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Vortex Razor HD 20-60x85 Angled Spotting Scope

SPT-VT-RZR-A1
Our Price: $1,599.99
List Price: $2,000.00
You Save: $400.01 (20%)
  • Customer Rating: (35 Reviews)
  • Shipping: Free Standard Overnight FedEx Shipping (not available for all zipcodes) to the 48 contiguous States

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New Save 20% $1,599.99

The Razor HD exceeds performance expectations normally found in this price range. You are sure to appreciate the Vortex HD system with a sophisticated triplet apochromatic lens system that incorporates precisely ground HD optical glass to enhance image resolution and eliminate virtually all chromatic aberration. The Razor's compact, magnesium alloy body is lightweight and rugged. The 85mm objective lens allows you to maximize available light at dawn or dusk. The Vortex VIP warranty guarantees the Razor HD will last for generations.

Optical Features
High-density (HD) Glass Enhances resolution, color, and contrast.
Fully Multi-coated Lenses Increase light transmission with multiple anti-reflective coatings on all air-to-glass surfaces. Broadband lens coatings.
BaK-4 Prisms Optimize light transmission through the prisms.
Construction Features
Porro Prism Offer maximum image quality and durability in a traditional design.
Angled Body Design Is favored by users of different heights for viewing without adjusting the tripod height as frequently. The angled design works well when viewing at an upward angle.
Rubber Armoring Provides a secure, non-slip grip.
Dual Focus Allows for precision with coarse and fine adjustments.
Magnesium Alloy Body Is sturdy and resistant to corrosion.
Adjustable Eyecup Twists up and down for comfortable viewing with or without eyeglasses.
Sunshade Reduces glare and shields the objective lens from raindrops.
Rotating Tripod Ring Allows greater flexibility when positioning the spotting scope.
Design Features
Waterproof Optics are sealed with O-rings to prevent moisture, dust, and debris from getting inside the spotting scope.
Fogproof Barrel is filled with argon gas to inhibit internal fogging.
ArmorTek Lens Coating Repels oils on outer glass surfaces.
Magnification 20-60x
Objective Lens Diameter 85 mm
Body Style Angled
Field of View 117-60 feet/1000 yards
Eye Relief 20-18 mm
Close Focus 16.4 feet
Weight 65.7 ounces
Length 15.3 inches
Weatherproofing Waterproof/Fogproof
  • 20-60x eyepiece
  • 85mm angled spotting scope body
  • Eyepiece cap
  • Objective lens cap
  • View-through case

Total Reviews: 35

Average Rating:

A lot of scope! - 11/06/2014

by Tord E. from Sweden

For quite a few years I have had a nice Kowa TS-601 spotting scope, upgraded in later years with a modern eye piece (30X, wide), but as the front lens is fairly small, digiscoping isn't very practical, as you need perfect lighting conditions to use it, with any chance of success.

So eventually i decided to upgrade.

Before committing myself I checked out a number of reviews, mainly on the internet, and did some hands-on testing of a number of scopes, in various price ranges, and eventually decided that the Vortex Razor HD 20-60x85, plus their 30X ultra-wide eye piece.

The 20-60 eye piece is nice for viewing, but the wide eye piece works much better if you're a digiscoping enthusiast.

Compared to some other scopes I've used I find the Vortex easy to focus exactly, with its coarse, and fine, focusing wheels. I like that a lot.

But it is mainly the excellent image quality that impressed me, and its low light capacity, compared to my old scope. That, and the fact that you can, if you can afford it, use Swarovski zoom eye pieces, the best in the business!

The Vortex ultra-wide eye piece is of a higher class than the zoom, being comparable to Swarovski's, according to a man I've met who had taken professional sniper troopers on test trips (he sells military rifle scopes as well). Much to his, and the troopers, surprise, there was no difference between using a Swarovski scope with the Swarovski wide eye piece, or the Vortex Razor HD, with Vortex's own wide eye piece.

So this is a great scope for digiscoping, and not bad at all for normal spotting! The best I've owned!

And Vortex is unique in another way: Lifetime warranty, so as long as you treat the scope in a normal manner, the scope is covered by the same warranties that other scopes, and binoculars, typically have the first few years after purchase.

Amazing service, to the customers. For me that is worth a lot!

