Vortex Vulture HD 15×56 Review

The Vortex Vulture HD 15×56 is a high zoom binocular in the low-mid price range. While not cheap in general, it is rather cheap for what it offers. 15x zoom is a powerful tool for any semi-pro hunter or birdwatcher. As opposed to other binoculars in our best cheap binocular list, this one costs about $200 more but also offers a bigger punch.

We found these HD binoculars to be rather awesome for the price so read our full review below to see what kind of features the Vulture 15×56 offers. Maybe it’s your new best friend in the nature.

Technical specifications

vortex vulture hd 15x56The Vulture is a nice entry point to the higher end binoculars. Packed with features, we found these to be the most important:

Firstly, let’s address the elephant in the room. The main feature is of course the 15x zoom. This is enough for a serious outdoorsman. Hunters need a lot of zoom in the forest and the Vortex Vulture 15×56 brings enough to the table. This should satisfy most hunters and birdwatchers as well.

The zoom comes with larger lenses as well. The 56mm lenses are of course multicoated and have no problems in the dusk. Larger lenses mean more visibility in the dark and Vortex lenses do it with a nice and clear image. The multicoating process helps with glare too.

The binoculars are coated with a scratch proof Armortek coating and rubber. This mean they can take quite a beating. As one would expect, they are also waterproof and fog resistant. This is essential to using them in rainy conditions. And as we all know, rainy conditions are always around the corner.

Vortex claims that the twist eyecups offer a comfortable viewing experience whether you wear glasses or not. We don’t quite agree with that but more on that later. The Vortex Vulture HD 15×56 comes in a nice carry box and includes a rainguard and a comfortable neck strap as well. At 2.5lbs the neck strap really comes handy.

How good are the binoculars?

Well if you ask us – they are pretty damn good. We tried them at dawn and the light transmission is superb for this price range. The large lenses really do the trick.

The zoom on the Vortex Vulture 15×56 had a clear image and we loved the way it focused. We spotted elk from an impressive distance.

vortex vulture hd 15x56 review

On the downside they feel a bit cheap compared to the Nikon competitors in the same price range. The eyepieces weren’t the best we’ve seen as well.

Customer feedback

Customer feedback for the Vulture looks exceptionally good. With 5 and 4 star reviews only on Amazon, it seems that nobody has any major complaints.

Excellent optics and the clear image receive the most compliments. The coated scratch resistant housing is also something that people like. However, there are some people who are not a fan of the eyecups. This is not a big issue however, as these can be replaced quite easily.

Wrapping up the Vortex Vulture HD 15×56 review

All in all we think the Vortex Vulture 15×56 is a very decent set in the low-mid price range. If you are on the market for a high-zoom binoculars to improve your hunting or birdwatching game then this would be a good fit.

vortex vulture hd 15x56

The image is great regardless of the 15x zoom and we had a lot of fun with it in dark conditions. The Vortex Vulture 15×56 gave an excellent image in our dawn test and we didn’t find any major issues. The eyecups are a bit worrying but that’s nothing a little upgrade can’t fix. We recommend these binoculars and that’s why you can find it in our list of best cheap binoculars.

Our Rating 86/100

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Bushnell Legend Ultra HD Review

This time we are taking a look at the Bushnell Legend Ultra HD 10×42 binoculars. In this series of reviews we took a look at the best cheap binoculars in the low-mid price range and the Legend Ultra comes in at the lowest price.

Regardless of being the cheapest, The Ultra is still a valid competitor and offers relatively good features. Good ratings from customers show that a product can be impressive even with a lower price. It’s not an exact match to the pricier binoculars but take a look at the full review below and decide for yourself.

Technical specifications

bushnell legend ultra hdDespite of its low price, the key features of the Ultra are competitive:

The Bushnell Legend Ultra HD comes with a zoom level of 10x. This level of zoom is a good compromise which satisfies most hobby hunters and birdwatchers. This is enough to spot wildlife in a medium range and retain a good field of view. The 42mm lenses of the Legend Ultra provide decent light exposure.

The 42mm lenses are coated with a water repellant which helps in rainy conditions. Unlike its competitors however, the Bushnell Legend Ultra HD does not have multicoated lenses. This could cause some issues with glare. An obvious drawback caused by the lower price.

