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Pentax 8x32 DCF ED review by Roger Vine (1 Viewer)

John A Roberts

Well-known member
Roger has just added a review of the above to his ScopeViews site, see at: http://www.scopeviews.co.uk/BinoReviews.htm

The DCF ED series dates from the early 2000’s, and comprised four models in 8x32, 8x43, 10x43 and 10x50 *
The series is notable as it was a serious attempt by Pentax to equal the then first tier models

I’ve attached a copy of the the specifications from a 2008 catalogue (the DCF ED’s were not in a 2005 one)
The page confirms the presence of dielectric prism coating, which Roger thought might be present

The catalogue also includes details about the technology and optical construction, with a cross-section image of the 8x43 version
I’ve split the two page spread in two for greater clarity

* Pinac (aka Canip here on BF) indicates that the larger DCF ED models continue today in the ZD ED series, see at: https://binocular.ch/pentax-dcf-ed-8x43/
And also his see comments about the 8x32 at: https://binocular.ch/pentax-dcf-ed-8x32/

- - - -
Since the early 2000’s, progress in optical performance has been incremental, most notably in slightly improved transmission and lessened colour bias
(Dielectric coating of the non-Total Internal Reflection surface found on most roof prism pairs was introduced by Zeiss in 1998, and was then adopted by other manufacturers as standard. It improves the vibrancy of the image colours)

The most notable technical innovation since then has been in the proliferation of flat field optics. However, for many uses such a view is not a significant advantage. And alternatively, many users prefer the more traditional curved FOV

So providing that one is aware of their limitations and peculiarities, a previous generation alpha (or near alpha) roof prism binocular, can provide great value
For other possibilities, also see Roger’s reviews of the Nikon 8x32 HG/ LX and the Swarovski 8x30 SLC

And an even cheaper alternative, with its own mix of minuses and pluses, is a multi-coated premium Porro prism binocular from the 1990’s or later
e.g. see Roger’s review of the Nikon 8x30 E



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Well-known member

I fully agree with the review (as well the one from Pinac linked and the one from Holger Merlitz on his page - the latter german only).

My pair (snagged up for 210€ for an open box demo - aka retuned unit - when those were discontinued) was probably my best deal for a pair of binoculars and those have been my bins for really bad weather, canoe trips and dragging through tropic jungle.

No complaints so far including several involuntary full immersion tests... I also gave those to people with glasses on several occasions when using my porros and it's been usually ok for them.

So if you can get those below $500, they will serve you well - unless you need a lot of ER due to bulky glasses.

PS: the tricky to mount objective caps get better over time as does the plasticky smell of the armour (or was it the bag) - the latter quite quickly, the former took a year or two. I found the supplied rainguard to be not great and did replace it with some Zeiss West style soft black rubber example off ebay.

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John A Roberts

Well-known member
As can be seen from the information in my previous post, the DCF ED series used two different eyepieces:
• a wider FOV/ shorter ER one for the 8x32 and 10x43, and;
• a longer ER/ narrower FOV one for the 8x43 and 10x50.

And I’ve recently come across two reviews by Arek at Allbinos:
Pentax DCF ED 10x43 - binoculars review - AllBinos.com
Pentax DCF ED 8x43 - binoculars review - AllBinos.com

Both reviews are generally highly favourable, although in both exit pupils are criticised for being 'very truncated' (and the 8x43 is additionally criticised for the narrow FOV).

With the test units:
• the 10x43’s exit pupils were reduced by 7.1% and 6.6%, and;
• the 8x43’s exit pupils were reduced by 1.1% and 8.8%.

So while:
• the 10x43 seems to be indicating a consistent problem;
• the severe discrepancy between the two 8x43 exit pupils is harder to evaluate (perhaps one eyepiece was incorrectly fitted?).
And for comparison, a test of the 8x43's successor, the 8x43 ZD ED shows a more reasonable and consistent 3.8% and 2.9%: Pentax ZD 8x43 ED - binoculars review - AllBinos.com

Confining comments to the 10x43 unit . . .
Criticism of the exit pupils needs to be kept in context. While the EP’s are significantly truncated - in comparison to some other models that Arek's tested -
as can be seen from the photos, their lack of symmetry is still relatively minor.

The 10x43's objectives measured 43 mm. So a 7% reduction to the area of a 43 mm diameter circle, results in a remaining area equivalent to that of a 41.5 mm circle. Taking into account all the favourable attributes mentioned in the review, I for one would not be be unhappy with an effective objective of 41.5 mm.

A far more significant example of reduced EP’s is with the Optolyth Aplin 12x50 Porro prism binocular. See Holger’s review at: Review: 12x50 Optolyth Alpin (Classic) vs. Zeiss Jena Dodecarem vs. Zeiss Jena Nobilem Spezial
He noted that the EP’s measured 3.5 mm in diameter, instead of the expected 4.2 mm. So a 30% reduction to the effective objective diameter, resulting in a 12x42 in use!

And for more information about the successors to the DCF ED series - the ZD ED’s - see: Pentax ZD 10x43 ED



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