Vanguard Endeavor ED 8.5x45 Binoculars Review

Vanguard Endeavor ED 8.5x45 Binoculars Review

 
Vanguard 8.5 x 45 Endeavor ED Binoculars
Best Value For Money Binocular 2010
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These Binoculars are On Sale Discount Binocular: Vanguard are currently offering a $50 Mail-In Rebate on these bins in the US and a £20 cashback in the UK >> Check Prices
Price Range: (4/6) Mid-High Value Binoculars       

Ideal Uses:

General Use: Rating for General Use Binoculars
Birdwatching: Rating as Birdwatching Binoculars
Outdoor Sports: Rating asOutdoor Sports Binoculars
Safari & Travel: Rating as Safari Binoculars
Wildlife Observation: Rating as Wildlife Observation Binoculars
Hunting: Rating as Hunting Binoculars
Marine Use: Rating as Marine Binoculars
Astronomy: Rating as Binoculars for Astronomy

Awards: Best Value For Money Binocular 2010

Vanguard describe their newest top of the range Endeavor binoculars as "Not your typical binoculars" and with this promise, I eagerly looked forward to being one of the first people to review the Vanguard 8.5x45 Endeavor ED before it was actually released on the open market. The combination of the ED Glass ( Extra-low dispersion glass ), the larger than 'standard' 45mm objective lenses and a slightly stronger than normal 8.5x magnification really intrigued me:

Selected Highlights

  • Lightweight Open Bridge Body Design
  • 100% Water & Fog Proof
  • Extra low-Dispersion, ED glass
  • Fully Multi-Coated Lenses
  • Phase Correction Coatings on the Prisms

The Body

Design
The Vanguard ED 8545 feature an open bridge design, which is very popular at the moment and with good reason. I find that it makes these and others with the same design far easier and more secure to hold onto, especially when carrying your optics with just one hand.

I will often carry my binoculars in one hand, especially over difficult terrain or through thick undergrowth because unless you are using a harness, the neck strap and even the optics can get caught up and snagged if you carry them around your neck. In these situations, you can also use the other hand to steady yourself or to clear a path.

Over difficult and hilly terrain it is also sometimes very annoying to have a binocular dangling from your neck and what is worse is they can easily smack against rocks or other obstacles as you climb over them. Simply holding them in your hand overcomes these problems and the open-bridge design means that your grip on the binocular is just that much more secure because you can wrap your hand completely around one barrel.

On top these ergonomic benefits, I think the design and styling looks great and in a small way, it also helps to reduce their overall weight.

Waterproof & Fogproof
These Vanguard binoculars are waterproof and have been sealed with o-rings which prevents all moisture from getting inside them and will also stop dust, and debris from getting into the system which could lead to the view being spoilt.

They have also been "Nitrogen-charged" which means all the internal air has been replaced with nitrogen gas which protects them against internal fogging. Fogging can occur when you get rapid temperature changes or in places that have a high humidity level. A secondary benefit of this is, is that it protects the inner workings from corrosion because there is absolutely no internal moisture.

External Covering
Apart from the two thin bridges, all of the exterior surface on the Endeavor ED 8545 is covered in a fairly thick and rather tactile rubber armoring which also has a fine texture on it, all of which really help to ensure that you have a secure and non-slip surface to hold onto. This body armour also helps protect these Vanguards from day to day knocks and bumps.

Another benefit of this armouring is that it makes the body less reflective than if all the metal was left exposed, this is an important feature if you want to remain hidden when observing timid birds and other wildlife and is why it is a little it of a shame that the bridges have not been finished is a duller color than the silver that is used, which you can see in the image below.

The 8.5x45 Vanguard Endeavor ED binoculars

Weight
Before receiving these Vanguard Endeavor ED 8545 binoculars, I was a little worried that the larger 45mm diameter objective lenses, would make them heavier and feel bulky than when compared to your more standard 42mm versions. Obviously if size is a major consideration for your needs, then these or indeed any full size binocular may not be not what you need.

But at 770g (27.2 oz) and as you can see from the list below, compared to many full sized binoculars with 42mm binoculars, the weight of this Vanguard binocular is actually pretty good and makes them about average for a full sized binocular:

To be honest, as long as a binocular is not overly heavy, its balance is actually usually more important than the weight and just looking at their weight can also sometimes be a little misleading. This is because some of the lightest binoculars are also amongst the cheapest (and worst) as they use sub-standard materials in their construction that may be lighter, but is definitely not as tough or durable. I can thankfully say that it is not the case with these Vanguards as they look and feel very well made using quality materials.

