Best Pentax Binoculars Reviewed and Rated for Quality

In a Hurry? Editors choice:
5x21 U-Series Papilio II
Test Winner: 5x21 U-Series Papilio II
Amazon Link
Pentax Binoculars are part of a rich optics tradition that extends back almost 100 years. RICOH IMAGING--their producer--is a Japanese company that specializes in the art of award-winning cameras and sports optics.

What we love most about Pentax Binoculars is that they occupy the perfect space between super high-end products (think Leica Binoculars) and inexpensive low-quality products. Pentax brings you hyper-crisp images in a durable package at a price that will leave you smiling.

So whether you are looking for a tiny compact pair of binoculars, heavy-duty long-range hunting binoculars, or portable birding binoculars that can focus up close and far away, Pentax has you covered.

Standout Picks

5x21 U-Series Papilio II
We kickstart our list with the 8.5x21 U-Series Papilio II. This product is classified as a Sport Optic. These binoculars are compact and tiny enough to be taken with you anywhere--weighing in at just over 7 ounces. Plus, you’ll be able to enjoy an unheard of Macro Observation focusing distance that will allow you to see even the finest details of objects that are super close at hand.
Amazon Link
$139.00
Papilio II 6.5x21
The Papilio II 6.5x21 is very similar to the binoculars featured above. What makes these different is the magnification power and the prism type. These have a little less magnification power and are therefore better suited for viewing things that are closer to you.
Amazon Link
$126.87
SP 20x60 WP
The SP 20x60 WPs bring some serious hunting power to the table and they certainly are not as compact as the previous two options on our list. These are the mack daddies and will deliver sharp imagery whether you’re a bird watcher, a hunter, or a stargazer. And to top it all off--these puppies are waterproof!
Amazon Link
$239.00
UP 8x21
The UP 8x21s are the most affordable option on our list. They are quite similar to the first two products that we feature, but they differ in their minimum focusing distance which makes them a bit less expensive. However, these still let it tons of light and are a great compact action for taking with you on the trail.
Amazon Link
$67.74
UP 10x21
The UP 10x21s are very similar to the product above, however, they differ in their magnification capacity. While the above product magnifies as 8 times the naked eye, this product magnifies up to 10 times, so if you are after a budget pair of binoculars, but you don’t want to sacrifice power, this could be just the right fit for you.
Amazon Link
$59.00
UP 8x25 WP
The UP 8x25 WPs is the second product on our list to be totally waterproof! If you are looking for a portable, budget option that provides tons of clarity in a durable and lightweight package, then you have officially met your match.
Amazon Link
$99.00
SD 8x42 WP
The SD 8x42 WPs are the most premium item on our list. Not only are they waterproof, but they have an extra-large objective lens which allows for even more clarity, as well as a Roof Prism which takes these babies to the next level.
Amazon Link
$246.95
SP 10x50 WP
The SP 10x50 WPs are similar to the previous device on our list, but they offer greater magnification and a larger objective lens at a lesser cost as they use a Porro Prism instead of a Roof Prism. And you’ll still enjoy all of the waterproofing that you’ll need from a pair of binoculars.
Amazon Link
$169.00
UP 8x25
The UP 8x25s are very similar to the UP 8x25 WPs above, except that they are half the price because they are not waterproof. If you don’t often find yourself wet conditions, then these may be the perfect choice for you.
Amazon Link
$76.18
SP 12x50
The SP 12x50s are the perfect way to round out our list. It is super powerful and can open a world of images no matter the lighting. Plus it is compatible with a tripod so you can get a steady image out in the field.
Amazon Link
$89.00

Criteria Used for Evaluation

Visibility

When deciding which products would make this Ten Best List, we took visibility into heavy consideration. When assessing a product’s visibility, we look at a few different factors.
For one, we look at the magnification of each product. Products on this list range from having 8 times the magnification of the naked eye to 20 times the magnification of the naked eye.
For two, we look at the field of view at 1,000 meters. This measurement tells you how large your field of view will be in the binoculars when you are looking at a point that is 1,000 meters away.
Then, we look at the minimum focus distance. This measurement tells you how close you can be to an object while being able to focus on it.

Finally, we consider the eye relief of each product. This is the distance that you must be away from the ocular lens (the part where you look through) in order to get a full field of view in the binoculars.

Adjustability

When looking at a device’s adjustability, we consider whether or not there is a diopter adjustment (which allows you to adjust for differences in either eye), what the eyecup situation is, and where the focusing knob is.

