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Vanguard Endeavor ED Binocular (8x42)
Price:$249.99+Free shipping with Amazon Prime
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106 of 108 people found the following review helpful
on April 23, 2014
I have carefully compared these Vanguard Endeavor ED binoculars (one pair each of 8x42 and 10x42) to a pair of Bushnell Legend Ultra 10x42 binoculars, all of which I purchased from Amazon. Aside from the difference in magnification, the two Vanguards are identical in appearance and function. Subsequent references to "Vanguards" include both magnifications. The Bushnells are similar to the Vanguards in design and features. The differences noted below are slight.

In both brands, overall image sharpness, image-edge sharpness, and brightness are excellent. These are the most important features in any binoculars. I studied a frost-laced spider web at 100 feet, and the clarity was amazing in both binoculars. Advantage - Draw.

Mechanical operation (main focus, interpupillary distance) -- The interpupillary distance adjustment (width), and the main focus are somewhat stiffer in the Bushnells. The main focus in the Bushnells is also a bit awkward to adjust because it has some slack that must be taken up when changing the direction of rotation of the focus wheel. By contrast, the Vanguards have no slack in the focus wheel, with immediate reaction of the focus when the wheel is turned. One reviewer noticed a faint clicking in the Bushnells when operating the main focus wheel. This is not a mechanical flaw in the adjustment mechanism, but merely a "creaking" of the rubber covering of the wheel against the plastic substrate of the wheel. Advantage - Vanguard.

Diopter adjustment (right eye focus) -- The diopter ring on the Vanguards is much easier to operate than that on the Bushnells. The locking mechanism to prevent the diopter setting from being inadvertently changed is easily engaged or disengaged on the Vanguards, but difficult on the Bushnells. Due to some (very few) reviewers complaining of broken diopter rings on the Bushnells, I am very careful when adjusting the diopter. When focusing the Bushnell diopter I use thumb and forefinger; when locking or unlocking the ring, I use two fingers and a thumb. On the Vanguards I can easily do both tasks with thumb and forefinger. The Bushnell diopter ring is sufficiently stiff that once adjusted it is unlikely to be accidentally re-adjusted, so I simply don't lock the ring after setting the diopter. Update: Although the Bushnell diopter adjustment is becoming less stiff with use, it is still stiffer than the Vanguards. The problem with this stiffness, beyond the possibility of breaking the diopter ring, is that you are essentially holding the binoculars with one hand while your right hand is operating the diopter adjustment, and the significant torque required makes it difficult to hold the binoculars still enough to focus the right eye. Advantage - Vanguard.

The twist-up eyecups on the Vanguards adjust incrementally with detents, and rise higher than those on the Bushnells. Those on the Bushnells have a more limited range, no detents, and the right eyecup rose noticeably higher than the left, so attention has to be paid to their respective levels. Advantage - Vanguard.

Color accuracy -- Looking at a white snow bank in the flat light of a foggy day, the Vanguards had a slightly "warm" look, as compared to the stark white of the Bushnells. I stress that this difference was very slight, and noticeable at all only because I had both pairs of binoculars in hand at the same time. Advantage - Bushnell.

Chromatic Aberration (CA) -- the various colors of the visible light spectrum are transmitted differently through a medium such as glass, water or air. In binoculars this can lead to a fringe of color around the edges of an object silhouetted against the background, typically a dark foreground object against a light background. Both the Vanguards and the Bushnells use ED glass, which stands for Extra-low Dispersion. ED glass reduces or eliminates CA by more narrowly focusing the different wave lengths of light onto the same point so that no color fringes appear. Because a small number of Amazon reviewers said they experienced chromatic aberration with one or the other of these binoculars, I tried to force my Vanguards and Bushnells to display CA by viewing dark tree branches and dark standing rocks silhouetted against the blue sky, sunlit white clouds, or snow. I did this with the foregrounds back-lighted, and then front-lighted, and in no case could I get either pair of binoculars to show chromatic aberration. As a check, I got out some of my cheap binoculars, and had no difficulty forcing them to display CA, especially toward the edges of the image. Update: today (29 May 2014) I was able to notice chromatic aberration in both the Vanguards and the Bushnells. Viewing a distant green, grassy hilltop, obliquely backlit and silhouetted against the blue sky, I could see a narrow color fringe on the hilltop only at the extreme upper limb of the field of view. In the Vanguards the color was purple, in the Bushnells it was orange. This is no hindrance to viewing, as it is in a non-critical portion of the field of view, occurs only under rare circumstances, and is barely noticeable even if you look for it. Advantage - Draw.

