Mid-priced Binoculars Review
Vanguard Endeavor ED
by Michael and Diane Porter
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Vanguard Endeavor ED 8x42
Overall Score: 5.0 (0ut of possible 5.0)
The Vanguard Endeavor got the top overall score, even though it’s priced at a modest $350. Its 5.0 resolution score tied for top place. When we did comparative resolution testing, it equaled the resolution of a $600 binocular!
A remarkable best buy
PLUS a $50 rebate!
It’s an open-bridge design with outstanding optics and ergonomics. It’s slimmer and shorter than the other open-bridge binoculars in our study. Its armoring is a soft, textured, very grippy surface, as hand friendly as it gets. The strap lugs, which are also armored, gently curve out to protect the hands.
The focus knob has no slack and provides just the right amount of resistance. The focus knob’s surface is soft, rubbery, and deeply grooved. A three-quarter turn takes you through the entire focus range.
The diopter adjustment mechanism is neatly made and has a lock.
A concave area on the bridge provides a natural resting place for your middle finger, positioning your index finger in line with the focus knob. This small ergonomic detail means you tend to grip the binoculars the same way each time. A consistent grip assists the kinesthetic intelligence you use when instinctively pointing binoculars at a bird.
Their own factory
Vanguard has been around for over 25 years, but in the last few years they've gone into optics in a big way. Because Vanguard owns its own manufacturing facilities in China and has its own in-house optical engineers, the company has complete control over the design and product quality and can hold down costs.
Vanguard ED - Other Sizes
We were looking at the 8x42 model for the review, but there are four Endeavor EDs. Here is a brief guide to the other three.
8.5x45 If you want a smidge more magnification, you might consider this 8.5-power model. Because of the slightly wider 45mm objective lens, you sacrifice nothing in brightness. It's a fraction of an inch longer than the 8x42, and it weighs only an ounce and a half more. It has the same 19mm eye relief as the other Endeavor EDs and also works great with glasses. Highly recommended.
10x42 A very nice 10-power model. It's the same size, weight, and price as the 8x42. What's unusual about this Endeavor is that it has 19mm of eye relief, which means it works even for a person who is wearing glasses. Most mid-priced 10x42 binoculars don't have long enough eye relief for glasses. Highly recommended.
10.5x45 For the person who is looking for maximum hand-holdable magnification and who has very steady hands (or who plans to stabilize the binocular on a tripod). It is the same size, weight, and price as the 8.5x45, with the same 45mm objective lenses. Eye relief of 16.5mm will work for most glasses wearers.
Pro: Exceptionally fast focus; 19mm eye relief; wonderful ergonomics, with slender, easy-to-hold barrels; great value for the money.
Con: Minimum focus distance is 8.2 feet
NEXT: Vortex Viper ED