Vanguard Spirit 10x42 Binoculars Review

Vanguard 10 x 42 Spirit Binoculars
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These Binoculars are On Sale Discount Binocular: These Vanguard Spirit 10x42 Binoculars are discounted on in The USA as well as in the UK >> Check Prices
Price Range: (3/6) Mid Price 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
General Wildlife Rating as Wildlife Observation Binoculars
Hunting Rating as Hunting Binoculars
Marine Use Rating as Marine Binoculars
Astronomy Rating as Binoculars for Astronomy

After removing the Vanguard Spirit 10x42 from their soft carry case for the very first time, I was immediately struck by just how light they were. A quick bit of research and at 600g (21.2oz) they are indeed to date the lightest pair of full size binoculars that I have reviewed. So off to a good start, lets take a closer look at these Vanguard binoculars:

Vanguard Spirit Optics

According to Vanguard: "The optical design in the Spirit series represent a major step forward in binocular design." This is a fairly major statement and they make it because the Spirit uses one less optical component in the binocular than traditional roof prism designs. Which means there is less glass surfaces to refract light which makes them brighter by design. Unfortunately as yet, I have been unable to find out which component is not used, but I can say that the view through them is superb and is very bright for this class of binocular. Indeed as I write this I have just been observing a male Great spotted woodpecker eating from a bird feeder that I have located at the rear of my garden - A wonderful bird, that I could easily identify as a male with binoculars by it's distinctive red patch on the back of the head.

Lens & Prism Coatings
As well as "missing components" to ensure such an excellent image, Vanguard use quality BaK-4 roof prisms in the Spirit binoculars, meaning that they are made of superior optical glass that produces clearer images. Vanguard Spirit binoculars also have a set of phase correction coatings on the prism glass that keeps light in correct color phases. The optics are also fully multi-coated, which means that all air to glass surfaces have received multiple layers of antireflection coatings meaning that more light gets to your eyes.

The Main Body

As mentioned earlier, at only 600g (21.2oz) these Spirit binoculars from Vanguard are incredibly lightweight. This is because they use an engineering polymer material, that is a product of space technology (or so they say!), for the construction of the body. This makes them light, but not at the expense of strength.

What is nice is the tactile and non-slip rubber armoring on the binocular that will not only help protect your instrument from any minor bumps, but feels really great in the hands. I especially like the comfortable ergonomic feel to them emphasized by the thumb indents on the underside of the barrels. Overall the Vanguard Spirit 10x42 is a well balanced and light binocular, something that is good news for anyone using them for extended periods.

What is also worth mentioning here is that the Vanguard 10x42 Spirit binoculars come in three colors: Dark Green, Black (Spirit 1042) and Cammo (Spirit 1042MO), that is ideal for anyone wishing to use them for hunting or indeed on safari or any other wildlife observation where stealth is key. Another small point about any rubber coating on a pair of binoculars is that they help to dampen any sound, from anything bumping against them - this could even be your wedding ring, that could frighten skittish birds or other animals away.

The Spirit 1042 is waterproof to a depth of 1m /3.3ft and because they are nitrogen filled, they are resistant to internal fogging which can happen in places where there is high humidity or when you get rapid temperature variations again both good features to find in any pair of optics, but especially if you are going to take them with you when traveling, or camping.

The Eye Cups
The twist-up eyecups on the Spirit work well, they do not have fixed intermediate stops as you often find on other binoculars, so can if you do wear glasses, you can adjust them to exactly what works best for you to ensure that you view the full field of view. The maximum eye relief is 16mm, which is more than enough for most people who wear glasses. Non-eyeglass wearers just use the eyecups in the extended position.

Diopter Adjustment Ring and Central focussing wheelFocusing
Focusing on these is smooth and accurate with the central focusing wheel that only takes about 3/4 of a turn to go from infinity to it's closest focusing distance of 2.5 meters (8.2ft). Which is excellent, many binoculars take at least a full turn of the wheel and you would think that it would make it harder to fine tune your focusing compared to a binocular with a less aggressive focusing mechanism. But this is not the case I never had any problems with getting anything other than 100% correctly in focus very quickly - Brilliant. Whilst this may seem like a small point to some, quick accurate focusing can mean the difference in correctly identifying that once in a live time bird or forever wondering!

