PF-80ED-A Zoom, 80mm ED angled body with 20-60x SMC zoom

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The Pentax PF-80ED-A is an armored 45-degree angled viewing 80mm aperture 20-60x zoom spotting scope. It is O-ring sealed and nitrogen filled to be totally waterproof and fogproof. Extra-low Dispersion (ED) lanthanum rare earth glass elements in its 3-element 3-group objective yield optimum optical resolution.

Unlike other spotting scopes, which use proprietary bayonet-mount eyepiece holders that accept only the scope manufacturer’s eyepieces, the 80mm Pentax uses an American standard 1.25” (31.7mm) diameter eyepiece receptacle. This accepts not only the superb Pentax SMC 20-60x zoom eyepiece supplied as standard equipment, but also more than 150 other 1.25” astronomical eyepieces from other manufacturers that can be found in the eyepiece section on the astronomics side of this website. You can tailor the magnification and field of view precisely to your requirements with this Pentax, something you can’t do with other spotting scopes that have a more limited range of eyepieces available.

A review in Birding, the magazine of the American Birding Association said the optically identical but straight-through viewing PF-80ED had “the brightest, sharpest, easiest view of the bird currently available in any conventional spotting scope . . . the astronomical eyepieces are designed for both wide field and long eye-relief. Looking through them is more like looking through a window than it is like squinting through a conventional spotting-scope eyepiece . . . the zoom, which is huge as spotting-scope zooms go, is simply the brightest and sharpest zoom, at all powers, that I have ever tested or used . . . low-power, wide-field views are as good as with any fixed eyepiece that I have ever tried, and the high-power views are breathtaking . . . the Pentax 80-mm ED is noticeably brighter in all conditions, enough brighter so that it might make an identification difference in critical situations . . . and so that it could make a difference in your appreciation of the beauty of the bird in almost any condition . . . it will give you a satisfying, impressive, even astounding view of the bird in any field condition you are ever likely to encounter.” The review’s comments about the straight-through scope’s visual performance are valid for this optically identical angled viewing model, as well.

Features that distinguish this scope from competitive scopes . . .

  • The 80mm objective gathers over 66% more light than a 62mm scope (and over 51% more than a 65mm scope) for brighter images and markedly better low light performance.
  • Optics are fully multicoated with famous Pentax Super-Multi-Coating (SMC) antireflection coatings to maximize light transmission, clarity, and contrast.
  • The PF-80ED-A is supplied with the Pentax SMC 20-60x zoom eyepiece. The specifications to the left are for the scope with the eyepiece set at 20x. At 40x it has a 60’ field and 12mm of usable eye relief. At 60x it has a 49' field and 15mm of usable eye relief. A collet-type knurled ring locks the eyepiece in place, but allows eyepieces to be changed with just a twist of the wrist. A groove in the zoom eyepiece barrel fits a pin in the scope's eyepiece receptacle. This keeps the eyepiece from accidentally loosening as the zoom magnification ring on the eyepiece is turned in cold weather. You can also add other Pentax eyepiece(s) more suited to your observing needs, as well as other brands of 1.25” astronomical eyepieces.
    As with any zoom eyepiece, the precise focal length or magnification of the Pentax zoom at any given point in time is not all that important. The experienced observer invariably adjusts the zoom magnification to match the seeing conditions and object size as he looks through the eyepiece, rather than first setting the zoom to an arbitrary focal length value according to the scale on the side of the eyepiece and using it at that power no matter what the seeing conditions. The flexibility of a zoom to instantly match the magnification to changing lighting or seeing conditions is one of the zoom eyepiece’s chief advantages.
  • Other features of this scope . . .
  • Rugged and lightweight magnesium alloy body is nitrogen filled and O-ring sealed to be fogproof in all temperature extremes and waterproof to a depth of one meter. Nitrogen purging also prevents the internal formation of fungus in high humidity climates, such as rain forests.
  • Rubberized black paint on the scope body and lens shade provides a sure grip in wet weather. The prism housing is clad in black rubber armor to help shock-proof the optics.
  • A little over seven turns of the extra-long ribbed rubber focusing knob located at the upper right side of the scope moves the focus from the horizon to a close focus of 19 feet.
  • Mounts on any photo tripod having a standard 1/4”-20 thread mounting bolt. A second hole is provided for use with those tripods that have a stabilizing video pin, such as the Manfrotto/Bogen tripods we carry. It also has a mounting hole for 3/8” bolt European tripods.
  • Self-storing retractable lens shade improves visual and photographic contrast.
  • Camera-type snap-in objective lens cover.
  • The scope’s 45-degree viewing angle is generally more comfortable than a straight-through scope for watching treetop activity or for extended observing from a blind or back porch. It is also more convenient for observing couples of varying heights who must share a single scope, as there’s little need to constantly raise and lower the tripod to a comfortable height for each observer. If photography is a major concern, however, the straight-through viewing PF-80ED might be more useful than this angled-viewing model, as a straight-through scope generally handles more instinctively like a camera/telephoto lens combination.
  • A sight line molded into the right side of the scope aids in acquiring targets quickly.
  • An optional camera adapter allows the PF-80ED-A to be converted into a high quality 1000mm f/12.5 telephoto lens for use with cameras utilizing a Pentax K-mount bayonet lens mount only. Unlike lesser spotting scopes, which usually compromise performance by using an eyepiece as part of the photo system, the Pentax camera adapter is a five-lens four-group no-eyepiece system that produces photos visibly sharper than those taken through ordinary spotting scopes. A straight-through scope will generally be more usable for photography than this angled-viewing scope, however, as a straight-through scope handles more instinctively like a camera/telephoto lens combination.
  • A knob at the side of the body allows the barrel to be rotated left or right from a horizontal to a vertical photographic orientation, with clickstops every 45 degrees.
  • The supplied water-shedding Cordura-style nylon soft case has Velcro-fastened fold-back flaps that allow the scope to be mounted on a tripod and used while still in the case. Carrying handles are provided on the case. One of the handles is adjustable in length so it can be converted into a shoulder strap.
  • This Pentax spotting scope is protected by the Pentax “Worry-Free” lifetime warranty that will repair or replace (at Pentax’s option) any defective product (even if damaged by you) for the life of the original owner for a cost of only $19.95 to cover shipping and handling.
  • Magnification:
    Magnification is the ability of a telescope to make a small, distant object large enough to examine in detail. If you look at the Moon (250,000 miles away) with a 125 power (125x) telescope, it's essentially the same as looking at it with your bare eyes from 2000 miles away (250,000 ÷ 125 = 2000). The same telescope used terrestrially will make an object one mile away appear to be only 42 feet away (5280 feet ÷ 125 = 42).
    The magnification of a telescope is determined by dividing the focal length of the telescope (usually in millimeters) by the focal length of the eyepiece used (again, usually in millimeters; but in all cases by the same unit of measurement used for the telescope focal length). For example, a 2000mm focal length telescope and a 10mm focal length eyepiece will give you a magnification of 200 power (2000 ÷ 10 = 200). The same 2000mm telescope with a 20mm eyepiece will give you 100x (2000 ÷ 20 = 100).
    Field of view 1000 yards:
    93' @ 20x
    Near Focus:
    Eye Relief:
    Eye relief is the distance from the last surface of the eye lens of an eyepiece to the plane behind the eyepiece where all the light rays of the exit pupil come to a focus and the circular image is formed, sometimes called the “Ramsden Disk.” This is where your eye should be positioned to see the full field of view of the eyepiece. If you must wear glasses because of astigmatism, you’ll usually need at least 15mm of eye relief or longer if you want to see the full field of view with your glasses on.

