Vortex Binoculars Review: 5 of Their Best Binoculars

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From compact travelers to full-size beasts that push the limits of optical performance, Vortex has a binocular (or two) that will compliment and complete your optics obsession.

Vortex Binoculars

Birding, safaris, hunting, sightseeing, and surveilling like you're a special ops agent requires the expertise of a brand that knows optics and the demands of its users.  And, part of fulfilling the demands of its buyers is providing price points that offer the best value in every buy.

With a range of binoculars to choose from, there's more than a few in our Vortex reviews that will catch your attention and keep you within budget at the same time - it's a Vortex guarantee.

Best Vortex Binoculars

tt-table__imageVanquish 10x26
  • Prism Type: Porro
  • Eye Relief / Exit Pupil: 16mm / 2.6mm
  • Price Range: Under $100
tt-table__imageCrossfire HD 12x50
  • Prism Type: Roof
  • Eye Relief / Exit Pupil: 5mm / 4.2mm
  • Price Range: Under $200
tt-table__imageDiamondback HD 15x56
  • Prism Type: Roof
  • Eye Relief / Exit Pupil: 15.6mm / 3.7mm
  • Price Range: Under $400
tt-table__imageKaibab HD 18x56
  • Prism Type: Roof
  • Eye Relief / Exit Pupil: 16.4mm / 3.1mm
  • Price Range: Under $1000
tt-table__imageRazor HD 10x42
  • Prism Type: Roof
  • Eye Relief / Exit Pupil: 16.5mm / 4.2mm
  • Price Range: Under $1000

Vortex Binocular Reviews

1. Vanquish 10X26 Review

Vortex Optics Vanquish Reverse Porro Prism Binoculars 10x26
  • 10x magnification and 26mm objective lenses, the Vanquish is one of Vortex Optics' smallest, lightest and most compact binoculars.

It's a compact and high-performing binocular that's as legit as any other Vortex binocular available.  Don't underestimate its quality by its small appearance and low price.


  • Price
  • FMC optics
  • Weatherproof
  • Porro prism
  • Adjustable eyecups


  • Possible vignetting

Many binoculars under $100 end up being no better than a kid's pair from a toy store.  However, nothing about the Vanquish is toy-store quality.  It has FMC (fully multi-coated) optics which is above standard quality for the price range.

However, between the glass and small exit pupil, there may be some vignetting when glassing.  For recreational use in all outdoor activities, it didn't pose any problems for those after an easy-to-use, lightweight, and affordable binocular.

It's completely fog and waterproof, and it's fully rubber-armored making this tiny binocular ready for extreme outdoor use.  Its adjustable eyecups can be twisted up and down to provide 16 mm of eye relief on the long end.

The reverse Porro prism design may not fit every person's aesthetic preferences.  It does serve its purpose as it has an inherent advantage as a bino system that provides a rich depth of field and wide field of view.  So, don't be disparaging.  Compact, low price, and legit glass is the new aesthetic preference.

2. Crossfire HD 12x50 Review

Vortex Crossfire HD 10x50 binoculars
Vortex Crossfire HD 10x50 - Image by Tina Fa'apoi (Own Work) for Target Tamers

The Crossfire HD 12x50 is a full-size binocular intended for full-size benefits for high-power, and long-range applications. Though often compared to the Diamondbacks, it remains fact that the Crossfire binoculars will always be the economical choice for budgets under $200.


  • Price
  • HD optics
  • Thumb indented armor
  • Fog/waterproof
  • Accessories included


  • Short depth of field

Though few in complaints, the primary concern is with the focusing. It has a diopter adjustment to help sharpen the image for your vision and then a center focus wheel for focusing targets at various distances. It’s a single focus knob with possible, minimal play, and it likely has short depth of field. This is when surrounding targets in the FOV, regardless of distance, will appear unfocused except for at the very center - the specific target you are focused for.

This is not unexpected performance for binoculars of this price line. What makes the Crossfires higher quality binos versus alternatives is the use of select glass elements (ED) for improved image quality, FMC coatings, twist-up eyecups, fully fog and waterproof body, and of course, the VIP warranty.

The Crossfire HD 12x50 binoculars are full-size and are no bigger than the Diamondback HD 12x50s. They’re 6.6 x 5.3” in size and weigh 29.5oz. The entire body is rubber armored complete with ergonomic thumb indents and it’s also tripod mountable.

Also included with the Crossfire are numerous accessories that includes the GlassPak binocular case and GlassPak harness. The Crossfire HD binoculars have a lot of value and performance guaranteed to satisfy the needs for many applications while sticking to a budget.

3. Diamondback HD 15x56 Review

Diamondback HD 15x56

The Diamondback HD binoculars is a best-loved binocular series for performance and value. The 15x56 binocular is the largest of them all and provides an opportunity for big country hunters to afford full-size glasses on a budget.


