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Old Thursday 21st May 2009, 18:28   #1
Buz
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DCF ED vs. Alpha's?

Has anyone actually compared the DCF ED's (specifically the 10x43) to any of the the top alpha brands? They are selling for $999 right now and I'm thinking they are "nearly" as good at alpha's twice their price?

Anybody have any insight?

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Old Thursday 21st May 2009, 18:55   #2
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I wish I did as the Pentax ED is one of the few models I have yet to have had the privelege of trying. All of the reviews I have read on them have been very positive and I like the physical size and ergonomics of the model.
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Old Thursday 21st May 2009, 21:25   #3
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Sorry, no. I actually do not need ED at 8x so badly. So I went for non ED 8x32 as prices came down.

But someone will speak up. I prefer all the other properties of the Pentax to the Chinese ED series. I even have a 10x Pentax that gets use along the side of the Chinese 10x Promaster.
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Old Friday 22nd May 2009, 02:56   #4
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I have the 10x43's! Spent alot of A-B,ing against others. To tell you the truth I have never regretted the purchase one bit! Some will say they lack the fov??? I have yet to come across a situation that the fov has enabled me to miss an ID or have a problem following a moving object!!! There are times when cal is present, but what glass doesn't exhibit some cal? What you get is excellent saturation of color, sharp highly resolved details!!! I have posted here as well as other forums on the brands that I compared to! If you want to spend the money $999.00 or whatever you can get them for you won't be at a disadvantage because you didn't pay $1,800.00. I never feel handicapped, I just smile knowing I didn't have to pay $2,000.00 to get alpha quality views!!! Bryce...
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Old Friday 22nd May 2009, 15:11   #5
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I have the 10x43's! Spent alot of A-B,ing against others. To tell you the truth I have never regretted the purchase one bit! Some will say they lack the fov??? I have yet to come across a situation that the fov has enabled me to miss an ID or have a problem following a moving object!!! There are times when cal is present, but what glass doesn't exhibit some cal? What you get is excellent saturation of color, sharp highly resolved details!!! I have posted here as well as other forums on the brands that I compared to! If you want to spend the money $999.00 or whatever you can get them for you won't be at a disadvantage because you didn't pay $1,800.00. I never feel handicapped, I just smile knowing I didn't have to pay $2,000.00 to get alpha quality views!!! Bryce...
Thanks Bryce!

I've had a pair of the original DCF WP (10x42) since 1999 and have always admired the quality feel and the optics. However, I recently decided to get a good pair of compacts (Ultravid 10x25). After comparing the views of each in good daylight conditions, I now see some of the small flaws in the DCF WP's that I didn't realize before. It seems the DCF WP's have a slight bluish/green tint, whereas the Ultravids seem more 'true to life' in color. Also, the ultravids seem to provide slightly more crisp detail.
Of course, now I am spoiled with the compacts and will need to upgrade my full size.
I've been painstakingly researching the alpha 10x42's and wondering how I am going to part with $2000 to have the best in full size.
I really feel a loyalty to Pentax. I've loved them from day one and have never had any issues with them. I can't explain it but my DCF WP's feel so good in the hand and they feel very solid and well built. I would rather support Pentax again with my money and get 97% the same view as the 'snobby' brands at half the price. (I didn't have the same options with the compacts, I tried the Nikon's LX L, but didn't like them so I felt I had to go with the Ultravids)
I know I'd be very happy with the DCF ED's, but I just wanted to hear other people's real world experiences with them to confirm my desire.

I truly appreciate everyone's input!!!
Any other observations/opinions would also be greatly appreciated!

Buz

Last edited by Buz : Friday 22nd May 2009 at 15:17.
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Old Saturday 23rd May 2009, 04:58   #6
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I had two units of the Pentax ED 8x32....They are very nice,amazing coatings...At 8X you want to have ED ,if you can afford it...Even if CA doesnt bother you that much generally,ED binoculars totally erase that problem from the view,and there is also an increase in contrast....The Pentax ED are great in the control of flare and reflections..the coatings are VERY VERY good,,,Miles away from Chinese,ED or not,AND other japanese( i posted some pictures someplace in birdforum showing the coatings)..that is ,probably, the feature that puts them closer to the Alphas..
There are little problems though...My two units were not consistent in the way the focused..One had 4 diopters past infinity ,the other 3.5...(for me was important,because it was at the limit of my Rx,and although i use my glasses when looking through binoculars,i like to be able to focus @ infinity without them)..Also the feeling of the focus ring was a bit "Cheap",It actually worked fine,but it was too plasticky for the price of the binoculars...
All in all ,a killer binocular..Today i would rather to have the pentax ED rather than the ZEN ED ( I dont have either,)
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Old Wednesday 27th May 2009, 14:23   #7
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Without having seen the 8x42 or 10x42 in ED version, I would again have to agree that if this is your preferred format, the Pentax ED is still the best deal overall, it beats the Chinese ED in overall handling. And does not cost nearly as much as alphas. Good warranty, Pentax is unlikely to go out of business in 10 years.
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Old Thursday 28th May 2009, 07:54   #8
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...Good warranty, Pentax is unlikely to go out of business in 10 years.
You know the future 10 years from now?!