The carrying cases both have zippered closures. The Bushnell case is a very nice semi-rigid clamshell design. Velcro tabs are provided to prevent the clamshell from falling completely open when the binoculars are taken out. The Vanguard case is a padded soft case with ballistic nylon outer cover, and about half as bulky as the Bushnell case. Unless bulkiness is a problem, the Bushnell case is better. Advantage - Bushnell.

The Bushnells come with a binocular harness, which stores in the binocular case. Advantage - Bushnell.

Both brands have nicely padded carrying straps that can be easily switched between the carry case and the binoculars. Advantage - Draw.

Weight -- The Vanguards weigh 25.8 ounces, a little over 3 ounces more than the Bushnells. Advantage - Draw.

Handling comfort -- I find the Vanguards to be slightly more comfortable, due to the "open bridge" two-hinge design where my index fingers are on the upper hinge and focus wheel, the middle and ring fingers curve over the binoculars between the hinges, and the little fingers rest on the lower hinge. The Bushnells have a single larger hinge, and the fingers are on the hinge, except for the little fingers, which rest below the hinge. Another reason that the Vanguards are more comfortable to hold is that they feature slightly flattened areas on the backs of each of the cylinders that form the body of the binoculars, located precisely where your thumbs are positioned when holding the binoculars. Most of the weight of binoculars is borne by your thumbs, and to see what difference this feature makes, slide your hands down toward the objective end, and note the additional pressure caused by the relatively narrow cross-section of the cylinder as compared to the broad area of contact afforded by the flattened areas. As comfort is a highly subjective feature, I would call it a Draw, and suggest that each user would have to assess the binoculars for personal comfort.

The rubber covering on the Bushnells is ribbed for secure grip in wet conditions, or with gloves. It is thicker than that on the Vanguards, with slight "give" when pushed with a fingertip. The rubber covering on the Vanguards is pebbled grain, non-ribbed, and fits absolutely snugly. I find the Vanguard covering to be slightly more comfortable, but again this is subjective, and each user needs to evaluate it personally.

Lens covers -- The lens covers for the eyepiece lenses are virtually identical. Those for the objective lenses are different in that the Bushnells have a relatively loose retainer ring, while the Vanguards have a tight retainer ring. Several reviewers mentioned the looseness of the Bushnell objective lens covers (particularly when open, hanging from their retainer rings), and one went so far as to hot-glue the retainers in place. A much simpler and very effective solution is to slide the side of the retainer ring which is opposite the hinge of the lens cover upward on the binoculars. This tightens the ring, and gives a long distance that the ring must move before it could fall off. What I like best about the Bushnell objective lens covers is the tab that makes finding and opening the cover very easy, even with gloves on. Update: (15 December 2014) my new pair of Vanguard 10x42 binoculars has tabs on the objective lens covers, so presumably the 8x42 models will now also have tabs. Advantage - Draw.

As you can see from this listing of features, the Vanguard Endeavor ED, (both 8x42 and 10x42) and the Bushnell 10x42 Legend Ultra HD are close to equal. Each is available in both 10 and 8 power versions. I paid the same price for the two 10x42 models, and am pleased with both purchases. If the Vanguard Endeavor and the Bushnell Legend Ultra are on your list for consideration, I would recommend that you take the one that feels best in your hands, and/or that you can obtain at the most reasonable price.
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131 of 139 people found the following review helpful
on January 27, 2012
I purchased this set of binoculars for hunting and occasionally for bird watching. For less than $300 after the $50 rebate, you'll be hard-pressed to find a better performing pair binoculars for the money. In my search for a good mid-price 8x42 binocular I went through a few set of binoculars from different manufacturers and finally settle on these. I am not one to claim that these perform as great as the binoculars costing in the thousands but I will say it is as close as you'll get for the money. The only difference optically that I notice between these and the really expensive binoculars is that expensive binoculars exhibit a flat view and is sharp all the way to the edge while still maintaining a little wider FOV. The view of Endeavor ED is flat out to the tiniest ~5% of the outer edge where it exhibits a slight hint of curvature. Sharpness also seems extends all the way to the very edge with a small hint of reduction in sharpness in the extreme outer edge. I went with these instead of a few other Chinese ED binoculars with wider FOV around price range because those usually exhibits noticeable drop in sharpness at around the 75%-80% and beyond. Like other Chinese ED binoculars this set control chromatic aberration very well in the center and less outward but still good. The overall build quality of this binocular is really good and the texture rubber coating works wonderfully. I highly recommend these to those who want a really well built pair of binocular with really great optics but don't want to break their bank.
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88 of 92 people found the following review helpful
on April 23, 2012
The Vanguard Endeavor 8X42 ED's are my first pair of roof-prism binoculars (I also have a nice pair of Bower 8X56 porros). The first thing I noticed when I took them out of the box was how expensive they felt--nice solid build with butter-smooth operation. The views through them are impressively bright, sharp, and contrasty; better than my Bauers. I was surprised that they were brighter than my 8X56's, which have larger lenses, a testment to the good lens coatings. Focusing is quick and smooth, something you'll appreciate if you've ever used binoculars that have a very fine (slow) focus control. There is also very good eye relief and I was able to easily use them while wearing my glasses. Colors look accurate, even a little punchy, which gives a very pleasing image. Close focus is very good, too, right around 8 feet.