The diopter adjustment that allows you to adjust the lenses separately to allow for differences each of your eyes and plays an important part in correctly focusing your binoculars is on the right barrel and is smooth and easy to adjust, whilst tight enough that it should not be moved accidentally.

vanguard compassAlso Included
I do like the soft black carry case that is of good quality as is the very good quality and comfortable neck strap. The lens caps fit well and should not accidentally fall off they also have fittings that enable you to loop them through the neck strap. A lens cleaning cloth is also supplied. Lifetime guarantee: The Vanguard Spirit is warranted by the manufacturer to be defect-free for the natural lifetime of the owner.

With the Special limited edition, you also get Vanguard military-style lensatic oil damped field compass (see video below) for free, that normally sells for around £12/$15. The compass folds easily to fit in your pocket and is ideal for trekking as well as for astronomy in setting up telescopes and target finding.


I generally love the 10x42mm combination, especially for wildlife observation and is my size of choice when working as a safari guide. For me they are the ideal compromise between a powerful magnification, field of view, light gathering potential and size. Ideal for getting as close to the action as possible without the need for image stabilization or a tripod, yet still with a wide enough field of view to make them more than decent birding binoculars.

The apparent field of view for the Vanguard Spirit 10x42 is 105m at 1000m that does fall short of the market leading Swarovski 10x42 EL's (112m at 1000m), but it must be remembered that these are literally a fraction of the cost of a pair of Swarovski's.

Close focusing distance is 2.5 meters (8.2ft), which is pretty good, the very best 10x roof prism binoculars generally have a near focusing distance of between 8 and 9 feet.

A 10x42 binocular like these have an Exit Pupil of 4.2 and a Twilight Factor of 21, both of which are fine fine for most low light conditions like twilight. (I often use a 10x42 binocular on game drives that either end just after sunset or leave at sunrise without any problems). Whilst these figures do not take into account the quality of the lenses and prisms, they do make it possible to compare the performance of binoculars in low light conditions and what is good is that these Vanguard's do have really good quality lenses, prisms and coatings that produce a bright image.


The recommended retail price for the Vanguard Spirit 1042 is only $309.99 / £330, which I already think makes these good value for money, but what is even better is that you can now get them for as little as $190/£180 making them incredible value for money in my opinion.

Overall if you are looking for a good quality binocular, ideal for any form of nature observation, that you can take camping, traveling or to any sporting event that does not break the bank then I highly recommend, the Vanguard 10x42 Spirit binocular. It is a great pair of binoculars at a great price.

Vanguard Spirit 10x42 Binoculars including carry case, neck strap and included compass

Reviewed by Jason Whitehead for Best Binocular Reviews

Best Binocular Reviews Ratings:

Body Construction Quality: 8/10 78%
Body Stats: 9/10
Optical Components Quality: 7/10
Optical Stats: 8/10
Image Quality 7/10
Extras & Attention to Detail: 8/10

Compare Prices & Where to Buy the Vanguard Binoculars

Main Specifications & Features:

  • Size: Full Size Binoculars
  • [explain prism types]Prism Type: Roof Prism Binoculars
  • Magnification: 10x
  • [explain objective lens]Objective Lens Diameter: 42mm
  • [explain waterproofing]Waterproof: Yes

  • [explain exit pupil]Exit Pupil: 4.2
  • [explain twilight factor]Twilight Factor: 20.49
  • [explain eye relief]Eye Relief: 16mm
  • Close Focus Distance: 8.2ft

  • Weight: 21.2ozs (601g)
  • Length: 5.7in (14.5cm)
  • Height: 1.9in (4.8cm)
  • Width: 5.1in (13cm)

  • [explain real field of view]Real field of view: 6.0°
  • [explain apparent field of view]Apparent field of view: 60.0°
  • [explain field of view]Field of View: 105m at 1,000 meters
  • [explain field of view]Field of View: 315ft at 1,000 yards

  • Image Stabilization: No
  • [about ED Glass]Extra Low Dispersion Glass: No
  • Auto Focus: No

Vanguard 10x42 Spirit Binoculars Video Review


More Information:

About Vanguard | View all Vanguard products I have written reviews on

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Full Size Binoculars | Roof Prism Binoculars | General Use Binoculars | Mid Price Binoculars

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Bresser 10x42 Condor

Waterproof, Fogproof, BaK-4 prisms and is fully multi coated - excellent quality budget binoculars

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General Price Range: (3/6) Mid Price Binoculars

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These Binoculars are On SaleDiscount Binoculars: These Vanguard Spirit 10x42 Binoculars are discounted on in The USA as well as in the UK
Are out-of-date/old stock binoculars still worth buying now?
This review was written a few years ago now. Check out my guide to
older/old stock binoculars & if they are still worth buying now

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