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Thread: Review: Pentax PCF WP II 10X50 Binocular

  1. #21
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    Thanks for sharing your experiences - with Nikon, Pentax and Bushnell - I have followed them carefully. Your reviews are appreciated.

    I hope the Ultras work out over time for you. Richard

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    Well, from my research and experience so far (i don't claim to have very much of either) :-p This is true, however there are many factors. And first, let me point out that I wasn't comparing similarly priced binoculars. The pentax and nikon can both be bought for roughly $150. The bushnell sell for around $300 typically. So they are almost twice the price.

    I compared the bushnell excursion ex model (lower than the legend series) to the nikon action extreme side by side. The nikons were still better optics than the excursions during the day. Not by much, but better. A little better color saturation, brightness and detail. However there is something to be said for the excursion's excellent comfort, size, weight and ruggedness.

    The legend ultra hd however are a step above the nikon AE in my opinion. I don't have any official testing, and I haven't compared them side by side like the excursion. I have however used both at my home under identical conditions in multiple situations. I'm also getting very familiar with how binoculars look and feel when using them, that I am now able to spot defects, alignment, and differences in quality pretty easily. It seems to get easier the more you look through and compare different models.

    The differences are small, and at this price range the optical quality is already in the high end for both. Don't let numbers fool you. I have looked through $1000 plus swarovskis, zeiss and bausch and lomb (i think b&l are part of bushnell somehow). And while these models are better, they are not 'significantly' better. Although this is very subjective.

    What I mean is that you could pick a $50 binocular of the shelf and the optics and overall quality would be about 20, 30 or maybe 40% of the quality of the best ever made. When you jump up to the next tier of binoculars the quality jumps up to about 80% of the best ever made. Now you jump up to $1000 binoculars and they are at 90% quality. Next would be everything over $1000 from 90-100% quality.

    This is all theoretical and isn't meant to be accurate in any way, but the point is, when you jump to the midrange, you gain a significant quality difference. Everything after that requires a larger difference in price, however the difference in quality becomes less apparent.

    So how does all this relate to my point?

    The Nikons (optically) are very good for the price, as are the pentax. But I find that the bushnells are a small percent better. They are twice the price though. But for me, the "whole package" is more important than just the optics.

    For example, I found the nikons to be lower build quality than I would like, but good optical quality. In this regard I believe the pentax are a better choice. They are very rugged and well built. Not to get into too much detail, but there were many factors of build quality and ultimately I would rate the nikon on the lower end of build quality, despite my first impressions. I can elaborate if anyone would like, needless to say, I probably wouldn't buy them because of this.

    The bushnells have a much better "value" in my opinion. The optics are able to compare with the nikons because of the low dispersion glass, better coatings, etc. So, even though they are 10x42 roof prism, they have a little better quality glass resulting in better light transmission and detail. Again, the differences are small and possibly subjective. I would say the thing I liked the least with the nikon is that although they had great light ability, the background of space appeared dark grey. The bushnells seem to be just as bright, while retaining a darker space background. This makes for more contrast. But as such makes them hard to compare. The only real comparison I have is what I saw in space. The M51 object, and the stars in general. With the bushnells they were simply more impressive and easier to find. And with the bushnell there was slightly worse sky conditions even. I'll have to post more when I get clear skies. :-/

    Add to that an excellent semi hard case, great lens caps, a harness, a soft drawstring bag for the binos and a cleaning cloth... It is a good whole package setup.

    Lighter, easier to carry. I'd bring these on a hike to mt chocorua to camp out and see the stars (amazing by the way naked eye). I wouldn't lug the porros on such a hike.

    Rugged and comfortable to hold.

    Anyhow, If they hold up well for you and you don't need to carry them distances, the nikons are a good value for astronomy. The pentax are a step higher in build quality for the same price. The bushnells are a step up in everything, but for twice the price. I like them so much I just can't see me using the porro for years to come now that I've tried these. If you keep the bushnell for 5 years only, they would cost $5 a month to own. That drops every year after. The nikon/pentax would be $2.50 per month. Half that for both if 10 years. Just something to think about.

    It's late, I may not be making sense well. I'm gonna hope that all came out right and get some sleep. hehehe

    (one more note, with the current $50 rebate, it makes them even harder to resist for me) :-)
    Last edited by luisdent; 07-25-2010 at 05:03 AM.
    ~Sean
    Atlas Intrepid 10x42 (Roof Prism)

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  4. #23
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    Awesome review luisdent. I was on here before you, giving you advice, and now you have more binocular experience than me! The dark vs. grey contrast comparison is very intersting, one that I've seen in telescope eyepieces, and a noticeable difference.

    Also, I haven't looked into it, but I'm assuming that the Bushnell Legends are more towards the higher end of the Bushnell line, much like Nikon Actions are higher than the lower priced Nikons.

