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Old Monday 22nd June 2015, 08:59   #1
chris6
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Pentax 8x32 ED DCF for birds in flight

With the naked eye, it has been hard to identify my individual competition roller pigeons when they are flying.

Hawke Frontier 10x42 OH (£90 sh) and Bushnell Elite 7x26 Customs (£189 new) don't work well for this either, but the comments here in 2011/12 and the thread (in Nikon section): http://www.birdforum.net/showthread.php?t=227336 - have compared commended Pentax 8x32 ED DCF (on order, £351 new) for most of the usual qualities, and particularly for excellent control of CA and glare, which seemed to be the main problems.

Just for watching the pigeons, at the usual £600-800 I would not have bought yet another pair of binoculars, but at a much reduced price the Pentax 8x32 ED DCF was irresistible.

Ricoh's sport optic > archive> product comparison shows extra elements in the eyepiece of 8x32 cf. the otherwise similar 8x43, along with some other differences:-
.........................................ED 8x32...............................ED 8x43
Eyepiece construction ....5 elements in 3 groups...........3 elements in 2 groups
Lens construction...............4 elements in 3 groups............4 elements in 3 groups
Angle of View......................7,5°.................... ..................6.3°
Field of View at 1000m.......131 m...................................110 m
Eye Relief............................17 mm.................................22 mm
Right diopter adjustment.....+/- 4 dpt..............................+/- 3 dpt
Focussing range .................1.5 m to infinity....................2 m to infinity

I had hoped that the Pentax 8x32 ED would still be heavy enough for steadiness, which is a problem with the Elites 7x (fov 363ft), as well as giving a bigger image, but not show so much CA against the bright sky, which spoiled the view of flying birds with the Frontier OH 10x (fov 330ft), and that the greater fov of Pentax ED 8x32 (fov 429ft) would also make it easier to pick up the team in the first place.

So did the out-dated bargain Pentax turn out, for me, to be any better for pigeon watching?

They should arrive in a few days....
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Old Wednesday 24th June 2015, 17:22   #2
chris6
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I was led to the Pentax by liking an illustration used as example on a web page, which turned out to be of the ED series, then by finding absolut_beethoven's comprehensive account and the other contributions in that thread, which gives far greater detail than I could have determined, but my early impressions correspond.

On the website the European guarantee is said to be for one year against manufacturing defects, but a sticker on the box quoted 30 years, as did the leaflet inside.

The green colour is unobtrusive, being duller and darker than expected, and no defects could be identified: when viewed in reverse the pupils are round, colimation is fine, the focus wheel moves smoothly with no play or stiction. Focussing action is not super-light but is nicely balanced according to the small movements needed. The rubber armour seems relatively thick, and the attachment of objective covers is neat. The loose-fitting rain cover as usual has one closed loop for attachment to the neck strap, and one open. At first sight it looked a bit clumsy but the loops are made wide enough for the buckles to pass through, which can otherwise be a small irritation. The case is light in weight and has no strap or loop, but the Pentax hangs completely flat from the strap.

With glasses, the ER of '16mm' is more than adequate but the eye cups still don't need to be wound up to the next position, which also nearly works for me. Black-outs are not a problem, and the clicking and locking dioptre ring is just as precise and easy as the focus wheel.

The mouldings on the back of the barrels form two longitudinal grooves on either side of the hinge which are functional rather than just cosmetic: thumb depressions are right on the point of balance, the tip pads of the second and middle fingers can naturally rest in one of the grooves, and the focus wheel seems perfectly positioned. A pair of smooth shoulders protrude from the barrels which, while focussing, provide support for the right (or left) index finger. These features probably make a contribution to 'grip', and 'feel', as well as to the speed and ease of focussing which seems quite high geared e.g. 36degrees of rotation is required to adjust between 36ft and infinity, which requires little conscious effort. The sharp image also makes it obvious when the right point has been reached, so I don't tend to overrun.

The Pentax is brighter and sharper than my Hawke Frontier OH 10x42, with fov 393ft and 32mm objective lenses in place of 330ft and 42mm for the Frontier (as had seemed my earlier favourite RSPB 8x32 BGPC). For the first time I can just read the first letter, a capital, on the manufacturer's label of a shed used for testing, and can also see things clearer in the distance and with poor lighting. However the most obvious difference is that pincushion distortion is much less and starts more gradually and much further out, while CA is hard to find at all with the Pentax.

The increased clarity and wider fov more than makes up for its smaller image. At 710gms, with strap and covers, the Pentax weighs the same as the Hawke Frontier but has an equally comfortable grip and 8x, instead of 10x, definitely makes it easier to hold steadily. I like it very much already, especially for its feeling of solid construction, similar to that of the Frontier, for the handling which is even better, and for the size and weight which seem just right.

