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BarrySimon615
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 03/01/04
Posts: 2126
Loc: New Orleans, LA
Pentax PCF Series Porro Prism Binoculars new
      #348227 - 02/18/05 12:37 PM

I got my first pair about 14 years ago. Those were 8x40 PCF II's. The body was grey and the field was wider than what is available today in the same size (PCF WP or WPII). I did not keep that first pair long as the edge of field was not particularly good and I did not care much for the styling anyway. Later when the Type III's came out with a totally new body style (best ergonomics I had ever seen in a binocular then, about 1996, and still the best in my opinion) I picked up a pair of the 12x50's, followed shortly by a pair of 7x50's. The 12x50's terrestrially had outstanding edge of field definition/sharpness and the 7x50's were even better. I still have the 12x50's but the 7x50's were sold 5 or 6 years ago. These Pentax PCF III's had a grey body, traditional eye cups (rubber fold down)
and were made in Japan.

The next model were Pentax PCF V's. I believe the very early ones were made in Japan but most were made in China. They had the same body as the III's, but the body was now black and the eyepieces had an outer "pop-up" shell which is fairly massive. I have or have had the 8x40, 10x50 and 16x60 in the PCF V. Except for the labeling, above the lower objective barrel, the prism/focuser/eyepiece assembly
all looks to be identical irrespective of objective size.

A few years ago Pentax introduced the PCF WP, essentially a "waterproof" version of the PCF V. Pictures will show an obvious difference to the body in the form of a sponson on either side of the upper body prism assembly that serves as the attachment point for the straps. The older strap attachment point was flush with the side of the binoculars and in my opinion was just as functional and was no obstacle in holding the binoculars. The "sponsons" will be felt if you tend to grasp the binocuars closer to the eyepieces.

Other differences between the V's and the WP are some slight body style changes, nothing really major, but noticeable. The most obvious difference beside the "sponsons" is the raised "Pentax" name in gold lettering on the prism housings. I think this will have the tendency to rub the gold paint down over time thru simply taking them out of and putting them back into the case. The case is different too, it is now a black material case much like what Nikon has for the Action Extreme series. I think this case should be more durable than the earlier soft leather (or "leather-like" case) that the III's and V's have.

Another noticeable difference is in the smoothness of the focuser. As the WP's are water-proof, that additional grease and (o-ring?)packing causes this focuser to be a lot stiffer. It is not nearly as smooth at the focuser that the PCF III and V series has. Certainly this means it has less of a tendancy to shift, but all of these guys have Focus Lock anyway.

One area where there is improvement compared to the III's and V's is seen when you look down the barrel from the objective end. In short the guts look better - better made prism housings, better finished prism sides and better internal coatings and anti reflective paint. When I look at the reflection of the lights on my den ceiling fan in the objective of the 12x50 PCF III's, I see a greenish primary image and a neutral secondary reflection. Thru the 10x50 PCF V's, I get the same greenish primary image and a bluish secondary image. However thru the 10x50 WP's, I see two greenish images. I also noticed less ghosting of the Moon thru the new WP's.

Another thing that I previously noticed on the older PCF V's when I got them a few years ago was that in both barrels some of the prism corners had kind of an irregular smooth and shiny raw look to them. They looked unfinished, and chipped, but this is noticed in the same corners in both barrels and if chipped these edges were irregularly smooth - kind of like the surface of an ice carving. This was out of the field of view but I question whether or not this can contribute to ghosting. I have seen this in several other binoculars. I do not see this at all in the 10x50 WP's. Perhaps Cory Suddarth can comment on this?

I did take out a number of the 50's last night including Carton Adlerblick 7x50, Nikon Action Extreme 10x50, Pentax PCF V 10x50, Pentax PCF WP 10x50, Fujinon Series 2000 10x50 and Pentax PCF III 12x50. Best edge of field was seen in the Carton Adlerblick 7x50 followed by the Pentax 12x50, the Pentax PCF V and WP 10x50's (tie), and finally the Nikon Action Extreme and Fujinon 2000 10x50's.

