registered: November, 2023
Posts: 53
Review Date: January 28, 2024 Not Recommended | Price: $349.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Lot of situation
Cons: The focal is too hight( 5.6-6.4)
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 10    Autofocus: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 10    New or Used: Used    Camera Used: K70   

I tested this lens because I've had it for almost 2 months.
It's a good telephoto lens which unfortunately requires light to get good images.
So it's really made for nature in broad daylight in the morning or late afternoon.
I took a lot of photos with this one.
And I am of the opinion that if you come across a good number. It's a treat.
It has a bokeh that I love, good sharpness, it's very quiet. I don't understand the people who put a bokeh at 6, it's certainly not the same.
I highly recommend this lens,
It seems that the Sigma 100-300 F4 is above it but all the good Pentaxians keep it... too bad.
Maybe one day I will make a difference.
Senior Member

Registered: February, 2011
Location: Brno
Posts: 295

4 users found this helpful
Review Date: November 4, 2023 Recommended | Price: $350.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Size, weight, AF
Cons: Aperture, cost of new unit, not fully compatible with K5 and older cameras
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 8    Autofocus: 9    Handling: 9    Value: 8    New or Used: Used    Camera Used: K3 (K5, K20D, M4/3 adapted)   

Lens is a solid little telephoto. I also have older SMC DA55-300/4-5.8 which I bought back in 2008 and I was quite happy with it. I also have large things like Sigma 100-300/4, Sigma 50-500/4-6.3 and few 70-200/2.8 lenses.

Concerning image quality this HD DA55-300PLM WR fits somewhere between the old SMC DA55-300 and Sigma 100-300/4. Obviously it does not reach aperture or resolution levels of that large fast zoom, but it optically is a bit better than the older brother. It shows best output closed to F8-F10 at long end like the older 55-300. Resolution is not bad for such small telephoto. F6.3 aperture is nothing to boast about, but on daylight it is ok.

Autofocus is quiet and much faster than the old body driven SMC DA55-300. About comparable to Sigma 70-200/2.8 HSM and surprisingly even the body driven Sigma 100-300/4 can refocus almost as fast. AF accuracy is OK.
When you change zoom of the lens, camera is always refocusing the lens even without any user interaction.

Lens size is perfect thanks to collapsible design. It is shorter than my M4/3 Olympus 75-300/4.8-6.7 and just a tiny bit more fat. Squeezing such zoom range into such small body is something. It is also weather sealed to some extent (I would not recommend to zoom during rain), which is nice. Collapsible design requires the button to be pushed and lens to be extended to allow camera to work with it. When collapsed, it does nothing.

There are two sad things about this lens. It does not have any focusing scale, so you have to rely on viewfinder of live-view when focusing manually. So forget about some night shots with MF unless you see something on display. The other sad thing is the aperture control mechanism that needs K3 or newer body to work properly. But on K3 it is perfectly OK.

Lets say you already have older SMC DA55-300/4-5.8 or HD DA55-300/4-5.8WR. Is this lens an upgrade? Optically there is barely any noticeable difference. Those older lenses were quite good for their range already. AF is significantly faster. But the question is price. I bought this lens because the 2nd hand price was too tempting to let it be. But price of new PLM one is not worth the difference if you already have one of those older lenses. And if you are frequently using older cameras like K5 or you have such camera as a backup, then this new PLM wont fully support it. It works, it focuses, but you are shooting wide open all the time.

In general it is good little modern telephoto lens and you'll be happy with it if your intended use is mainly for tourism, outdoor trips, daylight shooting, shooting with F8, birds and other animals, distant cityscape etc.

If you want lens for indoor photography, portraiture, low light or you need hi-res telephoto, look elsewhere.

