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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 
 8.7
Aberrations 
 8.9
Bokeh 
 8.7
Autofocus 
 9.5
Handling 
 8.7
Value 
 9.0
Reviews Views Date of last review
35 107,230 Wed March 3, 2021
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Recommended By Average Price Average User Rating
89% of reviewers $400.68 8.82
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
supersize
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
$446 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
21277
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
Author:
Sort Reviews by: Date | Author | Rating | Recommendation | Likes (Descending) Showing Reviews 1-15 of 35
New Member

Registered: December, 2014
Posts: 21
Lens Review Date: March 3, 2021 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $480.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Weight
Cons: Limited lower F value
Sharpness: 9    Bokeh: 8    Autofocus: 10    Handling: 9    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.
Flickr
   
Forum Member

Registered: May, 2012
Location: North Coast, NSW, Australia
Posts: 50
Lens Review Date: January 12, 2021 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: N/A | 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
Rob
   
New Member

Registered: March, 2020
Location: shanghai
Posts: 4

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: November 19, 2020 I can recommend this lens: Yes | 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.
https://cloud.xitek.com//pics/202011/8950/895038/895038_1605412570.jpeg
https://cloud.xitek.com//pics/202011/8950/895038/895038_1605772365.jpg
https://cloud.xitek.com//pics/202011/8950/895038/895038_1605772580.jpg
   
New Member

Registered: February, 2014
Location: Tennessee
Posts: 9

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: August 7, 2020 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $500.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Buy this lens!!!
Cons:
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 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SCvD9NOFM1g&t=321s

   
Site Supporter

Registered: May, 2007
Posts: 1,937

4 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: May 2, 2020 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $460.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Focusing speed and accuracy, compact form factor, bokeh, contrast
Cons: A bit on the slow side (aperture-wise), need to unlock zoomring
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 10    Autofocus: 10    Handling: 8    Value: 10    New or Used: New    Camera Used: KP   

So here's my confession: I'm not a prime guy but also far from a superzoom lover. I feel somewhat restricted by primes (although I love my Revuenon 55mm/f1.2 and my sigma 85mm/f1.4) and I just don't get either the sharpness or the IQ I need with superzooms.
I rarely shoot above 135mm but sometimes something pops up that causes me to regret not having anything in the 200-400mm range. The DA*60-250 is awesome but a bit heavy and awkward not to talk about the newer DFA zooms. The Tamron and Sigma 70-200mm lenses are bulky and heavy as heck too.

I experimented years ago with the Pentax FA J 75-300 which was horribly soft as well as slow and inaccurate to focus. Tried a Tamron 70-300 which was even worse. I did own a nice DA55-300 (the non-WR version) and it was pretty decent but still didn't trigger any love.

So, just to feed my LBA and get back above 200mm, I now splurged on the newer PLM version of the 55-300mm. It arrived early evening and I just had a few minutes in bad light to try it out but I can tell this is going to be fun. The experiment was to shoot it straight as well as mount it on the HD DA 1.4x converter and also see how it fared at the full 420mm and I have to admit, I'm blown away. Even after a trip through NeatImage for some NR on the ISO3200 and ISO6400 files, there is so much detail in the images. Focus was spot-on and instantaneous, soundless.

I'll run the lens with and without converter through its paces tomorrow and I have high hopes. Will update the review after.

EMG02242-DA55-300PLM-ISO3200-dt-gimp_filtered-2020-web by Mike Bing, on Flickr

EMG02248-DA55-300PLM-ISO6400-dt-gimp_filtered-2020-web by Mike Bing, on Flickr

EMG02252-DA55-300PLM-ISO6400-dt-gimp_filtered-2020-web by Mike Bing, on Flickr

[NEXT DAY EDIT]
OK, so i had a chance to take the lens out for a bit and I can only be very satisfied with the results. Plenty detail and sharpness when handled correctly and allowing ISO to compensate for the relatively slow apertures. The KP handles higher ISO values with ease so this lens on a K-3 may not be as satisfactory perhaps.
EMG02303-DA55-300PLM-ISO200-dt-gimp-2020-web by Mike Bing, on Flickr

