Vortex Optics Diamondback Spotting Scope Review
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- Waterproof and fogproof
- Rugged and built to last
- Lightweight and compact
- Almost impossible to get a sharp image at maximum magnification
- Packaged insecurely, without any foam protection
- Ineffective for spotting shots beyond 100 yards
Howdy, and thanks for checking out my reivew of the Vortex Optics Diamondback Spotting Scope. I’ve generally been impressed with past Vortex purchases, so I was eager to try out the Diamondback and see if it lived up to the reputation. This particular model features an 80mm objective lens and an angled eyepiece. Let’s skip the rest of the chatter and get straight to putting this spotting scope through its paces.
What Do I Get For My Money?
When you buy a spotting scope, you want to know what comes in the box. After all, it’s a sizeable investment and you want to make sure you can make the most out of it. Here’s what Vortex includes in the packaging:
- The Vortex Optics Diamondback Spotting Scope
- A soft carrying case
- Lens cap
- Cleaning cloth
- Instruction manual
You don’t get a tripod, but I’ve found that most of those bundled tripods are crap anyways. The carrying case is well constructed and offers some protection for your spotting scope. What concerned me, though, was that there were no foam inserts to keep the spotting scope from bouncing around in the box during transit.
How Powerful Is the Spotting Scope?
This 80mm objective lens spotting scope offers variable zoom from 20X to 60X. It’s good for spotting wildlife or sighting in a rifle, but only out to about 100 yards. Beyond that, and with maximum magnification, the image quality suffers greatly. There’s no chromatic aberration, but images at 60X magnification are blurry and almost impossible to get into sharp focus.
You’ll find that the eye relief ranges from 16.5mm to 20mm, depending on zoom, which is fairly comfortable and generous, even for eyeglass wearers. The field of view at maximum magnification is 51 feet from 1,000 yards, and at 20X magnification you get 105 feet of view from 1,000 yards. The close focus distance is 22 feet, which is fairly nice if you want to get a close up view of something that isn’t very far away.
How Easy is the Diamondback to Use?
This spotting scope is quite easy to use, with a central focus knob and a magnification wheel built into the eyepiece. It features an angled eyepiece, which is handy when you want to do birdwatching or use the spotting scope for backyard astronomy. The tripod mount rotates, so you can adjust the angle just the way you like it.
How Well Does the Spotting Scope Gather Light?
With the 80mm mammoth objective lens, this puppy gathers light like nobody’s business. The optics are fully multicoated, and the spotting scope is equally comfortable in daylight conditions or at night stargazing. Unfortunately, you’re somewhat limited by not being able to get a sharp image at maximum zoom, but I was still able to make out the Galilean moons around Jupiter with the spotting scope.
How Are the Optics and Focus on This Model?
Vortex Optics has built this spotting scope using a porro prism design, and has fully multicoated the optics. The prism glass is BaK–4 for great light transmission and clarity, and Vortex has correctly applied phase correction coatings to prevent phase shift. From 20X magnification out to about 50X, the resolution, crispness, contrast, and color reproduction are spot on. It’s only beyond 50X magnification that sharpness issues arise.
The focus and magnification wheels spin smoothly, yet offer enough resistance to prevent accidentally bumping your image out of focus.
What’s the Housing Like on the Scope?
Vortex has protected the Diamondback with rubber armor, and placed the controls precisely where they should be. Even if you wear gloves, the focus knob and magnification wheel are easy to use. The rotating tripod ring is very nice for adjusting your angle of view.
How Durable is the Vortex Optics Diamondback?
Vortex backs the Diamondback with their VIP Unconditional Lifetime Warranty, so you can rest assured that if it breaks, they’ll fix it. The glass is both waterproof and fogproof, since the lenses are O-ring sealed and the optics chamber is nitrogen purged. The rubber armor provides ample shock protection, so you don’t have to worry about short falls destroying your investment.