The 'Swiss Army Knife' of Binoculars Sadly Contains No Knives

Gif: Ricoh

If you’ve ever thought to yourself: I could really use a pair of binoculars that could be separated into two monoculars and could then be combined into one telescope, well, you’re in luck. Today Ricoh announced the Pentax VD 4X20 WP—just rolls off the tongue, doesn’t it?—which is a 3-in-1 device that the company describes as the “Swiss Army knife” of binoculars.


Don’t get too excited—there are no actual knives inside. To be honest, that would make the Pentax VD 4X20 WP a must-buy, but as it stands, the device sounds extremely cool and useful.

As binoculars, the $250 4X20 WP magnifies objects four times. When you separate the barrels and snap them together to become a telescope, you get 16x magnification. You can also use each barrel as a monocular—this is good for sharing—with the same 4x magnification. The binoculars’ neck strap separates into two hand straps for the monocular action. This is perfect if you’re out and about with a less nerdy pal and spot a particularly awesome bird or perhaps a Rear Window murder situation. (It’s 2020—literally anything is possible.)

Even if you don’t need to peep from a distance, just the act of breaking these binoculars in half over and over seems so soothing. (I personally can’t stop staring at the GIF above.)

Ricoh has another multi-functional new product also debuting today. The $140 Pentax VM 6x21 WP Monocular is a one-handed device that can be used on the go to see objects magnified up to 6x, but its accessories (available a la carte or with the 6x21 for a $200 bundle) make it even more useful. A smartphone adapter lets you snap the device to your phone’s camera lens to capture magnified images, and a macro stand lets you use the monocular as a microscope for viewing objects magnified 18x. A built-in LED light eliminates shadows from that view.

And a couple of $80 pairs of more basic binoculars are also going to be available, if you want more lightweight options than can magnify objects up to 3 meters (a little over 9 feet) away.

All of Ricoh’s new devices go on sale in September.


Senior editor, consumer tech @ Gizmodo


Aristarco Palacios

A smartphone adapter lets you snap the device to your phone’s camera lens

Yeah? How? I mean, I used to have those snap-on lenses in an old smartphone to take macro pics of circuit boards but now with the advent of multi-camera range-style lenses, how can a lens be attached to a smartphone? I have a 2-elements camera and if I put an attachable lens on the upper one, it has no effect on the image. I put it in the lower one and same result. So my question remains. How? Genuine question, 100% honest, no fake, no sugar added.