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Pentax PCF now made WHERE???

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#26 lighttrap

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Posted 24 July 2004 - 09:06 AM

Tom, I think your question is so important, that I'm going to spin it off into a separate thread. Unlike Bill, I'm not at all hessitant about mentioning very specific models. It'll take me awhile to compile this list, as I'm pretty busy this weekend, but I should have the barebones of it hammered out by tommorrow.

Your comment about your kid's astroscan is interesting. Personally, I found that I prefered most binos to an XT4.5, unless I was specifically wanting extra magnification to look at a very specific target. Even then, I found I actually had more fun sweeping the skies for M objects with low power binos compared to tediously, and meticulously hunting them down in the 4.5. Sure, the scope showed more detail, but it was also lots more work. YMMV

#27 Tom L

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Posted 24 July 2004 - 10:54 AM

Looking forward to that one, Mike! I think the question Tom asked is going to be nearly impossible to answer as to a specific model for a specific price. I would think the best you could hope for would be 4 or 6 binocs in each price category, with the strengths and weaknesses of each pair of glasses listed. Talk about a subjective list!

#28 BillC

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Posted 24 July 2004 - 05:17 PM

. . . Unlike Bill, I'm not at all hessitant about mentioning very specific models.


Ouch!!!

Lest anyone think I hold my tongue for reasons of cowardice, I would like to say it isn't. I have told more than one high-powered manufacturer to pack sand because they wanted me to go in a direction that I felt would compromise integrity for dollars. BUT, there are good reasons to watch what you put in print.

Case in point: before using my Nikon Superior E for birding, I used--and I'm still happy with--a Swift 8.5x44 Audubon. I like that bino very much and wrote about it in the previously mentioned S & T article. However, the Audubon being imported TODAY is NOT the Audubon I spoke of in 1996. So, should my feelings about it stay the same? Lets, just say that when I heard of the switch, I ordered all of the older models I could get. By the way, I think Swift is a great company, and I support them whenever possible. I am pleased to have known Humphrey (Hop) Swift.

I also have some Celestron Nobels in my store that are VERY good and were made in Japan, which have now been replaced by Nobels made--I think--in China. Do I feel the same about these?

Is this uncommon? No. Then why put one's neck on the block for an ever-changing, and potentially embarrassing market?

I am not being mean or arrogant. However, when walking through a mine field, it is better to do so slowly, softly, and without a pocket full of magnets.

Just some thoughts,

Bill

P.S. And as for the subject of the astroscan:

The astroscan is a cheap telescope . . . a Very Nice cheap telescope. I have always enjoyed using them. Richard Berry still enjoys his. Also, without a second telescope strapped to the side, and having the primary and secondary in fixed positions, collimation is RARELY an issue. This, automatically puts it head and shoulders above most inexpensive binoculars which were already out of alignment BEFORE they reached the store shelves.

Also, there always seems to be at least one person on every list I have ever visited ready to throw accusations that I talk so much about collimation because I want to drum up business for my shop. SO, I think it wise to say that a) my meter STARTS at $80.00, and b) that I always have more work than I can handle, anyway.

#29 Tom L

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Posted 24 July 2004 - 05:42 PM

Bill, I didn't see Mike slighting you at all with that statement. You've actually gone out of your way to lets us know the tightrope that you walk and have walked. I respect that and also know that each of us has an opinion based on subjective thought. Doesn't mean I won't learn a great deal from you because you won't tell me which particular glasses to get...it still boils down to me and what I consider comfortable and acceptable to me. I do hope that you will point me in the right direction and tell me what to look for along the way as I try to decide what is and isn't acceptable and honestly, I can't ask for more than that.

I don't see you as mean or arrogant...just realistic. I appreciate your advice and it is up to me to decide what to do with it.

#30 BillC

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Posted 24 July 2004 - 07:15 PM

Bill, I didn't see Mike slighting you at all with that statement.


I was being too playful. Because I have been around since water was in the experimental stages, I sometimes assume that people know how to take me. I really just wanted to clarify.

I will be glad to answer specific questions--as time permits. But, no one has a monopoly on good ideas.

