Introduction

New year, new review. This time, I will compare the classic Vortex Diamondback 8×42 and Hawke Endurance ED 8×42. These two binoculars have a standard configuration 8×42, suitable for everyday and all-round use, both for hunting and bird watching. Many manufacturers are producing binoculars in 8×42 configuration, either in entry level class or premium class. Both binoculars are the leaders in the entry level class.

Vortex Diamondback 8x42 VS Hawke Endurance ED 8x42
Vortex Diamondback 8×42 VS Hawke Endurance ED 8×42 binoculars

The Diamondback series by Vortex is a well-known series of binoculars with excellent optical performance while still retaining the lower price. They are offered in several configurations, from 8×28, 8×32, 8×42 to 10×28, 10×32, 10×42, 10×50 and 12×50.

Hawke Endurance ED binoculars feature a special ED = extra-low dispersion glass that decreases chromatic aberration and improves a quality of the image. Models from this series are one of the best buys in this price range. Offered in compact form with 32 mm lens, standard configuration with 42 mm objective lens and for low light use with 50 mm lens.

I have previously reviewed the same two binoculars, but in different configuration 8×32. Find it here: https://huntingbinoculars.net/2018/04/11/vortex-diamondback-8×32-vs-hawke-endurance-ed-8×32/

Vortex Diamondback 8x42 VS Hawke Endurance ED 8x42 
Hawke Endurance ED 8×42 and Vortex Diamondback 8×42 in a box

Size & Weight

  Vortex Diamondback 8×42 Hawke Endurance ED 8×42
Weight: 654 g 645 g
Width: 120 mm 125 mm
Length: 144 mm 146 mm
Max interpupillary distance: 73 mm 73 mm

At first glance, we can see that they are quite similar in size and appearance. They have almost the same lengths, Hawke Endurance being 2 mm longer and a bit wider. The weight of Vortex Diamondback is a bit higher than stated on the box, making it 10 grams heavier than Hawke. But when comparing these two with other 8×42 binoculars, they are still on the lighter side.

Vortex Diamondback 8x42 VS Hawke Endurance ED 8x42 
Vortex Diamondback 8×42 VS Hawke Endurance ED 8×42

Both are well made with aesthetic design. Hawke Endurance is available in two different colors – black and dark green (I tested the green version, but generally they’re the same), while Vortex comes in only one color – greenish grey color with black features. Both are covered with a matt rubber and have details made from plastic. On the side, there are dotted bumps to secure your grip. Due to the ergonomic design, they can be easily held in one hand. The bridge design, however, differentiates between the two. Hawke Endurance ED central hinge has a longer design, with the central focusing wheel closer to the eyepieces. The screw for the tripod adapter stands out on the Hawke, making it easier to unscrew, while with Vortex, unscrewing is a bit more difficult, I had to do it with both hands.

Vortex Diamondback 8x42 VS Hawke Endurance ED 8x42 
Vortex Diamondback 8×42 and Hawke Endurance ED 8×42 from the side

When looking at the whole design, I prefer the Endurance as the entire coating looks like it was made from one piece of rubber. To make it more interesting, the rubber has different textures. Diamondback has some features in black color (neck strap loops and bridge) which breaks the whole green rubber look.

Optical Properties

  Vortex Diamondback 8×42 Hawke Endurance ED 8×42
Prism type: Schmidt/Pechan Schmidt/Pechan
Lens Diameter: 42 mm 42
Magnification: 8x 8x
Variable Magnification: no no
Coatings: Fully multi-coated Fully multi-coated
Close focus: 1.37 m 2 m
Field of View: 119.8 m/1000 m 129 m/1000 m

8×42 is a classic configuration, perfect for all-round daytime use. Either if you are a hunter, a birdwatcher, traveler or simply a nature enthusiast, these two binoculars are an excellent choice. 8x magnification gives you a nice overview of the surroundings and a stable image without the need of a tripod. The objective lens in the size of 42 mm provides enough light for comfortable observations in the daytime or early evening.

Vortex Diamondback 8x42 VS Hawke Endurance ED 8x42 
Vortex Diamondback 8×42 VS Hawke Endurance ED 8×42

Both binoculars have a Roof prism, Schmidt-Pechan to be more specific. This contributes to their compactness and small weight. Lenses on both are fully multi-coated.

