Vortex Optics quietly updated their Binocular Tripod Adapter in 2021 with the release of the Pro Binocular Adapter.
The older Vortex Optics adapter (SKU 200) was a simple aluminum bar that mounted to the 1/4″-20 thread of any standard binocular bridge. That in turn would mount to any 1/4″-20 screw such as a tripod head or quick release plate.
The new Pro Binocular Adapter (SKU: TRA-BINDAP) is a two-piece design. There is the core aluminum bar/base (dubbed the adapter post) which mounts to the tripod, either directly or via a quick-release plate, and there is a threaded stud which will mount to the binocular on the 1/4-20″ thread of the bridge.
This stud functions as a quick-release mount for the binocular and so the tripod adapter does not have to remain on the binocular like the older model and not take up space in a case or carrying harness. The stud has ridges on it which interface with the adapter post in such a way that it limits rotation when the locking knob is tightened down.
One immediate issue I discovered is that the stud has a wide base which could interfere with the binocular skin or outer molding, depending on the make of the binocular.
For example the threaded stud’s base is larger than the face of the bridge where the 1/4″-20 is located on my SIG Sauer KILO6K-HD 8×32 binocular. The face where the 1/4″-20 female thread is recessed below the rubberized outer molding/skin of the binocular. When the threaded stud is torqued onto the bridge, the stud’s base squeezes on the outer skin. What ends up happening is that if the binocular barrels are adjusted far apart to near multiple times, the stud will end up loosening itself because the friction of the moving bridge unthreads the stud.
To mitigate this, I obtained a small 1/4″ inner diameter Delrin washer from my local Ace Hardware for 25 cents where the outer diameter is smaller than the face of the 1/4″-20 hole on the bridge.
This offsets the base of the stud just enough off the binocular to prevent this friction effect between the stud and the outer skin of the binocular.
Once on the binocular, the stud should be short enough to not protrude past the front barrels on most compact binoculars. The stud has o-rings which make it such that the stud will not easily slide off the adapter post if the locking knob is loosened. It does take a little force to pop the binocular off the adapter post.
The stud will lock into place onto the adapter post and there will be no play between the stud and the adapter post. However, clocking the adapter post to your binocular will require some fiddling.
That being said the Vortex Optics Pro Binocular Adapter is a relatively nice binocular adapter especially for those who like a bridge attached binocular tripod mount, as opposed to a saddle-style mount or the RRS Cinch-LR barrel mount design. The adapter post can be left on the tripod or tripod platform, and the binocular removed for storage in a case or binocular chest harness without having the whole tripod adapter taking up space, which can be an issue depending on how form fitting the case is on the binocular.
The MSRP of the Vortex Optics Pro Binocular Adapter is $99.99 USD. But in true Vortex Optics fashion it can be found for less than the MSRP, often with a vendor price of $69.99.
While this is significantly more than the prior Vortex binocular tripod adapter model which could be found a vendors for $18.99, the new Pro Binocular Adapter is a more low profile design (as the adapter post can be removed quickly).
If you wish to buy the less expensive deprecated model (SKU 200), that has been discontinued. However, you can find no-name versions on Amazon for well under $20. I would hold off on calling these knockoffs or clones since it is likely Vortex contracted or licensed out for a foreign manufacturer to make the original Vortex branded product to put their name on it.
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