The Kestrel is in the latest range of binoculars recently released by Viking Optics
. This model comes in three focal ranges: 8×32 • 8×42 • 10×42 (this review is in respect of the 10×42 model) – and has been designed to be a mid-price pair in their latest ED (Extra low Depression) glass range, which includes the Kestrels cousins: Peregrine ED & Merlin ED. The Peregrine ED is currently under review by my partner in crime Cian Cardiff, his review will be uploaded to the ID Series
blog on a later date.
For starters the Kestrel feels sturdy and solid, the 674g body is covered in a durable and reasonably-grippy rubber armoring – the body its self being fully water proof – it emits excellence, making you appreciate it’s well executed design and manufacturing, making one feel pretty proud to have them as part of their birding arsenal.
Viking Kestrel ED Binoculars
Viking Kestrel ED Binoculars
As well as looking and feeling fancy, the Kestrel can also put up with a variety of conditions as I found out; from being battered by wind and salt water on Hilbre Island, to having been completely submerged in silt-water at Sandbach Flash’s, along with other knocks about the place. The Kestrel is well built for the life of a hard-core Birder.
The focus wheel is just under an inch wide, enabling you to choose between either single or double digit adjustments. Which, with the pyramid design imprinted on the wheel, making it very grip-able, even with clammy hands and in the pouring rain. When it comes to handling, I found no problems, the classic bridge structure is a complimentary fit, making it easy to hold – as well as operate – with the thumb shaped depressions on the underside being a nice touch.
Testing the Kestrel ED outside of Liverpool
From the start I was impressed with the image I was presented with: bright, natural colours, with the level of contrast and the overall brightness being spot-on; the clarity of what I was observing, no matter the condition is certainly the party card of the Kestrel. When it came to doing a roost survey of Western Marsh Harrier on the Dee Estuary Marshes, they passed with flying colours in low-light, and the overcast/drizzly conditions.
A minor issue I encountered whilst testing the Kestrel were that the separate lens caps at the end often got in the way, especially in windy conditions – these can be taken off, however I would prefer to have them as a single attachment as see on the eye-cups.
Kestrel ED coping perfectly in the rain at Sandbach Flash’s, Cheshire.
My conclusion of the Kestrel ED (10×42 model), is that the pros far out weigh the cons, one of the notable selling points being the 10 year guarantee. This looks set to be another one of Viking Optics high-quality, affordably priced binoculars.
- Price – £299.95
- Dimensions – L140xW130xH45
- Weight – 674g
- Field view (m/1000)- 114m
- Field view (degrees) – 6.5o
- Objective lens diameter – 42mm
- Minimum focus distance – 2m
- ED glass – Yes
- Gas filled – Yes, nitrogen
- Water proof – Yes (1.5m/3min)
- Guarantee – 10 years
- Models – 8×32 • 8×42 • 10×42
Thanks for reading,