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Kenko-Tokina Kenko DH MS 8x32
Reviews Views Date of last review
1 19136 Wed December 24, 2014
Recommended By Average Price Average Rating
100% of reviewers None indicated 9.0

Keywords: Kenko-Tokina DH MS 8x32 binocular review

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Scan right to left, it's slower than scanning left to right and your brain takes in more detail

Registered: October 2013
Location: UK
Posts: 1222
Review Date: Wed December 24, 2014 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Price you paid?: None indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: Genuinely small and easily handled 8x32, very well constructed, very nice optics
Cons: None

Good quality, inexpensive, all purpose and super compact 8x32.

Kenko-Tokina, originally established as Kenko Co. Ltd in 1957, is a first flight independent optics development and manufacturing company headquartered in Tokyo, Japan with development engineers, mechanics and production facilities in Japan, China, Philippines and Thailand. The company has over fifty years experience of developing and marketing optics and has long experience of OEM (original equipment manufacturer) supply of sports optics to familiar major brands in the global industry. Current sales are in excess of USD$250 million annually.

Amongst a wide range of optical products Kenko offer a suite of 'ultimate' birding binoculars, the Kenko DH MS range. These are available in 8x25 & 10x25 ; 8x32 & 10x32 ; 8x42 & 10x42 and are the highest quality binoculars that the company manufactures.

The smaller 25mm and 32mm objectives are in 'compact' format, the 8x42 and 10x42 come in both open bridge and 'compact' format.

This brief review looks at the ergonomics and practicalities of the Kenko DH MS 8x32 in general use and there is certainly a lot to like about them.

The smooth easy-grip black rubber armour free of protuberances encloses a genuinely compact die-cast magnesium alloy body. By any standards this is a small binocular, easy to handle and comfortable to hold and use, and they look very well made. The dimensions are : length 115mm 125mm (maximum length with eye-cups fully extended) ; body width 118mm rising to 126mm over the strap lugs ; height 42mm ; bare weight 537g (without the eye-piece and objective covers, and without the strap).

This is a great knockabout, take anywhere birding and general purpose binocular that should handle a high degree of use over a long period of time.

Do looks count ? Well, Sightron aficionados may notice the striking similarity between these and the Sightron SIII Magnesium 8x32. Sightron is wholly owned by Kenko.

The optics are manufactured from environmentally friendly lead and arsenic free glass and are fully multi-coated on all glass-to-air surfaces. The typical BaK-4 Schmidt-Pechan roof prisms are phase coated and SHR (super-high reflective) sliver coated. The binocular is dry nitrogen purged and filled, and waterproof (certificated to JIS Class 6).

These offer a field of view of 7.5, giving 131 metres at 1000 metres, or 394 feet at 1000 yards. Each binocular has a serial number (this is a successful binocular, over eleven thousand have been manufactured and sold), they are made in Japan.

Eye relief is stated at 15.3mm. I use binoculars both with and without glasses, and with contacts, and have found easy viewing with these in all situations.

The ocular lens diameter is 20mm, the inner diameter of the eye-cup is 27mm. The twist-up eye-cups, without stops, operate smoothly and stay in position. For the students of minutiae the eye-cup edges are ridged rather than rounded which for those with deep set facial features could leave a feeling of suction when using these, not that you may ever notice it unless it is pointed out to you. My preference would be for a more rounded eye-cup edge.

There is a standard non-locking right hand dioptre, this is respectably stiff and does not migrate in use although some may find the high position of the strap lug an inconvenience when adjusting the dioptre.

The almost two finger width ribbed focus wheel operates very smoothly with no free play and is fairly heavily damped which may appeal to those who are not keen on 'fast focus' ! Personally I would like to see this binocular with a slightly faster focus and a longer focus wheel incorporating a central locking dioptre, this would enable easier handling with gloved hands in cold weather. The focus is anti-clockwise to infinity and has a noticeable stop when focusing to the end of the range in either direction. Depth of focus is excellent. There is a small amount of travel past infinity in the focus which may be useful for certain users.

Close focus measured to just under 2 metres.

I often carry a small binocular in a belt case in preference to carrying a standard compact. The binocular case for the Kenko DH MX 8x32 has good belt hoops and for me this bino is compact enough and just about lightweight enough to be used as a conventional strapless grab and glass compact. If you are thinking of replacing a mid-market compact with a small binocular with much better optics then these are well worth consideration.

Many people buy this class of binocular for home & garden use, watching the birds come and go from feeders from the comfort of indoors. I've done just this with these and found no striking issues in viewing through glass, no intrusive glare and that's nice. Yes being outside always brings you a better view, but let's be realistic, people do what they do.