For years, I used nothing but Rickenbacker guitars--32 of them. Now, I own three Strats and not a single Ric. Does that mean they went south? Nope; it's just that MY particular needs have changed. If God played guitar, it would probably be a Rickenbacker. But then . . .

I am enjoying this list very much, I don't know all the ins and outs of trying to use it but I'm learning.

#31 lighttrap

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Posted 25 July 2004 - 06:47 AM

I was being too playful.

That's good. Because I was, too. Seriously, no offense meant at all. None.

I totally agree with you about the binocular marketplace being an ever changing minefield. But, I do think it's possible to steer people in the direction that let's them make up their own minds. One of the problems I'm often faced with, is that I've tried so many binoculars that I wind up hamstrung by my own predjudices. Another problem, is that most of my favored binoculars are now at least one generation older than what's currently marketed. For that reason, with only a handful of exceptions, I'll rarely say, "Buy this specific binocular." Rather I'll say, "Here's a list that should have something close to what you're looking for. Try as many as possible yourself to determine which one's suit you the best."

And Bill, I think my head would explode if I'd been at this as long as you have and had seen as many changes as you have and tried or owned as many optics as you have.

Regards,
Mike Swaim

#32 Guest_**DONOTDELETE**_*

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Posted 25 July 2004 - 07:59 AM

Mike (and others that may submit contributions),
I have a suggestions regarding a list of recommended binos (or any other pieces of astro equipment) that are subject to change over time (improvements or reductions). The suggestion is to add identification information, such as: serial number, date of manufacture, date of purchase, model number, etc.

This is done in most disciplines/industries where comparisons of quality are made or are important to customers, collectors or quality control.

I would suggest that identification of a product would still be possible with mass produced items by Lot number, date of purchase, or other such data. One just has to take the time to look for it (not a character trait of some impatient individuals who stop at the name imprinted on the object in question and are thereafter mystified why one version of a brand's product may differ over time).

At any rate, that's my suggestion and I believe it would go a long way to distinguish various permutations/generations/variations of binos in a list of recommended products that may span several years.

Lastly, in that I have been very fortunate to find a pair of binos that I am totally satisfied with, I will still be looking forward to the list that Mike produces. Thank you in advance Mike.

Nick

#33 KennyJ

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Posted 25 July 2004 - 11:01 AM

While Tom T's request for one "at a glance list" of "best buys" within those price band categories is a very tempting one to address , I think it needs to be established for what PURPOSE these binoculars are intended to be used.

Since this IS a ASTRO BINO forum , I presume all considerations will be geared towards ASTRONOMY and not terrestrial , all -round , sport - watching or bird -watching etc.

Even within the specialist genre of "astro -use", very serious consideration must also be given to the fact that anything over around 10x , and certainly over 12x , would require some sort of ( money draining ) tripod / mount to get the best use from that model.

There is also the limiting factor of US market price -banding as opposed to other world place prices , which can vary VERY considerably indeed.

In spite of the above , I greatly look forward to Mike's attempt to compile some sort of list , which I'm sure many others will also appreciate.

Regards , Kenny.

#34 Joe Ogiba

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Posted 25 July 2004 - 11:08 AM

I purchased my Pentax PCF 20x60's over four years ago and I would guess that is when Pentax started a PCF production line in China . They have a small AFOV but they are sharp all the way to the edge.

Joe

#35 BarrySimon615

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Posted 25 July 2004 - 12:14 PM

Let's say I got wiped out by fire or theft and got an insurance check to replace the 15 pair of binoculars that I now own, what would I do? I certainly would not get another 15 pair of binoculars, the insurance check would not allow that. I also have some pair now that while I have trouble parting with them, I would not replace them as they get little use and there is, admittedly, a lot of redundancy.

Here is what I would get (from top to bottom) -

1) 20x100 Miyauchi - I have been very happy with these. My particular pair is sharper than the 20x77 Miyauchi I have which I would have to pass on.

2) 16x70 Fujinon FMT-SX, I have had a lot of binoculars in the 60 to 80 mm objective size category and these are the ones to beat. 15x70 Chinese from various manufacturers are nice for the price, but the Fujinons are in a whole different league.

