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Pentax 20x60 due to arrive today, sorry for the bad weather!


Astro_noob
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i was unaware of the weight of a pair of these 20x60 binoculars. I have wanting to purchase a pair of giant binos for over a year, I tried the revelation Astro but found the view uninspiring. I got a pair of skymaster 15x70 but they were out of collimation. I tried helios 15x70 @ £270 but there was an optical fault so I sent them back. I have william optics 10x50 which have stunning views and can be hand held for short periods. What has made me sit on the fence so long is the weight of the 20x80 models. The pentax weigh less than my 10x50 so theoretically can be hand held but I do have several tripods to use with them as well.

Hopefully the weather tonight will permit some good views .....

I will post a comparative review of the 10x50 vs 20x60 in a week once I have had a chance to test the binoculars.

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What you will find out, is that you will need to employ every trick in the book to keep them stable.

It's not an issue of weight, but an issue of magnification. At 20x, any tiny movement gets magnified a lot more than a 10x bin or 15x bin.

Not trying to discourage you, just to let you know that you need to keep this in mind while using them.

And enjoy the crisp crystal clear images from those incredible bins! :grin:

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Even a monopod will do due to their relatively low weight. If you observe from light polluted conditions, the benefit of a 3mm exit pupil will be readily apparent as the background ambient light from all the light pollution will be suppressed :laugh:  

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At 20x magnification you really need a monopod or tripod to exploit the binos to their maximum.

I can in theory "handhold" my 20x60 Tento bins (c1.5kg), but the view is just too shaky to be worthwhile. But with my (cheap, but stable) Ravelli tripod and trigger grip the view is transformed: at the weekend I resolved 3 of the 4 Trapezium components and on a very good night I'm sure I'll get all four..no way I could do that handheld!

Dave

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At 20x magnification you really need a monopod or tripod to exploit the binos to their maximum.

I can in theory "handhold" my 20x60 Tento bins (c1.5kg), but the view is just too shaky to be worthwhile. But with my (cheap, but stable) Ravelli tripod and trigger grip the view is transformed: at the weekend I resolved 3 of the 4 Trapezium components and on a very good night I'm sure I'll get all four..no way I could do that handheld!

Dave

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Hi and welcome to the Pentax 20x60 club. They are an interesting and surprising binocular. I bought mine after looking at the Helios Quantum 4 20x80s, which are apparently more like 19x63 and despite looking at pictures on line and reading the spec, I was quite surprised how big and bulky they were. Had the guy in the shop shown a bit more in the way of encouraging customer service, I might have been swayed, but in the end I ordered the 20x60s from FLO.

Compared to the Q4s and indeed the WO 10x50s the Pentaxs to look at are a bit underwhelming, quite plain in a way and given that the eyepiece rain guards are a very poor fit and the case is nothing special you begin to wonder what the deal is. The simple efficiency of them though does grow on you. The weight or the relative lack of it is makes them really nice to use and becomes a real plus. The optics/coatings are very good, perhaps just not quite as good as the WOs but still very good, sharp across the field, not quite edge to edge, but as near as matters.

Yes, they really do need mounting on a monopod or tripod. The EQ3/2 will be something of an overkill! What surprised me though, and I mean really surprised me, is that given that I do not have the most steady hands in the world, I found that with elbows well planted on a high-ish wall I could get a steady image hand held, at least for long enough for a preliminary look around the sky. I was amazed.

The 60mm (maybe slightly less) objectives create their own limitations but the contrast created by the magnification compensates to a degree. Much has been written about the narrow field of view, and it is narrow, but I have not found it a big deal. Again it has surprised me how easy it is to point them where I want them, with very little in the way of hunting around to find the object you can see easily with the naked eye! Much also is said about the eye relief and eye placement and its true that a little bit of experimentation takes place to get it right and patience and persistence really pays off. The good thing is that once, for me anyway, that sweet spot is found, it becomes almost second nature to find it again very easily. 

The Pentaxs are great on the moon and Jupiter and Saturn are small (of course) but distinctly good, however for me they are “cluster busters”. M35, 36. 37, 38 for instance are great and despite the narrow fov, its relatively easy to go “hunting” with them.

They would not be a good choice as a “primary” binocular (8x42/10x50?) but as part of the tool kit they are really good and compliment the 10x50s well.