Portability

When thinking about portability, we consider how light and compact a product is, and whether or not you will require additional equipment in order to focus the set of binoculars. You'll want a pair of birding binoculars to be lighter than you pair of hunters.

Features

When taking into account features, we look at the different prism types (Roof and Porro), at whether or not a product is waterproof, and at what sets the product apart from others in the market.

Value

We love the value of these Pentax Binoculars. They are super durable, incredibly precise, and provide a wide range of functionality whether you are looking for a compact travel pair or for a serious long-range set. They also come with all accessories included, as well as with a limited lifetime warranty.

Ten Best Pentax Binoculars

1. 5x21 U-Series Papilio II

Where to buy
Amazon Link
$139.00
5x21 U-Series Papilio II
Amazon Link

We kickstart our list with the 8.5x21 U-Series Papilio II. This product is classified as a Sport Optic. These binoculars are compact and tiny enough to be taken with you anywhere--weighing in at just over 7 ounces. Plus, you’ll be able to enjoy an unheard of Macro Observation focusing distance that will allow you to see even the finest details of objects that are super close at hand.

Optics are Multi and Fully Coated
The 8.5x21 U-Series Papilio II features optics that are multi and fully coated. Fully and multi-coated lenses allow the maximum amount of light to pass through each lens. For the user, this means that you will enjoy more clarity and sharpness and that you will experience less glare and distortion.

This feature is not a standard in the industry. Optics may be partially coated (on one side), fully coated (on both sides), multi-coated (on one side), or fully and multi-coated. Obviously, fully and multi-coated lenses are the premium.
The prism in this product is also coated. The BaK4 delivers an exit pupil that is virtually perfectly round which works to deliver even more clarity.

Another interesting feature of this product are the aspherical lenses. These work to reduce the occurrence of abberation (where images become fuzzy and indistinct at the edges). Instead, you’ll enjoy crisp images from the center to the very edges of your field of view. You will be able to zoom in to 8.5 times the magnification with a 105-meter field of view at 1,000 meters. The objective lens measures 21 millimeters in diameter.

Insanely Close Focus
The 8.5x21 U-Series Papilio II provides a focus distance that will make you drop your jaw. You will be able to focus for macro observation at just 50 centimeters. This is not a typo! A focus distance this small makes this product a great companion for observing flora and fauna up close, as well as seeing the intricacies of artwork in the museum.
This dual-axis product is housed in a single body. You will be able to adjust the IPD (interpupillary distance) to fit your exact needs. This adjustment is synchronized.

Twist-up eyecups will allow you to manage the appropriate eyecup distance without having to worry about them collapsing. This also makes sharing the binoculars easier as well. The eye relief on this device is 15 millimeters.
There is also a diopter adjustment on this product that will allow you to compensate for the differences between your two eyes. Once you have set the diopter, you can lock this in place and zoom with ease.

This product is covered in rubber which helps with gripping and serves to protect the body. This option is not waterproof.

Cost and Value
The 8.5x21 U-Series Papilio II rings up in the middle of our price range and we love its value because it is insanely lightweight and allows you to focus up close like few other options on the market. Plus, you’ll get eyepiece covers, a neck strap, and a carrying case with your purchase. And you’ll feel secure with the limited lifetime warranty as well.

Amazon Link
$139.00

2. Papilio II 6.5x21

Where to buy
Amazon Link
$126.87
Papilio II 6.5x21
Amazon Link

The Papilio II 6.5x21 is very similar to the binoculars featured above. What makes these different is the magnification power and the prism type. These have a little less magnification power and are therefore better suited for viewing things that are closer to you.

6.5 Times the Magnification
The Papilio II 6.5x21 features fully and multi-coated lenses that will bring you images that are super sharp and crisp. With aspherical lenses as well, you will get at crisp an image at the edges of your field of view as you do at the center of it.

The magnification on this device is 6.5 times the magnification of the naked eye. At 1,000 meters away, your field of view will be 131 meters. The objective lens on this product also measures 21 millimeters in its diameter.
The prism used in this product is a Porro Prism. We love a Porro Prism because it brings the cost down on the binocular set while still delivering excellent imagery.

Center Focus
The Papilio II 6.5x21 also provides a remarkable focus distance of just 50 centimeters away. Reviewers find that you can actually count the scales on a butterfly’s wings with this precision.

The unibody design of this product serves to cut down on the moving parts and make the product more durable.
The eyepiece adjustment on this product is synchronized and you will be able to adjust the IPD to fit your facial specifications. You will enjoy the convenience of twist-up eyecups and an eye relief of 15 millimeters. Focusing is controlled with a central focusing knob.