The waterproof and fogproof binocular comes in a lightweight magnesium chassis which offers two things. A very light weight of only 22.5 Oz but also a bit of a cheap feel. It doesn’t feel like it could take a real pounding.

A long eye-relief is offered and the binoculars come in a soft case. A neckstrap is also provided for comfort but the all-important rainguard is missing from this set. Overall it’s a balance between quality and a low price.

How good are the binoculars?

We tried the Bushnell Legend Ultra HD on a little birdwatching venture. The weather conditions were nice and we had a relatively good time with them. In our opinion it offered bang for the buck and we were left satisfied.

bushnell legend ultra hd review

The Ultra doesn’t quite compare to the little bit pricier models we have reviewed but it didn’t have any serious issues in regard to optics. Something we didn’t like was the build quality. You get what you pay for and with these binoculars it really shows.

Customer feedback

Customers seem to be quite happy with the low-mid price range pair of binoculars. Amazon reviews are 76% 5 star and that is a good result in our books. People like the fact that a decent quality image is delivered for a cheap price. While it might not deserve the “HD” in its name, the image is considered good.

Build quality seems to be the biggest complaint. Customers say that the binoculars feel cheap and tend to break. If you are serious about your ventures, you should perhaps consider binoculars of higher quality.

Wrapping up the Bushnell Legend Ultra HD review

All in all the Bushnell Legend Ultra HD is what you pay for. While it is certainly not the best pair of binoculars, it deserves a spot on our list of best cheap binoculars. We think that the Legend offers a fair balance between quality and price. If you are going on one of your first hunting trips or birdwatching ventures then this might be the pair for you. The build quality is not the best but the image is something you can definitely live with.

bushnell legend ultra hd

If you are looking for something more long term then you might want to check out other binoculars on our list.

Our Rating 79/100

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Nikon Monarch 5 8×42 Review

Today we are taking a look at another low-mid price range binocular. The Nikon Monarch 5 8×42 in particular. If you are on a budget and looking for binoculars for hunting or birdwatching, then this one might be for you. Seasoned hunters need a rangefinder as well so if you feel like that’s you – turn to our review of the best high quality binoculars here.

However, The Monarch 5 is sufficient for its price and offers a wide range of features. Nikon has been in the binocular game for a long time and they know what they are doing. Read our full review of the Nikon Monarch 5 8×42 below or check out our full list of the best cheap binoculars here.

Technical specifications

nikon monarch 5 8x42The Monarch 5 has quite a few nice features for its price. Here are the ones that we found to be the most important:

This binocular comes with 8x zoom capability and 42mm lenses. As far as zoom goes, 8x is not the most popular option out there. Depending on what you are planning to do, 10x might be a better suit for you. Hunters generally prefer more zoom and birdwatchers prefer a larger field of view. This binocular would rather suit the latter.

The 42mm lenses are multicoated so they don’t have glare issues and provide a clearer image. The glasses are built with Nikon’s premium ED technology. This means that the glass has extra-low dispersion. The 42mm lenses for great in low-light situations. As wildlife is more active in dim light, this is an important factor.

The Nikon Monarch 5 8×42 is also light. Weighing in an ounce lighter than previous versions, the total weight is 1.3lbs. Outdoor activities are straining enough as it is so less weight is always better. We prefer carrying an extra beer rather than dead weight!

The lenses are multicoated. This is the standard for binoculars in this price range. Multicoating helps to battle the effects of glare and provide a clearer picture.

The Monarch 5 is also waterproof and fog proof. These are perfect features if you are looking to go out in harsh conditions. The body is covered by a rubber casing which protects it from fall damage and scratches.

How good are the binoculars?

We tried out the Nikon Monarch 5 8×42 for a little hunting trip. It was a rainy day – it always has to be, doesn’t it? Anyway, the binoculars worked perfectly. We didn’t have any issues with fog or rain. The rubber eyecups offered nice protection for our eyes as well.

Light transmission was decent. It was quite dark that day because of the rain so this might not be fair to the product. We didn’t see the best results but considering the conditions it did pretty well.

nikon monarch 5 8x42 review

The prisms offered great color reproduction and the image was crisp and clear. No issues with manufacturing quality were noticed. Also, we didn’t notice any game…again.