I do hope you like them and it will be interesting to hear how you get on.

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I received the 20x60 last night and between the break in the clouds was able to perform an initial test on the binoculars. These performed very well. Jupiter was a bright ball with 3 pin point moons but no planetary detail. The air was very turbulent so the planet was obscured from view many times.

The look and feel of the binoculars is quality vs quantity so may seem underwhelming against more expensive or "larger" binoculars. There is no play or looseness in the mechanism, looking through the objective to the prisms and to the ocular there is nothing sticking out and the exit pupils are perfectly circular but small (3mm is a small exit pupil).

The case is a little poor i.e. Soft fabric so offers no real protection and the caps are loose and easy to lose if not careful.

I would sum up my overall feeling that this a quality piece of equipment with great optics. I also would recommend a sturdy tripod as 20x is a lot of magnification to hold steady. My travel tripod which is meant for portability is barely adequate. Any knocks to the legs causes the image to move position.

I will be mounting these on a heavy duty tripod later and will give a more thorough review against my 10x59 ed.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Unfortunately these binoculars are too wide an IPD for me to use comfortably. I found it difficult to merge the two images together without spending some time placing my head in exactly the right position. I cannot justify the expense if they do not suit my short IPD.

When I did try these on orion the Mage was great. The moon had a very detailed and CA free image. They do suit a tripod best but can be handheld for a short time. I balanced the front of the unit against a chair as a makeshift tripod which worked.

If it were not for the IPD/image blacking issue I would keep them.

In comparison with the WO 10x50 I think the WO offer cleaner viewers but the image is smaller. There is better colour rendition through the WO.

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Unfortunately these binoculars are too wide an IPD for me to use comfortably. I found it difficult to merge the two images together without spending some time placing my head in exactly the right position. I cannot justify the expense if they do not suit my short IPD.

When I did try these on orion the Mage was great. The moon had a very detailed and CA free image. They do suit a tripod best but can be handheld for a short time. I balanced the front of the unit against a chair as a makeshift tripod which worked.

If it were not for the IPD/image blacking issue I would keep them.

In comparison with the WO 10x50 I think the WO offer cleaner viewers but the image is smaller. There is better colour rendition through the WO.

Unfortunately these binoculars are too wide an IPD for me to use comfortably.

I found it difficult to merge the two images together without spending some time placing my head in exactly the right position.

I cannot justify the expense if they do not suit my short IPD.

If it were not for the IPD/image blacking issue I would keep them.

The IPD specification is 57-72mm, which is a pretty good range.

The Pentax 20x60 PCF WP II binoculars have been know to blackout  if the combination of the IPD & the Eye Relief is not just right .

No matter how positive you may be about hand-holding a 20x60 binocular, you will have 100% better viewing results when it is mounted on a tripod.

Mounting a 20x60 on a solid tripod allows you to adjust the both the IPD & the Eye Relief to your very best individual needs, which helps in eliminating blackout.

Stan

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20x in an aperture of 60mm is an interesting aperture! I enjoy a lot shifting from 15x to 18x with my telescope. Only 3x difference, but 0.7mm less in exit pupil make a substantial difference in contrast! :-)

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Unfortunately these binoculars are too wide an IPD for me to use comfortably. I found it difficult to merge the two images together without spending some time placing my head in exactly the right position. I cannot justify the expense if they do not suit my short IPD.

When I did try these on orion the Mage was great. The moon had a very detailed and CA free image. They do suit a tripod best but can be handheld for a short time. I balanced the front of the unit against a chair as a makeshift tripod which worked.

If it were not for the IPD/image blacking issue I would keep them.

In comparison with the WO 10x50 I think the WO offer cleaner viewers but the image is smaller. There is better colour rendition through the WO.

Hi Astro' I have just measured the minimum IPD on both the WOs and Pentaxs'.  I reckon the WOs are about 57 and the Pentaxs are actually less at 56mm. Given that you managed to get a good detailed near CA free view of the moon I would guess the optics are OK.  When looking at the moon through the Pentaxs the CA can be minimised by adjusting the eye position so I don't think you can be too far out.  There is a knack to getting the best out of them and its worth perservering with them. However, if you think there is a fault or you simply cannot get on with them, I'm sure FLO will sort something out for you.

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