The Viking Kestrel ED Binoculars have been a favourite among birdwatching novices and professionals alike for years. Now, Viking have released the Vistron ED, which are a newer and improved model to the Kestrels ED's. We'll be diving into the differences and the similarities of the two models, to help you decide which model is the best for your needs.
Design & build
The majority of Vikings binoculars share a very similar build, and the Vistron ED's and Kestrel ED's are no exception. They feature the same single top hinge, as well as a polycarbonate body, which allows them to remain sturdy, yet economical.
There are other small differences on the Vistron, like the sleeker design of integrated lens covers. Also, the addition of thumb indents, making the binoculars more comfortable to hold onto for extended periods. However, both the Kestrel and the Vistrons boast a metal focus wheel and dioptre ring, which gives both models a higher quality finish.
The weathers conditions you'd be using the binoculars in, is very important factor in to, however, with either the Kestrels or the Vistrons, you don't have to worry about the weather interfering with the performance of the binoculars. Both models are waterproof and nitrogen purged to prevent internal fogging. One small difference between the rubber armouring, is that the Vistrons have more texture on the sides, which allows easier grip in more challenging weather.
The Kestrels and the Vistrons both boast Extra-low Dispersion glass, this allows for brighter, clearer images quality. Plus the lenses are dielectrically coated, phase corrected BAK 4 Prisms. The difference between the optics is in the small details, that don't always affect everyone. When comparing the Vistron 8x42 and the Kestrel 8x42 binoculars, the field of view (FOV) is a little wider on the Kestrels, making them the better option for tracking moving targets.
The Vistrons have larger eye relief available, it offers 17.8mm of eye relief on the 8x42 model, which is higher than the average 16mm on other models of the same magnification. The Kestrels aren't too far behind though, as they offer 17.2mm of eye relief on their 8x42's.
Additional Features to Consider
Both models have a 10 year warranty on the binoculars themselves. If there was to ever be an issue with the optics quality, you can contact Viking and they can offer a resolution.
You can find a soft carry case and comfortable, padded neck strap included with both the Kestrel and the Vistron models, as well as a lens cloth.
The Kestrel 8x42's weigh in at 692g, whereas the Vistron 8x42's are 874g, making the Kestrels more lightweight. While the Vistrons are more robust, the Kestrels may be more suitable to carry around for hours with ease.
The only other thing to consider is the price point. Despite the Vistrons being a newer model with upgraded features, the 8x42 is currently excellent value at £209.95, whereas the Kestrel 8x42 is more costly at £228.95.
There we have it, the similarities and differences between the Viking Vistron ED Binoculars and the Viking Kestrel ED Binoculars. The upgrades on the Vistrons design provide greater protection, and more comfort while using the binoculars for long periods of time. However, with the Kestrels slightly wider FOV and lighter weight, making them better for travelling with and tracking moving objects.