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New Viking 8x42 ED FF w fieldflatteners (1 Viewer)

mulligatawny owl

Well-known member
I very unexpectedly bought some ED FF 8x42's today so just thought I'd do a little report on them.
I was planning on getting the new Opticron dba vhd's but after trying a whole bunch of bins got these instead. Not nearly as nice ergonomically as the opticrons and a lot heavier but at £230 cheaper I found them very much on par optically, possibly even a little better.

Also tried Opticron verano and countryman hd 8x42's, the veranos particularly seemed duller and less sharp. Also tried some kowa genesis 8x33 and conquest HD8x32's, conquest's were just as good as I remembered them, not impressed with the kowas in comparison though.

Other 8x42's I tried were the Vortex viper 8x42 and razor HD 8x42. I was not particularly impressed with the vipers but the razor HD's were very nice, as they should be for £650 more than the vikings.

Anyway, I'd never ever have considered the vikings, they are really heavy and a bit ugly to be honest, but the view really surprised me, bright, wide, and as sharp, or near enough, as Im used to with my Nikon SE's.

Interestingly I tried two pairs of ED FF's and chose the shop display pair as they seemed a little sharper and more relaxed to my eyes than the other pair.

So anyway, just my highly subjective initial report on some very impressive bins that Im sure fall under the radar for a lot of people.
 

mulligatawny owl

Well-known member
Nope t'other way round. Think I'll need to get one of those padded and wide optech straps for them or maybe try a bino harness or possible a crane, they are definitely monsters. I wouldn't want them as my only bins I don't think. If I didn't have my SE's and my M7 8x30's I'd certainly want something lighter. Really can't argue with them optically though.
 

Petrus82

Well-known member
It's good to see these binoculars getting some recognition. I think they are outstanding for the money. I wouldn't say they are ugly - I think they are functional in their design but I like the armouring.

I tried them against Swarovski ELSV and Leica Ultravid HD plus. I found the Swarovski to be slightly better and the Leica to be slightly less appealing in terms of the view. This is highly subjective and I think I tend to root me for the underdog in these situations.

However, I do think there's sample variation. I tried a pair that was really pretty poor and the QC was a real issue. Hope you like them. I don't find them too heavy at all.
 

typo

Well-known member
I've only looked at the FF a couple of times. One occasion was at Birdfair when I made a point of trying out the Viking and RSPB ED models. The FF was a lot better than the HDX for sure but the Viking ED Pro was head and shoulders better than the others IMO. The other occasion I only had my Prime 10x42 with me but for me it definitely bettered the FF as well. It may well be that there are better samples around than the one I tried. The current price of the FF seems to somewhat less than the sticker price I recall and maybe I shouldn't be so critical.

David
 

mulligatawny owl

Well-known member
High praise indeed Petrus, how do you think they compare to the Endevour ED11? Was very tempted to order those but I didn't get on with the 10x I had at all.
Been using the Vikings for a couple of days now and all I can say is that they offer all the sharpness I'm accustomed to, no CA as far as I can tell so far, very good glare control, smooth focus, and a very bright,wide, flat and immersive view as advertised. What more could one ask for for £350? I think they lack that hyper real electric brightness of some of the alphas but thats about it. Not sure if they are dielectric.
I was prepared to pay a lot more for a midrange 8x42, but the view from these spoke for itself.
David, what aspects of the Viking pro did you find head and shoulders above these?
 

FrankD

Well-known member
MO,

The more you talk about these the more and more they sound like the Theron Optics Questa....to a "T". I loaned a pair of the Questas to two forum members. They are going to post their experiences in the Theron thread shortly.
 

typo

Well-known member
David, what aspects of the Viking pro did you find head and shoulders above these?

My comments are specific to the samples I compared and might not be generally applicable. I thought the Pro had a little better effective resolution, contrast and CA. The transmission profile appeared smoother if not completely neutral. The first FF appeared to have a slight hiccup in the magnification distortion but I didn't see it second time round. The FF seems well priced at around £350. The ED Pro I think started life at £800 which seemed rather optimistic, but at around £550 I think it's well worth a closer look. A Prime/ ED Pro comparison would be interesting.

