• Welcome to BirdForum, the internet's largest birding community with thousands of members from all over the world. The forums are dedicated to wild birds, birding, binoculars and equipment and all that goes with it.

    Please register for an account to take part in the discussions in the forum, post your pictures in the gallery and more.
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Columbia

Pentax Papilo 8.5X21 - user experience (1 Viewer)

ariban

Well-known member
Hello everyone. I live in Rajasthan, a state in the western part of India. These are the tropics and ours is hot (read very hot), dusty place but light is more often very good, say 300+ sunny days or so a year.
I am primarily a bird photographer. But I watch birds too. Amateur bird photographers like me are dime a dozen in these parts and a Fb like or a Instgram share is all most of us care about. Not many in these parts carry a bin when out with nature, unless it is to look for migratory Falcons on the featureless dry bed of Sambhar Salt lake or maybe in the grasslands or dunes of the Thar desert.
Like most guys I too like my toys. I inherited my Dad's 'Boots' branded 7x42 Porros. They still work, are nice and clear enough but they are more than 50 years old and so am I.
I have had more bins. An unnamed porro made in Japan, bought much used in 1993 - armored, heavy with individual eye focusing but bright and clear in fading light. It has no rain cover, objective covers yet not a speck of fungus or dust inside. A dinky made in China Zhumel 8X40, picked up by a friend from USA for less than 45 USD sometime around 2011, which is actually easy to carry and good enough for most purposes, a Bushnell Legend Ultra HD 10x 42 - just about ok - never warmed up to it and a very battered Zeiss FL 8x42 - which has an eyepiece falling out, scratches on the eyepieces and a loose diopter adjustment. Gone for a service to Zeiss India but not too hopeful.

Recently, I got hold of a pair of Pentax Papilio, 8.5X. It is light, very comfortable to use with spectacles and feels natural to handle. The focusing knob has right amount of play and it is a wonderful instrument to watch flowers and Bees. To see a Rock Honeybee busy on a Jacquemontia flower or yellow Wasps sipping from a bird bath - wonderful is indeed the word. I haven't measured it but it starts focusing at around 50cms.

Mornings and afternoons when I sit in the garden (sometimes with a camera and sometimes not) I peer through these binoculars while doing an e-bird checklist. These are crisp and bright. I have some experience with Pentax optics - camera lenses - from non SMC Takumars to present day DA* lenses. I find purple/ green fringing irritating and was pleasantly surprised that the Papilios have well controlled CA - none in the frame centre at least. The FOV is quite good and it does well at twilight, at least in the light when my eyes work. In Jaipur, garden birds here approach the birdbaths (I don't feed them but do put out water) at 15 feet or less at times and the plumage detail on them look gorgeous. I am using these binoculars more than the Bushnells. The week old Red-wattled Lapwing chicks - 4 of them in the latest clutch - look outright ugly in the cutest sense - while the Indian White-eyes (I do dislike changes in common names), appear marvelous in the groomed yellow plumage and funny after they have bathed.

When I got this pair, it came with a generic strap that does not fit. I keep it in its faux case which can go onto a waist belt comfortably. The binocs are lightweight but look well enough in fit and finish (despite that made in China label).

I carried this pair to Ranthambhor National Park in April and have seen wild Tigers - both from near (10 feet) and far and the beasts looked breathtaking. Later that month, in Jaipur saw a wild Leopard - the glistening canines when the Leopard yawned was one fine sight (has anyone here yearned for a camera viewfinder picture as bright and clear as through a good pair of Binoculars?).

I have one worry though. The dust in these parts is ubiquitous - except during a rather short monsoon - so I will think twice before taking it out on birding trips/ safaris. The eyepieces are covered in some rubber like dark greyish/ black material that is a dust magnet. I believe this is not weather sealed (modern Pentax Cameras and lenses are beautifully sealed). But as a pair of binoculars to sit in the garden and relax with - these are great. Am looking forward to the Flycatchers and Leaf Warblers to fly in - I am guessing migration this year will start around mid September.

Arijit
 

jring

Well-known member
Hi Arijit,

thank you for your nice review. While I usually prefer the 6.5x Papilio for close up views of insects due to wider tfov, the 8.5x is nice too. Especially when observing wild tigers... I probably would opt for a spotting scope for some extra range ;-)

Joachim, who has his 6.5x Papilio usually in his backpack when not specifically out for birding...
 

jring

Well-known member
Hello,
Can be this model one alternative for One 8x30 ?
The Papilio is waterproff?
Thanks,
Pluto

Hi,

no, the Papilo series is by no means waterproof. They might fare a bit better in wet or dusty weather than traditional porros due to their internal focus drive so no inner volume change when focusing and sucking wet or dusty air inside. But don't ever clean them under the tap or immerse them like a pair of waterproof roofs.

The 8.5x pair is in my opinion no replacement for a pair of 8x30 - the fov is too restrictive and the exit pupil is too small for use in less than good light plus also a bit finicky to get eye placement right.
Both of these flaws can be alleviated by using the 6.5x version which for that reason is my default pair to put into the backpack when not specifically out for birding...

Joachim
 

pluton

Well-known member
Then, this model, the 8,5x21 maybe it's not the ideal for birding random, what pupil exit have this binocular, too Much finicky eye placement..?
But, in Your opinión best one 8x30 or the 6,5x21 model?...
 

ariban

Well-known member
Hello,
Can be this model one alternative for One 8x30 ?
The Papilio is waterproff?
Thanks,
Pluto
Pluto, the Papilio Binoculars are not waterproof/ dust proof to the best of my knowledge which is a big deviation from their superbly climate proofed DSLRs and modern lenses.

Arijit
 

ariban

Well-known member
Then, this model, the 8,5x21 maybe it's not the ideal for birding random, what pupil exit have this binocular, too Much finicky eye placement..?
But, in Your opinión best one 8x30 or the 6,5x21 model?...
I wear spectacles ( have been from 1975). Astigmatism and all that. But haven’t had an isue of blackouts with the Papilio 8.5x. Light in western part of India is good to too much for most of the year. I find them snappy enough. Bright, nicely sharp and true colours, good micro- contrast. Light weight - they sit out with me whenever I am in the garden and I have taken them into woods - tropical dry deciduous woods - dusty - but not really short of light except say 1900 local time hours onwards in the evenings.

Arijit
 

ariban

Well-known member
Are these as good as the more popular/ pricey 8x30s? The Swarovski CLs or Zeiss 8x Victory pockets? I would not know. My old Zeiss FLs have come back serviced but haven’t used them yet. This Pentax pair is a fancy toy, good for stationary birding, or a leisurely walk. Very good for insects and butterflies, probably better than alphas in this matter. It is however unlikely to take serious field abuse. A birder in Europe I am assuming will have to expose his gear to salty air, saltwater spray, snow, rain and sub-zero temperatures. The better made the bins, the better off you are.
 

jring

Well-known member
Hi,

I guess you will find that your refurbished pair of former alpha Zeiss FL 8x42 will be a better allround pair, but at the price of weight and size. But still the Papilio has its place - either as an everyday pair when not specifically out birding or for watching stuff close-up.

Joachim
 
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Columbia
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Colombia
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Colombia

Users who are viewing this thread

Top