Vortex applied multiple anti-reflective coatings on all lenses to increase light transmission and a phase correction coating on prisms to enhance resolution and contrast of a viewing image.

Thanks to the special ED glass = extra-low dispersion glass, Hawke Endurance has minimal chromatic aberration and prevented color fringing.

Close focusing distance is measured at 2 meters which is still short enough for closer observations of insects, butterflies and other details. Field of view is stated to be wider on the Hawke Endurance, but when looking through both of binoculars, the field of view seems a little bit wider on the Vortex Diamondback. It is, however, wide enough on both for observing the landscapes and large open areas.

Focus Properties

  Vortex Diamondback 8×42 Hawke Endurance ED 8×42
Focusing System: Central Central
Central Wheel Grasp: 7/10 8/10
Central Wheel Rotation: 8/10 7/10
Diopter Setting: Right eye Right eye
Diopter Range: +/- 4  
Central Wheel Diameter: 29 mm 30 mm
Central Wheel Length: 26 mm 25 mm
Total Revolution: 630° 710°
Bridge Length (Without the Central Wheel Length) 35 mm 47 mm
Vortex Diamondback 8x42 VS Hawke Endurance ED 8x42  
Vortex Diamondback 8×42 VS Hawke Endurance ED 8×42

There is a central focusing system on both binoculars and a right-eye diopter setting. The focusing wheels are quite similar, both big and coated in black soft rubber with deep ridges for better grip. Both knobs rotate silently and smoothly. I like the turning a bit better on the Vortex, as it’s sturdier and seems more reliable. It won’t turn easily when hit accidentally. That’s why I rated it with 8/10 and the Endurance ED with 7/10. But the look and grasp of the knob are better on the Hawke Endurance, in my opinion, as the ridges are positioned all along the knob. When I tested them with gloves on, the handling was better with Hawke Endurance. Therefore, I rated the grasp of the wheel with 8/10 and the Diamondback with 7/10.

Vortex Diamondback 8x42 VS Hawke Endurance ED 8x42

The diopter setting ring is thicker and the handling is more comfortable with Vortex Diamondback. The turning is, however, not so sturdy and is definitely better on the Endurance, although its knob is smaller, and the grip is really bad. The setting for the diopter is better marked on the Hawke, with a +, – and 0, while on the Diamondback there’s only a dot.

Eyepiece Properties

  Vortex Diamondback 8×42 Hawke Endurance ED 8×42
Eyepiece type: Multi-positioned Multi-positioned
Number of Click-stops: 2 2
Eye relief: 18 mm 18 mm
Exit pupil: 5.3 mm 5.3 mm
Firmness: 8/10 7/10
Quality: 8/10 7/10
Suitable for Eye Glass Wearers: Yes Yes
External Diameter: 39 mm 41 mm
Internal Diameter: 23 mm 21 mm

As it’s usual for binoculars nowadays, they both have a multi-positioned eyepiece with 2 click-stops, making them suitable for those who wear glasses. The rubber is smooth and hard, but a little uncomfortable when pressed against the face. As far as the quality goes, I prefer the Vortex eyepieces, as they seem to be more reliable and rubber used on them seems more durable. That’s why I rated them with 8/10. The eyepieces on the Hawke Endurance seem reliable and durable, but the design and quality appear worse than with the Vortex. That’s why I rated the Hawke’s firmness and quality of the eyepieces with 7/10.

Vortex Diamondback 8x42 VS Hawke Endurance ED 8x42 
Eyepieces on Vortex Diamondback 8×42 and Hawke Endurance ED 8×42

General Properties

  Vortex Diamondback 8×42 Hawke Endurance ED 8×42
Housing Material: Plastic/Rubber/ Metal details Magnesium alloy
Armoring: Rubber Rubber
Quality of Armoring: 8/10 8/10
Waterproof: Yes Yes
Submersible: Yes Yes
Filled With: Argon Nitrogen
Number of Colors: 1 (Green) 2 (Green and Black)
Tripod Adaptable: Yes (adapter sold separately) Yes (adapter sold separately)
Made in: China China
Introduced in: 2016  
Warranty period: Lifetime warranty 10 years
MRSP Price 319 EUR 289 EUR

As I have mentioned before, both binoculars are very similar to each other as the outer appearance is concerned. Both have a rubber coated exterior with plastic details and bumps on the side to help with a better grip. Both also have a thumb rest on the bottom part and the same position of a focusing ring and diopter setting ring. The armoring is well made on both, long lasting and durable which is important for long time use. In case you drop any of these binoculars to the ground, I believe the rubber armouring would prevent any real damage done to internal parts. I evaluated the quality of the armour on both with an 8/10.