3) Fujinon FMT-SX Type II 10x50, not available in the U.S. yet, but will be eventually. The 10x50 category has been plagued by a number of good models (Nikon Exceed, Pentax PCF, and others)that just fall a little short in one category are another. The individual focus of the Fujinons would not be a problem as they would be infinity focused for astronomy use most of the time.

4) 8.5x44 Swift Audubon ED, extremely sharp at field center, 8.2 degree field, waterproof, nice eyecups. These would be my higher power handheld day use binoculars with occasional turns at looking at the night sky.

5) 8x32 Nikon Superior E - everything I have heard about these is great. While they in some ways are going to be similar to the Swift pair, they will be more compact and will be sharper at the field edge. They will probably be used more for astronomy than the Audubon. Just have to try them.

6) Maybe something like my current Fujinon 2000 7x35 that would be good general rough and tumble use that I wouldn't mind passing to someone else at a football game that has just grabbed a handfull of popcorn. (Other pairs on this list I would not subject to that torture, both for me and the binoculars.)

7) Something real small. My Nikon 7x20 are ok. They work fine for indoor concerts. I would have to research this size category a bit more.

Well, I have gone from 15 to 7. In addition to the 15 that I now own, I have owned at least another 20 or so pair, some very good. All of them had either some shortcoming that allowed their sale (not necessarily a shortcoming for others) or were just not quite as good as something else that allowed their sale.

In this hypothetical culling down of my collection I have eliminated some binoculars that I like very much. This is not to say that they should not be considered, it's just that they would not make my short "A" list for one reason or another.

Barry Simon

#36 BillC

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Posted 25 July 2004 - 12:23 PM

And Bill, I think my head would explode if I'd been at this as long as you have and had seen as many changes as you have and tried or owned as many optics as you have.


Are you saying that mine hasn't? Oh, it has. I'm just now trying to stabilize with the relaxing I get from this list.

Retail (What, you can't spend two hours of your time with me and then sell it below your cost?), and having to deal with so many bino "collectors," and a sea of generally stupid people: "Is the moon going to interfere with my view of the eclipse?", has made me so worn out and jaded, I don't even like me anymore.

Here I sit on two copies of Zemax-EE and I haven't even tried to design a telescope for over a YEAR! I need therapy. Over 5 years ago, Carl Zambuto made me a 12.5" f/5 mirror. THE BOX HAS NEVER BEEN OPENED! Now, does that sound rational?

So, I will try to put the pieces of my head back together, so that I can, once again, enjoy my hobby.

Cheers,

Bill

#37 Tom L

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Posted 25 July 2004 - 12:27 PM

Over 5 years ago, Carl Zambuto made me a 12.5" f/5 mirror. THE BOX HAS NEVER BEEN OPENED! Now, does that sound rational?


What!!! You are a sick man! Send the mirror to me, I'll take really good care of it for you! :D

#38 KennyJ

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Posted 25 July 2004 - 02:51 PM

Barry,

I enjoyed reading your refined "A" list.

Apart from all else , it also goes some way to explaining why it is that "bino freaks" like us would never be satisfied with having just ONE binocular.

However , since there was more than a touch of hypothesis surrounding the situation which led to your culling , I'm sure you wouldn't mind stretching your imagination a little further --- to the situation whereby you could only take ONE of these seven pair along with you ( and no tripod or mount ) to a desert island for the next five years ( food , water , medical supplies and partner of choice included of course )

Which one would you take along -- and why ?

Regards , Kenny.

#39 Guest_**DONOTDELETE**_*

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Posted 26 July 2004 - 08:15 PM

I purchased my Pentax PCF 20x60's over four years ago and I would guess that is when Pentax started a PCF production line in China . They have a small AFOV but they are sharp all the way to the edge.

Joe


The PCF III's were mfd in Japan until near the end of that model's production run. I started to see "made in China" III's around mid-'98. The next year we had the PCF V's (there was no PCF IV), all of which came from China. We're a couple of generations down the road from those now, in the PCF line.

Currently, the only Pentax model imported into the U.S. that is completely manufactured and assembled in Japan is the DCF SP. All others have some portion of their production, whether total fabrication, or assembly only, completed in China.

