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47 of 47 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome binoculars, August 6, 2009
By 
L. Walz "Lars" (Pittsburgh, PA USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Pentax 6.5x21mm Papilio Binoculars (Electronics)
I am thrilled with my Papilio binoculars purchased from [...] through Amazon. I am a butterfly, bird, and natural history hobbyist, so I cannot speak as a professional scientist or discuss optics technically. I bought them sight unseen based on useful reviews here and elsewhere by people far more knowledgeable than I. Small and light as they are, they are substantial in construction and have a great hand feel. The clarity is superb, in my opinion, in distance focus. But it is the 18 inch close range focus that takes my breath away. It's like having a portable microscope, which is useful both in the field, and contexts like museums and conservatories. I am perfectly satisfied with their performance in low light conditions. I chose the 6.5x21 over the 8.5x21 based on reviews of persons who said that they were brighter, had wider range of view (393 ft and compared to 315 in the 8.5x21), which makes them easier to follow small moving objects, like butterflies with erratic flight patterns. I've played with binoculars 3 times the price of these, and I personally do not feel I am sacrificing anything anything significant with the modest investment in this Pentax Papilio. The pouch it comes in is just okay, and I may invest in something more substantial to keep them safe and sound. I recommend them highly.
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48 of 49 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good Optical and Mechanical Design for the Money, May 30, 2010
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This review is from: Pentax 6.5x21mm Papilio Binoculars (Electronics)
Good quality, medium power, compact binoculars have been disappearing from the market over the last 10 yrs, so I was eager to try out the Pentax 6.5 X 21 Papillo binoculars. The first number refers to the magnification; the second number refers to the diameter of the objective lens in mm. The classic reference standard for binoculars is 7 X 50 submarine commander's glasses. Although manufacturers push "higher power is better", 7 times magnification is about the highest usable power with a hand-held pair of binoculars. Above that, the image is noticeable shaky, unless the binoculars are outfitted with image stabilization, or you use a tripod or other stand. A 50 mm objective gives great light-gathering ability if you view objects in dim light, but results in large, bulky, heavy units. A ~20 mm objective provides a good compromise between light-gathering ability and compactness. Note that for a fixed objective lens diameter, the image grows dimmer as the magnification increases. Not an issue in bright sun, but a factor to consider if you use binoculars to view concert performances or go on nature trips in the woods. Another good reason to opt for lower magnifications.

An unusual feature of this unit is the close-focus ability. Note that some reviews give the impression that it's practically a stereomicroscope ("focusses within inches!"); but this is not an accurate characterization. The manufacturer states 1.6 ft, which I verified (~19 inches from the front bumper). The coated optics are of good quality with flat uniform field, no noticeable color fringes, and no noticeable internal reflections. The two objective lenses are recessed into the body and covered with a flat window, which makes the unit easy to clean. The eyepieces have long eye relief (~distance between the eyepiece and your eye; in general, the longer, the better), suitable for use with eyeglasses. The retractable eyecups are one of the best designs I've come across. Typically a rollup rubber eyecup is used. If you don't wear glasses, you unroll the eyecup to full length to keep stray light from getting into your eyes. If you wear glasses, you roll the eyecup down so you can get your eye closer to the eyepiece. What usually happens is that the rubber cracks easily as it is rolled and unrolled (especially since the material is attacked by sweat and skin oil). In this unit, the eyecups are helically mounted. You adjust the extension by twisting it: there are three click stop positions. The eyecups are rubber coated to minimize scratching of eyeglasses. The right eyepiece has a diopter adjustment (in case your left eye and right eye have unequal vision, with or without eyeglasses).

Mechanically, the design is excellent. Bulkier than other compact designs, but that's a design tradeoff needed to accommodate the close focus range. Light weight and low cost are achieved with an all plastic body. Almost the entire body is coated with rubber, including a rubber bumper in the front of the unit. The rubber has just the right texture to provide a sure grip, even with sweaty hands. It doesn't feel too "goopy". The eyepieces swivel to adjust interpupillary distance (distance between your eyes). The center focus is smooth. The shape is unusual and takes some practice getting the right grip. But it works well. You cradle it in both hands. It provides a steady grip while allowing easy interpupillary adjustment and focussing. It has a tripod socket. Pentax sells an optional tripod adapter, a short pedestal to allow the body to clear the tripod platform. If you use a ball-and-socket head, the adapter is not needed. The socket is a standard 1/4-20 thread. Note that it is a plastic thread, so it is not very robust. With the 6.5 magnification, though, a tripod is not needed unless you are viewing for long times and your hands get tired.

Minor carps. [[SEE CORRECTION BELOW ON STRAP REMOVAL PROCEDURE. It comes with a neckstrap, but be sure you really want to use it. Instead of the typical spring clips that allow you to take the strap on/off, the ends of this strap have heads that snap into mating slots in the body. Once you snap them in, you can't pull them out.]] The unit comes with a dual cover for the eyepieces. The cover falls off easily and is easy to lose, but there is a loop so you can tie it onto the neckstrap. There is no cover for the objective lens. This combo (eyepiece cover/no objective cover) seems to be common these days, but I don't understand why you would leave the objective lenses unprotected. The unit comes with a vinyl pouch. There is no separate neckstrap, but there are slots if you want to attach the pouch to a belt.

For the money, this unit is a good value and I'll give it 5 stars relative to its price point. Of course it won't match the optical quality of a $1500 Zeiss or Leitz, and don't expect to pass this down to your grandkids. Amazon price right now is a good deal, but the touted list price of ~$250 is well over the official list price on the Pentax website (~$130).

