Viking Osprey ED Binoculars Review

Viking Osprey ED Binoculars Review

The Viking Osprey ED is a brand new binocular that's just been launched by Viking. We're big fans of this binocular brand here at liGo, and have been eagerly anticipating the release of the Ospreys. As Viking's most advanced set of binoculars to date, we were keen to give them a try. Naturally, though, more power comes with a higher price tag. Are the Ospreys worth the extra money? We put them to the test to find out. Read on to discover what our experts thought of them!

Related: Top 10 Best Buy Binoculars

Design & build

With the Osprey, Viking haven't tried to reinvent the wheel. The basic design of these binoculars is largely similar to the Viking Peregrine, which was previously the brand's most high-end model. However, there are a few key differences worth mentioning. First and foremost, pick up the Ospreys and you'll immediately notice that there's a fair bit of weight to them. This is largely due to the higher-quality components inside. At 695g for the 8x42s, they're still very lightweight for flat-field binoculars- but not at the expense of build quality.

Like the Peregrines, and indeed all Viking binoculars, the Osprey has a rubber armour coating. However, while the Peregrine's coating is flat, the Osprey's is textured. This might seem like only a small difference, but in practise you may find it makes a big difference. If you're using the binoculars in wet conditions, then all those little nooks and crannies give your fingers a better grip on them, so they're less likely to slip out of your hands.

The focus wheel and diopter ring are both metal, as you'd expect from higher-end binoculars, and they're both ridged, which again makes them really easy to use in wet weather or if you're wearing gloves. The focus wheel is also slightly longer than the one on the Peregrine, which does make it a bit easier to find and adjust while you're looking through the binoculars. It's perhaps not quite as quick to adjust as some of the other binoculars in the Viking line-up. For comparison, it took us two complete turns of the focus wheel to get from minimum to maximum focus on the Osprey, whereas on the Peregrine it only took a little under one-and-a-half. That being said, though, they're still very easy to adjust, and do give you that little bit extra fine tuning.

One final difference with the Ospreys is that the Viking logo and "ED" symbol on them are gold-coloured metal rather than the usual plastic. Presumably, this is to denote that these are their top of the range binoculars.

As with most binoculars, they have a free carry case with them. This particular one feels a lot nicer than some others, with a strap already attached (something strangely missing from many cases that still have the strap hooks). There's also a little compartment inside there for you to put a notepad or cleaning cloth in.

The Ospreys also come with a free lens cleaning kit. It's a nice touch, as you'll naturally want to keep the binoculars clean so you can get the most out of them. We've got a blog guide on how to properly use one of these kits, so go and give that a read to find out how it can improve the lifespan of your binoculars.

Quality of optics

The Osprey is now the most expensive model that Viking produce, and there's quite a big jump between this and the Peregrine, which previously held that title. That price difference is all down to the quality of the optics in the Osprey, and it's also what accounts for the extra weight in these binoculars.

The Ospreys have ED, or "Extra-low Dispersion" glass. This dramatically cuts down on light refraction, so that the image you see through the binoculars is brighter and more true-to-life. What's more, the lenses and prisms are multicoated with a special dielectric coating. Again, this reduces light refraction, as while it's not as big of a jump as that between standard and ED lenses, it still

The Ospreys are flat-field binoculars. This means that they provide a clear, sharp image all the way to the edge of the lens. That's in contrast to standard binoculars, where you can find that the image starts to blur somewhat towards the edge.


In terms of the very basic performance, there's not an enormous jump between the Osprey 8x42 and the Peregrine 8x42 which I've been comparing it to. Both have the same objective lens diameter and magnification, so naturally, you're not going to get a radically different view. What is immediately noticeable, though, is a major difference in contrast and clarity. Colours jump out a lot more with the Osprey, so if you use your binoculars for birdwatching, they'll really enhance your experience. The flat field design also helps with this; since the image is clear all the way to the edge, the Ospreys are great for tracking moving objects such as birds in flight.

There are two versions of the Osprey available: an 8x42, which is what we primarily used for testing, and a 10x42. The only real difference is the magnification, as the large lens diameter on both of them lets in a lot of light. Ultimately your choice will come down to personal preference, but we felt that due to the sharpness and edge-to-edge clarity, the 8x42s felt like they had more than just 8x magnification.

As you'd expect, the Ospreys have twist-down eyecups. These feel really solid when you twist them out, and stay in place very firmly, so they aren't going to accidentally slip back down if you press the binoculars too hard against your eyes. What's more, since these are flat field binoculars, the eyecups are a lot thinner around the edges to let you see more of the lens. In practise, we also found this made the Ospreys a lot more comfortable to use for longer periods of time.

Viking Osprey: The Verdict

We had high hopes for the Viking Osprey, and these binoculars more than live up to our expectations. The price tag may be a bit too high for more casual users, but for those who can afford it, the Osprey is excellent value for money, as it performs just as well as some models with double the price tag.