#40 lighttrap

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Posted 26 July 2004 - 08:58 PM

I know for a fact that there were still made in Japan PCF IIIs available in the States as of 2001. These may well have been new old stock. Oddly, they were being closed out at vastly reduced prices to make way for the supposedly improved PCF Vs.

#41 sftonkin

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Posted 27 July 2004 - 03:11 AM

Just another opinion:

I'd may well get the binos I have now. :)

#1: Miyauchi 20/37×100 as big mounted ones specifically for astronomy. Sufficient aperture and quality to be useful, but transportable with associated mount/tripod (by car) if the need arises. Also useful for daytime stuff. Lousy on anything bright owing to false colour.

#2: Opticron 10×42 BGA roof-prism jobs as general purpose. This is (I imagine) bound to be a controversial choice, but there are, IMNSVHO, a few good reasons:
(a) I like 10× binoculars, and 4.2mm exit pupil is fine for most stuff.
(b) General purpose also (for me) means physical size is important. Roofs have the edge here (although they "feel" heavier than porros of the same weight, in the same way that a small bottle of mercury feels heavier than the same weight bottle of water.)
© General purpose for me also means they'll be used where it gets damp (i.e. England). I just don't trust CF porros for water-proofing.

Maybe I'll reconsider if I actually manage to get my grubby mitts on the Fujinon 10x50 IFs, although they are heavier than the Opticrons.

#3: "El cheapo" 10x50 that live in the boot of the car, so I always have something to hand "just in case" when I am away from home.

#42 scope dog

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Posted 28 July 2004 - 09:12 PM

I was looking to get a lens coated by one of companys in back of S&T. When I spoke to ?? one of the questions I ask who has the best coatings? Multi? He told me China. Now this guy does coatings for a living. But if you think about it, rember steel, how we, USA could not produce steel like over seas. Because our equipment is old was one of the reasons. Besides cheap labor. Anyway I read Honda is or did build an auto plant in China, also Edmonds Scientific moved their main operation over there.

Jim

#43 lighttrap

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Posted 29 July 2004 - 08:33 AM

While I don't think China has yet come close to equaling such things as Fujinon's EBC (Electron Beam Coating) or Swarovski's Swarobright, or whatever it is that Nikon uses on their SE line, it is true that China has come a long way in a short period of time. This Chinese company provides some information on their various levels of coatings. BinocularsChina

What's important to know about that, is that not all US importers of Chinese binoculars are specifying the same level of coatings or prisms. Folks may recognize the various configurations on that site from one of the more prominent USA importers. Other importers, either use different sources, or specify lower levels of coatings, trying to offer up a lower priced optic, that they hope will confuse the public into accepting as the equal of better specified binoculars.

But, the other area that China simply hasn't yet developed the capability in is raw optical glass. Currently, they make it pretty well, but it's literally not as dense or as pure as Austrian, German, or even the best Japanese optical glass. If you hold a 50mm Chinese binocular objective in your hand, and compare it to a 50mm Leica binocular objective, you'll notice that the Leica objective is much heavier, much denser, and seemingly much clearer. Of course, for the cost of the Leicas, compared to the Chinese binoculars, they ought to have better components. (Incidently, I'm not even a fan of Leica binos because they often have too much pin cushion distortion for my tastes, but just use that as an example, since it's something I've done.) I suspect you'd find something similar if comparing objectives from the top of the line optics from Fujinon, Nikon, Swarovski, Zeiss and possibly even some of the Russian binoculars against the best Chinese binoculars that you can find. I suspect that this will change over time, but a lot of that will depend on how readily the buying public accepts the current levels of production as "good enough". I've got to say that my Chinese made Nikon Action Extremes are "good enough" for the price. That's really what it all comes down to. Do you want decent binos at $150 or superlative ones at $1000-$1500? Actually, there is a middle ground, and that's the $150-$300 market dominated by Japanese porros that I keep mentioning, but even that market is shifting to better and better Chinese optics.

#44 EdZ

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Posted 09 August 2004 - 12:01 PM

I rechecked my Pentax PCF III 12x50s this weekend. made in China

and sharp as a tack.

edz


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