Site Supporter

Registered: September, 2010
Location: Venlo
Posts: 163

2 users found this helpful
Review Date: April 17, 2023 Recommended | Rating: 9 

Pros: weight, size,price,price/performance ratio
Cons: none for this price
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 6    Autofocus: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 9    New or Used: New    Camera Used: K3 Mk.III   

I bought this lens new, and traded the first (non-WR) version of this lens, so it is difficult to mention a price.
When I first tried to make the AF micro-adjustment, the necessary lens correction was out of limit. I sent camera and lens for calibration (warranty) and the lens returned perfect. Zero adjustment (although I had to re-adjust my other lenses, because the camera was calibrated as well).
This is a great walk around lens. I love to take it when hiking. Very versatile, good range, lightweight. No, this is not a fast lens, but that was clear before the purchase.
Autofocus is not only very fast, but also very reliable. Also for birds in flight.
For the rest, I speak about the 300mm setting only.
Other reviewers mention soft corners. I agree. The corners don't increase much at f/11. But in my experience it is mainly bad at short focus distance. Landscapes aren't sharp from center to edge, but acceptably sharp at f/11. Praise the newer camera bodies with excellent high-ISO performance
I edit my RAW images in DxO Photolab and PL handles the aberrations well, no problems here.

That said, the lens is no match for my Sigma 4/100-300mm EX DG. A completely different league. And a different size, weight and price. The resolution, translated into details, the IQ in the corners, everything is way better with the Sigma. On the other hand, if your subject is an animal at a distance of 100ft, the differences between lenses disappear completely if the AF is half an inch off. And the Sigma is not only much slower than the 55-300, but also less reliable. If I use a TC with the Sigma, the largest aperture becomes comparable and the difference in AF speed is huge.

My main negative point is the rendering of OOF areas. Not especially bokeh, not about the shape of OOF highlights, but the OOF areas are more distracting than I expected. Even from a slow lens.

All images below are 100% crops.

Sigma 4/100-300 f/6.3 corner, focus distance approx. 250-300 feet

Pentax 55-300 f/6.3 corner, focus distance approx. 250-300 feet. Somehow, this image doesn't show here, but it can be viewed in the gallery, via the link. Strange.

Sigma 4/100-300mm f/6.3 center, focus distance approx. 250-300 feet

Pentax 55-300mm f/6.3 center, focus distance approx. 250-300 feet

Pentax 55-300mm, f/11 corner, focus distance approx. 30 feet

Pentax 55-300mm, f/6.3 corner, focus distance approx. 30 feet

Pentax 55-300mm, f/11 corner, focus distance approx. 10 feet

Pentax 55-300mm, f/11 center, focus distance approx. 10 feet

Pentax 55-300mm, f/6.3 corner, focus distance approx. 10 feet

Pentax 55-300mm, f/6.3 center, focus distance approx. 10 feet
New Member

Registered: January, 2023
Posts: 1

7 users found this helpful
Review Date: January 28, 2023 Recommended | Rating: 10 

Pros: good price, sharpnes, very fast autofocus
Cons: more plastic
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 10    Autofocus: 10    Handling: 7    Value: 8    New or Used: New    Camera Used: KP K10D   

For this price is the best small tele lens! If you thinking about buy this lens buy it. Now i need more lights and buy 150-450 but if not have money for 150-450 buy 55-300 plm! Look at my photos!

17 by Łukasz Karzełek, on Flickr

12 by Łukasz Karzełek, on Flickr

10 by Łukasz Karzełek, on Flickr

Registered: July, 2011
Posts: 2,385

2 users found this helpful
Review Date: December 24, 2022 Recommended | Rating: 9 

Pros: Nice package wrt features, performance & price
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 7    Bokeh: 8    Autofocus: 9    Handling: 9    Value: 10    New or Used: New    Camera Used: K3iii   

This lens offers all great Pentax features like compact/folding design, very good optical performance and even silent AF and weather sealing. The price is very competitive.
Aperture wise it is a slow lens with f/6.3 at the long end. SR helps to create sharp images, but the lightweight lens is shaky in the viewfinder. Chromatic abberation is visible - still well controlled. Nice and light APSC package. K1 with 150-450 plays in a different league wrt size, weight, price and quality.
Minimum focus distance is also great.Folded it is as long as the 100M, very nice for travel.

