Vortex Viper HD 10×42: What Can You Expect?


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Vortex Viper HD 10x42 Specifications:

  • Magnification: 10x
  • Objective Lens Diameter: 42 mm
  • Eye Relief:16.5mm
  • Exit Pupil:4.2 mm
  • Linear Field of View: 319 ft/ 1000 yd
  • Angular Field of View: 6.1 degrees
  • Close Focus:5.1 ft
  • Interpupillary Distance: 59-75 mm
  • Height: 5.8 in
  • Width: 5.3 in
  • Weight: 24.6 oz

Ready to graduate to a better pair of binoculars? Is glassing during hunting difficult with your current pair? Want excellent optics but don’t want to be the best at any cost? 

The Vortex Viper HD 10x42 are high-end optics without the high-end price tag. Don’t be mistaken though. They aren’t cheap. If you’re looking for an upgrade for your entry-level binoculars, it’s hard to beat Vortex.

Things To Consider Before Buying A Vortex Binocular

Vortex binoculars focus on high-end optics without the price. Most of their line is suitable for intermediate to advanced users who’re looking to upgrade. The company doesn’t sacrifice price in the name of being the best. Instead, they blend as much high-end benefit as they can while balancing a mid-range price.

The company is a US based, veteran-owned company that makes a range of both commercial optics and optics for military and law enforcement. They offer excellent warranties and are customer service focused.

Vortex binoculars do have a range of price tiers, but their most famous models are mid to high value. Viper is a lightweight set and one of the best values to price binoculars on the market. It’s rugged without the weight and high end without the price.

The Vortex Viper HD 10x42: What Can I Say?

The primary audience for Vortex Viper HD 10x42 binoculars is outdoor enthusiasts such as hunters who rely a lot on binoculars and need clear optics. It handles strong light using HD or “extra-low-dispersion” glass. There’s less chromatic aberration, and you get clearer sights.

They’re great in low light conditions where haze or pre-dawn conditions might interfere with an entry-level pair. They’re tough, but they aren’t bulky. We think they’d be very comfortable to wear all day, but they can withstand some impact without breaking.

The optics are the star with HD lenses and roof-prisms with multi-coating. Argon gas displaces fog and water so you can enjoy the outdoors even when the weather is terrible.

The best part? They come in well below that $1000 price point that separates high end from the rest. You won’t sacrifice your firstborn or your target. You get both.

PROS

  • Under $1000 
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    Lightweight
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    Very durable
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    High-end optics
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    Convenient, compact size
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    Fog resistant
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    Water Resistant

CONS

  • Users with glasses may not have a full range of adjustability
  • Field of view is 319 feet at 1000 yards. Good but not impressive

Features And Benefits

And now for the good stuff. Let’s see if this pair is right for you.

Lenses

Nothing ruins the great outdoors like a little rain. We do mean little. Some binoculars force you to close up shop with a slight sprinkle or even the threat of fog. The trouble is that a lot of your animals come out during these times because there’s more cover.

Vortex Viper HD 10x42 binoculars have a crisp view with a larger sweet spot than comparable binoculars on the market. XR lenses are fully coated with both a multi-coating (for light transmission) and anti-reflective coating. Vortex uses extra-low dispersion lenses for increased resolution. Dialectic prisms maintain color clarity even at long distances where other models are likely to display chromatic aberration.

To keep the glass from fogging, argon gas purging clears away humidity and fog, so you can still see your target even when you’re friend’s entry-level pair fails.

Weather Resistance And Durability

The Vortex Viper binoculars body is made of polycarbonate with a hard rubber armor. They are slightly impact-resistant, but they may not hold up with real impacts against something like rocks if you drop them from eye level.

The lenses resist fog and rain, even in some of the harshest humidity conditions. The light capture is also excellent, so low light conditions won’t be an issue. In fact, they’re some of the best binoculars for low light conditions at this price tier. If you do a lot of hunting mainly, these might be a good level up.

Even as you experience a range of temperatures moving from early morning to afternoon hours, your Vortex Viper HD 10x42 lenses should stay fog-free.

