Pros: Great ergonomics, excellent build quality and superb optics combine to make this the best Vanguard binocular yet. Sharp detailed views across an expansive field of view. Vivid contrast and natural colours with no colour fringing. New SK15 prisms give noticeably brighter view than predecessor. Protective hydrophobic coatings shield lenses and make cleaning a breeze.
Cons: Very hard to find much fault, everything feels like an improvement. Would have been good to see Vanguard incorporate the highest-transmission dielectric coatings on their new prisms as others already do at this price-point.
Price: RRP c. €515 (GB£429.99) — although shop around, you could find lower prices online, and look out for rebate deals from Vanguard.
Rating: Highly Recommended
The Endeavor EDIV is the latest evolution of the Endeavor ED series from Vanguard, and raises the bar yet again for the company in terms of its optical pedigree. The Endeavor EDIV is, quite simply, a superb all around birding and wildlife watching binocular. It combines premium materials, top-notch build and outstanding image quality to deliver a very compelling all-round package. Certainly one to have on your shortlist if you’re shopping for optics in this price range.
Check out the Endeavor EDIV on the Vanguard website.
The Endeavor EDIV is a new addition to the vanguard range. It doesn’t replace the earlier models, which are still available. You can read my reviews of the Endeavor ED and the Endeavor EDII on this site.
Vanguard Endeavor EDIV Full Review
First things first… what happened to the EDIII? Somewhere along the line Vanguard’s product team decided to skip the EDIII and go straight to the EDIV — and nobody seems to know why. At least the folks at Vanguard UK couldn’t tell me. It must have been a marketing decision driven either by the Chinese parent company, or perhaps the important US market, where several binocular brands already sport the EDIII moniker.
But enough about names; what they call this new binocular is irrelevant…. what matters is how it performs.
Balance, Handling and Build quality
When you pick up the new Endeavor EDIV you’re left in absolutely no doubt that this is a high quality product. From the comfortable, solid heft of the magnesium alloy chassis, to the seamless integration of rubber armour and metal, to the focus mechanism and integrated central dioptre adjustment. It all just works… beautifully.
The EDIV retains the by now familiar dual-hinge configuration of the Endeavor series, but sports a contemporary new design that I really like. Comfortably yielding rubber armour covers most of the barrels, but a sliver of anodised matt metal has been left exposed between the hinges — giving the binocular a very smart two-tone appearance. I’m still not sure about the lime-green detailing under the eye-cups, but there’s no denying it’s distinctive, and this binocular certainly looks the part.
As with its siblings, the EDIV uses a magnesium alloy housing — which is lightweight but exceptionally robust — and helps give the binocular that “premium” feel. At 786g these are not the lightest binoculars you’re ever going to hold in your hand, but they compare favourably with other high-quality optics in this configuration. When comparing binoculars it’s important to remember that lighter isn’t necessarily better. Minimising weight is important, but not at the expense of image quality. High quality components tend to be weightier than their less capable counterparts — so an excessively light binocular is probably a bad sign.
The Endeavor series has always had good ergonomics and balance… but with the EDIV Vanguard has refined the design even further. This is without doubt one of the most comfortable binoculars I’ve ever carried and used in the field. Everything just feels “right”.
The large central focusing wheel on the EDIV seems to be made of metal, with a ridged rubber centre that affords plenty of grip. It turns through about 1.5 anti-clockwise turns from an excellent close focus of 1.79m out to infinity. While it is a little stiffer to turn than some, the focus mechanism is very smooth, with no lag or travel in the focus wheel. Focusing is far less aggressive than the Endeavor EDII (which went through the full focus range in just 3/4 turn of the focus wheel), and while some will lament that, for me it’s a significant improvement.
The EDII was simply too highly geared for my liking, and while that did make changing focus very quick, it also made it far too easy to overshoot the focal point, and particularly in tricky light you’d often find yourself hunting back and forth to pin down the sharpest image. That’s not the case with the EDIV, where the focus ratio seems about perfect. I had no trouble getting pin-sharp images first time, every time with this binocular.
And it’s not like the focus is slow — you can still focus quickly, smoothly and accurately throughout the “normal” viewing range — shifting from a bird in a bush 5 metres away to a raptor soaring over a distant hillside takes no time at all. Where the extra focusing latitude really comes into its own is when you want to look a bit closer, making it easier to fine-tune focus.
Vanguard has moved the dioptre mechanism from its usual location under the right eyepiece and integrated it with the central focusing mechanism. The lockable dioptre adjustment dial now sits beneath the top hinge, opposite the large focusing wheel. You simply pull out the dial to unlock it, turn it left or right to adjust the setting, then push it back in to lock it again. The central position of the dioptre control makes it a lot easier to set than having to mess about with the eyepiece while looking through the binoculars.
The notched dial turns smoothly, and is marked with a 0 a + and a -, but with no gradations or markings in between. It would have been nice to see graduated marks on the dial so that you could easily memorise your settings — particularly if you’re in the habit of lending your binoculars to other people.
