Pentax 10x42 DCF SP vs Nikon 10x42 Monarch

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9 years 10 months ago #7476 by mossie
mossie created the topic: Pentax 10x42 DCF SP vs Nikon 10x42 Monarch
Being one of those people who cannot afford a pair of deluxe bino’s in the Leica, Zeis price range, but still want to peer through something half decent, you have to do quite a bit of shopping around to get a lot of bang for your bucks. My wife has a pair of Pentax 10x43 DCF SP’s which she is very happy with, and cost about 5K from the States, including shipping and taxes etc. These seemed to knock the spots off anything else in the cheaper categories, especially in low light. When the sun is setting, you can still see colours on the birds, where most other bino’s give you grey silhouettes.

That was until I had a look through a pair of Nikon Monarch 10x42’s, and was decidedly surprised to see that there was hardly any difference. Other than the fact that they were almost 2K cheaper. So off I went to get myself a pair, and compare them at my leisure with the Pentax, to see what you pay the extra bucks for.

As a test, I put a bird book in the garden in the shade, about 10m away, and began to read. With this test, both were equally matched, and I could not spot a single difference. After playing around for a while, and doing a few field tests, this is what I have decided

1) Despite the fact that they have the same spec’s, 6 degrees, the Nikon’s appear to have a slightly wider field of view than the Pentax
2) The Pentax have better eye relief than the Nikons. Something I wouldn’t notice, but since my wife wears glasses, this makes quite a difference to her, and hence she prefers the Pentax.
3) For overall feel and weight, they are almost identical, although I would say the lens caps of the Nikons are slightly easier to put on and off, and don’t seem to get in the way as much, compared to the Pentax.
4) You can focus up to a meter closer with the Pentax, (not that you need bino’s when a bird sits 2m away from you.)
5) The Pentax give better colour definition in low light.
6) If you view a white line against a dark background, there is less colour diffraction/rainbow effects (forgive my lack of correct terminology) along the edges in the Pentax.

Overall, I have to concede, at the limits, the Pentax optics are of better quality, but you really have to work hard, to see the difference.

My advice, for the same specs, rubberized, waterproof, 10x42 bino’s, you will struggle to find anything that matches the Nikon’s for value for money, but if you can afford to spend a little more, there are better products around, that are still less than half the price of a pair of Leica’s etc. You just have to do a lot of leg work to find them.


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