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Binoculars review

2011-05-12 16:01:51

Vortex Kaibab HD 15x56

The Kaibab HD series of Vortex binoculars consists of only one pair of binoculars with the parameters of 15x56. It features low-dispersion glass objectives and BaK-4 glass roof prisms, set in the Schmidt-Pechan system and phase-correction coated. The producer claims all air-to-glass surfaces are coated by multilayer antireflection XR coatings which are supposed to ensure a high transmission level and good colour rendition.

The buyer gets caps, a strap, a case with its own strap and an original tripod adapter included in the product bundle. The set of binoculars comes with a lifetime guarantee.

Vortex Kaibab HD 15x56Vortex Kaibab HD 15x56Vortex Kaibab HD 15x56Vortex Kaibab HD 15x56
Manufacturer:
Vortex
web site
Distribution / Sales:
FOTOZAKUPY.PL
web site
e-mail
ul. Krakowska 4
42-600 Tarnowskie Góry
 
Basic parameters:
Magnification Lens diameter Angular field of view Prisms Eye relief Weight Price
15x 56mm 75/1000(4.3o) BaK-4/roof 17.4 mm 1250g 4244PLN
More information about this product

Results of the review

Real front lens diameter Left:   56.01+/- 0.05mm
Right:  55.97+/- 0.05mm
8/8.0
Real magnification 15.08+/- 0.05x 3/3.0
Transmission 89.2+/- 1.5% 12.5/15.0
Chromatic aberration Noticeable in the centre, large on the edge. 3.6/10.0
Astigmatism A bit lower than medium. 6/10.0
Distortion The distance of the first curved line from the field centre compared to the field of view radius: 75% ± 4% 9/10.0
Coma Appears in the distance of about 65-70%, and reaches the borderline between high and medium level on the very edge. 6.1/10.0
Blurring at the edge of the FOV The blur occurs in the distance of 97% +\- 2% from the field of vision centre. 10/10.0
Darkening at the edge the FOV Low. 4/5.0
Whiteness of the image The highest transmission for yellow light, about 10% higher than for blue or red light. 3.9/5.0
Collimation Perfect. 5/5.0
Internal reflections
Left: Right:
Vortex Kaibab HD 15x56 - Internal reflections - Left Vortex Kaibab HD 15x56 - Internal reflections - Right
No false pupils. A bit lighter background.
3.8/5.0
Housing Quite big and solid. Rubber near objectives a bit loose, it sticks out easily. Greenish, rubberized padding, sticks to your hand well. Comfortable to look through. Rubberized eyecups with 4 extension stops. Some grease inside the eyecups. The binoculars made in Japan. 7/8.0
Focusing Huge, comfortable, ribbed central wheel. Full turn takes as many as 760 degrees. Big and comfortable ring on the right eyepiece. It moves the outer element. 4.5/5.0
Tripod There is a comfortable exit and, additionally, we get an original tripod adapter included in box. 3/3.0
Interpupilary distance from 60.2 to 75.7mm 4/6.0
Closest focusing distance 5.1 m 2/2.0
Eyepieces FOV Apparent field of view of 62.9 degrees. 7/10.0
Field of view Measured by us amounted to 4.17 +\- 0.04 degrees and it was a bit narrower than stated in specifications. A significant field of view for this class of equipment. 4.5/8.0
Quality of the interior of the barrels Dark, matt inner tubes. Black bottom. Few tiny specks of dust inside plus scratches on the right and on the left prism as well. 3.5/5.0
Vignetting
Left: Right:
Vortex Kaibab HD 15x56 - Vignetting - Left Vortex Kaibab HD 15x56 - Vignetting - Right
OL: 0.0%, OR: 0.0%
Nice circular pupils.
8/8.0
Prisms quality High quality BaK-4. 8/8.0
Antireflection coatings Green-pink on objectives and eyepieces. Greenish on prisms. Low intensity. 5/5.0
Warranty [years] lifetime 6/6.0
Final result 137.4/170
80.8%
Econo result 0pkt.
 

Summary


Pros:
  • solid casing and good build quality,
  • wide field of view for such a magnification,
  • good transmission
  • sharp image in practically the whole field of view,
  • low brightness loss on the edge of the field,
  • splendid distortion correction,
  • perfectly circular exit pupils on a dark background,
  • good quality prisms and coatings,
  • tripod adapter as a part of the product bundle,
  • lifetime warranty.

Cons:
  • noticeable chromatic aberration, especially on the edge of the field of vision.


There are not many sets of binoculars with 15-15x magnification and 50-60 mm objective diameter on the market. We managed to find some, though, in order to compare the tested device to them.. As you can notice when it comes to basic parameters the group is quite homogeneous. Only the Docter sticks out a bit with its objective diameter and weight and the Leica differs in price – mainly because of the rangefinder used. Fields of view are quite decent in this group (eyepieces on the level of 60 degrees or more) and range from 4.0 to 4.4 degrees.

The Vortex Kaibab HD 15x56 is not a cheap device, quite the opposite in fact – the price of over 1000 Euro is impressive even in the case of such an objective as big as 56 mm. It is a segment for the most serious market players. Can you justify such a steep price? It seems that yes, you can. An average chromatic aberration correction level is the only slip-up of the tested Kaibab HD, being low despite using low-dispersion elements in objective lenses.

In the case of other categories, we don’t see any weak results, only average, good or very good ones. Overall the device got 137 points in our test. It is a score only a tad over 1 point worse than that of the Docter Nobilem 15x60 BGA, so praised by us - a set of binoculars with a similar price tag, a significantly greater weight, being much less handy. If you are interested in such parameters, you can’t afford the Swarovski SLC New 15x56 and you are terrified seeing the dimensions and the weight of the Docter, the Vortex Kaibab HD 15x56 will be a good choice for sure.