Pentax PF-80ED Review – Is This the Right Spotting Scope for You?

Pentax PF-80ED ReviewTaking pride on its waterproof and fog-proof build, the Pentax PF-80ED is yet another scope you shouldn’t miss. Not to be mistaken on its angled version, this straight spotting scope has its own function and features to boast. In this Pentax PF-80ED review, we’ll take a more in-depth look on its specs, performance, overall build, and value.

The Pentax PF-80ED

The PF-80ED is one of the latest scopes in the Pentax line up. It’s poised with sharper images and better focal length that its predecessors. Overall, this Pentax is a blend of classic and modern scopes, with its slew of accessories.

Overall, this is a large scope, sporting an 80 mm objective lens as well as a 1.25 astronomy eyepiece that can look overwhelming for some.

But whether it’s right for you or not, we’re about to find out on this review.

Key specifications

*80 mm objective lens. This offers better low-light performance, brighter images, and consistent magnification.

*Nitrogen-filled body. Thanks to its O-ring seal, this scope is filled with nitrogen to keep it waterproof and fog-proof. You can use this scope even under harsh outdoor conditions.

*Anti-reflection coating. The proprietary Super-Multi-Coating or SMC of Pentax keeps the lens clear, crisp, and bright.

*Locked-in magnification. During cold days, the groove on the eyepiece barrel keeps your preferred magnification in place. This is a big help, especially if you’re busy glassing or observing an animal or object.

*Magnesium alloy body. Although large, the Pentax PF-80ED is lightweight, thanks to its magnesium alloy body. It’s durable and can take the beating of outdoor elements.

*Extra-low dispersion glass. This feature adds clarity and topnotch resolution on the scope.

* JIS Class 6 waterproof. This waterproofing is equivalent to protection against water jets. Water sprayed from all directions shouldn’t cause extensive damages to this scope.

Optical performance

With a focal length of 518 mm, this Pentax spotting scope offers a wide range of magnification. Its exact magnification range depends on the eyepiece you’re going to use. If used with the Pentax 8 mm – 24 mm Zoom Eyepiece, you can achieve a zoom range of 20x-60x with an apparent field of view of 38-60 degrees.

If you want more zoom power, we recommend getting the Pentax XF Zoom Eyepiece (6.5mm-19.5mm) that can reach a magnification of up to 78x. Any 1.25.-inch Pentax spotting scope eyepieces can be used on this scope.

With the 80 mm objective lens, this scope is made for viewing on all light conditions. We also like the SMC coating, which adds a razor-sharp definition to the viewing field. It also boosts the contrast of the subjects.

The only gripe that we have is that this scope doesn’t come with an eyepiece to start with. Nevertheless, it’s an advantage for some who are eyeing a specific eyepiece unit to use.

Another thing that we like about this scope is it has a single twist eyepiece replacement construction. You can switch between eyepieces without fumbling with this tool.

Low light performance

For those who have the money to invest, this spotting scope is the perfect gear for low light conditions. Its 80 mm objective lens gathers more light than other spotting scopes. In comparison, this 80 mm lens gets 66% more light than a regular 62 mm scope. That’s value for money if you’re going to ask us.

Overall, this scope is a champ in low light performance. We’ve tried several scopes before, and this is, by far, one of the best during dusk and dawn. We can see the subjects clearly, thanks to the maximized light transmission and contrast.

Build and appearance

Next, we also like how rugged and solid this spotting scope is. It has a slanted, rather than an angled, eyepiece design. Its lens has a 45-degree slant, just right for comfortable viewing. Its body is made of magnesium alloy with unbeatable waterproofing and fog-proofing specs. Such a slant angle is ideal for watching treetop activity or observing from a back porch. It’s also ideal if you’re sharing your scope with other people with varying heights.

Aside from that, this scope has a durable rubber armor all over its metal casing. It also has a tripod collar. Thanks to its 1.25-inch eyepiece slot, you can get ultra-deep perception and larger images. This fixes the unpleasant tunnel effect of many scopes on the market.

We also appreciate that this scope has less compacting on the light shaft. Although it’s large, we can say that the specs justify its dimensions.