Central sharpness was clearly best with the Nikon Action Extreme 10x50's and while all the Pentax binoculars were good here, the Nikon was clearly a little better. While the Nikon edge of field was worse, it was not that much worse in my opinion. Visual appreciation of field size was pretty much equivalent with the Nikon (adverised 65 degree apparent), Fujinon (advertised 75 degrees apparent) and the
Carton Adlerblick (advertised 42 degrees apparent). All exhibited about a 6 degree realized true field. So Carton was realistic in their field labeling, Nikon was a bit over optimistic and Fujinon was very optimistic. In defense of Nikon and Fujinon, the field I saw was with the eye cups all the way up and looking on-axis. Eyecups down will give you a little more field and even more can be squeezed out if you pear around, much like looking thru a TeleVue Nagler eyepiece. However this is not how most look thru binoculars.

The Pentax 5 degree true field labeling for both binoculars appears to be very realistic and while obviously smaller than the field seen thru the first 3 pair of binoculars, is not really that much smaller when you look at what you can see and what you are missing - approximately 20% more field by diameter with the first three.

The Pentax 12x50 with it's 4.2 degree field had a clearly smaller field but the image scale tended to make up for it. 12x, however, is, in my opinion, too much to handhold, so these really are in a "what do you do with them?" category.

The focusing action was best on the older Pentax PCF III and the Pentax PCF V as well as the Carton Adlerblick. I like the feel of all the Pentax binoculars in my hand; however I also like the feel of the Nikon too, but am less enamored of it's overall body style. It does however have the most practical and functional click stop eyecups.

So what am I doing with all of these? I bought the Pentax WP's as a possible door prize for the star party I manage, but I will keep them for me and buy another pair for the star party. (The camera store where I bought them bought a bunch and they are being sold for $159.00). I will sell the older Pentax PCF V's, I cannot justify keeping them. Both the binoculars and case look new and I have the box too - any offers?. The 7x50 and 12x50's admittedly are not used much but will be kept for those special opportunities where their magnifications and exit pupils are best utilized. The Fujinon Series 2000 has become somewhat collectable. Not many were made and it is a very rugged binocular. While I probably should sell it, I cannot see myself doing that or at least not just now.

With all this being said, I see that Pentax now has a new PCF WP II. It is listed and pictured in the Cabela's catalog and there are some slight differences in comparison to the WP's. There is a very large raised "Pentax" on both objective barrels, it is a little heavier too. I can find no other info from other sources. Apparently too it looks like the 16x60 has been dropped, or at least Cabela's does not list it in their catalog. It remains to be seen what if any real optical differences there may be in comparison to earlier models in the Pentax line.

Barry Simon


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KennyJ
The British Flash


Reged: 04/27/03
Posts: 20139
Loc: Lancashire UK
Re: Pentax PCF Series Porro Prism Binoculars new [Re: BarrySimon615]
      #348236 - 02/18/05 12:51 PM

Barry,

Thanks for unravelling some of the mind -boggling mysteries of the most confusing and unimaginitively - named series of binoculars I can think of.

I bet you wish now that someone had asked the question :

"Does anyone know the differences between the various Pentax PCF series binoculars ? " :-)

Seriously , I hope EdZ sees fit to add this highly informative "article" to the CN " mini -reviews" section.

Regards , Kenny

--------------------


Milton Wilcox R.I.P






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BarrySimon615
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 03/01/04
Posts: 2126
Loc: New Orleans, LA
Re: Pentax PCF Series Porro Prism Binoculars new [Re: KennyJ]
      #348283 - 02/18/05 01:33 PM

Kenny,

PCF stands for Porro Center Focus. I don't believe there was a PCF I. Maybe they just used the term PCF, someone else can comment. They did not have a PCF IV because "4" is an unlucky number in Japanese culture, or so I have been told. Maybe this is myth. Once again, someone may want to comment about this too.

Beyond the name, the series does incorporate some imaginative features including the styling, the pop-up eyecups, the "Focus Lock" and the click stop diopter adjustment. Had Pentax been able to incorporate wider field eyepieces into this series perhaps giving a realistic 60 degree apparent field with realistic edge performance, these would have been the binoculars of choice for many amateur astronomers.

Pentax has a relatively new series of porro prism binoculars which are a bit less expensive that are wide field models. I have not looked at or thru a pair so I cannot comment on them. I do know that I do not like the ergonomics nearly as much as the PCF series.

Barry Simon


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rouseyfire
sage


Reged: 11/09/04
Posts: 277
Loc: loveland,colorado
Re: Pentax PCF Series Porro Prism Binoculars new [Re: BarrySimon615]
      #348402 - 02/18/05 03:18 PM

Barry: Thanks for the information. I have the 12x50 PCF III, that I still use handheld without too much of a problem. I totally agree that the series III justs fit my hands great with great optics. I had the 16x60's for a while and loved them but after getting the Oberwerk 20x80's, I though the 16's were a little too redundant.