There is also a diopter adjustment on this product so that you can lock in the exact focus for each eye to get crisp images, even if your eyes aren’t the same.

Cost and Value
The Papilio II 6.5x21 rings up in the low middle of our price range and we love its value because it comes with tons of impressive features that make viewing wildlife up close possible in a way it has never been before. Plus, you’ll get a carrying case, neck strap, and lens covers, along with a limited lifetime warranty with your purchase.

Amazon Link
$126.87

3. SP 20x60 WP

Where to buy
Amazon Link
$239.00
SP 20x60 WP
Amazon Link

The SP 20x60 WPs bring some serious hunting power to the table and they certainly are not as compact as the previous two options on our list. These are the mack daddies and will deliver sharp imagery whether you’re a bird watcher, a hunter, or a stargazer. And to top it all off--these puppies are waterproof!

Massive Objective Lens
The SP 20x60 WP boasts the lens quality that you have come to expect from Pentax. All lenses in this device are multi and fully coated for clarity like no other. With a Bak4 Porro Prism, you will enjoy crisp images with tons of definition no matter what kind of lighting conditions you encounter.

This product can zoom up to 20 times the magnification of the naked eye. With a 60 millimeter objective lens, you will reap the benefits of tons of lighting and will be able to see crisply even at night. You will have a 38-meter field of view at 1,000 meters away.

Waterproof Design
The SP 20x60 WPs are the first on our list to be waterproof. These are also nitrogen filled (purged) to ensure that no moisture accumulates in the interior of your binoculars. In fact, these can even be submerged in up to 1 meter of water without undergoing damage. Plus, these are actually designed to repel dust and water to keep your optics squeaky clean.

You will have a focusing distance of about 26 feet all the way up to infinity with an eye relief of 21 millimeters.
This product weighs in at just over 3 pounds, and has sturdy housing to ensure that you can enjoy this premium pair of binoculars for years to come.

The SP 20x60 WPs have a center focus and a diopter, with a helicoid eyering.

Cost and Value
The SP 20x60 WP rings up towards the top of our price range but we love its value because it promises high magnification and it delivers. With its durable body and waterproof construction, you can rely on this investment to last for years and years to come.

Plus, with your purchase, you’ll receive a carrying case with a strap, a neck strap, 2 covers for the objective lenses, 2 caps for the eyepieces, and a limited lifetime warranty to top it all off.

Amazon Link
$239.00

4. UP 8x21

Where to buy
Amazon Link
$67.74
UP 8x21
Amazon Link

The UP 8x21s are the most affordable option on our list. They are quite similar to the first two products that we feature, but they differ in their minimum focusing distance which makes them a bit less expensive. However, these still let it tons of light and are a great compact action for taking with you on the trail.

Well Treated Lenses
The UP 8x21s offer up lenses that have been coated on all sides, multiple times, to let in as much light as possible. With a 21 millimeter diameter on the objective lens, you’ll get crisp imagery even when there isn’t tons of lighting (natural or otherwise).

The lenses in this device are aspherical as well to deliver crispness at the edges of your field of view, not only in the center of it. With Porro Prisms, you’ll enjoy detailed and defined images without having to shell out tons of money in the process. You can zoom in to 8 times the magnification with this option, and your field of view at 1000 meters will by 108 meters.

Uni-Body Construction for Durability
The UP 8x21s come in a unique styled uni-body design that works to cut down on excess moving parts (more moving parts, more potential problems) and which helps to protect the delicate inners of the device. This also works to synchronize the movement of the eyepieces.

While the above info is largely similar to the first two products on our list, here’s where the differences come in.
Rather than having a 50-centimeter focusing distance, you will have to maintain a distance of 2.8 meters away from the objects you wish to observe.

And while this product also has a center focusing knob, it does not allow you to adjust the ITP and it does not have a diopter adjustment capability. The UP has sliding eyecups, rather than twist-up eyecups. The eye relief is 13 millimeters.

The UPs weigh in at just over 7 ounces, making them another great travelers companion.

Cost and Value
The UP 8x21s ring up at the very bottom of our price range and we love their value because they offer super crisp imagery with fully and multi-coated lenses and Porro Prisms without adding all of the other frills that can make a product expensive.

Plus, you’ll still get your eyecup covers, neck strap, and protective case, along with the limited lifetime warranty that you expect from Pentax.

Amazon Link
$67.74

5. UP 10x21

Where to buy
Amazon Link
$59.00
UP 10x21
Amazon Link

The UP 10x21s are very similar to the product above, however, they differ in their magnification capacity. While the above product magnifies as 8 times the naked eye, this product magnifies up to 10 times, so if you are after a budget pair of binoculars, but you don’t want to sacrifice power, this could be just the right fit for you.