Dimensions
So the 45mm objective lenses have not really made them much/if at all heavier than the standard 42mm versions, so what about their dimensions:

As you can see they compare very well to many other quality full sized binoculars and it is for this reason that I would say that their 3mm larger objective lenses make much more of a positive difference to quality of the image than to any negative effects they have to the weight and size of the device.

What is more, holding them in my fairly "average" sized hands they were comfortable to hold, well balanced and the central focussing wheel was easy to reach and turn without having to adjust from the standard grip when holding them up to your eyes.

BBR Rating for Body Stats: 8/10

Long Eye Relief
These 8x Endeavor ED's use twist up eyecups and you get a massive maximum 20mm of Eye-relief making them one of the longest that I have ever tested, which is great news for those of you who wear glasses as they provide you with plenty of room for adjustment to ensure that you view the complete image without having to remove your glasses: More on Long Eye Relief Binoculars.

The Eye Cups
The eyecups on the Vanguard Endeavor ED BinocularsThe twist-up mechanism on the eyecups is really smooth and works well. They also give you a massive maximum of 20mm of eye-relief, which is excellent and some of the longest that I have ever tested, which is great news for those of you who wear glasses as they provide you with plenty of room for adjustment to ensure that you view the complete image without vignetting and without having to remove your glasses: More on Long Eye Relief Binoculars.

Focusing
Focusing is via the large center focus knob and was both fast and very smooth. I also felt that it is very well positioned, meaning that you can focus without having to change your grip on the optics.

The focussing wheel looks to be either made from metal or a hard plastic, which then has a soft rubber track with large indents cut into it running around it to help with grip. Because the wheel is fairly large, protrudes out from on top of the binoculars and is nicely grooved it also makes adjusting the focus even with thick gloves on, no problem at all.

Diopter Adjustment
The diopter adjustment ring is located on the right barrel, between the eyecup and the barrel. On these Vanguard Endeavor EDs, it is lockable and coated in rubber with grooves cut into it to help with grip.

This diopter ring is used to correctly set up and focus the binoculars to your particular eyesight and only really only needs to be done once when you first use the binoculars, or if you share them with others. This is why I really love the fact that it is lockable and to adjust it you have to pull it upwards before it will move as this prevents it from being moved accidentally.

I also like the fact that there is a reference point on the ring and a a number of markings the barrel, meaning that if your setting is not neutral, you can use them to easily return to, should you want to change it for any reason (like when sharing your binoculars). You will not believe how many manufacturers forget to add such a simple thing to their binoculars and yes it may be a very minor point, but it is this attention to detail that I really like and shows that Vanguard have really thought about the product.

The Lockable Dioprer Adjustment Ring on the Vanguard Endeavor ED binoculars

Best Binoculars Rating for Body Construction Quality: 9/10

Optics

At least one of the elements in each of the Vanguard Endeavor's lenses has also been made from extra-low dispersion glass (ED). ED glass is used in lens elements on high end optics like these because it can reduce the amount of chromatic aberration (color fringing) and improve the sharpness of the image even further when compared to those made from standard glass.

ED glass is able to do this because it gives the designers of the multi-element objective lens a wider range of options to better direct and concentrate the wavelength of light. Generally speaking, the better the aberrations are controlled the cleaner and brighter the image will appear. Because of the costs involved and precision needed to make them, ED glass is only usually found on high end cameras, telescopes, microscopes and binoculars.

ED Glass (Extra Low Dispersion) vs Standard Glass

 

Lens Coatings
Lens CoatingsVanguard Endeavor ED 8.5x45 DCF binoculars have fully multi-coated lenses - this basically means that the lenses have received multiple layers of anti-reflective coatings on all air-to-glass surfaces which increase light transmission to produce a brighter image and therefore better low light performance.

Anti-reflective coatings can make a really big difference on the brightness of the image produced. I have often looked through binoculars with smaller objective lenses, but with high quality anti-reflection coatings and seen them outperform binoculars with much larger objective lenses, but with fewer or no coatings. Beware of these lower quality optics that will often only add multiple anti-reflection coatings to the outer surfaces of the lenses (Multi-Coated) and cheaper still are optics that only have a single layers of anti-reflection coating added to the outer lenses (Coated). The very cheapest optics have no anti-reflective coatings at all and I highly recommend staying well clear of these.

