Vortex Viper HD 10x42 Binoculars Review

Vortex 10 x 42 Viper HD Binoculars
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Best Value for Money
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
General Wildlife Rating as Wildlife Observation Binoculars
Hunting Rating as Hunting Binoculars
Marine Use Rating as Marine Binoculars
Astronomy Rating as Binoculars for Astronomy

Since I wrote my full review on the 8x42 Vortex Viper HD binocular sometime back, I have received a number of enquires from readers asking me about the 10x42 version of this very popular instrument.

So whilst I have not actually tested this exact 10x42 model, everything apart from a few specifications and some aspects of the view will be identical. Thus rather than repeating myself, in this mini-review I will briefly go over the main features on this model and highlight any differences between them.

This way you should get a pretty good understanding of each model making it easier to decide right for you and your needs:

Vortex Viper HD 10x42 Binoculars Review

Made in Japan, the Viper HD series from Vortex are high end optics, but unlike "alpha" type binoculars that aim to be the best at any cost, these strive for performance, but always making sure that you are getting good value for money.

So in other words and in my experience these have an excellent performance to price ratio and almost certainly the best Vortex binoculars for the money and is why they are one of the most popular on the market.

Main Specs & Features

Vortex Viper HD 10x42 Binoculars

Body Design

Underside of the Vortex Viper HD 10x42 BinocularsThe overall shape of the the Vortex Viper HD 10x42 binoculars is very typical for that of a modern full-sized roof prism binocular. In general and for the most part this is a good thing as this design is tried and tested.

When I tested them, I felt the 8x42 version was comfortable to hold and very well balanced and I liked the two small thumb indents on the underside that are there to encourage you to hold them in the correct way and at the right point to get the balance spot on.

Features that really stood out for me and which I feel are worth highlighting include:

Focus Wheel

The centrally located focus wheel not only looks great, but it is nice and large and has a very tactile stippled exterior for loads of grip.

Whilst this is always preferable over a completely smooth wheel, it is in conditions like winter when you are wearing thick gloves that being able to easily feel and adjust the focus wheel becomes a really important feature.

Focus wheel on the Vortex Viper HD 10x42 Binoculars

Lockable Diopter Ring

Located on the right eye-piece, the diopter on these Vortex Viper binoculars is lockable.

Once you have set up your optics to make allowances for any differences in the vision between your eyes, your diopter setting should not be changed (unless you share your binoculars) and thus to have it lockable and less likely to move by accident is a neat feature.

Now I will admit this is a small feature, but it is for me always a really good indicator of quality:

I say this because it is only once you get to quality high end instruments that you see small details like this on an instrument and it is all these small details added up, that at the end of day are what separates the very good from the excellent.

Fully Sealed

The Vortex Viper 10x42 binocular is o-ring sealed and thus fully waterproof. They are also fog proof which at this price, both of these features is to be expected.

However what is a little different is that Vortex use Argon gas and not the more commonly used Nitrogen.

There is some debate as to the advantages of one over the other but the theory is that the Argon molecule is larger than Nitrogen and so is more resistant to diffusion or leaking out of the device.

Tripod Adaptable
Just a quick confirmation that these bins are tripod adaptable.

Vortex Viper HD 10x42 Binoculars


The high level of optics on the Vortex Viper HD binoculars is impressive. indeed it is about as good as it gets in this class and matches many far more expensive instruments:

This includes a fully multi-coated optical system which really does make a big difference in both the image quality and brightness when compared to those that have less coatings on fewer surfaces. However at this level this is pretty standard.

Prism Coatings

What is not standard is that not only are the roof prisms phase corrected, but they are dielectrically coated as well.

These sup highly reflective mirror coatings ensure that more than 99% of the light (across the whole spectrum) that enters the prism makes it's way through it and thus makes for a much better and brighter view.

These coatings are technically difficult to apply and expensive and thus it is once again a good sigh of a very high quality binocular. Most mid to high level instruments will use cheaper and less reflective silver mirror coatings.

Tough Exterior Coatings

Another sure sign of quality and the great attention to detail shown by Vortex Optics is that they have included tough coatings to the exterior glass surfaces.

These help protect the lenses from scratching, both in general use out in the field and you also have far less chance of marking them when cleaning.

Vortex Viper HD 10x42 Binoculars

Optical Stats

Field of View
The field of view on the 10x42 Vortex Viper binocular is 319ft wide when you measure at a distance of 1000 yards away.

As you can see from the comparison table below, this is good, but not spectacular for a full sized 10x binocular.

Eye Relief
At 16.5mm, the eye-relief is very good, but just misses out on what I would call super long.

However for the vast majority of people, including most eye-glass wearers, this should still be more than enough to ensure you get the full view.

Close Focus
Minimum focal distance on these is advertised as only 5.1ft, which is excellent and makes these an ideal choice if you also like viewing flowers, insects or even birds from closer ranges.

Vortex Viper HD 10x42 Binoculars


The table below compares the main features of these Vortex Viper HD Binoculars 10x42 against a small selection of other 10x42 binoculars in the BBR database.
Open table in full screen mode to view the full results.

Included Accessories

The whole series of Vortex Viper HD binoculars come with the usual selection of accessories.

This includes a carry case, very good quality neck strap, lens covers and a cleaning cloth.

For more details on these take a look at the video below that goes through the accessories in detail or check out my review of the 8x42 Viper HD.

Lifetime Warranty
On top of this you get Vortex's bulletproof unconditional lifetime warranty.


With the Vortex Viper HD 10x42 binoculars you are getting a fantastic, high quality optical device at what I would consider is a more than fair price especially when you consider all the high end features, components extras and general attention to detail.

What I Don't Like

It really is quite hard for me to find a weakness on these binoculars.

Indeed there really is nothing major, but if I had to be hyper critical of the Vortex Viper 10x42 HD, then perhaps the quality of the carry case could be a little higher as I have seen better at this price point and it doesn't quite match that of the neck strap or indeed the rest of the instrument..

However if that improvement had to come at the cost of the optical or functional performance of the binocular itself, then I would happily take this very minor sacrifice.

Vortex 8x42 Viper HD Binoculars

Reviewed by Jason Whitehead for Best Binocular Reviews

Best Binocular Reviews Ratings:

Body Construction Quality: 8/10 85%
Body Stats: 9/10
Optical Components Quality: 9/10
Optical Stats: 8/10
Image Quality 9/10
Extras & Attention to Detail: 8/10

Compare Prices & Where to Buy the Vortex Binoculars

Main Specifications & Features:

Vortex 10x42 Viper HD Binoculars Video Review