Ten Times the Magnification
The UP 10x21s come with Pentax’s standard multi and fully coated lenses, as well as an objective lens that measures 21 millimeters in diameter, and Porro prisms in order to bring you loads of crisp clarity in a nice and compact package that won’t empty your wallet.

These lenses also have an aspherical shape to them so you can enjoy consistently sharp images across your full range of view. This is an essential component in compact binoculars.

You will be working with a whopping 10 times the magnification with this device, which gives you a greater range than with the previous product on our list. And your field of view at 1000 meters is 87.5 meters.

Shorter Eye Relief
The UP 10x21s come in the same unique uni-body form to help maintain durability and to simplify the inner workings of the device. Plus it allows the eyepieces to synchronize movement as well.
This product has a much longer minimum focus distance (as it is intended to bring in to focus objects that are much farther away). The minimum focus distance on this device is 18.1 meters.
The eye relief on this device is actually shorter, at 9.5 millimeters.
There is no diopter here and you cannot adjust the IPD. There is a center focus knob.
This product weighs in at just under 7 and a half ounces.

Cost and Value
The UP 10x21s ring up towards the bottom of our price range and we love their value because you get tons of magnifying power in a tiny package that is easy to take on the go and that won’t break the bank. Plus, you’ll enjoy the complete set with strap, case, and eyepiece covers. And, of course, the limited lifetime warranty.

Amazon Link
$59.00

6. UP 8x25 WP

Where to buy
Amazon Link
$99.00
UP 8x25 WP
Amazon Link

The UP 8x25 WPs is the second product on our list to be totally waterproof! If you are looking for a portable, budget option that provides tons of clarity in a durable and lightweight package, then you have officially met your match.

Larger Objective Lens = Larger Field of View
The UP 8x25 WPs are, again, similar to the other UPs on our list. They feature fully and multi-coated lenses that are aspherical in shape to bring you the sharpest quality images possible in such a compact package. Add the Porro Prisms on top of that and you’ll feel like you are right on top of the action.

The larger objective lens on this device (at 25 millimeters) delivers an even greater field of view. You’ll enjoy a field of view of 356 yards from 1000 yards away. This product allows up to 8 times the magnification of the naked eye.

Totally Waterproof!
The UP 8x25 WPs actually deliver you a waterproof product that you won’t have to pay a fortune for. Not only is the compact uni-body design built for longevity, but it is 100% waterproof as well and can be submerged in as much as 1 meter of water without being damaged.

The minimum focus distance on this device is just 6.27 feet, and the eye relief is only 15 millimeters. There is no diopter control or ITP adjustment, though this product can be used successfully by children and adults alike.

The waterproofing and larger objective lens add a bit of weight to this device, but it still only weighs in at just over 12 ounces.

Cost and Value
The UP 8x25 WPs ring up in the middle of our price range and we love their value because they combine the compact and durable body with waterproofing capabilities to bring you a set of binoculars that are lightweight and longlasting in any weather. And they come as part of a whole kit with their limited lifetime warranty.

Amazon Link
$99.00

7. SD 8x42 WP

Where to buy
Amazon Link
$246.95
SD 8x42 WP
Amazon Link

The SD 8x42 WPs are the most premium item on our list. Not only are they waterproof, but they have an extra-large objective lens which allows for even more clarity, as well as a Roof Prism which takes these babies to the next level.

Roof Prism
The SD 8x42 WPs are the first on our list to have a Roof Prism. While Porro Prisms have the advantage of being less complex (with less of a reliance on exact precision) and therefore more affordable, they cannot quite match the quality of Roof Prisms.

Roof Prisms are complex and require tons of precision which put them a cut above the rest and explain the extra dollars.
Of course, the lenses on this product are fully and multi-coated and the incredibly large objective lens at 42 millimeters lets in a shocking amount of light for a crisper image than you could have thought possible.
This product allows you to zoom up to 8 times the magnification and you will enjoy a field of view of 131 meters from 1000 meters away.

Super Durable Construction
The SD 8x42 WPs may cost you a little bit extra, but you can rest easy knowing how durably made they are. Not only are they nitrogen-purged and waterproof at up to 1 meter of water, but they are also enveloped in an extremely rugged casing that can handle life in the wild.

In fact, the lenses on this product have been coated with a special formula that actually repels dust and water to work to keep your vision crisp and clear. 8.25 feet is the minimum focus distance on this option and the eye relief is 21 millimeters. There is a helicoid eyepiece ring.