  • Price
  • ED glass
  • Special coatings
  • Magnesium chassis
  • Lightweight


  • Optical challenges

There are some challenges with chromatic aberration and depth of field focusing. While these issues may not be as noticeable on low powered binos, they are seen at 15x. Even so, offering a large configuration with an HD Optical System and phase-correction, dielectric coatings are more than what is seen on cheaper alternatives. The Diamondback HD 15x56 is representative of its line.

An impressive feature is its weight of 34.8 oz which is approx. 10 oz lighter than higher-end alternatives of the same configuration with a magnesium chassis. Even having a magnesium chassis and argon gas over nitrogen gas for fogproof benefits at this price point are noteworthy traits.

Many will judge the 15s for its image instability, but as full-size binoculars, they’re intended for best use when tripod mounted. Making the transition smooth for mounting, Vortex includes a tripod adapter in the box.

It’s not the friendliest binocular for those who wear glasses with its 15.6mm of eye relief, but the diopter adjustment should help to compensate for that. It has a close focus distance of 14 feet, 230 ft FOV, and even with a 3.7mm exit pupil, it will perform adequately in lowlight conditions.

For hunters who demand big configurations at affordable price points, the Diamondback HD looks just right.

4. Kaibab HD 18x56 Review

Vortex Kaibab 18x56

In general, 18x56 configurations are the giants that sit at the top for extreme long-range performance for mountain and big country hunts. Vortex supplies these kinds of hunters with the Kaibab HD 18x56 binoculars. Not only is it big and powered by excellent optics, it’s also reasonably priced too.


  • Price
  • 18x magnification
  • Excellent optics
  • Lightweight
  • QD tripod adapter included


  • Not great for handheld use

Though 15x and 18x binoculars with big 56mm lenses are the configuration of choice for long-range performance out West for deer, ram, and elk hunting, it’s also effective in various applications such as border patrol and shoreline/sea observation.

Compared to alternative 18x binoculars, it’s fairly lightweight at 43.5 oz also considering that some 15x binoculars come in at the same weight as the Kaibab. Part of that additional weight is due to the 18x magnification (thicker lenses) and the lens assembly itself. The Kaibab HD has APO optics where a triplet lens system works with ED glass to bring three wavelengths of light to the same focal point and correct for two for spherical aberrations.

Complete the lens system with XR Plus FMC, dielectric, and phase-correction coatings, and the optical quality demanded to discern trophy animals at maximum distances is provided. 18x binoculars are already expensive as they are and making them efficient for productive use requires mid-range to high-end quality. The Kaibab bino has it for under $1000.

With a 7.7 x 5.7” size and over 2.5 lb (approx.) weight, it must be tripod-mounted to maximize its usefulness and performance. Conveniently, it comes with a Uni-Daptor quick-release tripod adapter for expedient mounting.

Other specs include its 16.4 mm eye relief, 194 ft FOV, and 60-76 mm IPD range. Having been made ‘Vortex tough’ with ArmorTek coatings, full-coverage rubber armor, and an O-ring sealed and argon-purged body, the Kaibab 18x binocular is ready for the extremes – long-range and open country hunting kind of extremes.

5. Razor HD 10X42 Review

Vortex Optics Razor HD Roof Prism Binoculars 10x42
  • 10x magnification and 42mm objectives lenses, the Razor HD features hand selected prisms and premium high density glass, delivering unparalled resolution and color,...

The Razor HD is the top-of-the-line breed of optics from Vortex.  Even so, it's difficult to imagine spending a grand on a binocular, but believe it or not, dedicated sportsmen do.  The market is there for it, and here's what a $1000 binocular looks like.


  • High-quality HD optics
  • Open hinge design
  • Magnesium chassis
  • Lightweight
  • Wide IPD range


  • No locking eyecups

Applying extreme scrutiny to a near-perfect optic sometimes means being petty, and we did that when we dinged the Razor binocular for not having locking eyecups at this price point.  But, it lacks nothing else when it comes to being defined as a premium binocular.

Lumping all the optical features it has under an umbrella term of "high-quality HD optics" is an unfair representation.  This binocular has everything from APO lenses, HD glass elements, phase correction, plasma tech, and dielectric coatings - top-notch in what any optics manufacturer can offer.

An open hinge design makes it easy to grip and use while shedding weight to keep it down to 24.8 oz.  The low weight design is also thanks to the tough but light magnesium chassis.  The very wide 55-75 mm IPD range will be sure to attract users with varying measurement requirements to get the perfect image without compromising comfort.

We can rave about the Razor HD all day long, but the proof is in the pudding - get out there and try it yourself!

Other Vortex Binocular Reviews:

More Vortex Optics Reviews:

Source of Images: VortexOptics.com

Photo of author

Simon Cuthbert - Founder

Simon is an avid outdoor enthusiast and the founder of Target Tamers. He is passionate about bringing you the most up to date, accurate & understandable information on sports optics of all kinds and for all applications. Simon has contributed to notable publications online and teaches beginners the technical side of optics through his extensive library of optics guides.

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