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Rich V.
Post Laureate


Reged: 01/02/05
Posts: 3143
Loc: Lake Tahoe area, Nevada, USA
Pentax DCF SP 10x43 impressions new
      #356797 - 02/26/05 01:56 AM

I have been evaluating my new Pentax SP 10x43s for a couple of weeks. The majority of use so far has been bird watching and I can say for that purpose I have been quite impressed.

At 25 oz. they are about as light as a mid- sized roof prism bino can be, and the feel and finish are excellent. I was a little hesitant at first about the tethered snap- in objective covers but they have turned out to work really well; they pop in and out very easily. The eyepiece rain cover is similar to what many roof binos come with, tethered to one side of the neck strap and releasable from the other. The body is fully waterproof to 1 meter immersion. They are comfortable to hold and have indents on the underside for your thumbs.

The SPs provide a ¼-20 lug for a thin L bracket (I got the Pentax TP-3 which is nice). Most of the expensive roofs require a special expensive adapter for tripod use.

Focus is very fast; focusing from 30’ to infinity requires about 1/6 of a turn of the focuser. It takes a little time getting used to this, as my other binoculars are much slower. I measured close focus under 6'. The locking right diopter adjustment has very fine steps; I really like it. The four-position twist-out eyecups are excellent as well.

The difference between the 60° AFOV of the SPs compared to my 10x50 PCF V’s 50° AFOV is very noticeable. The wider field of the SPs enters the “sweet spot” that in my mind gives a satisfying view. For me 60-65° provides a relaxed feel that narrower AFOVs just can’t. It gives me a connection with what I’m observing that the “through a tube” view just cannot.

The green coatings of the SPs show less reflected light than the PCFs. All reflections in the SPs are deep green while the PCFs show some lighter colored reflections deeper into the optics.

In daytime use there is a softening of the 6° FOV starting around 75% out from center but it doesn’t get really poor until about 90%. This softness turns out to be nearly all due to field curvature. A little more “-“ focus brings things right back again, FWIW. The last 10% however, seems to be hampered by more than curvature and there appears to be a halo of blue CA just inside the field stop. Upon further study, it appears not to be a problem with the objectives but with the eyepieces instead. If I move my eye off axis to study the field stop, this CA goes away; keeping the eye centered and looking at the field stop shows the blue halo. The effect is subtle but it is there if you look for it. This might have to do with the aspheric eyepiece design intended to enhance on- axis sharpness. I’ve not had totally positive experiences with the two other binoculars I have that use aspheric lens elements either.

The limited time spent under the stars due to an exceptionally long cloudy period has convinced me that the SPs are as sharp and bright as my PCF V 10x50s. With binoculars mounted and looking at the Pleiades, I cannot see deeper with the 50s than the 43s; the views appear identical with the exception of the wider field of the SPs. The field curvature of the SPs is more noticeable on stars, however, with the defocusing starting around 65% out. The “sharp” field of both binoculars is around 4°. The wider field of the SPs is still more enjoyable though, despite the loss of crispness at the edge.

For the $465.00 I spent on the SPs, I feel the performance is a very good value. Sure, for 3x this amount I could buy a little wider FOV and/or perhaps a bit sharper edge performance with the Big Four but the price to performance ratio goes way up. I could still get a 25x100 as well and have $500.00 left on the table.

Glenn, if your read this, I would appreciate your comments on the 8x32 SPs you purchased at about the same time I got these 10x43s. I would think they share the same eyepieces and would like to hear your observations. Perhaps you have had a chance to form an opinion over the last couple of weeks.

Rich V

--------------------
Binoculars:
33/50/71/150x100 Saturn III, 22x70ED, 16x70 FMT-SX, 10x50 PCF-V, 10x43 DCF-SP, 10x35 EII, 7x35 E, 8x30 EII,
7x26 Custom, 8x23CF AS Diplomat, 6.5x21 Papilio
Scopes:
C9.25, TMB130SS, SV80S-LOMO 80/480
IDA member


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rouseyfire
sage


Reged: 11/09/04
Posts: 277
Loc: loveland,colorado
Re: Pentax DCF SP 10x43 impressions new [Re: Rich V.]
      #357060 - 02/26/05 10:22 AM

Rich: Thanks for the review. I've been trying to locate a nearby vendor who might have the 10x43's in stock but so far have not been able to find anyone.

