Gadget of the Month
The UP 8-16x21 Zoom Green Binoculars by Pentax
Few products provide such instant delight as a good pair of binoculars. Pick them up and gaze down the street, across the lake, at that bird in the far bushes, at the quarterback going back to pass, at the actors on a distant stage and you’re immediately part of the action.
Quality counts here. You want a crystal clear view with little or no focus fiddling. The legendary Hammacher Schlemmer Institute that does research for the New York store of the same name has found just such a pair of compact binoculars, which they describe simply “The Best Zoom Binoculars.”
Their test: how many of 10 rows on an eye chart can you spot at 200 feet (61 metres)? The best of the competition could see six rows; the winner allowed researchers to read line seven clearly. Also noted was the ease with which the diopter could be adjusted. To test durability, the units were repeatedly dropped from three feet (one metre) with no damage, thanks to the protection given by the rubberized coating.
The binoculars 21-millemetre lenses produce up to a 261 foot field of view at 1000 yards. The BAK4 Porro prism system zooms from 8x to 16x with little loss to image quality, regardless of distance. They’re compact and light at 11ounces (309 grams) and birdwatchers, especially, will appreciate that they can be tripod mounted.
Users are enthusiastic: "We live on a102-acre lake. These are just what we needed to see what’s going on on the opposite shore."
"We went to a bird sanctuary and the instant focusing was exceptional and the clarity was the best I've encountered."
"I find the object — usually a bird — first with the 8x mag, then can zoom to the 16x. It's amazing and lots of fun! They also focus very well on close objects. I definitely recommend them to bird and wildlife watchers."
"Ordered [a pair] for my football loving husband. He watches from the upper deck and he LOVES them!"
These ballyhooed binoculars are, in fact, the UP 8-16x21 Zoom Green Binoculars from Pentax. You can find them at a local supplier or order them at Binoculars Canada. $99.95; binocularscanada.com.
Win the zoom binoculars by entering the Win the Gadget of the Month contest online here.
This article was accurate when it was published. Please confirm rates and details directly with the companies in question.