Review: Vortex Fury 8x42

A great mid-priced bird-worthy binocular.

Several weeks ago I posted a review of the mid-sized Vortex Fury 6.5x32 and am now pleased to add my impressions of the bigger brother in this line -- the Fury 8x42. The short of it is that  people at Vortex really got everything right with this new line of binoculars. I love the 8x42 and think they are a “best buy.” It is still hard for me to believe that it is possible to produce a binocular this good for $350.

Overall impressions: The Fury 8x42 sports an attractive green armor which extends over the strap lugs. Covering the strap lugs means that the lugs will never be in the way and will never chafe your hands. This design feature also forms a natural stop for your hands which I find more comfortable than the gimmicky thumb rests which have become popular in recent years. I passed my test pair around to birders with large and small hands, all of whom found them to be very comfortable and pleasing to hold. Weighing in at 25.7 ounces, these bins are very light for a full-sized binocular and very comfortable to carry for a full day of birding.

Focus, Eye Relief, and Field of View: The focus is fast, so getting on a moving bird is easy. The focus wheel is large and well-placed. It rotates 1 ¼ turns and the system seems to just “snap” into focus with minimal back-and-forth adjustments. The diopter adjustment is located in the focus wheel and locks into place. The field of view is 358 feet at 1,000 yards, which is quite good.

I was able to see almost the entire field while wearing eyeglasses. Neither I, nor any of my testers, had any problems with image blackout. I found the twist-up eyecups to be well-shaped and comfortable. The eyecups have one intermediate click stop in the middle of their travel. I would like to see Vortex add one additional click stop closer to the fully retracted position because that’s where inexperienced users are most likely to experience image blackout.

These bins come with a very comfortable neck strap, a well-designed food guard (mistakenly called a “rain guard” by the manufacturer), and a very nice field case. Like most binoculars these days, they also come with objective lens covers.

Image Quality: Like its mid-sized brother, the Fury 8x42 produces an absolutely stunning image which belies its modest price, natural color rendition, and good contrast. The center two thirds of the field is outstanding. There is some spherical and chromatic aberration toward the outer third of the image which a less persnickety person is unlikely to notice.

The only place where these bins come up slightly short is in the somewhat shallow depth of focus.  Considering these binocular's many positives, this isn't a huge deficit.  It means, however, that you will have to do more fussing with the focus wheel to keep a moving bird in focus. 

Summary: In short, here is another model from Vortex to make anyone question the wisdom of ever spending more on binoculars. I bonded with them instantly and continued to love them through several long days of birding. I was, frankly, sorry to have to return my loners.  If you are shopping in this price range, the Vortex Fury 8x42 belongs at the top of your list.

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