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Pentax PF80 ED Angled Spotting Scope Review (Eyepiece Not Included)

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Pentax PF-80ED Angled Spotting Scope
Image Credit - Pentax

Viewing Configuration: Angled
Magnification: 20-60X
Power Variability: Variable
Adjustable Eyepieces: Yes
Eyepiece included: Yes
Objective Diameter: 80 mm
Close Focus Distance: 19 ft
Length: 16 in
Weight: 56.4 oz
Field of View: 108-56 ft/1000 yards
Eye Relief/Exit Pupil: 20 mm/4-1.3 mm
Optics Coatings: Fully multi-coated
Glass: Unknown
Focus System: Center/Single
Waterproof/Fog-proof: Yes
Digiscope adaptable: Yes

Best Uses: Target Shooting, Bird Watching, Wildlife Observation, Astronomical Use

Pentax PF-80ED Spotting Scope Review

You don't have to do much digging to expose the truth about the Pentax PF-80ED's reputation - it's all legit. The quality of Pentax spotting scopes is due to two factors - world-class eyepieces and well-built objective modules. With that said, let's get into the nooks and crannies!

Pentax 20x60 Eyepiece
Image Credit - Pentax

We know spotters with interchangeable ocular systems require an objective module that's up to par with high-quality eyepieces. Since Pentax already manufactures unparalleled eyepieces, they've successfully pulled off designing an objective module that can adequately perform efficiently with their eyepieces - the PF-80ED.

The spotter has a long focal length with 80mm ED objective lens. It's this high-quality and large objective lens that provides the viewer with sharp resolution, snapping contrast, excellent brightness, and true color fidelity free of chromatic aberration.

On top of that, the magnesium-alloy housing with its shock-proof rubber armor is completely waterproof with a retractable sunshade and center-locking ring. Even with all its specs and techs, it still comes in lighter than other full-size spotters.

It's the ultimate bird watching spotting scope that an avid nature observer could ask for, especially so because it comes with the included 20-60x eyepiece. But, we'll get into eyepiece info in the Q&A.

As far as what the masses are saying, they're impressed. What's not to like? You're getting the best of what's available without having to spend Swarovski prices. Image quality is outstanding, and it certainly outperforms most of the spotters currently in the market.


  • Price
  • Interchangeable eyepieces
  • Lightweight
  • ED glass elements
  • Weatherproof/fogproof


  • Single focus

Pentax PF-80EDA Q&A:

Why is a Quality Eyepiece Important?

While objective lens quality is often the governing factor over resolution, contrast, color fidelity, and brightness, it's the job of the eyepiece to magnify the image and make use of the detail transmitting through the aperture down the focal length.

However, eyepieces are not easy to design or cheap to make. More often than not, it's the eyepiece that limits a spotting scope's performance, and most people aren't willing to pay what it takes for a quality eyepiece suitably apt for the best objective lenses.

With that said, we have Pentax. Pentax certainly sets the current standard, or is definitely within the standard, of what quality eyepieces for bird watching or visual astronomy should be like.

Without suitable field of views, acceptable eye relief, usable power, and applicable optical quality, the eyepiece won't be able to maximize what the best objective lenses can provide. Good thing for you, you have the best of both worlds with the PF-80ED and its included zoom eyepiece!

Are Pentax eyepieces the only eyepieces compatible with the PF-80ED?

The excellent manufacturing design of Pentax spotting scopes is the 1.25" diameter eyepiece receptacle that's considered the American standard. Because of this feature, it's not only compatible with many Pentax eyepieces, but it can also be used with several other astronomical eyepieces offered by other brands. Other spotting scopes can't brag about this feature, and many of them may offer interchangeable eyepiece technology but they offer no additional eyepieces for use. This is definitely a bonus perk for buying Pentax!

Can you buy the PF-80EDA without the Eyepiece?

You can. Most of the time, this is the popular option because everyone has various needs to suit their spotting activities. While the price may be cheaper to purchase the angled objective module alone, you will have to spend extra to purchase an eyepiece.

Is there a Straight PF-80ED?

