You know that scene from the Harry Potter stories where he's in the shop trying out all different magic wands without success - and then all of a sudden, in some mystical fashion, he knows he's absolutely selected the right one?
Well I'm not saying it was exactly like that in the Binocular Express when I picked up these Pentax roof-prism binoculars for the first time, but it was somewhere close.
I got this model back in 1998 for about £120 - marked down about £50 from the then RRP as the binoculars I bought were the last pair / display model from the shop. I think it says something about the high quality of these binoculars that effectively the same model is still available, more than ten years on. Admittedly I haven't used them constantly over the years: as I like them so much I tend not to take them out so much these days as I've come to regard them as 'too good to use' - which is sadly counterproductive - they are still going strong even after all this time.
I was a moderately keen birdwatcher when I was a teenager, and in bird-watching books, in the section at the beginning on choosing your binoculars, they're always on about 'you divide the second number by the first, and for good bird-watching, the result has to be five or more'. These binoculars are 8 x 42, and actually, unless you go into ridiculous realms of high-magnification lenses, you're pretty unlikely to find any set of binoculars to buy where the result of the division is going to be much less than five. So 42 (something about the size / width / light gathering capacity of the lenses) divided by 8 (as these have 8x magnification) is certainly all right in that respect.
I found the binoculars exceptionally well-balanced: they're so comfortable to hold in place to your eyes that they almost feel like they're steadying themselves. You don't see much 'shake' when looking through them at all. The image quality is also exceptionally clear - for a pair of binoculars in this price range, and personally, I wouldn't ever want to pay more for a pair of binoculars than these cost, because as a small and portable leisure item that you regularly take out of the house, binoculars are highly susceptible to being damaged / lost / pinched. The focus works well and is very easy to use, and the eye-pieces have fold-down rubbery caps so that they can be adjusted for glasses-wearers. Personally, for some reason, I quite often have trouble seeing the image through binoculars 'with both eyes' properly: but with these binoculars I have much less trouble / find I can do this quite easily.
The binoculars have a slightly rubbery-feeling coating over the outside which is non-slip, and I think are very attractively designed. I don't even object to the large word 'Pentax,' that they have written on them in fairly discreet , albeit slightly raised capital letters set into the plastic coating down the side. Weight is a big consideration, as I don't carrying heavy things about all the time, but these binoculars while 'substantial' feeling, aren't particularly heavy, I find. As for other details, the (of course, length-adjustable) neck strap is wide at the neck-contact section and comfortable, and I even like the squashy , lightly padded black fabric soft carry case the binoculars come in.
My binoculars once received a knock or something that put the lenses out of alignment; I was able to take these to a specialist camera / binocular shop and get them repaired for about £40 (this was perhaps seven years ago). This was certainly worth paying for as the repair made them good as new.
Pentax DCF binoculars, I think I love you.