Relatively new to serios birding..maybe a year. Bought the PF-80ED-A with the zoom lens ~$389. Very pleased but had read a fixed eyepiece was better. Bought the XW14 and was very impressed. Today was with several birders looking out over the water at some shorebirds and was offered a view from someone's Swarovski 65 and I must say it wasn't very impressive. The owner later looked through the Pentax and said wow..what kind/type of scope and eyepiece. Her scope yielded a view about the size of a quarter while mine yielded a view the size of a coaster. Night and day difference. Happy birding!
Optical clarity, ability to change eyepieces 1.25 standard
weight, lack of digiscoping adapter to attach non Pentax DSLR cameras to eyepiece
I purchased the angle version 80ED-A.The scope and zoom eyepiece are a great combination for me and for the price you get a great spotting scope equal to others that cost much more. Just my humble opinion.
a great scope. the pointer to me is actually quite good as i was able to get on the bird very quickly with only a little practice. this is a very rugged scope as well. i am very happy with this purchase. highly recommended. (mine is the angled pf ed80 used with the 20-60x zoom ep).
I keep a Pentax XW14 eyepiece on mine for a wide 36x, great for field use. Combination makes for a flawless view, sharp to the edge, with plenty of eye relief. The infinitely adjustable eyecup (Pentax eyepieces) allows individuals to dial in just what they need, eyeglasses or not. It would get a 10 based on the view but the length and weight cause me to knock it down 1 point.
Takes standard astronomical eyepieces. Weather resistant.
This spotting scope has an unusual attribute-it will take astronomical 1.25 inch eyepieces. This opens up an entire series of excellent optics that can benefit the user. Some of these eyepieces have very wide fields of view or unusually long eye relief. Some of them can cost more than the price of the scope.
I have used the spotting scope with its Pentax zoom eyepiece--it is sharp and has good contrast, having good eye relief. It has the annoying property that at the lower magnifications its apparent field of view is narrower than at its higher magnification end, but this seems to be a characteristic of several eyepieces. If higher power work, one can slip in a single focal length eyepiece and if the eyepiece is of excellent quality one will have improved performance at higher magnifications. I have tried some Televue eyepieces and one can obtain truly huge fields of view at high magnification. One will sacrifice eye relief, but the view is tremendous.
To give an example of light gathering I viewed a moose at approx. 150 yards barly distinguished with the human eye. using the scope the animals eye was in clear view. This was the last use of the zoom lens since changing to Xl21mm fixed lens. he transition to a fixed lens is a path you are reluctant to return from, for digiscoping of casual viewing. Seriosly thought about the leica but the quality of digiscoping with the Pentax is all that I hoped for and more.
Judging from the lack of recent posts, there hasn\'t been a lot of interest in this big Pentax scope in recent years. I confess I am the only person I know who owns one. A few days after I got it, I took it to Argentina with me. To save weight I foolishly decided to take a monopod instead of my Manfrotto tripod. I wound up buying a Velbon tripod in Buenos Aires, because the monopod was useless given the length and weight of the scope. Even the cheap-o Velbon with plastic head was pretty much over-matched. This is a serious scope and you need a serious tripod under it! The size and weight are genuine considerations. It\'s a bit harder to pack, a bit harder to steady, and a bit harder to lug around than its lighter, smaller confreres. HOWEVER, what you see through this thing is quite astounding. The eyepiece is the size of a tomato paste can, and even when cranked up to full 60X power it is bright and sharp. I would recommend this scope with a couple of reservations - seriously consider the dimensions, and make sure you are willing to use a very sturdy tripod!
I lurked for months reviewing what people had to say about scopes, then looked through all the scopes I could find (luckily I travel about a bit).
I could not justify to myself the extra cost of the Zeiss/Swaros and got my PF80 ED-A last week with the 20-60 zoom. All I can say is stunning, exceeds my expectations and feels worth every penny.
I could not find it for sale in the UK and Pentax UK did not respond to my request for UK stockist info, so I had to import it from the US and pay the duty, even with that I am happy with my purchase, I could not afford the Swaro (my favourite) but I have no regrets.
My 3rd shot though it was handheld with a Canon A30 (old and 1.2 Megapixels) and is a shot I would not be embarrassed to post (if I knew how to).
I have now upgraded the camera to a Pentax *ist DS (ordered just before the new Canon 350 /Rebel XT was announced and I was feeling a bit ill!) but now it\'s arrived and I am not disappointed at all. I have taken handheld shots only and it is hard when the light is low, but I have managed to take terrific handheld shots through the scope when the sun has shone.
Two and one-half years ago I purchased a PE-80 ED angled Pentax scope. The main reason I reason purchased the Pentax was that it was one of the very few scopes that had decent eye-relief. I believe now, however, that the top companies are providing scopes with better eye-relief than they were 3 years ago.
This is my first scope, and the optical quality is fantastic.
The only downside is that it is slightly longer than some top scopes, but I paid $850 for the scope AND eyepiece, where the the
Leica, Seiss, and Swarovsky cost $1,300 to $1,700, not including the eyepiece.
The Pentax does not have the two focusing wheels, like the Zeiss. Although I have never used a scope with a fast and a slow focus, it sounds like a great idea.
I purchased the angled version after much research. All the articles I read and all the comments from my friends suggested that angled was better than straight because t is easier to use and the tripod does not have to be raised as high. The only downside to an angled scope that I have found is that when I have the tripod set at a height that is best for me, a person much shorter than me cannot get high enough to look down into the eyepiece.
Finally, considering the optical quality and the price of the Pentax, I believe it is a great scope. With the Pentax you are getting a great scope for less than half of the others. Especially considering that I do not use my scope that often, I did not want to spend $2,000.
I purchased this scope a couple of weeks ago, and I am very happy with my choice. The image quality is excellent. Another reason for my choice was eye relief, and I found that to be excellent also. This is an outstanding piece of equipment, well made, and for the price I don't belive you can find a better deal right now.