Pentax 62215 Papilio 6.5x21 Binoculars, Black
- C.L.O.S.E. (Convergent Lens Optical System Engineering) allows them to focus down to 1.6-Feet
- Sleek, contemporary ultra-compact body with unibody construction
- Tough rubber covered exterior provides a sure grip and protects the internal mechanisms
- Ideally suited for viewing insects, birds, artwork or any other object at close ranges
- Revolutionary dual-axis, single body housing with synchronized eye-piece adjustment to assure correct optical alignment for comfortable viewing
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PENTAX Papilio binoculars are the perfect choice for insect and bird observation in the field or in museums and galleries. The Papilio model offers a minimum focusing distance of approximately 1.6-Feet and incorporates new design technology that automatically compensates for the misalignment of right and left image fields at close ranges. Featuring fully multi-coated optical elements, high-refraction BaK4 glass prisms, a long 15 millimeter eye relief, and a protective rubber housing, Papilio is a great choice for spectator sports, hiking and travel as well.
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An unusual feature of this unit is the close-focus ability. Note that some reviews give the impression that it's practically a stereomicroscope ("focusses within inches!"); but this is not an accurate characterization. The manufacturer states 1.6 ft, which I verified (~19 inches from the front bumper). The coated optics are of good quality with flat uniform field, no noticeable color fringes, and no noticeable internal reflections. The two objective lenses are recessed into the body and covered with a flat window, which makes the unit easy to clean. The eyepieces have long eye relief (~distance between the eyepiece and your eye; in general, the longer, the better), suitable for use with eyeglasses. The retractable eyecups are one of the best designs I've come across. Typically a rollup rubber eyecup is used. If you don't wear glasses, you unroll the eyecup to full length to keep stray light from getting into your eyes. If you wear glasses, you roll the eyecup down so you can get your eye closer to the eyepiece. What usually happens is that the rubber cracks easily as it is rolled and unrolled (especially since the material is attacked by sweat and skin oil). In this unit, the eyecups are helically mounted. You adjust the extension by twisting it: there are three click stop positions. The eyecups are rubber coated to minimize scratching of eyeglasses. The right eyepiece has a diopter adjustment (in case your left eye and right eye have unequal vision, with or without eyeglasses).
Mechanically, the design is excellent. Bulkier than other compact designs, but that's a design tradeoff needed to accommodate the close focus range. Light weight and low cost are achieved with an all plastic body. Almost the entire body is coated with rubber, including a rubber bumper in the front of the unit. The rubber has just the right texture to provide a sure grip, even with sweaty hands. It doesn't feel too "goopy". The eyepieces swivel to adjust interpupillary distance (distance between your eyes). The center focus is smooth. The shape is unusual and takes some practice getting the right grip. But it works well. You cradle it in both hands. It provides a steady grip while allowing easy interpupillary adjustment and focussing. It has a tripod socket. Pentax sells an optional tripod adapter, a short pedestal to allow the body to clear the tripod platform. If you use a ball-and-socket head, the adapter is not needed. The socket is a standard 1/4-20 thread. Note that it is a plastic thread, so it is not very robust. With the 6.5 magnification, though, a tripod is not needed unless you are viewing for long times and your hands get tired.
Minor carps. [[SEE CORRECTION BELOW ON STRAP REMOVAL PROCEDURE. It comes with a neckstrap, but be sure you really want to use it. Instead of the typical spring clips that allow you to take the strap on/off, the ends of this strap have heads that snap into mating slots in the body. Once you snap them in, you can't pull them out.]] The unit comes with a dual cover for the eyepieces. The cover falls off easily and is easy to lose, but there is a loop so you can tie it onto the neckstrap. There is no cover for the objective lens. This combo (eyepiece cover/no objective cover) seems to be common these days, but I don't understand why you would leave the objective lenses unprotected. The unit comes with a vinyl pouch. There is no separate neckstrap, but there are slots if you want to attach the pouch to a belt.
For the money, this unit is a good value and I'll give it 5 stars relative to its price point. Of course it won't match the optical quality of a $1500 Zeiss or Leitz, and don't expect to pass this down to your grandkids. Amazon price right now is a good deal, but the touted list price of ~$250 is well over the official list price on the Pentax website (~$130).
[[EDIT 8/14/2010. Ignore the remarks on strap removal. See comments below. I've left the remarks in the original review so new readers will know what the issue was. Thanks, Ray, for bringing this to my attention.]]
I tried them out in my yard watching squirrels build a nest in a tree far out in the woods. They are fantastic. I could clearly see all the activity during the nest building. I wear glasses and these presented no problems.
I would recommend them to the novice, although I am sure there are better these will meet my needs exactly.
Excellent clarity, as to be expected from a top-line Japanese optical company (as clear as Nikon, for example). Bright enough for the purpose, has diopter (on right, I think), and adjustable for both those who wear eyeglasses and those who do not. They fit my weird, astigmatic, spectacled peepers quite well.
And...they are very reasonably priced. A no-brainer. See Rembrandt's brushstrokes up close! Buy them now. It is the right thing to do. :-)