Pentax VM 6x21 WP Monocular Complete Kit Review

Pentax VM 6x21 WP Monocular Complete Kit

In my last blog post, I waxed lyrical about the Pentax VD 4x20 WP, a clever little offering that morphs quickly and easily from binocular to monocular (a pair of monoculars, to be precise) to compact telescope.

The VD 4x20 WP is part of Pentax’s V-Series which the company describes as an innovative, new concept in optical equipment.  Having spent some time in possession of the aforementioned product, I was happy to concede that it lived up to the description with aplomb. My musings on the subject can be viewed here >

But the VD 4x20 WP forms only one part of the V-Series, being complemented by its sister product, the VM 6x21 WP monocular. Towards which I will now turn my attention.

Compact and Comfortable to Use

Pentax Monocular Held in the Hand

The Complete Kit

The VM 6x21 is available to purchase in two different formats: either as a stand-alone monocular or as the ‘VM 6x21 WP Complete Kit’ which consists of the monocular itself plus a macro stand and a smartphone adapter. The kit option appears to offer some intriguing possibilities so this is the one we’ll be looking at in detail.

The Grand Unveiling

Upon opening the box, the first thing that struck me was just how many items were contained therein. The monocular, macro stand, and smartphone adapter were all present and correct. In addition, Pentax includes a carry case, wrist strap, a rubber eyecup which needs to be attached when using in conjunction with a smartphone, and the obligatory instruction manual – so a true ‘kit’ in every sense of the word.

I am happy to admit that instruction manuals are something which I tend to gloss over – okay, when I say ‘gloss over’ I mean ignore - when it comes to optical equipment. After first gazing upon this lot, however, I decided that it might be worth sitting down in a quiet corner with the supplied paperwork and having a good read. Once the relevant information had been digested it was time to cut to the chase and find out just how good – or otherwise – the VM 6x21 WP and its associated accessories really are.

First Impressions

First things first: the monocular itself. At this point, I should say that I’ve never really been the biggest fan of monoculars. Apart from the fact that you’re only using one eye, there’s just something about the classic tubular design which I’ve always found to be a bit fiddly. I’m pleased to say that this is one area where the VM 6x21 WP differs from the rest of the pack.

Pentax has clearly put a lot of thought into the development of this product and it shows. What we have here is a very ergonomic design that is aimed at allowing comfortable and easy use with just one hand. In order to facilitate this, the monocular sports two focus adjusters: a traditional focus ring near the objective and a rocker switch style adjuster (which Pentax refers to as the ‘focus adjustment lever’) atop the body. The focus adjustment lever has indentations that allow the user to adjust focus using the index, middle, and ring fingers while the little finger rests on the focus ring. The latter allows focus from just 0.7 meters to 1.5 meters when set to one end of its scale; set it to the other end and we can go from 1.5 meters all the way to infinity. Oh, and the ‘WP’ in the title confirms that our product is waterproof so no concerns on that front.

"Most comfortable to use by some margin."


So, on the face of it this is a very cleverly designed little monocular – but how well does Pentax’s innovative offering actually work in the field? I’ve tried quite a few monoculars over the years – some of them costing a lot more than this one – and have to say that, for me, the VM 6x21 WP is the most comfortable to use by some margin.

It sits comfortably in the hand and the rocker switch style focus adjustment, for me at least, is far easier to use than the traditional monocular focus ring. I should also mention that focus adjustment is extremely fast but this hasn’t been achieved at the expense of accuracy: the focus remains pleasingly responsive to the lightest of touches.

Optical Performance

In terms of optical performance, the image is very clean and very similar in character to that of its stablemate, the VD 4x20 WP. It’s also comparable to the Pentax Papilio range of close-focus binoculars, one of which I already own. All reflective surfaces are fully multi-coated and phase coating has been applied to the roof prism.

These factors together all help to give a clean, sharp, high contrast image and keep the effects of stray light to a minimum. I found myself warming to the monocular very quickly (and I don’t warm to monoculars easily) but how would it perform when paired up with the macro stand and smartphone adapter? Only one way to find out!

The Macro Stand

First up, the macro stand. This is an interesting-looking accessory that, once attached, purports to transform the monocular into a microscope with 18x magnification. Which it does. And then some. I have to say that I was very, VERY impressed by the performance of this setup.

  • Pentax Monocular in Use
    The full set up with an iPhone.
  • Pentax Monocular Close Up Sample Image
    Taken with an iPhone with the macro stand.

I first tested its capabilities using a coin and the amount of detail discernible, not to mention the clarity of said detail, was first-rate. The surface of a necrotic leaf which I brought in from the garden was transformed instantly into a wonderfully weird but crystal clear alien landscape full of vivid colours and varied textures. I found myself wishing that I was using the setup in the summer rather than November: our garden is usually alive with insects during the summer months and it struck me that, with macro stand attached, the VM 6x21 WP would be an invaluable tool for anyone with an interest in entomology.

See your subject like never before

Pentax Monocular Studying a Feather

I would imagine that it would also be perfect for anyone with an interest in coins or stamps or perhaps in the field of arts & crafts, jewellery manufacture being one area which springs to mind. I should also mention that the macro stand has the option of inserting two CR2032 batteries which give the user the option of shining an LED light on the subject – very illuminating, both literally and metaphorically.

Smartphone Adapter

Now that we’ve covered the macro stand, what about the smartphone adapter? This is an interesting-looking contraption which, I’m happy to say, is very easy to deploy and works extremely well. Effectively, what we have here is a smartphone holder with an ‘arm’ which screws onto the bottom of the monocular itself. You then slide your smartphone into the holder and line the phone’s camera up with the monocular’s eyepiece so that the image you’re seeing is a nice, clean circle. Tighten everything up, use a bit of camera zoom so that the image fills the whole field of view and you’re good to go!

The adapter can be used with the ‘standard’ monocular or with the macro stand attached. This means that you can capture ‘regular’ images of scenery, people, etc., or, when used in conjunction with the macro stand, get great close-up shots of whatever happens to be under the microscope.

The whole setup might look a bit, Heath Robinson – particularly with macro stand attached – but that’s where that particular comparison ends because all of Pentax’s components fit together and come apart very easily indeed. And everything works!

What's in the box?

In terms of accessories, the main kit components are complemented by a wrist strap and a cleverly designed little case that can be attached to a belt or a rucksack shoulder strap – a real boon for ramblers and hillwalkers in particular. I enjoy hillwalking and can definitely see the appeal of having a good quality, waterproof, lightweight optic which is easy to carry and equally easy to access when out ‘on the hill’.

Final thoughts?

When I wrote about the VD 4x20 WP I concluded that, in my view, Pentax had come up with a winner. Having spent some time with its stablemate I have to say that the VM 6x21 WP in its kit form is even more impressive.

Adaptable and high-quality from Pentax

Pentax Monocular in Use

What we have here is a quality monocular which, apart from being more comfortable to hold and faster to focus than the competition, is capable of morphing into a high-quality microscope. And as if that isn’t enough, we then have the ability to pair either set up with a smartphone for quick and easy image capture. This really is a cracking little product that should have broad appeal.

And yes, it’s on my Christmas list! 

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  • By Martin Drew
  • 8 Dec 2020

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