The Razor HD 20-60 x 85 spotting scope competes at the highest level of performance. The sophisticated triplet apochromatic lens system delivers high-definition views across the entire field of view - no color fringing, degradation of resolution or dilution of color fidelity at longer viewing distances.
Reviewed by 2 customers
I was torn between buying this scope and the Celestron 100mm FD Regal so I bought both. The Vortex has been highly regarded and cost more than 2 times the price of the Celestron so I was expecting its performance to be significantly better than the Vortex. In a nutshell I was extremely disappointed with the Vortex. It looked good with low magnification but past 30X it did not focus sharply. Much to my surprise the Celestron Regal blew the Vortex away. The Celestron had significantly superior sharpness and focus at higher magnification. The Celestron is also much more versatile in that you can use 1.25" eyepieces as well as Barlows. Yes the Celestron is larger and weighs more but this is no issue as all scopes should be mounted on a sturdy tripod. The build quality on the Celestron was very good. I have not tried other high end scopes out there but after using the over hyped Vortex I am convinced that the Celestron Regal offers without a doubt the best bang and versatility for the buck in spotting scopes period.
I sold my Leica and bought a VortexReview Of Vortex Razor HD 85mm spotting scopeBy Jeff Professional Naturalist /Guide for The Nature Conservancy, Montana.Pros:Â·Clear sharp images, Â·Excellent resolution.Â·Well built and solidÂ·Smooth zoom Â·Smooth and adjustable eye reliefÂ·Wide field of viewÂ·Out standing price!Â·Unbeatable WarrantyCons:Â·Not enough eye relief for some people with glassesÂ·Lens caps may not work with some filtersÂ·The View through case is poorly fitted and cumbersome.Â·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 sharpnessIn 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-60xLeica APO 77 w/20x-60xSwarovski 80mm STS HD w 20x-60xNikon Fieldscope 82mm ED w/ 25x-75xHere 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 constructionThe 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 Â½ 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.SummaryThe 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.