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Vanguard VEO HD2 1042M Monocular Smartphone Digiscoping Kit Review

The Vanguard VEO HD2 1042M is a light and compact monocular that comes with a universal smartphone adaptor for digiscoping and we've been putting it to the test to see how much closer to the action we can get with it.


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Vanguard VEO HD2 1042M
 

Quick Verdict

The Vanguard VEO HD2 1042M Monocular Smartphone Digiscoping Kit is a reasonably priced and useful piece of equipment for those who need to spot wildlife and birds but we'd only use the monocular for digiscoping as a tool for reference rather than capturing and sharing full-blown images in the ePz Gallery.  

+ Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Compact 
  • Waterproof & fogproof
  • Great build quality
  • Easy to use
  • Digiscoping with your smartphone
  • Bluetooth remote included
  • Fits any tripod with a 1/4" thread
  • 10X magnification 

- Cons

  • Quality of images from digiscoping not recommended for sharing in galleries (more for reference)
  • Have to crop in to create an image that fills the frame

 

For those who enjoy combining a walk with their photography or spot birds to photograph, a monocular can be a really useful tool as they tend to be lightweight and portable so they're easy to transport and use. There are quite a few brands offering these spotting tools including the well known and respected Vanguard who have the VEO HD2 1042M which is available alongside a smartphone digiscoping kit. To find out how the Vanguard VEO HD2 1042M Monocular Smartphone Digiscoping Kit performs, we've been putting it to the test to see if it offers good value for money. 

 

Vanguard VEO HD2 1042M Monocular Smartphone Digiscoping Kit Features

Vanguard VEO HD2 1042M
 

The VEO HD2 1042M is a monocular scope from Vanguard that comes with a PA-60 Universal Smartphone Adaptor & Bluetooth Remote Control so it doubles up as a tool for digiscoping with smartphones, too. To keep the scope steady, you can attach it to a tripod or monopod via the 1/4" thread and you can use a Bluetooth remote to trigger the camera without touching your smartphone. 

10X magnification is available with a 42mm objective lens and the scope will focus on objects from just 2m away. HOYA Extra-Low Dispersion (ED) Glass is built-in and a rubberized/textured coating/wheel make the scope easy to operate as well as handle. The scope is also waterproof so you can use it in all weather and, more importantly, it's fogproof so you'll always have a clear view. 

Other features include an eye cover and objective lens cover to protect the glass when not in use and a pouch to keep the monocular and digiscope adaptor safe.

 

Key Features

  • HOYA Extra Low Dispersion (ED) Glass, BaK4 roof prism and multi-coated for maximum clarity
  • Compact and portable
  • 10x magnification with 42mm objective lens
  • Focus on objects from 2m away
  • Waterproof and fogproof
  • Protective covers
  • Pouch
  • 1/4” thread that can be attached onto a monopod or tripod
  • PA-60 Universal Smartphone Adaptor & Bluetooth Remote Control (for digiscoping)

 

Vanguard VEO HD2 1042M Monocular Smartphone Digiscoping Kit Handling & Performance

Vanguard VEO HD2 1042M
 

When purchasing a monocular, there are several factors that you should consider which we'll list and then use the checklist as we go through the handling and performance of the Vanguard VEO HD2 1042M Monocular Smartphone Digiscoping Kit.

Here are the features to look out for when purchasing a monocular:

  • Magnification - For distant subjects, you want a higher magnification but it can be harder to keep what's in view steady. 
  • Objective lens size - A bigger lens will be able to let in more light which improves performance when light levels drop but you have to balance this with weight/size as a bigger lens means the overall size of the monocular will be bigger and the weight heavier. 
  • Waterproof - This means you can use it on all-weather types. 
  • Fogproof - If the monocular fogs up, your view will be obscured so a monocular with optics that are nitrogen-filled can stop this from happening. 
  • Smartphone mount/adapter - You can use monoculars for digiscoping so if the one you purchase comes with a supplied smartphone adapter, this will mean you don't have further costs. 
  • Tripod mount - Secure your monocular to a tripod and you have hands-free viewing as well as steady shots. 
  • Size/weight - Lighter weights means they are easier to carry while smaller dimensions could mean they're pocketable or at least easy to fit in a camera bag. 

 

What is Digiscoping? This term refers to placing a camera or smartphone on the eyepiece of a spotting scope so you can capture photos with a longer zoom.  

 

 

Vanguard VEO HD2 1042M
 

Right, onto looking at the Vanguard VEO HD2 1042M Monocular Smartphone Digiscoping Kit in more detail...

When you first pick up the Vanguard VEO HD2 1042M it feels really well built and sturdy. It's weighty but not in a heavy way... what we mean is it has that reassuringly 'this feels robust and not cheap' weight behind it which tells you it's a premium product. Rubberised caps protect the eyepiece and lens and the rubber armour increases grip and also stops the monocular feeling too cold when temperatures drop. The focus wheel is textured giving good grip and turnability even with gloves on and if you turn the monocular over, you find a 1/4” thread that can be attached to a monopod or tripod which we recommend as the picture you see is steadier when on a support. 

The other couple of things you notice when the scope is in your hands is the retractable eyepiece which you can adjust if you wear glasses and how the rubberised coating wraps and allows the lens to sit back from the edge which protects it from flare and damage. You also get a vouch that protects the scope when not in use that fastens securely and features a belt loop should you wish to attach the pouch to yourself. 

