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Vivitar’s outdoor binoculars have long been overshadowed by the company’s work in the field of photographic lenses, and that’s not exactly fair. Because even though their other optical products are top notch, the binoculars they manufacture are certainly worth your time to investigate.
By the virtue of two visionaries in the optics world, the company opened its doors in 1938. John Best and Max Ponder began by importing various products from Germany, but after the Second World War, they changed their import focus to products coming from Japan. They were instrumental, in fact, in introducing the western world to such companies as Mamiya and Sankyo.
Eventually, their product line expanded to include binoculars in addition to photographic equipment, and the rest is history.
Vivitar Binoculars: Ratings of What’s Available
Vivitar has over 30 different models of binocs available that are suited to a wide range of activities. Their products can be found in seven separate lines (eight, if you include the spotting scope series), including:
Vivitar Sports Series
For both the outdoorsmen and arena audience alike, the Sports series is made for durability, high powered optics, and utter versatility. If you like to get close to the action, these are the binocs for you.
Vivitar Classic Line
This is Vivitar’s most versatile binocular series. Within this series, you’ll find both compact and full-size models that span a wide range of magnifications objective lens diameters.
Vivitar Aqua Collection
The four devices you’ll find in the Aqua series are all made to be water-bound. Sealed and purged, you can take these binocs on the water without ever having to worry about them getting damaged from dampness.
Vivitar Digital Binoculars
Digital camera binoculars have a ways to go in terms of technology, but these are some of the better ones you’ll find. Vivitar camera binoculars use today’s best features to try to make their wares rise above the competition.
Vivitar HD Zoom Series
Get even closer to the action with these four zoom products. Three binoculars and one monocular device with high definition views make up the collection, allowing you to vary your magnification in the field.
Vivitar Tracker and Travel Collection
Style, functionality, mobility, and power: these are the four cornerstones of the Tracker and Travel series. With everything from high tech opera glasses to big game field specs, this is a lineup for everyone.
Vivitar Binoculars Review: Sports Series
The Classic series may have the most options, in terms of magnification range and scope of objective lenses available, but it’s the Sports series that offers some of the best devices in terms of versatility, durability, and clarity of vision.
A few of the Sports series offerings include:
- Vivitar Binoculars 7×35
- Vivitar Binoculars 7×50
- Vivitar Binoculars 8×40
- Vivitar Binoculars 10×50
Depending on the type of activity you want a pair of field glasses for, the Sports series contains models made just for you. The compact 7×35 is great for on-the-go observation, the 8×40 for sports viewing and hunting, and the 10×50 are great for viewing the stars in the night sky or taking in the sights in low light levels.
The range of magnification (the first number in the #x# equation, relating to how many times an image is enlarged by the device) is fairly small, but for your basic sightseeing, they’ll work just perfectly.
Where the Sports series really excels in versatility is the in the different options for objective lens diameters (the second number in the #x# equation, relating to the size of the lens in millimeters). The bigger the lens, the more light that transmits, and the brighter your sights will be. Of course smaller lenses are better for mobility, as these are what give the most weight to a pair of binocs.
These are rugged binoculars that will stand the test of time as long as you don’t treat them too poorly.
The biggest downside to these super affordable specs is the lack of weatherproofing. If you get caught in rain or high winds, you’ll want to duck and run for cover to keep them from getting damaged.
But this disadvantage aside, you can’t do much better as far as value goes. These are super cheap binoculars that are made with care and precision. If you are a serious birder, hunter, or nature observer, you may want to go with a more advanced manufacturer. But if you just want a pair of binocs for occasional sightseeing, take the time to focus on the Vivitar Sports series.
Vivitar Binoculars: The Details
Let’s broaden our scope a bit and take a look at Vivitar binoculars as a whole. You’ll see that the metaphorical forest is just as impressive as the best of its individual trees.
The range of magnification in Vivitar binoculars is vast. You’ll find 4x models in the Classic series (Vivitar 4×30 binocs) or a bigger 20×80 pair in the HD Zoom line. Between those magnifications, you can find other options, including: 5x, 6x, 7x, 8x, 10x, 12x, and 18x. There are also zoom varieties available.
Field of View
What you see through your binoculars is known as the Field of View (FOV). It’s measured in feet and refers to the width of your view when standing 1,000 yards away from your target. Vivitar has a wide range of models that span a great FOV, from 60 feet (with the ultra compact 4×30 Classic binocs) to 396 feet (as found in the 7×18 pair of Tracker and Travel models).
The products made by Vivitar may not be up to the quality standards of the big name manufacturers like Swarovski, Zeiss, and Steiner, but their variety of offerings sure is. You can find Vivitar binoculars as compact as 18mm (as with the 7×18 models found in the Tracker and Travel collection), as big 80mm (like the 20×80 HD Zoom pair), and everything in between.
Vivitar Binoculars Review: Consumer Information
Before you make your final decision regarding the purchase of a pair of Vivitar binoculars, you should take the time to get to know a few things about the company: namely, how much they charge and what they offer in terms of care and protection.
One of the best things about Vivitar binoculars is the value you receive. The binocs are pretty great products and you can get them for almost nothing. The cheapest pair is less than five dollars, for goodness’ sake! A majority of the models will fall in the $10-$20 range and the most money you will spend is still under $100 for a pair of digital camera binocs.
The warranty offered by Vivitar leaves much to be desired. This is a one year, limited deal that doesn’t cover accidents. Basically, it will cover anything that happened in the factory before you made your purchase, but if you drop them and break them on your own, it isn’t going to help you. For a company that has many great products, but still flies low under the consumer radar, this seems like a poor decision. They should expand their warranty coverage to broaden their customer base. Fortunately, for you, they aren’t too expensive to replace.
Vivitar Optics & Binoculars: Customer Reviews
It’s always important to do your homework before deciding on which pair of binoculars to buy. And part of that homework involves reading up on what actual consumers have had to say about a product’s usability.
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