Looking for the uncommon 9x magnification in a moderate price range? The lightweight, open-hinge Pentax 9x42 DCF BR binocular is a good choice. Pentax guarantees bright images by including fully multi-coated lenses and increases resolution and contrast with silver-coated roof prisms and phase correction. Smooth rubber armoring protects a fiber-reinforced polycarbonate body while waterproofing and fogproofing safeguard the internal optics. A great choice for nature observation, sports, hunting, or hiking, the BR is protected by the Pentax Worry-Free Warranty.
Fully Multi-coated Lenses
Increase light transmission with multiple anti-reflective coatings on all air-to-glass surfaces.
Enhances resolution and contrast through roof prisms.
Increase efficiency of light transmission.
Appreciated for a streamlined shape and durability.
Fiber-reinforced Polycarbonate Body
Provides a secure, non-slip grip.
Twist up and down for comfortable viewing with or without eyeglasses.
Center Focus Wheel
Adjusts both binocular barrels at the same time.
Right Eye Diopter
Adjusts for differences in a user's eyes. Located by the right eyepiece.
Optics are sealed with O-rings to prevent moisture, dust, and debris from getting inside the binocular.
Barrels are filled with nitrogen gas to inhibit internal fogging.
I finally decided to upgrade from my trusty 8.5x45 Swift Audubon porros, which were showing some extreme wear, but still quite functional. I ordered five pair of binocs from Eagle Optics and spent time comparing them side by side. All were roof prisms between 8x-9x; ideally, I was looking for an 8.5x-9x. Some of my impressions are presented below. Just a little about me: I've been birding 20 years; I have large hands with slender fingers; all roof prisms fit a little awkwardly in my hands, since they are, by design, effectively two closely aligned tubes. The "double-bridge" design in roof prisms, (c.f. single-bridge design) is a little better for me, but I still feel I have to "pinch" roofs between my fingers to hold them, rather than having them fit solidly into the web between thumb and forefinger. But there is not much choice in porros, and there is an unspoken "not cool" bias against porros among birders.
Swift Audubon 8.5x44 roof Features: single bridge Pro: nothing stood out; image acceptable Cons: Very stiff focus wheel; diopter adjust did not feel sturdy; single bridge design did not fit well in my hands.
Pentax DCF BR 9x42 Features: double bridge Pros: Focus wheel very smooth and grippy; rubberized body had a good feel; very good image for non-ED/HD glass; 9x power a nice size for birding; close-focus was still OK. Cons: narrow field of view; diopter adjust very stiff; eye cups do not adjust very far out
Vanguard Endeavor ED 8x42 Features: double bridge, ED glass Pros: Focus wheel very smooth and grippy, turns easily; diopter has nice mechanism; eye cups adjust sufficiently; rubberized body had a good balance; ED glass gave very good image; great price for ED glass. Con : Depth of focus was short; easily move out of focus.
Vanguard Endeavor ED 8.5x45 Features: double bridge, ED glass Pros: Focus wheel very smooth and grippy, turns easily; diopter has nice mechanism; eye cups adjust sufficiently; rubberized body had a good balance; ED glass gave very good image; I like the magnification size; great price for ED glass. Con : Depth of focus was short; easily move out of focus.
Vortex Talon HD Features: double bridge, HD glass Pros: HD glass gave best image of the group; thumb indents on body fit my hands a little better Con : Focus wheel is hard plastic, and not grippy; higher price than others in the group; soft case does not leave room for a strap--you have to remove the strap or let it hang out the sides.
The winner was the Vortex Talon, which gave the best image of the bunch, with easiest handling. Maybe that is not a surprise, given the higher price and ED/HD glass. Since I always like a bargain, I was leaning towards the Vanguard Endeavors. However, the depth of focus and overly-sensitive focus wheel on the Vanguards made it just that much more difficult to focus on hawks flying through the treetops or on sparrows inside a bush. In a side-by-side test (both pairs around my neck), I kept coming back Vortex Talon for the better image and ease of staying on a moving target. All the roof prisms here are still are not as comfortable in my hands as porros. If your maximum budget is about $300, and can adjust to the focus wheel (as I did over time), you will most likely be very happy with the Vanguard Endeavors, or one of the Nikon Monarchs (which I viewed in a store). If you budget is a little higher, I recommend the Vortex Talon, for the great image.
Postscript 18 Feb 2013: I've had the chance to use the Vortex Talons for local trips and one longer international trip. I'm still very happy with my choice.
I returned the other four pair of binoculars to Eagle Optics with no problems. However, I was VERY careful not to damage the packaging or contents, or to mix any of them up. Of course, I also took special care not to mark or scratch the binoculars themselves.
Charlie G from Pensacola, Fl
Crystal clear, very bright, and at nine power brings things real close!
Pentax DCF BR 9x42
Adilson from Brazil
At first I expected a bit more of binoculars, I found a bit difficult adjustments and any shift in focus may be necessary to a new setting. The image is sharp and clear and easy to see however chromatic aberration, the use of the image is above 90% from center to edge. The value of the binoculars is a little more than fair.