VANGUARD Spirit ED 1042 Binocular Product Review

   05.27.11

OUT OF THE BOX OVERVIEW
I am a Pacific Northwest backcountry bowhunter that spends every chance I get in the outdoors, rain or shine.  I am also a mechanical engineer/product designer so I have an eye for detail or as my wife would say, I am “extremely picky”.  Lastly, I  have three kids whom are expensive so price is always a key factor in my purchases.  Therefore in my reviews I like to concentrate on the quality, reliability, design, and value of the product.

Recently, I was asked to provide my honest, unbiased review of the Vanguard Spirit ED 1042 binoculars.  Vanguard is a fairly new brand name to me but upon researching the company I learned they have been in business over 20 years with amazing corporate growth over that time, manufacturing high-quality products that are competitively priced.

The Spirit line of binoculars are a perfect representation of a balance between quality and price that Vanguard does so well.  After receiving my binoculars I took note that the box and packaging were well suited to a high quality pair of binoculars.  No need to break out the bubble pack cutters here, thank goodness.

VANGUARD SPIRIT ED 1042 PACKAGING AND CASE

Upon opening the box I revealed the goods in a nice soft case.  The case only utilizes one zipper which is fine, but a double zipper would have been a nice added touch.  That said, I typically don’t use the OEM cases anyway.  I opt for quiet aftermarket, waterproof, camouflage cases that integrate into a shoulder strap harness allowing me to shoot my bow while wearing the binoculars.

The neck strap is a really nice neoprene strap which converts into two configurations which is a nice touch.  I give the neck strap top marks for the quality and innovative thinking but I personally still like aftermarket shoulder strap harness designs that take the weight off my neck.  Vanguard included an instruction booklet that is written in a baker’s dozen of languages.  Included is an overview, description, and directions for the neck strap but lacks any information on the eye cup covers, or how to attach the covers to the strap.  The lens covers are one piece with an integrated attachment for the strap.  The objective lens cover design cannot be permanently attached to the strap while around your neck.  I did have one instance where a branch caught them popping the cover off dropping it to the forest floor.  I would have preferred to see rubber objective lens covers permanently attached to the binoculars and dropping out of the way easily when in use.  The front eyepiece covers are fine and can be attached to your neck strap if you desire.  Last but not least, Vanguard provides a Limited Lifetime Warranty against manufacturer defects.

VANGUARD SPIRIT ED 1042 BINOCULAR

The Vanguard Spirit model I received are 10×42, standard bridge design (not an open bridge design) binoculars using BaK4 Roof Prism with fully Multi-Coated and Phase coated lenses.  Field of view at 1000m/1000yards is 105m and 314 ft. respectively.  They have a view angle of 6.0 degrees, eye relief of 16mm and near focus of 2.8m/9.2 feet.  They weigh in at 640g/22.6 oz. and are about (L x W) 145mm x 125mm.  The Vanguard Spirit also comes in 8 x 36 and 8 x 42 models that I did not review.

LARGE QUICK FOCUSING KNOB WITH OVER-MOLDED RUBBER

The focus wheel is really nicely done.  It incorporates over-molded rubber which provides a non-slip surface rain or shine, and it is over an inch in diameter giving you a nice big focus wheel whether you are bare handed or in arctic gloves.  The focus ratio is fast making fine adjustment delicate but easily done.

The eye cups adjust for those who wear eyeglasses and incorporate a “micro-valley” in the thread to create a subtle but effective locking mechanism while in the fully out position.  This is nice because it eliminates the creep that many binocular eye cups have in the fully-out position.  The diopter adjustment ring is rubber coated right along with everything else providing protection and a non-slip surface.  The rubber on the eye cups is nice and pretty standard for high-end binoculars. The hinge works smoothly while providing the right amount of friction.  The tripod mount works great (with another company’s adapter I had kicking around the house) providing you a steady rest for glassing Mulies up in the rim rock.

On both my recent spring backcountry trips with these binoculars around my neck it rained hard giving the waterproofing a test, and they passed with flying colors.  The over-molded rubber on the majority of the surfaces provide a superb surface to grip in the cold mornings and the rainy days proving to be my favorite feature of the binoculars.  The ED fully coated optics are great and really are the icing on the cake for me.  Vanguard’s BaK4 prisms that are treated with their P2 phase coating really provide great optical clarity in low light and bright light thanks to their V-Max Silver coating, which reflects light providing brighter more crisp images with sharp contrast.  Vanguard doesn’t stop there though, they put on an AR coating which aides in light transmission, and an emerald coating on the objective lenses, all resulting in sharp images day or night, rain or shine.  For the money these are one of the sharpest optics I have used to date without a doubt.

VANGUARD SPIRIT ED 1042 FROZEN SOLID IN ICE

 

VANGUARD SPIRIT ED 1042 FROZEN IN ICE AND IN A CONSTANT TWO-DAY PACIFIC N.W. DOWNPOUR
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