Price as reviewed – £208 (RRP: £239.95)
Bright and sharp optics
Light and compact
Ethical Purchase (No links to trophy hunting)
Slight vague focusing and diopter adjustment
Viking optical are almost unique in the optics world in having no links to trophy hunting. While they don’t currently offer high end binoculars (in price terms) they are excellent value for money and represent the ethical purchase choice.
The new Kestrel ED is a mid-range offering and is brand new for 2018.
While other manufacturers are using the “open hinge” design, Viking have stuck with the more traditional design for their Kestrel. This keeps the binocular more compact and the Kestrel has a really solid feel to it, this binocular is of a very high build quality. The compact body is also great to look at and these binoculars never feel over sized.
The Viking Kestrel is a simple design. The rubber armouring feels strong, the eyecups are comfortable and little detailing give a quality appearance.
The mechanics of the Kestrel are possibly the weak point of an otherwise excellent binocular. Focusing is can be little hard to get bang on and we found the diopter adjustment to be a bit notchy.
That being said the Kestrel is hard to fault.
The Viking Kestrel features sharp optics across all but the edges of the field of view, typical with binoculars at this price point.
The ED glass adds to the quality by producing a crisp and sharp image and colour, contrast and definition are all excellent. There is only minor colour fringing and even in dark conditions these binoculars produce a fantastic image. The optics aren’t in the same ballpark as the top offerings from Swarovski, Leica or Zeiss they are more than good enough.
The Viking Kestrel has left a good impression overall.
It is really difficult to find flaws in the Kestrel’s optics. If weight is a real concern when buying a binocular then the Kestrel is a really good option.
Overall Viking has produced a well built and pleasant binocular to use for £208. It matches key rivals on all the essential areas of optics design and in the hand this does feel like a really premium product only let down slightly by the so-so focusing accuracy.