The best budget telephoto-zoom lens: 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 chosen as the best budget telephoto-zoom lens in 2018 by Digital Camera World!

Clever design and a quality build

“For a budget lens, the build quality of this Pentax lens feels particularly good, and it’s the only lens in the whole group to feature weather seals. It’s big on zoom range, equating to 82.5-450mm on a Pentax APS-C-format body in 35mm terms, yet its build is physically small when stowed away; this is thanks to a clever retractable design that enables the lens to collapse down to just 89mm in length. It also features a stepping motor autofocus system, the near-silence of which is an improvement over some of Pentax’s notably noisy lenses. There’s no optical image stabilisation, with the lens instead relying on in-camera stabilisation, which is present in all modern Pentax DSLRs. The autofocus system is quick and highly accurate, and testing the lens on a K-70 body, we found stabilisation to work well, with a four-stop effectiveness. Despite having the outright biggest zoom range of any lens in the test group, image quality is excellent.”

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HD PENTAX-DA 55-300mm F4.5-6.3 ED PLM WR RE Review

“The overall appearance and feel are quite similar to the 18-50mm retractable lens that we have already seen. A single easily operated button releases the lens barrel so that the zoom ring can be used. If the camera is switched on whilst the lens is retracted, the shutter release is disabled and a warning message appears on the rear screen. The release of the zoom ring is, like the first lens, quite jerky and stiff in operation, hardly smooth. However, the standard of assembly of the lens, in general, is high, and things do ease up a little once the lens is in use. In contrast, the manual focus ring, which lies closest to the body, is as smooth as silk from the start, operating electronically and also offering QuickShift, where manual focusing can be used to tweak the AF position focused on.

There is little else to see on the lens. The front element is surrounded by the 58mm filter thread and also the bayonet for fixing the provided round lens hood. The hood has a removable slot that allows filters such as a polariser to be rotated without removing the lens hood. The HD coatings reduce flare and the front element is also given an SP (Super Protect) coating to repel grease, dirt and water. The diaphragm has 9 rounded blades to improve bokeh. Weight is 442g or 471g with hood. This is virtually the same as the previous 55-300mm lenses.”


– MTF Charts –

– Chromatic Aberration Charts –


HD PENTAX-DA 55-300mm F4.5-6.3 ED PLM WR RE – Review

“The Pentax 55-300mm F4-5.8 has long been a popular choice among Pentax users— its solid image quality, convenient zoom range, and low cost were difficult to match. However, as the lens design dates back to 2008, it lacks quick or silent autofocus, and instead relies on the classic screwdrive mechanism.

2016 brought us a new lens which addresses this issue: the Pentax 55-300mm F4.5-6.3 PLM debuts the PLM motor, which delivers the fastest autofocus in any Pentax lens to date. In addition, this new lens is smaller (thanks to a collapsible design) and lighter. But does it live up to its predecessor’s image quality? Will it be the new go-to lens for entry-level telephoto shooting? Read our in-depth review to find out!”


HD PENTAX-DA 55-300mm F4.5-6.3 ED PLM WR RE vs HD PENTAX-DA 55-300mm F4-5.8 ED WR – AF Test



PENTAX K-3 – Firmware update v1.30

RICOH IMAGING COMPANY, LTD. wishes to announce the release of Firmware Update Software Version 1.30 for PENTAX K-3. Firmware in this document is the software that runs inside digital cameras.

Changes to V1.30
  • Corresponded to [KAF4 lens mount] that is equipped with an electromagnetic diaphragm control system.
    Enable new lens HD PENTAX-DA 55-300mmF4.5-6.3ED PLM WR RE to shoot stable by updating firmware.
  • Improved stability for general performance.

*Contents of [Version 1.21] and earlier version will be also updated.

PENTAX K-3 (v1.30)

・Direct download link for Software Updater (Windows/Machintosh) -> v1.30

  • Only PENTAX K-3 users are permitted to download the firmware update.
PENTAX Firmware Update Software for K-3
Name PENTAX Firmware Update Software for PENTAX K-3
Registered name (zip type 14,053 Kbytes)
Applied product PENTAX K3, K-3 Premium Silver Edition and K-3 prestige Edition
To check the version number, press the menu button and select [Firmware Info/Options] in the [Set-up 4] menu then press the four-way controller right.
Updated firmware file For Mac and windows : zip type
Release date 2016/11/24
How to check version
  1. Turn ON the camera.
  2. Press MENU button to display MENU screen.
  3. Press the four-way controller right to display [Set-up 4] menu screen.
  4. Select [Firmware Info/Options] in the [Set-up 4] menu then press the four-way controller right.

The firmware version for camera is displayed on the [Firmware Info/Options] screen.

Preparation of update
  • Blank, formatted SD/SDHC card (32MB or more)
  • USB cable 3.0 (micro B)
    If you are copying the firmware update file to the SD card by connecting the camera directly to your computer.
  • SD card reader or a computer with a SD card slot.
    If you are copying the firmware update file to the SD card using a memory card reader / writer.
  • Fully charged battery (D-LI90)

*Be sure to use fully charged battery (D-LI90)
If the camera turns off during updating due to lack of battery power, the camera will become inoperable. If this happens, a charge will be made for repairs even if within the warranty period.

Download the updated firmware file
  • For Windows/Macintosh : 14,053Kbytes, zip type
Updating Procedure
  1. Provide a formatted SD memory card for the update software.
    The download file is self-extracting. The following file is extracted.
    •Fwdc220b.bin: This is the updated firmware.
    Copy the above Firmware file [fwdc220b.bin] to the root directory in the SD card.
    If your computer does not have a card slot, you can copy the firmware update file by inserting the SD card into your camera and then connecting the camera directly to your computer.
  2. Insert the D-LI90 battery into the camera and confirm the battery is full by battery level indicator then turn the camera off.
  3. Insert the update SD card (prepared in step 1) into the camera (slot 1) and close card cover.
  4. Turn the camera power on while pressing the MENU button.
  5. “Updates the camera firmware” appears in the LCD monitor.
    Ver: 1.00/1.01/1.02/1.03 /1.10 / 1.11/1.20/1.21→1.30 will be displayed.
  6. Press the four-way controller to select “Start” and press the “OK” button.
  7. “NOW LOADING” appears on the LCD monitor and updating starts.
    Please do not under any circumstances switch off the power before the update is completed.
  8. When update is completed, the “COMPLETE” will be displayed at the left bottom of the LCD monitor, then turn the camera off.
  9. Remove the update SD card from the camera.
    *Confirm the version of firmware with above [How to check version].

When updating is finished, the update SD card still contains the Firmware file.
If you want to use this card to take pictures, format the card by the camera to delete firmware file first.

  1. This software may only be used by users who own the PENTAX K-3
  2. This software is covered by a software license agreement. Please read the software license agreement before downloading the software.
  3. You will have agreed with this software license agreement when the download starts.