Vortex Diamondback 8x42 VS Hawke Endurance ED 8x42 
Vortex Diamondback 8×42 VS Hawke Endurance ED 8×42

Hawke Endurance ED is made from magnesium alloy which contributes to smaller weight, while Vortex Diamondback is made from plastic and rubber with some metal details.

Normally, both binoculars are waterproof and purged with dry gas to prevent any internal fogging. Vortex used an Argon gas and Hawke used a Nitrogen gas. There is no big difference between them, both get the job done.

Vortex Diamondback comes with objective covers and eyepiece cover, all made from rubber. Objective lens covers can be removed from the barrels, which is a pretty useful addition. They come in a hard, padded case with a strap for extra protected storage. To ensure a comfortable carrying, there’s a padded neck strap added in the package. They also included a cleaning cloth and instructions.

Vortex Diamondback 8x42 VS Hawke Endurance ED 8x42 
The accessories of Vortex Diamondback 8×42

The accessories are quite similar with the Hawke Endurance ED. There are objective lens covers, and eyepiece covers, also made from rubber. The objective lens covers are, however, attached to the barrels and cannot be removed. The storing case with a strap is hard and padded. There’s also included a padded strap for easier carrying, a cleaning cloth and instructions.

Vortex Diamondback 8x42 VS Hawke Endurance ED 8x42 
The accessories of Hawke Endurance ED 8×42

Vortex Diamondback 8×42 and Hawke Endurance ED 8×42 are both made in China and can be mounted on a tripod. The difference in price is minimal. Vortex comes with the best warranty currently offered on the market – VIP warranty, as they call it. It basically means that Vortex will repair or replace your damaged or defective product at no charge for the life of the product. Hawke, on the other hand, offers 10 years of warranty.

Group Test

How we made a test

We made a test with a group of 8 people with very diverse knowledge of sports optics. Some had previous experiences with binoculars and other almost none. We compared central and edge sharpness, glare, real Field of view, eye-box and overall impression. Everyone in the test group tested binoculars individually without being influenced by other people. We also covered down any brand signs on binoculars, so no one was influenced by knowing which company manufactured which.

  Vortex Diamondback 8×42 Hawke Endurance ED 8×42
Central sharpness: 1/8 7/8
Edge sharpness: 1/8 7/8
Glare: 1/8 7/8
Real FOV: 7/8 1/8
Eye-box: 4/8 4/8
Overall impression: 0/8 8/8

The reviewers almost all agreed that the Hawke Endurance ED has better central and edge sharpness, while Vortex Diamondback boasts a bigger field of view. Hawke also lost 1 vote in the category of glare. As it concerns the flexibility of the eye-box, the reviewers were split between the two. In the end, Hawke Endurance ED left a better impression, as all 8 people decided for it. Its bright image, vivid colors make it an absolute winner.

Conclusion

To conclude, both binoculars are worth the price. They are of standard size and weight and perform well. They are a perfect choice as an everyday, all-round binoculars. It’s difficult to choose just one as they are quite similar, especially on the outside. But to confirm the test that was made with my test group, I will have to choose the Hawke Endurance ED. When you look through them, the image is sharper and more vivid. Even though the field of view is wider with the Vortex Diamondback, I still prefer the Hawke.

Vortex Diamondback, on the other hand, has a VIP warranty, which is a BIG advantage.

Disclaimer

This test wasn’t financed and is unbiased. As a wildlife enthusiast interested in sport optics, I made this test because I would like to see how binoculars perform and if they meet the advertised expectations. With this test, I also hope that it will help people choose the right binoculars for their personal use. I am not in any way connected with the manufacturers of sports optics and I’m not personally in favor of any particular brand.

In the end, I would like to thank Optics-trade.eu for lending me these binoculars for this test and for letting me use their videos.

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