For the price, this lens is a must have, unless you go big (150-450) or fixed (DA300). Family can now mix and match K1ii/K3iii and 150-450/55-300.
Senior Member

Registered: October, 2022
Location: Glyfada, a southern suburb of Athens
Posts: 208

1 user found this helpful
Review Date: December 4, 2022 Recommended | Price: $315.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: sharp & fast, bokeh (!!!), best "value for money" zoom you can buy
Cons: it comes without a pouch and that's cheap from Pentax
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 10    Autofocus: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 10    New or Used: New    Camera Used: KP   

Purchased at any amazing deal, brand new, from a german retailer at 315 $/ before shipment. I think there was a glitch in their system and gave me, kind of, twice, a 40 euro Pentax coupon since the today price is 395 $/ [ I was discounted for only one coupon since their system had already subtracted one more coupon]

Already had 55-300 in "DAL" and the "HD red" version which I am now getting rid off even if the "red" is a faster and a superb lens.

Received the glass on a Friday and on Saturday I went to shoot my 2 1/2 years old son's X-mas show together with a Limited HD 15mm/F4.0 at my bag. A great combo for such events. Trust me.

As per photo, I was shooting from the last raw of a 40 meter / 120ft long theatre in pitch dark. Only lights available during the show were just the ones on stage.

I had set the ISO at max 20.000 to avoid noise and I was shooting on P mode with my KP and clicking always the "green" meter button before every sessions in "full" metering. I had also set the P mode on subject focus ( background secondary/blurred). That was a very wise decision together with the "Spot" AF.

Below you can see two photos. The first photo is shot with the 15/4 in order you realise the distance.

The second is an example not just of the lens' abilities at the extreme (300mm, ISO 800, f/6.3, 1/400s !!!) but mostly of it's "bokeh" wonders that have nothing to fear from prime premium gear. I could not believe it.

What you see is also "Photoshopped" in terms of "lens profile" and a few minor adjustments; mostly in White Balance as it was way off due to the various strobe-colored lights of the event.

WHAT A LENS!!!' quality-quality-quality everywhere

And yes, I find offending that Pentax does not include a case/pouch inside the box. Shame on them.


Registered: December, 2007
Location: Pacific Northwest
Posts: 325

1 user found this helpful
Review Date: November 22, 2022 Recommended | Price: $360.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: A sharp lens with great bokeh and excellent autofocus, all in a compact and lightweight design.
Cons: I wouldn't change a thing!
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 10    Autofocus: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 10    New or Used: New    Camera Used: Pentax K-70   

This is a sharp lens with superb bokeh, especially when shooting in nature with difficult, busy backgrounds (such as thin branches or grasses). That combination of sharp in-focus areas with lovely background blur provides superb overall rendering. It also has excellent flare resistance.

The autofocus is accurate, fast, and silent (thanks to the PLM motor). The lens is exceptionally compact when stored. It is also very light and well balanced. The handling is superb.

Overall, the rendering and handling characteristics make for a very special package, far better than most similar zooms from other manufacturers.
Veteran Member

Registered: June, 2013
Posts: 321
Review Date: July 4, 2022 Recommended | Price: $395.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Very sharp between f8 and f11
Cons: Not sharp very sharp at F6.3 - f6.8
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 8    Autofocus: 9    Handling: 8    Value: 9    New or Used: New    Camera Used: KP   

I also have the DA 55-300mm f/4-5.8 ED WR Lens. Started shooting some zoo animals and backyard wildlife (I live on the border of a state park) and decided it was time to upgrade my autofocus capabilities with this lens on a KP, since the combo of the old lens with a K5IIs was not cutting it with even mild animal movement during shoot. While the autofocus is a big step up, this lens does not meet my requirements for being sharp wide open or even closed down a little at the longer end of the zoom. That said, at f8-f11 it is very good at every focual length, but not noticeably better than the old zoom in a landscape shooting situation where autofocus speed and silence is not required. Sharpness is a nine at those apertures, but only a seven at f6.3 to 6.8, where I need it the most. As a general telephoto zoom, size, speed, and sharpness are very fine, but maybe not good enough for sports, action, bokeh-blur, and wildlife, espically in low light. I might just try a second example of this lens for wide-open performance...
Forum Member

