Upgrade for DA 55-300mm?


Link Posted 21/08/2017 - 16:13
Ever since the PLM version of this lens was launched, I have been wondering if it makes sense for me to buy one and pension off my early (non WR) version of the lens.

I use my 16-85mm on a K70 for maybe 80-90% of all the photos I shoot (more landscapes than anything else), with only a few percent each for the 55-300mm, 100mm f2.8 macro and 35mm f2.4 that I carry in the same Lowepro backpack.

I don't shoot sports or BIF, at the moment, but might want to in the future - so the PLM's improved AF, although attractive is not vital. I would, though, buy a PLM if I were convinced that its IQ is significantly better.

I guess that there must be a number of PU readers/members who have upgraded to the 55-300mm PLM version who will have a better handle on its IQ, especially from around 150mm and longer, than I have been able to glean from reading online reviews, which seem less than wholly enthusiastic. So .... a question for you - in your opinion would it be worth buying a 55-300mm PLM just for the improvement in IQ?

I have pondered about buying a DA* 200mm f2.8 or 300mm f4 as well - or the 60-250mm f4 as a replacement, but given how infrequently I shoot at 200-300mm and how much bigger and heavier they all are, maybe, for me they do not make much sense.

So, should I stick or twist?

Flickr photostream


Link Posted 21/08/2017 - 17:12
I would buy the WR version. It costs less, is every bit as good and has WR.
Best regards, John


Link Posted 21/08/2017 - 18:24
My first non WR version was purchased here, off a member. I t was incredible. Super sharp wide open all the way through the range. I thought I'd upgrade to the WR; turned out to hardly be an upgrade. Possibly just a matter of luck/chance. But, if you are happy with it's performance, I would not upgrade unless you really need the WR aspect of it. Seems quality of the glass itself, is just as good. My son has the PLM. I would say it's the worse of the 3, IQ wise. If, however, you are after the speed of the AF, it is impressive. It does practically no hunting at all. Guuess it's down to you to determine how important IQ v AF is. This is just an opinion based of a grand sample of one
'Photography...it remembers little things, long after you have forgotten....' (Aaron Siskind)


Link Posted 21/08/2017 - 20:43
I've owned a PLM lens since December. Sent back twice for lock button failing. otherwise i love it. Much more useful to me for travel than my 300 star.

Optically and for AFC on my excellent K3 II it is superb. My gallery on here from the Sperm whale in December (that was my K3) onwards are taken with it. Most prior to that with a long lens were the 300 star F4 usually with tele adapter on the earlier K3 (poor AFC) I owned the earlier 55 300 pre WR and hated the way it hunted. that was back in KX, KR, K5 days though.
Last Edited by wvbarnes on 21/08/2017 - 20:45


Link Posted 23/08/2017 - 12:22
Thanks for the replies.

I don't think that there is a concensus about which version has the best IQ or even that there is a significant and consistent difference between versions.

I have seen some convincing examples showing reduction in flare when shooting into the light for lenses having the latest multi-coating compared with SMC. Maybe I should consider buying either the WR or PLM versions for shooting sunsets, especially if there are any decent deals offered in the run up to Xmas.

If I do use the longer focal lengths more frequently, I'll think again about buying a DA* 200mm or 300mm.

My sample of non-WR 55-300mm does seem pretty good, even at 300mm from about f/7.1 onwards - so, for now, I am happy to stick with it.

Flickr photostream


Link Posted 23/08/2017 - 12:43
The PLM has the advantage of having a more compact design so takes up less space in the gadget bag, also faster, quieter focussing. Optically they're all fine and great value for money.
John K


Link Posted 24/08/2017 - 16:29
Taken today with DA 55-300 from about 25ft. 1/250. f7.1. iso 400.

Just passing thru


Link Posted 26/08/2017 - 01:23
I did buy the WR version to replace a plain vanilla one, only because I get caught out now and then with no shelter. They both hunt on my K5 but put them on the K3ii and the results are impressive. The same happens with the Cosina 100mm macro so it's clearly a difference between the two cameras.
Both the *istDS and the K5 are incurably addicted to old glass

My page on Photocrowd - link
Add a Comment
You must be registered or logged-in to comment.