I assume that you are referring to the later model PCF's as to pop-up eyecups and focus lock---my pcf III's have neither.

I have never found a "bad" pair of Pentax binoculars and each one I've looked through have been in perfect collimation. That's one reason why I purchased the 8x32SP's. If (when) I add another pair on binos in the 10x range, I will first look at the Pentax SP line.

--------------------
glenn



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KennyJ
The British Flash


Reged: 04/27/03
Posts: 20139
Loc: Lancashire UK
Re: Pentax PCF Series Porro Prism Binoculars new [Re: rouseyfire]
      #348630 - 02/18/05 07:01 PM

Barry,

Thanks for your translation.

It was not so much the P( orro )C( entre )F (ocus)aspect of the labelling that dissapointed me as :

1. The use of ROMAN Numerals

2. The unexplained omission of certain numbers ( 1 and 4 ) whilst conceding that according to some people(such as Meatloaf ? )perhaps 3 out of 5 ain't bad :-)

3. The decision to incorporate the letter PC into models OTHER than the PCF series.

4.The decision to use PCF and simply add any number , letter or apparant flavour of the month to a name of any subsequent model , rather than utilise more imaginative titles which might have made matters less ambiguous for the buyer , user , collector or historian.

Thanks again for your efforts,

Kenny

--------------------


Milton Wilcox R.I.P






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brocknroller
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 10/16/03
Posts: 1983
Loc: Bedford Falls, Pa.
Re: Pentax PCF Series Porro Prism Binoculars new [Re: KennyJ]
      #348754 - 02/18/05 09:12 PM

Barry,

Did you notice any difference in sharpness between the PCF V and PCF WP models? Both John Cota and I had both models of the 20X60, and we found the "V" to be sharper. Not sure if we both had bad samples, but the fact that two people found the same results makes me wonder. They were also too heavy, didn' t like them. Not a big fan of the bullet head eyecups, like the rubber eyecups on the "III" model better. However, the 20X60 PCF V was one of the sharpest bins I've used, particularly for the price point. However, each sample I bought had either mechanical or optical problems. Poor quality control, at least when they first came out, perhaps that's changed, I had a 20X60 from the first run. Also got the WP soon after it came out. Perhaps like new version software, with Chinese bins, it's best to wait for future "updates" (even though the model # is the same).

Brock

--------------------
Press: Are you a mod or a rocker?
Ringo: I'm a mocker


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BarrySimon615
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 03/01/04
Posts: 2126
Loc: New Orleans, LA
Re: Pentax PCF Series Porro Prism Binoculars new [Re: brocknroller]
      #349277 - 02/19/05 10:04 AM

Quote:

Barry,

Did you notice any difference in sharpness between the PCF V and PCF WP models? Both John Cota and I had both models of the 20X60, and we found the "V" to be sharper.
Brock




Actually the PCF V and PCF WP that I have are close in performance, BUT, if I absolutely had to say which one yielded the sharper stellar images, it would be the older PCF V. The difference is ever so slight and perhaps the smoother focusing action of the non-waterproof PCF V's give it an advantage over the PCF WP which have a stiffer focusing movement fairly common with waterproof binoculars.

I hauled out both the PCF 10x50 models again last night. I also used the Nikon Action Extreme 10x50. While in practice the Nikon Action Extreme has a "seen" field of view which is 20% greater in diameter than the Pentax PCF binoculars, the edge of field does not suffer as much as some would have you believe for being "wide angle" type eyepieces. Yes the field edge stars are not as good as what is seen in the Pentax PCF, however the star image quality in the Nikon at 70% out is equivalent to what is seen in the Pentax at 80% out, and 80% out in the Nikon is equivalent to the Pentax at 90% out. I would say from field center the image quality in the Nikon remains essentially unchanged out to 50% out and in the Pentax to 60% out. However the initial image quality with the Nikon is better. Assuming that the Nikon has a useable field of 80% under most circumstances and the Pentax a 90% field, we are talking about a slightly larger good field in the Nikon.

When concentrating on a target at field center, the whole field becomes useable, at least for framing purposes so the perception of "being in space" is much more apparent in the Nikon binoculars. That is truly their advantage and this is really the disadvantage of the Pentax binoculars, that is, their limited field. As I paid only $99 for the Pentax PCF V new a few years ago, I may use them as a guinea pig to see if some additional field size can be coaxed out of them, either by modifying the eyepiece receptacle and changing the eyepieces or by modifying the eyepiece field stop. Any advise will be appreciated.