They’re waterproof, and sealed o-rings prevent any moisture from getting inside. While they might fog for a little bit in extreme weather temperatures, the internal mechanisms stay completely dry.

Focus And Field Of View

The central focus knob is smooth and takes about one and a half turns to go from close to complete distance. Focusing is smooth, and the knob is easy to grip. The last thing you want is to lose your rare bird because you were too busy trying to figure out focusing your ultra slow entry level binoculars.

The hold is tight, but there’s a diopter locking mechanism to prevent accidental slips. Field of view is just average for this price tier (341 feet at 1000 yards), but focusing is just fast. The revolution is smooth with little color aberration.

It has a close distance of just over five feet, an excellent measurement for this class of binocular. To compare, birdwatchers should be just fine with a close distance of eight. The Vortex Viper HD 10x42 beats that recommendation by three.

Comfort And Materials

I love the lightweight polycarbonate body. I can take Vortex Viper binoculars with me all day and not get sick of them being around my neck no matter how long I’m out. The body design is well balanced as well. You shouldn’t have any trouble being out with them for hours. And good thing. Sometimes nature requires patience.

There are two thumb indents where you should hold them to get the right balance, which is really helpful if you’re upgrading from entry level binoculars.

Eye Cups And Eye Pieces

The eyecups are comfortable, but I think if you wear glasses, you might want a little bit more customization. The cups stayed just a hair longer than I would have preferred to see for glasses wearers, but the pair does make up for it with gorgeous color.

The eyecups are twist-up and twist-down, extending in 3mm graduated steps with a full stop at each step. Eye relief is 16.5 mm, and the cushioned eye cups should be comfortable for non-glasses wearers. If you do wear glasses, they don’t adjust quite as much as I’d like. You need to try them out if at all possible to see if the adjustments are sufficient for you.

Accessories

The Vortex Viper HD 10x42 comes with a case, as it should at this price tier. It’s black nylon with about a quarter inch of padding and a mesh pocket just inside the cover. There isn’t room to fit anything else but your binoculars, so don’t expect to get much storage out of it.

It also comes with a rain guard for extra protection when things get nasty. It's made of softer rubber with a bridge that between the two caps.

Vortex Viper HD 10x42 binoculars also come with covers for the objective lenses, but I’m going to be honest. I’d be shocked if you didn’t lose them the first trip you take. Make sure you take them off and put them directly into your binoculars case, so you reduce the chance of losing them during your activities.

The pack includes a padded neck strap, but for a little extra, you can invest in a shoulder harness. It has a lens cleaning cloth and a booklet outlining how to make adjustments to the pair and a guide on lens care.

What are others saying? (Social Proof)

 " I've watched birds, mammals, and enjoyed every moment.

But I was just curious what the Zeiss conquest had to offer since I've heard good things about the German brand.....well I tried them both side by side for 7 days at dawn, noon, and dusk, in the woods and on the ocean. I really couldn't see a difference that justified the extra 400+ dollars. Maybe a little clearer at dusk ...maybe." 

"These binoculars are everything they say they are - super sharp and bright in low light conditions. Easy to use with glasses also. I took them hunting in the mountains and they compared favorably to my friend's Leicas in terms of clarity."

"4 straight days of glassing mule deer in AZ high country and I was pleased with these far and near. No fatigued eyes and low light visibility was great."

Final Thoughts

If you’re ready to upgrade for your existing hobby, Vortex Viper binoculars are an excellent choice for high-end optics. The color and picture remain crisp without noticeable distortion. They’re ergonomic and carry well even for long periods of time.

The smooth focus should satisfy your need to get your target in sight when hunting or spotting birds. You might be able to find a set of binoculars with a higher end body or even fancier optics, but you’re going to pay for it dearly. These come in well below that luxury $1000 mark, so upgrading might not be so out of reach.

They’ll handle nature well even the rain or fog. Although you may experience some minor distortion because of pincushion correction for globe distortion, it shouldn’t be too obvious. My final word? If it’s your first pair, you might save some money and go for something like the Minox BV line. If you’re already an enthusiast, Vortex Viper binoculars are an excellent mid-high value pair for upgrading an entry-level pair.

Vortex Viper HD 10x42
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