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Vortex Viper 10x42 HD's - Are They That Good?

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/23/2014 at 16:17
Theo View Drop Down
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My first hunting binos were the Leupold Cascades BX-2's...worked okay glassing at deep dusk and helped me take my 1st deer this past season. Alas, I wanted to get a wider FOV and the original McKinley BX-4's came in at Midway recently for a really sweet deal. Picked them up...however, they weren't as tact sharp as the BX-2's, didn't have a locking diopter and had a stiff focus and too large eye cups, so returned them. Thought I'd like the Mojave BX-3's (60yds wider FOV over the 2's) till I got to compare them directly to the Vortex Viper HD 10x42's in Cabelas...WOW...Overall Optical Performance, Hands Down Winner...Vipers! I then kept switching between the Vipers and the Swaro 10x42 EL's (I know, not a fair comparison, but...). How is it the Viper HD's have at least 95% of the optical quality in color, low light, sharpness and resolution (to my eyes) at only 23% of the cost...Amazing!

I decided to hit the on line reviews of these "middle of the road" binos. Discovered that out of 257 owner\user reviews over the past 3 years (6 big name optic sellers), the average rating was 4.94 out of 5! There were Many over-the-top comments at how the Viper HD's compete equally with those at 2x to 3x the cost...Really Amazing!!

Well, my question is, are these Vipers Really That Good...are my 20\10 eyes (new-cataract surgery Smile) and these overwhelming reviews really to be trusted? Comments welcome...

Ted
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/23/2014 at 16:29
Bitterroot Bulls View Drop Down
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They are really good.  They don't quite have the FOV of the top shelf bins.

It sounds like you really like them, and that is what matters most.

They also happen to have the best warranty in the business.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/24/2014 at 17:28
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I have the Viper HD 10x42 bino's. I really like them a whole lot, they are my hunting bino's at the moment. I would not say they are swaro standard though. They are really great and to my opinion I feel like the Mckinley's are just as sharp (I felt a tiny bit sharper to be honest) but i liked the feel of the vipers becasue of those big ye cups. I Don't think you will be disapointed with them though. I love mine. I agree with Bitterroot Bulls on this. If you like them thats all that matters.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/26/2014 at 16:17
Theo View Drop Down
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Thanks everyone for your comments. I finally chose the Viper HD 10x42's and will have them in hand next week for review. In my shopping experience, I found their ergonomics excellent (size-feel-weight), they fit my face very well, were comfortable to hold and the optics were very sharp and clear with great resolution and color fidelity. Seemed overall to be the "best for my money". Added to all of that is one of the Best Warranties in the business...hard to loose! Big Grin

In short order, I'll put em through the test runs and report back my findings for anyone interested!

Ted
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/06/2014 at 19:46
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Daytime they are pretty dang good, I compared them side by side with a friends Crossfire and it wasn't even a comparison (for the price I hope it wouldn't compare). However, I bow hunt in some real thick woods and at 20 minutes past sundown it was more beneficial to use my eyes instead of my 8x Viper HD's. But the visibility is 50 yards tops so it hasn't been a make or break situation for me. Wish I had some experience with them in a more open area after sunset, that would probably be fine for legal light then.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/04/2014 at 08:37
Theo View Drop Down
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Originally posted by Theo Theo wrote:

In short order, I'll put em through the test runs and report back my findings for anyone interested!


Well, I have to report a disappointment in the Viper HD's. Long story short, I could not get past My perceived "fish eye" or "tunnel vision" effect I'd experienced in their FOV (daylight-dusk-dawn). Overall 2-week observation and use was Sharpness, check...Clarity, check...Color, check...Ergonomics, check...Build Quality, check. However to My Eyes, I found the "in focus" FOV narrow, causing me to experience dizziness whenever I panned side to side. The Viper center sweet spot is Really Sweet, but appears to only cover 60% or less of the FOV. The other 40% of view is where the fisheye effect is real pronounced for me, creating a rolling effect that I seem to be sensitive to. This is now an issue for me that I didn't realize in my 1st store encounter. My BX-3's never did this and although they are rated only 7ft wider, they always seemed to present a more natural and flatter FOV, allowing me to easily pan side to side without experiencing any vertigo. In fairness, my son (who uses Swaro EL's) didn't experience the same negative effects and really liked the vipers!