Customer feedback

The Monarch 5 seems to be well accepted by the buyers. With 79% 5 star feedback on Amazon, it is among the best reviewed binoculars in its price range. Highlights are its light weight, great color reproduction and the comfortable eyecups. Most customers find these to be the best features and the overall tone is positive.

On the negative side, a considerable amount of customers is having trouble with the lens covers. On our unit they fitted just fine but customers are reporting that the covers don’t fit properly. This might cause them to fall off in active situations.

Wrapping up the Nikon Monarch 5 8×42 review

The Nikon Monarch 5 8×42 performs well in the low-mid price range. We found that it has great colors, a sharp image and is comfortable to use. It is best suited for beginners so if you are looking for something more serious, take a look at our list of best high quality binoculars here.

nikon monarch 5 8x42

If you are just starting your birdwatching or hunting career or have a low budget then the Monarch 5 is a good fit. Its features are sufficient and the price is right as well. There are reports of bad lens covers but that is a minor issue in our books.

Before buying, take a look at our full list of best cheap binoculars as well!

Our Rating 88/100

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Nikon Monarch 5 10×42 Review

Let’s take a look at the Nikon Monarch 5 10×42. Another binocular that is on our list of best cheap binoculars. The Monarch 5 series from Nikon covers the low-mid price range and is quite suitable for birdwatching and hunting activities. As opposed to its 8×42 counterpart, this one offers bigger zoom levels at 10x. Thus, we find this model to be better suited for hunters.

As most binoculars in the low to medium price range, the Monarch 5 offers a wide array of features for a reasonable price. It doesn’t pack the biggest punch but it’s enough for hobbyists. If you want to take a look at the more high-end models then check out our best high quality binoculars list here. Otherwise, enjoy our full review!

Technical specifications

nikon monarch 5 10x42The 10×42 model Monarch 5 is rather similar to its counterpart in regard to features. Here are the ones we found most important:

The main difference is of course the level of zoom. The Monarch 5 10×42 comes with 10x zoom capabilities and it delivers well. The higher zoom level comes handy if you need to look at a smaller area rather than the big picture. This is especially handy when you are hunting.

The binoculars are built with Nikon’s premium ED glass. These lenses deliver a sharp image that is clear and the 42mm lens size helps with low-light conditions. The 42mm lenses are of course multicoated for glare optimization. Hunting often happens in dim conditions and Nikon has found a viable solution for the problem with these lenses.

Nikon Monarch 5 10×42 also features some nice touches for comfort. The binoculars have comfortable rubber eyecups and slide-down lens covers. The latter are especially nice as lens covers usually dangle in the way or get lost altogether.

The Monarch 5 is waterproof and fog proof as well. As we always say, wildlife isn’t afraid of the weather. These extras help us cope with the conditions and remain active. Foggy nights in the forest aren’t are worry with these binoculars!

This is not the lightest set around, weighing in at 2 pounds. However, if you’re looking for high zoom levels and quality, weight is something that you must accept.

How good are the binoculars?

We found the Nikon Monarch 5 10×42 to be a great set of binoculars. Regardless of being a 10x binocular, the Nikon provides a wide field of view and is relatively compact compared to competitors.

The image is crisp and clear and color reproduction is spot on. We found that the focus distance is also nice on these as it stays in focus at close distances as well. Overall, the optics is near perfect for this price range.

As with the 8×42, we did find the lens covers to be a bit wobbly. Another note would be that the case felt a little cheap and the binoculars lacked a belt strap.

nikon monarch 5 10x42 review

Other than this slight issue, we were happy with the performance. The case it comes in is neat and offers good protection. We also tested the waterproof feature of the binoculars and can’t report any issues. The OutdoorGearPal team took it birdwatching and we saw quite a few birds!

Customer feedback

Customers deem the product worthy of a high rating. 79% 5 star ratings on Amazon is usually a sign of a good product. The positive feedback is quite similar to our own. Good things are being said about the optics, focus distance and color quality. Performance in low-light situations is also considered good.

On the negative side there are a few comments about the lens covers. It really seems to be a design flaw of the 5 series.

