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on 26 January 2015
I am delighted with these close focusing binoculars. They really DO focus amazingly close, whilst being perfectly adequate for conventional use.
The focusing action itself is very smooth indeed, the best I have ever had in binoculars. This makes them a real pleasure to use.
They are also compact, going into the pocket of most walking type jackets. They have a built-in tripod socket, with a convenient push-button method for fastening and detaching the neck strap, if required. I find these binos work well on a monopod as well... (some walking poles are now threaded on top for monopod for use with cameras and binoculars.)

Image quality is good, in the opinion of this professional photographer. Sharpness, contrast and colour are excellent.

This is not to say more expensive glasses couldn't do some things better. For instance, 21mm objective lenses are rather small, so the exit pupil is small too. Normally this would mean image brightness at dusk or in dim light is lowered greatly, but I find these are NOT bad at all... quite usable in fact. This is a pleasant surprise. It is not what I was expecting, least of all with my old eyes... (68 years). I can only assume that the opticals have been well designed and properly multi-coated to produce fullest transmission of what light is available.

Furthermore, there are things that you can do to help in regard of those small exit pupils:-

1) Carefully hinging them by small degrees to get the inter-pupilary distance of the eyepieces EXACTLY right for the distance between YOUR eyes is well worth the effort. When you have got it right, the image is so much brighter. Again, for maximum brightness it helps not to forget to have the eyecups in the right position, too.... UP when viewing without spectacles, and DOWN when using 'em. Both these procedures make a big difference to the ease with which you can view. I wish to emphasise that.

2) Another point....When you have adjusted for a nice bright image to view, do not attempt to "scan" around within the visible field with your eyeballs. As soon as your eyes' pupil moves off-axis from the exit pupils of the eyepieces, disconcerting "black-out" occurs. Instead, move the binoculars bodily onto the part of the scene you wish to view and keep your eyeballs "ahead" as it were..

I am assuming this advice would work just as well with any binoculars having relatively small object lenses, as most compacts have.

In use I found the close focusing a real bonus...for butterflies, yes, and dragonflies etc. But because the dim light performance is so much better than expected, I am looking forward to using these binoculars indoors, in museums and in art galleries, that kind of thing. I suppose they wouldn't be out of place in the theatre, either [?]

Anyway, I hope this was helpful. :-)
7 people found this helpful
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on 7 December 2009
We've been waiting several months before submitting this review so we could give these Pentax 8.5x21 Close Focus Papilio Binoculars a good try out. And they are excellent. We've had several pairs of binoculars between us over the years, but these are outstanding - definitely the best. 8.5x suits us very well for general outdoor use, giving adequate power without the tremor effects that you can experience with the 10x or 12x types. Light .. powerful .. compact .. crystal clear images (as you would expect from Pentax optics) .. and an amazing focussing range - yes, you really can examine the grasshopper sitting on your shoes! and then see it clearly again fifteen feet away. The binoculars come with a snug detachable case, a neck strap; plus a double eyepiece soft plastic lens cover for protecting both eyepieces when not in use, it threads on the strap so doesn't get dropped. One eyepiece adjusts to accomodate differences in eyesight between your eyes. These are brilliant binoculars - we've stopped lugging our off-puttingly heavy and bulky old ones around with us now! Highly recommended.
55 people found this helpful
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on 26 May 2013
I bought these mainly for watching butterflies but they're excellent for any subject where you need to get close. Optically they are very good with a nice clear, sharp image. The field of view is fairly narrow but that's to be expected with any binocular with such small object lenses. This does make it a bit more difficult for watching moving birds etc but if you're used to using binoculars it's not too bad. Whilst I use a bigger pair of binoculars for birdwatching (8.5x42) I'm quite happy with their performance for watching birds if I'm using these when out after butterflies. I'd definitely recommend them for quality and performance.
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on 18 May 2013
As a birder and general wildlife enthusiast these Papilio binoculars were purchased to identify butterflies and dragonflies because of the close focus. They work really well and I would recommend them without hesitation. Optical quality is good, because they were so impressive I took them to Tanzania and left my much bigger and heavier Swarovski binoculars at home. Maybe missed the extra magnification of my 10 x 50 s when looking at small birds when closer approach was not possible but generally no problem in clear conditions and good light
One person found this helpful
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on 8 February 2015
Outstanding binoculars. Not just for close focus, but totally unmatched for that. They are also excellent general purpose binoculars. Crisp optics and very very good for eyeglass wearers. I have now bought two more pairs as presents for my wife's brothers (what a waste). Wonderful for pondlife too (from above the water, needless to say Dumbo).
One person found this helpful
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on 30 April 2012
For close-up work (ie less than about 25m), these binoculars are superb. They can be used to view plants and insects at your feet with remarkable clarity, and are great for a whole range of close-up viewing. They also have good image quality at medium to longer distances, but the field of view and clarity do not match up to those of high end binoculars at longer distances - probably due to a combination of the small lenses (21's are not going to let much light through after all!) and the magnification of x8.5. I find myself using a different pair for longer distance work, but for close-up viewing and as a general all round binocular, you will be very lucky to find better at the price.

Bear in mind what it says in the description of these binoculars:

"...specifically developed to satisfy user demands for close-range observation of butterflies and other insects"

They do the advertised job extremely well, and are superb up to about 25m, but if you are serious about detail at greater distances you will need a second pair to complement them.

A great buy - I'm really pleased with them.
3 people found this helpful
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on 1 February 2015
It's the dark days of winter so I haven't had a lot of opportunity to use them but from what I've seen they live up to the claims made for them.
The close focus is quite a novelty and should be very useful.
Oh! they come with a 30 year warranty - I use Pentax SLRs, so don't think these will fall to bits.
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on 3 September 2014
These are superb, very pleasant to use, smooth easy focussing even when used one-handed.

Can't see how I didn't know about 'close focus binoculars' before now,
they're just so useful, what a wonderful difference they make to seeing things I've been missing.

Especially just sitting in the garden & scanning around while varying the close/far focussing,
I'm seeing insects & things in places I would have completely missed seeing them with normal binoculars, or straight vision.

Everyone should have one of these !
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on 23 January 2016
Superb binoculars with the added bonus of being able to keep my glasses on as both lenses can be given a slight twist for non specs users as well. So easy to use! As for Pentax they are certainly up there with the best. These binoculars are superb for bird watching,
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on 13 August 2014
yes love these, for back garden birding etc excellent; excellent clarity and fine detailed focusing; where these score above other Binoculars is it's super macro close up focusing 0.5m and closer as close as 28 cm, looking into my garden pond for example I was seeing insects and all pond life in a new light, my own live tv show close up, they are nice and light to hold, comfortably in the hand, good size also when out walking, fits in a small bag or pocket. and a three year guarantee.
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