Barry Simon


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Swedpat
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 02/18/05
Posts: 1144
Loc: Boden, Sweden, Scandinavia
Re: Pentax PCF Series Porro Prism Binoculars new [Re: BarrySimon615]
      #352439 - 02/22/05 06:15 AM

Barry!

I called Pentax here in Sweden to ask about the new PCF WP II-serie. It soon will be released here. He send me Pentax own info as pdf-file. I cannot se any important differences in comparison to the PCF WP models.
The technical specifikations of field of view and eye-relief is the same and the eye cups seems at the picture to be the same. Even the price will be unchanged. Everything points to it,s the same binocular with a slightly new design.
The 7x50 and 16x60 models are removed.

The question is if I should wait a while and hope for some rebating of the old models...

--------------------
*2,3x40 Constellation View Wide-Bino
*Leupold Katmai 6x32
*Nikon Sporter I 8x36
*Swarovski SLCNew 7x42B
*Bresser (Lidl) 10x50
*Oberwerk 11x70
*Stellarvue SV50 spottingscope
*Meade 5000 26mm Plössl, Vixen LV 10/5mm

Psalm 19:2


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kentak
sage


Reged: 07/09/03
Posts: 476
Loc: Colorado, USA
Re: Pentax PCF Series Porro Prism Binoculars new [Re: Swedpat]
      #352865 - 02/22/05 03:44 PM

I bought a pair of Pentax 7x50 PCF binos 2 years ago. This was my first astronomy purchase and I didn't want to spend a lot. They were on clearance for about $100. Little did I know what they would lead to. I still have them, and they are the most comfortable and easy to use of all the binos that I've gotten since then. For a quick look they are the first I grab. My only regret was that I should've gotten the 10x50s.

--------------------
Ken
N8i
80ED
C8-NGT
XX12
Binos


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rouseyfire
sage


Reged: 11/09/04
Posts: 277
Loc: loveland,colorado
Re: Pentax PCF Series Porro Prism Binoculars new [Re: kentak]
      #352954 - 02/22/05 05:17 PM

Swedpat: Just called Pentax USA in Colorado and they just recieved a new flyer showing the new PCF WP II's. They will be in 8x40, 10x50, 12x50 and 20x60 sizes. I only checked on the FOV for the 12x50 and they are the same as the older model. Not sure, but I would guess all the specs are the same for the new II series. And you're correct, they do not show the new series including eith the 7x50's or 16x60's.

With the 16x60's being discontinued, I'm tempted to buy another pair--had them and liked them except for the smallest FOV but very good optics.

--------------------
glenn



Edited by rouseyfire (02/22/05 05:19 PM)


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Swedpat
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 02/18/05
Posts: 1144
Loc: Boden, Sweden, Scandinavia
Re: Pentax PCF Series Porro Prism Binoculars new [Re: rouseyfire]
      #353568 - 02/23/05 06:54 AM

One thing I have reacted about is the bad information at Pentax official websites. Already sells stores in USA the new PCF WP II serie, but neither in Pentax America, Canada, England, German or Sweden have i seen any information about the new models. In some countries they still show models who are not more in production and not more available.

--------------------
*2,3x40 Constellation View Wide-Bino
*Leupold Katmai 6x32
*Nikon Sporter I 8x36
*Swarovski SLCNew 7x42B
*Bresser (Lidl) 10x50
*Oberwerk 11x70
*Stellarvue SV50 spottingscope
*Meade 5000 26mm Plössl, Vixen LV 10/5mm

Psalm 19:2


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brocknroller
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 10/16/03
Posts: 1983
Loc: Bedford Falls, Pa.
Re: Pentax PCF Series Porro Prism Binoculars new [Re: Swedpat]
      #354498 - 02/23/05 10:10 PM

Eagle Optics carries all four PCF WP II models.
http://www.eagleoptics.com/search.asp?q=Pentax+PCF+WP+II+

Specs looks similar to the previous models.

