Pentax 55-300mm f/4-5.8 ED SMC DA
(From Pentax lens literature) The versatile Pentax smc DA 55-300mm ED zoom lens offers an extreme telephoto zoom range, perfect for those moderate to long shots. ED elements compensate for chromatic aberration, while the Pentax SP coating protects the exposed lens elements. Developed specifically for Pentax digital SLRs, the DA 55-300mm ED zoom has a focal length equivalent to 82.5mm to 450mm in the 35mm format.
Note: a less expensive "L" version of the lens is available bundled with some bodies. L version lenses have a plastic lens mounts, don't not include a lens hood, and do not support Pentax's Quick Shift Focus System. Optically, they are identical.
Pentax 55-300mm f/4-5.8 ED SMC DA User Reviews
8 out of 10 points and recommended by kiwijono (6 reviews)plenty sharp, not heavy, surprisingly ruggedCould be faster
My version is actually the DA-L variant which is largely the same (identical optically) except for having a plastic mount and not coming with a hood.reviewed February 8th, 2014
I might as well start out by saying - I like this lens.
I got this in a K-x kit and so far I have taken a lot more keepers with this lens than I ever did with the 18-55 kit lens. Also have some older lenses like Super Tak 200 f4 (which I like) but keep coming back to this lens for its shear convenience with decent IQ.
I find mine to be decently sharp - particularly at f8.
A month after I got it, I had a dumb incident with my camera falling out of my camera pack (don't forget to close those side flaps!!!) 2 feet or so on to concrete and it landed on the 55-300 lens. I was very distressed as usually I'm so careful. Can't believe it but there was no ill effects (mechanically, optically or cosmetically) to the lens or camera - not even a mark!
70mm f10: http://www.flickr.com/photos/kiwi_jono/4523155160/
230mm f5.6: http://www.flickr.com/photos/kiwi_jono/4977579341/
300mm f7.1: http://www.flickr.com/photos/kiwi_jono/4502582390/
7 out of 10 points and recommended by kh1234567890 (6 reviews)Good contrast and reach, priceSize, weight, no WR
The 55-300 feels bulky, heavy and since fully extended with the hood on it hits some 23cm in length it also feels long. Not being into birding, this matters to me - it is hard not to be conspicuous with this lens on your camera.reviewed January 30th, 2014 (purchased for $350)
AF can be noisy and slow but that is the price you pay for a long spin on the focus ring which actually makes it possible to accurately focus manually (no damping of course because of the AF). Performance-wise it is good but not significantly better than the 50-200mm. There is little CA or vignetting and very little purple fringing - what CA there is does vary with focal length, becoming quite noticeable at the long end. Bokeh is very pleasant and sharpness is good, as is contrast and colour.
Manufacturing quality control is abysmal - my first sample was badly de-centered. So if you get one and aren't happy with it throw it back at whoever sold it to you, the replacement might be better.
I like to travel light and hence I still prefer the DA50-200 to this one.
Some of my shots with this lens :
8 out of 10 points and recommended by Tord (23 reviews)Light weight, fast AF (on K-30)Plastic feel
My wife bought this lens quite a while ago, to be used with her K-5, where it proved to be surprisingly sharp in the long end (not a common trait for telezooms), but not that fast.reviewed April 3rd, 2013 (purchased for $500)
That changed with the purchase of the K-30, that really boosted the lens's capabilities.
High recommended, although a very plastic lens ;-)!
8 out of 10 points and recommended by aesace (2 reviews)Optical quality, build quality, focus rangeslow AF
I replaced old Pentax F 100-300 4,5-5,6 with this new Pentax 55-300. The optical quality is very nice also on 300mm , low CA, good in backlight, but the AF speed is very slow even in comparison with the old Pentax 100-300.reviewed August 25th, 2009 (purchased for $300)
Anyway I like this lense for the great focus range and optical quality.
9 out of 10 points and recommended by ayast (1 reviews)sharp, lighta bit soft at the highest appertures
I have actually [partially] replaced a Sigma 105mm macro (a great lens) with this one. It is such a surprising product. I chose it based on reviews (not on this site, which I began consulting later), but I feel it is underappreciated. I am not too crazy about sharpness at the highest appertures and was rather disappointed with it at first when using Sv mode on k200. I would set it to high speeds for bird shooting and the camera would set it to F5.8 at 300mm thus getting subpar results. But then I tried Av mode and starting from F7.1 and lower this lens becomes an excellent performer. Highly recommend it!reviewed May 28th, 2009 (purchased for $330)
here are some sample shots:
9 out of 10 points and recommended by joekashi (7 reviews)sharp at most focal lengths
This is an excellent lens for the money, generally sharp and contrasty at 200% at all tested focal lengths, including 300mm. I found it to be much sharper at longer focal lengths than the Pentax 50-200 and the Tamron 70-300 tele zooms that this lens replaced. It is small and light, given its reach. I did not give it a 9 for construction because, as expected, it is mostly good tight plastic. Plastic lens construction, no matter how good, is not in the same league as the traditional metal lens bodies of the 35mm era.reviewed September 4th, 2008 (purchased for $349)
10 out of 10 points and recommended by jamesm007 (7 reviews)Sharp at 300mm f5.8, a bit smaller that it rivals, good control of CA/PFA little expensive compared to it rivals, but worth it.
I have owned the Tamron and Quantaray 70-300mm lens, they had too much PF for me. I bought the Sigma 70-300mm APO instead. The Sigma was fine but for its softness ~300mm at all but the highest f numbers (over f7). The Pentax 55-300mm is very good at 300mm f5.8 peaks at f11, and go down just a tad lower at 270mm and it peaks at f8, this is fantastic performance for a consumer zoom lens. This lens is sharp and usable wide open from 55-300mm! This lens has much better control of CA/PF over the Tamron, not as good as the Sigma APO, but its not a problem and I never have to deal with it in PP. Of course the Pentax lens is more expensive than its rivals the Tamron/Sigma lens but well worth it. This lens has exceeded my wants for a consumer telephoto lens by a good margin and is my favorite lens. You can just put this lens on your camera and shoot at any aperture and focal length with sharp results. Its sharper than the Sigma or Tamron and has very good CA/PF control, as well as being smaller and lighter, How did Pentax do it? Highly recommended.reviewed June 28th, 2008 (purchased for $370)