Vortex binocular suggestion?


Full Member
Feb 20, 2014
Hello Everyone!

I just spent a nice long weekend on Minnesota's north shore enjoying the fall colors and brought along a pair of cheap binoculars that I got at a garage sale.

While sitting on a hilltop overlooking a lake looking through those cheap binoculars I finally made the decision I was going to treat myself to a better pair of expensive binoculars. I could sit for hours glassing hilltops or looking at opposite shores of lakes.

I have narrowed my choice down to the Vortex Viper HD. http://www.vortexopt...r_hd_binoculars

I'm just not sure whether to go with the 8x42, 10x42, or the 10x50, what are your thoughts on the 12x50? I see they offer a 15x50 but don't think I want to go that high in magnification due to it being harder to hold steady.

I know about field of view, light gathering of the bigger objective lens, higher magnification being harder to hold steady, etc.

For a general pair of binoculars to look over a hillside or opposite side of a lake what model of the ones I listed would you recommend?

Thank You



Commercial Supporter
Full Member
Mar 28, 2010


Double Oh Negative
Full Member
I have the Viper HD 8x42 binos. I like them a lot - they're a good sweet spot in Vortex's line for price vs. performance. For just general binos, I feel like the 8x42 is pretty much the right spot to be. The field of view vs. magnification is just about right, and the 42mm objective gathers plenty of light for most any condition you're going to use them in. I use mine for bird watching as well as general binocular purposes, and the 8x42 is better there for that reason, too. In heavily backlit situations, they show some CA, and they have some barrel distortion, but it's not super noticeable. Most people don't even see it. That's about the only nit I can pick with them.

If you're going w/ 10x, I'd do the 10x50, simply because of performance in lower light. I haven't looked through the 10x or 12x Viper HDs, so I can't speak to their image quality. We also own 8x42 and 10x50 Diamondbacks. The 8x42 Diamondbacks are actually are pretty darn good deal for price vs. performance, too - if you aren't a stickler for high end glass, they do pretty darn well. The 10x50 Diamondbacks, though, aren't as nice. After using my wife's 8x42s, I was a bit disappointed in the 10x50s - and that, coupled with 10x being a bit too much for general birding, I ended up buying the 8x42 Viper HDs to be my main binos. I haven't touched the Diamondback 10x50s since I got the Vipers, and I haven't found myself wishing for more magnification.

Also, 12x50 and 15x50 binos aren't going to be as good in low light from an eye box standpoint - there won't be much tolerance for being mis-aligned with the optical center of each side.

If you ever decide to go top shelf, the Razors are every bit as good as Swaros and Leicas, at about half the price. It's pretty amazing what Vortex is able to do at those price points. And the customer service and warranties are the best available.


Full Member
Apr 16, 2013
Salem, OR
I ran Diamondbacks for a few years and have noticed that the glass quality has degraded since I purchased them about five or six years ago. You are right to look at the Viper and above as far as Vortex goes.

The glass is good and I was considering purchasing the Vipers before this past season but I was worried about the narrow FOV. I was also worried about the possibility of glass degradation like my diamondbacks (I know they are much lower quality when compared).

I found a pair of Meopta MeoPro’s used local for a price I could not pass up and have been impressed with their quality. I’m not saying don’t buy the vortex, but don’t get locked in on just the Vipers as there is some really great glass for the same price range. If you can look at Meoptas, Minox, or Leopold you can find some very high quality glass for about the same price. Good luck!


Full Member
  • Jul 7, 2013
    Punta Gorda, FL
    I have the Viper[SUP]®[/SUP] HD 15x50 Roof Prism Binocular and they are as easy to hold steady as the 10 X. Surprised me. They are super for watching dolphins off shore at Duck, NC. Excellent clarity.


    Banned !
    Feb 13, 2015
    Southern VA
    I recently bought Vortex Vulture in 15X and Sig Zulu 5 in 10X. Neither are considered high end products, but if I had to throw one of those in the pond it would be Vortex. The Sig are excellent.

    I also just read one our site sponsors' posts about a good deal on some Kowa binoculars that you may want to check out.


    I have dealt with them several times and they've been great.


    Full Member
    Apr 29, 2009
    Sabinal, TX
    I use the 10x42s for guiding and love them. If I need to see farther I use a spotting scope. They're VERY comfortable to wear and I'll often wear mine in my Kuiu harness all day long. The 50's are just too heavy for me to use the way I use mine. More than 10x has too much image wobble for me, if unsupported.

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk


    Full Member
    Sep 14, 2011
    You might take a look at the athlon cronus too. Great glass for the price, I have the 8.5X42.


    Full Member
    Oct 1, 2017
    If you decide to go with higher power (12 or 15), I would recommend getting a tripod adapter since it will be difficult to get a clear picture.