Registered: March, 2011
Location: Niagara, Ontario
Posts: 57

2 users found this helpful
Review Date: November 2, 2021 Recommended | Price: $280.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Focus speed, light weight, image quality, build.
Cons: AF needs good light. a little soft at long end

An excellent wide range light weight zoom lens for general photography with very fast AF in good light. Ideal as a walk-around lens. Image quality is very good up to 280 mm and drops off slightly up to 300mm, but not enough to bother me. Build quality and waterproofing is good and the zoom movement is relatively smooth on my copy. The lens lock button is easy to unlock by just pressing the button and rotating the lens barrel with the same hand. As a bird watcher the rapid AF speed captures the song birds flitting from branch to branch at medium range providing light is good. There is a learning curve to master capturing birds-in-flight, but I have longer lenses for this application. Purchased fro a Pentax dealer in Niagara Ontario for C$ 356.00. My US price is estimated. A very preliminary review as I recently purchased this lens.

Loyal Site Supporter

Registered: April, 2021
Location: Stratford Ontario
Posts: 256
Review Date: August 20, 2021 Recommended | Price: $400.00 | Rating: N/A 

Pros: Great IQ, Fast Focus
Cons: none
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 9    Autofocus: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 10    New or Used: New    Camera Used: Pentax KP   

This lens is just this side of magic. Focus is fast and **silent**. Sharpness is excellent, even when shooting at focal length extremes. This might be my new "stuck on the camera" lens
First test photo using this lens is attached, I think it's a keeper (it was on my way home from Camera Canada - thanks again to Bruce there for your help today!)

Site Supporter

Registered: June, 2017
Location: 3City agglomeration
Posts: 2,056

1 user found this helpful
Review Date: July 25, 2021 Recommended | Price: $515.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: fast AF, silent, light, cheap
Cons: a bit soft above 210mm, very soft above 250mm
Sharpness: 7    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 10    Autofocus: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 9    New or Used: New    Camera Used: Pentax K-3 Mk III   

I bought this lens to replace Tamron 70-300 Macro for airplane and train shooting and while it was a good decision, this lens is not without drawbacks.

Pros are mainly superb autofocus, handling and build . Even on K-50 this lens was great, but on K-3 Mk III it shines, sings and dances when it comes to autofocus. It is extremely fast, accurate and silent. Lens itself is also very light, easy to use handheld. It is very well build for cheaper DA lens, despite being plastic feels sturdy and solid. After two years of use it is still as new. And, well, that is it.

Cons are what should be above, so optics. Frankly this lens is soft from 210 but to 250 it is usable. Above 250 it is horrible. As I was using it handheld mostly I thought it was due to my hands shaking, but no. With tripod, SR off and timer release images from 250 to 300 are as soft. It simply looks as if some sort of smudge was applied. No matter if you shoot at f6.3 or f11 you get soft, unsharp images. This is real drawback if you need longer but sharp lens (for plane spotting for example).

Is it worthless? No, but you need to remember that this is DA, not DA* lens. With all pros and cons. If you do not need super sharp 200+ range then this will be great lens, worth it even for size and AF speed and accuracy. If you need longer reach and sharpness, check DA* - both zoom and primes.

Images below are SOOC jpges, shot as "reversible film", without image filter.