Earlier at RSPB Pulborough Brooks I tried similar Swarovski, Zeiss and Leica models, between £700 and £1700 and liked the Zeiss Conquest HD best for comfort, field, and shape in the hand, but not its rather crude-feeling dioptre adjustment, or the feel of the Leica. Swarovski was superb all around but if anything seemed too bright on a sunny day, if that can be possible, but it got right into shadowy areas. They were all very sharp and I could not tell much difference between them, while for some reason I still fancied and RSPB 8x32 BGPC (aka Eagle Ranger?) at 'only' about £320, which was less bright but did not seem too far behind. When the Pentax arrived I compared that directly to the Conquest. Unexpectedly I thought it was marginally sharper and brighter. It was more obviously superior to RSPB 8x32, the image looking bigger while the field was the same, and I believe it helps that the black circles limiting the view are distinct and clean rather than fuzzy.

Maybe I have been lucky with my example too but of course the pigeons are definitely easier to spot and I am well satisfied.

Last edited by chris6 : Thursday 25th June 2015 at 09:13. Reason: tidy up
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Old Thursday 25th June 2015, 15:47   #3
chris6
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Eye relief

Just some notes about the the Pentax figure for eye relief, and concerning ER in general:

IMHO a larger figure is not always better for the simple reason that eyecup location is usually insufficiently secure or semi-permanent, which is a similar situation to that with dioptre adjustment where I much prefer a system for graduated clicking and locking (as with Pentax ED). It just happens that the Pentax-quoted ER '17mm' (wound right in) is a little more than I need, but close enough for me.

For me '16mm' is probably ideal but e.g. perhaps Nikon SE 8x32 did not have enough (even at '17.4', with the rubber eyecups rolled down). Most 8x36 and 10x42 binoculars which I have tried are ok, while 8x42 binoculars have too much, often being quoted as more than 17mm so that the eye cups need to be wound up a notch or 'a bit', while this is often too poorly defined by rotation or too softly located by clicks, which can be a nuisance.

Pentax 8x32 DCF ED's '17mm' seems to be consistent with most of those I have tried before.

Last edited by chris6 : Thursday 25th June 2015 at 16:16. Reason: correction
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Old Thursday 25th June 2015, 16:30   #4
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You got a really good deal on those..they are very good..I bought two pairs years ago on amazon warehouse deals at a really cheap price,and was able to compare them,finding a bit of variation between the samples..one was sharper and had a longer past infinity override.I wasnt able to focus infinity without my glasses in the second unit(3.5 diop)and never got the sharp image that the first unit delivered.So i suspect that the good unit was up to specifications,and the second a bit deffective.The CA and glare control are definitely their strong points,so actually i cant imagine a better glass to get bird in the air,and at your price even less...coatings are second to none,and with glare being a binocular deal killer ,even for fancy models,The pentax ED should be used to be aware of their power in that regard,but is not a very popular binocular,due probably to the high price tag and a concet about their FOV being a bit restrictive for an 8x32.I think that is a wide angle all the way,and with excellent edge performance(including near zero CA in the edge)
pentax uses hybrid aspherical lenses in this model,and is a bit weird to think that at least one of the lenses is plastic,but they do the job.Eye relief was plenty.They are sturdy and very tough ,but for me they were a bit heavy..i think the armor is maybe thicker than needed,making the bins very dense.One point a bit weak though was the focus wheel,that felt a bit flimpsy ,specially when the rest of the binocular is definitely extra strong.This comment doesnt imply any problem with the focusser,just that feels a bit weak...
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Old Thursday 25th June 2015, 17:34   #5
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mayoao, I saw that much earlier you commented upon the flimpsy focus wheel, and the variation. Thanks.

Maybe they have changed the wheel because on mine it is covered in thick rubber and hard to see what the underlying material might be. At least there is no play and it doesn't waggle around on the bearing like some. The od is 425mm and guess that could not have changed because it is so close to the body. The covering of the wheel does easily compress. To me it looks as if that might really be just the overlying rubber compressing, not the underlying structure of the wheel itself. What do you think?

That overrun beyond infinity is about 40 degrees on mine and I agree that of course it should be present, if only to ensure that full 'focus out' can be achieved. A bit disappointing that QC was not good enough at such a claimed high level of quality, but gathered that they gave you a replacement - quite rightly.

Just looking at the way I came to get mine, it seems that personal recommendation is indeed the ultimate marketting tool, even on line, but they can't get to that by shotgun advertising. Lucky for us in this case but it should not be beyond the wit of man for them simply to offer a decent range, instead of the odd exception, in order to achieve greater cred. Most people probably don't bother with views on a nit-pickers forum, but it suits me . Competition consolidates the winners...so then there is less competition!

I guess uk is not a big market for binoculars cf. worldwide and Pentax seems to have chosen a low profile here. My example came from Germany and the local suppliers seem to have so far stuck to £700+. This might change under the influence of marketing for the Z range, but guess there is not a lot of old stock on the shelves....