    You should give us a good Messier Object report some time in the astronomy report forum.
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    Definitely. I'm just waiting for good weather here. Apparently I don't live in a great stargazing state. Ha. You can find zero light pollution areas if you're willing to hike and camp (i am), but the sky is always doing something! And I want it to do nothing! hehe
    As for the bshnells, yes I believe they are second or third from the best bushnells. They are still very affordable in terms of roof prisms however. I used them this weekend at the york animal kingdom and was very impressed. Having close focus is a really nice feature, and with the clarity they have animal details were incredible.
    The moon is bright now and it's been cloudy off and on, so not much gazing. Once I get some good sky time in I plan do to attempt all the messiers I can see. I assume also that winter will be better with the weather, but we'll see. I just can't wait for no moon clear skies. I'm going to try to plan a trip to hike and camp on mt chocorua again under those conditions. Although, if it was anything like last time, any binoculars would probably be insane.
    ~Sean
    Atlas Intrepid 10x42 (Roof Prism)

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    Holly crap, it sounds like you're very happy with the Bushnells. I haven't even read all of the reviews yet. I will when I'm not so tired.
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    Great news. I was checking out things to look for in stellarium and noticed that it is about time for the andromeda galaxy to show up here in NH. I went out, but the dark tennis court I usually use has too much tree cover to find it. So, I figured it wouldn't hurt to try from the parking lot. I've taken photos to show how bad the light pollution is:



    In stellarium it is set to about 8 in the sky options pane to get as close as I can to reality. Anyhow, I started with my compass and a download of a current planisphere from skymaps.com. I used the compass to find NE and then found Cassiopeia. I figured I could use the rocket shaped triangle directly to the right of Cassiopeia and then trace the leftmost star down to the great andromedastical beast. :-p (that is a non-astronomical word I just made up, haha) Low and behold I couldn't even see the sky that low, because the lamp posts were flooding the area too much with light. So, I moved as best as I could in front of the carport building to shield myself from the lamp posts as such:



    Ultimately, I was looking too far left. Finally I compared my compass to the planisphere and the stars, and I noticed it was closer to north-east/east. And, bam! Big fuzzy blob in the sky. I was pretty excited. Newbish, I know... ha. Anyhow, I am actually blown away by how well I can see it with the binos under these conditions. Any bino might work, as the galaxty is very large in the sky, but either way I can't even IMAGINE how great it would look with no light pollution around here. I can't wait to camp on a mountain! Here are the photos showing the bino view I saw as best I can, give or take some field of view:



    After that, the tree line and light pollution had me heading back indoors... Ugh.
    ~Sean
    Atlas Intrepid 10x42 (Roof Prism)

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    Just an update for last night. I decided to go out back out again and give it another shot. Unfortunately, the clouds were in the way of Andromeda this time, however the moon was out and it looked fantastic when the clouds passed. Then I noticed a bright star that I though must be a planet. Of course it turned out to be Jupiter! When I looked at it with the binos I could clearly see three moons in a line spreading from the top right of the planet. I'll have to check stellarium later today to make sure that's what it was, but it was obviously bigger than a pinpoint star and the three 'moons' seem to unlikely to be anything else... :-)
    ~Sean
    Atlas Intrepid 10x42 (Roof Prism)

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    Quote Originally Posted by luisdent View Post
    let me point out that I wasn't comparing similarly priced binoculars.
    I know, this is why I pointed out that if you had spent the same amount on porro prisms they would probably have better optics.

    All that really matters is that you're happy with your bin's though.

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    I wasn't able to find many porro style around $300. At least nothing well known or reviewed. There were more and less expensive porros however. Either way, assuming there 'was' a $300 bushnell porro prism for instnace, it would most likely be better optical quality than mine, at the cost of size, weight, and comfort though. But still better optical quality in general, since they are less expensive prism components due to the difference in design.
    The weather is starting to drive me crazy. It is supposed to be cloudy/rainy all week here. Ugh.
    ~Sean
    Atlas Intrepid 10x42 (Roof Prism)

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    Quote Originally Posted by luisdent View Post
    Just an update for last night. I decided to go out back out again and give it another shot. Unfortunately, the clouds were in the way of Andromeda this time, however the moon was out and it looked fantastic when the clouds passed. Then I noticed a bright star that I though must be a planet. Of course it turned out to be Jupiter! When I looked at it with the binos I could clearly see three moons in a line spreading from the top right of the planet. I'll have to check stellarium later today to make sure that's what it was, but it was obviously bigger than a pinpoint star and the three 'moons' seem to unlikely to be anything else... :-)
    Nice Andromeda picture. I usually have more satisfying views of Andromeda through binos than through a telescope.

    Next time you're out late enough for Jupiter, you should check out Uranus. It's about 2.5 degrees to the right and slightly up from Jupiter. When you point that way, you should see two stars. Jupiter and those two stars are in a straight line. The middle one is 3/4 of the way from Jupiter. The one on the other end is Uranus.
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