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Vortex has been a pioneer in the optics industry and they have been developing some of the very best consumer-friendly binoculars on the market. Most of the Vortex binocular range is designed around a balance of quality and affordability. The Vortex Optics Diamondback HD is an example of Vortex bringing a high-quality product to consumers at a very reasonable price. In fact, they are our favorite pair of binoculars at their price point.
How they Feel / Design
In hand, the Vortex Optics Diamondback is far from being too heavy, weighing in at 21.3 ounces. But that’s not to say they don’t have that solid build quality and subsequent weight which is so essential in a good pair of binoculars. We feel as though Vortex has hit the sweet spot in the weight of the Diamondback HD.
In addition to the weight, the feel of the Vortex Optics Diamondback is enhanced with the ergonomic rubber grip which feels secure and comfortable in one’s hands. The compact design ensures that these binoculars don’t feel obstructing or awkward when held to the eye either.
When it comes to the center focus wheel, we found it to be smooth and responsive. In fact, out of dozens of binoculars that we’ve tried, the Vortex Optics Diamondback outperforms some of its more expensive competitors in the way the center focus wheel enhances the experience. We’ve found many other binoculars on the market can have sticking points or just have too much resistance to make the focus experience a pleasure to use. The same can be said for the right-eye diopter which features the same, easy-to-use design.
The Vortex Optics Diamondback HD is offered in a wide range of magnifications and objective lens diameters. Ranging from a 10×28 through to 15×56. In our review, we used the 10×42. The 10×42 is considered the standard version, which offers a combination of good magnification with versatility.
With argon purging and O-ring seals, the Vortex Optics Diamondback HD is also waterproof and fog proof. They are able to handle some rather extreme conditions and still perform at their peak.
You don’t need to take our word for it though, Vortex offers a lifetime warranty on these binoculars.
While the Vortex Optics Diamondback exceeds our expectations in the build quality and design, does it translate to the optics? The short answer is yes.
These binoculars make use of high-quality BAK4 prisms, which in conjunction with the dielectric coated lenses make for an absolutely brilliant viewing experience. A common problem that more affordable binoculars face is contrast. The lens coating used on these binoculars offers a clear image in almost all situations. It does an extremely good job at handling glare for its price point. You will find some high-end binoculars taking the edge over the Diamondback in this area, but again, for an entry to mid-range option, we were thoroughly impressed with the glare reduction.
In addition, we found that the Vortex Optics Diamondback offers excellent results when it came to chromatic aberration – a problem that can plague a lot of budget binoculars. Coloration is also very accurate in the images. In addition to these, we found the brightness offered by the Vortex Diamondback HD to be particularly good.
The eye relief offered is 15mm, which is about the middle of the road when it comes to binoculars. Being a glasses wearer myself, I had initially been concerned that 15mm may be a little low for what I’d require. However, in use, I found that the 15mm eye relief was ample for me. Perhaps it is related to the design itself, but I actually had an easier time using the Vortex Diamondback binoculars with its 15mm eye relief than I did when I used other binoculars offering 16mm+.
Who are they for?
The Vortex Diamondback HD is the perfect choice for birders and outdoor enthusiasts. The 10×42 version offers a field of view of 330’/6.3° @ 1000 yards, ensuring that you have the versatility to use these binoculars in a range of situations. In our testing, we used them primarily for birding and wildlife viewing where we were blown away by the results they provide in real-world situations. It’s no wonder that these binoculars have become commonplace in so many birders’ inventory. They will also cater very well to hunters. The reality is, you’d be hard-pressed to find situations where the Vortex Diamondback HD doesn’t perform to your needs.
What We Like:
- Ergnomic design
- Water & Fog proof
- Brightness and clarity
- Lifetime warranty
What We Didn’t Like:
- Eye-relief could perhaps be a bit higher
Buying a pair of binoculars can be rather stressful, with manufacturers all claiming to offer superior quality. But the Vortex Optics Diamondback HD is a tried and tested product, with plenty of reviews across the internet speaking to their value. They find themselves in the inventory of many outdoor enthusiasts because of the reputation that they’ve gained as a quality budget pair of binoculars.
There are areas where you won’t quite match the perfection of a pair of Swarovskis or high-end Zeiss. However, what you will find yourself with, is a pair of binoculars that are often able to edge out other brands at half the price point.
They offer versatility, clarity, rugged build quality, and a pleasant user experience.