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Old Wednesday 15th February 2006, 15:30   #1
Lewie
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Vortex Razor

Has anyone heard much about the new Vortex Razor, especially the 10X42?
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Old Wednesday 15th February 2006, 15:43   #2
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I saw the advertisement for it in the most recent Birdwatchers' Digest. Another bridge style design like the ELs and Elites if I remember correctly.
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Old Thursday 16th February 2006, 02:13   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FrankD
I saw the advertisement for it in the most recent Birdwatchers' Digest. Another bridge style design like the ELs and Elites if I remember correctly.

They also have these on the Eagle Optics website. They do resemble EL's or the new Elites. The FOV on the 8x42 is very impressive at 410'. I'm a little less impressed with the 10x42's 325'. From the picture on EO's site they are very nice to look at...don't know what they'd be like to look through!
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Old Wednesday 1st March 2006, 03:04   #4
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I agree that the Vortex Razor is very pleasing aesthetically, and has an impressive list of specs, especially the 8x (the 410' field-of-view in particular).

Eagle Optics sells them for $699 - not bad when you consider the pricing of the current crop of uber-glass (see Swarovski EL, among others, which I've seen priced at nearly $1800!) However, the Vortex will *probably* not perform quite as well as the Swarovski...

Certainly has my interest piqued. Ya gotta love the current optics market!
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Old Wednesday 9th August 2006, 15:24   #5
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My New Vortex Razors

I received my new Vortex Razors (8x) yesterday and have spent about an hour with them. Iím very pleased with my purchase ($700) and expect that they will serve my birding needs admirably. My initial impressions follow:

The view is bright and the focus is sharp with only a very slight degradation in the outer 5% of the field of view.

The wide field of view (410 feet at 1000 yards per the specs) make them a real pleasure to use.

They are attractive and handle well. The rubber armor makes them easy to grip; the focus knob is well-located for my fingers.

They seem rugged and solidly built.

The accessories are well designed. The padded case is sturdy and very serviceable. The padded neck strap is very comfortable. The tethered objective lens covers stay well out of the way during viewing and can be completely removed if you donít like them. The rain guard is the best Iíve seen Ė snug but not so tight as to be hard to get on or off and flexible so that it fits no matter how the binoculars are adjusted.

I found only a couple of negatives and they are minor. First, the focus knob works well but is not as smooth as in some other binoculars I have used, including my less-expense Pentax DCF WPs. Second, I do not understand why binocular manufacturers insist on putting contours for thumb and finger placement. I have yet to find a pair, including these, where the contours are where I want to put my fingers and even if they were in the right place I donít know what use they would be.

To be sure, the Razors are not Swarovskis, but they are very close and $1000 less.
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Old Tuesday 3rd October 2006, 03:42   #6
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Vortex Razor 8x42

I just got a set of these--they are great to look through. The image is quite bright and very sharp.

BIG problem with the focus knob, though. It's really tough to turn. My fingers actually hurt after using these which is unlike any bins I've ever used that are over $15. I did some reading and this may be due to the mechanics of the double-barreled bridge design, so I don't know if it's correctable (???). Definitely not good for carpal-tunnel prone individuals.

Great rain guard/tethered lens covers. Cool looking set of binos, and yes, nice to look through. Biggest plus is the Mega-410' field of view! Also have an enormous depth of field, so the focus knob doesn't bother you too much by having to move it all the time. I definitely recommend trying before buying because a lot of fingers may not be strong enough for these.
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Old Tuesday 3rd October 2006, 07:16   #7
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Hi Hawkd I see this is your first post so my I extend a warm welcome from all the staff and moderators at Bird Forum.

D
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Old Tuesday 3rd October 2006, 11:34   #8
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Hawk, try to exchange it, repair? No sense putting up with a bad focus. It may loosen up a bit, but not much.
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Old Tuesday 10th October 2006, 16:20   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tero
Hawk, try to exchange it, repair? No sense putting up with a bad focus. It may loosen up a bit, but not much.
I also tried a pair and the focus wheel was aweful. Optics were very nice. I dont know why EO knocked off the EL to me that seems a bit odd. They have DLS which seems to be top notch all around and has its own unique look. When it comes to marketing most will know they are not Swarovski. Bushnell failed at that too with the new Elite a less than impressive bin.
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Old Tuesday 10th October 2006, 18:17   #10
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You should definitely call Vortex. They have a no-fault guarantee and I'm sure would do something about the focus knob if you let them know. I mentioned earlier that mine was not as smooth as other bins but it certainly is not as bad as you describe. It's not even difficult to turn; it's just not buttery smooth. That suggests to me that yours is an anomaly and that Vortex would fix the problem or exchange the bins.



