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Vortex Crossfire HD 8×42 Binoculars: Our Review

These binoculars offer a decent image with a fairly small field of view. We rated them as a Middle Ground choice.

At A Glance

Vortex Crossfire HD 8×42 binoculars. Image by Hugh Powell.


  • Compact, light feel
  • Smooth focus wheel
  • Comfortable, wide neckstrap


  • Smaller field of view
  • Eyecups feel loose
  • Mild distortion when backlit or panning


  • Price: $190 MSRP at press time. Prices often fluctuate, so check with retailers
  • Close focus: 6.0 feet (183 cm). In tests, we could focus these binoculars down to about 7.0 feet (213 cm)
  • Field of view: 7.5° (394 feet at 1,000 yards). More about field of view
  • Weight: 25.4 oz (720 g)—that’s about 0.3 oz (9 g) lighter than the average for 8×42 binoculars in our review
  • Eye relief: 17 mm

Viewing Experience: The Vortex Crossfires performed well in the field, providing crisp images in an ergonomic package. A smaller field of view, some color distortion (noticeable when viewing backlit objects), and a slight fishbowl effect while panning detracted from the overall experience. They were bright enough to make out detail even in shadow-darkened corners of the woods, though the image was a bit less bright than some other models we tested. On a mostly cloudy day, these bins captured the fine black-and-white detail of a male Hairy Woodpecker probing on the underside of a dead maple bough. From about 30 feet away, they could even pick up the vertical black stripe that separates the two red patches on the back of its head. When scanning further up in the canopy, a chickadee’s markings were discernible, but the twiggy branches it was hopping among showed mildly distorted color (hints of blue and red along the edges) in the bright gray light.

Feel and Build: Overall these binoculars were very easy to carry, hold, and adjust. Although the eyecups felt loose, they held their position fine. The focus wheel was smooth and responsive. The wide neck strap and slightly below average weight made these an easy pair to use over an extended birding outing.

More on Binoculars

Comments From Testers: 

  • Build seems sturdy
  • Good for small hands
  • Nice bright view; smooth focus knob
  • Loose eyecups
  • Dimmer image than some others; gave a dark or tunneled image
  • Fuzzy at the edge of the 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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