*Update- I would like to thank Vortex Optics for responding positively to my review and sending me a few T-shirts!
All my life, I have wanted to be a hunting guide. In my journey to figure it all out, I knew I would eventually be leaving my gun/bow behind and instead be carrying a good pair of binos. Similarly, I have made it a goal to improve my scouting. The purchase of a quality optic was one of the main ways in which I intended to achieve this, and work towards my guiding goals.
I am not an optics guru, or all that well informed on the subject to be honest. I don’t like to be ignorant going into a purchase, but I have too many other interests to commit my time to learning and comparing intricate optical features and jargon. I just want something that can withstand abuse and work when I need it to.
I wasn’t going to drop $500-2000+ on fancy European glass that I would be too afraid to use, but I wanted something superior to the cheap Bushnell or Simmons from the “sporting” isle of Walmart. I don’t really have any brand loyalty to clog my judgement either. I wanted something large enough to offer proper eye relief for quick spotting, but not so large as to get in the way or weigh me down. I’ve used a pocket sized pair of $40 Bushnell binos for years, and I have found myself neglecting to use them due to the poor quality glass, minimal eye relief, and insufficient lens diameter. My scouting was confined to searching for game trails and sign rather than actually finding and observing animals from a distance.
After a fair bit of research, and testing several options in the $100-300 price range, the Vortex Diamondback 10×42 were a no-brainer.
The construction is amazing. They feel far more durable than options like the Nikon Monarch 5 ($300) and Redfield Rebels ($100-140). I really like the external “rubber armor” that protects the internals from physical abuse and moisture.
The picture is crystal clear, the focus is easy to use, and all functions are ergonomic. The diopter wheel allows you to focus each eye individually so that the image is truly focused.
Instead of naming all of the specs and features verbatim, take a look at the Vortex website:
What is really amazing about these binoculars, and Vortex optics in general is the no questions asked warranty policy. There is no product registration, no time frame, no need to hold on to a receipt, minimal if any shipping costs, and the warranty is fully transferable if you decide to sell/trade/gift them. There is no hassle whatsoever. The only scenarios the warranty does not cover is deliberate damage, theft, or lost property (which is completely reasonable in my mind). The store where I purchased these tried to sell me their own insurance/warranty, which I politely declined knowing I was in good hands with Vortex.
A more detailed description of the terms:
The Diamondbacks came with awesome lens caps on both sides, a quality strap, and a robust case. I will be purchasing a Vortex harness to complete this amazing setup.
The Vortex Diamondbacks can be found on Amazon, and various sporting goods stores for around $230. I got mine on sale at Dick’s Sporting Goods for $180, minus a $20 savings coupon. What a steal for $160! Everyone I have shown these binos to has been blown away by the quality given the price point.
While it might seem crazy to spend a lot of money on a pair of binoculars instead of more tangible pieces of gear (guns, clothing, etc), I really feel that this is a great long term purchase. They will be coming with me on pretty much every hunt, hike, and fishing trip. The quality is well worth the investment in my mind. These will last years, if not decades. With the added security of the warranty, I feel confident in the event of damage or wear.
Vortex is an American company based in Wisconsin that prides itself on employing American citizens and military veterans. All this, matched with their unbeatable customer service record and the best warranty policy in the industry, why buy any other optic from any other company?