Pentax DCF ED 8x43 Binoculars Review

Pentax 8 x 43 DCF ED Binoculars
Winner Best Wildlife & Hunting Binocular 2013
BBR Rating: 78%
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Price Range: (5/6) High Value Binoculars       

Ideal Uses:

General Use Rating for General Use Binoculars
Birdwatching Rating as Birdwatching Binoculars
Outdoor Sports Rating asOutdoor Sports Binoculars
Safari & Travel Rating as Safari Binoculars
General Wildlife Rating as Wildlife Observation Binoculars
Hunting Rating as Hunting Binoculars
Astronomy Rating as Binoculars for Astronomy

Awards: Winner Best Wildlife & Hunting Binocular 2013

Please note that these Pentax DCF 8x43 ED binoculars have now been replaced with the Pentax ZD 8x43 ED Binoculars. I have decided to keep the main details of this review as it is still relevant to those interested in the older model which is still excellent and every bit as relevant to day as when I tested it in 2013. For this reason, where available you may be able to save quite a lot of money by purchasing an older model like this, which in reality is very similar to the new version.

However to avoid repeating myself, this review has been updated and will now refer you to the newer version wherever they are identical.

Whilst they manufacture many other optical products and accessories and have been making binoculars for many years, I think that most people on the street will associate the Pentax brand with cameras and camera lenses, especially high end SLR's So for me it is always interesting to see what technologies and innovations companies like Pentax who have a vast amount of expertise in other areas of optics can bring to the table when producing a pair of binos and what better place to showcase these than on your flagship model.

It is for this and many other reasons that I really looked forward to taking a much closer look at their top end model and below you can read my full review and findings on the the Pentax 8x43 DCF ED binoculars after spending a lot of time using and field testing them:

Selected Features

  • Magnesium Alloy Body
  • Fully Waterproof and Nitrogen Purged
  • Lockable Diopter Adjustment Ring
  • Extra-Low Dispersion (ED) glass
  • Fully Multi-Coated Optics
  • Phase Coated Roof Prisms
  • FOV is 330ft wide at 1000 yards
  • 22mm of Eye-Relief
  • Minimum focus distance of 6.6ft

The Body

The entire body of the Pentax 8x43 DCF ED looks to be identical to that of the newer version, so for the full details with all my thoughts, please refer to the Body Section of the Pentax ZD 8x43 ED Review. Below are the main bullet points:

Body Design & Materials

  • Thin single bridge design leaves a reasonably large section of the barrels free to hold onto
  • Magnesium alloy shell, is very strong and lightweight as well as "classier" than polycarbonate
  • Waterproof to a depth of one meter with a JIS Class 6 certificate
  • Nitrogen filled prevents lenses fogging up inside the device

Pentax 8x43 DCF ED Binoculars

Rear of the Pentax 8x43 DCF ED BinocularsExternal Covering

  • The hard rubber is longer lasting, but possibly delivers less impact protection than some
  • Fine texture ensures a good grip level and reduces reflectivity
  • Well placed thumb indents

Other Points:

  • Very sturdy strap eyelets
  • Objectives set back at a depth of 9mm to offer an acceptable level of cover
  • Tripod adaptable - for more take a look at the walk-around video at the foot of this page.

43mm Objective lenses on the Pentax 8x43 DCF ED Binoculars


  • Eyecups on the Pentax 8x43 DCF ED BinocularsTwist-up eyecups
  • Metal eyecup housing - far more robust than plastic
  • Comfortable rubberized coating
  • Excellent 22mm of eye-relief ranks with the best long eye-relief binoculars and so perfect for eyeglasses.

Inter-Pupillary Distances (IPD)

Have a good IPD range to suit most needs:

  • Maximum IPD: 7.4cm
  • Minimum IPD: 5.8cm

Focus Wheel on the Pentax 8x43 DCF ED Binoculars

Diopter Adjustment on the Pentax 8x43 DCF ED BinocularsFocus Wheel & Focusing

  • Large 33mm diameter focus wheel
  • Turns smoothly, with right amount of resistance and no loose or rough sections
  • Balance gearing: 540° / 1½ turns of wheel to take focus from one end to other
  • Wheel is well protected by body, looks great, but is a little harder to feel with heavy gloves