To my eyes the 'sweet spot' occupies about 60% of the field, and stray light control is excellent. Conditions have been perfect for testing this recently. The view is noticeably clear to the edge with no apparent darkening of the field at the periphery. Contrast is good, I enjoyed excellent views of a Robin picking her way through a dense bed of nettle stalks, a cock pheasant skulking deep in cover and a Muntjac fawn, a glimpse of russet in a sea of dead foliage resolved to form, all on a dull afternoon and pleased with all of that.

Chromatic aberration invariably raises it's head in bino reviews despite the phenomenon being universally user specific. I am sensitive to CA and for me its control in this binocular is first class (given the price point, its short barrel design and non-ED glass), eye position being the critical factor. There is more apparent CA in the outer field. Lateral field curvature is evident, more noticeable in the lower field than the upper, and likely to be more apparent to older eyes. This can be refocused almost to the extreme edge, not that anyone really ever manipulates their binoculars like this in real life, only in reviews !

Thinking of comparisons I'm not one for conjuring comparative views from memory or pointing out the subtleties of he-said-she-said observations from other peoples' views. You are highly unlikely to see it exactly as I do and the advice for what it's worth is always to try for yourself if you can. I'm fortunate in having the Kenko Ultraview OP DH II 8x32 available for direct comparison, which is much different ergonomically being of open bridge format.

Back to the Kenko DH MS 8x32, the case is black, soft with heavily piped well stitched edging, an under-wired front panel, soft interior and a velcro closure flap. Does anyone actually like velcro ? It's use is virtually universal but I find it intrusively noisy and would appeal to manufacturers and importers to gear up and use silent magnetic flap closures. The case has doubled 5.5cm / 2.5 belt hoops giving a choice of belt heights and are more than adequate for a wide belt. This is a good case, it is deep enough to hold the binoculars with the eye-cups fully extended.

The eye-piece and objective covers come in 3mm flexible soft black rubber matching the body armour. The one piece eye-piece covers are over barrel, good quality and fit very well. These can be tethered all in one with the bino strap, although you can just as easily use a compact camera black nylon wrist strap to tether them to the strap lug. The objective lens covers have a looser fit and are ribbed to accommodate the interpupillary distance (IPD). The IPD for this binocular is 56-76mm. As always with binocular choices, optical quality aside, it is a balance of ergonomics to suit personal preference.

Being an active user I'm all for heavy duty binocular straps. Above a certain price point bino straps are invariably neoprene, I guess not because customers want neoprene straps, I certainly don't (I find they don't bring anything useful to the party) but because they are inexpensive to manufacture. Below a certain price point bino straps can be more of a challenge, for me it's usually either mix and match, replace or just discard completely. The Kenko strap is what it is, inexpensive, functional, easy to fit, a slim 2.5cm black poly with leather end tabs, well fitting slide adjusters but very loose sliding strap end guides.

In the box there is a standard multi-lingual instruction sheet, a manufacturer's guarantee (in Japanese), and a black Teijin lens cloth (every birder and wildlife watcher in the world will prefer a black lens cloth to a white one, thanks, that is one of the nice touches that count).

As I said there is a lot to like about these. Above all they are an easy handling and attractive binocular, very well armoured with good glass and a nice clear view. I have enjoyed some excellent views with them. At this time of year it is possible to take in sunrise and sunset in the same day here with little effort and last weekend's homeward flight of a clamour of rooks set against the vibrant oranges and reds of a clear sky sunset was well worth the viewing despite the cold. Even the product box is really striking : classy, elegant and understated, it creates a very good first impression, buy one and find out what it looks like !

It has to be said that this compact 32mm format is ideally suited to low magnification and it would be very interesting to see a Kenko DH MS 6x32 or 6.5x32 at a later date.

As always value is what you think it is.

Current pricing is around USD$270.00 in the US.

Customers in the UK / EU can expect to pay about GBP275.00 delivered from one of the camera sellers in Germany.

Kenko exhibit at birding events in the tropics everywhere from Thailand to Brasil, you can keep up on FB. Their binoculars, monoculars and scopes are widely distributed. The Kenko company profile and sports optics catalogue are available on request ; please just shoot me a PM.

My interest is as an impartial reviewer, opinion is entirely my own, all other content is factual not conjectural and has been either provided by or verified with the manufacturer.

I would like to offer my sincere thanks the directors of Kenko-Tokina for despatching their birding binoculars from East to West for review. A particular thank you to Tom for the special consideration and personal attention in arranging and shipping the samples.

An expanded illustrated comparative review of the Kenko DH MS 8x32 and Kenko Ultraview EX OP DH II 8x32 is published in print elsewhere.

Manufacturers and importers with sports and marine optics for review can contact me through the messaging function on this forum, thanks.

PS - Share this - partial list of vertebrates known to have been killed or scavenged by free-ranging domestic cats :
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