Based on your report, I would feel comfortable in ording a pair without actually having to try one first.

It sounds as if my 8x32 is the same binocular only in a smaller size. Same tethered objective caps, same indented area for the thumbs, same eyepiece covers, same fast focus, same nice contrast (with excellent brightness) and same excellent right diopter adjustment ring. The only difference may be the CA or lack thereof. In my smaller SP's, I haven't noticed any CA but that may just be me.

I totally agree that the SP model is an excellent buy and is a top choice for the money. I have looked at the Nikon SE's and other high price binos and for me, the Pentax SP represents the best 'bang for the buck' that I could find. I know that others may disagree but it really comes down to a personal choice based on feel, optic quiality, ease of use and price.

I've said before that based on my own personal experience with several different models of Pentax binoculars, I would go back to the SP line for a 10x pair of binoculars. Your review has confirmed my thinking.

Everytime the clouds are away (and the snow, rain, hail, etc), I take my 20x80's outside for use and haven't really used the 8x32's. Although I'm not a "birder", with the SP's I have found an outstanding pair of binoculars for viewing the birds that come to our feeders in the backyard--I never knew we had that many different birds stopping buy to have breakfast, lunch and dinner--I even added a feeder (a wire container with a block of various seeds) that a red-headed woodpecker just loves.

All in all, I totally agree with your review and purchase. Now it's money saving time so I too can have the 10x43's.

PS: Your $465.00 seems to be an excellent price. Where did you buy?

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



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Erik D
Post Laureate


Reged: 04/28/03
Posts: 4066
Loc: Central New Jersey, USA
Re: Pentax DCF SP 10x43 impressions new [Re: rouseyfire]
      #357099 - 02/26/05 11:03 AM

Quote:


....... I have looked at the Nikon SE's and other high price binos and for me, the Pentax SP represents the best 'bang for the buck' that I could find. ......

PS: Your $465.00 seems to be an excellent price. Where did you buy?




Rich,

Great review. I am sure it will find a good home in our mini review section.

Glen,

I also checked out the Pentax DCF line closely when I was shopping for compact roof prisms in 2003-2004. I like the DCF SP very much but finally settled on the Eagle Optics Ranger Platinum 8X32 last May.

http://www.eagleoptics.com/index.asp?dept=1&type=13&pid=3409

I liked the slightly smaller size and 3 ft close focus. The EO RP is also available in 10X42 and 10X50 size. I think it's worth a look if you want to up size. EO dropped the 12X50 model last year so I went with this one when I decided to get a higher power WP RP last Nov:

http://www.adorama.com/LD1250WRO.html

Adorama.com have competitive prices on several hundred other binoculars. I also checked focuscamera, beachcamera and B& H photo. Usually end up buying bino from Adorama or EO. My Leupold Wind River Olympic 12X50 was purchased from Wholesale Hunter in MO for ~ $350. I ordered the 50mm tethered objective covers from EO and it was a perfect fit. I think EO has free UPS ground shipping on many binos. You may want to keep this in mind when you are comparing prices....

Erik D


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Rich V.
Post Laureate


Reged: 01/02/05
Posts: 3143
Loc: Lake Tahoe area, Nevada, USA
Re: Pentax DCF SP 10x43 impressions new [Re: rouseyfire]
      #357175 - 02/26/05 12:21 PM

Hi, glenn,

Thanks. Just as I complained of months of gray/ snowy weather, I was greeted this AM by a spectacular sunrise with the first light just hitting the summits of the snowy Carson Range across the valley from me. It was a real treat and certainly a welcome change.