300mm, f8, 1/640

210mm, f8, 1/640

170mm, f8, 1/640

77mm, f7.1, 1/2500

Forum Member

Registered: December, 2014
Posts: 97

1 user found this helpful
Review Date: March 3, 2021 Recommended | Price: $480.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Weight
Cons: Limited lower F value
Sharpness: 7    Bokeh: 8    Autofocus: 9    Handling: 10    Value: 10    New or Used: New    Camera Used: KP   

Pentax 55-300 PLM arrived today. First photo straight out of the box shot through the office window (actually second attempt as first I got excited and just clicked off without setting anything up - camera in manual mode).
Not a proper review and apologies for that - but this is very much first impressions straight out of the box and I will revise with time. I bought this primarily for trackside video (once we come out of lockdown) so will wait to see how it performs there.

Update after a bit of use I have knocked back the scores. For a relatively cheap lens it is good and if you judge it on the basis of what it costs it is excellent value. It is light, easy to handle. Focusing is silent and quick - as long as you aren't going from one end to the other.
I don't know if I have a bad copy but the lens is certainly not sharp - I haven't been through the whole range but it is usable F8 - F11. Centre is fine but edges anything but. See example below - resting on car roof so steady platform (f8 Original)
F8 - center of image

F8 - left edge

F5.6 - center

I did a few more tests today to check that I had the focus set correctly. I noticed a drop-off in performance above 200mm and confirmed you need to be at F8 to get the best out of the lens. The 3 images are F8@200mm, F8@300mm and the last is my Carl Zeiss Jena ii 70-300mm, F8@300mm.

Having read the review it looks like what I have seen is the norm for this lens and my copy is behaving as expected.

I have now had the lens 4 months - and whilst it isn't perfect it is pretty much the lens of choice for me most of the time. Quick silent focus and light weight make it easy to handle. If I shoot recognising its weaknesses and to its strengths, it rarely disappoints. I have got over initial concerns about sharpness off center, for the money it is excellent. I am sticking to my scores.
Senior Member

Registered: May, 2012
Location: North Coast, NSW, Australia
Posts: 142

1 user found this helpful
Review Date: January 12, 2021 Recommended | Rating: 10 

Pros: Compact, "Locking" button, PLM drive
Cons: none, yet
New or Used: New   

First Impressions:
(i will add more detail later)
Lens purchased from fellow Pentaxian, near-new, near-mint.
Attached to K-p, and tested WITH Pentax-DA 1.4xTC.
Focussing is FAST, and silent. Perhaps a young 20yo Pentaxian may notice the sound of the focusing motor, but, to my 70+yo hearing, it seems silent.
Sample photos all hand held, when i figure out how to upload them. I will never post a sample photo that has been digitally modified. Samples will always be straight from the camera.
The "tree-trunk" was taken at 420mm (DA-1.4xTC fitted)
Main reason for this early post is : Yes, the DA-1.4xTC does work with this lens !
more to come later
New Member

Registered: March, 2020
Location: shanghai
Posts: 9

1 user found this helpful
Review Date: November 19, 2020 Recommended | Price: $320.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Fast focus,Quiet,Light,Reliable
Cons: f/4.5-6.3
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 9    Autofocus: 10    Handling: 8    Value: 10    New or Used: New    Camera Used: KP   

I think it is the Pentax best len in AUTOFOCUS!
I used it to shoot M42(Orion)in KP with O-GPS1 @300mm,f/6.3.
And some birds.
New Member

Registered: February, 2014
Location: Tennessee
Posts: 20

2 users found this helpful
Review Date: August 7, 2020 Recommended | Price: $500.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Buy this lens!!!
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 10    Autofocus: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 10    New or Used: New    Camera Used: K-70   

My video review explains the magic of this lens

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

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 02:21 PM. | See also:, part of our network of photo forums!
  • Red (Default)
  • Green
  • Gray
  • Dark
  • Dark Yellow
  • Dark Blue
  • Old Red
  • Old Green
  • Old Gray
  • Dial-Up Style
Hello! It's great to see you back on the forum! Have you considered joining the community?
Creating a FREE ACCOUNT takes under a minute, removes ads, and lets you post! [Dismiss]