At this price ($300 after rebate) you can't expect perfection, especially for roof prisms, which are much more difficult to manufacture than traditional porro prisms. There are two minor flaws I noticed: pincushion distortion and chromatic aberration (color fringing). The distortion I saw is present as a slight inward curvature of the image as you approach the edge of the field, but it is not noticeable unless the image contains vertical or horizontal lines right at the edge of the view, and if you avert your eyes to look right at it. I also saw some purple fringing when looking at high contrast scenes, such as dark tree branches against a bright sky, or white picket fences against a dark background. (To see it, Google "purple fringing", click on the Wikipedia hit, then click on the horse's head.) I found that this effect can be reduced by narrowing the angle of the binoculars a bit to bring the eyepieces closer together. Perhaps this puts the object you're looking at closer to the center of each eyepiece's field of view, where there is essentially no distortion or aberration.

I would have given 5 stars if not for the latter issue, which to be fair, is present to some degree in almost all binoculars. I can easily recommend them for birding, looking at other wildlife, or casual observing, where the fringing won't be noticeable. They are compact, relatively inexpensive, have excellent feel and quality, and give pleasing images. If a small amount of color fringing will be bothersome to you then you'll probably have to spend much more than $300 for roof prisms, or you can try a pair of porros which generally have better image quality at an equivalent price, but are bulkier and don't focus as closely.
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35 of 38 people found the following review helpful
on March 12, 2012
I was prepared to spend significantly more for a pair of high quality binoculars. Based on reviews I've seen, I decided to take a chance and order the Vanguard Endeavor binoculars. I am VERY happy I did so. I have a Vanguard tripod and like it very much. Of course, optics and tripods are quite different. I was a bit nervous about buying optics from someone that does not have a long history producing optical devises (all my favorite camera lens are made by Nikon). Having said all this, I am incredibly impressed with the optical performance of these binoculars.

The build quality is excellent. I have yet to drop test the binoculars and hope to never do so. That said, I think they would hold up well. I find the lens caps to be quite innovative and useful. Both sets of caps stay connected to the binoculars and, as such, are not easily lost. The binoculars are easy to focus and have long eye relief (key for me since I wear glasses when using the binoculars). The entire package includes a nice case and very nice neck strap.

In the final analysis, what matters most to me is the quality of the optics and this is where the Vanguard Endeavor's really shine. I've used mine primarily for birdwatching in the back yard. From a distance of about 30 feet, the birds are razor sharp when brought into focus. Colors and patterns jump out and the entire scene takes on an almost 3D effect (not the case with the cheaper binoculars these replaced). They work surprising well in low light situations. I was able to identify birds in the wee hours of the morning that I would not have been able to see in my previous binoculars. All in all, the optics of these binoculars are outstanding.

I was prepared to spend significantly more for a pair of high quality binoculars. That said, I'm thrilled that I did not have to do so. I am incredibly impressed by the Vanguard Endeavor binoculars and would have no problem recommending them to anyone looking for a high quality pair of binoculars for a relatively low cost.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on July 3, 2013
If you are currently using or have ever used 'cheap' binoculars, simply put, these Endeavor ED 8x42's will be amazing for you to use. I recently took advantage of the Gold Box Special on these ($159 after rebate) on a complete whim. I am a photographer, but have never had a quality set of binoculars. I've only used the cheap-o toy type that you see on sale around the Holidays as stocking stuffers. I received the Vanguard Endeavors, unboxed them and took a look out the window not having any pre-conceived expectations. My immediate reaction was 'WOW!'. These provide a super bright field of view and a crystal clear image. A little fuzzy (very minor) at the extreme edges (outer 2%) but you have to look left and right inside the binoculars to even notice it. Your normal field of view will be crystal clear. I'd say that the sharpness sweet spot of the field of view is 98%. I look through $1000 lenses all the time on my DSLR and these binoculars are just as clear and even more bright. I am very happy I made this purchase and feel the deal I got on them makes them an extreme bargain.

