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christos nicolaou

Alyssa A.
Writer
Creating experiences, one adventure at a time.

PRODUCT REVIEW

Vortex Optics Diamondback HD 10×42 Binoculars

Vortex Optics is one of the leaders in the sports optics industry today. It has all kinds of binoculars suitable for different applications, as well as different budgets. For hunting, the company offers many quality binoculars that can deliver even in the most rugged conditions. One of these optics is the Vortex DIAMONDBACK HD 10X42 an entry level pair that really excels in terms of build quality.

The DIAMONDBACK has been around for years. As an entry-level pair of binoculars, it has always met, if not exceeded, expectations. However, Vortex Optics decided to give it a major upgrade in 2019, introducing the Vortex DIAMONDBACK HD 10X42.

As the name implies, it comes with HD lenses, but what is it really all about, and how different it is from its predecessors? Is it better? If so, what else has improved? We will find out all the answers as we discuss the specs and features of these lauded binoculars in this review. Let’s dive in!

Our Overall Review

We have thoroughly tested - and read reviews from other experts and users. In summary, this is what we think:

4.8

Reasons to buy

  • Optimal edge-to-edge clarity with an HD optical system
  • Wide field of view
  • Scratch-resistant properties of the ArmorTek coating
  • Lightweight and heavy-duty magnesium chassis with shock-resistant capabilities
  • Smooth central focus wheel

Reasons NOT to buy

  • Smooth central hinge may become loose over time
  • Eye relief not suitable for eyeglass wearers

Overview

One of the significant and most obvious differences of the Vortex DIAMONDBACK HD 10X42 from its predecessors is its HD optical system. It offers a noticeable upgrade on its predecessor. Hunters have always appreciated the DIAMONDBACK, and they have more reasons to fall in love with these optics all over again.

There is still some image fringing at the edges and the colors don’t necessarily pop, but for scanning and tracking prey the Diamondbacks still outperform their entry-level status.

In terms of construction, not much has changed in the all-new and improved model. And for good reason. The binoculars still have the same rubber-armored magnesium body, size, and shape that experts have come to like about them. It is worth mentioning, however, that Vortex Optics has enhanced the central focus wheel on these binoculars. The knob turns more smoothly with this new model.

Like many Vortex binoculars, the Vortex DIAMONDBACK HD 10X42 also comes with ArmorTek coating, a proprietary, ultra-hard, scratch-resistant technology that guarantees the finest external protection. No matter how tough the conditions you expose your binoculars to, you have almost nothing to worry about.

Now, these are just some of the most beloved qualities of these binoculars. As we move along, we will get to know them further and understand why many hunters prefer them over other models. Let’s dive in and figure it out!

See the complete list of the best Vortex Binoculars here!

Vortex Diamondback HD 10 x 42 Binoculars Overview

Vortex Optics Diamondback HD 10×42 Binoculars: Key Specifications

  • Product Dimensions: 5.7” x 5.1”
  • Product Weight: 21.3 oz.
  • Eye Relief: 15 mm
  • Exit Pupil: 4.2 mm
  • Linear Field of View at 1,000 yds.: 330’
  • Angular Field of View 6.3 degrees
  • Close Focus Distance: 5’
  • Inclusions: Comfort Neck Strap, GlassPak Binocular Case, GlassPak Case Harness, Lens Cloth, Rainguard Eyepiece Cover, Tethered Objective Lens Covers

Where to Buy:

Image Quality

The Vortex DIAMONDBACK HD 10X42 boasts an HD optical system. This feature is what sets it apart from previous DIAMONDBACK models, coming with significantly improved brightness, contrast, resolution, and sharpness. It offers the same chromatic aberration reduction that extra-low dispersion (ED) glass provides. With reduced chromatic aberration, you can expect the binoculars to deliver a very good edge-to-edge clarity.

In sub-optimal light, there will be a slight chromatic aberration. On cloudy days or in fog, the center view will be crystal clear with good contrast, but the outer edges will lose their clarity just a bit. Inexperienced glassers won’t really notice this detail though.

To ensure optimal performance, these binoculars also have fully multi-coated lenses. These lenses have anti-reflective properties, effectively improving light transmission and minimizing light loss. Moreover, the multilayer dielectric prism coatings guarantee true color fidelity and exceptional brightness. These binoculars have phase-correction coating applied on the roof prism, too, delivering optimized contrast and resolution.

Now, these coatings are commonly applied in many binoculars. What is unique about the Vortex DIAMONDBACK HD 10X42— or various Vortex binoculars for that matter— is that it is equipped with ArmorTek. This feature is a proprietary, ultra-hard, scratch-resistant coating protecting the exterior optics from dirt, oil, and other debris that may damage your binoculars.