As for size, the Vanguard VEO HD2 1042M fits in a deep coat pocket or easily into a camera bag and it only weighs 325g so isn't heavy which is good as when you're not using the scope on a tripod, this means you can comfortably hold it with just one hand. The slim design makes it very portable, too, which makes it useful for walks in woods and out in the landscape. 

 

Vanguard VEO HD2 1042M
 

Inside the optic is HOYA Extra-Low Dispersion (ED) Glass with a BaK4 roof prism and it's multi-coated to improve the quality of the image you see through the scope. It also has a 42mm objective lens which is decent and means a generous amount of light will flow through the lens, improving the scope's capabilities in low light. The Vanguard VEO HD2 1042M offers 10x magnification which you don't really appreciate how far that is until you look through the scope and see detail that's tiny with the eye filling the frame. As for the image quality, it's bright, clear and when you adjust the focus wheel, soon comes into focus with decent levels of sharpness. 

There's just one wheel on the scope which is used to adjust the focus which we like as this keeps things really simple and easy to use. It's also really quick to adjust focus as you don't have to take your eye away from the scope to find the focus wheel. 

 

Vanguard VEO HD2 1042M
 

As well as using the Vanguard VEO HD2 1042M as a spotting scope, you can also team it with the provided PA-60 Universal Smartphone Adaptor that allows you to use your smartphone for digiscoping.  The adaptor is suitable for almost any smartphone up to 2.15-3.4 inches/55-87mm wide and rubber grips along with a threaded clamp allow a smartphone to be attached securely to the adapter. How well the adapter is made was a pleasant surprise as I expected the more common expandable adapter to be included but instead, you get a well thought out adapter with a screw/thread clamp combo that keeps your smartphone really secure. It's also rubberised to increase grip for both the smartphone and person turning the screwhead. 

The part that attaches to the scope is constructed from plastic and simply pushes onto the monocular's eyepiece. To adjust it so it fits your smartphone lens, you can unscrew it slightly from the bracket and move it horizontally and vertically so it aligns with the monocular eyepiece. It sounds simple and once it's in place, it lines up really well but I did have a bit of a faff when trying to line the smartphone lens up with the Vanguard VEO HD2 1042M to start. I actually felt like I could have done with an extra pair of hands but attaching the scope to a tripod before attempting to pop on the smartphone adapter/smartphone did make the job a lot easier. 

 

VEO HD2 1042M
 

Once on a tripod, you can also use the supplied Bluetooth remote to trigger the smartphone's camera shutter remotely to reduce shake. 

Now, having the ability to capture images with a longer reach, without having to purchase lenses (if using a camera) or extending the length of your smartphone's zoom sounds great but there are some drawbacks such as image quality not always being the best and having to crop into the image captured to remove the circular shape of the monocular lens which reduces the quality of the image. You also need plenty of light, the lens has to be the right distance from the scope's eyepiece and, ideally, you need a tripod/monopod to keep everything steady. 

As you can see in the below images, the Vanguard VEO HD2 1042M combined with smartphone adapter does produce images with much more reach but they're not of a quality level I'd be sharing in the ePHOTOzine Gallery. However, they are ideal for referencing (such as when you want to record/name birds spotted, for example). 

The Normal View
The Normal View - No Scope

 

Zoom
Image captured with the Vanguard VEO HD2 1042M and the original shot showing how far the scope reaches

 

Cropped Image
Cropped Image

 

As an alternative to binoculars, the Vanguard VEO HD2 1042M offers a convenient and practical option. Plus, in all honesty, I actually prefer it for its portability, quick set-up and convenience. 

 

Value For Money

The Vanguard VEO HD2 1042M Monocular Smartphone Digiscoping Kit is priced at £179.99, which, when prices range from £65 to over £300 for monocular scopes, puts it in the middle of the pack. Sitting at around a similar price point is the Opticron 30441 BGA 10x42 priced at £148.98 which offers the same magnification but no accessories for digiscoping, the Gosky updated 20-60x80 angled spotting scope is available for £175.99 with 20-60x magnification but it's much larger and the Maven CM1 8X32mm ED Monocular priced at £116.67 but it only offers 8x magnification. For more options, have a look at Amazon.

 

Vanguard VEO HD2 1042M Monocular Smartphone Digiscoping Kit Verdict

The Vanguard VEO HD2 1042M Monocular Smartphone Digiscoping Kit combines a handy monocular with the ability to capture images with 10x magnification (more when combined with your smartphone's zoom) when connected to a smartphone via the included adapter. However, the images you do capture with the scope aren't going to be of ePHOTOzine Gallery quality as you do need to zoom/crop the image to remove the circular shape that's captured and quality isn't the best. However, what these images are useful for is for those wanting to record/name birds spotted as you can quickly capture an image then refer back to it once home with your bird guide. 

Digiscoping with any spotting scope or monocular will always be a compromise as the optics are designed for viewing through the eye and not photography but as a scope where the primary purpose is for observation, the Vanguard VEO HD2 1042M is excellent offering a clear, sharp view from a lightweight scope that's ergonomic and easy to hold. 

Vanguard VEO HD2 1042M Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Compact 
  • Waterproof & fogproof
  • Great build quality
  • Easy to use
  • Digiscoping with your smartphone
  • Bluetooth remote included
  • Fits any tripod with a 1/4" thread
  • 10X magnification 

 

Vanguard VEO HD2 1042M Cons

  • Quality of images from digiscoping not recommended for sharing in galleries (more for reference)
  • Have to crop in to create an image that fills the frame

Features4/5
Handling4/5
Performance4/5
Value3.5/5
Overall Verdict

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