The only thing I don't like is the scope's foot, which isn't the most rigid in business, and I prefer a bigger bag to carry the scope in, as I want to have room for both digiscoping adapters, and the eye pieces. The foot is reinforced by a long quick-change plate that rests, in one end, against the scope's housing (works very well, but I might even glue the plate in place to stiffen it further — time will tell if that is needed). As far as I am aware, all the wobble is gone, essential if you plan to go digiscoping!

Scope so nice I bought it twice. - 07/22/2014

by Ken Brown from Olympia

I first bought this scope about 13 months ago. I carefully reviewed scopes on line, in sporting goods stores and compared the scopes of birding friends and after weighing relative value and though it is a lot of money to me, with the Vortex warrantee in mind, I purchased it through Eagle Optics. I was very happy with it. The one situation the warranty does not cover, unfortunately, occurred. While parked at a trail-head for a half hour, having taken only my bins, my car window was broken out and my scope, tripod and 2 backpacks stolen. It took a couple weeks for my anger and disappointment to fade enough that I could rationally decide whether to replace it. When I did, I had no hesitation about buying it again, no further research needed. I recommend it.

Spotting Scope - 06/25/2014

by Gary P. from Austin Texas

I have had limited time to enjoy the benefits of my new scope...but love it so far. It is a bit heavier than I would like - but that is the cost of good optics. I will take it on my 1st trip to Alaska in 3 weeks....and I can hardly wait!!

Thrilled beyond belief with this scope - 04/04/2014

by Kim S. from Michigan

Maybe it's because we just upgraded to this from a "starter scope" that cost $500, but I cannot believe how much more enjoyment I'm getting out of viewing ducks on the lake with the Vortex Razor. I don't know much about technical specs of glass and so on, I just know that I'm seeing everything much more clearly and brightly than before. It's made all the difference in the world to my experience!

Love this scope - 03/28/2014

by Paul W. from Eugene, Oregon

I have only had this scope for a brief period of time but I love it. The clarity is amazing.Both of the focus knobs are easy to access the eye piece is comfortable and easy to zoom. The carrying case that comes with the scope is cheap, I broke one of the zipper tabs the first time I used it, they sent me a replacement free of charge and it broke as well on the first use. This is a small but annoying thing.Over all very satisfied with my purchase. Love the service at Eagle optics!

More Than Impressive - 02/24/2014

by Steve F. from Pelham, Massachusetts

I've had my Vortex Razor HD 20-60x85 angled spotting scope for a few months already and cannot be more pleased with the quality and ease of use. First, the optics are brite, clear, super resolution, bringing distant birds into sharp focus. The adjustable angled barrel is just terrific, whether using a tripod or a car window mount. The price for such quality is definitely worth it, very competitive, and suitable for bragging rights. It is a delight to have such an great instrument whose performance I can "take for granted" while enjoying my favorite pastime. Enjoy!

Unbeatable at any price - 12/14/2013

by Joel C. from Chicago, IL

I have a friend with a comparable Swarovski scope (same specs and design), so when I read previous reviews about the quality of this scope, I knew I'd have a chance to do my own side-by-side comparison. You can imagine my delight in knowing that I saved about 50% on a scope that I believe is every bit as good as the Swarovski. The clarity, brightness and sharpness of the optics are top-notch, even on those gray winter days when you're standing in blowing snow on the Lakefront viewing Snowy Owls. A movable sun visor on the lens works equally well to offer some protection from the weather, as does the custom-shaped nylon zipper-bag. I'm using the scope on an old video tripod which works perfectly. I can't recommend this scope enough, regardless of your budget.

Best scope out there! - 09/22/2013

by Gabriel M. from Shenandoah Valley, Virginia

I had been using an Alpen 20-60x60 and a Vortex Nomad 20-60x60. Both were great (especially the Vortex Nomad) but I was ready for something more. I had checked out all my friend's scopes (including the new STX Swarovski 95mm!) but I didn't think I was ready to go for anything more than $2500 so I had narrowed my choices to two: Kowa TSN 773, the Swarovski 80mm ATS. I had pretty much decided on the Swaorvski until I checked out my friend's new scope, the Vortex Razor. I loved the view the first minute I looked through it. It was bright and clear.

