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Old Thursday 11th December 2003, 16:27   #1
cindy
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Pentax PF 80ED advice?

Hello all! I have found a Pentax PF-80ED for about $700 which includes a 20-60 zoom eyepiece. I realize that eventually I will need a different eyepiece for digiscoping, but I was wondering if anyone had any opinions or thoughts on this particular scope? I have been saving for a scope and want to buy something that is going to last and that will provide good quality. Any information would be very much appreciated.

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Old Thursday 11th December 2003, 16:41   #2
Jasonbirder
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Those Pentax scopes have been very well received over in the US - but i`ve yet to see one example in use over here in England. Leica, Zeiss and Swarovski dominate the market here and the quality, optically and of construction of all 3 is impeccable.
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Old Thursday 11th December 2003, 17:51   #3
Andy Bright
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Hi Cindy, it certainly got a great reputation in North America but as Jason says, it's a very rare beast in the U.K.....which is mainly down to lack of retail outlets and that they have only recently introduced an angled version (compulsory for any success in the Euro market).

I have now used one and thought it was a very good scope, especially if you can get it as cheap as you can (with the giant zoom it's a bargain, though don't expect to find a digiscoping adapter to fit it). I wouldn't say it's optical quality is at the very top, but it's not far behind and probably no difference at all in most viewing situations.
I can't imagine you could buy anything better for anywhere near $700...and with the current exchange rate of GB£ vs US$, it should be tempting to anyone over here as well.
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Old Thursday 11th December 2003, 18:18   #4
cindy
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Hi Andy & Jason...thanks for the info. I am extremely new to digiscoping...what do you mean by an adapter? Is that to "hold" the camera to the scope? So, I wouldn't be able to digiscope with it? Sorry, there is just so much information on the internet, it gets rather confusing.

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Old Thursday 11th December 2003, 19:16   #5
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Sorry Cindy, I mistook you for another Cindy on birdforum.net.

Yes, you can purchase adapters that connect your camera to the scope's eyepiece. These are often specific to the eyepiece in use, and I'm unaware of any commercially made ones that fit the huge Pentax zoom eyepiece....though you can buy adapters to fit the fixed Pentax eyepieces.

Even with the zoom e.p. you should be able to find a way around the problem by using a support bracket type adapter that holds your camera up to the eyepiece, rather than the camera being fixed to the eyepiece... this is a little clumsy in some respects (especially for the more mobile birders) but will allow you to rotate the zoom with the camera up to the eyepiece and the camera can just be swung away from the eyepiece when you want to use the scope with your naked eye and swung back to take a photo.
Have a look around the digiscoping forums for more advise or pop into my website www.digiscoped.com and look at the various adapter types on this page http://www.digiscoped.com/DigiscopingInfo.html
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Old Friday 12th December 2003, 12:25   #6
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Dear Cindy,

Sorry about the delay in replying

I use a PF 100 ED which shares the same eyepieces as your potential purchase.
Here is a link which may help with the decision (or not)

http://www.birdforum.net/showthread.php?t=8033

My advice - don’t hesitate at that price.

Good luck and Regards.
Gordon Boreham-Styffe.
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Old Tuesday 6th January 2004, 12:12   #7
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This scope has been the reference scope for betterviewdesired.com site since its release. Its still rated as optically the best but the smaller Swar scope gains in portability. Read here at :- http://www.betterviewdesired.com/Pentax/index.html

Andy... (new to this forum).
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Old Tuesday 6th January 2004, 15:22   #8
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I have the Pentax PF80-ED, and it's terrific "bang for the buck." The basic consensus here in the U.S. is that at lower magnifications it cannot be beat, even by the priciest scopes. At higher magnifications, 40x and up, it apparently is not quite as clear as the top Swarovski and perhaps Leica scopes. Fair enough. When I use a spotting scope for birding, I almost never zoom out past about 30x, 35x tops. There's usually just too much atmospheric interference.