Wow!
Stay at home. The White House is going to call you within the next couple of hours. Obama will want you as Personal Advisor.
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Old Thursday 28th May 2009, 17:56   #9
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I predict that in 2016 we will have a new president. I also predict it will be dark tonight, warm in June and cold in Januray. And I predict money will inflate, normally, in a year.
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Old Thursday 28th May 2009, 23:23   #10
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It is good to see some discussion on the Pentax DCF ED series. I own the 10x50 size and like it very much. I have also used the the 8x32 size, which I returned because I found the strap post rubbed one of the bones in my hand a bit. I do not have any problems with the placement of the strap post in the larger 10x50 size. The view in the 8x32 is wonderful, as is the 10x50. I highly recommend this series.

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Old Friday 29th May 2009, 10:52   #11
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I... And I predict money will inflate, normally, in a year.
that's not a prediction; it's a hope!


a fantastic inflation can well be an aftermath of this global financial catastrophe.
The only comfort will be that top-end binos will be cheap, .... really cheap!
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Old Friday 29th May 2009, 17:06   #12
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It is good to see some discussion on the Pentax DCF ED series. I own the 10x50 size and like it very much. I have also used the the 8x32 size, which I returned because I found the strap post rubbed one of the bones in my hand a bit. I do not have any problems with the placement of the strap post in the larger 10x50 size. The view in the 8x32 is wonderful, as is the 10x50. I highly recommend this series.

...Bob
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Thanks Bob.
It's my own feeling that some of the Pentax line of binoculars are the most underrated bino's in the world. Just seems like people only consider Nikon against the alpha's?
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Old Friday 29th May 2009, 19:22   #13
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Take this with as many grains of salt as you wish...

A friend of mine who has very discriminating taste regarding field optics recently bought a pair of Pentax 8x32 EDs and returned them. He bought them to supplement his main birding bin, a Nikon 8x32 SE, as he wanted a more rugged, waterproof option when conditions require it. He said that the main reason for not keeping them was that they weren't a good fit for him, wearing large glasses and the full field was difficult to acquire. The interesting part for me was his comment that they weren't as sharp as his Leupold 6x30 Yosemites.

One bin, one story of course and I'm still quite open minded about all things Pentax based on a personal history of having excellent products from them and a few, well, not so excellent.

By all means, check 'em out!
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Old Friday 29th May 2009, 19:30   #14
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I've partially tested two pairs of of Pentax 8x32 DCF ED. I say partially tested because I only did a quick artificial star-test and measured the resolution with the magnification boosted to 64x. I intended to do a complete review, but never got around to it.

The 8x image looked just fine, but closer scrutiny at boosted magnification revealed a consistent defect in both pairs (and also a non-ED 8x32 SP tested at the same time). Both barrels in all three pairs had pinched optics which compromised resolution to varying degrees. As I recall the best barrel measured 5-6 arcsec and the worst about 7 arcsec. These figures are better than eyesight at 8x, but well below the best 8x32's which are around 4 arcsec.

Such consistent pinching suggested to me the possibility that, at some point in Pentax' assembly process, too much torque may be routinely applied to a retaining ring. Most of the time this defect will probably go unnoticed at low magnification. A friend bought one of these pairs and is perfectly happy, but the visible effects of pinching are unpredictable so other units with similar defects may show problems. I don't like to raise suspicions about an entire line of binoculars based on only 3 examples. Perhaps I saw the only three pairs with this defect, but that seems unlikely. My advice is to examine the image carefully, same as I would suggest for any binocular. Defects are not uncommon.
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Old Friday 29th May 2009, 20:08   #15
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I've partially tested two pairs of of Pentax 8x32 DCF ED. I say partially tested because I only did a quick artificial star-test and measured the resolution with the magnification boosted to 64x. I intended to do a complete review, but never got around to it.