When I was at the Biggest Week in American Birding Festival in Ohio this year, I checked out all three scopes one last time. Which did I like most? I immediately ruled out the Kowa. It just wasn't "right" for me. The Swaorvski was nice but I liked the Vortex just a tad better. I thought it was a little brighter and less expensive, and it also had the best warranty in the business. Just so that I wouldn't go back home to Virginia and say "Gee, why didn't I just save up longer and go fot the new Swarovski STX...My friend's Swarovski STX is SO much better and I'm not happy with this Vortex" I wanted to do a side-by-side comparison: Swarovski STX 85mm and Vortex Razor 85mm. This is going to look world class silly: but I did a blind comparison, had my mom mix them up, and then close my eyes and put my eye to both, and then see which I liked better (without knowing which was which). Which did I like more? Vortex Razor! I bought it right there and have never regretted my choice. I have been finding scope birds left, right, and center this fall at the hawk watch!

Thanks, Vortex, for making such a terrific scope for a terrific price with a great warranty, and thanks Eagle Optics for selling it at a reasonable price! GO VORTEX and GO EAGLE OPTICS!

Ps. It asks me how to rate this product: 5 stars seems too low. Where is the category for 100 stars? Seriously, it deserves 100 stars!

Warranty - 06/27/2013

by Bob F. from Wausau Wi

Bought this Scope last year from Eagle optics. Price, optics and warranty was main consideration for buying this. Developed a focusing issue with it and took it in on a Tuesday for repair. Don't know what the issue was but they sent me a new scope and received 2 days later. Great service and warranty. Would absolutely recommend Vortex and Eagle Optics!

Very nice unit - 06/20/2013

by Wayne from Colorado

Overall a very nice unit. Optics are very good. Solid build of both unit and case. Warranty was a major determining factor for deciding for Vortex. Couple suggestions: 1) Would like to have a pre-locate viewer of some type as it's difficult to figure out where you are actually looking with the high X. 2) Would like to have a better eyecup/piece. 3) Cap hangers/holders would be nice.

Wayne

Spotting scope - 04/26/2013

by Larry from Rapid City, SD

Good quality at a moderate price.

Great scope; nice for digiscoping - 02/19/2013

by Dan from Stevens Point, WI

I bought this scope long with the digiscoping adapter and am very pleased. I paired it with my Canon S100 and got some amazing shots at Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge in Florida, where egrets, herons, spoonbills, pelicans, and shorebirds congregate in mixed flocks. The sharpness and colors are striking. The adapter needs careful adjustment and alignment, but is very quick to attach once its set up. The scope alone is also a nice way to see great detail in the birds that visit my backyard feeders. I researched scopes for a long time before purchasing, comparing the Razor to higher priced scopes. Personally, I couldn't see a noticeable difference in image quality. I'm very satisfied that I got an outstanding scope at a good price.

Really a great buy - 01/09/2013

by Nelson L. from Bella Vista, AR

Purchased Vortex Razor HD 20-60X65 Angled Spotting Scope for the wife we have purchased lesser models and sent them back or never used after a few times. This scope works great for our needs eagle/larger bird watching. Very easy to use by hand or on Tripod. One of the biggest reasons for purchasing from Eagle Optics is prices competitive with other big online companies. Eagle Optics tell you online that the produce is available and ready to ship. Eagle Optics shipping very fast!

Vortex Razor HD -- slight production changes made - 11/20/2012

by Chris H. from Central Texas

During a wonderful visit to Alaska this June, a friendly birder offered to let us peak at an eagle's nest through his spotting scope. We were amazed by the sharpness and clarity of the image, so I inquired about his scope. I made a note of the make & model: the Vortex Razor HD. Five months later, after selling off a couple of unused cameras, I could finally justify this purchase.

Eagle Optics makes it so easy... there's really no variation in price among any authorized dealers for the Vortex Razor HD, but Eagle Optics is the only source I found that offered free overnight shipping. Not even the big "Am" could do that! I placed the order on Mon. morning and it arrived Tue. around noon. Wow!

Everything that's been said about how great this scope is, has turned out to be true. However apparently a couple of things have changed regarding production. First, the objective cap on mine is *not* too tight, as earlier reviewers have complained. On mine it is definitely secure but it pulls off easily. Second, there are many photos of this scope showing a sighting tube on the right side near the eyepiece. However mine does not have one. Not sure why Vortex changed that, but the optics and overall quality are indeed amazing for the price. Thanks, Eagle Optics!

Razor HD angled scope - 10/21/2012

by Josh H. from Ohio

First off, this scope is a fantastic bargain. For the price, nothing compares. It is sturdy, easy to use, and has great clarity and color fidelity, and the warranty is incomparable. The included view-through case is a nice plus. At maximum magnification, the image is lower quality than Zeiss, Swarovski or Leica, but at lower power there is no noticeable difference between the Razor and a more expensive scope.