For digiscoping you probably would want to buy another eyepiece of some sort. I use the William Optics DCL-28, a 24mm. eyepiece that threads directly to the front of the lens of my Coolpix 995. I am starting to wonder, however, if this was the best choice I could have made. Some Pentax users swear by the Pentax fixed SMC-XL28 eyepiece, coupled with either a homemade adapter or the one made by Eagle Optics. From what I have seen, the image quality possible with this setup is better than with the William Optics, but by how much I don't know, because the technical/environmental obstacles to optimal digiscoping images are so formidable. The Pentax/Eagle Eye eyepiece alternative is considerably more expensive than the William Optics alternative.

Just in terms of viewing birds, at least, I am certain that if you get the Pentax scope you won't regret the purchase.
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Old Friday 6th February 2004, 01:42   #9
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Pentax PF-80

I have a unique perspective on the Pentax perhaps. I have been an amateur astronomer for the last 25 years and a birder for 15 years. As am astronomer, I have been an avid user of Pentax eyepieces for years. They are simply magnificent eyepieces. Many believe Pentax and TeleVue produce the best of the best. Eyepieces in the astronomy world are all standardized to 1.25" barrels which permits direct comparisons of telescope optics simply by moving the same eyepiece from scope to scope and comparing the results. Over the years, I have owned a number of excellent apochromatic telescopes including ones by Takahashi, TeleVue, Stellarvue, and AP. One thing I have learned is that the really good companies all make great objective lenses and optical tubes. More often the limiting factor of a great astronomical telescope's performance is the eyepiece - seemingly a much more complex packaging of optics as compared to the simpler objective assembly. I also believe that the astronomy world has gotton optics right - that is, they have standardized eyepiece barrel size to allow for transfer of great eyepieces from scope to scope. Additionally, the objective lenses used in astronomical telescopes have to continually stand up to star-test scrutiny. This is a high magnification test which allows a fairly quantifiable assessment of optical quality in rapid fashion. I believe this test will tell one much more about optical quality that even the use of a resolution chart with spotting scopes. The birding world, by comparison has entered the land of high quality optics only recently in terms of spotting scopes. I remember the days when I would bird with an old SpaceMaster(?) spotting scope. By astronomical standards just a miserable performer. Of course later things began to change. It all started with Kowa's introduction of a "great" zoom. Well, the "great" zoom was simply a modified version of the Vixen Zoom, well known to astronomers for years. After that things began to improve more quickly. A few really usable zooms emerged and we began to see some wonderful wide angle, long eye relief, fixed focal length objectives show up from Leica and others. Well, these had been around for a long time on the astronomical side. My (and others) reaction was....about time! So, what does this say about the Pentax PF-80. Just this - I believe the objective assembly on the Pentax PF-80 is as good as anyone's, including Zeiss, Swarovski, Pentax, and Leica. When we all read birding scope reviews of these industry leader's scopes, we are really reading reviews of eye pieces (more or less). I am confident these great optical companies mastered the production of fine objective lenses long ago. Since we can't switch out eyepieces in order to control for the effect and truly assess the objective assembly, we convince ourselves that the scope (and not the eyepiece) is what is being reviewed. I use my PF-80 with two Pentax XL eyepieces (21mm and 14mm) that I own. The view is absolutely unbelievable. The Pentax zoom, or any zoom for that matter, is simply nowhere close. You might note that Better View Desired rated the PF-80 the Reference Standard for 80mm scopes but did so only when using the fixed focal length eyepieces (not the zoom) and that ranking has survived subsequent reviews of the Swarovski, Leica, and Zeiss big new scopes. Right now, I believe that the Pentax fixed focal length eyepieces are simply the best. Unfortuntely the only spotting scope they fit is the Pentax (and all astronomical telescopes as well). If they were to fit spotting scopes, they would provide just as remarkable a view in the Swarovski, Leica, Zeiss, or Pentax. If you have not looked through the Pentax with one of the fixed focal length eyepieces inserted you are missing something. By the way, the TeleVue eyepieces (naglers and radians) are also amazing on the Pentax. Someday eyepiece barrels will be standardized for all and then birders will learn that all the reviews that they have read on scopes were really reviewing eyepieces. Get the Pentax and enjoy the opportunity to choose between over 200 possible eyepieces from the modest but adequate to the stunning and unbelievable (e.g. Pentax and TeleVue). By the way, I have star tested the PF-80 at high magnification and the objective optics are not limiting the performance of the scope.
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Old Friday 6th February 2004, 07:26   #10
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Wow! They claimed somewhere that the astronomers know their optics, whereas birders *think* they know their optics. After reading your post I start to see the point...

