This is a comprehensive Vortex Viper HD review!
The Vortex Viper HD binoculars are exceptional in terms of image quality and overall performance. They have excellent light transmission, which makes them great for bird watchers, hunters, and explorers.
They are not that heavy either. As a birder, you need to use steady hands at full magnification; otherwise, you will lose your target. This review will discuss its specs, performance, available sizes, and some alternatives.
- Optical performance
- Construction and quality
- All model sizes and specs
- What’s in the box?
- User reviews
- Our verdict
Vortex Viper HD Overview
The Vortex Viper HD binos are high-performing fog and waterproof binoculars built for avid birders, sightseers, and wildlife viewing. They are also good for general observation but slightly heavy to hold for long periods.
These Viper binoculars also come with a decent eye relief of 17mm, which is very comfortable with glasses on. We also noticed that they have a good exit pupil of 4.2mm, so light transmission is nice but not great.
Vortex Viper HD binoculars are all made in the Philippines, including all the components, optics, and accessories. So, we can expect above-average performance and durability.
The eyecup covers were pretty tight and inflexible to remove. It can be a bit of a time-waster, especially if you don’t want to miss any action. Images could have been slightly brighter too. Overall, for this price range, the Viper HD is a good choice.
Moreover, there are four different sizes available in these binoculars.
Vortex Viper 8X42 is most famous for birding and general viewing because it’s pretty light to carry around. If you want to use binoculars for bird watching, hunting, exploring, and with a little bit more detail, both 10×42 and 10×50 are widely preferred due to their better optics and magnification.
The 12X50 Viper HD is a preferred choice for new astronomers and stargazers. These come with the finest Vortex Viper optics in this model, and they also require steady hands.
In the following two sections of this Vortex Viper HD binoculars review, we will discuss features that are the same in all sizes.
The overall optical performance is pretty good due to the use of fully multi-coated lenses and phase-coated prisms. They ensure maximum light transmission so you can see high definition and sharp images with crystal clarity.
These Viper binoculars feature premium quality lenses made with extra-low dispersion glass for excellent resolution and top-notch color fidelity. These lenses have Vortex’s signature XR coating to enhance light transmission.
The HD lens elements allow you to see images without any color dispersion, even during dawn and dusk times with darker surroundings.
Vortex has filled the glasses with argon gas to prevent fogging in humid conditions. Though light transmission could have been better, especially for this price range, it still gets the job done quite well.
The prisms also come with dielectric multilayer phase coatings to ensure accurate images with better contrast. The images are crisp at any magnification. The binocular will allow you to observe your target with great details. The use of ED glass allows you to see images with high definition and contrast.
Also, when it comes to color production. I have noticed slightly washed-out results. You need to keep in mind, especially if you do a lot of birding. For that, it’s better to go for the larger size of Viper HD, which is 10×42, instead of 8×42.
Construction and Design
Vortex has applied a non-slip rubber-armored grip that allows you to hold it even in rainy conditions. It also gives protection against knocks and extends the life expectancy of the binoculars. No doubt, when it comes to the overall construction, the Viper HD is a go-to pair.
Body and grip
The body is robust thanks to durable external protection. It pairs well with the non-slip grip to make sure that you can comfortably hold on to your pair. No matter how wet the conditions are, these won’t slip away even if you have your gloves on.
Vortex has also shielded the lenses with ArmorTek coating to ensure that the lenses remain resistant to any scratches and can be found on dirt and oil.
Furthermore, Vortex has used argon gas to make these binoculars fog-proof at different temperatures, and o-ring sealed them to prevent debris, moisture, or dust from entering barrels.
These binoculars also come with a lockable diopter on the right barrel. It can adjust the difference in your eyes, and you can lock it to your preference. Moreover, these binoculars are tripod and window mount adaptable.
Focus wheel and focusing
These binoculars also feature a central focusing wheel that allows you to adjust your focus on both lenses simultaneously. You can easily adjust the focus using its wheel to view your selected object with ease.
The focus wheel and the focusing itself were pretty fluent, and it was all about handling the operation with just one finger.
Even if you have your gloves on, you can conveniently adjust the mechanism without any problems. The operation is smooth, and the focus remains even either in low as well as high magnification.
Eyecups and lens covers
Vortex Vipers come with adjustable eyecups that you can twist up and down according to your viewing comfort. Whether you wear eyeglasses or not, these adjustable eyecups are easy to use and do the job well.
But the screws under the eyecups are not of that great quality, and you will see that with each twisting and turning, they get loose. You might end up losing them all.
The lens covers are nice and fit well on the objective lens to keep them safe from external damage.
Viper HD Model Sizes
There are four sizes of Vipers available. The 10X42 size is most popular among avid birders and hunters. Here’s a full overview of all the sizes.
|Objective lens diameter||42 mm||42 mm||50 mm||50 mm|
|Eye relief||18 mm||17 mm||16 mm||16 mm|
|Exit pupil||5.25 mm||4.2 mm||5 mm||4.1 mm|
|Linear field of view||409 feet/1000 yards||341 feet/1000 yards||346 feet/1000 yards||288 feet/1000 yards|
|Angular field of view||7.8 degrees||6.5 degrees||6.6 degrees||5.5 degrees|
|Close focus||6.5 feet||6.5 feet||9.5 feet||9.5 feet|
|Dimensions (height/width)||5.6×4.9 inches||5.6×4.9 inches||6.5×5.2 inches||6.5×5.2 inches|
|Weight||24.5 oz||24.9 oz||28.4 oz||28.8 oz|
|Handheld||Easy to use on the move||Better to use when stationary||Slightly hard to hold (not for long hours use)||A tripod or window mount is recommended for long hours|
Vortex Viper HD 8X42
The Vortex Viper HD 8X42 binoculars are suitable for general purpose birding or sightseeing. This is the lightest of all the Viper HD sizes, so you will feel comfortable holding it in hand and moving around.