[[EDIT 8/14/2010. Ignore the remarks on strap removal. See comments below. I've left the remarks in the original review so new readers will know what the issue was. Thanks, Ray, for bringing this to my attention.]]
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26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Binocular for the price, February 23, 2006
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This review is from: Pentax 6.5x21mm Papilio Binoculars (Electronics)
I have very limited experience using binoculars, but we are going on a cruise to Alaska this spring and felt that we should get some. I studied up on all my options and picked these due to size (they are very compact for the power) and other reviews that I read.

I tried them out in my yard watching squirrels build a nest in a tree far out in the woods. They are fantastic. I could clearly see all the activity during the nest building. I wear glasses and these presented no problems.

I would recommend them to the novice, although I am sure there are better these will meet my needs exactly.
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38 of 41 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent general-purpose compact with a twist..., February 21, 2006
By 
John Robinson "john" (Yokohama, Kanagawa Japan) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Pentax 6.5x21mm Papilio Binoculars (Electronics)
This binocular does indeed focus down to about a foot-and-a-half, far closer than any other binocular I know of. This makes it essential equipment for: art museums, biological fieldwork, any situation where you want to get closer to things you cannot simply GET closer to.

Excellent clarity, as to be expected from a top-line Japanese optical company (as clear as Nikon, for example). Bright enough for the purpose, has diopter (on right, I think), and adjustable for both those who wear eyeglasses and those who do not. They fit my weird, astigmatic, spectacled peepers quite well.

And...they are very reasonably priced. A no-brainer. See Rembrandt's brushstrokes up close! Buy them now. It is the right thing to do. :-)
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Short-Field Binoculars, September 19, 2012
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This review is from: Pentax 6.5x21mm Papilio Binoculars (Electronics)
Not only are these binoculars great for backyard birding and art gallery visits, they are perfect for artists working in life drawing and portraiture. These are light weight so they are not uncomfortable to wear around the neck, and they are easy to adjust. The carrying case keeps them from damage. Very reasonable price for a quality product.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pentax Porro Prism Binoculars, September 17, 2008
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This review is from: Pentax 6.5x21mm Papilio Binoculars (Electronics)
Pentax has always made a superior product and the really did with this item. I bought these as a gift and am very happy with them. They are a little higher in price but that is the quality item. Why you might ask? They came in a black leather case and a necck strap. They are APPRX. 5 inches high by 5 inches wide and 2 inches deep and are adjustable to your face (eye) speration. Lifetime limited warrenty. Instructions make it very clear to only use lens cleaner no "Windex". These are true binoculars, you do not just adjust one but both for a great three D effect. We used them to look at the mountain that is apprx. 1000 feet from our home and it brought it so close and clear.

I can highly recommend Pentax.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very Impressed Novice, July 22, 2013
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This review is from: Pentax 6.5x21mm Papilio Binoculars (Electronics)
I have a very good friend who bird watches, and we go out looking for wildlife together. I've always been jealous of her Nikon binoculars, and decided it was time to order some binoculars myself. She suggested the Papilios.

After doing some research, I was still a bit skeptical. I like watching moose and larger game, and it seemed like these were favored by the butterfly watchers and bird watchers. However, I really liked the idea that I could watch things at a distance as well as up close, and took the chance.

I could not be more impressed. The view is so crisp and clear, and I love how small and compact they are. While the view up close is spectacular, the view far away is also pretty great. They fulfill all purposes.

Three of us went exploring the other day, including my friend with the Nikons. While there were both pairs of binoculars to share, mine were the ones that got used. There were many comments of praise about them that went back and forth. I am extremely satisfied with my purchase!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cannot say enough good about the quality and versatility of these - my favorite binos, June 27, 2013
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This review is from: Pentax 6.5x21mm Papilio Binoculars (Electronics)
I love a good lightweight bino with lowish magnification for all purpose and hunting the woods - espec. ones like these that don't break the bank (what, about $130?). I have the Leupold Yosemite 6x30 porros, the Kowa 8x30 porros, the Nikon Action 7x35 porros, and the Brunton Epoch 8x30 roofies, and since I got these, I use these the most for hunting. These are "reverse" porros - which cuts down on your stereoscopic ability (the only drawback of these, but it's minor, because you don't get much depth perception anyway when looking through ANY bino), but that makes them small and light. That's one of the main advantages of these- that that are tiny and very very lightweight. But they're also very clear/bright, have the perfect magnif for seeing game through the woods, and have the excellent depth of field that porros offer. Perhaps the best part about these though, is the ultra-close-in focus. This product is really like two tools in one - regular lightweight binos AND, with the 1 meter focus, they act as a field microscope - the only difference instead of putting your subject under a slide and viewing it from 6 inches, you walk up on your field subject, view it in it's natural state, from 3 or 4 or 5 feet away. The kids (and me to) love to look at flowers, insects, plants, and other items out and about in huge magnified clarity. Great buy.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Butterfly Binoculars-Super Close Range, December 2, 2007
By 
- (California, USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Pentax 6.5x21mm Papilio Binoculars (Electronics)
These are very special for viewing close-ups while sitting on your patio or deck, or walking the forest. They act like a microscope, are super bright, and can focus on flowers, insects, hummingbirds, and butterflies within inches!! No others have this super close-up abilities...
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars best in class, June 21, 2012
By 
Daggert (Hawaii, USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Pentax 6.5x21mm Papilio Binoculars (Electronics)
really nice compact binoculars, amazing close focus.
wide field of view and ergonomically easy to hold steady,

tripod mount is a nice bonus

Wish they were waterproof, then they would be perfect.

These won't be the last binos you own but they are fun to use
and the price/performance ratio is outstanding.
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Pentax 6.5x21mm Papilio Binoculars
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