Thank you Pentax, thank you forum.
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Old Friday 26th June 2015, 04:38   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chris6 View Post
mayoao, I saw that much earlier you commented upon the flimpsy focus wheel, and the variation. Thanks.

Maybe they have changed the wheel because on mine it is covered in thick rubber and hard to see what the underlying material might be. At least there is no play and it doesn't waggle around on the bearing like some. The od is 425mm and guess that could not have changed because it is so close to the body. The covering of the wheel does easily compress. To me it looks as if that might really be just the overlying rubber compressing, not the underlying structure of the wheel itself. What do you think?

That overrun beyond infinity is about 40 degrees on mine and I agree that of course it should be present, if only to ensure that full 'focus out' can be achieved. A bit disappointing that QC was not good enough at such a claimed high level of quality, but gathered that they gave you a replacement - quite rightly.

Just looking at the way I came to get mine, it seems that personal recommendation is indeed the ultimate marketting tool, even on line, but they can't get to that by shotgun advertising. Lucky for us in this case but it should not be beyond the wit of man for them simply to offer a decent range, instead of the odd exception, in order to achieve greater cred. Most people probably don't bother with views on a nit-pickers forum, but it suits me . Competition consolidates the winners...so then there is less competition!

I guess uk is not a big market for binoculars cf. worldwide and Pentax seems to have chosen a low profile here. My example came from Germany and the local suppliers seem to have so far stuck to £700+. This might change under the influence of marketing for the Z range, but guess there is not a lot of old stock on the shelves....

Thank you Pentax, thank you forum.
Chris,

Glad you liked the 8x32 Pentax ED. Sounds like you got a good sample and a good deal.

You thought the Pentax was a bit sharper than the Conquest HD. Was that an 8x42 HD or 8x32? Someone mentioned they thought the 8x32 model was sharper than the 8x42.

Brock
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Old Friday 26th June 2015, 06:41   #7
chris6
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...you thought the Pentax was a bit sharper than the Conquest HD. Was that an 8x42 HD or 8x32? Someone mentioned they thought the 8x32 model was sharper than the 8x42...
That is interesting. The Conquest HD which I tried was 8x42 which was a bit taller and bigger than the Pentax.

The viewing window at the RSPB reserve looks over an ideal rural panorama including distant views. There is a shallow valley with ploughed fields, grazing, and a variety of ponds. In the distance on rising ground there are a few farms and other buildings, and on the left is a grassy bank leading into a woodland edge, mainly young oaks with various degrees of shade. Well worth a visit, usually offers unusual wildlife, and the cakes are good too.

Well camouflaged rabbits are a good test on the the bank, as are groups of cows of different colours, which neatly arrange themselves at various distances. I thought that the cows and distant buildings looked fractionally more distinct with Pentax, but on a previous occasion the RSPB BGPC 8x32 had also done especially well by picking out the rabbits. I was not sure if it was really due to sharpness itself, or the combined effect of contrast, brightness, and even colour, but in the mid or far distance I convinced myself that more detail could be appreciated with the Pentax.
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Old Tuesday 30th June 2015, 04:41   #8
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That is interesting. The Conquest HD which I tried was 8x42 which was a bit taller and bigger than the Pentax.

The viewing window at the RSPB reserve looks over an ideal rural panorama including distant views. There is a shallow valley with ploughed fields, grazing, and a variety of ponds. In the distance on rising ground there are a few farms and other buildings, and on the left is a grassy bank leading into a woodland edge, mainly young oaks with various degrees of shade. Well worth a visit, usually offers unusual wildlife, and the cakes are good too.

Well camouflaged rabbits are a good test on the the bank, as are groups of cows of different colours, which neatly arrange themselves at various distances. I thought that the cows and distant buildings looked fractionally more distinct with Pentax, but on a previous occasion the RSPB BGPC 8x32 had also done especially well by picking out the rabbits. I was not sure if it was really due to sharpness itself, or the combined effect of contrast, brightness, and even colour, but in the mid or far distance I convinced myself that more detail could be appreciated with the Pentax.
The reserve sounds great for wildlife observation. We have such a place here called the Scotia Barrens, which is less than 10 miles from where I live. I saw a Great Blue Heron there at the watering hole (pond). I never saw one before, and then a week later, I saw one at the Duck Pond a few blocks away. I wonder if it was the same one. It stood amazingly still for at least 5 minutes. Perhaps that's a a defense behavior.

I'll be receiving an 8x32 Terra ED on Thursday, so I will be able to compare it to the 8x42 model. And we're getting a break in the rain on Thursday. We already broke the record this month for the most rainy days in June, tomorrow's rain should secure 2015's record for years to come.

Elmer Fudd would be very interested in the RSPB BGPC 8x32, because he likes to hunt those wascally wabbits.

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