Pentax AP 8x30 WP
The WP symbol in the name of the binoculars indicates that these products are waterproof up to a depth of 1 meter and nitrogen-purged as well.
- handy, shapely and solid casing,
- sensible transmission,
- very good colour rendering,
- sharp image almost to the very edge of the field of view,
- slight brightness loss on the edge of the field,
- good quality prisms made of BaK-4 glass,
- sensible coatings on all air-to-glass surfaces,
- properly darkened tubes,
- too high chromatic aberration,
- noticeable astigmatism,
- problems with distortion correction,
- slightly truncated exit pupils.
The result of the small Pentax 8x30 is a slightly negative surprise. I expected the binoculars would score over 120 points because, at first glance, they made a rather favourable impression. Good build quality and proper quality control at this price point is nothing to be ignored. The casing is very handy, covered by good quality rubber armour; the device comes without any glaring slip-ups or shoddy workmanship, with all materials being of sensible quality. What’s more, the binoculars are fully submersible and nitrogen-filled which make the Pentax stick out among other small Porro devices.
Also the transmission graph is quite sensible for the amount of money you have to pay for the binoculars.
On the one hand it is a graph typical for cheaper, greenish antireflection coatings with a dip in the middle of the range. On the other hand the transmission exceeds 90% for the red part of the spectrum and a distinct local maximum for blue light means good colour rendering.
Still if you look at optical properties of the tested binoculars you find some reasons to complain. The Pentax doesn’t feature an impressive field of view so you could expect it would be corrected properly. Unfortunately it is not the case. You don’t have to worry only about the sharpness of images which is kept on a good level for the majority of the field. There are some problems with chromatic aberration correction and the correction of astigmatism and distortion. The coma is corrected only averagely well. Add to that a bit truncated exit pupils which are surrounded by too light area and our assessment of the Pentax 8x30 optics is not especially favourable.
The final score of 114 points and the price of 179 Euro place the Pentax AP 8X30 WP in a difficult position, especially if compared to direct rivals. The Nikon Prostaff 7s 8x30 or the Kenko Ultra View OP 8x32 DH seem to be a cheaper and a bit better devices; even the small Delta Optical One 8x32 might be an interesting alternative.