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Old Monday 28th March 2011, 15:52   #1
sammyboy
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A few thoughts on the Vortex Diamondback 8x42 binoculars

My trusty Minox BD 8x32BR binoculars were getting quite tired, I'd got them very cheap secondhand on eBay and already had very scratched eyepiece coatings, a loose hinge and the 'minox' badge missing when I got them, but lately the twist-up eyepieces were either not twisting up - or simply coming off completely! I could never quite get the dioptre adjustment quite right on them either. Since selling my Leica 10x32BNs when I needed to get a new car I've been after another quality pair of binoculars.

So, today I went to Chris Goodhead Photographic in Burton on Trent (excellent service - I am not affiliated or linked to them in any way by the way) after looking on their eBay seller page. I tried out the Hawke Endurance 8x32s, the Diamondback 8x42s, and the salesman gave me a pair of Hawke open-bridge EDs to try. The EDs were of course brilliant, but sadly out of my price range. After trying and re-trying the Hawkes, Vortexes and my old Minoxes through the window of the shop (must've looked like a peeping tom to anyone passing!) I eventually plumped for the Diamondbacks, which I got for 167 which I don't thinks a bad price.

Trying the old Minox against the Vortex the main difference I could see was that the colours were more vivid and views seemed a bit more contrasty through the Diamondbacks than my Minoxes. There wasn't a huge difference between the two - I'm still fond of the battered old Minox so keeping hold of them. By the way - do Minox have a lifetime guarantee - could I get them sent off and repaired or serviced under warranty, even if it only covers a few of the problems they have? That's one big bonus with the Vortex bins, they have a 'VIP Lifetime' guarantee - though I'm guessing if ever I need to get them looked at I'll need to send them to the States. Nice for piece of mind though :)

Went for a walk round nearby Branston Water Park in the lovely weather and tried out the Diamondbacks - they didn't disappoint! Saw a lovely Woodpecker too briefly - till it flew off, I probably disturbed it with my big size 9s lol. Sharp, colourful lifelike images through the bins - though I did notice that there was some loss of sharpness as you went towards the periphery of vision, and a little bit of purple fringing off-centre on high-contrast views. The Minoxes were slightly better I thought with edge sharpness and seemed to suffer slightly less from CA. Bear in mind my example are an early, non-aspherical and non-phase-coated pair of BD BRs too. However, it neither were as bad as the off-centre fringing on my previous Leica BNs, that was surprisingly bad for an 'alpha' binocular!

The Vortexes felt much better to use than my old pair too, the focussing was much smoother and snappier, and the dioptre adjustment on the Diamondbacks was better, I set them to my eyes almost immediately. I always found the Minoxes hard to focus too, needing a bit of rocking back and fourth to find that 'sweet spot' - then sometimes some fiddling with that dioptre adjustment too, which seemed to vary slightly depending on if I was viewing a close-up subject or a distant one. Thankfully the Diamondbacks seem more 'set and forget' as it should be, and a very relaxed view and user experience :)

Apologies if I've waffled a bit!
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Old Monday 28th March 2011, 23:32   #2
ceasar
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The 8 x 42 Vortex Diamondback might be the best roof prism 8 x 42 binocular available in it's price range. In addition to what you have mentioned, it is also very solidly built, has a wide FOV and long eye relief. And it has the Vortex Warranty which is one of the most generous in the industry.

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Old Tuesday 29th March 2011, 16:18   #3
sammyboy
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I actually hadn't realised about the warranty until after I'd bought the binoculars, poor researching by me lol! Do you know if I'd have to return the bins to the states if I had a problem or is there a dealer in the UK that does Vortex warranty repairs? Found a thread dated a couple of years ago saying that a company called Marchwoods did it but looking on their website I can't see any reference to Vortex - do they still deal with them?

Been out again with the Diamondbacks today at Chasewater, saw a few Oystercatchers, a pair of Great Crested Grebes and a few others through them, still amazed by the clarity, brightness and colour reproduction. Definitely made the right choice there :) However not sure about the 'tethered' objective lens covers - they don't seem very secure and feel as if they could come off very easily, tempted to take them off completely just in case and only use them if I know I'll be out in bad weather with them.
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Old Tuesday 29th March 2011, 16:29   #4
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I don't think I can help you with that. You might be able to get more info from Eagle Optics here in the USA which seems to be connected with them. www.eagleoptics.com

The objective covers are rather chintsey I agree. You can probably pick a some better ones at a reasonable price if you look around.
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Old Wednesday 30th March 2011, 16:44   #5
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Hi Sammyboy

According to the Vortex website the official UK importer is Newpro UK Ltd. See here: [url="http://www.vortexoptics.com/content/international_dealers"]

However, I am not sure how current this is. When I was purchasing a pair of 8x42 Furys last week I was advised by the shop assistant that the importer had recently been bought out. worth a try though.

Enjoy your Diamondback.
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Old Thursday 7th April 2011, 18:18   #6
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Another binoculars to consider is Zen-Ray VISTA, with almost identical spec to Vortex Diamondback.

http://www.zen-ray.com/shop/binocula...vista8x42.html
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Old Friday 8th April 2011, 21:49   #7
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Thanks for the info, will check that out Graham :)

@NWBirder I've read in a few threads that some think that those Zen-Rays are the possibly the same binocular rebadged, but quite a bit cheaper!
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Old Monday 11th April 2011, 01:51   #8
ceasar
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They look very similar but the FOV is not as wide by about 27' at 1000 yards. Perhaps the eyepieces are different?
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Old Thursday 21st April 2011, 17:12   #9
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given the similarity of their high end spotter, it's possible these binoculars are the same coming from the same factory.
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Old Monday 16th May 2011, 11:57   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Graham Osborne View Post
Hi Sammyboy

According to the Vortex website the official UK importer is Newpro UK Ltd. See here: [url="http://www.vortexoptics.com/content/international_dealers"]

However, I am not sure how current this is. When I was purchasing a pair of 8x42 Furys last week I was advised by the shop assistant that the importer had recently been bought out. worth a try though.

Enjoy your Diamondback.
Hi Graham,

Newpro UK Ltd is indeed the official UK importer of the Vortex range since 27th February 2011.

The comments from the shopkeeper presumably referred to the previous importer but it is not my place to speculate on this!

Any product or contact info or help you need can be got through our Newpro website which now has a fully-functioning Vortex section.

Kindest Regards,
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