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Vortex Vortex Viper HD 6x32
Reviews Views Date of last review
2 11652 Fri January 20, 2017
Recommended By Average Price Average Rating
100% of reviewers None indicated 10.0



Keywords: Vortex Viper HD 6x32 review, binoculars, 6.5x32, 8x32 review

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Scan right to left, it's slower than scanning left to right and your brain takes in more detail

Registered: October 2013
Location: UK
Posts: 1222
Review Date: Sat August 29, 2015 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Price you paid?: None indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Class leading product, an essential addition to the binocular rack
Cons: None

These are very useful, everyone should own a pair

My work involves using binoculars and I am always looking for opportunities to match specific practical purposes with particular binocular specifications. Rather than looking to buy a standard specification, be it an 8x42 or a 10x42, and making it fit the purpose for want of having a dedicated binocular to hand I prefer to start with looking at the particular use and matching a specific unit to it.

This Spring I was out regularly at day break sitting up over the fox dens on our neighbour's land doing a head count in preparation for some management work to protect threatened nesting Lapwings. Those who enjoy fox watching will know that they have a canny knack of just materialising right in front of you, usually when you are looking at something else ! Close in and in heavy cover the primary requirement for a pair of binoculars is width and depth of field, being able to ascertain the smallest movement certainly helps.

Here high magnification is not your friend, it overly reduces the field of view if you are close in and the depth of field can be shallow. My choice for this sort of work is a quality 6x32, if you can find one. Yes, the view through a 6x binocular at longer distances may not seem as sharp or well defined as through a higher magnification and the colour may look a bit subdued. However where the 6x shines is at moderate to close viewing in low light. Here the main reasons for choosing a 6x over an 8x or 10x binocular are for the inherently wider field of view, greatly increased depth of field, the easier more relaxed view with noticeably less hand shake (the significant weight savings are noticeable particularly if used with one hand), and if you are sensitive to chromatic aberration it has to be said that with a smaller objective lens there will be less apparent colour fringing. Magnification has very little effect on image quality, it just brings the image closer in view.

Looking at lower magnification (wide angle) binoculars for close range work there are comparatively few useful choices on the market. Enter Vortex then with the Vortex Viper HD 6x32. I am sure that many are familiar with the name Vortex Optics ; the company, founded barely ten years ago, is based in Middleton, Wisconsin, USA and produces binoculars, spotting scopes, rifle scopes and accessories. The Vortex Viper 6x32 first came on the market over five years ago in 2009, it was Japanese made, with extra low-dispersion ED glass, and was widely hailed as the best 6x32 binocular available. It has been recently upgraded with high density HD glass, and is still made in Japan, the original version being discontinued. In theory the higher the density of the glass the lower its refractivity ; the less refraction as light passes through the sharper and less distorted the image, and in practise with these the image is beautifully sharp across almost the entire field of view.

In addition the Vortex Viper HD 6x32 offers great contrast perfect for sit up and wait at daybreak. The HD glass shows subtle shades and hues of colour and allows you to distinguish between those at close range. It's all in the detail, none of those 'what's that then ?' moments with these. Good contrast is also important to me in viewing animals that have a tendency to freeze if they spot you (some deer, definitely not wild pigs but certainly wild dogs), or those that are occasionally daytime static (foxes can be frequently be found 'sleeping out' in warm weather), especially where they are a seamless camouflage match to their habitat. In this respect the Vortex Viper HD 6x32 excels, the contrast is excellent.

These binoculars have a wide linear field of view of 140 metres at 1000 metres (or 420 feet at 1000 yards), a generous 19.5mm of available eye relief and weigh 585 grams. Spectacle wearers will be able to see the entire field of view with ease. If like me you cannot divide 32 by 6 by mental arithmetic the exit pupil (the size of the image from the objective as produced by the eyepiece) is 5.33mm and for me is more than sufficient for viewing from daybreak in increasing light. The binocular barrels are very well blackened internally presenting the exit pupils on a good dark background free of glare and internal reflections. The binoculars are waterproof, have excellent sub-zero focus performance (good smooth focus, no internal fogging), are shock proof and argon gas filled. For the technically minded the lens prisms are the Schmidt-Pechan roof prism construction, BaK-4 glass with phase correction coatings and all air-to-glass surfaces fully multi-coated with Vortex's XR multilayer coatings. The lockable dioptre is very useful. The lenses have an ultra hard exterior scratch resistant and stain proof coating protecting the optical glass from dust, dirt and smudges. The rubber armour and slick handling makes them completely silent in use. A great binocular more than fit for purpose. Try them in thick brush and see what you think.

Although these are handy, compact, very solid with a big, ribbed and smooth action focus wheel rather than detail the many factors of ease of use and handling that are a good fit for me, I would offer the advice then, for what it's worth, to always try before you buy or if buying mail order then use a retailer with a customer focused return policy. It is only by handling a particular model that you will find if the balance of the unit works for you. You wouldn't buy a pair of hiking boots or ballet pumps without trying them on now, would you ? It is worth pointing out that the accessories are good : objective lens and eyepiece covers that fit and are easily handled, good quality strap and a case with belt hoops wide enough for a 2 belt, all to the good. To those who may be looking for a starter pair and to quickly return to magnification I wouldn't immediately plumb for a 10x42 with the view that the higher magnification is better. If you have little experience of buying binoculars a low quality 10x42 can be one of the worst first choices you can make.

I am a fairly new customer for Vortex and was initially attracted by the universally positive comments regarding their client care and warranty. Last year I misplaced a binocular rain guard and ordered a replacement from Vortex with absolutely no hassle whatsoever ; direct response to my inquiry, address confirmation, immediate despatch, correct part sent, well packed, timely delivery, no fuss, no charge. Vortex even have a dedicated client care rep for international customers and it's refreshing to have the support of a company that does not charge for after sales spare parts or service items, compared to those that charge something, or those that overcharge. The Vortex VIP lifetime warranty is just as stated, you can look it up. They own the ground in this respect. One thing that you can be absolutely sure about with Vortex is that they have got your back.

This review is published in print elsewhere. Thanks are due to the Vortex team, especially Stephanie at Vortex Optics for all the friendly consideration, and for arranging the sample units.

PS - Share this - partial list of vertebrates known to have been killed or scavenged by free-ranging domestic cats :
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Registered User

Registered: January 2012
Location: VT
Posts: 13
Review Date: Fri January 20, 2017 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Price you paid?: None indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Optics, Build, Minimum Focus Distance
Cons: Somewhat heavy, somewhat "clunky", Discontinued!

These are great little binos from Vortex. As stated above, images are clear and colors accurate. They are built very stoutly, if a bit heavy and somehow "clunky". I also own the Swarovski 6X32s and I'm spoilt by their HD build AND light weight and svelte design!

Can't go wrong except ...
Vortex discontinued this model and replaced it with a much watered down quality unit for less $$.
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