Wrapping up the Nikon Monarch 5 10×42 review

The Nikon Monarch 5 10×42 is a nice addition to the low-mid price range of binoculars. Nikon’s proven technology in lens and glass production is all there and the results are nice. Colors are beautiful and the image is nice and sharp.

nikon monarch 5 10x42

It does have some quality issues with the lens covers so you should take that into account when buying. However, these binoculars should suit your needs for both hunting and birdwatching if you are on a budget. We would recommend these if you’re looking for a 10x Nikon.

If you are still on the fence, check out our full list of best cheap binoculars here.

Our Rating 94/100

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Vortex Diamondback 10×42 Review

The Vortex Optics Diamondback 10×42 is a low-mid price range binocular. Binoculars like these are suitable for hunters and birdwatchers. While professionals look for something more powerful, this is a decent starter for a beginner huntsman or birdwatcher. A serious hunter will miss rangefinding capabilities on this unit. However, Vortex is a quality binocular manufacturer and if you are not looking to rangefind, this set should be sufficient. If you are trying to find low budget binoculars, this might be the pair for you. Read our review of the Vortex Diamondback 10×42 below to find out more or check out our picks for the best cheap binoculars or best high quality binoculars.

Technical specifications

vortex diamondback 10x42The Vortex Diamondback packs a nice set of features for a low-mid price range binocular. Here’s what we consider the key features:

The Diamondback provides 10x zoom through a 42mm objective lens. 10x zoom is more than sufficient in most outdoor situations. It gives a clear image from medium to long distances. 42mm is a good size lens for low-light situations like hunting.

The optics of the Vortex Diamondback are multi-coated and the prisms inside are phase corrected. These processes assure that the image quality is as good as possible. Coating protects the lenses from glare. Sun won’t be an issue with the Diamondback.

The binoculars are also waterproof and have fog protection. Outdoor situations often include rain and evenings in the forest can get foggy. These features keep you operational regardless of the weather conditions. The wildlife is not afraid of the weather and with these feature, you don’t have to be either.

For your comfort, there is a neck strap included and an attractive case to carry your binoculars. Accessories also include lens covers and a rainguard to protect your lenses from raindrops. Along with the waterproof feature, this makes the binoculars easy to use in rainy conditions. Rain should be the last thing you worry about on your outdoor adventure.

Although not a technical feature, a notable extra is the Vortex Optics lifetime warranty. The Vortex Diamondback 10×42 comes with an unconditional warranty which means your device will be repaired with no questions asked – forever!

How good are the binoculars?

From our experience, the binoculars are surprisingly good for this price range. The low-light functionality was above expectations. Our pair did seem to have a slight issue with the lens covers though. The mechanism that attaches the covers to the lens were a little wobbly.

In our continuous use of the Diamondback, we didn’t notice any other major quality issues. When contacting Vortex, they were more than happy to exchange it for us.

vortex diamondback 10x42 review

Other than this slight issue, we were happy with the performance. The case it comes in is neat and offers good protection. We also tested the waterproof feature of the binoculars and can’t report any issues. The OutdoorGearPal team took it birdwatching and we saw quite a few birds!

Customer feedback

The Diamondback has mostly positive reviews. They have 87% 5 star reviews on Amazon and customers claim that these are one of the best binoculars in this price range. Key positive feedback is regarding build quality and the warranty system.

The lifetime warranty is something that Vortex is proud of and they really follow through with it. There are countless customer reviews that talk about the great support that they received.
These binoculars seem to be praised equally among birdwatchers and hunters. The great visibility in low light is something that is brought up a lot. This is accompanied by comments regarding the great image clarity that the Diamondback provides.

Wrapping up the Vortex Diamondback 10×42 review

The Vortex Diamondback 10×42 is a combination of good features and great build quality. For this price range, it’s truly a superb pair of binoculars. It lacks rangefinding capabilities and some features that high-end binoculars offer. However, it’s the best in the low-mid range of binoculars.

vortex diamondback 10x42

If you are a beginner hunter or birdwatcher, the Vortex Diamondback 10×42 is a good starting point. You can always upgrade later but it is important to start from a good place. Quality is important and worth it in the end. Don’t waste time and money on cheap plastic binoculars. We suggest the Diamondback and it’s our top pick in our best cheap binoculars list.

Our Rating 97/100

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