A warm welcome to the Bird Forum!

Ilkka
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Old Friday 6th February 2004, 09:00   #11
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A paragraph or two inserted somewhere apt would have made that otherwise very useful advice more readable, Jay!
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Old Friday 6th February 2004, 12:04   #12
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Given that Pentax eyepieces are ~£300 each, and Zeiss supply an astro eyepiece adaptor for their new scopes, the obvious question is how the resulting view would compare to that with the Zeiss eyepieces? Obviously the availability of the astro adaptor means that a wider range of eyepieces are available to the Zeiss scopes. But £300 each. Ouch. (There might well be an unexplained increase in the number of bank robbers who list birding as a hobby.)
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Old Friday 6th February 2004, 12:07   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scampo
A paragraph or two inserted somewhere apt would have made that otherwise very useful advice more readable, Jay!
Just thank the gods that he didn't write it in text message language IYKWIM m8.
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Old Friday 6th February 2004, 22:47   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scampo
A paragraph or two inserted somewhere apt would have made that otherwise very useful advice more readable, Jay!
Oh come on Steve, can you never forget you are an English teacher? But I agree about that readability.
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Old Friday 6th February 2004, 22:56   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Leif
Given that Pentax eyepieces are ~£300 each, and Zeiss supply an astro eyepiece adaptor for their new scopes, the obvious question is how the resulting view would compare to that with the Zeiss eyepieces? Obviously the availability of the astro adaptor means that a wider range of eyepieces are available to the Zeiss scopes. But £300 each. Ouch. (There might well be an unexplained increase in the number of bank robbers who list birding as a hobby.)
I assume this interchangeability comes at a cost? Are these scopes (still or at all) waterproof? Astronomers probably don't need waterproof scopes as this would be needed when there are no stars anyway.
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Old Friday 6th February 2004, 23:50   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Swissboy
Oh come on Steve, can you never forget you are an English teacher? But I agree about that readability.
It was little to do with being an English teacher, Robert - and how contradictory can you get?!

;-)
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Last edited by scampo : Friday 6th February 2004 at 23:56.
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Old Tuesday 20th April 2004, 00:24   #17
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Pentax PF80

I bought a Pentax PF80 last Christmas for my wife (who asked for one I might add!) and I've been very impressed. I ended up having to upgrade my tripod to get the most out of it but I've been thrilled with the quality of the optics and the solid construction. When you consider the included high quality zoom I don't know of any other scope in its price class that matches it.
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Old Thursday 17th June 2004, 13:36   #18
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Swissboy, Cindy,

The Pentax Scope, AND the eyepieces are waterproof!

And Cindy, GET the scope, and I would spring for the 14mm Pentax fixed focal eyepiece as well. At the price you are paying, for little over $1000 you will have a scope that is equal to or better than, any out there. I have the Pentax and it is superb! A birder who regularly scopes our local Osprey has a Swarowski 65mm... the other day she peaked through my and was shocked at the view.

There have been reports of QC issues with the Pentax, but mine is fine. If you have an option to return it if you don't like it you really can't go wrong!! Please Do read the review at "Better View Desired" I did when I was in the market for a scope... I confess, it made the choice easier.

Also, there are many digiscopers who really like the Williams Optics 28mm eyepiece, and the cost is right...(there was a website that had comparisons including this eyepiece, and it was darn good)

The Pentax will no doubt be better, and more expensive, and you would have to get a custom adapter (Kum Seng Chaeng in Malaysia makes one - but it'll cost you)

Good Luck!!

Mike K.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Swissboy
I assume this interchangeability comes at a cost? Are these scopes (still or at all) waterproof? Astronomers probably don't need waterproof scopes as this would be needed when there are no stars anyway.
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Old Thursday 17th June 2004, 13:41   #19
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Cindy,

You didn't say whether the scope was new, and whether it was the straight or angled model....

