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While Vortex makes a great product across the line, the Crossfire and Diamondback binocular models are often stacked against each other for quality comparison. For the purpose of this review, we chose to contrast the 8×42 model of each type. At a glance, the specs of each product look almost identical. There are slight fluctuations in size and weight, and they’re stylistically different, but the most noticeable feature dividing the two is the price point. The Diamondback model is much higher priced than the Crossfire. While the Diamondback has a better close focus, a wider field of vision, and weighs slightly less, it isn’t completely clear what makes it more expensive. Is the Diamondback better than the Crossfire? Which one would work best for you? We’ve broken it down so you can make an informed decision on buying the best model for your budget.
If you look at the lens specifications, these two models are identical. But the close focus range of the Diamondback is a sharp 5 feet, versus the 7.5 feet of the Crossfire. This is a significant focal difference, but if you’re primarily going to be glassing at long range, this may not be important. On the other hand, the Diamondback’s 420-foot field of vision is a fair boost over the Crossfire’s 393 feet. Both models are waterproof, nitrogen purged to prevent fogging, and they both feature roof prisms for straight, clear sight. Most users cite clarity, steadiness, and comfort as selling points for both models, while excellent brightness is typically only mentioned on the Diamondback. Vortex explains this as an improvement in the optical system with the Diamondback series, which has reduced chromatic aberration (the fuzzy halos around an image) and improved brightness and color.
The Diamondback offers more lens strength varieties than does the Crossfire, but in comparing them to their equivalent varieties, the Diamondback is more expensive across the board. Expect to pay roughly $50 to $100 more for a Diamondback over an equivalent Crossfire. Because the Diamondback has more varieties, though, you’ve got more of a price spread, with the 8×28 model being least expensive.
Both the Crossfire and the Diamondback are widely considered durable products. Their rubberized armor makes them impervious to general dropping and bumping, and both are 100% waterproof and fog proof. The adjustable focus dials and comfortable eyecups are made with durability in mind, as well, and each moveable part feels sturdy and well-built. Both come with carrying cases, a thick strap, and lens covers. The carrying case for the Diamondback is even custom molded to keep your binoculars well-protected.
Multi-coated lenses, rubber grip, waterproofing, fog proofing, and a comfortable, easy-to-carry weight are only a few of the standout design elements of these two Vortex products. The roof prism design also means you get a more compact and ergonomic-feeling design. Both feature twist-up eyecups and a right eye diopter to easily adjust your comfort and image clarity. The center focus wheel is also sturdy and feels tight enough that you can make small, steady adjustments. Overall, most users cite that both designs are well-constructed and high-quality.
Comparing these products might make it even more difficult to decide, but the clear differences between the two are overall quality and economy. If you are most concerned about your wallet, the Crossfire is going to win the day. It’s less expensive and still a great, durable product. If power and quality are highest on your list, the Diamondback series is the clear winner. But both models are excellent Vortex products, so let’s break down the pros and cons of each product to help you make that final decision.
The price point on the Crossfire series is a clear winner, with a savings of $50 to $100 on the comparable Diamondback models. It also matches most of the quality and durability features found in the Diamondback. As far as your bang for the buck, the Crossfire edges out the competition.
The more advanced optical system in the Diamondback series means a better field of view and brighter images. For image quality, the Diamondback is best. The 8×42 model is also slightly lighter and more compact, though no less durable. It wins in the range of magnification options over the Crossfire. It also comes with a nicer, molded carrying case. For best quality, the Diamondback wins the contest.
Lower image quality and fewer magnification options make the Crossfire lag. While there’s not a huge difference in field of vision between the models, the Crossfire does fall behind in that category.
The price point is much higher for the Diamondback, though it doesn’t offer much extra in comparison to the Crossfire. You may not be getting as much extra quality for the money as you are with the Crossfire.
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