Construction Quality

Like many durable binoculars in the market today, these particular Vortex binoculars come with a rubber-armored exterior. This body has a secure, non-slip grip, which means that you can handle these binoculars well even when it is mud, rainfall, snow, and other external factors that challenge your adventure. It also provides rugged external protection, keeping your optics safe and in good condition even when the situations are far from ideal.

Further, the Vortex DIAMONDBACK HD 10X42 has a magnesium chassis, making them as lightweight as they can possibly be while enhancing their durability. Since we are on durability, it is also worth noting that they have shockproof capabilities. These binoculars can withstand impact and recoil. If you accidentally drop them, you have little to nothing to worry about.

Of course, these binoculars are also fogproof and waterproof. They are purged with argon gas and sealed with O-ring sealing. Argon gas helps prevent the optics from fogging when exposed to sudden or massive changes in atmospheric temperatures. Meanwhile, O-ring sealing helps prevent debris, dust, moisture, and other contaminants from penetrating your binoculars. With these features, you would not have difficulties glassing even when it is raining, snowing, or when the environments prove to be tough to explore.

Vortex Diamondback HD 10 x 42 Binoculars Construction

Ergonomics and Comfort

The Vortex DIAMONDBACK HD 10X42 has better ergonomics features than its predecessors. Firstly, we have the central focus knob that easily and smoothly turns. It does so because it comes with a backslap when turning, unlike those on older models. Next, we have the central hinge that adjusts easily, too. It has the right amount of resistance that does not give you a hard time adjusting the distance between the barrels. Previous models have relatively harder central hinges.

These binoculars are compatible with a tripod adapter. You may mount them on a tripod or a car window mount whenever you want to enjoy a stable glassing experience. This adaptability comes in handy whenever you are out for hours, and you require impeccable stability and precision.

Each purchase of the Vortex DIAMONDBACK HD 10X42 includes various accessories to give you a complete package. These include a comfort neck strap, GlassPak binocular case, GlassPak case harness, lens cloth, Rainguard eyepiece cover, and tethered objective lens covers. The GlassPak case and harness make it easy to carry these binoculars wherever you go. You can strap it around your body however you want, allowing you to prevent neck strain from wearing your binoculars around your neck all day long. Then, the Rainguard eyepiece cover and tethered objective lens covers provide additional protection for your optics when you are not using them.

The Good

Of course, one of the many things we like the most about these binoculars is the all-new and improved viewing experience with the HD optical system. On sunny days, the exceptional edge-to-edge clarity, contrast, resolution, and sharpness are everything that hunters need to make the most out of every minute they spend outdoors. Glassing on cloudier days creates some blurring at the very edges of the view, but this is not at all terrible for binoculars at this price range.

With a linear field of view of 330’ at 1,000 yards, hunting is surely going to be enjoyable and productive. Colors don’t pop, but the clarity means identifying animals in bush is a can-do.

It is impossible not to be impressed with the Vortex DIAMONDBACK HD 10X42 and its scratch-resistant capabilities. Thanks to the proprietary ArmorTek coating, these binoculars have the ultra-hard protection they need from potential external damages from dirt, oil, and other debris. This coating is exactly what makes them high-performing and reliable even when outdoor conditions are extremely challenging. It gives you the confidence you need to brave tough environments.

Complementing the ArmorTek coating is the rubber-armored magnesium chassis, which provides a firm, non-slip grip and shock resistance. The rubber armor coating ensures that you will be able to handle your binoculars perfectly even when the situation makes it difficult to hold on to them. In case you still drop them accidentally, the shockproof capabilities offered by the magnesium chassis got you covered.

These binoculars can endure impact, so you can expect them to last a very long time. Another thing we like about magnesium bodies is that they are lightweight yet heavy-duty, making these binoculars very practical.

To have an undisrupted and comfortable day hunting or exploring the wild, having a smooth central focus wheel and a central hinge is crucial in binoculars. The Vortex DIAMONDBACK HD 10X42 takes pride in exactly just those two components, allowing you to adjust the focus and the distance between the two barrels conveniently and without trouble. They turn easily and have a pretty consistent rotation, so you can easily become familiar and get used to their mechanism.

Losing your binoculars or accidentally dropping them in the middle of an extreme activity is highly unlikely with this pair because it comes with complete, high-quality accessories. The comfortable neck strap lets you carry your binoculars around your neck, but if you have a long trek or walk ahead of you, you can always keep them secure inside the GlassPak binocular case. With the GlassPak binocular harness, you can strap the case around your body to keep your binoculars safe without having difficulties carrying them wherever you go. These accessories make every moment you spend outdoors hassle- and worry-free.