Quote:
Originally Posted by HawkD
I just got a set of these--they are great to look through. The image is quite bright and very sharp.

BIG problem with the focus knob, though. It's really tough to turn. My fingers actually hurt after using these which is unlike any bins I've ever used that are over $15. I did some reading and this may be due to the mechanics of the double-barreled bridge design, so I don't know if it's correctable (???). Definitely not good for carpal-tunnel prone individuals.

Great rain guard/tethered lens covers. Cool looking set of binos, and yes, nice to look through. Biggest plus is the Mega-410' field of view! Also have an enormous depth of field, so the focus knob doesn't bother you too much by having to move it all the time. I definitely recommend trying before buying because a lot of fingers may not be strong enough for these.
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Old Wednesday 11th October 2006, 17:11   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by melanerpes
You should definitely call Vortex. They have a no-fault guarantee and I'm sure would do something about the focus knob if you let them know. I mentioned earlier that mine was not as smooth as other bins but it certainly is not as bad as you describe. It's not even difficult to turn; it's just not buttery smooth. That suggests to me that yours is an anomaly and that Vortex would fix the problem or exchange the bins.

Melanerpes,

Your sample may be the "anomaly" (a good one), or perhaps you have stronger fingers than some of us. From reading other reviews, it would seem that tight focusers are the "norm" on the Razors.

When the 8x42 Vortex Razor came out, I was excited, because I have large hands and find slim roofs hard to hold compared to my porros (two Nikon SEs, 8x and 12x, and a CJZ 8x50 Octarem) but couldn't see spending a fortune on an EL, and the Bushnell Elite had gotten some "stinky" reviews, here's one:
http://www.binoculars.org/birding/Re...Elite8x43.html

I hadn't heard of the Vortex brand so I started to dig for information and found the reviews of the Razor on this forum. I was disappointed to learn about the hard to turn focuser.

I had the OPPOSITE problem with LX focusers, three out of the five samples I tried had loose tension, and with the fast gearing ratio, this caused me to overshoot my targets. The fast focusers also made focus accommodation a problem for me, forcing me to readjust the right diopter at various distances so I don't even lock the diopter, don't really need to since it's on the right EP and stays put. The focus accommodation problem is particularly noticeable on my 8x32 LX, even though it has the most precise focuser of the samples I've tried, probably because of the shorter FL and even faster gear ratio than the full sized models (1/2 turn from close focus to infinity).

A reviewer also complained about the Razor's tight focuser and collapsing eyecups on binoculars.com:
http://www.binoculars.com/products/v...1.html#reviews

This past weekend, a friend of mine went to an optics show where Vortex reps displayed their products. I asked him to check out a Vortex Razor for me. He did, and his results were similar. He found the views sharp and bright and the ergonomics very good even for his large hands, however, he said the Razor was very difficult to focus, AND he could not get it to focus at infinity. He said it felt like there was grinding inside the focuser.

The eyecups wouldn't stay put and kept slipping from their settings. He also thought that the build on the more expensive Razor was about the same as the more economical Broadwing model.

So much for this "poor man's" EL (though not THAT poor for $699!). Perhaps Vortex will work out the bugs with a redesigned Vortex Razor II. Hopefully, Don and Lillian Stokes will be consulted since their line seems to work well.

Last edited by brocknroller : Wednesday 11th October 2006 at 17:22.
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Old Wednesday 11th October 2006, 18:43   #12
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As a representative of Vortex Optics, the manufacturer of the Razor, I would like to step into this discussion to help clarify any potential issues with our product.

First, I want to say how pleased we at Vortex are with the positive feedback that the Razors have received on Birdforum, we appreciate the recognition our optics are getting and we are very pleased with the Razor model. With its great handling, world-class optics, and exciting price tag, the Razor has been very well received.

Our initial specifications for the Razor included a firmer focus wheel, but we have been noting some feedback (from a few customers as well as from our own design team) that has prompted us to make some modifications to the Razorís focus wheel and its functioning Ė these updates can only increase the Razorís appeal. Having said this, HawkDís Razor focus wheel experience is indeed an anomaly (the feedback I was speaking of was not nearly as serious as what he seems to be experiencing) and we have already taken steps to take care of his situation.