The 8x image looked just fine, but closer scrutiny at boosted magnification revealed a consistent defect in both pairs (and also a non-ED 8x32 SP tested at the same time). Both barrels in all three pairs had pinched optics which compromised resolution to varying degrees. As I recall the best barrel measured 5-6 arcsec and the worst about 7 arcsec. These figures are better than eyesight at 8x, but well below the best 8x32's which are around 4 arcsec.

Such consistent pinching suggested to me the possibility that, at some point in Pentax' assembly process, too much torque may be routinely applied to a retaining ring. Most of the time this defect will probably go unnoticed at low magnification. A friend bought one of these pairs and is perfectly happy, but the visible effects of pinching are unpredictable so other units with similar defects may show problems. I don't like to raise suspicions about an entire line of binoculars based on only 3 examples. Perhaps I saw the only three pairs with this defect, but that seems unlikely. My advice is to examine the image carefully, same as I would suggest for any binocular. Defects are not uncommon.
Good Stuff! Not the positive review I was hoping for, but good honest stuff nonetheless. Hopefully more people will chime in with DCF ED observations.
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Old Friday 29th May 2009, 21:07   #16
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The other problem with comparison to the Top 4 bins is that the user would have to be upgrading from Monarch class or just above to the Pentax ED so they're unlikley to have Top 4 bins around (otherwise why would they buy a Pentax ED now that they have a Top Four bin?).

So that's a small population. Then you need someone who will test and write up the review. You might get the odd collector to do this but I think that explains the lack of reviews.

The ED are priced so they are out of the "casual" range of purchase. They are significantly more expensive and haven't dropped in price over time. They also don't appear too often on the second hand market (here for example ... though they're are on ePay).

I'm also not too sure how much they differ from the regular SP in design. Clearly they have an ED objective. But is it the same design? Did they get an LaK element or similar in the EP to help with transverse CA? The price differential seems large enough for a big change.

Finally Pentax have a particular design style: they like narrow FOVs in their 40ish mm bins. Which I don't like. And is rather different from the Top Four bins too. So that leaves me the choice of the 8x32 ED versus the 8x32 SP (and the 8x32 WP).

So there are differences (quite significant ones).

Interesting comments, Henry.

I have a pair of 8x32 SP that are not as good as the 8x32 WP when viewing light pinpoints (Seattle Space Needle christmas tree lights at a few km range). Unboosted too! I wonder if this has anything to do with the hybrid glass/plastic lens in the EP? I've seen other similar WP versus SP comments.

So that and the price put me off Pentax EDs and left me in the Chinese ED fold for this sort of high mid-range bin (with some Zeiss bins rounding out the top end).

It seems their biggest competition now are the Chinese ED bins.

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Old Friday 29th May 2009, 22:40   #17
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The ED are priced so they are out of the "casual" range of purchase. They are significantly more expensive and haven't dropped in price over time. They also don't appear too often on the second hand market (here for example ... though they're are on ePay).

I'm also not too sure how much they differ from the regular SP in design. Clearly they have an ED objective. But is it the same design? Did they get an LaK element or similar in the EP to help with transverse CA? The price differential seems large enough for a big change.

Finally Pentax have a particular design style: they like narrow FOVs in their 40ish mm bins. Which I don't like. And is rather different from the Top Four bins too. So that leaves me the choice of the 8x32 ED versus the 8x32 SP (and the 8x32 WP).
You summed up my feelings on the Pentax EDs as well. If they truly performed at the Alpha level across the product line, and there weren't any less expensive equal-performing binoculars out there then I would seriously considering purchasing one. However, with the introduction of some less expensive ED bins that perform at or above the level of the Pentax EDs I am having a hard time justifying spending full-retail for a pair.

Maybe...someday.
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Old Saturday 30th May 2009, 05:37   #18
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I guess this is where brand loyalty and personal preference comes into play! I for one have nothing but good results with Pentax products. Owning currently 6pr current and 2pr vintage models! I have learned to live with what other's call short comings, or not good enough? Kevin there is quite a difference between the SP & ED, I don't know what design changes were made but, it is clearly obvious! Frank good point with the Chinese ED's, I have yet to try!!! But I did quite a long process of compairing with Alpha's and came away with the Pentax. And money wasn't a discerning factor!!! Bryce...
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Old Saturday 30th May 2009, 08:27   #19
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I am quite happy with Pentax optics. Like I said earlier, I own the DCF ED 10x50. I also own several of the Pentax XW eyepieces for my scope.
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Old Saturday 30th May 2009, 20:22   #20
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It's not just brand preference. I'm happy with the 3 Pentax bins and a scope I own.

