Saturday, 9 August 2014

Vanguard Binocular Reviewer

We are all very excited here at NGB as we have formed our first partnership with an optics company. Vanguard optics have very kindly donated 2 pairs of binoculars to us in return for us reviewing them, and we decided that the best way to decide who gets the pair of Vanguard Endeavour ED 10X42's is to ask our members to send in reasons why they are the best choice to be given the binoculars. Below are the responses to the giveaway, NGB members are invited to vote for who they think deserves them most by sending their vote to committee member Liam Curson on Facebook. Voting will close at midnight on Tuesday 12th August. Once a winner has been selected, they will be sent the binoculars and will write a detailed review of the product for our blog.

Oliver Reville
I believe I should receive the Vanguard binoculars partly due to need but mostly due to my suitability to write an unbiased and in depth review of them.
Through my work with one stop nature I have had to test and review hundreds of pairs of binoculars over the last 2 1/2 years and my independent reviews have been highly praised for accuracy and detail.
Aside from this I do not currently own a pair of binoculars of my own and with a highly important trip to Georgia coming up I feel a pair of my own as necessary, but funds do not allow this to happen in the near future.

James Common
Birding has always been a big part of my personal life but lately has become to main focus of my professional one too. As you all know I’ve spent the last few months as the assistant ranger at St. Abbs Head where the majority of my time has been spent researching auks and pointing out a host of other goodies to visitors, whether they be distant passage seabirds or a Minke.  The only thing that has made the job difficult is my lack of “decent bins” having be forced to use a pair of knackered old RSPB ones I was gifted some years ago (my sturdy old Bushnell’s broke a few years ago whilst Chough counting on Islay). As many of you may know good bins are must whilst seawatching, even more so when you’re seawatching with a purpose. Whether that be counts, surveys or indeed just to point out a distant Manxie to a passing visitor. With my current bins even the most obvious of birds (gannets and such) appear little more than a dull blur past 200m making it difficult to fulfil any many of the basic tasks I’ve been trusted to carry out. Add to that the fact they’re pretty much useless at dawn and dusk or in dreary weather and you see why I’d take the time to write this!

After leaving St. Abbs in a month or so I hope to carry on my seabird work by applying to paid positions on the Farnes, May or a similar setting and as such seawatching is bound to become a much greater part of my life though with my current knaff bins (no offense to the RSPB) I’d struggle picking out a large gull, never mind a Corys or Sooty Shearwater. I wouldn’t normally apply for free stuff as I’m sure there are much more deserving folk among the members of NGB but given my need for new bins and my inability to afford them due to the costs of long term volunteering and student debt I thought I’d give it a go!

Alexander Mackintosh
I really need these binoculars! My pair I use now are 6 years old and are crumbling as we speak! I have asked my Dad for a new pair of binoculars but he says that they are to expensive...
If you could give me a pair of vanguard binoculars I would be exceedingly happy and it would change everything! I believe my case is bigger than anyone else due to my rubbish pair I have at the moment I couldn't thank you any more! I am on the verge of slowing down my birding attitude if i can't get a new one!
Also my review would be of good quality due to me having a blog already. Please can I have a new pair I'd do anything for a new one

Iain Challis
I’m currently studying a degree in Wildlife Media at Cumbria university, to follow my dreams and pursue a career in the wildlife film-making industry.
I spend every spare second of my life watching wildlife in the countryside, and I can’t imagine anything better in the near future, than a new pair of binoculars… that actually work.

A good review need to be relevant. It needs to tell people what they NEED to hear, not what they WANT to hear.
The Vanguard Endeavour features would be tested in the real world, if tested by myself.

So these binoculars feature waterproofing?
That’s a nice selling point but how would it standup to torrential downpours in the Lake District?

 Lightweight and easy to hold?
Well how about I tell after a long weekend backpacking through the Scottish forests?

Strong durable design?
Well i’ll certainly be testing that in the wilderness!