If anyone has any questions about the Razor or its functioning, please feel free to email me - jsailing@vortexoptics.com.

Thanks very much!

Jason and the staff at Vortex.
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Old Wednesday 11th October 2006, 20:12   #13
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Jason,
Why so many bumps and dents and bruises on that Vortex? The facts that it is split bridge design and it is rubber covered should make it grippy enough. As it is, it turned out, well, butt ugly. Simplicity and streamlined forms do appeal, you know. You can never go wrong by not embellishing something. There are many ways you can go wrong by over-designing.
Were you folks trying to avoid law suits from Swarovski by avoiding too many similarities with the EL models? Why not just make them simple, sleek, and black?
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Old Wednesday 11th October 2006, 20:15   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brocknroller

So much for this "poor man's" EL (though not THAT poor for $699!).
I am too poor to waste my money on anything but the best.
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Old Wednesday 11th October 2006, 21:12   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by melanerpes
... Second, I do not understand why binocular manufacturers insist on putting contours for thumb and finger placement. I have yet to find a pair, including these, where the contours are where I want to put my fingers and even if they were in the right place I donít know what use they would be.
...
These are just my opinions, or course, but most of what you find is due to absolutely mindless copy-cat behavior. The original ergonomic innovation was developed by Swarovski for the SL Porro models, and then effectively incorporated into their SLCs, and from there to the ELs. The basic concept is to spread out contact with the thumbs so there are no hard pressure points. It works very well. The original 8x30 SLC was a masterpiece of human engineering design, as well as the 10x42 SLC and others. The thumb grooves are deep, wide, and angled properly. Still, some folks with smallish hands don't like them, as one can only design for somewhere between the 10th and 90th percentiles of the population. Since human engineering was my trade, though, I admire them considerably.

Now everything else I've seen has been poorly engineered with no understanding at all of the real purpose. I have an otherwise nice Swift 828 Audubon, for example, that has little shallow grooves put in exactly the wrong locations, and which present very hard edges to the thumbs. Not only were the designers clueless about ergonomics, but they actually made matters worse! It's one of the reasons Swaros cost so much more, I guess ó good engineering.

Ed

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Old Friday 20th October 2006, 18:57   #16
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Have you contacted Vortex?

HawkD,
I'd be really interested to know if you ever contacted Vortex directly in regard to this problem and what their response was.


Quote:
Originally Posted by HawkD
I just got a set of these--they are great to look through. The image is quite bright and very sharp.

BIG problem with the focus knob, though. It's really tough to turn. My fingers actually hurt after using these which is unlike any bins I've ever used that are over $15. I did some reading and this may be due to the mechanics of the double-barreled bridge design, so I don't know if it's correctable (???). Definitely not good for carpal-tunnel prone individuals.

Great rain guard/tethered lens covers. Cool looking set of binos, and yes, nice to look through. Biggest plus is the Mega-410' field of view! Also have an enormous depth of field, so the focus knob doesn't bother you too much by having to move it all the time. I definitely recommend trying before buying because a lot of fingers may not be strong enough for these.
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Old Monday 23rd October 2006, 02:31   #17
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Razors

Quote:
Originally Posted by melanerpes
HawkD,
I'd be really interested to know if you ever contacted Vortex directly in regard to this problem and what their response was.
Hi MELANERPES, I just returned the Razors. Although they were optically wonderful, they just weren't comfortable. I don't think the set I had were broken in any way, as there seemed to be consistent reviews about the focus knob. In a few months I think I'll check out the Razors again to see if, as Vortex staff has claimed, the knob has been made a bit looser. If this happens I think they'd be very good binoculars. I wish I had more information to give about a possible "revised focus knob edition." Perhaps someone out there has bought a set recently???
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Old Monday 15th January 2007, 21:12   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HawkD
Hi MELANERPES, I just returned the Razors. Although they were optically wonderful, they just weren't comfortable... I wish I had more information to give about a possible "revised focus knob edition." Perhaps someone out there has bought a set recently???
Don't hold your breath for the answer! I wrote to the Vortex rep above with the same question and never received a reply. Doesn't exactly make me feel "warm and fuzzy" about the company.