That said, there are a couple things that could be improved.

1. Zoomed all the way up (60x) the image suffers a little (grainy and a little dark, with slightly less color fidelity), but at lower magnification (even slightly lower, 55x and below) the image is excellent.

2. The objective cap is very tight, and I've found that if you twist it off (rather than pulling straight off) it loosens the threaded ring that retains the lens hood. I discovered this recently by pulling off the lens cap and having the lens hood assembly fall off the scope. Luckily, it threaded right back on. Not something you would want to happen while trying to confirm a distant rarity.

In summary, I would recommend this product to anyone who wants a high-quality scope without shelling out the big bucks.

Wonderful scope for birdwatching - 05/21/2012

by Lois from Colorado

I love to birdwatch, but my eyesight is really bad. Since receiving the Vortex Razor HD 20-60x85, my birdwatching experience has improved 100%. Love, love, love the Razor. Everything is magnified to the "nth" degree and it is so wonderful to finally see all of the fantastic details of all of the beautiful birds out there. The Razor is really easy to use--just adjust the eyepiece to the magnification you want and then fine tune it with the dual focus dial. Easy, easy, easy. When I ordered the Razor, I also ordered the Manfrotto 128RC/190XB Tripod kit. These two products work together really well and I would recommend them to anyone.

good spotting scope - 12/23/2011

by Bill from Aldie,Va

The scope works very well. I am very satisfied with the scope.
The aiming tube on the side of the scope is particularly helpful. It enables you to quickly find the waterfowl and birds. I would recommend this scope.

Vortex Razor - 12/20/2011

by D Hardie from Marquette, MI

My first scope, so nothing to compare to. Snow Owl invasion the day after purchase, and was so great to have the scope-very nice view at >100yds. Christmas Count-Immature Bald vs Golden>>1/4 mile away-made ID easy. At max zoom the detail falls, but think this is normal.and would not be such an issue in brighter conditions. Goldeneyes on the big lake-nice detail. It is hefty scope, but seems sturdy. Manfrotto tripod pairs well with the scope. Glad I invested in the package.

Great value ... with a minor bug - 12/08/2011

by Chainsaw from SoCal

Our first order from Eagle Optics was the Vortex Razor.

Service could not have been better. We ordered the scope and Manfrotto 128RC/190XB Tripod Kit one morning, and had it all in hand the next afternoon.

So far, the scope and tripod are all they're claimed to be. Spotting birds on the water the first morning, they actually looked brighter than they did with bins or the naked eye. Awesome clarity too. And nice, smooth mechanisms.

The only bug so far is the ridiculously tight objective lens cap. I'm a strong guy. But I have to really wrestle this thick hunk of rubber to get it off. It's bad enough that I fear for the tripod head. Given that others have also commented on this problem, you'd think Vortex would just come up with a better cover system, no?

I'm only rating this scope as "Good" -- at least until we decide if we can live with the lens cover long-term.

Really good scope - 08/26/2011

by JD from United States

This scope provides best picture quality for the price range.

Pros:
1] Awesome edge-to-edge sharpness.
2] Good accesories
3] Awesome warranty
4] Robust build

Cons:
1] Slightly on the heavier side
2] The objective lens cover is too tight for my liking. You almost need to yank it off.
3] I have not bought the digiscoping adapter as it does not fit the 30x wide eyepiece which I plan to buy in future.
4]

wonderful optics - 05/31/2011

by suzanne from kentucky

wonderful value

Very Pleased - 04/12/2011

by Pete from Georgia

Got the Razor about a week ago and wow was the shipping fast! Ordered it and the next day it was there as advertised. Kudos to Eagle Optics for living up to their word on shipping. Now the scope. Packaged very nicely and securely. I paired this scope with a Manfrotto tripod and it all went together real easy. I don't like the little booklet you get with the scope though. Not exactly chock full of pictures and clear instructions. But I did find putting the lens on the scope easy even though it took a little more force to get it to lock into place than I thought necessary. The lens cap is tight which I like. I am no expert on optics but I know what I can see through this scope is excellent.Very clear right to the edges. I will say that I thought I would get a bit more performance in long distance magnification. I was looking at the first Blue Grosbeak of the season from quite a distance and I thought it would be a bit better picture than what I got. Not exactly a bad picture but maybe a little less than my expectations. BUT. At medium to medium long ranges wow! I got in just a bit closer to this bird and man oh man what a picture. Very impressive in detail and color. I could see the wind rustling his feathers real clear and the definition of the feathers was outstanding. The field of view at about 35-40x is excellent and really doesn't seem to darken at all. This scope is not lightweight. It is definitely heavier than my last scope but time to man up! I am 54 years old and if I can handle it well......... Anyways, I highly recommend this scope. It is the same price as the comparable Kowa but comes with the eyepiece! Much better deal in my opinion. Hey Vortex! Get a better booklet with this thing! Other than that, great scope.