David
 

Petrus82

Well-known member
My comments are specific to the samples I compared and might not be generally applicable. I thought the Pro had a little better effective resolution, contrast and CA. The transmission profile appeared smoother if not completely neutral. The first FF appeared to have a slight hiccup in the magnification distortion but I didn't see it second time round. The FF seems well priced at around £350. The ED Pro I think started life at £800 which seemed rather optimistic, but at around £550 I think it's well worth a closer look. A Prime/ ED Pro comparison would be interesting.

David

David,

I spent a long while comparing the FF to the ED Pro. I liked both and thought they were both head and shoulders above the ED-S. I preferred the FF on the day but I've since tried a FF that's been a dud .

I noticed the RSPB have a new HD out at £499. I tried it yesterday and it seemed pretty good.
 

Petrus82

Well-known member
High praise indeed Petrus, how do you think they compare to the Endevour ED11? Was very tempted to order those but I didn't get on with the 10x I had at all.
Been using the Vikings for a couple of days now and all I can say is that they offer all the sharpness I'm accustomed to, no CA as far as I can tell so far, very good glare control, smooth focus, and a very bright,wide, flat and immersive view as advertised. What more could one ask for for £350? I think they lack that hyper real electric brightness of some of the alphas but thats about it. Not sure if they are dielectric.
I was prepared to pay a lot more for a midrange 8x42, but the view from these spoke for itself.
David, what aspects of the Viking pro did you find head and shoulders above these?

The FF does have dielectric prisms.

I have compared the FF with an ED II. It was a dull day but the FF seemed sharper and brighter. I think if both were tested on a sunny day the ED II might appear sharper, but I prefer the FF. I've never felt comfortable with the ED II. The view doesn't live up to the hype.

I'd say the FF is on a par with the Zeiss Conquest HD, and some samples could even be better. Certainly better value for money. But then I only paid £150 for my FF.
 

typo

Well-known member
As I said before it was the ED Pro that impressed, and it crossed my mind that it might be better than the Prime and wondered if it could be Japanese.

On the second occasion I tried the FF I had my Prime with me but it seems RSPB sites don't sell the ED Pro. The Viking sales guy tried to convince me it was the best thing since sliced bread, but my Prime was better. I explained I'd preferred the ED Pro on a previous comparison and asked where it was made. The same factory as the FF, but much better specified was the answer. The rep admitted he preferred and owned an ED Pro.

I actually had the Endeavour EDII in the car, but by then the sun had come out.... no contest! ;)

David
 

Petrus82

Well-known member
As I said before it was the ED Pro that impressed, and it crossed my mind that it might be better than the Prime and wondered if it could be Japanese.

On the second occasion I tried the FF I had my Prime with me but it seems RSPB sites don't sell the ED Pro. The Viking sales guy tried to convince me it was the best thing since sliced bread, but my Prime was better. I explained I'd preferred the ED Pro on a previous comparison and asked where it was made. The same factory as the FF, but much better specified was the answer. The rep admitted he preferred and owned an ED Pro.

I actually had the Endeavour EDII in the car, but by then the sun had come out.... no contest! ;)

David

David,

Told you this before, the ED II has never lived up to the hype in my book. I just don't find it as sharp as some claim.
 

mulligatawny owl

Well-known member
David, I think I read somwhere the ED pro is Japanese, the FF is definitely Chinese, says so on the box. That would account for much of the price difference. You've got me wanting to try the pro now, Sherwoods have them for 499. Hmmm , Ive been free of my binocular addiction for the past year, I fear I may be having a relapse.

Petrus, the Endevour ED11 10x I had was a strange beast I thought, very impressive in some ways, something very refined about the view, but ultimately every bin I compared them to including a very cheap Celestron porro seemed significantly easier to get sharp focus with. I never worked out if they were just not sharp or were just unbalanced and impossible to hand hold, they were sold pretty quickly.