EDIT: one more thing... the connecting 'arms' of the binoculars are more of a dark gunmetal finish than the brighter silver color in the images.
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
on August 10, 2012
I've had a pair of Swift Audubon porro's for many years and consider them to be fine optics. However they are a bit heavy and getting harder for my old hands to hold steady. Decided on a new pair so did the research on a new pair. I liked the reviews for the Vanguards but I was a little hesitant, "new" company, Made in China, How good could they be? I ordered them anyway, Amazon's return policy is very good if they had to go back.

When they came I was amazed. They are very well made & easy to hold. The click stop eye cups work very well, much better than my Swift binos. Locking eye adjustment works very well also. Optically they are slightly better than my Swift's during the day, significantly better for low light & star gazing. The real difference is the features. Your hands fall naturally in place for a steady grip. Looks like they were designed for ease of use and comfort. Even the wide strap is a plus. It has clips so you can attach it to the binos or the case, which ever you prefer. The case is also sturdy & well made, not a cheap afterthought.

I looked at a lot of binos in stores and nothing under $1200 comes close to the quality of these, in my opinion. Am spending a lot more time in the backyard watching birds.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
I am a birder and depend heavily upon my binoculars for identification of the bird I am observing. I have had used many binoculars in the $600-300 price range over the year. This year I needed a new pair of binoculars, thus the search began, I read dozens of e zines,websites,blogs and bird magazines articles and reviews of binoculars reviewing from the lowest end of less than a $100 to the top $2200 range. For the mid prices the conclusion was the Vanguard was the 2nd most of the time, and half the cost of the 1st place binoculars. I decided to go ahead and get them; from the day they arrived I was excited, they were everything I had hoped they would be and a cost that didn't break the bank!!! The ED glass makes the field of view so much brighter and sharper than the older pair non-ED I was using;with these you can bird earlier and later than the old non-ED binoculars,too! The design has a comfortable grip, light weight to be able to use for longer periods of holding, they have a retractable eye cup which is great if you wear glasses!(gives good eye relief which is the distance a binocular can be held away from the eye and still present the full field-of-view. Extended or long eye relief reduces eyestrain and is ideal for eyeglass wearers.) Also have a locking eye diopter ring, and nice focus range for quickly focus on that bird before it flights away. They are also waterproof, fog proof which is important when using outside. I got caught in the rain several times on my last bird trip and I was able to keep on birding with no worry, and since they are fog proof I was able not to have to stop and continually wipe the lens since it was very warm and humid. I think anyone who is using them for hunting,sports,nature watching or birding will find these a excellent choice and great value. I highly recommend them.
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27 of 31 people found the following review helpful
on November 23, 2013
Seem well built, comfortable to use. Bright view, good in low light. Lifetime warranty is a plus. But high level of chromatic abberation was unacceptable to me. Strong purple and yellow fringing on high contrast edges, such as branches against the sky, especially on an overcast day. Looking at the black and white pattern on a woodpecker's back there actually appeared to be yellow stripes in between the black and white areas. Although I got them at a great price ($150 with rebate), I returned them. This fringing was just too distracting for me.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on April 8, 2012
My wife and I have always spent a lot of time in the outdoors, but recently we started getting into whale watching along the California coast. As a result, we decided to invest in some nice binoculars to help us in spotting the whales and seeing more detail. We each decided to get our own pair, and did some extensive investigation as to what make and model we should get. I decided on the Vanguard Endeavor ED 8420s, and I can't be more happy with the purchase.

The quality of the optics is excellent, the binoculars are sturdy, and the features are thoughtful and well designed. The binoculars have long eye relief, and work great while I'm wearing glasses. The diopter adjustment locks which is great since I'm the only one using them. This way it's always properly adjusted, and I never have to mess with it when I pull them out. The focus knob is nice and wide with just the right amount of resistance to make focusing smooth and easy. I also like the lens covers for the objective lenses. They're attached to the body so that you can quickly flip them down without worrying about losing them. It makes it easy to keep the lenses protected, but still be able to quickly bring the binoculars to bear when you see something. They are also waterproof so that you don't have to worry about spray if you're along the coast or in the rain. The binoculars also came with a good quality case and a good quality strap.

In summary, I think the Endeavor ED 8420s are a great pair of binocular, and a great value for the price. I would highly recommend them to anyone looking for a quality pair of binoculars.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on May 29, 2013
I bought these at the start of an Ornithology class, knowing that it may pay off to spend a bit extra and not have to upgrade soon. They're easily as clear as my father's Leupold 10x50's, with little to no visible chromatic aberration (fringing). The build is equally solid, and the easily adjustable eye relief cups are a boon to glasses-wearers like myself.
Anyone shopping for a good, long-lasting pair of binoculars, look no further!
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