To give you an idea, the table below shows the average Transmittance by type of coating:

  Per Single Lens Surface 10 Lens & Prism Surfaces
No Coating: 96% (0.96) x Power of 10 = 0.66 66%
Single-Layer: 98.5% (0.985) x Power of 10 = 0.86 86%
Multilayer Coating: 99.5% (0.995) x Power of 10 = 0.95 95%

Vanguard also advertise that they use their own V-Max lens treatments, which I have unfortunately not been able to find any more details on other than to say that they are said to further improve the image quality and contrast.

The Prisms and their Coatings

The excellent quality optical components and coatings do not end with the lenses as the roof prisms on these Vanguard binoculars are made from BaK-4 glass and not the inferior BK-7 prisms found on cheaper optics, this superior optical glass helps to produce clearer images.

Phase Correction Coatings
As well as this, Vanguard have added their proprietary P2 phase correction coatings on the prism glass. These coatings are used because when light waves are reflected at the opposite faces of a roof prism, "phase shift" occurs which means that you get a small amount of deterioration in sharpness. Phase correction coatings counter this by keeping the light in the correct color phases and therefore produce images that have better contrast, a higher resolution and improved color reproduction. These coatings are only really found on higher end roof prism binoculars.

With all these excellent features, I was not to be disappointed, right from unpacking them and taking my first view through them, I thought that the quality and brightness of the image was excellent. To my eyes, these are as bright as any pair of binoculars that I have ever reviewed and the quality and sharpness of the image produced was truly stunning.

Best Binoculars Rating for Optical Components Quality: 8/10

Optical Stats

Field of View (FOV)
The field of view of these Vanguard Endeavor ED 8.5x45 binoculars at 1000m is 114m or 340ft at 1000 yards, which translates to a 6.5° view angle. Which is pretty good when compared to other 8.5x binoculars, but does fall a little short when compared to some of the very best 8x binoculars out there, as we know increasing the magnification generally decreases your FOV.

To put this in context, take a look at the fields of view at 1000 yards of some other similar sized high end binoculars that I have reviewed in the past:

8.5x

8x

Close Focusing Distance
The close focus distance is 2.5m (8.2ft), which is pretty good and matches or beats many in this class, but it is not excellent (I consider a minimum focusing distance of 6ft or under to be excellent. So whilst I probably would not suggest these as dedicated close focus binoculars, if you occasionally like to look at things like butterflies from close range then these will hold their own.

Long Eye Relief
These 8x Endeavor ED's use twist up eyecups and you get a massive maximum 20mm of Eye-relief making them one of the longest that I have ever tested, which is great news for those of you who wear glasses as they provide you with plenty of room for adjustment to ensure that you view the complete image without having to remove your glasses: More on Long Eye Relief Binoculars.

Best Binoculars Rating for Optical Stats: 7/10

8.5x45 Vanguard Endeavor ED Comparisons

Below is a table comparing some of the specifications of this Vanguard Endeavor ED 8545 with a selection of other similar full size roof prism binoculars with magnifications of around 8x and 8.5x and larger than the standard 42 mm objective lenses including the very top of the range Swarovski 8.5x42 EL's, the mid to high value Minox 8x43 HG Binoculars, Nikon 8.5x45 Monarch and the Swift 8.5x44 Audubon.

  Vanguard 8.5x45 Endeavor ED Nikon 8.5x45 Monarch X Swift 8.5x44 Audubon Swarovski 8.5x42 EL Minox 8x43 HG
Price (approx): $380 (£300) $500 (£350) $360 (£400) $2350 (£1650) $1100 (£640)
Weight: 27.2ozs (770g) 25.4oz (720g) 23.4ozs (663g) 28.9ozs (819g) 22.9ozs (649g)
Length: 5.1in (13cm) 6.1in (15.6cm) - 6.5in (16.5cm) 6.0in (15.2cm)
Width: 6.3in (16cm) 5.5in (13.9cm) - 4.8in (12.2cm) 5.1in (13cm)
Eye Relief: 20mm 20.6mm 19mm 18mm 19.5mm
Close Focusing Distance: 8.2ft 9.8ft (3m) 9ft 8ft 8.2ft
Field of View at 1000yds: 340ft 330ft 336ft 399ft 379ft
ED Glass Yes No No Yes No
Phase Correction Yes Yes No Yes Yes
Lens Coatings Fully Multi-Coated Fully Multi-Coated Fully Multi-Coated Fully Multi-Coated Fully Multi-Coated
Waterproof Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Fogproof Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes

 

Image Quality

As I do with all my reviews, I compared the view through these Vanguard 10.5x45 Endeavor ED Binoculars with my benchmark binoculars. Please note that I had to use my 8x42 control binoculars to compare these against as they were the nearest to these in terms of magnification and objective lens size that I have.