Good value - 02/20/2011

by Eric from Alexandria, VA

Thanks to Mike at Eagle Optics for taking a lot of time to set up great side-by-side trials of spotting scopes. We found the Vortex Razor HD almost equal to the scopes costing $1,000 more. Easy to use, sharp images. I like that the case is included ($150 or more extra on other brands).

I did not find strings for the lens caps in our package, but otherwise have no complaints or wishes (except wish we had a scope earlier -- our first outing with it netted five life list birds for us, in areas we have been to quite often).

By far the best value - 01/28/2011

by Jack from Berkeley, CA

For a few years now I've been using a Vortex Impact small mirror scope for our bird walks. It's always compared favorably with most of the scopes, but it gives me trouble in aiming, it's not really as bright and clear as the big Swarovskis and Leicas that occasionally show up, and it doesn't focus too close and the field is not flat, leading to compromise focussing.

I like to snap pictures through the scope too, but it's never been as clear as when I've snapped them through the big scopes. Nonetheless, it works great for group viewing and most people always enjoy it.

A couple of weeks ago we were viewing a Prairie Falcon in dim light at a long distance and it became obvious what the advantage of our friend's Swarovski was over our Impact. I managed a great digiscoped picture -- through her scope.

So I looked for a bigger scope and ended up with the Vortex Razor. I'm really glad I did! On our next several walks, it proved equal and in many instances superior to the large Swarovski and Leica that were in the party. Most people liked the Razor's brightness and color better than the Leica's and even the Swarovski's.

I was able to aim it faster than the Leica, which didn't have the aiming tube, and equally as fast as the Swarovski, which did. I took a few pictures through the scope and they came out great, far better than ever through my little Impact.

So I got a telescope as good if not better than any other that I've seen on our hundreds of birding walks, and I did it for a thousand dollars less!

Moreover, I have the lifetime guarantee -- that's worth a lot in itself. My Impact developed a problem and wouldn't focus. Something was loose in its interior. I took it to the local Flyway Festival and handed it to the Vortex rep. She looked through it, shook it a bit, smiled, put it down and handed me a brand new one. Then she thanked me!

At the same festival, I asked the Swarovski rep how to go about getting our binoculars tightened back up so they would hold their configuration. He handed me a brochure, told me to write the company and ask for an RMA, send them the binocs, and after a month or so they'd tell me how much they'd charge. I'd pay postage both ways, pay for the screw tightening, and be without my binocs for a couple of months. No thanks!

Even if the Razor were the same price but a little inferior to a Swarovski or Leica (which it isn't!), I would buy it because of the Vortex guarantee. And if I sell my Impact, the new owner will get the same guarantee. It's like getting a brand new one, so the value never goes away, and they're easy to sell -- should you ever do that.

I not only love my Razor, I'm sold on Vortex and will not buy any other brand again.

As for Eagle Optics, the transaction couldn't have been easier. I filled out the form on line, entered my credit card number, and I got complete receipts via email, good tracking information, and after a few days I was down at the shore, looking at birds through my new Razor.

Spending that much money is never easy, but I'm really glad I bought this scope.

A great scope - 01/06/2011

by Jim from Ithaca, New York

I bought this scope as a Christmas gift for my wife (!) and we used it on a 2-week road trip to Florida. An excellent scope especially for the price. It certainly met our expectations as our level of birding doesn't justify top shelf.

Excellent Scope - 01/04/2011

by elkhunter from Idaho

I bought this scope just before hunting season after doing some very vigorous and extensive research. Let me tell you this scope performed far beyond expectations. When others in my group were complaining about their scopes and their inability to count the elk point out there I was just smiling. I could see and count points with clarity at a couple miles. One of the guys I was hunting with had a Swarovski STS 80mm. He doesn't anymore; he now has a Vortex Razor.

