Pentax SMC DA 55-300mm f/4-5.8 ED - Review / Test Report
Lens Reviews - Pentax

Special thanks to Jerome Hubert for providing the lens for testing!

The Pentax SMC DA 55-300mm f/4-5.8 ED is a long-awaited lens that fills a bit of the long range gap in the Pentax lineup beyond the cheap DA 50-200mm ED kit lens. Despite of being a hot spot in consumer demand it took Pentax quite a while to come up with an offer in this range. Typical for Pentax DA lenses it covers the APS-C image circle only. The field-of-view is equivalent to "83-450mm" in classic terms so it can be used for many aspects of tele photography. At around 260€/350US$ it is very competitively priced lens.

The build quality the 55-300mm is about in line to the typical Pentax DA consumer zoom lenses that we've seen lately and there's nothing wrong with that - the construction is based on a common combination of plastic and metal parts assembled with pretty tight tolerance. Both the zoom and focus control rings operate fairly smooth. The lens uses a mono-cam zoom mechanism (one inner lens tubes) which extends when zooming towards to long end of the zoom range. The tested sample (a brand new one) did not suffer from zoom creeping.

The lens has no internal AF motor and relies on the slotted drive-screw operated by the camera. This generates some noise during AF operations and the AF speed is comparatively slow although reasonably accurate on the K10D. The lens features a Quick-Shift system which provides manual focus option in single-shot AF mode without having to change to MF mode on the camera.

Specifications
Equiv. focal length82.5-450 mm (full format equivalent)
Equiv. aperturef/6-f/8.7 (full format equivalent, in terms of depth-of-field)
Optical construction12 elements in 8 groups inc. ?x ED element
Number of aperture blades6
min. focus distance1.4 m (max. magnification ratio ~1:3.6)
Dimensions112 x 71 mm
Weight440 g
Filter size58 mm (non-rotating)
Hoodsupplied, barrel-shaped, snap-on type
Other featuresQuick-Shift




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