VANGUARD’s* Endeavor ED series binoculars hold the top spot amongst eight other binocular lines as their premium offering. Right out the box, the perceived value and quality of the Endeavor ED 1042 aligns with the on-line sale price of $349.99.
Packed with features you’d expect from more expensive brands, Vanguard has done a fantastic job in delivering a premium ED glass, BaK4 roof prism binocular at an affordable price for any budget.
I inspected the entire contents, which included the 10×42 Endeavor ED binocular, neck strap, zippered case, soft elastomer lens covers, manual, and lens cloth.
Neck Strap & Carrying Case
I reviewed the instructions for assembling the strap and found this to be pretty easy if you’ve done it previously with other binoculars. For the first time user, this may prove a bit confusing because routing nylon webbing through plastic buckles always seems to be a tricky puzzle for some. Additionally, if you want to keep your eye cup covers attached to the strap, then you will need to route the webbing through it as well. The objective lens covers are a one-piece design but are a stand-alone item, which renders them useless in the field. Once securely attached, the soft neoprene neck strap provides a comfortable ride for the 1.61 pound (730g) Endeavor ED Optics.
Next, I converted the neck strap by attaching the buckles to the zippered ballistic nylon carrying case. The case itself is padded and well-made. It also has a sturdy belt loop on the back that would work well for attaching to a pack waist belt. The particular buckles used for the strap and case allow for mis-alignment which I noticed right away. In my experience, there are higher quality buckles available that provide robust pre-alignment, making the operation smooth and quiet every time which can be an important quality in the field.
The single perimeter zipper design of the soft case is great for general use but when worn with the neck strap, I found it to be cumbersome. Two zippers would allow you to zip up both sides leaving the top open for a more secure yet accessible configuration. I also found the need for a waist strap to keep the binoculars against my body when hiking, climbing over logs, etc. I didn’t shoot my bow while wearing the case. It could be done but without a waist strap to keep it snug, it would certainly be a distraction.
10×42 Endeavor ED Binocular
Overall, I am impressed with this binocular. At 730 grams I first thought they were a bit heavy for the 10×42 category but my research proved that they are very competitive. They have a great ergonomic feel in the hand with the open frame design, soft rubber outer skin, and a generous rubberized focus wheel for easy one-hand control. The crisp focus, light-gathering clarity, improved contrast, and vivid color saturation delivered by ED glass are a joy to the eye.
Eye strain occurs when your eyes subconsciously work harder to adjust for poor optical clarity, stemming from a number of conditions. It can cause eye aches, headaches and blurred vision. Those of you who’ve spent hours behind sub-par optics know the pain all too well. I have yet to experience any eye strain issues with the Endeavor ED 1040 binoculars but in all fairness, I haven’t put them to the full test yet. I expect to spend a lot of time glassing this fall in the vast open canyons of eastern Oregon.
The adjustable eye cups index to three positions for a customized fit against glasses or bare eyes. I really like the locking diopter ring that stays put once your right eye focus is set. In simple terms, the diopter adjustment allows you to compensate for differences between your two eyes. You simply lift the ring, set your fine tune adjustment, and then lock it down. All further focusing takes place with the large center focus wheel. No more messing with this important setting after rough use in the field. I was a bit bothered with the slight side to side play in the focus wheel when dialing in on an object. It’s a minor detail that I’d like to see improved upon because it is one of the most critical user-experience features on any set of binoculars. The cap at the front of the frame hinge is removable to access the threaded insert for quick and easy tripod mounting. This hidden feature is priceless when you need to put in hours behind the glass locating bedded mule deer or other big game.
As a well-traveled bowhunter I am pretty hard on gear, so I was eager to put the Vanguard Endeavor ED 1042s through a bit of real-world stress testing. To start, I physically tried to break the frame by exerting extreme pressure over a log in the open position. I did this a few times to see if anything would give but I’m pleased to say they held their own. Then I dropped them on the ground a few times from a distance of five feet to see if the finely-tuned internal prisms and lenses would remain in position. And they did. Next, I completely submerged the binoculars in a sink full of cold water for 15 minutes to see if they were indeed waterproof, followed by the refrigerator for 15 minutes to check out the fog-proof claim. On both counts they deliver to Vanguard’s advertised claims, and while my tests were obviously non-scientific, they do represent some extreme yet somewhat typical field use conditions.
*Since founding in 1986, VANGUARD has grown from a single manufacturing facility in Asia to a global corporation. With headquarters in Guangdong, China, VANGUARD has successful distribution, sales and administrative branches in Whitmore Lake, Michigan USA, Luxembourg, Europe and Tokyo, Japan.