Many are familiar with the company Vortex due to their high-quality red dot optics. However, that is only a small part of what Vortex creates.
I’m a big fan of their products, and I feel they make excellent optics. Their line of binoculars varies, so specifically, I want to focus on the Vortex Viper line.
The Vortex Viper binoculars are some of the best for those rougher outdoor activities. It comes in Viper full size and the Viper compact. Specifically for those whose bread and butter are hunting.
For hunting, I prefer full-size field glasses. This is solely because I hunt in mostly low light situations — in the early morning and late evenings. I want to maximize my exit pupil too.
The Viper is available in wide variety of magnifications and objective lens sizes. The maximum magnification of this line is 15 power and a minimum of 6 power. This represents realistic magnifications in different hunting styles.
The 10 x 50, 8 x 42, and 6 x 32 options even offer long eye relief for glasses wearers. Because each of these optics has different specifications, let’s focus on the 8 x 42mm Viper binoculars.
The 8 x 42mm represents what most average hunters in the Southeast will need. This size keeps them quite light at only 24.2 ounces. They are comfortable to wear around the neck and easy to scan with for extended periods.
The bigger you go, the heavier they get, another reason to limit yourself to the 8 x 42mm models.
It gives you an eye pupil of 5.3 mm. This allows you to see throughout the entire day decently. It’s never too bright or too dim to see until the dead of night. A little larger exit pupil would be a bit better, but the weight trade off of a large objective lens would be worth it.
It uses a roof prism which makes it more compact, making it easier to carry through the field. You also get a solid 20 mm of eye relief, so those with glasses are well served with this kit. This includes those who wear shooting glasses for eye protection, as all hunters should.
It has an adjustable diopter that can also be locked down. A locking diopter is necessary on any binoculars used over rugged terrain. Without it, the diopter may slip during movement, and then you’ll have to readjust it before you can use your binocs.
Some other convenient, but not necessary, features include adjustable eyecups to max out the comfort level. These binocs are tripod adaptable and have an excellent center focus wheel that moves smoothly and transitions clearly.
Comparison to Similar Products
The comparison is based on the 8x42mm model.
|Exit Pupil||5.3 mm||5.3 mm|
|Eye Relief||20 mm||19 mm||19.5 mm|
|Close Focus||5.1 ft||8 ft||6.6 ft|
|FOV||347 ft @ 1000 yards||379.5 ft @ 1000 yards|
|Size||5.8 x 5.3 in||5.60 in||6.06 x 5.12 in|
|Weight||24.2 oz||23.40 oz||27.16 oz|
|Cost||Check Price||Check Price||Check Price|
Leupold BX-3 Mojave
The Leupold BX-3 Mojave is a close competitor to the Vortex Viper HD. They both sport rubberized armor, are water and fogproof, and are superior optics from well-established companies.
Leupold offers models in 8 x 42mm, and it weighs a little less than the Viper binocs. Both use a roof prism, and the Leupold is more compact overall.
The Viper has the advantage of a locking diopter and a closer close focus. The ArmorTek lens coating, which protects the lenses, is also more durable.
These two binoculars are very close when it comes to overall performance, and you really can’t go wrong with either. The Viper is slightly more affordable as well.
Vanguard Endeavor ED II
Another close competitor is the Vanguard Endeavor ED II. For brevity’s sake, I’ll call it the Endeavor from here on.
The Endeavor is an 8 x 42mm binocular that uses Bak-4 prisms, a roof prism configuration, and fully multi-coated lenses. It presents a comparable picture to the Vortex Viper. The little specs are the same, including weight, size, and close focus.
There are two significant differences between the Viper and the Endeavor.
First is the price. It has a lower priced option with the same clarity as a more expensive optic. The other difference is the durability that the Viper provides. The Viper presents a rubberized armor housing, and the ArmorTek lens coating cannot be ignored.
Rating the Vortex Viper HD
This is based on a 1 to 5 stars rating.
There is a slight issue with blurring near the periphery of the optic — a minor complaint, but a valid one.
With that in mind, you are getting a clear picture everywhere else. Thanks to the Bak-4 prism, the fully multi-coated lenses, the dielectric prism coating, and the extra low dispersion HD glass make it so.
The center of the image is crystal clear and allows easy viewing of different colors and fine details. 4 stars for clarity.
While it is well made and durable, it suffers from a slight heaviness. It’s mostly due to the construction of the optic. That being said, compared to other sturdy binoculars it is surprisingly light, even lighter than the Swarovski 8 x 42 mm.
They are just a bit heavier than the ordinary binoculars. 4 stars for its weight.
Of course, they are waterproof. They are sealed with O-rings to resist water, dirt, and debris. They are fogproof and purged with nitrogen gas. They are also covered with a rubber armor to provide comfort, grip, and protection.
You can use and abuse them quite a bit before they’d give. This includes the ArmorTek lens coating to resist scratches and abrasions. 5 stars for its durability.
The Vortex Viper line of binocs is an impressive group. It received an overall rating of 4.3 stars. They tend to lie a little on the price side, but are well built, provide a clear picture, and can take a beating.
If you are looking for a pair of binocs to take with you to “see the elephant”, then the Vipers are for you.