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Vanguard VEO ED 8×42 Binoculars: Our Review

An inexpensive, lightweight binocular with a decent image but a rather narrow field of view. We rated them a Middle Ground choice.

Vanguard VEO ED 8x42 binoculars
Vanguard VEO ED 8×42 binoculars. Image by Hugh Powell.

At A Glance


  • Good, colorful image in bright light
  • Lightweight and comfortable in the hand


  • Image quality suffers in low light
  • Loses some sharpness at middle distances and beyond
  • Narrow field of view


  • Price: $200 MSRP at press time. Prices often fluctuate, so check with retailers
  • Close focus: Listed as 8.2 feet (250 cm). In tests, we could focus these binoculars to about 9.4 feet (287 cm)
  • Field of view: 6.3° (331 feet at 1,000 yards). More about field of view 
  • Weight: 22.7 oz (642 g)—that’s about 3.1 oz (87 g) lighter than the average for 8×42 binoculars in our review
  • Eye relief: 19 mm

Viewing Experience: These inexpensive binoculars make some concessions to price but still deliver a good, sharp image in full light. On a sunny fall morning, we enjoyed looking at a distant House Finch; the VEOs picked out the male’s red tones from more than 150 yards away. And even in a severely backlit treetop, these bins could pull the reddish blush of a Red-bellied Woodpecker’s belly out of the glare. However on a grayer, drearier day, the optics suffered a bit, struggling to bring out details at distance. When we spotted a chickadee-sized bird foraging in an oak treetop, the binoculars couldn’t quite separate the bird’s details from the leafy brown background. The field of view is narrow, making it harder to see our full feeder setup without having to pan around. The VEOs don’t have quite as good a close focus as many other binoculars in our test—though at about 8–9 feet it’s still good for most uses.

Feel and Build: These small, lightweight binoculars feel good in the hand. A fine-grained leather-esque finish gives a pleasant grip, with well-placed scallops in the barrels giving a place for your thumbs to rest. The focus wheel has good movement, though our reviewer found it slightly loose for their taste. Eyecups are loose and there’s some play in them even after you click into either of the two stops. There’s a thoughtfully placed groove around the ends of the barrels that keeps the objective lens covers from slipping off. We appreciated the basic padded strap at this price point, where many competitors will supply just a narrow webbing strap.  

More on Binoculars

Comments From Testers: 

  • Sharp in the center, but edges of the image were blurry
  • Focus wheel is touchy but good depth of field
  • Close focus isn’t great  
  • Loose eyecups, narrow field of view, slightly muddy image

This article is one in a series of mini-reviews. To see how these binoculars compare to others we’ve tested, see our full review of affordable 8×42 binoculars.  

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