Monday, February 2, 2009

Pentax Binoculars 8x43 DCF SP

by : Terry Ross

The DCF SP 8x43 Pentax binoculars are smooth, well balanced, ergonomically designed and beautiful to handle, an excellent match for far more expensive top quality binoculars. If you don’t have £1,000+ to spend and you want high performance superior optics encased in a beautiful lightweight but rugged body then take a serious look at the Pentax DCF SP 8x43’s.

The image quality is amazing, I picked up the DCF SP 8x43 Pentax binoculars expecting a good quality viewing but was pleasantly surprised with the brightness and clarity of the image. The roof prisms are top quality high-refraction Bak-4 and phase coated and like all top quality binoculars the Pentax DCF SP’s come with fully multi coated lenses. Pentax use their own specially formulated lens coating which has been proven to deliver exceptionally bright, high contrast images (according to the brochure) and, in my opinion these binoculars stood up to the hype. I was particularly impressed at how well they performed against my all time favourites, the Swarovski 8.5x42 EL’s which are considerably more expensive.

I was impressed with the speed of focus which for me is an important feature that always influences my buying decision and being able to focus as close as 2mtrs was an added bonus. The eye relief is exceptionally good at 22mm (for the DCF SP 8x43 Pentax binoculars), the ‘twist up’ eye cups are comfortable and easy to use and the exit pupil is 5.4mm, all features that make these Pentax binoculars ideal for spectacle wearers. I did think the attached objective lens covers would prove to be irritating but I was wrong, they hang discretely below the binoculars and don’t get in the way.

The body of the DCF SP Pentax binoculars is fairly compact and exceptionally lightweight (695g) for full size binoculars due to its magnesium-alloy body. They are covered in dark green rubber armouring, which not only makes them exceptionally robust but also comfortable to hold.

As you would expect of a top quality binocular the Pentax DCF SP’s are waterproof (JIS class 6), nitrogen filled and sealed ensuring that they can be used in all weather conditions, and are fully protected against fogging and potentially damaging dust particles.

All in all the 8x43 DCF SP Pentax binoculars get my seal of approval, they are exceptional value for money with many features that make their performance comparable to that of far more expensive binoculars. The high performance optics, lens coatings and prisms are of exceptional quality and the sophisticated inner-focus optical design has helped ensure that the Pentax DCF SP’s are lightweight and compact for 8x43 binoculars. I haven’t tried them for astronomy but they stand up well in a marine environment and they are quite impressive when used for bird watching.

As birding binoculars I still prefer the Swarovski 8.5x43 EL’s but I would still be happy with the Pentax DCF SP’s and given the cost differential I couldn’t say the differences between the two warrant the much higher price tag.

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