Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Pentax LV 9x28

From a customer in Arizona:

I was looking for a pair of compact binoculars for several reasons. I wanted something light but high quality for backpacking and kayaking, I wanted a small pair of binos for when my main focus is photography, and I wanted a pair that I could use to introduce non-birder friends to birding without giving them an embarrassingly poor pair of optics. These little Pentax binos fit the bill in all respects. I'm a huge fan of Pentax (my full-size binos are Pentax WP 10X42s), but I was definitely open to all brands when looking for compacts. I compared over a dozen pairs of compacts on price, size, weight, close focus, eye relief and quality, and the Pentax 9X28s came out on top.

I bought a pair and I couldn't be happier. My old compacts were so poor that when I took them on trips, I never used them because the optical quality was so bad. I find myself finding reasons to pull these little Pentax's out to use them! Obviously they aren't as bright as my full-size, and as the light fades the difference is more pronounced, but you can't compare full-size optics with compacts. In good light, other than the extra magnification of my full-size binos (which I'm surprised was actually noticeable), there isn't much difference between the two. They're actually good enough that when I take newbies birding, I have no qualms about using the 9X28s so I can let my friends use the 10X42s.

I've compared these to a few other compacts of similar cost and the Pentax win, hands down. I would absolutely buy these again, and I've been recommending them to others without a hint of hesitation.

My only complaint, and it is a minor one, is that while my Pentax 10X42s are made in Japan, the 9X28s are made in China. But I suspect that nearly everything in this price range is made in China. That said, I haven't noticed any reduction in quality from my Japanese made 10X42s, I'd just rather not support China for various reasons.

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