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After doing some research I ended up purchasing the Vortex Viper 8x42. Im very happy with this purchase. To start with the uncondtional Vip lifetime warranty is amazing. It adds to peace of mind! It comes with the glaspak chest harness and it really fits well. I used the manual to set my binos up and I was really amazed at the clarity. Some say these binos are a tad heavy but I think I prefer it being heavy. It feels very stable in my hands and the construction just feels very sturdy. The ultimate test for these binos will call in the following 2 weeks. But so far just in the backyard it's really impressed me.
I ordered these (at 8x42 power) after reading and listening to all the overwhelmingly positive reviews. Some reviewers even claim that the Vortex Viper binoculars are as close as one can get to Swarovski EL's under $2k. Well, yes, I have found them to provide clear, crisp, bright optics--no doubt about it. However, I compared them to my Monarch 5 and Pentax SD's--also at 8x42--and frankly, I cannot really tell a major difference. The Monarchs and Pentax are all in the $200-$250 price range, while the Vipers are double that. The Vipers are heavier than the Monarchs and I cannot tell which one is brighter after countless comparative tests. (The Pentax are slightly less bright.) I feel that the Viper beats the Pentax by a very very slight edge, but it was a tie with the Monarch 5's. The Vipers felt a bit lighter than the Pentax, but significantly heavier than the Monarchs. The Vipers come with superior accessories--the carry case in particular is way better and even comes with a harness. Of the three, the Pentax has the lousiest accessories, especially the objective lens caps-- utter crap on the Pentax. The caps on the Viper and Monarch 5, both attached to the lens barrels, are equal. So, what to conclude? Did I pay an extra $200 for a better carry case and a harness? Don't get me wrong--these are excellent binoculars. The quality of the optics cannot be denied. But I found the Monarch 5 optics just as good, and the Pentax only a smidgen behind. If there is an optical difference between the Viper and the Monarch 5, I couldn't tell. If you are looking for excellent mid-range binoculars and need to save some cash, go with the Monarch 5's. If money is no object, sure, get the Viper. They feel very solid in the hands.
The close focus on these binos is 6.5', not 5' as listed in the description. This is also misprinted on the box. I called Vortex to confirm this, they have it listed correctly on their site and they acknowledged the misprint but said rather lamely I thought, that they were supposed to be 5' but all measure 6.5' and there is nothing they can do about it. The optics on these, especially the wider field of view is markedly better that the last version. However the increase in the close focus distance from the last model is a huge step backwards and unfortunately make is a deal breaker for me as I use these for a living studying birds and insects. Other drawbacks are the new focus knob and diopter wheel, the texture and movement on these were far superior on the old model. Why change something that was an excellent design? The thumb indents on these are also smaller on this version and don't wrap around to the inside of the barrels as in the pervious model which makes them essentially functionless and very uncomfortable to hold because the edge of the imprint now just presses into the bone on the side of your thumb. Lastly, theres are now made in China. Even if they are the same quality as the old made in Japan version as the manufacturer states, they just inherently feel cheeper now with that knowledge, especially since its branded directly on the binoculars. Overall I was vary disappointed with these and returned them. Hopefully they correct these deficiencies on for v2.
I bought these binoculars for birding, and I am thrilled with them. The images are very crisp and clear, and it does an amazing job in low light conditions. I do a lot of hiking, and they are also very comfortable to wear around my neck along with my superzoom camera so I am ready to spot birds, and get pictures of them. I am considering buying another pair of Vortex because these are so darn good, and my husband keeps borrowing mine. I am also thrilled that they are a small company who put an emphasis on quality. High recommendation for these binoculars.
Pros: 1)The ED glass and optics give excellent light gathering capability and high contrast and vivid images. I was able to spot a river otter that I had never seen before(or was it a beaver?) swimming around in a small pond next to my house at sunset. 2)Very high build quality and feel that is not quit apparent from pictures. 3)Great for birding and allows ID of colors and markings with ease.
Cons: 1)Only 1.5 pounds but this weight may still take getting used to. 2)I can't reliably use for star-gazing (8X42) without external stabilization because of small hand shakes causing blurring, and I don't have hand tremors.
I purchased a pair of these Vortex HD 8 x 42 binoculars for my wife, and after testing them for a couple months, I decided to buy a second pair for myself. The field of view is ideal for capturing and tracking birds in flight and the image is stable and bright. The focus, diopter, and eye relief are all easily adjustable and intuitive. The fully adjustable shoulder harness pack is well-padded and fits comfortably. The kit also includes a simple "neck strap" for those that don't want to wear the shoulder harness + pouch assembly. At one point, I had a couple technical questions, so I called the Vortex customer service number and the staff there were polite, professional, knowledgeable, and generous with their time in explaining everything. I am very happy with these binoculars, and if I had to do over, I'd buy them again.
We went to Ecuador including the Galapagos Islands with a group a couple of months ago, and took inadequate binoculars. We had a chance to try all kinds of binoculars, ranging up to some very expensive Swarovskis. These Vortex Vipers seem to hit a sweet spot where the quality is excellent, the build seems robust, the optics are extremely good, but the price is not excessive. Tried them out looking at migrating birds in Oregon - very good in low light.
Got these glasses for my wife to do some birding. Very bright, lightweight, ergonomic feel and quality made. Did many reviews and found these to be the best "midrange" binoculars that come close to the $1000 ones. These are manufactured in the Philippines, NOT China. If it is good enough for Nikon and Swarovski, it is good enough for me. Called Vortex to ask questions, very helpful. Best warranty in the business. Bought the harness and tripod adapter as well. Glad I made the right choice for once in my life.