Pentax DCF BC 9x32 Binocular
- Pentax’s bright, new,
- Compact, feather light,
- Excellent optical
- 6.4-foot minimum close
One of the exciting trends in sports optics over the last few years has been the
introduction of some great optics in the low-price segment of the market. Pentax
introduced two such binoculars in 2011. This review covers the 9x32 DCF BC binocular.
The DCF BR 9x42 is reviewed in a separate article
here. For starters, 9x magnification is still uncommon in sports optics.
The 9x32 DCF BC features a double-bridge design, which is increasingly common, though
it’s new from Pentax. This is a solo entry, rather than a ‘line’. Most importantly,
it’s priced at under $300. We like this binocular quite a bit.
The Pentax DCF BC 9x32 binocular is a roof prism design, fully sealed and nitrogen-purged
to be waterproof (JIS Class 6 = submersible to 1 yard), dust-proof and internally
fog-proof. These binoculars are quite compact, measuring just 5.75 inches long with
eyecups fully extended (<5.5 inches with them folded down) and 4.6 inches wide with
the hinges all the way open. DCF BC binoculars are made with fiber-reinforced polycarbonate
frames, covered in forest green rubber armoring with black accents of the focus
knob and eyecups. The size and frame material help keep the weight of the DCF BC
down to just under 19 oz, which is light even for a 32-mm binocular. One thing we
see on a lot of these ‘open bridge’ binoculars is that there isn’t sufficient space
between the hinges to get more than two fingers in between. Not so with the DCF
BCs, which have enough room for three fingers, making for a comfortable, secure
grip. Pentax built in shallow circular thumb grooves under the barrels, which is
good. We like thumb grooves! Overall, the ergonomics of the DCF BC binocular are
need a reason to buy one binocular over the other, which begs the question of how
the 9x32 DCF BC differentiates itself. We evaluated it for its brightness, depth
of field, and flat field performance as well as for sharpness and resolution. Overall,
we were very pleased with how this new Pentax binocular stood up to the competition.
The DCF BCs are quite bright, and they competed well with other 32-mm binoculars.
We found them to be generally superior for sharpness and resolution. They had about
average depth of field. The 9x32 DCF BC had very good flat field performance in
that straight lines stayed straight until you got well away from the field center.
The ‘sweet spot’ in the center of the field of view was pretty large. Pentax DCF
BCs are fully multi-coated for optimal light through-put, and the prisms are phase-coated
for higher resolution and better image contrast. Pentax uses a silver deposition
coating for the BaK-4 glass prisms to improve light transmission. The 9x32 DCF BCs
have a 351-foot field of view at 1000 yards, which is really quite good.
The focus knob of the DCF BC is large and covered with grooved, soft rubber for
a good grip. The focus mechanism is a tad stiff, though this will probably loosen
with use. The binocular goes from minimum close focus to infinity in a snappy 1.25
turns of the focus knob. Minimum close focus on the Pentax DCF BC was 6.4 feet with
minimal field collapse, which is very good performance. Overall, this is an excellent
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Pentax DCF BC binoculars have eyecups that adjust with a counter-clockwise helical
twist to raise them. There are 3 fully positions between fully out and fully collapsed,
and all five positions are stabilized by firm detents. These don’t collapse in the
field. Helically-adjusting eyecups are pretty much standard on all decent binoculars
today, but many of them, particularly on less expensive models, don’t perform anywhere
near this well. We give them high marks for this. The diopter adjustment is a twist-ring
mechanism located on the upper right ocular tube. An obvious raised ridge on the
ring lines up with a similar line on the rubber armoring below it to mark the position
for equal eyes. While there is no scale to indicate how far one has adjusted it,
the presence of grooves around the ring provides a way of estimating how far it
has been adjusted. The ring has good resistance to it so it won’t move about much
by itself, but since it doesn’t lock, this can still happen. We recommend that users
who require a setting other than equal mark their personal position to save time
in the event their diopter setting is lost. It’s worth noting in passing that the
9x32 DCF BC binocular has 16 mm of eye relief, which should be enough for most users.
The interpupillary distance range is 55-75 mm, which is actually quite good for
a 32-mm binocular, so most users will be able to find a comfortable position of
the barrels to fit their faces.
Strap, Covers and Case
The strap is a ¾-inch wide length
of cordura with no padding at all. Even on a binocular as light as the DCF BC, this
might be a bit uncomfortable. We recommend purchasing a more comfortable strap of
some type. Regular readers of these pages will know that we prefer harness straps,
and, as it happens, Pentax makes a good one (see here).The rain guard is an inflexible
hard plastic tray of an elongated figure-8 design that fits loosely over the eyecups.
There is no position for the barrels that prevents the rainguard from falling off
if the binocular is inverted. This means that threading the strap through the bracket
provided is important to keep from losing the rainguard in the field. The objective
lens covers are made of the same hard plastic, and they are joined by a flexible
hinge region. The lens covers fit into the barrel ends and adhere to the rubber
armoring. While the fit is tighter on these than on the rainguard, they still dislodge
easily so losing them could be an issue. We suggest leaving them in the case. The
case is pretty basic too, being just a slim nylon/cordura bag with a Velcro-closing
flap. On the plus side, it accommodates the binocular with eyecups fully extended
and rainguard and lens caps in place. You’d be surprised how many high-end binoculars
come with a case that doesn’t provide even this minimal level of convenience. The
binocular strap can be left out of the case and the flap closed if you really want
to have the case with you in the field.
Overall, we really like the Pentax DCF BC 9x32 binocular. The small, compact design,
super light weight and good ergonomics guarantee comfortable viewing, while the
quality of the optics is excellent given the cost. Maybe we should tell you what
that cost is! These little beauties go for just
So that answers the question we posed earlier of how the DCF BC binocular is differentiated
from the competition: great performance at a low price. Check them out!
Pentax DCF BC 9x32 Binocular
- current price and availability