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Binoculars reviews

Endurance test of 8x42 binoculars

30 April 2013
Arkadiusz Olech

17. Pentax ED 8x43 DCF


Endurance test of 8x42 binoculars - Pentax ED 8x43 DCF

The Pentax DCF ED 8x43 belongs to the top-of-the-range series of that producer and its optical test results certainly confirm it – it got 132.1 points. Apart from too narrow field of view and truncated exit pupils we didn’t find anything to complain about. Will it fare equally well in the endurance test? Let’s check it up.


Low temperature


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In low temperatures the central focusing wheel put up a significant resistance only during the first move. When it was turned back and forth several times it started working as smoothly as in normal conditions. Unfortunately we can’t say the same about the dioptre correction ring which froze over and was immobile until the binoculars was taken to a room with a higher temperature. The gauge of the tubes could be regulated but only with high resistance; still its performance was acceptable. The eyecups were moving a bit too heavily as well; only the tripod mounting blockade didn’t cause any problems.


High temperature

The Pentax managed to come unscathed from the high temperature test but still there was one, quite comical slip-up. In high temperature the rubber padding next to the objective lenses stretched so much that you could insert a finger between it and the proper casing several centimeters deep (let me add it was a thick, male finger). You can see it in the photo below. Fortunately, after returning to the room temperature the rubber regained to its previous shape.

Endurance test of 8x42 binoculars - Pentax ED 8x43 DCF


Waterproof qualities

The Pentax company states in the DCF ED series specifications that it complies with the JIS GRADE 6 norm – it means that the binoculars are splash-proof so they can be used in a torrential rain but they are not submersible. Despite that fact the tested binoculars didn’t have any problems with surviving one hour submersion – a round of applause for the Pentax! Its performance compares very favourably with that of the Docter 8x42 ED, its direct rival. Although the Docter declared full waterproofness it didn’t manage to pass the test as well as the Pentax.


Falls

Two falls from different heights didn’t cause any serious problems - the binoculars remained perfectly collimated and there were no traces on the casing either. The only issue concerned the left eyecup which still works but doesn’t want to collapse completely and sticks out a bit from the tube.


Optics cleaning

Fingerprints on the front elements are not distinct and they can be removed after a swipe with a dry cloth. Water residue, which got stuck after the exposure to high temperature, didn’t have any tendency to stay on the elements and was cleaned without any problems. The drops of rain dribbled down smoothly. A big grease stain on an objective element didn’t change for a long time and was removed with several swipes of a dry cloth, without the necessity of using an optics cleaner. It is evident the binoculars feature high quality hydrophobic coatings.


Other

No other problems.


Summary

The chart below shows the results the tested pair of binoculars got in particular categories:

CATEGORY POINTS
Low temperature:
4/10
High temperature:
8.5/10
Waterproof quality:
10/10
Falls:
8/10
Optics cleaning:
4.5/5
Other:
5/5
OVERALL:
40/50


If not for the low temperature slip-up the Pentax result would be excellent. It is good anyway but right now it can tempt you to look for binoculars with a similar price tag and similar results in optics and endurance tests. If you get lucky you might even find models which seem to be a better investment for your hard-earned savings. Of course it doesn’t change the fact that if you decide to buy the Pentax, you will be most likely very pleased with it.