Diopter Adjustment

  • Allows you to calibrate the bins to your particular vision
  • Lockable ring - guards against accidental movement
  • More markings than most makes it easier to remember your setting

Rating for Body Construction Quality: 9/10

Pentax DCF ED 8x43 Binoculars

Dimensions & Weight
Once again these are exactly the same as the newer version and as you can see below are pretty normal for a bin of this size and quality:

Table showing the weight & dimensions of a selection of other full sized 8x binoculars I have reviewed
  Weight Length Width Height/Depth
Celestron Nature DX 8x42 22.2oz (629g) 5.3in (13.5cm) 4.9in (12.4cm) 2in (5.2cm)
Vanguard 8x42 Spirit ED 22.6oz (641g) 5.7in (14.5cm) 4.9in (12.4cm) ?
Celestron Granite 8x42 24oz (680g) 5.8in (14.7cm) 4.0in (10.3cm) 2.1in (5.3cm)
Vortex Viper 8x42 HD 24.2oz (686g) 5.8in (14.7cm) 5.3in (13.5cm) ?
Pentax 8x43 DCF ED 25.2oz (715g) 5.7in (14.5cm) 5.0in (12.7cm) 2.1in (5.3cm)
Pentax 8x43 ZD ED 25.2oz (715g) 5.7in (14.5cm) 5.0in (12.7cm) 2.1in (5.3cm)
Hawke Sapphire 8x42 ED 25.7oz (730g) 5.5in (14cm) 5.1in (13cm) 2.0in (5.1cm)
Kowa BD 8x42 25.7oz (729g) 5.7in (14.5cm) 5.0in (12.7cm) 2.0in (5.1cm)
Hawke Frontier 8x43 ED 26.2oz (743g) 6.6in (16.7cm) 5.2in (13.2cm) 2.6in (6.6cm)
Celestron 8x42 Nature 27 oz (765 g) 5.7in (14.4cm) 4.3in (11cm) 2.1in (5.3cm)
Eagle Optics ED Ranger 8x42 27.4oz (777g) 6.7in (17cm) 5.0in (12.7cm) ?
Swarovski 8.5x42 EL 28.9oz (819g) 6.5in (16.5cm) 4.8in (12.2cm) 2.5in (6.4cm)

BBR Rating for Body Stats: 7/10

43mm Objective lenses on the Pentax 8x43 DCF ED Binoculars

The Optics

This is one area where the newer Pentax ZD 8x43 ED Binoculars, differ slightly to this version. I have highlighted the difference below:


Eyepiece Lenses

  • 3 elements in 2 groups
  • Ocular is 22mm in diameter

Objective Lenses


  • DCF = Dach Roof prisms
  • BaK4 Glass

Optical Coatings

  • Fully-Multi-Coated Optics
  • Dielectric Prism coatings - 60 individual layers with 98.7% light transmission level
  • Phase correction coatings on the prisms
  • Anti-Scratch Coating added to exterior lens surfaces - the Pentax ZD 8x43 ED Binoculars have an improved protective coating that uses nano technology to repel water and deflect oil, dust and dirt
  • As well as this, the ZD ED version is now said to use New Enhanced Light Transmission Coatings - I'm not exactly sure what they are but Pentax state that it increases transmission levels to improve brightness and colors of the image.

Optical Components Quality Rating: 9/10

Optical Stats

The Field Of View (FOV) - 110 meters wide at 1000 meters / 330ft @ 1000 yards equates to an angle of view of 6.3, which as you can see falls short of the best:

Close Focus

  • Official Distance: 6.6ft (2m) away
  • Test model measured to 4.9ft (1.5m)
  • Ideal for occasional close observation of flowers, butterflies or other insects


Optical Stats Rating: 7/10

Image Quality

As I did not have this model with me when I reviewed the newer Pentax ZD 8x43 ED Binoculars, I have kept my description and appraisal of the image as I saw it when I tested them:

My method to judge and thus score the quality of the view of the binoculars that I review is to compare a number of aspects of the view with that of my control binoculars in the same size and magnification category. This I hope enables me to be as impartial and consistent as possible with my scoring. In this case I used my mid ranging 8x42's and my very high end 8x42 controls, and I conducted the comparisons twice, once in good light and again when the light was fading at and after sunset.