It also comes with the least close focus of all the sizes so that you can magnify a closer object with clarity. Plus, it has the widest view of 409 feet at 1000 yards of all sizes.
Therefore, these binoculars are great for sightseeing from a distance. With its 18 mm eye relief, you will find these binoculars favorable if you wear eyeglasses.
Vortex Viper HD 10X42
The Vortex Viper HD 10X42 binoculars are great for hunting, birding, and exploration. You might feel a slight weight increase in your hand, but it’s not going to be that much of a problem.
The close focus is again 6.5 feet which is decent enough and better than the larger sizes, while the linear FoV has dropped significantly from the previous size to 341 feet at 1000 yards. But at 10x, it’s still pretty nice; in fact, better than most with similar optics.
The eye relief of Vortex Viper 10×42 retreats a little bit from the previous size to 17mm. So you will still find it pretty easy to adjust if you wear glasses with Viper HD 10X42.
As a hunter, you can quickly identify an elk at a greater distance with a clear and bright image using the 10X42 style.
Vortex Viper HD 10X50
The Vortex Viper HD 10X50 binoculars are used for hunting and birding or viewing distant objects up close. But holding them for a long time and seeing at full magnification is difficult if you have shaky hands. It’s good if you use a tripod or a monopod for this size.
As Vortex Viper 10X50 is designed for distant objects. Therefore, you will have to compromise on close focus, which is 9.5 feet. The linear FoV gets a slight boost, but it still ain’t that much. However, compared to the other brands with such optics 346 feet at 1000 yards for a 10x pair is not that bad.
The eye relief of these binoculars further depreciates to 16mm. So if you wear eyeglasses, you will feel a slight discomfort using them.
Vortex Viper HD 12X50
The Vortex Viper HD 12X50 binoculars are the most powerful of all the Viper HDs, with the highest magnification of 12x. Paired with 50mm objective lenses, these binoculars are suitable for stargazers, long-range shooting, and spotting the prey at a distance.
With higher magnification, these binoculars come with a short field of view of 288 feet at 1000 yards. The Vortex Viper 12X50 is excellent for focus on objects, and the pair will provide you with some exceptional details.
One of the best parts about buying from Vortex is their unconditional and unlimited lifetime warranty. This warranty applies to all Vortex binoculars.
No matter what the issue is, if there is something wrong with your binoculars or any other products Vortex will replace or repair it with a better one.
They call it the VIP warranty, and it’s a real thing! It’s one of the main reasons why you can pay slightly more for what you are buying and enjoy the benefit that comes with it.
However, this warranty doesn’t cover theft, loss, or intentional damage that is hindering the performance of the product. Well, that sounds fair!
The eyecups of these binoculars are pretty stiff. Vortex Viper eye relief is also not that huge, so you will have some trouble with your glasses on while using these binoculars.
The rest is all fine but make sure when you go for the heavier optics. Also, buy a tripod on a window mount because you will find it tough to focus with shaky hands.
What’s In the Box?
The only thing missing in the package is a tripod or a window mount. At higher magnification, this thing is a must to have in your arsenal, especially with those shaky hands. Everything else is superb.
- Vortex Viper HD 10×42 binoculars (or whatever size you pick)
- A Vortex GlassPak Harness
- Eyepiece cover (rainguard)
- 2 objective lens covers
- A neck strap
- Vortex Limited Lifetime Warranty
The average user rating of the Vortex Optics Viper HD binoculars is 5.0 stars on Optics Planet, a perfect score!
In most of the Vortex Viper reviews, people have mentioned that they loved using it for elk hunting, and it made wildlife scanning and spotting pretty quick.
Edge to edge clarity is there, and one reviewer also mentioned that you could see the bright craters on the moon with it. However, some Viper reviews also mentioned how stiff the eyecups and the focus knobs are, especially during the cold winters.
Just an awesome pair of Binos at this price point! Great VIP Warranty as well with Vortex as i lost the Tripod Mount Cover in the woods on the third time out and they sent me not one but two replacement covers that arrive two days later, no charge. Highly recommend to anyone.
If you think Vortex Viper price is high or you want some other option, then you can explore some same quality level alternatives here.
Nikon Monarch 7
The Nikon Monarch 7 is a true beast that comes with a lesser price, but you will notice a significant enhancement in the overall brightness and clarity of the image quality. These binoculars also come with ED glass fully multi-coated lenses and multi-layered phase-coated dielectric prisms.
Zeiss Conquest HD
If the price is not a concern for you, then we would suggest Zeiss Conquest HD. These binoculars have better eye relief and a better FoV as well. These binoculars are premium quality, and you will feel the difference, especially if you have a look at the colors.
For a slightly lower price, you can also consider the Steiner Predator binoculars. Here the eye relief is not that different, but it’s significantly more compact in size. It means that these binoculars are slightly better to hold on to. You also won’t have to deal with a troubling eyecup adjustment here.
Overall, we think that the Vortex Viper binos are pretty good, especially in their optics. If you want to focus on your target with more clarity, this pair is the best. But you will have to compromise on image brightness.
These binoculars are excellent for hunters, bird watchers, and explorers. The high-powered ones are better suited for long-range shooters and stargazers.
You can purchase Vortex Optics Viper HD either in-store or online directly from the company or its authorized dealers across the country.