--------------------
Press: Are you a mod or a rocker?
Ringo: I'm a mocker


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BarrySimon615
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 03/01/04
Posts: 2126
Loc: New Orleans, LA
Re: Pentax PCF Series Porro Prism Binoculars new [Re: brocknroller]
      #354576 - 02/23/05 11:29 PM

The binoculars pictured on the Eagle Optics site are not the new PCF WP II. What is pictured is the older/current WP. The only image I have seen of the new WP II is in the current Cabela's catalog (and that image may be on the Cabela's web site too). The new WP II has the word Pentax in raised, but not painted letters on the side of the objective tubes. The older WP has Pentax in raised letters and painted gold on the sides of the prism housings.

Personally I like the form of the older WP a bit better. The newer WP II is also a bit heavier, and has been pointed out, the 16x60 has been dropped from the line.

Barry Simon


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cota_scope
sage


Reged: 05/16/04
Posts: 357
Loc: sioux city ia
Re: Pentax PCF Series Porro Prism Binoculars new [Re: BarrySimon615]
      #354605 - 02/24/05 12:02 AM

here is a picture of the new wpIIs Pentax WP II at cabellas


edited only to shrink long URL

Edited by EdZ (06/25/06 12:43 PM)


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brocknroller
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 10/16/03
Posts: 1983
Loc: Bedford Falls, Pa.
Re: Pentax PCF Series Porro Prism Binoculars new [Re: cota_scope]
      #354683 - 02/24/05 01:26 AM

Ergonomically, the difference is in the chamfering. Whereas the old WPs have rounded barrels like the PCF Vs, the new WP II's have more "squarish" barrels, with two beveled lines, one that runs along the top outer edge and the other along the bottom outer edge. Reminds me of the chamfering on the Meade Montana. You also get a raised rubber "Pentax" for gripping like the DCF SP model. But, other than those slight design changes, if anybody finds out what's new "under the hood," please post that info.

Do they have the same optics or did they make them sharper (already sharp), better color corrected (could use that!), larger FOV (nope, same narrower than average FOV). Can't tell if they changed the eyecups (which I never liked), but I do see a lever controlled right diopter, similar to Minolta Activa WP/FP and Nikon AEs (the Minolta diopter has click stops, the AE does not, but still hold well).

Wish I knew Pentax was making a new version, I would have sent in my wish list:
1. Larger FOVs with good, though not necessarily perfect, edges
2. Softer rubber (not plastic) twist-up eyecups with click stops
3. Lose the sharp-edged bevel on top of the prism housing, make the prism housing more rounded with front-slanted chamfering ala Nikon SEs and Minolta Activa WP/FPs.
4. Make the optics with improved color correction, too much CA for a porro.
5. Reduce the weight with magnesium alloy body and aspheric objective lenses.
6. Make generous thumb indents at the bottom so Barry's thumbs won't get squished!
7. Keep the price affordable.
8. Bring back the 10X40, 7X50, and 16X60.
9. Recess the nameplate into the prism housing.
10. Make the rubber armoring more "skin like" (similar to SE, Minolta WP/FP, Swift Audubon) and lose the raised "Pentax".

--------------------
Press: Are you a mod or a rocker?
Ringo: I'm a mocker


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Rich N
Post Laureate


Reged: 09/22/04
Posts: 5618
Loc: San Francisco Bay Area, Calif...
Re: Pentax PCF Series Porro Prism Binoculars new [Re: brocknroller]
      #354695 - 02/24/05 01:51 AM

Do you folks find much of a problem with alignment of the two sides of the higher power Pentax DCP binoculars?
Two I've looked through were not aligned.

Rich

Edited by Rich N (02/24/05 01:53 AM)


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BarrySimon615
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 03/01/04
Posts: 2126
Loc: New Orleans, LA
Re: Pentax PCF Series Porro Prism Binoculars [Re: Rich N]
      #354884 - 02/24/05 10:00 AM

Studying the Cabela photo of the 10x50 PCF WP II, it almost looks like the eyecups could be a new design as per #2 on Brocknroller's wish list. That would be a great addition. Maybe I will give Cabela's a call.

Additionally the new design of the objective tubes virtually mandates that the caps for the end of the objective be male plugs rather than female caps. That is what the Nikon Action Extreme has. The potential problem however with the plugs is that it is possible in removing them you can brush the edge of the plastic plug against the objective surface unless it is recessed deeply or you really remove one carefully.

I agree with all of the points made except for numbers 3 and 5. I would not change the ergonomics, I believe that is one of the Pentax PCF strong points plus I clipped my thumbs with the garden trimmer the other day so no problem! Regarding the weight, I like them heavy, a heavier binocular helps dampen vibrations. We all have different likes and dislikes!

Barry Simon


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