Vortex is well known for its optics — rifle scopes, red dot sights, spotting scopes, laser rangefinders, monoculars, tripods, and a slew of other items. I own a number of their products and have been well pleased thus far.
Everything has been functioning well, although a few years ago, I did have an issue with a rifle scope. Upon contacting Vortex, they apologized for the problem and sent me a new scope immediately. All I had to do was place the old scope into the box that the new one came in and return it to them. The box was prepaid, so it didn’t cost me a cent.
A few things impressed me. Their apologetic and helpful attitude and the speed at which they responded was outstanding. And, the fact that they trusted me enough to send me a new product before I had returned the old one. That sort of trust is seldom seen with any customer service these days, and at that point, they gained a customer for life.
So when I picked up these Diamondback 10x42mm binoculars, I had very high hopes. And I have the assurance that, if they ever do develop a problem, Vortex has my back. To me, that means a lot.
Vortex Diamondback Binoculars 10x42mm
These binoculars have a number of good features which make them highly functional.
Let’s check out the technical details of these binoculars and see what we’re working with.
The binoculars weigh 21.3 ounces, so they’re fairly lightweight. The height is 5.7 inches, with a width of 5.1 inches.
Magnification is 10x, which means they magnify at a rate of 10 times. The objective lens size is 42mm. The objective lens of an optic is the opening at the end of the optic. In other words, the end part that the viewer is looking out of in front.
The linear field of view at 1,000 yards is 330 feet. So when viewing an object at 1,000 yards, it appears to be 330 feet away.
Eye relief, or the distance that the eye is held away from the ocular lens, is 15mm.
The lenses of the Vortex Diamondback binoculars are protected by Amortek. It’s an ultra-hard, scratch-resistant coating that protects the lenses against scratches, oil, and dirt. The lenses are fully multi-coated.
The body of the optic is coated with a rubber armor that provides a secure, non-slip grip and protects it. It’s a dark green color, so it’s low profile. The coating really is nice and offers a superior purchase; these binoculars won’t be slipping out of my hands any time soon. The Diamondback binoculars are also shockproof, so they can withstand impacts.
Other Useful Features
The eye cups are adjustable. They can be twisted out to full extension to give optimal distance from the ocular lenses, which is great if you’re not using eyeglasses. This gives a great view while blocking out a lot of peripheral light.
If you’re using eyeglasses, the eye cups can be twisted down and collapsed to give you some extra distance. Personally, I appreciate the adjustable eyecup feature because I wear eyeglasses. With some binoculars that don’t have adjustable eye cups, using glasses with them can be tricky.
The Interpupillary distance (IPD), which is the distance between the centers of our pupils, can be matched by the Diamondbacks because they are adjustable.
The Vortex Diamondback binoculars can be adjusted via a single diopter. The right eye is closed and the center focus wheel is adjusted until an object about 20 yards away is clear. Then the left eye is closed and the diopter wheel on the right lens is adjusted. When that’s done, both lenses will be optimized for your vision. After that, all focusing can be accomplished with the center focus wheel.
I love how the center focus wheel can be moved with just a little pressure from a finger; it makes adjustment and focusing at various ranges super easy. At the same time, there’s just enough tension on the wheel that it’s not likely to be accidentally moved. That’s a thoughtful move on Vortex’s part.
The Vortex Diamondback binoculars come with some extra goodies.
First, there’s a nice, semi-hard protective storage case that’s nicely done. But it’s not just a storage case; it has rings to which the carry strap can be attached so the case can be carried at chest level. The case can be unzipped and the binoculars accessed easily. This offers nice protection on the field, yet allows easy access to the optics. Two neck straps are included. One has plastic hooks that attach to the rings on the case.
The other strap actually threads through the attachment points and threads through buckles, for a secure fixture. This strap is extra nice because it’s padded for more comfort. It also has the Vortex logo embroidered on the strap. Given the light weight of these binoculars, the straps make for a very comfortable carry, as they don’t dig into the user’s neck.
Now here’s where Vortex gets extra-high marks from me: They include lens covers!
Not just any lens covers, but the ones for the objective lenses are attached flip-up covers! These are incredibly convenient because you never have to worry about losing them, they’re always attached. To use the binoculars, just bump the tab on the covers and they flip down, allowing us to use the optics. The covers for the ocular lenses are a one-piece, removable unit. Both covers protect the lenses very efficiently and are semi-hard rubber.
Finally, a lens cloth is included for when the lenses need to be cleaned. Vortex advises using a little water or pure alcohol if necessary to get the lenses clean.
How do they work?
As a former sniper, I look at optics a bit differently than some folks. For us, they were significant tools of the trade. We relied on our optics in a prominent way to give us the data we needed to accomplish our mission.
Most people assume that snipers mainly use rifle scopes for their optics. That’s only partly true. To be honest, we used binoculars and spotting scopes more than rifle scopes most of the time. Truth be told, a large part of being a sniper is gathering intelligence. We were the eyes and ears of almost every special operation for our teams. If there was a hostage situation, we were tasked with observing the building or area and reporting every shred of intelligence that we could glean.
The fact is that rifle scopes are not always the best for such tasks because of their limited field of view. Binoculars, with a wider field of view, were normally more efficient for observing an area. Because of this, binoculars are a main tool for snipers.
I already mentioned how easily the binoculars are adjusted. The next main point boils down to how clearly we can see with them. I’m blessed, in that I live next to rolling hills and farm fields that go on for miles. So I can literally view objects for thousands of yards out my back door off the deck. And beyond the fields, there is a town with a university, so I can see those buildings, along with the water towers that accompany them.
On the other side of the town is a Medevac helicopter station, which is a few miles from my house. As I was putting the binoculars through their paces, the Medevac received a rescue mission call and took off. I was able to watch it rise above the tree lines. Granted, I wasn’t able to see the markings on the chopper, but I could clearly make out that it was the Medevac from the color and nomenclature of the aircraft.
The 10x magnification was sufficient to pick out these details. Beyond that, though, the lenses are gratifyingly clear and crisp, allowing a great view of far-off objects.
Beyond that, these binoculars function great around dusk or in low light. The 42mm objective lenses let in a generous amount of light, which means we can identify objects in low light that we would not be able to see with our naked eye. That’s important from a couple of aspects. First, if we’re considering a law enforcement or military viewpoint, detecting threats and differentiating between friend and foe is paramount. It can save lives. If we’re hunting, it can also contribute to safety by helping us to differentiate what that approaching shape is — a game animal or another hunter.
To put it simply, these are great binoculars. They offer a clear, sharp image, even at extreme distances. They’re light enough to pack in the field all day long. The rubber coating feels great in the hands and helps keep them from slipping from my grasp. The lens covers do a superb job of protecting the lenses, which are the heart of the optic. The binoculars are waterproof and fog proof as well. They can also be mounted on a tripod should a more stable base be needed. And they look good, on top of everything else.
Finally, they’re covered by a lifetime warranty. And as I mentioned before, Vortex stands by that warranty in a most no-nonsense manner.
At the time this is being written, these Vortex Diamondback binoculars sell for $249.99. I believe that’s a fair price for these optics, given their quality. This piece of gear is highly recommended.