The news is that Vortex is offering new configurations in the Razor line for 2007:
8.5X50, 10x50, and 12x50: http://www.vortexoptics.com/binoculars

The specs might change, according to the disclaimer below the specifications table, but if the specs are as listed, they look very promising, particularly the 8.5x50, which offers a wider than usual AFOV of 57.8*, nearly 2* wider than the Nikon 8x42 LX and only 2/10* behind in TFOV (6.8 vs. 7).

I would hope that the co. solved the issues of the hard to turn focuser and slipping eyecups on the newer configurations since they were aware of the problems, but they won't get my business until I read a public announcement about the fixes or several rave reviews by buyers who also tried the first version. I hope they don't overcompensate by making the focusers too "fast" or too loose like some LX samples I've tried.

Also new is the 6.5x32 Fury model, which has silver coated prisms, a W-I-D-E 8.3* TFOV, 4.9' close focus, 21mm ER, large exit pupil -- 4.92mm, and a nice price (maybe less than $300 since the MSRP on the 8x42mm Razor is $150 higher than the "street price").

They also have some new models: Diamondback, Vanquish, Hurricane binoculars. Curiously, the much praised mid-priced Broadwings are missing from the 2007 line-up or at least from their Webpage.

With three brands and numerous models, the company seems ready to compete with the likes of Nikon and Bushnell, which offer a variety of bins, from inexpensive porros to premium roofs.

However, after the Razor experience, I'm wondering how many other Vortex models have "kinks" that need to be worked out, and if buyers will have to find out the hard way like Hawk did.

I'm not snobbish about name brand and applaud Vortex for offering new binoculars, but I would like to see better communication about their products both privately and publicly.
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Old Monday 15th January 2007, 22:14   #19
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Even high end 10x42s rarely have wider then 330ft fov, so the Diamondback is an interesting addition
http://www.vortexoptics.com/binoculars/view/146
the 8x42 of course even wider, 420ft
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Old Monday 15th January 2007, 22:46   #20
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brocknroller, the Broadwings are part of the Stokes series, so you have to clock on that page from the reguler Vortex binocular page to see them.

The Sidewinder dissapeared and the Diamondack appeared with the same prcing and specs, so I assumed the Diamondback was a renaming of the Sidewinder. I'd be interested to see if there are any changes from one to the other.
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Old Tuesday 16th January 2007, 00:40   #21
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The thing that kept me from Vortex, other than being hard to see (local stores carried only one or two models) is the fact that I think the high end is pretty good, but I have almost no feel for the mid price and not interested in their low end.
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Old Tuesday 16th January 2007, 12:26   #22
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I am surprised you did not receive any reply from them. If I am not mistaken it was Jason Sailing that posted as their representative above. I also remember seeing his name in reference to the Eagle Optics website. They have always been known for providing excellent customer service.

I ran into an issue when emailing another optics manufacturer about their products. I had contacted a specific VP of Sales and Marketing on a few occasions about some issues with their binoculars and scopes. He had been extremely helpful even to go so far as to send me a piece or two of new equipment free of charge when an original order failed to show up on my doorstep. I emailed him recently about up and coming products and it took him over a week to get back to me. My email had apparently been put into his spam folder for some reason. Had he not checked it I would have never received a reply.

I do not know if that is the case with your situation but I guess the safe thing to say is that it is never a bad idea to follow up an email with a phone call if the situation warrants it.
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Old Tuesday 16th January 2007, 14:44   #23
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[quote=brocknroller]
They also have some new models: Diamondback, Vanquish, Hurricane binoculars. Curiously, the much praised mid-priced Broadwings are missing from the 2007 line-up or at least from their Webpage.
/QUOTE]

Vortex is clearly leading the pack in high testosterone binocular names - they make Zeiss and their Victories look like pikers.
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Old Tuesday 16th January 2007, 15:00   #24
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[quote=chartwell99]
Quote:
Originally Posted by brocknroller
They also have some new models: Diamondback, Vanquish, Hurricane binoculars. Curiously, the much praised mid-priced Broadwings are missing from the 2007 line-up or at least from their Webpage.
/QUOTE]

Vortex is clearly leading the pack in high testosterone binocular names - they make Zeiss and their Victories look like pikers.


Ok, I will bite. What is a piker?
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Old Tuesday 16th January 2007, 18:55   #25
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Ok, I will bite. What is a piker?
"one who does things in a small way" (courtesy of Webster). I think the derivation is from the derogatory description of participants in the 1858 Colorado Gold Rush who adopted the slogan "Pike's Peak or Bust".
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