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When I think of the brand name Pentax, I usually think of cameras first. But I realize that, if they make good cameras and camera lenses, they probably make other good products that use lenses too – like Pentax binoculars.
Pentax makes nearly a dozen different lines of binoculars. Some of them are very inexpensive, but I’m going to examine the higher quality lines here.
Let’s look then at the very best of Pentax. We’ll especially note those with the widest field of view (FOV), the lightest weight, and which pairs you should consider for hunting, bird watching, and astronomy.
If you’re in a rush and just need to check the prices of these Pentax binos at Amazon, you can click (tap) the links in the list below. Otherwise, keep scrolling and reading to get all the details before making your purchase.
- Pentax ZD 8×43 Binoculars
- Pentax AD 9×32 Binoculars
- Pentax SD 8×42 Binoculars
- Pentax SP 20×60 Binoculars
- Pentax Papilio II 6.5×21 Binoculars
- Pentax Papilio II 8.5×21 Binoculars
As a bonus, I’ll also examine one type specifically intended for butterfly watching.
You can use the table below to go directly to the section you are most interested in or continue reading the full review that follows.
Are Pentax Binoculars Any Good?
Pentax binoculars may not always be thought of as the cream of the crop in the binoculars world, but they certainly hold their own and deserve a close look when you’re shopping for a new pair.
You can get more expensive binoculars than even the highest priced from Pentax, but it may be difficult to distinguish differences between any two given products.
What Are the Pentax Top of the Line Models?
You usually get what you pay for, so if you want the best, you have to shell out more cash.
The ZD series contains Pentax’s best offerings. (Note: Pentax is currently a division of Ricoh.)
I was able to find three main types within the ZD line – 8×43, 10×43, and 10×50. Each of these comes in an ED (extra low dispersion) variety and a WP (waterproof) variety.
All ZD binoculars are nitrogen filled giving you both fog proofing and waterproofing features. All also have tripod mounts for those times when you need the stability that a tripod provides.
In the table below, you can compare their weights and FOV. (All FOV figures in this article are given in feet and are accurate at the standard 1000 yards distance.)
|ZD 8×43 ED||330||25.2|
|ZD 8×43 WP||330||24.5|
|ZD 10×43 ED||315||25.8|
|ZD 10×43 WP||315||25|
|ZD 10×50 ED||261||30.2|
|ZD 10×50 WP||261||29.6|
Any of these Pentax ZD models is more than satisfactory for clarity and general use. You should expect high-quality components and performance.
What Are the Best Pentax Binoculars for Hunting?
As a hunter, you probably want binoculars that are waterproof, have a wide field of view, and don’t weigh too much. A Pentax model that fits that bill is the AD 9×32 WP.
This set is nitrogen filled to fog proof and waterproof them. It gives you an FOV of 352 feet, and it weighs just 17 and a half ounces.
If you want an even wider FOV and don’t mind roughly five more ounces, you should also consider both the SD 8×42 WP and the SD 9×42 WP models. Each of them gives you an FOV of about 393 feet. The main difference between them is obviously the magnification – 8x versus 9x.
What Are the Best Pentax Binoculars for Birding?
Several other reviewers recommend various models in the DCF series for birding, but I’m going to take a brief look here at two models suggested by Pentax.
The first is the SD 8×42 WP (see them at Amazon). It’s waterproof, gives you an FOV of 432 feet, and weighs 22.5 ounces.
The other is the SP 20×60 WP. This is also waterproof but is significantly heavier (49.4 ounces) and has a much narrower FOV (just over 125 feet).
Both cost about the same, so you have to decide if you want the greater magnification or the wider field of view. Where do you go birding most often? Is it in a place where the birds are usually farther away? If so, and you can handle the extra weight or have a tripod, you might choose the SP 20×60.
What Are the Best Pentax Binoculars for Astronomy?
The SP 20×60 WP mentioned just above is also one of the best binoculars for astronomy. One of its features is a lockable focus which can be quite useful when star gazing.
Some users have complained about a lack of clarity with these binoculars though, so you should also take that into consideration. If you can try before you buy, I’d suggest doing so in this case.
The Butterfly Bonus – Papilio
Weighing in at just 7.4 ounces, the Papilio II 8.5×21 binoculars are a fun pair that you apparently are supposed to use for butterfly watching. (Papilio means butterfly in Esperanto.)
These compact binoculars and the sibling Papilio II 6.5×21 models are great for taking on walks through meadows and forests.
Are There More Pentax Binoculars?
In a word, yes. There are other models that are not covered here. These are what I consider the best in class for each of the purposes discussed.
Obviously you’re not restricted to the models mentioned above, but if you’re in the market for Pentax, I think you would be hard pressed (until they develop newer models) to find any better than these.