Frank, yes they do seem very similar to the Questas, its a bit of a unique set of specs for the price. Wonder if the coatings are the same? The FF view seems to have a cold, natural neutrality about it to my eyes, bright for sure but maybe lacking a bit of extra contrast or added sparkle?...can't quite put my finger on it, it just seems neutral, possibly a little dull, only in ultimate terms I mean, compared to much more expensive bins.
 

typo

Well-known member
For those who don't know some of the history here, I reviewed the Vanduard Endeavour EDII a while back and thought in many ways it was a remarkable binocular for the price. However, probably due to my narrow IPD I didn't find it easy to hold or particularly steady. Some find it fine. The other point is that it has silver coated prisms and a warm colour bias which is a disadvantage at twilight when there is little blue light about and results in reduced contrast. The effective resolution of the one I reviewed and the others I've tried were excellent. Sharpness perception is quite different. The EDIIs appear 'sharper' than neutral or cool biased models under blue skies and less sharp with the redder light of sunset.

Some like it and some don't, and that's fine. I choose which binocular I use according to the light conditions, and I'm pleased to use the Vanguard for it's good points, though I do wish it was steadier for me.

David
 

Petrus82

Well-known member
For those who don't know some of the history here, I reviewed the Vanduard Endeavour EDII a while back and thought in many ways it was a remarkable binocular for the price. However, probably due to my narrow IPD I didn't find it easy to hold or particularly steady. Some find it fine. The other point is that it has silver coated prisms and a warm colour bias which is a disadvantage at twilight when there is little blue light about and results in reduced contrast. The effective resolution of the one I reviewed and the others I've tried were excellent. Sharpness perception is quite different. The EDIIs appear 'sharper' than neutral or cool biased models under blue skies and less sharp with the redder light of sunset.

Some like it and some don't, and that's fine. I choose which binocular I use according to the light conditions, and I'm pleased to use the Vanguard for it's good points, though I do wish it was steadier for me.

David

David,

I agree with the steadiness comment. It's an awkward binocular to hold. I've also found the eye placement a little tricky on it. I think that we don't have many sunny days here I find it quite limiting. Resolution looking a test chart is one thing and the ED II might come out ahead of others there, but it's gotta work in the field. Technically, it may be very good but it's just not a relaxing experience for me.

Yes, the FF is definitely Chinese. I find it an exceptional binocular for the money. It's priced about the same as the ED II. For me, the more generous eye relief, much wider field of view and the dielectric prisms make it head and shoulders above
 

Petrus82

Well-known member
MO

I think it does have a neutral, tending towards cold, cast. I looked at some blue tits around about 6pm on Sunday night and the blue really sparkled. I do most of my birding under gloomy conditions so this works better for me. For bright, sunny days I use the Opticron Classic 7x36.

What I DON'T do is switch between the two. I find the 7x36 quite narrow after the 64 degree apparent FOV of the FF. Using the 7x36 on its own is fine but switching between the two is problematic.

I think the warmer balance of the Classic gives it deeper contrast. Reds and yellow really stand out on Sunny days but it can look gloomy at twilight or dull days.
 

mulligatawny owl

Well-known member
Third day of using the FF and they are really endearing themselves to me. I honestly find it hard to fault them in any way, they just tick all the boxes, especially for the price, quite astonishing really. I think they are a real hidden gem on the UK market.
Got a wide Optech strap today too and it really helps with the weight.
 

Jinty85

Well-known member
I couldn't agree more MO. I think they are fantastic ! I tried them on a day trip yesterday and they are great. A bit heavy for a wee lady like me though.
 
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beaubrummell

New member
I took delivery of a pair of Viking ED FF's 2 days ago and I am astounded by the quality of the view through these bins. I've never looked through a top of the range pair of binoculars before (I know the Viking ED FF are not top of the range) and I dare not if the optics are immeasurably better than what I'm looking through right now.

Maybe one day I'll break the bank but for now I'm loving these bins.
 

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