Vortex Diamondback HD 10 x 42 Binoculars With Bag

What We Didn’t Like

There are barely any complaints about the Vortex DIAMONDBACK HD 10X42, especially with the crisp images and unparalleled edge-to-edge clarity that it delivers. However, one minor disadvantage of having a smooth central hinge is that it may eventually become loose. When that happens, it becomes difficult for the two barrels to stay in place, disrupting your viewing experience and even causing discomfort.

These binoculars may not also be suitable for those wearing eyeglasses. It has an eye relief of 15 mm, which is pretty decent and exceeds the minimum requirement for a comfortable viewing experience. However, this eye relief may not be enough to give eyeglass wearers the same level of comfort. If you are wearing eyeglasses, it is recommended that you use binoculars with an eye relief of at least 16 mm.

About the Company

Vortex Optics, being a family-owned and family-operated business since its humble beginnings in 1986 in Wisconsin, takes pride in putting the needs of its customers first. It began as a small outdoor retail store with a strong focus on offering personalized services. By banking on a customer-centric approach, it grew tremendously over the years. Today, while relatively young, it is one of the most reputable names in the sports optics industry.

The company boasts cutting-edge engineering in a modern facility, ensuring that every product is worth every penny. Decades after its foundation, Vortex Optics remains true to its commitment to provide a quality experience to its customers. It continues to innovate to make sure that they get what they deserve— the best sports optics gear.

Every product comes with the Very Important Promise (VIP) Warranty, which is a testament to Vortex Optics’ relentless promise to deliver unparalleled customer satisfaction through its products and services. This warranty is the assurance that the company will repair or replace your binoculars for free if they get damaged or become defective. The good thing about it is that it is fully transferable, so your optics are still covered even if you are a secondhand owner and you do not have the original receipt.

Summary

With significantly improved optics that deliver optimal edge-to-edge clarity on sunny days, premium coatings that offer quality contrast and resolution with as little light loss as possible, and a wide field of view, the Vortex DIAMONDBACK HD 10X42 is undoubtedly a superior choice, especially for hunting.

Experienced glassers will notice some blurring at the extreme edges of the image, but this will likely go unnoticed by most birders or hunters or hikers buying binoculars at this price range.

These binoculars have an impressive construction. With a magnesium chassis, they are lightweight yet remain heavy-duty. They can withstand shock, so it doesn’t even matter if you accidentally drop them from a significant height. They can also resist scratches, thanks to their ArmorTek coating.

The DIAMONDBACK has always met expectations for its price, but the all-new and improved Vortex DIAMONDBACK HD 10X42 might even exceed yours this time.

See the complete list of the best Vortex Binoculars here!

What We Like

  • Optimal edge-to-edge clarity with an HD optical system
  • Wide field of view
  • Scratch-resistant properties of the ArmorTek coating
  • Lightweight and heavy-duty magnesium chassis with shock-resistant capabilities
  • Smooth central focus wheel

What We Don’t Like

  • Smooth central hinge may become loose over time
  • Eye relief not suitable for eyeglass wearers

Where to Buy:

Where to Buy:

FAQ – Frequently asked questions about Vortex Optics Diamondback HD 10×42 Binoculars

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    What is the best pair of Vortex binoculars for hunting?

    Vortex Optics has many binoculars perfect for hunting, but the Vortex DIAMONDBACK HD 10X42 is our current favorite. Introduced in 2019, it comes with better edge-to-edge clarity, brightness, sharpness, contrast, and resolution than its predecessors. All these improvements work perfectly with the wide field of view, making these binoculars the perfect hunting companion. Check out our comprehensive review of these binoculars here. However, if you would like to know more about other Vortex binoculars, check out this really helpful guide we have created for you here.

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    What is the HD optic system in Vortex binoculars?

    Many Vortex binoculars are engineered with an HD optic system, which uses select glass elements that improve image resolution and deliver premium edge-to-edge clarity. This glass construction ensures minimal light loss and exceptional color fidelity, too. Needless to say, the HD optic system in Vortex binoculars significantly optimizes your viewing experience regardless of tough external conditions.

  • image/svg+xmlimage/svg+xml
    What is ArmorTek?

    ArmorTek is found in many Vortex optics. It is a proprietary, ultra-hard coating technology with scratch-resistant properties. With this technology, binoculars have rugged external protection from scratches and other debris that may harm your optics.

  • image/svg+xmlimage/svg+xml
    What makes binoculars with magnesium bodies better than other binoculars?

    In binoculars, a body made of magnesium alloy is highly preferred over those made of aluminum alloy, polycarbonate, and any other materials because of its commendable strength-to-weight ratio. It is lightweight yet durable. Binoculars with a magnesium chassis are guaranteed to last longer than other binoculars, all without being too bulky to carry. Check out other binoculars with magnesium bodies in this comprehensive review.

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