Vortex Diamondback Binoculars are among the most popular binoculars you’re going to find under $300. You don’t have to read many binocular reviews to see this. They pack a lot of bang for your hard-earned dollar, with excellent resolution, good ergonomics, ideal versatility and a much-beloved lifetime warranty from the manufacturer.
Indeed, it’s one of the most-respected names in the business. As with other, more expensive options, you can use Vortex Diamondback Binoculars for hiking, backpacking, birdwatching, kayaking, or heck, even shark diving if you’re looking for sharks from a boat.
Now that you’re sick of quarantine and want to see the world with social distancing, you might be tempted to invest in a good set of binos. Vortex Diamondback Binoculars are a very good option, but with a variety of options, it’s important to consider why you’ll be using them. Let’s look closer at Vortex Diamondback Binoculars and whether they get the proverbial thumbs up from the Binocular Gods, or if they’re a pass.
Please note: this Vortex Diamondback Binoculars review has affiliate links to Backcountry.com. I will receive a commission (no extra cost to you) if you buy a product through them. A puppy gets sainted every time this happens. Just kidding – puppies don’t get sainted. Or do they? I dunno, but they sure are so darn cute. 🐶
Vortex Diamondback Binoculars: At a Glance
The Vortex Diamondback HD binocular is the ‘La Sportiva Solution‘ of the Vortex binocular line. Rough translation for non-rock jocks: it’s their flagship product. If you’re new to binoculars, you might scratch your heads at all those numbers, what they mean, and question how in the name of Zeus’s rear can binoculars be ‘High Definition’ short of having 4K TV streamed through their eyepieces.
Let’s clarify this:
Vortex Diamondback 8X42 Binoculars – This is the entry level model. Vortex Diamondback 8X42 Binoculars make the object appear 8 times closer. The ’42’ references the diameter of the objective lens (the lens closest to the object you’re viewing). This is a full-size binocular, despite being the entry-level Diamondback model. For a lighter binocular, consider the Vortex Vanquish 8X26.
Best For – Birdwatching, Wildlife Viewing, Stargazing – though you’ll want a tripod for that.
Vortex Diamondback 10X50 Binoculars – This is more powerful than the 8X42 model. It brings the object of your affection 10 times closer and has a larger, 50mm diameter lens. The trade off? With more magnification, your field of view becomes narrower. Still, it’s something to consider – especially if you’re star gazing.
Best For – Wildlife Safaris, Star Gazing
Vortex Diamondback 12X50 Binoculars – Now we’re talking power. With 12 times magnification and a 50mm lens, this is a full-size binocular with full-size ability that brings pretty much anything you want to see with exceptional detail. As you might expect, it’s also a heavy binocular. You’ll want a tripod for this.
Best For – Long and Wide Distances
Also as you might expect, the ‘HD’ in Vortex Diamondback Binoculars stands for ‘High Definition’. This relates to the type of glass used (regular binoculars tend to use plastic lenses), magnification ratio, light transmission and close focus distance.
In short, it makes your viewing look like, well, HD.
Buyer’s Guide: What We Want in Vortex Binoculars
Those are the binoculars. Now, here’s what we’re looking for when we look at each model.
Clarity – Your binocular viewing experience should be clear, with little blurring, and with visible details. The higher the model, the better clarity you should have.
Brightness – There is no point spending $200+ on a pair of binos if objects are too dark for viewing. This is especially important for early and late day viewing. It’s also important on an overcast day.
Close Focus Range – The shortest distance from which binoculars can focus on an object. The shorter the distance, the more details you can see with your binoculars that you would not see with your naked eye.
Usability – Can you adjust the settings easily? That matters too. You may want to adjust the focus knob, the diopter knob and eyepiece – the latter of which in particular if you wear glasses.
Durability – Is it going to last while you’re out in the field? Is it rubber coated? Is it water-resistant? That’s all the more important if you’re paddling, although for that, you’ll want a pair of compact binoculars.
Comfort – Your binoculars should be comfortable to hold in your hand.
Value – Vortex Binoculars are renowned for their value. But what does each model bring for what you’re paying?
And with that, let’s get to the good stuff…
Vortex Diamondback 8X42 – Best For Hiking and Birdwatching
Summary: The Diamondback 8X42 is a good option for the average person looking for quality binoculars in the $200 range. They’ve got excellent clarity and excellent field of view. Brightness may be a bit of an issue early in the morning or late on the day.
