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Vanguard Endeavor ED IV 10x42 is a disappointment (1 Viewer)


Active member
Czech Republic
It's been a long time since I posted anything last. I took the liberty of changing my username to better reflect my actual name.

Anyway, recently I had the opportunity to buy open-box Vanguard Endeavor EDIV 10x42 for a great price of just 260 €, so I bought it.

I've had my Endeavor ED II 8x42 for nine years now, and it's started to show signs of wear and tear. I didn't abuse it, and it's definitely still working and optically in great condition, but there are few "quality of life" issues with it.
Some very minor: rubber sleeve on focuser got nibbed in one place, rubber lens covers developing small cracks where the bendy straps are connected to the cover/rubber ring, rubber sleeve on diopter ring has cracked started to peel away, and gluing it back never lasted too long; it would always eventually peel off again.
Some more annoying: left eyecup got very stiff for some reason, while right still works fine, and I think this happened after some raindrops have gotten on the eyecups (isn't this thing supposed to be waterproof?), and the focuser has developed significant play. I'd say about 3-4° of rotation because it starts moving the focusing lens. The slack is audible, too. I worry it will only get worse. Surprisingly, what I worried most about breaking - plastic clips for connecting neck strap to either the pouch or the binoculars - have lasted fine.

So the ED IV, it was open-box but it looked brand new.
What I liked about it was the nicer overall design, more compact build (it's just maybe a centimeter shorter than ED II, but it makes a quite the difference in the general appearance, especially with eyecups extended), wider AFOV, click-stop diopter adjustment which moves internal lens, rather than one on eyepiece, antireflective coatings that looked better, so that despite smaller pupil they seemed just as bright in low light as the ED II 8x42, better case, two separate straps - one for case, one for binoculars, seemingly better outer build quality, and maybe (?) better 3D perception, maybe a bit less of rolling ball effect, but not completely gone.

In some ways, I didn't notice any improvement over the ED II - chromatic abberation about the same, diffraction spikes also there and about the same, on-axis image sharpness about the same.

What I didn't like however was the fact that unlike the ED II which is sharp to the edge and almost free of distortion, the ED IV ... isn't. About 75% off center, the picture started to get blurry and distorted quite a bit. Isn't this supposed to have field flattener lens?

I also noticed something funny going on with color rendition when I was viewing a house reflecting sunlight (probably polarized light) near dusk - left barrel had distinctly different color warmth than the right barrel.

Anyway, while this was all kind of bothersome, none of it was a definitive deal breaker, after all 260 € isn't a lot of money for still a good set of glass. I decided I would keep it, maybe give the ED II to someone or just have it as a spare.

But then, one morning I pick it up, and there is a distinct, opaque, trapezoid-shaped speck of dust obscuring the view of the right barrel, about 3% off the field stop. Outer lenses were all clear, so something inside, barrel coating maybe, must have come loose and landed on some optical element, probably close to eyepiece because the speck was in focus. No amount of shaking would make it disappear. This was unacceptable. Even if I wouldn't have minded this, how can I be sure there isn't more debris inside about to come loose and land on some optical element, spoiling the view further, possibly in a worse way? I guess there is a reason why binoculars from sound brands like Nikon, Zeiss, Swarovski, Leica, Vortex, Meopta that are not only optically excellent, but also are expected to last, cost what they cost, and Vanguard, in order to produce binoculars of optical quality that the Endeavor ED II or ED IV have, for the price they ask, had to cut some corners.

I was still within my 14-days no-questions-asked return period, so I returned them immediately.
Glad you were able to return them. Are you getting a replacement to see if it was just a bad sample or going with a completely different bin?
Are you getting a replacement
Unfortunately this was the last piece this particular retailer had, and I didn't claim warranty, I just returned it in the 14-day return window and got a refund. I didn't feel like hassling with them over whether a speck of debris on eyepiece (or wherever it was) is a valid warranty claim or not. Other retailers have them for around 400 to 500 € which isn't all that much considering what optically comparable binoculars cost, but the thing is the EV IV didn't really impress me all that much and this fault that just appeared out of nowhere didn't exactly boost my confidence in Vanguard QC.
Perhaps time to give Oberwerk Sport ED 10x42 a try? I received mine last week and I’m really pleased with the optical, mechanical and build quality. Oberwerk does an internal Q/C before shipping out each unit.

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