I prefer the angled... IMHO easier on the viewing.

Mike K.

Quote:
Originally Posted by cindy
Hello all! I have found a Pentax PF-80ED for about $700 which includes a 20-60 zoom eyepiece. I realize that eventually I will need a different eyepiece for digiscoping, but I was wondering if anyone had any opinions or thoughts on this particular scope? I have been saving for a scope and want to buy something that is going to last and that will provide good quality. Any information would be very much appreciated.

Thank you,
Cindy
Kettering, Ohio
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Old Sunday 20th June 2004, 12:15   #20
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Thank you all for this interesting discussion - paricularly Jay Young (what a insightful post!)! I have just ordered the Pentax scope, and it seems like a good decision. Here in Sweden this scope just isn't seen anywhere among birders. It seem like it is just to hard to break into the market owned by Swarovski, Zeiss and Leica. For me it is a bit strange that the discussion of different scopes never touches the lastability of the stuff. I have heard of at least 10 Leica APO Televid who have broken into two pieces after 5-10 years of use!!! And this in Sweden alone! That just make me turn from that scope for sure. A friend of mine experiencing this exact problem also had a big difficulty with the warranty handling....

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Old Sunday 20th June 2004, 15:42   #21
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Good for you Nic!

As I have said before, I love mine, Hope yours works out as well. Please do get one of the Pentax fixed focal eyepieces.... They ARE truly fantastic!

Mike
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Old Sunday 20th June 2004, 16:10   #22
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Let me put in a vote for the straight Pentax scope (or any scope). The swivel mechanism on a CP4500 or CP995 makes the "viewing convenience factor" less important, and, just as importantly, using an angled scope on a car window adapter is a veritable nightmare. And the straight scope is less expensive, as well. Just my two cents' worth on that one.

Also: I posted previously (seems like a long time ago) about the Pentax eyepiece issue. I did get a Pentax XL28 eyepiece, and you know, I have found that the finished photos are just about the same as with the William Optics DCL-28 (24mm.) The WO eyepiece is really an excellent buy, IMHO, and for people getting the Pentax scopes that's the one I'd recommend.

As for Cindy's original post way back when: if she wants to use the 20-60x zoom eyepiece for digiscoping, she could contact Cheang Kuen Seng, who makes an excellent adapter for this system. His email address in Malaysia is kumseng@pd.jaring.my
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Old Sunday 20th June 2004, 17:20   #23
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Pentax 80mm

Good Luck with your new scope. While I don't have mine anymore I believe it is the absolute best "bang for the buck" when it comes to scopes. While not quite the optical equivalent of the latest and greatest from Swaro, Zeiss or Leica it can be had for around half the price.

I bought mine based on the BVD review and because it was sharper at higher powers than my Swaro ST80. The build quality may be a little lower than the big threes' and it is somewhat heavier. The focus knob came off mine after 3 years. I sent it in to Pentax in Colo. and it came back repiared in 2-3 weeks.

I sold it for various reasons and purchased the new Swaro ATS 80 HD. Although my shoulder is happier, my bank account isn't.
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Old Sunday 20th June 2004, 18:40   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mkoreiwo
Good for you Nic!

As I have said before, I love mine, Hope yours works out as well. Please do get one of the Pentax fixed focal eyepieces.... They ARE truly fantastic!

Mike
Thanks!

I actually ordered a SMC XW 20 eyepiece together with the scope (and the zoom eyepiece). Maybe the XW 14 will be the next buy. I ordered it from USA, so my only concern is actually the warranty. Maybe I can get an international warranty. Is there anyone having any experience of that?
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Old Saturday 31st July 2004, 06:11   #25
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How is the 10mm 50x? eyepiece

Hi

I'm new to the forum thanks for the info.

I'm wondering if anyone has used the 10mm (50x) Pentax eyepiece?

Good results as with the 14 and 21 above?

Also, the Pentax fixed eyepieces I find for sale are "XW" rather than "XL" as mentioned in the post above by Jay. Any experience with those?


Thanks!
Craig Ryder
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