That said, for the vast majority of folks who want a good set of versatile binoculars, the 8X42 is more than adequate. They’re durable and made with high quality materials you’d expect to find in more expensive binoculars. The fog-proof lenses are useful as well.
This is a very good set of binoculars for the average viewer.
Good Clarity and Field of Vision
Excellent Close Focus Range
High Quality Materials
Some Issues With Brightness
Field of View: 393 Feet/1000 Yards, 7.5°
Exit Pupil: 5.3mm
Eye Relief: 17mm
Vortex Diamondback 10X50 – Best For Stargazing and Hunting
Summary: Suprisingly compact for 10X50 binos, the Vortex Diamondback 10X50 packs excellent clarity. It’s durable, water-resistant and fog-proof and does a little better in low light than the 8X42 thanks to the dielectric and multi-coated prisms.
Now factor in good ergonomics, rubber coating and a better field of view than you’d get with other binos and the Vortex Diamondback 10X50 will take a beating and still show a pimple on a deer’s hide at 300 feet. Not that it would make for attractive viewing, but you get the idea.
Summary: Sometimes you really want to hold two telescopes in your hand. That’s exactly what you’re doing with the Vortex Diamondback 12X50 binocular. Not that you’d be slumming it with the 8X42s or 10X50s but, hot dang, this is one powerful set of eyeballs, with a 271 foot field of vision and just 7 feet for minimum focus.
There’s a theme going on here if you haven’t noticed: the Vortex Diamondback 12X50 brings clarity to crazy new levels in a compact and relatively light design for binos this size. Brightness is good. The value is better. This is a steal for less than $300.
Use the 12X50 for hunting, stargazing and even hiking or backpacking if you demand unparalleled clarity. The caveat to this: with just 14mm of Eye Relief, it’s not ideal for viewers with glasses, who should opts for something a little higher instead.
Vortex Diamondback Binoculars bring excellent clarity, good field of vision, solid construction and, most of all, value for your money. It’s a mid- to large-sized binocular that’s made with high quality glass, rubber and materials you would expect in something in the $300 to $500 range.
They’re fog proof and water-resistant. Their compact design makes them lighter than competing binoculars of the same magnification, and the rubber protection helps their durability. It’s comfortable to hold and the controls adjust with ease.
The Vortex Diamondback is compatible with Vortex tripods – and you may want to add one if you go with the 10X50 or 12X50 models because they are a little bigger than the 8X42.
If there is an achilles heal wth Vortex Diamondback Binoculars, it’s going to be brightness. Still, unless you’re using it very early or very late in the day, most customers will find its clarity and close focus range more than makes up for it. This is a quality binocular, and one you can use for hiking, backpacking, stargazing and just being in the great outdoors.
Go for the lighter, less powerful Vortex Vanquish 8X26 if you want binoculars for paddling or use on water. Otherwise, Vortex Diamondback Binoculars are a very good option for quality, and bring plenty of value for binoculars under $300.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Best Vortex Diamondback Model?
That depends what you want. The 8X42 is a good model for the average viewer and ideal for hiking, backpacking and birdwatching. For hunting or to gaze at the night sky, you may want something with higher magnification.
The 10X50 is quite powerful and should be more than enough the vast majority of outdoor folks. The 12X50 has very high magnification and has exceptional clarity, although it’s probably more than you need and a little heavier.
So, my own two cents, I personally would go with the 8X42, which has good clarity and the best field of vision. It may also be a little easier to hold and carry around with you, although the Glasspack harness that comes with all Vortex Diamondback Binoculars negates some of that for the heavier models.
Are They Compatible With Tripods?
Yup. Vortex Diamondback Binoculars easily mount on a tripod. Note however that you will also need a Vortex Tripod Adapter. They’re around $20 and can be purchased from that link.
Does HD Really Make a Difference?
Yes. The HD refers to better glass and prism quality. This helps with magnification and close focus range. HD boosts clarity and viewing details, which you can clearly distinguish between HD binoculars and older, regular models.
Where Are They Made?
They’re made in China.
How Long is the Guarantee?
Vortex Binoculars have a lifetime guarantee. That’s one of the reasons they’re so popular. If there is a problem with them, return them and Vortex will repair or replace it without charge.