I too really wanted to like the Vipers, thus returned to the B&M retailer for more comparisons. I spent over 3 hrs early one AM in detailed viewing between 10 -10X42's (over $9K in optics) ranging the BX-3's, to the Vipers & Razors, all the way up to the Swaro EL's! The store assigned an optics expert to assist me in my shopping task. I took my time and tried to evaluate objectively and fairly all of the range of "great glass" I was seeing through. My 5 major findings were:

1. SWARO HD SLC's...Outstanding Optics, Best Clarity and Sharpness...PERIOD (liked better than the EL's)!
2. Cabelas Euros HD...Excellent Optics and a good choice to save some $$$. Very, very close to the Razors in excellent optics, but much Heavier!
3. Meopta Meopros...Very Nice Optics, not keen on the ergonomics though.
4. Vortex Vipers...Very good, but store copy gave me the same "fish eye" effect when panning (noted this go-round)...returned mine for full credit.
5. Leupold BX-3's...Store copy Worked Very Well for MY Eyes and compare Very Favorably (95% equal) to the SLC's at only 1\5 of $$$!! I know, a contradiction from my first post, but I'm sticking to my newest findings!

For now, my BX-3's are keepers...awaiting the revamped McKinley BX-4 119282's to compare to. Maybe I'll just save up for the SLC's and be done with it ! Wink
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/04/2014 at 08:49
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I've personally never been that impressed with anything Vortex makes, with the exception of the Razor spotters.  You saw the Viper HD the same way I did......narrow FOV (seemed to me anyway) and a very unforgiving eye relief situation.even though mine was the  8x32 version.  My BX3 Mojave 8x32 is better than the Viper HD I had. 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/04/2014 at 10:05
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Theo,

Kind of hard to get wrapped around the concept of dizziness caused by a narrow fov.  The Viper HD has a sharper edge than the original Viper, so I suspect the minimal distortion may be the culprit, not the fov.  You seem to be describing at partial effects of the rolling ball syndrome.

I'd guess the blackout phenomena is exactly due to ergonomics, particularly the ergonomics of the user interface with the eyes.  I'd guess the eye relief is not quite right for you.

I would agree the Swarovski SLC-HD is the best binocular out there, but I confess to not having seen a Victory HT yet either. Smile

I'd advise you put the Zeiss Conquest HD on your short list as well.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/04/2014 at 11:07
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I would trust your own eyes. It is hard to come to a consensus of best.

I also really like the SLC HD.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/04/2014 at 13:08
Theo View Drop Down
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Originally posted by Klamath Klamath wrote:

Theo,

Kind of hard to get wrapped around the concept of dizziness caused by a narrow fov.  The Viper HD has a sharper edge than the original Viper, so I suspect the minimal distortion may be the culprit, not the fov.  You seem to be describing at partial effects of the rolling ball syndrome.

Steven,
The narrow in-focus FOV doesn't cause me dizziness. As you state, the 30-40% outer edge 'less-focus" areas Do appear as a "rolling-ball-effect" as I pan side to side (as in glassing for game). I Do Not see this effect with the BX-3's.


Quote I'd guess the blackout phenomena is exactly due to ergonomics, particularly the ergonomics of the user interface with the eyes.  I'd guess the eye relief is not quite right for you.

Yep, I didn't consider the "eye relief" being an issue, but I did find it harder to -get behind and comfortable- with the Vipers.

Quote I would agree the Swarovski SLC-HD is the best binocular out there, but I confess to not having seen a Victory HT yet either. Smile

I'd advise you put the Zeiss Conquest HD on your short list as well.

Thanks for the advice, Stephen...I'll certainly consider testing out those binos before purchasing any further optics!

Ted

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