Pros:
Price - You can't beat the price.
Quality - This scope is put together well and it is tough.
Durability - I hunt in Central Idaho one of the most rugged and unforgiving places in the lower 48 and this scope handled it with flying colors.
Warranty - Vortex has an unconditional warranty. Can't beat that.
Size - although this scope is not the smallest spotting scope it easily fit into my pack. I bought the angled specifically because the shape was perfect for my backpack.
Most Importantly - Optic Clarity - I could not believe how clear this scope was. There might be better scopes but I don't see how and I guarantee it won't come at the price of the Vortex Razor.

Cons: None that I have discovered. I love the dual focus and I did read that some people didn't like how easily the sun shade slid out but this didn't bother me at all.

Overall: I am really impressed with this scope. I put it through some really tough conditions and the more I use it the more I love it. It is honestly one of the best purchases I have invested in. I have used spotting scopes all my life and this is the best one that I have used for hunting. I wanted to really use this scope before I wrote a review and I can honestly say there might not be a better scope out there, especially when you consider the cost is at least half of a comparable Swarovski 80mm HD, Lieca or Koya HD. I think those companies may have to reconsider their ridiculous price tags because if Vortex can produce a product like this there is no need to buy those more expensive brands, except for vanity's sake and I'm not into vanity, i'm into performance.

Excellent value, Great Cust. Svc - 12/03/2010

by D Bowcut from CA

This scope lives up to its rep as a great birding appliance. Now that the other "big names" have moved prices into the stratosphere, this scope makes impressive sense. The view is as clear as various magazine reviewers state. The included 20-60 eyepiece is quite sharp, but like its pricy peers, does fall off a bit at max.

I purchased the optional long eye-relief eyepiece but find the standard one works just fine and does provide great viewing for glasses wearers with the additional zoom, so try it out before spending...

I experienced a problem with the coarse focus on the scope--turning the knob had no affect--and called Vortex to whine, expecting lengthy return-and-exchange hassles. Surprise! My issue was handled by English speaking reps, and they "one-day shipped" a new replacement scope with a UPS label for return of the defective unit.

Bottom line: Great product, fine value, exceptional customer service.

Very Satisfied - 11/05/2010

by Scott from New Rochelle

I purchased a Razor HD scope a few months ago and am greatly enjoying its extremely crisp images, rugged construction and smooth operation. It's amazing to see sharp detail appear out of nowhere on distant objects; especially, the ducks! The VIP warrantee is most reassuring and figured strongly in my purchase decision. Kudos to the Vortex team for bringing us such a well-made and well-supported product at a price substantially below that of its top end competitors.

Great Value!! - 09/26/2010

by jeff from choteau, mt

Review Of Vortex Razor HD 85mm spotting scope
Professional Naturalist /Guide for The Nature Conservancy, Montana.

Pros:
· Clear sharp images,
· Excellent resolution.
· Well built and solid
· Smooth zoom
· Smooth and adjustable eye relief
· Wide field of view
· Out standing price!
· Unbeatable Warranty

Cons:
· Not enough eye relief for some people with glasses
· Lens caps may not work with some filters
· The View through case is poorly fitted and cumbersome.
· Sunshade slides out too easily (a small rubber ring would help)


Bottom Line:
This is an outstanding scope at a great price.
The other leading optics manufacturers may have a slight edge over the Vortex in some areas, but this scope holds its own with the very best leading with a great price and the best warranty in the business.

More about how I found the Vortex.
I have been using a Leica APO 77mm scope and Leica binoculars for years.
I have a straight view Leica. This came to be a problem guiding because of the long hours glassing for bears and other wildlife as well and that it will not accommodate users of differing heights easily. So, I started looking for a replacement scope. I went to Leica first, but the new Leica APO 82 was selling for thousands of dollars
That made me pause and look around. I read some reviews of the Vortex. It sounded like a top quality scope at a reasonable price. However, the price made me wonder if I would notice a difference in quality from the other top scope manufacturers.
Fortunately, due to my work, I have access to many top scopes for comparisons including Swarovski, Nikon, and Leica.

I was able to test the Vortex scope in the field for several weeks. I also set up a 100 yard Snell eye chart comparison. I am very impressed with the Vortex performance both in day- to-day field use and in direct comparison to several other excellent scopes.





Resolution and sharpness

In the resolution tests I set up, the Vortex scored equal to other scopes tested against.