Anyhow, I purchased the 10x43s so I could have a lightweight higher power glass to take hiking or watching birds in the yard or whatever. It’s wide-open country here in western NV and 10x is real handy to have around. I think I recall you saying it was bald eagle season out your way, it’s the same over here. My wife and I have been pretty successful spotting the eagles out in the cow pastures up the valley. These binos are good for the purpose. My 16x70s on a tripod are pretty good as well! ;^)

I ordered the bins from 17th Street Photo for $465. but shipping was $18. Still a good price. I’m not a big fan on “NY” photo stores but this store had very positive feedback which is so sadly lacking from many other stores in the area. EO was out of stock; they have a bit higher price but have a good rep. We have no local stores here.

The prices were very competitive and I had delivery in three days. I purchased the TP-3 L bracket at Optics Planet for $30. delivered. The bracket is aluminum and very thin so there is no interference with the IPD. It even has a ¼-20 hole to screw the objective caps into for storage and use. Also works great with the 10x50s of course!

Best Regards,

Rich V

--------------------
Binoculars:
33/50/71/150x100 Saturn III, 22x70ED, 16x70 FMT-SX, 10x50 PCF-V, 10x43 DCF-SP, 10x35 EII, 7x35 E, 8x30 EII,
7x26 Custom, 8x23CF AS Diplomat, 6.5x21 Papilio
Scopes:
C9.25, TMB130SS, SV80S-LOMO 80/480
IDA member


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Anonymous
Unregistered




Re: Pentax DCF SP 10x43 impressions new [Re: Rich V.]
      #357542 - 02/26/05 09:14 PM

Quote:



I ordered the bins from 17th Street Photo for $465. but shipping was $18.




This is how they make any money on optics: overcharging for freight. They sell them for a very low price (dealer price on this model is $449), which your local retailer cannot compete with, the buyer thinks he is getting a good deal at $465 (profit for camera house: $16), then, when the invoice arrives, an extra $10 (or whatever) is added to freight over-and-above the actual shipping cost (profit for camera house, now: $26).

The buyer is oblivious to all this, of course. After all, he got his glasses for "$465" but, this is why there are no "local dealers" for most folks to handle these products. It makes no sense stocking $400-$500 binos if he must compete with such a tiny margin ($16).


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Rich V.
Post Laureate


Reged: 01/02/05
Posts: 3143
Loc: Lake Tahoe area, Nevada, USA
Re: Pentax DCF SP 10x43 impressions [Re: ]
      #357582 - 02/26/05 10:17 PM

David,

It seems that a higher than normal shipping fee or "shipping and handling" have become the norm in the mail order business regardless of what the product is. Frequently I'll see a $7. item that takes another $7. to get it delivered. One must be aware of this for sure.

It was my oversight to state $465.; that was the number that stuck in my mind of course. Still, $483. is a very low price for these binoculars. The dealer was totally up front about the shipping charges; there was no surprise. I just add it all together to compare. If I have to mail order them anyway, why not shop for price? Cabela's sells them for $649. and still charges freight. 17th Street is just making a bit over 5% if your numbers are correct. Pretty competitive business I'd say. This is the same phenomenon that has made Wal Mart the killer of small businesses all over the land.

As far as local stores not carrying a good selection, you're right, they can't compete with mail order. If I lived in Oklahoma City, close to Astronomics, for example, I would gladly pay their slightly higher price for the priviledge of looking at a wide array of optics first hand. It's just not happening here. I ran all over Reno trying to get my hands on the Pentax but only a couple hunting stores had any quality binoculars at all. Most of the consumer world seems to settle for cheap Tasco or Bushnell glass in blister packs.

Why are Chinese products so popular these days? Most everyone is looking for a "deal". This is our "Market Economy" at work, FWIW.

Rich V

--------------------
Binoculars:
33/50/71/150x100 Saturn III, 22x70ED, 16x70 FMT-SX, 10x50 PCF-V, 10x43 DCF-SP, 10x35 EII, 7x35 E, 8x30 EII,
7x26 Custom, 8x23CF AS Diplomat, 6.5x21 Papilio
Scopes:
C9.25, TMB130SS, SV80S-LOMO 80/480
IDA member


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