Eye cups and eye relief
The twist-up, rubber-coated eye-cups on the Endeavor EDIV feel solid and robust. They offer four possible positions (fully up, fully down with two intermediary click-stop positions) allowing you plenty of scope to set the ideal eye relief. With a generous maximum eye-relief of 19mm the EDIV should present no problem to glasses wearers who want to experience the full effect of the wide field of view.
As you’d expect from any binocular of this calibre the Endeavor EDIV is fully sealed and nitrogen purged, making them completely waterproof (dust / dirt / sand proof), and preventing any internal condensation when moving the binocular between temperature extremes.
My expectations before I looked through the Endeavor EDIV were quite high.
With the Endeavor ED Vanguard introduced premium features at a low mid-range price point, redefining what people could expect for a relatively modest budget. With the Endeavor EDII they refined things, taking the concept a step further, and I spent a lot of time getting to know the EDII on an extended trip around Australia and Southeast Asia in 2014. It was, and still is, a very capable binocular.
So when the EDIV was announced I was intrigued to see how it would perform. It doesn’t disappoint.
Image sharpness and field of view
The view through the EDIV is bright, crisp and clear, delivering plenty of fine detail that remains pin sharp across the field of view. At 6.5° (114m/1000m) that field of view is up there with some of the best available in a 10×42 binocular, and the fact that it stays sharp across the entire expanse of the field makes it even more impressive.
All binoculars magnify the view and make distant scenes appear closer. Good binoculars enhance the view, allowing you to make out more fine detail and pick out subtle nuances. The very best binoculars go a step further, so you almost feel transported into the scene. I’ve only encountered it with a few high-end binoculars in the past… and I was surprised to experience that same feeling of immersion when I looked through the Vanguard Endeavor EDIV.
Colour fidelity, contrast and chromatic aberration
Colours look natural bright and vivid without being overly saturated, and with no apparent colour bias. Contrast is excellent, and it’s easy to distinguish subtle variations in hue and tone — crucial for birding and wildlife observation. Chromatic aberration (colour fringing) is well controlled, the premium ED lens elements, coatings and the new prism combine to reduce it to negligible levels. You can induce fringing if you’re looking for it by putting extremely high-contrast edges right at the periphery of the field of view, but it’s never noticeable during normal use.
Low light performance and coatings
As with other binoculars in the Endeavor range Vanguard uses a proprietary suite of anti-reflective, transmission enhancing multi-coatings on all air to glass surfaces on the Endeavor ED IV. The role of these coatings are twofold — they maximise transmission (the amount of light passing through the optical system to the eye), and minimise glare and stray light that can reduce contrast and degrade the resulting image.
One of the key differences in the optical system of the EDIV is a brand new phase-corrected prism system using SK15 rather than the more conventional BaK4 glass. The new prism promises brighter, higher contrast images, and it certainly delivers — but (and I’m sure I’m not the only one) I’m left wondering how much better this binocular could be if Vanguard had chosen to put dielectric mirror coatings on their new prisms. I guess we’ll have to wait until the EDV to find out.
The lack of dielectric prism coatings not withstanding, and no doubt helped along by the new SK15 prisms, low light performance of the EDIV is very good for a 10×42. It can’t quite hold it’s own alongside top-tier competition sporting dielectric prisms in fading light, but it’s not very far behind, and continues to deliver a useful, colour neutral image, pulling plenty of detail from the shadows well into twilight.
Another new addition to the EDIV line is a special protective / hydrophobic coating on the outer lens surfaces (dubbed “MultiGuard” by Vanguard). Until recently you’d only see these coatings used in flagship binoculars from market leaders, but today they’re becoming increasingly common in mid-range binoculars. Essentially it is a hard, non-stick outer coating that serves to protect the more delicate anti-reflective coatings underneath from damage and abrasion. Water hitting the surface of this coating simply beads and drops off, and mud, grease and fingerprints don’t “stick”, making lenses much easier to clean and maintain.
It sounds like a small thing, but trust me, once you’ve used a binocular with these “non-stick” lens coatings you won’t want to go back.
The Endeavor EDIV comes with all the standard accessories you’d expect with a high quality binocular. Theres a decent cordura-style case that ties in with the olive-green colour-scheme of Vanguards new Endeavor range of birding bags… a nice touch. There are tethered objective lens covers that slip neatly into little grooves in the rubber at the bottom of the barrels to stop them slipping off in the field. There’s an eyepiece rainguard, a high-quality cleaning cloth, and a padded neoprene neck strap.
The strap deserves a comment, and some praise.
The neoprene neck straps with the Endeavor family up to now were excellent quality, but they used a detachable quick release clip system that allowed you to remove the strap from the binocular and clip it onto the case instead. A “great” idea obviously devised by a designer who didn’t do a whole lot of binocular toting in the field.
I have never had occasion to detach my strap from my binoculars. Why on earth would I? The way the clips were incorporated into the strap meant that I couldn’t shorten it to a comfortable length. Instead of resting on my chest as intended the binoculars would swing uncomfortably around my midrift.