Image Brightness
When first compared these 8.5x45's with my benchmark 8x42's during the day, I could not really notice much difference between the two in terms of brightness, it was only later on in the afternoon and just before sunset that I could see the improvement. This is to be expected as this is really where the larger objective lenses and of course the quality of the anti-reflection coatings on the lenses and the high reflectivity coatings on the prisms really help. So in terms of brightness, I rate these as excellent.

More about Objective Lens size, Image Brightness & Low Light Performance
Good light gathering ability is important, especially if you use your binoculars for bird and wildlife observation. This is because quite often you will find yourself in situations where the lighting is sub-optimal, especially in thickly wooded or forested areas, early in the morning just before or at sunrise or late afternoon when most birds and other animals are at their most active.

These and all 8.5x45 binoculars have an Exit Pupil of 5.3 and a Twilight Factor of 19.6.

If you compare that to the more standard 8x42 binoculars, which have an Exit Pupil of 5.25 and a Twilight Factor of 18.3, it shows that all else being equal these Vanguard Endeavors will produce a slightly brighter image and with better resolution in low light conditions.

During daylight hours and in bright conditions, when your eye pupil size will be only about 2 to 3mm, both 8x42 and these 8.5x45 binoculars have an exit pupil larger than your pupil and so will provide your eyes with more light than they can take (some of the light will be blocked by your iris and will not reach the retina and so you perceive the image as being equally bright.

However in darker conditions and with your eye pupil dilated to 6 to 8mm, the larger exit pupil on the Vanguard Endeavor will mean that you perceive the image to be brighter because the greater amount of emergent light at the eyepiece fills more of your eye's pupil.

45mm lenses on the Vanguard Endeavor ED 8.5x45 Binoculars

Contrast & Colour Reproduction
In my opinion, the colour reproduction and contrast of is also excellent. The image produced looks natural and I could not see any artificial tinting that you can sometimes notice on cheaper optics (especially those with ruby coatings that often have an unnatural greenish tint).

Color Fringing
When looking very, very carefully at the edges of a light coloured object positioned right in front of a dark background, I could not notice any obvious signs of any color fringing (chromatic aberration) - The is where the addition of the ED Glass (Extra Low dispersion glass) really does help produce a better quality image.

Softening
The amount softening of the image on the periphery of the view was also very minimal (almost none) on this Vanguard which is much better than my controls which means, I once again rate them as excellent in this area.

So to sum up, I would say that in terms of overall image quality, I would rate these as being excellent and they are as good or better than most other binoculars in their price range.

Best Binoculars Rating for Image Quality: 9/10

Included Extras & Attention to Detail:

Neck Strap
Like all Vanguard binoculars that I have used, I really like the neck strap that the Endeavor ED 8545 comes with. It looks to be made to a high standard with really good quality materials. The section that hangs around your neck is well padded and nice and wide to help distribute the weight over a large area. It is also curved and shaped to ensure that it wraps around your neck and shoulders better for as comfortable fit as possible.

Carry Case
Overall the soft carry case looks to be very well made, is nicely padded and the binoculars fit snugly enough inside to be well protected, but not too tightly so as to make taking them in and out difficult. The whole front section of the case can be zipped open or closed, which is secure but makes for easy access to the inside. The binoculars fit nicely inside the bag even with the eyecups fully extended, which may sounds obvious, but you would not believe how many manufacturers over look this detail meaning that every time you want to replace your binoculars in the bag, you have to twist in the eyecups. The carry case comes with its own strap which is far simpler than the neck strap and has no padding.

Lens Covers
The eye-piece covers (rain guard) on the Vanguard Endeavor ED BinocularsThe eye-piece covers (rain guard) are made from rubber and they fits very well over the eye-pieces and should not accidentally fall off. I like the flexible bridge between the two cups that allow for the different distances between the two eyepieces depending on your inter-pupillary adjustment. This is sometimes overlooked, meaning that the rain guard wont fit, unless you store your binoculars fully open, which can be a real pain as you have to adjust them every time you use and replace your binoculars.

