Binoculars review

Vanguard Spirit ED 10x42

Vanguard Spirit ED 10x42
25 September 2011
The ED Spirit series, produced by the Vanguard company, consists of three pairs of binoculars with the following parameters: 8x36, 8x42 and 10x42. All of them are small and handy roof prism instruments set in the Schmidt-Pechan system. The producer doesn’t boast of any special reflection coatings for the prisms so you can suspect that just layers of ordinary aluminum were used. All air-to-glass surfaces are supposed to be covered by multilayer antireflection coatings for a change.

The binoculars are waterproof and nitrogen-purged. They come with a life time warranty.

  • Lornetka Vanguard Spirit ED 10x42
  • Lornetka Vanguard Spirit ED 10x42
  • Lornetka Vanguard Spirit ED 10x42
  • Lornetka Vanguard Spirit ED 10x42
Manufacturer data


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Magnification Lens diameter Angular field of view Prisms Eye relief Weight Price
10 42 105/1000(6o) BaK-4/roof 16 mm 640 g 1299 PLN
Results of the review
Real front lens diameter Left:   41.97+/- 0.05 mm
Right:  41.99+/- 0.05 mm
8 / 8.0 pkt
Real magnification 9.72+/- 0.05x 3/3.0
Transmission 75+/- 1.5% 7.5/25.0
Chromatic aberration Medium in the centre, high on the edge. 3/10.0
Astigmatism Average. 5.8/10.0
Distortion The distance of the first curved line from the field centre compared to the field of view radius: 39% +\- 3% 4/10.0
Coma Appears in the distance of about 65% from the center of FoV and is higher than average at the edge. 5.5/10.0
Blurring at the edge of the FOV The blur occurs in the distance of 70% +\- 4% from the centre of field of view. 3/10.0
Darkening at the edge the FOV Noticeable. 2.8/5.0
Whiteness of the image Slanted transmission curve with a hollow for green light. 2.3/5.0
Collimation Perfect. 5/5.0
Internal reflections
Left: Right:
Vanguard Spirit ED 10x42 - Internal reflections - Left Vanguard Spirit ED 10x42 - Internal reflections - Right
Noticeable „teardrop” next to the proper exit pupil.
Housing Small, shapely, handy and stylish. Good, rough rubber padding so the binoculars are comfortable to handle and to look through. Rubberized eyecups with three click stops but can be set in between them too. The rubber doesn’t stick out near objectives. A surprisingly solid device for a pair of binoculars produced in China and sold at this price point. 8/8.0
Focusing Comfortable and ribbed central wheel which full range amounts to 250 degrees. It moves smoothly and is well-damped. A handy individual focus ring on the right eyepiece. It works properly and it moves the outer lens. 4.5/5.0
Tripod There is a comfortable tripod exit. 3/3.0
Interpupilary distance from 56.2 to 75.4mm 5/6.0
Closest focusing distance 2.65 m 1.5/2.0
Eyepieces FOV Apparent field of view of 57.3 deg (according to simple formula) and 53.2 deg (according to tangent formula). 9/20.0
Field of view Measured by us amounted to 5.90 +\- 0.05 degrees and it was just a tad smaller than stated in specifications. Typical field for this class of equipment. 5/8.0
Quality of the interior of the barrels Dark and mostly matt inside the inner tubes. Bottom quite dark but not black. Some fine specks of dust , mainly in the right inner tube. 4/5.0
Left: Right:
Vanguard Spirit ED 10x42 - Vignetting - Left Vanguard Spirit ED 10x42 - Vignetting - Right
OL: 3.67%, OR: 6.19%.
Significantly truncated exit pupils.
Prisms quality Good quality BaK-4. 8/8.0
Antireflection coatings Greenish everywhere, medium intensity. 4.5/5.0
Warranty [years] Life time warranty 6/6.0
Final result
114.4 / 190 pkt
Econo result 0pkt.


  • small, compact and stylish casing,
  • good blackening inside the inner tubes,
  • good quality prisms, made of BaK-4 glass,
  • sensible appearance of the area near the exit pupils,
  • decently corrected coma,
  • not very bothersome astigmatism,
  • life time warranty period.

  • noticeably truncated exit pupils,
  • too high chromatic aberration,
  • too weak transmission,
  • resolution of the image on the edge of the field should have been better.

The Vanguard Spirit ED 10x42 is a small, handy and shapely pair of binoculars. When it comes to its build quality it is really beyond reproach. The attention to details, workmanship, design, cleanliness and blackening can put to shame many more expensive instruments. If you add to these a life time warranty you can expect many years of problem-free usage. The ED glass, which the Vanguard boasts of, suggested that, despite small dimensions, you can count on good optics either. Unfortunately the way the exit pupils looked brought us back down to earth very quickly. They are significantly truncated - apparently keeping the dimensions of these binoculars small was performed at the cost of the prisms. It causes low image quality on the very edge of the field. What’s more, the ED glass was not helpful at all when it comes to the proper correction of the chromatic aberration which level is simply too high.

The antireflection coatings also doesn’t meet contemporary standards. A graph posted below, can prove their low level performance.

As the value of less than 90%, reached for red light, is good, for shorter wavelengths the binoculars fares worryingly worse. The transmission level a bit over 70% is really not a result you can expect in a contemporary set of binoculars. What’s more the differences between particular wavelengths on the level of 20% make proper colour rendering virtually impossible.

To sum up we get here many medium results, too few very good results and one or two slip-ups too many for this piece of binoculars to be near the top in our10x42 binoculars ranking.