Field Tester: Kristina
Brand: Vortex Optics
Model: Diamondback 10X50 Binocular
Objection Lens Diameter: 50mm
Eye Relief: 19mm
Exit Pupil: 5mm
Field of View: 283 feet/1000 yards
Close Focus Distance: 9 feet
Interpupillary Distance: 61-74mm
Height/Width: 6.8/5.6 Inches
Weight: 31 ounces
Price Range: $200-300
Vortex Optics Diamondback 10X50 Bino Field Test
The weekend after the 4th of July was a perfect excuse to get some sun, get out on the water, and go boating. The next thing you know, my buddy hands me a pair of Vortex Diamondback binos and I’m just as thrilled as a kid who was just handed a snow cone on a hot day!
Here’s my hands-on review of the roof prism bino that’s supposed to be top notch in the field. Did it hold up to my expectations? Let’s check it out!
Yes, there’s some dust and dirt in the nicks and crannies of this well-used pair. Did I care? Absolutely not! It just showed how well the Diamondback stands up to abuse and use in various types of conditions.
It was a little heavy, especially compared to the Leupold 10X50 that was also on board. But, I didn’t mind it too much since I balanced my elbows on the cushioning on the side of the boat and got comfortable. The ocular and objective cups were well suctioned and protected the lenses rather nicely. I popped off the caps, put the strap around my neck and got to focusing in the bino.
Ease of Setup
First up, I set the correct interpupillary distance (IPD) for my eyes. The hinge was a little stiff at first, but it’s justified since I didn’t want to accidentally bump it out of position every time I nudged it or put the binos down.
Once that was done, I twisted the eyecups all the way out, and boy, was the 19 mm of eye relief generous. I have very long lashes and they didn’t get in the way once. Granted, I didn’t use my sunglasses with them on, but the day was cloudy and my alignment was comfortable. However…
As you can see, one of the rubber cups went MIA. Where was it? I had no idea at this point. We’d been on the boat all morning and I did have kids with me who were also having a field day with the binoculars on board. Did the missing rubber cup affect the twist function? Not one bit. So, I went to work focusing the image regardless of the MIA cup.
Focusing the Diamondback Bino
It took quite a few revolutions to get it pristine and crisp – more than I expected. But, when I did get it there, I about fell out of the boat. The field of view was excellent. It was so huge. When Vortex says it’s “the largest in its class“, you best believe them. I was impressed! There was a slight blue hue of fringing on the very edge of the field of view. It was so thin that I almost didn’t notice it at all, but I purposely looked for it. As far as chromatic aberration with the rest of the image – zero!
In my opinion, it did take more revolutions than I liked to get the image perfect, but I didn’t have to touch the focus wheel again. I glassed up close, approximately 9 feet, and as far as 500 yards away. The distance changes didn’t affect my focus, clarity, or vision.
My Diamondback Experience
I was able to spot a female crane blue heron and a male one further up the lake. The detail was sharp and extraordinary of the male 3.5 foot bird, and it’s a shame we didn’t get to see its 6 foot wing span in all its glory. These birds look like pterodactyls when they’re in flight.
At the particular lake I was at, the Forest Service would typically chop down dead trees because they’re a hazard. However, they keep a few for habitat structures for waterfowl. One such magnificent, dead tree held a family of six black birds with incredibly strong beaks and necks. I’m no birder, so forgive my ignorance (they may have been cormorants). I have no idea what they were, but their heads were very prehistoric-looking.
We also spotted 2,000 old petroglyphs carved by the Mogollon Tribe. One such glyph was the size of a baseball, very difficult to see in the sun, and the color almost blended into the rock. I was at least 50 yards away, if not more, and the 10X50 binos made all the difference. While everyone else on the boat struggled to spot it, I was happily bragging that I could see it!
I also thought it was quite fitting that I was wielding a Diamondback named after the rattlesnake which do inhabit the area. While I didn’t spot one of these snakes, it would’ve been really cool to capture a pic of the bino next to the snake for the sake of this post. However, it very well could’ve been my last. Good thing I’m not that brave and we didn’t run into one!
Please excuse my 6 year old’s hand in the picture. She’s wielding a Leupold 10X50 – she’s her mother’s daughter alright! Yes, the MIA eyecup is still missing in this pic, however, it’s not affecting my vision or my obsession with glassing at all. But, I was determined to find it, and find it I did. Guess where it was? it was in the ocular rubber eyecups that protect the lenses! When I popped off the protective eyecups, the suction was so strong it sucked off the rubber twist cap too! I pulled it out, capped it back onto the eyepiece and voila – I was civilized again! It was that easy. No special twisting, maneuvering, or molding to get the piece back on.
Final Thoughts on the Diamondback 10X50’s
The Vortex Diamondback 10X50 binos impressed me far beyond my expectations. The 10X50 specs were probably extreme for the area I was glassing, but I didn’t care. I got to see fowl in up-close detail, petroglyphs that no else could spot, and I’m sure I looked smokin’ hot while doing it!
The Diamondback is extremely rugged, and it’s definitely built to last and go the distance in many types of outdoor activities. The pristine image quality of the binos is definitely above par for its price. While this set is waterproof, I don’t think my buddy would’ve appreciated me testing it out. But, at the end of the day, it’s definitely more waterproof than my sunscreen. I look like a lobster.
Would I buy this pair for myself? Hands down yes! In fact, every time my husband wanted to borrow it to spot something, I would get very mad. “I’ve already focused it for my eyes” I would yell! In the end, he’d hand me back my obsession, call me a nerd, and I was happy again. If you’ve learned anything from this hands-on review, it’s to never buy a Vortex. Always buy two – you won’t have to share!