PROS / The Vanguard Spirit XF 1042 produces the clearest and sharpest images out of all the binoculars we reviewed.
CONS / The company does not offer a FAQs page to help answer questions before you have to reach out to customer support.
VERDICT / The Vanguard Spirit XF is one of the best pairs of binoculars because it produces unparalleled images and has a versatile design, allowing you to use it for a variety of activities.
The Vanguard Spirit XF is a versatile pair of binoculars that's ideal for outdoor activities because of its rugged design and pristine optical qualities. This set of binoculars produces some of the sharpest and clearest images out of all the optics we tested. The Vanguard Spirit XF is designed for outdoor activities such as hiking, camping, birdwatching and hunting. However, the versatile design also allows you to use it at sporting events, in the theater or for similar activities. Ultimately, the precise optics and durable design make this pair of binoculars one of the best, earning our Top Ten Reviews Silver Award.
Optics & Viewing
In our testing process, we conducted a survey in which participants rated each pair of binoculars based on its optical qualities. Without exception, every participant found the Vanguard Spirit XF to produce the clearest images with edge-to-edge sharpness. This alone is enough to make this pair of binoculars one of the best we reviewed.
The Vanguard Spirit XF has 10x magnification, meaning objects that you view appear 10 times larger than they would with the unaided eye. This level of magnification, also known as power, lends itself well to a number of different activities, such as birdwatching or viewing your favorite player on the field.
The objective lens is 42 millimeters in diameter, which helps create bright images, as more light can enter through the binoculars. The exit pupil of this pair of binoculars is 4.2 millimeters wide. This specification, like the objective lens, gives you an idea of how bright images appear as you look through the binoculars. Because of the size of the objective lenses and exit pupils, you can use the binoculars in low light settings and still get a fairly clear image. This means you can take these binoculars hunting and use them to spot or track your game, even at dusk or dawn.
This set of binoculars has a relatively wide field of view at 111 meters, which means you can track fast movement. This is useful when you watch games at the stadium, birds as they fly through tree branches or any sort of fast-paced movement that you want to track.
The Vanguard Spirit XF 1042 uses BAK-4 prisms, which direct more light toward your eyes, resulting in brighter, crisper images than you'd get from binoculars that use other prism materials. BAK-4 prisms also produce sharp edge-to-edge viewing, so you get less blurriness around the edges of the lenses. The prism is also phase coated, a necessity for roof prism binoculars, as it helps prevent blurry or fuzzy images. Additionally, the lenses themselves are multicoated, which allows more light to pass through them as opposed to reflecting off of them. This optical feature also results in bright images.
Design & Usability
The weight of a pair of binoculars is one of the major indicators of how comfortable it is to carry and use, as heavy binoculars can cause fatigue in your hands and arms after extended use. Fortunately, the Vanguard Spirit FX is one of the lightest pairs of binoculars we reviewed, weighing in at 22.93 ounces. This is significantly lighter than 26 ounces, the average weight of all the binoculars we reviewed. This means the Vanguard Spirit FX doesn't cause arm or hand fatigue after extended use. If you still don't want to use the binoculars by hand, you can attach them to a tripod. All you need is a binocular tripod adapter, which isn't included with this model.
During our tests, our participants sometimes found the central focusing knob was a little stiff, but most had no trouble adjusting and using the binoculars in a matter of moments. This pair of binoculars uses the twist-up eyecup design, which allows you to quickly adjust the binoculars so that people who wear eyeglasses can use them. The eye relief is 16 millimeters, so if you don't wear glasses, you'll want to extend the eyecups fully before attempting to look through them.
The Vanguard Spirit XF is built with outdoor adventures in mind. Like all binoculars we reviewed, it has rubber armor to prevent excessive damage when it gets bumped or dropped, but unlike some other binoculars, it is both waterproof and fogproof. This means you don't have to worry about a little rain or condensation ruining the optics or prisms beyond repair. The lens caps also feel rugged and are easy to attach to protect the lenses.
Help & Support
Like all binocular manufacturers, Vanguard offers a limited lifetime warranty that protects your binoculars from defects due to poor craftsmanship. If you damage or modify the binoculars, the warranty is void. If you have questions or concerns about your binoculars, you can contact the company via email or over the phone. Unfortunately, the company does not offer a FAQs page on its website to answer some basic questions before you have to reach out to customer support. However, the company has a blog that it updates regularly with numerous articles. Vanguard does not currently offer live chat, a convenient and effective support option.
The Vanguard Spirit XF is an excellent pair of binoculars that combines strong optical qualities with a rugged chassis, meaning you can view the world around you in amazing quality while you're on the road, hiking the trail or out camping. Some of our survey participants found that adjusting the focus wasn't as smooth as it was with other binoculars, but most participants had no trouble with it at all. The Vanguard Spirit XF has excellent optics and all the design elements we look for, making it a strong choice in sport optics.