This scope is also equipped with a retractable and self-storing lens that gives an excellent photographic contrast. There’s also a sightline molded on at the top of the scope. This helps in focusing on targets faster and easier.

Through this, you can locate birds then switch to observing the subjects with just an inch of head movement.

Adjustments

Adjustments on this Pentax scope are totally a breeze. There’s a collet-type ring lock that keeps the eyepiece in place. It’s sturdy and holds the eyepiece strongly, but it allows replacements in a single twist. There’s also a groove on the eyepiece barrel that can fit a pin.

Aside from that, this scope has an extra-long and ribbed focusing knob. This allows the users to move their focus from the horizon and up to 19 feet in close focus.

When it comes to its casing, the rubber armor is well-built and gives a shock-proof benefit. It’s also tripod ready and compatible with standard ¼”-20 thread bolts. There’s even an extra hole if you’re planning to use a tripod with a video stabilizing pin. This is also compatible with 3/8” European tripods.

Weight and size

As for its weight, the Pentax PF-80ED is 1,400 grams. As compared to other scopes of the same length, this is already lightweight. It’s 15.6 inches long, 4.7 inches wide, and 3.9 inches thick. It’s rugged and lightweight, the right choice for most outdoorsmen out there.

This lightweight scope is filled with nitrogen that also prevents fungus formation on humid climates. So if you’re planning to take this scope to a rainforest, you can do so with confidence.

Price range

Among the spotting scopes for sale, the Pentax PF-80ED is in the middle of the price range. It’s not the cheapest option, but not the most expensive either. However, if you’re on a budget, this scope can somewhat feel splurgy.

Nevertheless, we can say that its price is totally worth it, given its features. You’ll get a scope that performs well under low light conditions. Also, it’s made to endure harsh conditions. Regardless if you’re bird watching, nature observing, or glassing, this scope is a great choice.

Pros

For avid birders, this scope is a must-try. It boasts stunning features and has the following advantages:

*Impressive optical value. With its low light performance, contrast, and sharpness, there’s nothing else we could wish for.

*Large image. Unlike other scopes that have the annoying tunnel effect, this Pentax unit offers large images that fill your view.

*Waterproof and fog-proof. A spotting scope for the outdoors must have these two features hand in hand. We also like that this nitrogen-filled scope resits fungus buildup.

*Lightweight yet rugged. Made for the outdoors and every outdoorsman.

*Multi-coated prism. With this, there’s an anti-reflective feature so you can keep on observing the subjects against direct light.

*Astronomical eyepieces. This offers wider views as compared to other eyepieces.

*Tripod-ready. Get a tripod and enjoy the spotting scope all day long.

*All-around scope. Regardless if you want to hit the outdoors or just relax by your porch, this scope will not disappoint.

*Covered by the ‘Worry-Free’ lifetime warranty. Pentax will replace or repair your unit, even if negligence is the cause of damage.

Cons

Just like any scope, there are some unpleasant things about this Pentax model. But overall, these tiny flaws aren’t deal-breakers.

First, there’s no specific information about the rotation capacity of the scope once it’s on a tripod. But since it’s compatible with a range of tripods, we’re assuming that we can get decent rotation.

Lastly, the ‘Worry-Free’ lifetime warranty isn’t transferrable. You have to be the original owner to avail this coverage. So if you’re sending this scope as a gift, the next owner will miss out on the excellent guarantee.

Who should use this scope?

Overall, the Pentax PF-80ED is perfect for birders and observers. It’s ideal for distance observation and finding targets. If you’re shooting, this scope might be good for you, but with some reservations due to its size.

Aside from that, drivers and short-sighted users will also find this useful on some occasions. If you’re not looking for very specific features, this Pentax scope is a great all-around gear for your outdoor outings.

Conclusion

The Pentax PF-80ED is a powerhouse spotting scope. It has the best low light performance and rugged build made for the outdoors. And with its eyepiece versatility, you can achieve more distance with this tool.

What do you think of this Pentax PF-80ED review? Do you have something to add? Let us know!


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