Color Fringing
The amount of color fringing that I could see along the edges of objects was extremely minimal and I was only really able to spot a very fine blue line when looking at very dark edges against a bright sky in the background.

This is excellent, matching some of the best out there, which considering the quality of the optics and the use of aspherical lenses with ED glass elements which are designed to counter chromatic aberrations that causes color fringing is as you would expect.

Image Softening
The whole image looks nice and flat and there is only an extremely minimal amount of softening of the image, right at the edge of the view. Once again this is excellent and matches the very best.

Image Brightness & Low Light Performance
In good light the brightness between these and all my 8x42 controls was undetectable to my eyes. This is as to be expected as in these conditions, my pupils will have been smaller than the exit pupils and so the bins would be providing my eyes with more light than they need.

In very poor light, I could not detect any difference in the brightness between these and my best quality 8x42 controls, but could notice the slightest improvement against my mid level 8x42's which means that I rate them as excellent in this department.

Colour Reproduction & Image Contrast
I thought that whilst the image was nice and bright, it does not wash out the colors and they look crisp and beautifully vivid, without any unnatural tints that you sometimes see, especially on cheaper bins.

The amount of contrast between dark and light is also very good, helping objects look nice and three dimensional. This along with the sharp image and brilliant colors also helps objects like some birds really stand out from their backgrounds.

Comparing them to my top end controls by swapping to and fro quickly and often, I really could not spot any difference between them both in the colors or their amount of contrast in the images they produce.

Depth of Field
Focusing on an abject about 5 meters away, I then move my view back without adjusting the focus to see how far I can get before the image moves out of focus. Compared to my 8x42mm controls these had about the same depth of field and so rank them as very good in this area.

Image Quality Rating: 9/10


Pentax 8x43 DCF ED Binoculars with neck strap, carry case and rain-guard

Accessories & Attention to Detail:

Carry Case

  • Well made with good stitching etc
  • Lightly padded
  • Lightweight and compact
  • Lacks a carry strap, can use the binoculars strap when bins are inside
  • No extra pockets or belt loop
  • Velcro fastener - can be noisy to open
  • Overall a little on the basic side compared to most in this price bracket

Carry Case for the Pentax 8x43 DCF ED Binoculars

Neck Strap

  • Well made, but very basic for a bin of this size and price
  • No padding
  • Attaches to the bin in the usual way with a slider for length adjustment

Lens Covers on the Pentax 8x43 DCF ED BinocularsObjective Lens Covers

  • Overall excellent design and quality
  • Fit into the ends of the barrels - looks better and less chance of accidentally dislodging than those that fit over the barrels.
  • Attached to the bin with cords running from the central hinge, hang down under the bins well out of the way when glassing


  • Rain-Guard for the Pentax 8x43 DCF ED BinocularsSoft Plastic
  • Comes away too easily
  • Flexible bridge always storage no matter the IPD setting


  • No lens cloth
  • Overly simple instruction manual
  • Comprehensive 30 year warranty

Extras & Attention to Detail Rating: 6/10

Pentax 8x43 DCF ED Comparisons

  Pentax 8x43 DCF ED Celestron Granite 8x42 Eagle Optics ED Ranger 8x42 Hawke Frontier 8x43 ED Hawke 8x42 Sapphire ED Minox HG 8x43 Vortex Viper 8x42 HD
Approx Price: $850 / £770 $345 / �398 $440 $480 / £290 $450 / £340 $1100 / £640 $450
Weight: 25.2oz (715g) 24oz (680g) 27.4oz (777g) 26.2oz (743g) 25.7oz (730g) 22.9oz (649g) 24.2oz (686g)
Length: 5.7in (14.6cm) 5.8in (14.7cm) 6.7in (17cm) 6.6in (16.7cm) 5.5in (14cm) 6.0in (15.2cm) 5.8in (14.7cm)
Width: 5.0in (12.6cm) 4.0in (10.3cm) 5.0in (12.7cm) 5.2in (13.2cm) 5.1in (13cm) 5.1in (13cm) 5.3in (13.5cm)
Eye Relief: 22mm 17mm 18mm 18mm 18mm 19.5mm 20mm
Min Focusing Dist: 6.6ft 6.5ft 6.0ft 6.6ft 6.6ft 8.2ft 5.1ft
FOV at 1000yds: 330ft 426ft 425ft 426ft 426ft 379ft 347ft
ED Glass Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes
Phase Correction Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
High Reflective Prism Coatings Full reflection coating? Dielectric or Silver Dielectric ? Dielectric Silver ?
Lens Coatings Fully Multi-Coated Fully Multi-Coated Fully Multi-Coated Fully Multi-Coated Fully Multi-Coated Fully Multi-Coated Fully Multi-Coated
Waterproof Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Fogproof Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes


The Pentax DCF ED 8x43 binocular was and indeed still is on the whole an excellent quality instrument that optically performs to the highest levels and are still in this area a match for any at this price point.

