If you’re in the market for a pair of long-range binoculars, there are two awesome models that are made by some of the leading names in high-performance field optics. We’re looking at the Athlon Argos 10x42 and the Vortex Diamondback 10x42.
Athlon Optics 10x42 Argos vs. Vortex Diamondback 10x42
Athlon and Vortex are two of the biggest, relatively recent names to hit the optics scene, but they are both making a space for themselves. The Argos and the Diamondback are both what you might consider a “budget” model, and are the most affordable option in each respective brand’s binoculars class.
They will each provide many of the features, and will approximate many of the specifications of the higher-end models, but will do so at a value price point that is often a significant reduction from higher product tiers. The tier above the Argos is the Ares, and the tier above the Diamondback is the Viper.
Both the Athlon Optics 10x42 Argos and the Vortex Diamondback 10x42 are designed with the same prism type. They utilize a roof prism, and both utilize special coatings on the glass to provide the best contrast and resolution possible.
While these two models have very similar specifications and do perform incredibly similarly in some ways, there are some notable differences between the Athlon Optics 10x42 Argos and the Vortex Diamondback 10x42. These differences will be found in some of the functions that many people might overlook, but that might be vital to your potential use.
The maximum magnification of both the Athlon Optics 10x42 Argos and the Vortex Diamondback 10x42 is a 10x magnification power. This is ideal for short-range and potentially mid-range applications, such as birdwatching, hunting, hiking, and more.
Objective Lens Diameter
Both the Athlon Optics 10x42 Argos and the Vortex Diamondback 10x42 have an objective lens diameter of 42mm. This eliminates size as a potential deciding factor, and while the weight of each is different, we’ll get into that a bit later on.
Angle of View
The angle of view is one of the categories where you can start to see some serious differentiation between the Athlon Optics 10x42 Argos and the Vortex Diamondback 10x42. The Argos has an angle of view of 6.1°. The diamondback, however, has an angle of view of 6.3°.
This may not sound like much, but the angle of view directly affects the field of view. A wider angle of view provides you with a wider field of view overall, but particularly at lower magnification levels. This wider angle of view can be crucial for those who use high magnification as well since it offers a larger picture at those levels as well.
Field of View
Since there is a 3-degree difference in the angle of view between the Athlon Optics 10x42 Argos and the Vortex Diamondback 10x42, there is a substantial difference in the field of view for them as well.
The Argos has a field of view of 319' @ 1000 yd (105.9 m @ 1000 m). The Diamondback offers a field of view of 330' @ 1000 yd (109.56 m @ 1000 m), providing you with 11 more feet of viewable area at 1000 m. For those who use binoculars to track moving objects like birds or game, that additional space can help prevent losing your subject.
Minimum Focus Distance
This is another category where the Athlon Optics 10x42 Argos and the Vortex Diamondback 10x42 diverge even more, and for those who need close-range optics, this can be a big one. The minimum focus distance is the closest possible distance at which the binoculars will provide a clear image.
The Athlon Argos has a minimum focus distance of 13' (3.96 m), and the Diamondback provides a minimum focus distance of 6.7' (2 m). This is a significant difference, as the Argos has a minimum focus distance of nearly twice that of the Diamondback, allowing the Diamondback to be much more versatile at shorter distances.
Exit Pupil Diameter
Exit pupil diameter is very important for providing a large, clear picture to the user, and it is also one of the areas where one pair of binoculars will differ from another. The Athlon Optics 10x42 Argos and the Vortex Diamondback 10x42, however, both have exit pupil diameters of 4.2mm.
The eye relief for both the Argos and the Diamondback is comfortable, and while there is a difference, the amount that the difference matters are minimal. The eye relief of the Argos is 16.1mm and the Diamondback is 15mm.
The interpupillary adjustment of these binoculars only differs by 1 mm. The Argos has 56 to 76 mm, while the Diamondback sports 55 to 75 mm.
Little to see here, both models use the traditional center focus.
Both the Argos and the Diamondback housings are purged and argon-filled to make them completely fog proof.
There are no concerns with taking these binoculars out into the field, they are both waterproof and will stand up to the elements.
These two binoculars are very similarly sized, with the Argos being only marginally larger, at 5.7 x 5.3" (14.5 x 13.5 cm), than the 5.8 x 5.1" (14.7 x 12.9 cm) Diamondback.
There isn’t a big difference in weight between the Argos and the Diamondback, but if you’re packing it into remote areas, ounces count. The Argos weighs in at 24.6 oz (697.4 g), while the Diamondback is barely over 3 ounces lighter at 21.4 oz (606.7 g).
As you can see, the Athlon Optics 10x42 Argos and the Vortex Diamondback 10x42 are incredibly evenly matched. The primary differences lie at the extremes of use, where the Diamondback lets you focus on closer objects, and has a wider field of view than the Argos. The ultimate deciding factor, however, is what you personally feel fits your needs the best.