Yes! The PF-80ED is the straight model, and the PF-80EDA is this angled model. The straight model has a few differences in the fact that it weighs only 49 ounces and dimensions are 15.6 (W) x 4.7 (H) x 3.8 (D) inches. It also includes caps for both the objective and eyepiece lenses and a case.

You can also purchase the straight model with or without the included 20-60x eyepiece.

How far can Pentax's 80ED Angled Spotter see bullet holes at the range?

Atmospheric conditions are always going to present visual and performance issues at the range when looking for usable detail to see groupings. However, the PF-80ED is a favorite spotting scope for this exact use. Several field tests confirm that this spotter is capable of seeing groupings beyond 500 yards 100% of the time when conditions were good and ideal. When conditions are bad, visual spotting of groupings is limited to about 50% of the time for distances at 500 yards and further.

What is the Included Case like?

The included case is a soft Cordura-style nylon case that can be kept on the spotter during use. It has velcro fastenings with fold-back flaps to ensure this feature. As a carry bag, it's water-shedding for when it rains, and it also has carry handles - one of which can be lengthened for use as a shoulder strap.

Noteworthy Features:

  • Extra-low dispersion glass elements to reduce CA
  • Available in both straight and angled models
  • Lightweight and compact for convenience and portability
  • Interchangeable eyepieces available; works with multiple Pentax eyepieces
  • Fully weatherproof and fogproof with durable, shock-proof rubber armor

Our Verdict on the Pentax PF 80 EDA

The scoop on the scope is, the Pentax PF-80EDA is an excellent optic if you're in the market for a spotter. It's right up there with the best, but it definitely doesn't cost the same. It's a lightweight spotter with heavy emphasis on optical quality to deliver high performance results.

Pentax PF 80ED Angled Spotting Scope
Image Credit - Pentax

But, if you want to spend less than $1000, the Pentax PF-65ED fits the bill. It even includes a 20-60x eyepiece in the mix! For both the PF-65ED and the PF-80EDA, the spotter with the included eyepiece is definitely the most economical buy.

However, the Vortex Viper HD 20-60x85 spotting scope is one optic that will have the Pentax watching its back. It's brand new, has the upgraded Helical focus, and it sports specialized coatings galore!

Pentax combined excellent handling and balance, weatherproofness, optical quality, and world-class eyepieces into one outstanding spotting scope. It definitely weighs in lighter than its full-size competitors, and it comes in cheaper too! Is the PF-80ED a keeper? You betcha.

Further Reading

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Simon Cuthbert - Founder

Simon is an avid outdoor enthusiast and the founder of Target Tamers. He is passionate about bringing you the most up to date, accurate & understandable information on sports optics of all kinds and for all applications. Simon has contributed to notable publications online and teaches beginners the technical side of optics through his extensive library of optics guides.

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4 thoughts on “Pentax PF80 ED Angled Spotting Scope Review (Eyepiece Not Included)”

  1. Hi Simon,
    Thank you for all your excellent and very helpful reviews.
    I have the following question: are you aware of a MRAD reticle eyepiece that could be used with this scope?
    Many thanks in advance and best regards,

  2. Hi Stephan,

    I am not aware of such an eyepiece, sorry. You could try contacting Pentax themselves and see if they can point you in the right direction. The Swarovski STR 80 has an MRAD reticle option but it is a BIG jump up in price. All the best.


  3. Good review. I have been using our PF80ED (usually with the superb Pentax 20 mm XW) for more than 20 years in all conditions. I usually use 26 X, 58X and 71X magnifications. My model is from around 2000. Reliable, great images and easy to carry. I have used it literally hundreds of times and have compared to many other scopes. Optically it seems to be slightly better than some of the more expensive brands(but I do use top notch Pentax/televue eyepieces) 80 mm is just about perfect for waders in all conditions.
    I normally have to walk 2-3 km with scope and tripod on my shoulder. Great for reading wader flags or bands from a distance and for ID ing birds. Hundreds of people have looked at waders through my scope at Miranda/Pukorokoro and Mangere birding sites in Auckland NZ. We even observed a venus transit through it in 2012 in Australia. My partner uses a PF65EDA with a Pentax XL 14 mm which is easier for children to look through.


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