EMG02283-DA55-300PLM-ISO800-dt-gimp-2020-web by Mike Bing, on Flickr

EMG02256-DA55-300PLM-ISO200-dt-gimp-2020-web by Mike Bing, on Flickr
   
New Member

Registered: February, 2020
Location: Copenhagen
Posts: 20

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: March 5, 2020 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: N/A | Rating: 7 

 
Pros: Zoom range
Cons: Not the center is the sharpest
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 9    Autofocus: 9    Handling: 8    Value: 8    New or Used: New    Camera Used: K-70   

This is my first Pentax lens. It is so versatile, very happy with the zoom range, cover many things, etc. Weather proof is the other positive. The 55-70mm focal length area is very useful for me (my other lenses always started at 70mm unfortunately) this is also one reason I switched to Pentax (from Nikon). At 300mm f6.3 it could be sharper, I think it is lack of contrast and soft. A little negative that in strong cloudy winter time, when the light is weak, even daytime the photos looks very soft without contrast. In a nice sunny day is very usable this lens. The AF is very quick and silence, but in Live View Mode don't expect miracles, it is so slow and you can hear the focusmotor running. The big positive is that there isn't any chromatic aberrations at all, at least in my copy. Also the lens has minimal distortion towards the edges, where it is stronger, but it is evident. For me the biggest step up is the Pentax newly developed electromagnetic driven aperture control. Fantastic and I wish that Pentax release more such lenses in the future. Overall a nice lens and happy to shoot with it.
   
Lens Review Date: February 24, 2020 I can recommend this lens: No | Price: $250.00 | Rating: 4 

 
Pros: Zoom range
Cons: Zooming not smooth but very stiff
Sharpness: 8    Bokeh: 8    Autofocus: 9    Handling: 3    Value: 4    New or Used: New    Camera Used: K-3II   

If I take a picture with it, it's very good. But composition is very hard to do, because zooming is difficult especially in small steps. I noticed that a lot reviewers complain at the stiffness of the zoom. I expected it to be as smooth as Pentax's 18-135, and it is not. I wonder why Pentax is not able to have the same smoothness of zooming in all its lenses. Only in specific cases I turn to this lens. I returned this lens to have it serviced, but Ricoh service let me know that zooming is within parameters for this lens, the seller warned me for this reaction of Ricoh. Unfortunately I cannot recommend this lens.
   
Site Supporter

Registered: January, 2013
Location: Hampshire, UK
Posts: 1,151

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: December 5, 2019 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: N/A | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Small, light and surprisingly good optically
Cons: None noticed so far (for price_
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 9    Autofocus: 9    Handling: 9    Value: 10    New or Used: New    Camera Used: K3   

After my usual need for AF adjustment, this low cost lens is looking very good indeed. I ended up at +7, with the low end needing more like +5 and the top around +8. At +7, I just need a little more care at 55mm.

As background I've a variety of FF and cropped lenses, both primes and zooms to compare this lens with.

First off it looks a low value lens, especially when zoomed out. It does not feel especially robust. But, and it's a very positive but, this lenses is remarkably good value. I have no intention of using it to print large (up to A1) as I do often enough, nor do I intend to pixel peep it against expensive primes - it's not a lens for this. What it is, is a low cost, very convenient, walkabout lens, that focuses very quickly, and when AF adjusted is plenty sharp in the centre. Yes, it drops off at the edges a little, but not excessively.

I tend to use a tripod/monopod for my normal photography, but with this the intention is to travel light. It's obviously hard to hold this light lens at the long end and avoid camera shake, but with Pentax's shake reduction, hand held 300mm shots are proving to be perfectly (for me at 100%) in focus at around 1/400. For web viewing, the shutter can go a fair bit lower.

Overall, I'd say it's an excellent value lens that's fun to use.
   
New Member

Registered: March, 2016
Posts: 2

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: 337
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

2 users found this helpful
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: 338
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: 20,639
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.









   
Senior Member

Registered: July, 2008
Location: Arizona
Posts: 105
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
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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