This device weighs in at one and a half pounds.

Cost and Value
The SD 8x42 WPs are the most expensive option on our list but we like its value because it has a premium style Roof Prism and full waterproofing at a still very competitive price for the binocular market. Plus, you’ll enjoy all the extras that come with your purchase including an excellent carrying case that comes with a strap and a limited lifetime warranty.

Amazon Link
$246.95

8. SP 10x50 WP

Where to buy
Amazon Link
$169.00
SP 10x50 WP
Amazon Link

The SP 10x50 WPs are similar to the previous device on our list, but they offer greater magnification and a larger objective lens at a lesser cost as they use a Porro Prism instead of a Roof Prism. And you’ll still enjoy all of the waterproofing that you’ll need from a pair of binoculars.

Giant Objective Lens
The SP 10x50 WPs come with fully and multi-coated lenses that are treated with a special formula to resist grease, water, and dust. Along with an absolutely giant objective lens at 50 millimeters, you will enjoy tons of crisp visuals no matter what the weather or the lighting situation outside. This product uses a Porro Prism, and so rings up a bit cheaper.

You’ll be able to zoom up to 10 times the magnification of the naked eye and you’ll have a field of view of 87 meters at 1000 meters away.

Nitrogen-Purged
The SP 10x50 WPs are, again, totally waterproof up to 1 meter so unless you plan on swimming with them, you’ll be fine. They are nitrogen purged to ensure that moisture stays out of body, which works to eliminate fog on the lenses as well.

This product has a helicoid eyepiece and it has a diopter setting. The minimum focusing distance is just over 18 feet and the eye relief is 20 millimeters.

Cost and Value
The SP 10x50 WPs ring up towards the top of our price range but we like its value because it offers tons of light and power in a durable package that will perform in any weather and that can hold up for years. Plus, you’ll get the whole package with your purchase, including a limited lifetime warranty.

Amazon Link
$169.00

9. UP 8x25

Where to buy
Amazon Link
$76.18
UP 8x25
Amazon Link

The UP 8x25s are very similar to the UP 8x25 WPs above, except that they are half the price because they are not waterproof. If you don’t often find yourself wet conditions, then these may be the perfect choice for you.

Lots of Light Transmission
The UP 8x25s have the same fully and multi-coated lenses that are aspherical with a 25 millimeter objective lens and Porro Prism that lets in tons of light for clarity.

You will be able to zoom in 8 times the magnification and your field of view at 1000 meters is 108 meters.

Lighter Than Waterproof Version
The UP 8x25s have a minimum focusing distance of 1.9 meters and an eye relief of 15 millimeters. There is no ITP adjustment or diopter on this product. These weigh less than the waterproof version above at just 11 ounces.

Cost and Value
The UP 8x25s ring up at the bottom of our price range and we like their value because they offer crisp quality and a super budget price, all while being in a durable casing that you can count on to last for years to come. Plus, it comes with all accessories and a limited lifetime warranty.

Amazon Link
$76.18

10. SP 12x50

Where to buy
Amazon Link
$89.00
SP 12x50
Amazon Link

The SP 12x50s are the perfect way to round out our list. It is super powerful and can open a world of images no matter the lighting. Plus it is compatible with a tripod so you can get a steady image out in the field.

Compatible with a Tripod
The SP 12x50s can zoom in to a whopping 12 times the magnification of the naked eye. Often, the higher the magnification, the harder it is to focus, and you can experience bouncy, unsteady images. We love that this product comes with the ability to be mounted on a tripod to get a sturdy and sure image without the bouncing.
Of course, the lenses on this product are multi and fully coated, and with a Porro Prism and an extra large 50 millimeter objective lens you will get crisp sharp focus in any light.
Your field of view at 1000 meters is just about 98 meters.

Fold-Down Eyecups
The SP 12x50s come with specialized fold-down eyecups to give the user more options when focusing and steadying their view. The eye relief on this device is 11 millimeters and the minimum focus distance is 30 feet.

Cost and Value
The SP 12x50s ring up on the lower end of our price range and we like their value because they are super powerful and compatible with a tripod mount at a wildly affordable price. And, as always, they come with all of the necessary accessories and a limited lifetime warranty.

Amazon Link
$89.00

Sources

  1. SPIE Contributing Writers, Binoculars, Article
  2. Diane and Michael Porter, Binocular Tuneup The Diopter Adjustment, Article
  3. Ben Lizdas, Why Are Binoculars So Expensive?, Article