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A binocular comparison: Vortex Diamondback and Leupold Yosemite (1 Viewer)

qwerty5

Well-known member
United States
I recently had the chance to compare my Vortex Diamondback (non-HD) 10x42 with my dad's Leupold Yosemite 10x30. I admit this review isn't really fair since the Diamondback has a larger objective and is a more expensive binocular. However, porros are generally easier to make cheaper than roofs. Keep in mind that Vortex upgraded the Diamondbacks in 2018 so any optical advantages of the Diamondback in my review are likely to be magnified in the current Diamondback HD.

Build Quality:
Both binoculars felt solid and well built. However, being a porro, I felt the Yosemite's oculars and focuser were more fragile and prone to get knocked around or broken. The eyecups on the Yosemite were loose and finicky, sometimes moving out of position. By contrast, the Diamondback eyecups are very solid and never move out of position unless I want them to. The objective lens cover tethers on the Yosemite were loose and I felt that they could fall off during use. The hinge on the Yosemite was much too tight, while the Diamondback is a little loose.
Winner: Vortex Diamondback

Ergonomics and Ease of Use:
The Yosemite is a short, fat porro. The Diamondback looks tall and thin by comparison. In actuality, they are about the same width, but the Diamondback is about 2-3 inches taller. Both fit into my hands very well, but the Diamondback fits my face a little more comfortably than the Yosemite. Overall, I prefer the look of the Diamondback over the Yosemite.
Winner: Vortex Diamondback

Focus:
The Yosemite's focus is lightning fast, much too fast for me, and I found myself over-adjusting constantly. The Diamondback's focus is much slower and seems to pop into focus much easier. However, there is some play in the Diamondback's focus wheel, which the Yosemite does not have
Winner: Vortex Diamondback

Weight:
The Yosemite was noticeably lighter in the hand, but this should be expected from a 30mm binocular.
Winner: Leupold Yosemite

Field of View:
The Yosemite's field of view was noticeably wider than the Diamondback. The difference was slight, but definitely there.
Winner: Leupold Yosemite

Brightness:
The two were both equally bright during the day. Towards sunset, the Diamondback was brighter, but this should be expected given the larger exit pupil.
Winner: Vortex Diamondback

Sharpness/Resolution:
This is where the Diamondback really outpaced the Yosemite. I studied corn silks in a cornfield and found I could see more texture and individual silks with the Diamondback. I was able to read far-away letters more clearly with the Diamondback. I thought I could see a bit more detail on starlings at a distance with the Diamondback. Overall, the Diamondback provided a clearer, more detailed image than the Yosemite. Both seemed to me to have good sharpness from the center to the edge.
Winner: Vortex Diamondback

Chromatic Aberration:
Both binoculars showed a similar amount of CA, small but noticeable.
Winner: Tie

Glare Control:
The Diamondback produces a noticeable veiling glare in low light when looking at dark objects, but only at certain angles. I did not test the Yosemite much, but found no glare when looking at the same object at the same time that I found glare in the Diamondback.
Winner: Leupold Yosemite

Summary:
The Vortex Diamondback has better build quality, resolution, and brightness, and is the better binocular. Both binoculars are very good quality for their low price. Is the Diamondback worth $100 more than the Yosemite? Absolutely yes. Is the Yosemite worth its price? Absolutely yes. The Yosemite has been discontinued by Leupold, so new samples will run out eventually. It all comes down to how much one is willing to spend. I will always recommend the Diamondback, but the Yosemite is a solid choice for someone who doesn't want to shell out the extra cash.
 

qwerty5

Well-known member
United States
Since I can't edit my original post I'll add some stuff I forgot to include in the focuser section:

The Yosemite takes only 3/4 of a turn from close focus to infinity. The Diamondback takes 1-3/4 turns. The close focus on the Diamondback is significantly closer than the Yosemite.
 

yarrellii

Well-known member
Supporter
Thanks for taking your time to put all this together, really interesting. Beyond pure optical properties, I really appreciated the comments about tactile qualities of materials and mechanics. Great.
It is true that a 10x42 and a 10x30 are two different animals altogether, but the review is very informative. Here in Spain Vortex is not as inexpensive as in the US (well, the same can be said for many other brands such as Bushnell, Maven, etc.) and the Leupold are not that easy to source as its relatives the Kowa YF. Price-wise, the Diamondback are roughly twice as expensive as the Kowa. It would really be interesting to see the Yosemite/Kowa up against a similarly priced entry-level roof, maybe the Crossback? Or some entry Bushnell/Celestron.

I have never used a Diamondback, I do have a Viper HD and the perceived quality is good for the price, I wonder whether the Diamondback are closer to the Viper or to the Crossback in this respect.
Thanks again!
 

qwerty5

Well-known member
United States
Thanks for taking your time to put all this together, really interesting. Beyond pure optical properties, I really appreciated the comments about tactile qualities of materials and mechanics. Great.
It is true that a 10x42 and a 10x30 are two different animals altogether, but the review is very informative. Here in Spain Vortex is not as inexpensive as in the US (well, the same can be said for many other brands such as Bushnell, Maven, etc.) and the Leupold are not that easy to source as its relatives the Kowa YF. Price-wise, the Diamondback are roughly twice as expensive as the Kowa. It would really be interesting to see the Yosemite/Kowa up against a similarly priced entry-level roof, maybe the Crossback? Or some entry Bushnell/Celestron.

I have never used a Diamondback, I do have a Viper HD and the perceived quality is good for the price, I wonder whether the Diamondback are closer to the Viper or to the Crossback in this respect.
Thanks again!
I assume you're referring to the Vortex Crossfire? I think that a porro would beat a roof of the same price, because making good quality porros is cheaper than making a similar quality roof.
 
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Columbia
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Colombia
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Colombia

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