The differences between this and their new Pentax ZD 8x43 ED Binoculars are extremely small. As such if you own this pair, I don't suggest upgrading. Also if you are looking to save some money and if you can find it, you will probably get this now discontinued model at a substantially reduced price.

Strong Points:

  • Extremely High Quality Materials & Finish
  • Great Attention to Detail
  • Excellent Image Quality & Brightness
  • Massive Eye-Relief

Weak points?

  • Average Field of View
  • Quality of Extras like the Neck Strap & Carry Case do not match the high standards set by the bino itself

Ideal Uses:

Pentax 8x43 DCF ED Binoculars with neck strap, carry case and rain-guard

Reviewed by Jason Whitehead for Best Binocular Reviews

Best Binocular Reviews Ratings:

Body Construction Quality: 9/10 78%
Body Stats: 7/10
Optical Components Quality: 9/10
Optical Stats: 7/10
Image Quality 9/10
Extras & Attention to Detail: 6/10

Compare Prices & Where to Buy the Pentax Binoculars

Winner Best Wildlife & Hunting Binocular 2013Awards:

Winner Best Wildlife & Hunting Binocular 2013

Main Specifications & Features:

  • Size: Full Size Binoculars
  • [explain prism types]Prism Type: Roof Prism Binoculars
  • Magnification: 8x
  • [explain objective lens]Objective Lens Diameter: 43mm
  • [explain waterproofing]Waterproof: Yes
  • [about fogproofing]Fogproof: Yes

  • [explain exit pupil]Exit Pupil: 5.4
  • [explain twilight factor]Twilight Factor: 18.55
  • [explain eye relief]Eye Relief: 22mm
  • [explain IPD]IPD Max: 7.4cm
  • IPD Min: 5.8cm
  • Close Focus Distance: 6.6ft

  • Weight: 25.2ozs (714g)
  • Length: 5.7in (14.5cm)
  • Height: 2.1in (5.3cm)
  • Width: 5.0in (12.7cm)
  • Eyecup Diameter: 40mm
  • Ocular Lens Diameter: 22mm
  • Focus Wheel Diameter: 33mm
  • Focus from Near to Far, focus wheel rotates: 540°
  • Objective lens inset: 9mm

  • [explain real field of view]Real field of view: 6.3°
  • [explain apparent field of view]Apparent field of view: 50.4°
  • [explain field of view]Field of View: 110m at 1,000 meters
  • [explain field of view]Field of View: 330ft at 1,000 yards

  • Chassis Material: Magnesium
  • Image Stabilization: No
  • [about Lens Coatings]Lens Coatings: Fully Multi-Coated
  • [about Phase Correction]Phase Correction Coatings: Yes
  • [about Prism Coatings]High Reflective Prism Coatings: Dielectric
  • [about ED Glass]Extra Low Dispersion Glass: Yes
  • Locking Diopter: Yes
  • [about tripod adapters]Tripod Adaptable: Yes
  • Auto Focus: No

Pentax 8x43 DCF ED Binoculars Video Review


More Information:

About Pentax | View all Pentax products I have written reviews on

View All:

Full Size Binoculars | Roof Prism Binoculars | General Use Binoculars | Birdwatching Binoculars | Top of the Range/High Value Binoculars

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Binocular Price Comparison
Where to buy the Pentax DCF ED 8x43 Binoculars

General Price Range: (5/6) High Value Binoculars

Below is a link that will take you to a page with online retailers in both the US and UK that sell Pentax 8x43 DCF ED Binoculars this page makes it easy to compare prices and then to buy from your preferred option:

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This review was written a few years ago now. Check out my guide to
older/old stock binoculars & if they are still worth buying now

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