If I reviewed these binoculars, I would test them properly; Letting people know how they perform in situations that are familiar to wildlife watchers alike. Situations that can be related to.
But as a wildlife photographer + film-maker, my passion is the wildlife.
Getting the shots is a nice touch, but the real achievement is just being able to see the wonders of nature, one species at a time;
These binoculars would be a much welcomed partner for my adventures, and my adventures would be enthusiastically shared with everyone.

Jonathan Scragg
As any student can attest to you don’t have a whole lot of free cash throughout the year, it is more a case of struggling to keep your bank balance in positive figures. Due to this I haven’t owned a pair of binoculars for over a year now when my old pair of Nikons finally gave up the ghost and disassembled themselves. Obviously these Vanguards would be invaluable to me in my Ecology course at university but it would be in my day to day birding that they would really aid me. From birding on patch each morning to doing survey work these binoculars would improve my birding and hopefully one day their gaze might one day fall onto a self-found mega.

 As part of my work as founder and vice-chairman of NGB I have wrote plenty of articles, documents and blog posts meaning I have a well-developed writing style in a professional manor. I have yet to write a proper optics review so I would revel in the challenge and ensure I use the binoculars every day to get to know every aspect and feature of them to deliver a full and detailed review.

Danni Gilroy
Great news about the two pairs of free binoculars from Vanguard! I thought I may as well get over the shyness and put myself forward for the 10x42 pair you're advertising. Reasons why I need them? Well I've been birding for two years now, and don't actually own my own pair of bins. It's an expensive hobby! Fortunately, I work with birds for my PhD so I have access to some good Opticrons, however my PhD (and wage!) comes to an end in two months this would help me massively in continuing the hobby I have so very much fallen in love with.

Why would I be the best person to review them? Because I'm brand new and shiny to getting my hands on Vanguard optics. At work we have access to opticron and swarvo's, but I've never heard of this brand so would be keen to try them out (and subsequently, recommend them to my department of ornithologists and their field teams...) Also, I've only ever used x8 not x10, so this would also be pretty neat to try out to see which is the better size to use. I'd additionally like to do a sort of 'getting into birding- tips for newbies' blog for the NGB page if given a chance…

AJ Perry
I feel I would benefit from these binoculars as I am new to bird watching and do not have the necessary means to invest in a quality pair of my own. My only pair of binoculars are a pair from the second world war owned by my granddad, and as my interest develops, I feel a newer and more up to date pair would benefit me encourage my interest in the hobby greatly.

I would be a good person to give a neutral and unbiased review of these binoculars as I have no previous conceptions of which brands are regarded as the best. Because of this I would be able to assess the binoculars qualities on functionality alone, without preconceptions of brand popularity.

Conor John
This year, being given the huge responsibility of heading UBC I hope to bring lots of other people into birding, in the same way birding got me out of halls and with new friends in first year!

I do have a pair of binoculars, but one pair between a large group of UBC members (many who don't own a pair of binoculars and are new to birding) is going to be a struggle. So to have a spare pair that I can lend out to other UBC birders would be a huge advantage and would help bring more members in and improve their skills. The bins would be used by new and existing members from last year who don't have bins, meaning more people can get out together and enjoy birding that little bit more!

Thérèse O'Hagan-Smyth
Regularly getting blinded by my binoculars from the jagged perished rubber eyecups and being laughed at in hides for the state of my bins was amusing to begin with but is starting to wear a little thin. I love my decades old binoculars but I have come to accept recently that they're really no longer suitable as anything other than a heritage piece. A new pair of binoculars would give me the chance to encounter less eye injuries, less mocking and hopefully more fantastic birds.


  1. These binoculars were won by Jonathan Scragg and he received them in the post today. A review will be on the blog within a month.

  2. Wasp dudes! Amazing stuff continues the good work.

  3. Your contents are a lot more than adequate for me.

  4. Good information thank for share, if you want to know about spooting scope Click here to view

  5. Thanks for the awesome reviews. It’s really helped me to understand the major difference between ordinary binoculars vs digital. Like your blog and writing mate
    Interesting Binoculars In UAE.