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HD Pentax-DA 55-300mm f/4-5.8 ED WR Review

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Still dabbling into the world of Pentax – and here we are, another “kit” type lens or one that people may consider non-pro because it is not an f/2.8.


Fast aperture doesn’t make the lens not worthy of use!


Disclosure – images were post processed to my liking and in various styles. Some were processed from RAW and others may be out of camera JPG.



This is a small lens for range you get. Most lenses are 55-200mm and not going all the way up to 300, especially not for this price point.


Apertures normally go into the 6.3-6.7 range as well to help keep the price/size down. It is relatively light weight as well. My used copy had a lens hood to go with it.


It is easy to find the zoom ring, rubberized and feels good in the hand. In the fall and winter rubberized lenses are great here in Ohio! The auto focus ring at the front of the lens does move, so sometimes you can feel it spin in your hand depending on how you grip the lens.


The lens barrel does extend when zoomed.







Weather Sealed
Kudos for Pentax making this lens weather resistant! Pentax is legendary in the weather sealing game of photography so we can expect some great things out of this lens in that department to go along with the sealing on the camera bodies.




Image Quality
So here is what most want to know. This is not one of the sharpest lenses I’ve ever used, but for what it is, I find it adequate and better than the 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 WR. The image quality out to the edges is less smeared. As with lenses of this generation and price point, stopping down makes the images sharper.


I will also be the first to admit that I am spoiled by the current batch of Nikon, Fuji and Olympus lenses. From kit to “Pro” lenses those companies have put out some really impressive glass.


Moving away from sharpness, the color and contrast of the lens is perfectly fine. No complaints there from me.


I do have a Pentax 40mm f/2.8 Limited and 70mm f/2.4 Limited lens coming and will compare those against this zoom. I just had positive memories of the Pentax Q and those lenses and the Ricoh GR III and was hoping for more of that same magic.


Images speak louder than any of my words, so please judge the results I’ve been able to get from this lens.







Focusing is just as much the lens as it is the camera and its auto focus system. There appears to be the slightest of hesitation when initially acquiring focus, but less of a lag than the 18-135mm. Could be the camera, could be the lens…will see if the other k-mount lenses react in the same way.


On a few occasions, the focus in AF-S did miss the target, but less often than the misses when using the 18-135mm


For static shots and street photography, the lens works decently well.

Based on what I’ve written above, this lens appears to be slightly better than the 18-135mm and that is a good thing!




VR (Vibration Reduction Stabilization) / IBIS (In-Body Image Stabilization)
Pentax K-3 has IBIS, so no VR is in this lens. Given that, I found the K-3 IBIS to be capable of working well with the full range of focal lengths on this lens. It does show some limitation when getting past 200mm on it’s overall effectiveness. Don’t expect miracles and use the gear toward it’s strengths.




Bottom Line
Wanting to have something longer than the 135mm, the 55-300 was inexpensive enough to take a chance on.


Will this be a keeper lens for me? Probably. It is a step up in image quality from the 18-135mm in almost every way. The mid and edges are sharper, the AF appears to be a touch more accurate and quicker.


It is small and light enough to keep with you when you wanted a long telephoto.


Bottom Line = Recommend. If you don’t need the f/2.8 aperture and don’t want to spend a lot of money, this is a viable option.








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See my content here:

http://www.visualohio.com | BESTLIGHTPHOTO BLOG | 500px Profile & Pics


I shoot Nikon, Olympus, Minolta, Pentax and Leica.  Probably not enough!  LOL

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