Please note that this review was written by our friends at Best Binocular Reviews and was submitted for publication to us exclusively.
The Vanguard 10×42 Spirit ED Binoculars are a high quality pair of bird watching binoculars, that are both tough and lightweight.
Almost all of the outer shell of the Spirit ED binocular is covered with a textured rubber coating. As well providing better grip, it will protects the binocular from most light blows.
The objective lenses on these Vanguards are located quite deeply within the ends of the barrels. This is just a small thing, but it can protect them from things like moisture and even glare when in use and is something that is often overlooked.
Located under the body is a well positioned thumb indent on each of the barrels that just ever so gently persuades you to hold the device correctly so as to keep them nicely balanced.
Breakdown of the Vanguard 10×42 Spirit ED Binoculars
Weight & Dimensions
This Vanguard weighs just 640g (22.6oz) making it one of the lightest quality full sized binoculars on the market.
Their dimensions of 145x125mm (L x W) are fairly standard.
Water & Fogproof
All Vanguard Spirit ED Binoculars are fully waterproof and have had the air inside them replaced with nitrogen gas, which helps to prevent them from fogging up on the inside.
The Eye Cups
The Spirit ED’s comes with the twist up design of eyecup which worked well on the pair that I tested.
There is a maximum 16mm of eye relief which should please those of you who wear eyeglasses, however they do only have one fixed stop in-between the extremes which gives you less options for fine tuning. Those of you who don’t use glasses will just use the binoculars with the eye-cups fully twisted out as in the image on the right
The focusing wheel on the Spirit ED has a grooved rubber track on it for grip and a nice looking silver trim on the edges.
What I really liked was that it takes less than a full turn of the focussing wheel to go from near focus to infinity, which means focusing from one extreme to the other is nice and quick. However the trade off to this is that it does make fine tuning your focus just that bit more tricky.
The diopter adjustment that enables you to focus each barrel separately to allow for any differences in each of eyes your vision is located on the right barrel and was smooth and easy to adjust and just tight enough to make sure that it does not move accidentally.
Compared to many other binoculars in this price range, the Vanguard Spirit ED uses many far superior coatings and optical components and is definitely one of the highlights of this device.
Vanguard have used ED glass elements in their lenses which gives them more control over the light wavelengths, which in turn lets them better control chromatic imperfections.
Vanguard’s own emerald coating has also been applied to the objective lenses that they say is aimed at the nature observer as it is said to ensure the “most vivid and natural shades of green.”
All lens surfaces have also received more than one coat of a special anti reflection compound which really helps to increase the amount light that is transmitted to your eyes that really helps when the ambient lighting is bad.
The roof prisms are made from good quality BaK-4 glass which have also had correction coatings to them which help keep the light in the correct color phases and therefore produce a higher resolution image with better contrast and color reproduction.
Field of View & Close Focussing
For many people, the 10x42mm combination is a good option for wildlife binoculars – Whilst they may not have as wide a field of view as most 8x42s, it should still be wide enough not to hinder you too much and you get just that bit more image detail with the slightly higher magnification. The 42mm objective lenses give you plenty of light gathering potential, without making the device too big and heavy.
At 315ft @ 1000 yards (6°), the field of view of these does fall a little short of the very best 10x42s out there, but it is not so bad as to make them not worth considering.
The 10×42 Spirit ED Close has a minimum close focusing distance is 2.8 meters (9.2ft), which once again is a little short of the best as I consider anything under 6ft as being excellent.
For a little more on their stats and just how they compare with other similar 10×42 binoculars take a look at the Vanguard Spirit ED 10×42 Binocular Review on the Best Binocular Reviews site.
As with all my reviews, I compared the view through these Vanguards with my benchmark binoculars.
I could easily notice the improvement in image brightness at sunset and in very poor light conditions and so rate very highly compared to other 10×42 binoculars in this price range.
I also thought that the image was very sharp with good contrast and even with Vanguards emerald coatings, the colors look and feel natural.
Vanguard say that their Emerald Coating helps to provide the full spectrum of color within the band of green tones for more vivid and natural shades of green. But to be honest, I could not notice any differences in the greens when looking at things like trees compared to my benchmark binoculars.
Focusing on the edges of light colored objects in front of dark backgrounds, I could not notice any color fringing around the edges and so the ED glass is obviously doing it’s job and minimizing the amount of chromatic aberration.
To Sum Up
Compared to other binoculars in their price range, I would say that in terms of image quality these are right up there with the best and as good some far more expensive.
You can easily understand why when you consider all the top spec optical elements and coatings that Vanguard have used.
The field of view is a little disappointing and as such may not be the right choice is you really need to scan over large areas, if so you may wish to consider the 8×42 version instead.
The great quality, tough and lightweight body is another highlight as is the quality of the accessories like the excellent neck strap and carry case.
Overall at their low price point they are easily for me one of the best value for money binoculars out there at the moment.
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About the Author
Just like Perry at AllBestBinoculars, I love the outdoors and really enjoy taking wildlife and in particular bird photographs .
My interest in optics came about whilst I was working as a safari guide in South Africa where a good pair of binocular were an essential tool for the job.
The idea for my Best Binocular Reviews website arose because I found it difficult to find honest and objective opinions when searching on the web for binoculars. Needless to say all my reviews are entirely my opinion of the binocular and I am not influenced in any way by any manufacturers or suppliers.