    A note on our eye relief figures: Quite often, our eye relief figures will differ from those of the manufacturer. This is because we measure the “usable” eye relief, while the manufacturers specify their usually-longer (but technically correct) “designed” eye relief.

    The eye lens of the eyepiece is normally recessed below the rubber eyeguard or rubber rim of the eyepiece to keep the lens from being scratched during use. An eyepiece might have a “designed” eye relief of 15mm (and the eye relief will truly measure 15mm from the eye lens to where the image forms). However, if the eye lens is recessed 3mm below the eye guard, the Ramsden Disk forms only 12mm above the eyepiece body (the 15mm “designed” eye relief, less the 3mm of eye relief made unusable by having the eye lens recessed into the body of the eyepiece). This “usable” eye relief of 12mm (measured from the rolled-down eyeguard – the closest point you can get your eye to the eye lens – to where the image forms) is the eye relief figure we would measure and list in this website.

    Why is it important to list the “usable” eye relief? For those people who don’t wear eyeglasses while observing, a few mm difference between the eye relief they expect from the manufacturer’s literature and the shorter eye relief they actually get in real life doesn’t mean a lot. They can simply move a little closer to the eyepiece to see the full field, and never realize that the eye relief is a little shorter than they expected. However, some people must wear eyeglasses while observing, because of severe astigmatism. These observers can’t move closer to the eyepiece if the eye relief is shorter than expected because their glasses get in the way. For these people, the real life “usable” eye relief is more important than the technically correct but sometimes not fully usable “designed” eye relief. We measure and list the actual usable eye relief so that people in the real world can pick the eyepieces that will work best for them.

    18mm @ 20x
    Exit Pupil:
    The circular image or beam of light formed by the eyepiece of a telescope. To take full advantage of a scope's light-gathering capacity, the diameter of an eyepiece exit pupil should be no larger than the 7mm diameter of your eye's dark-adapted pupil, so that all of the light collected by the telescope enters your eye. (The eyepiece exit pupil diameter is found by dividing the eyepiece focal length by the telescope focal ratio.) Your eye's ability to dilate declines with increasing age (to a dark-adapted pupil of about 5mm by age 50 or so). For those in this age group, eyepieces with exit pupils larger than their eyes can dilate to simply waste their telescope's light-gathering capacity, as some of the scope's light will fall on their iris instead of entering their eye.
    4mm @ 20x
    Twilight Factor:
    A number used to compare the effectiveness of binoculars or spotting scopes used in low light. The twilight factor is found by multiplying the size of the objective lens (in mm) by the magnification and then finding the square root of that result. The larger the twilight factor, the more detail you can see in low light. A twilight factor of 17 or better if usually required for reasonable low light use.
    40 @ 20x
    This is the diameter of the light-gathering main mirror or objective lens of a telescope. In general, the larger the aperture, the better the resolution and the fainter the objects you can see.
    A binocular or spotting scope whose body is clad in rubber or polyurethane armor is said to be armored. Armor can be applied for looks, a better grip, noise-proofing, etc. An armored body does not guarantee that a binocular or spotting scope is waterproof, although most waterproof optics are armored.
    The weight of this product.
    56.4 oz.
    "No-Fault" Limited Lifetime
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    Pentax - PF-80ED-A Zoom, 80mm ED angled body with 20-60x SMC zoom

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    Pentax - PF-80ED-A Zoom, 80mm ED angled body with 20-60x SMC zoom
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    The Pentax PF-80ED-A zoom is an armored 45° viewing 80mm aperture 20-60x zoom spotting scope that uses ED glass in its objective for premium image quality . . .

    . . . our 38th year