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Diamondback 8x28


Item details

Type: Roof Prism
Magnification: 8x
Objective Size: 28mm
Close Focus: 4m
Field of View: 119.5m @ 1,000m
Eye Relief: 19.3mm
Dimensions: 12.2cm x 11.4cm
Weight: 397g

Latest reviews

  • compact lightweight well-constructed
  • QC-issues
I recently acquired a set of Vortex Diamondback 8x28 binoculars, and thought I should provide my impressions. To interpret these impressions you should have a bit of background, especially the following points:

  • I am not an expert in binoculars. Any knowledge of optics I might have comes from photography and there are considerable differences in application between the two.
  • My primary binoculars are Zeiss Terra ED 8x42s, which are by far the best binoculars I have ever looked through. I have no points of comparison with better binoculars, only those not as good in one way or the other. Take that as a caveat on what is said below: those with more experience and more refined tastes may disagree with my assessments.
  • I bought these Diamondbacks as a supplement to the Terras, mostly for use while travelling which I do fairly regularly for work. I like to travel light (no checked luggage).

The things I like about these Diamondback 8x28 binoculars:
  • The size and weight they are small and light enough to pack in my camera bag without inconvenience. Thats something that couldnt be said for a full-size binocular.
  • Good contrast and saturation, giving the impression of good clarity of view.
  • Decent (but not fantastic, it must be said) resolution on centre extending to about 50%-60% of the radius of the field of view. The drop-off from there is gradual and not distracting.
  • The price. They seem, to me, to provide remarkably good value.
  • Chromatic aberration is present throughout the field of view, but not distractingly so. I can find it if I look but do note that Im not especially sensitive to CA, so others experience may differ.
  • Decent flare control. They flare if the sun is near the axis of view (sometimes dramatically so) and veiling flare can degrade contrast in similar conditions or under bright diffuse light. Generally, though, I dont find much of a problem under most conditions.
  • They are quite comfortable to hold, with plenty of real estate to grip and no feel that theyre fiddly (pocket binoculars seem that way to me).
  • The supplied accessories including carry case, neck strap, rain guard, objective protection and cleaning cloth appear to be functional and of good quality. I find the rubber-band-and-cap objective covers simple and practical.

Things to note (not necessarily positive or negative):
  • While small and lightweight, these are not true pocket binoculars (unless wearing a big winter coat). Thats a trade-off that suits me: I wanted small and light, but with performance closer to a real binocular than a pocket one without paying a bucket of money. Others may prefer something truly pocketable or, alternatively, a more proper mid-size binocular. While these may be neither Arthur nor Martha, that characteristic suits me. Theyre better than the pocket binoculars Ive used, while small enough for my purposes.
  • The field of view is adequate, though not expansive. Its good enough for me, at any rate.
  • Close-focus is OK but, according to specification, not great. I find they focus closer than specified - which is more than good enough for me - but that may be due to my nearsightedness and not apply to others.
  • Solid-seeming construction, giving an impression of ruggedness (I guess only time will tell how justified this impression is). Note, however, a couple of points under could use improvement below. The hinge for adjusting eyepiece spacing seems solid, with firm-but-smooth resistance and no tendency to change without intentional alteration.
  • Eye relief is good for me, and the eyecups comfortable, both with and without glasses (I generally wear glasses). This, of course, may vary for others. In particular, those who dont wear glasses may need to check to see if the eye relief is too long when Im not wearing glasses the eyecups barely extend far enough for me. Im not sure how that would affect those without my nearsightedness.
  • The gearing on the focus adjustment is, I find, slow with a fair amount of rotation needed to move from close to distant focus. Id (mildly) prefer something faster so long as its precise - but others may differ.
  • Direction of the focus wheel is clockwise to focus closer, anti-clockwise to infinity. I have no preference; others might.

Things which could use improvement:
  • Theres a degree of play in the focus wheel, with a fairly distinct click feeling before focus begins to move. This feels a bit cheap but probably has no practical consequence unless it worsens with use.
  • The eyecup position doesnt lock in place very well. I find they need readjusting too frequently.
  • My set have a construction problem, meaning I have to move the dioptre adjustment way over in the plus direction (unlike any other binoculars Ive used). That is within my available range of adjustment but isnt confidence-building as far as quality control is concerned. (Im almost certain this is an assembly problem with my particular example, rather than a more general problem with this model.)

I have been very pleased with my Vortex Diamondback 8x28 binoculars. While I havent, yet, used them for their primary purpose of travel, I have packed them in my camera bag and found them useful to have along in a great many circumstances, without adding intrusive bulk or weight (camera bags, in my experience, never have enough room and are always too heavy: both conditions Im sure are my fault). I find they provide a good view, are pleasant to use and easy to bring along. In a pinch, I could use them as my primary binoculars (though I would miss the lower-light performance and nicer view of my larger ones). That is, intentionally, high praise for binoculars which are 2/3rds the size, around half the weight, and 1/3rd the price of my (much loved) Terra ED 8x42s.

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Medium & Compact Binoculars
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