This was a criticism I heard echoed by quite a few birders and wildlife watchers, so it was refreshing to see Vanguard reverting to a more standard strap for the EDIV. It’s the same high-quality neoprene as before, but without the gimmicky clips, and it’s brown rather than black, with olive stitching to tie in with the case and the Endeavor bag line. The colour sounds a bit odd, but actually looks quite fetching with the two tone binocular body. Most importantly of all it actually works — you can adjust it to whatever length you need. Perfect!
According to the specs on the Vanguard UK website the Endeavor EDIV comes with Vanguard’s “Premium Lifetime Warranty” and an “Extended Warranty” of 25 years. I can’t find out much about the terms of the warranty; the warranty page uses generic language that applies to Vanguard’s entire product range, but “lifetime” and “25 years” both suggest that Vanguard is happy to stand over the quality of its product.
Vanguard has done it again with the EDIV. This is a binocular that offers exceptional value. It combines superb optical performance, premium quality materials and outstanding ergonomics to deliver an all-round package that feels like a binocular costing much, much more. And they’ve introduced it at a price lower than the EDII originally retailed for in 2014. Incredible!
It’s a shame Vanguard hasn’t added dielectric prism coatings to complete the suite of premium features, but the fact is that the EDIV performs superbly. As an all-round package it’s hard to beat. I really like this binocular. In fact the more I use it, the more I want to use it… I guess that tells its own story.
One other point worth mentioning: the introduction of the EDIV has seen a big price drop in the excellent Endeavor EDII. Check out my Endeavor EDII review here and maybe grab yourself a bargain!
From the Vanguard UK Website
|WARRANTY||Premium Lifetime Warranty|
|EXTENDED WARRANTY||25 Years|
|EYE CUP||3 Stage Twist|
|FIELD OF VIEW @1000M||340|
|FOCUS SYSTEM||Center Focus Wheel|
|NEAR FOCUS (M)||1.79|
|OCULAR ADJUSTMENT||‘-4~+4 D|
|OUTSIDE DIMENSIONS(MM)||149 x 130|
I’d like to thank Vanguard for submitting the 10×42 Endeavor EDIV for review on Ireland’s Wildlife.
NB. Ireland’s Wildlife has no specific affiliation to any optics or gear manufacturer. All reviews on the site are completely independent and objective and carried out in accordance with our terms and conditions. If you’re an optics or gear manufacturer and would like to submit your product for review on the site please drop us a line using the contact form and we can take things from there.
chris mc kenna says
Hi. Was wondering if youve tried steiner binoculars at all? Friend recommended them to me and they looked pretty good but im no expert so said id ask one before purchasing!!! Any advice would be appreciated!!
Calvin Jones says
Hi Chris… sorry for the delay getting back to you. I’ve never had the opportunity to test a pair of Steiner bins… yet, so can’t really comment. I have read some good things about them online… but as I’ve never had a pair in my hands I can’t really offer any personal input on the brand.
Conor Donaghy says
Hi. Do you know of any shops in Ireland that would let customers handle the Vanguard Endeavor ED II/IV before buying? They sound great from your reviews, but I’d need to know how they felt.
I actually bought a pair of these based on this review. To say i was disappointed would be understatement. I didn`t like the feel of them from day one, and their performance is pretty poor.
I am now looking to go and buy a good pair of binoculars.
Calvin Jones says
Very surprised to hear that Mashta — I was actually using the Endeavor EDIV last week and they are superb binoculars, particularly at the price. You must have a dud pair. Did you try contacting Vanguard or returning them to the retailer for a replacement/refund?
Sir, I have some question. Should I buy new binoculars if I own Carl Zeiss Jena Dekarem 10×50 which are consider as really good. Can they give me someting more ? Which one you would choose ? I mean Nikon Monarch 7, Vangaurd Endeavor ED IV or Vortex Viper HD. I’m going to spent 700 dollars for that purpose. I usually observe landscapes or city landscapes. I’m asking because I don’t believe unverified producers a bit like Vortex or Vanguard. I wonder if they can compete with Nikon Monarch 7. Thank you.
Calvin Jones says
Hi Jaroslaw, it’s hard for me to say — as the only person who really knows whether or not you should buy new binoculars is you. Your Carl Zeiss Jena 10x50s are indeed very good optics, but a lot has evolved in optics production in the intervening years. One of the key things is you can get more optical performance in a smaller package. If you’re carrying your binoculars around for any length of time, the 10×50 Porro Prisms are likely to feel cumbersome and unwieldy. A compact pair of modern, high-performance roof prisms will be a lot more comfortable and will match and very probably exceed the performance of your old 10x50s. Of the ones you list, I’d lean towards the Vanguard Endeavor EDIV. The Vortex Viper HD is a stunning binocular, but my experience with the UK distributor (which covers Ireland) put me off recommending Vortex to anyone who may have to deal with them for after-sales service. If you’re in the US or Canada, and are dealing direct with Vortex, then that’s another matter entirely — they’re brilliant. Another brand well worth considering in your price range is Hawke — I haven’t had chance to try their new Frontier APO yet — but their Frontier EDX is a stunningly good binocular, and offers incredible value for money — I imagine the APO is a step up again. I should have a pair for review on the site soon.