Here’s a quick take on the PCF WPII binocular that I recently purchased at B&H Photo (which happens to be my favorite online store at the moment and therefore deserves its own review!).
You may think that I’m getting old quick to even consider purchasing a pair of binoculars, and I thought the same too. But I hope I convince you that it’s a fun toy, and a worthwhile investment especially if you’re into traveling and spectator sports.
Before I got the Pentax, I did a lot of research on binocular basics, and if you’re getting one, I suggest you read on it too. You will learn that there are a lot of different models and specs to choose from, depending on what you’ll use it for. I chose an 8x magnification which is just right for use when traveling.
The PCF WP II is just over US$100. A good pair of Lucky jeans or Nike Air Max sneakers would cost more! Out of the box you will immediately see and feel it’s great value. It feels solid with its rubber armoring. It’s water proof and fog proof too. The lens have a nice green tinge letting you know it’s multi-coated. I really think paying a Benjamin for this level of optical performance is a steal. It’s not too expensive that you will tend to pamper it, and it’s priced just right for something that you only get to use a few times a year.
Pentax is owned by Hoya Optics*, both well known and reputable brands in lens and optics. The binos delivered, producing bright, crisp, sharp and saturated images. Looking through them is a visual treat. It should be noted that some chromatic aberration can be seen, yet I still think that the PCF WP II’s deliver superb value in terms of optical performance vs. cost. Because of its large 40mm diameter front lens, this bins is perfectly useable at night. Tip: this binocular is best used without eyeglasses and with the eye cups extended.
As with all things optics, the trade off for good performance are size and heft. Although the Pentax 8×40 PCF WP II is about the same size and weight as other brands of the same specs. This binocular is roughly the same size and weight as a semi-pro DSLR without lens. Personally, the visual treat it gives is worth the burden.
If you want the eyesight of an eagle by day and of an owl by night, then this is your ticket!
*Note: The Pentax Imaging Systems Division will be spun-out as a new company and its shares transfered to Ricoh on October 1, 2011. I’m not sure how the Pentax Sport Optics (binoculars) Division will be affected.