There are reasons other than cost (narrow FOV for the bigger bins) that go against them.

And then there's cost too. I like both my 8x32 Pentax and have though about a 8x32 ED but I can't justify the price e.g. I have a Conquest 8x30 and a Zeiss FL 8x32 ... so my bases are pretty move covered. And the SP cost me $275 secondhand so price comparing for a full retail 8x32 ED is not looking good.

I'd love to try them but unless they really standout (again the FL?) I can't se myself getting one. Perhaps I'll find a closeout or demo at some point in the future.

But if you have one and love it I happy for you too! (and that's not meant sarcastically either).
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Old Saturday 30th May 2009, 21:49   #21
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I am quite happy with Pentax optics. Like I said earlier, I own the DCF ED 10x50. I also own several of the Pentax XW eyepieces for my scope.
Hi!

I have had a Pentax 8x43 DCF SP. Great bin, though I sold it when I bought a Swarovski SLCNew 7x42B. It was no doubt that the Swarovski outperforms the Pentax in every respect. But then I am looking for a 10x50 as a complement. Yes, there is the SLCNew10x50B. But this glass is quite expensive and heavy...

Do you have any experience about the optical difference between Pentax SP and ED serie?

Regards, Patric
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Old Sunday 31st May 2009, 02:36   #22
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Don't get me wrong on my opinion of Pentax products. I have the little 65 ED scope with the XW 20 eyepiece and I am truly in love with it.

;-)

I have owned the 8x32 and 43 mm SP, the 8x33 XP, the 8x36 HS, the 8x43 HRC, the 8x40 PCF and the 8x42 HR II...at one time or another. In general I was very satisfied with their performance vs. price ratio. I still would be if I owned either of the SP bins.

Give one of those ZR a try when you get a chance STD. You might be a bit surprised in their performance vs. price comparison.
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Old Sunday 7th June 2009, 00:24   #23
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Patric, I have the SP 10x50 & 8x32. In the ED's I have the 10x43's. The first thing the ED's display is a bright natural color very hard to distinguish it from the Nikon 8x32 SE I have. They are a touch sharper than the SP's with excellent contrast. I thought they did a better job at resolving distant object's better than the Swaro slc 10x42, hence that is why I purchased them! I think the 10x50 ED's would be an excellent companion to your 7x42 slc's, they don't have a large fov mind you, nothing like you're 7x42! If I had to keep just one of my collection it would be my 10x50 SP. Though I wish it were the ED version! I think Bobinky can weigh in a little more about the specific's of the DCF ED 10x50. One word of caution in regards to the ED's they will not feel near as robust as your Swaro's! This was one place I needed to get use to when using my 10x43's, not that they are not built well just alot lighter! It doesn't bother me in the least now quite comfortable. Bryce...
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Old Sunday 7th June 2009, 01:39   #24
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Patric, I have the SP 10x50 & 8x32. In the ED's I have the 10x43's. The first thing the ED's display is a bright natural color very hard to distinguish it from the Nikon 8x32 SE I have. They are a touch sharper than the SP's with excellent contrast. I thought they did a better job at resolving distant object's better than the Swaro slc 10x42, hence that is why I purchased them! I think the 10x50 ED's would be an excellent companion to your 7x42 slc's, they don't have a large fov mind you, nothing like you're 7x42! If I had to keep just one of my collection it would be my 10x50 SP. Though I wish it were the ED version! I think Bobinky can weigh in a little more about the specific's of the DCF ED 10x50. One word of caution in regards to the ED's they will not feel near as robust as your Swaro's! This was one place I needed to get use to when using my 10x43's, not that they are not built well just alot lighter! It doesn't bother me in the least now quite comfortable. Bryce...

Thanks very much for your reply!

Yes I know that the Swarovski is quite heavy, and actually Pentax SP/ED 10x50 are lighter weight. And though the Pentax ED likely not? completely reach to the sharpness of the Swarovski the 10x power still will make the adequate difference when I want to see more details.

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Old Wednesday 12th August 2009, 20:09   #25
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I have recently had the DCP ED 10x50 suggested to me for dual use (astro/birds). I have not found a single review of them.
Would like to read some reviews, and would like to hear how they perform vs the Leica 10x50 HD. and, for that matter, how they perform versus the Vortex Razor 10x50 (i think they make that size).
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