The New Vortex Bantam 6.5x32 "Youth" Binocular

Posted by Brian Moscatello on Jan 25th 2024

It seems that every week more people are enjoying birds and other aspects of nature. And that's wonderful, isn't it? Parents, grandparents, aunts & uncles and others want to encourage the interests of budding naturalists of any age. So, they want to get them a pair of binoculars.

But then they start looking at the prices.  OK, they need a starter binocular for a beginner and can ignore the top shelf which are over $3,000. Also, the next two shelves between $2,000 - $3,000, and for most people even the mid-range between $900 and $1,999.

At this point, many customers are four shelves down and relieved to hear the good news that our best sellers are all between $140 and $499!  There are many good options in a half-dozen brands, and many people find just what they're looking for in that price range.

Others, though, note that the intended recipient is only six years old and may not be responsible enough for a $240 binocular.  That's a reasonable viewpoint.  They might go online and find a 10x25 compact for $19.99.  Though well-meaning, they may have just bought an optic that's dim, fuzzy, with a soon-to-be-floppy dual hinge and has next to no eye relief.  In other words, more likely to frustrate than to encourage the beginner's interest.

The new birder wants something reasonably light, compact, bright, and with a wide field of view so they can easily find their target. Various companies have responded with 6x30 Porro prism binoculars, such as the Kowa YF II, and they're still a great option.

Now, Vortex has added another good choice with their Bantam 6.5x32 "Youth" Roof Prism Binocular. At only 14.4 ounces, with a 12-foot close focus and a generous 400-foot (at 1,000 yards) field of view, it's an easy handful for kids or adults.  It's waterproof, so no worries there. 

The low magnification makes it easy to hold steady, while the wide field makes easy to get on a bird. Perhaps its most unexpected feature is the $69.99 sticker price! As one would expect, the Bantam 6.5x32 doesn't equal the build or field quality of a Vortex Diamondback HD 8x32.  But it offers another good option for a really usable and affordable first birding binocular.  Like all Vortex optics, it comes with the Vortex VIP Warranty.