The soft rubber objective lens caps also fit well over the ends of the barrels and like the eye-piece covers should not accidentally fall off. They too are joint together with a flexible bridge which allows for the different settings between the two barrels.

If I have one small reservation, because they are made of pretty soft rubber, they can be a little fiddley to put back on, but on the plus side, they will not fall off as easily as some other optics I have reviewed.

Lens Cleaning Cloth
Also included inside the carry case is a good quality lens cleaning cloth.

Best Binoculars Rating for Extras & Attention to Detail: 9/10

Conclusion

In short these are very, very good binoculars, with top quality optics and a tough waterproof exterior. Their field of view matches or beats most binoculars with similar magnifications in their price range, but does fall slightly short of the very best binoculars. They are both light and well balanced to hold and I love the feel of the comfortable and 'grippy' rubber coating in the hands. The small touches like the comfortable thumb indents, very smooth and well placed focusing wheel and the padded neck strap also reinforce the feeling that you are holding quality optics.

Ideal Uses: Whilst they have a slightly narrower field of view than the best 8x42 binoculars, you do get slightly more power and the larger objectives, combined with high spec optics and coatings, they produce an excellent quality and bright image that will give you slightly more image detail and is also great for low light conditions. This means that these will make an excellent choice as a general use birding binocular, especially if the FOV is not critical.

As we have also seen, the slightly larger objectives do not make them any harder to carry about than most 8x42's and so I would also say that these would be great for general wildlife observation and make very good hunting binoculars for all of the reasons above, but also because they have a tough exterior that will easily handle most conditions that you throw at them.

Whilst you could easily take these 8.5x45 binoculars on a camping trip, on safari or to an outdoor sporting event, if it is going to be your main use for them, you may be better off with a pair of compact or mid-sized binoculars that will be easier to put in your bag or luggage.

Price
The recommended retail price for these 8x Endeavor's is £369.99 in the UK and $399.99 in the US and are now available for under £300 pounds in the UK and $380 in the US. If you take into consideration all the high end components and coatings, is a really good price. It also means that they are far, far cheaper (a 5th of the price) than the very top of the range binoculars like the Swarovski 8.5x42 EL's and whilst they may not quite match all the details of the Swarovski's, they are still in my opinion at this price a great pair of binoculars and very good value for money.

Acknowledgements

Last, but not least I would like to thank Vanguard Binoculars for providing me with their binoculars to review. This review is completely independent and I have no preference over which brand of binoculars people buy on Best Binoculars Reviews and all reviews are completely my opinion and are not influenced in any way by manufacturers, distributors or suppliers. But I would like to say that both the European and US branches of Vanguard got back and dealt with my request to review their products and all questions that I had very promptly. This is in sharp contrast to many other popular binocular brands which in my opinion is a big plus.

Vanguard Endeavor ED 8.5x45 Binoculars

Reviewed by

Best Binocular Reviews Ratings:

Body Construction Quality: 9/10 82%
Outstanding
Body Stats: 8/10
Optical Components Quality: 8/10
Optical Stats: 7/10
Image Quality 9/10
Extras & Attention to Detail: 8/10

Best Value For Money Binocular 2010Awards:

Best Value For Money Binocular 2010


Main Specifications & Features:

Walk-Around Video of the Vanguard 8.5x45 Endeavor ED Binoculars

 

More Information:



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Full Size Binoculars | Roof Prism Binoculars | General Use Binoculars | Birdwatching Binoculars | Mid-High Value Binoculars


Similar Binoculars:

Below are similar pairs of Binoculars that you may also want to have a look at:

Nikon 8.5x45 Monarch X

Larger than standard 45mm objective lenses and great quality optical elements & anti-reflection coatings make them excellent low light performers


Binocular Price Comparison
Where to buy the Vanguard 8.5x45 Endeavor ED Binoculars

General Price Range: (4/6) Mid-High Value Binoculars

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These Binoculars are On SaleDiscount Binoculars: Vanguard are currently offering a $50 Mail-In Rebate on these bins in the US and a £20 cashback in the UK
 
 

Comments & Opinions

I would love to get your comments and well as your opinions on these optics. Do you want to or do you already own one of these Endeavor ED Binoculars? If so please let us know what you think of them giving both the good and the bad points:

 
 

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