For my resolution test, I set each of the four scopes on a sturdy tripod viewing a Snell Eye Chart at 100 yards on a cloudless, Montana afternoon. I had several different testers read the eye chart through each scope several time, and at different magnifications. I varied the order for scopes and the direction that they read the lines of the eye chart.

The scopes I compared were:
Vortex Razor HD 85mm w/20z-60x
Leica APO 77 w/20x-60x
Swarovski 80mm STS HD w 20x-60x
Nikon Fieldscope 82mm ED w/ 25x-75x

Here are the results of my Snell Eye Chart comparisons.
All were great scopes.
None of the scopes tested were able to clearly resolve one line smaller than the others. In other words, all appeared equally clear.
In most runs of the test the Vortex had the same accuracy as the Leica. There was some variation from one test to another and from one tester to another.

When trying to read 5 mm lettering at 100 yards, body position and eye relief were very important. If one’s position was not in correct, testers had more difficulty with some letters.

After hours of squinting at the eye chart, the impressions of the testers were:
The Leica might have been the sharpest, but not by much. The Vortex was a very very close second and even that was not a sure thing. The Swarovski and Nikon were about equal, and just behind the Leica and the Vortex.

We did however notice more chromatic aberration in the Swarovski and in the Nikon than with the Leica and the Vortex. The Vortex had warmer cast to the view, almost like a slight warming filter and the Leica and Swarovski had a cooler cast like a cooling filter. I do not think this is good or bad just different. One of the testers said “that they though the Vortex had great contrast in relation to the other scopes.” I did find that some style of glasses made it difficult to get the appropriate amount of eye relief for one tester.




Body and construction

The Vortex razor feels very well made. The zoom operates smoothly. I really like the duel focus knobs that are very smooth and have no lag in the rolling of them.
I really like that the eye-piece locks in place with a pin. I would prefer all rubber armor on the body like the Leica and Swarovski.. I also find the sun shade slides out too freely for my tastes. I think the Objective lens cap might not fit well if you put a protective filter on but I did not test this.
I also like how smooth and firm the eye-cup twists out. making for great eye-relief adjustment.


Now for some real world use.
I used the Vortex in the field leading wildlife watching expeditions and hikes.
I also tested it watching White-winged Cross bills feeding. I loved the color rendition I got through the Vortex. I saw great highlights in the bird’s feathers.

I used the scope several times at dusk looking for grizzly bears at Pine Butte Preserve in Montana. The Vortex did very well in the poor light- even in the rain. The Vortex scope was even brighter than my Leica binoculars. I had several of my clients comment on how bright and sharp they thought the scope was. We watched several moose and were able to see the velvet on the antlers from ½ a mile. I was able to pick out elk from nearly two miles away, and we watched a female grizzly with two cubs run across a meadow. The detail in their hair was excellent. You could see her coat ripple and move as she stood up to smell us. One major difference I noticed: at 60x the Leica and Swarovski really seemed to tunnel down and have small field of view. The Vortex seemed much bigger and brighter. This was most observable when looking at wildlife over one mile away in poor light.

Summary
The Vortex Razor is a top quality scope. You might get slightly more from a $4000 dollar scope, but I do not think it would be a difference that mattered.
The Razor has by far the best warranty in the industry and that is a huge benefit to me.
If you drop the Vortex and break it ;Vortex will fix it. You will not get this with Leica, Swoarvski, or Kowa. Nikon had a great warranty too, but it is not transferable to another owner of the scope. The Vortex warranty stays with the scope not the owner!

I have loved using the scope on the job. I am very impressed by the scope and will seriously look at other Vortex products in the future. I think that if they can keep up the quality and the affordable prices, we will hear a lot more about Vortex Optics.

Our first Scope! - 08/10/2010

by Ed and Diana from Strongsville Ohio

WOW, all of the lenghtly searching, scrutinzing and reading on the web, led us to Eagle Optics and the Razor Vortex! Not a moments regret!

Our first experience with a scope..and the wonders it provides. Who would have thought the best part would be sharing with anyone passing us along the trail. Either they want to know about our scope and where to buy it, or there are gasps as people view a beautiful bird they had never seen close up!

Our digital photography is progressing slowly with the scope...fortunately the "spotting" of a Kirtlands Warbler and a Purple Galinule (very rare in Ohio)...has more than made up for it!

We could not be happier with our Vortex Scope!

What customers are saying about Eagle Optics: