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Vortex Razor Vs. Vortex Viper

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Old Thursday 29th September 2011, 19:14   #1
JonC
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Vortex Razor Vs. Vortex Viper

I've seen both these scopes for sale and there is a big price difference, however, there doesn't seem to be much to tell them apart on the specs.

Admittedly the Viper has an 80mm objective compared to the 85mm on the Razor, but apart from that and a little in the finish I can't find much between them.

I haven't used either so I'm hoping someone here can let me know how they differ optically.

Thanks in advance.
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Old Friday 30th September 2011, 18:11   #2
eitanaltman
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Unfortunately, as the thread just below yours notes, we have basically ZERO reviews of the new Viper scopes. There is one anecdotal report of somebody looking through the 85mm Razor and the 80mm Viper HD side-by-side at an optics fair, and claiming they were very close, but that's pretty much it.

Some things to note in terms of specs that do separate them:

- Razor has a wider field of view for the zoom eyepice
- Despite the larger objective, the Razor is more compact (2" shorter and a bit lighter)
- Razor has better close focus

So all of the above plus the larger objective probably means that the Razor, overall, is just slightly better in a few ways adding up to a superior overall package. The Razor's larger objective means, given equal samples, it should perform a bit better in low light and at high magnification... plus the zoom EP might be better (it is similar to the excellent Swarovski clone on the ZEN ED2) which should in theory add up to slightly better optical performance.

The above paragraph is unfortunately all speculation though... until someone gets their hands on one of these we won't know for sure! I really want to know how the Viper HD 80mm at $799 compares to the ZEN ED2 82mm. When the Razor HD was introduced it was the "king of the budget scopes" for those of us who can't afford alphas, but I really want to know how the Razor HD compares now too....
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Old Friday 30th September 2011, 18:21   #3
JonC
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Thanks very much for that. At least I have a bit of info now. I did email Vortex Optics asking the same question as above, but as yet I haven't had a response. Let's hope that they come back to me with a little more information.

I'm going to buy one of them in the next few weeks and I'll post my findings as and when I have time to evaluate the scope.
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Old Thursday 6th October 2011, 17:29   #4
JonC
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Well I'm not impressed with Vortex !! I emailed them a week ago asking a few simple questions about their scopes and they haven't had the courtesy to respond to my email.

You'd think that in these cash strapped times of economic difficulty that firms would be bending over backwards to please customers and secure orders. Not Vortex apparently.

Time to look elsewhere for my next purchase.
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Old Monday 10th October 2011, 13:27   #5
davem
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Hi Jon,

anything you want to know, please just ask us here in UK.

Contacting them directly in the US can be a bit of a roundabout way as any UK based enquiries usually get forwarded to us.

We've had nothing sent over yet from them so if you'd be so kind as to re-send your questions to our email (from the link in the sig) we'll address everything for you.

All the very best,
Dave Morgan
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Old Monday 10th October 2011, 13:50   #6
JonC
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Hi Dave,

Thanks for your message. I've emailed you via your company email with my questions about the Razor and Viper range. Thanks for taking the time to respond.

Regards

Jon
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Old Tuesday 11th October 2011, 16:58   #7
JonC
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Response from Vortex

After my earlier complaint regarding the lack of response from Vortex, Dave Morgan from NewPro UK (UK Distributers of Vortex scopes) has kindly responded and provided the information I was looking for. (Thanks Dave).

Below is a summary of the information I received :

The Apochromatic lens system using the 2nd element of HD glass does account for most of the price difference (between the Razor and the Viper) and the zoom does give an extra 0.1 degree in the field of view throughout the zoom range.

Although the brochure states that both scopes use 'premium' HD glass, within that 'premium' category there are sub-categories with the Razor using the best there is for both elements and the Viper using a lesser grade of 'premium' HD glass for its single element objective lens.

The internal workings of the Razor are not entirely from HD glass, the objective lens and optical system of the Razor HD is more highly engineered than that on the Viper. The Razor having a triple apochromatic system which has 2 elements of HD glass in it for the almost complete elimination of colour fringing across the whole FOV as opposed to the Viper which only has the objective lens itself made from the HD glass. This, combined with the extra 5mm of HD glass in the 85mm objective lens of the Razor naturally adds to the price compared with the 80mm Viper HD and the zoom lens of the Razor is also more highly engineered than that on offer in the Viper HD, giving a wider FOV throughout the range.

As an added benefit of the Razor, it will also fit the Swarovski lenses so should anyone fancy their 30xSW (my choice of eyepiece on it as it is about 15% wider FOV than the Vortex 30x lens and is edge to edge sharp), 20-60x zoom (although there is very little to choose between this and the stock Vortex 20-60x zoom) or 25-50x extra-wide zoom then you can use these instead of the Vortex eyepieces.

****

In addition to the information I received I also found this review on the web :

http://www.birdwatching.co.uk/Birdin...-Razor-85mm-HD


Regards

Jon
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Old Tuesday 11th October 2011, 18:08   #8
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Jon...good review of the Razor you provided on that link... And thanks for the explanation between the Razor and Viper HD's...

I am not even sure the Vipers are in the stores yet as every one I see (B & H, Eagle Optics, Optics Planet, Bearbasin and spottingscopes.com ) all have it listed as being out of stock...Looks to be instock around end of Oct with shipping early Nov.

I wonder how this scope will compare with the Razor in the field...the price is half of the Razor but is the quality? Not sure...

I have a pair of Talon Bino's (The newer HD--but a step down from the Viper lineup)...and am impressed with the color and light on these bino's. I would surely like to see how the Viper Scope compares...and compares to the Razor. Only time will tell as I am not near a store where I can readily compare side by side.... But I do get to bigger towns so will once they are out.

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Old Sunday 23rd October 2011, 16:55   #9
JonC
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Vortex Razor mini review

Hi All,

I finally made my mind up over the Razor Vs. Viper scope and took delivery of the Razor angled scope this week. I took it out to Moor Green Lakes, Berkshire UK this afternoon for a quick test.

I can't get over the clarity and sharpness of the images ! At 20x the images are the best I've seen from any scope at any price and at 60x there is little drop off in lightness and the images are still very sharp indeed. The glass in the objective lenses being able to resolve an immense amount of detail. I have absolutely no complaints at all about the image quality. To put things into perspective though the day was clear and bright. It was a beautiful autumn day with lots of sunshine and clear skies.

The image (especially at lower magnifications) was clear and very bright right across the image. Best quality is obtained in the centre of view as would be expected, but there is so little drop off towards the edges that it would be picky in the extreme to suggest this was in any way detrimental. The HD glass is very impressive and I was not able to detect any chromatic aberration. I was looking for this as well. I chose thin branches in trees against the sky and other fine detail on wire fencing and grasses to try and find evidence of it. A big fat zero here which showed just what a difference the HD glass makes.

The fantastic impression gained from the optics was maintained with a close inspection of the rest of the scope. Where do I start ? There are so many great features.

The build quality is superb, with a nice rubberised feel to the body and all parts are nicely finished. No one owning this scope would be left with the feeling that pennies had been saved anywhere in the construction. The scope has a nice solid feel without being too heavy and is compact in its dimensions. The scope is also sold with a stay on case which is nice little extra considering most other manufacturers charge for this. The scope is also made in Japan which doesn't make any difference to me whatsoever, but this topic has been the source of discussion on the internet so I thought I would point this out.

The objective lens is covered with a snug fitting rubber lens cover to protect it and also has a slide out sun shade for cutting out glare from the sun. The sun shade is a push / pull affair and so there is no extra part to misplace or lose.

The eyepiece is a 20-60x zoom and is smooth in operation and has a twist up cover for eye relief. I tried it in both positions (up and down) and found I preferred the down position even though I don't wear spectacles. The eye cup could also be placed in any position between fully up and fully down and will stay in place as there is just the right amount of resistance in the twisting motion to ensure the eye cup stays in place.

One other bonus of this scope is a small sightfinder to the right of the eyepiece. I was sceptical about this before I got the scope, but found myself using it straight away. It really is great little addition to an already excellent scope. Basically it is a small metal tube with no optics in it. The idea is that you line up the target bird in the sight finder and then look through the eyepiece. After a few frustrating minutes trying to locate Snipe with the scope I found myself using the sightfinder repeatedly as it really does work !

Focus with the scope is quick and easy. The course focus has a moderate amount of resistance and focus won't be easily lost by an accidental brush past the focus wheel. The beauty of this is that it allows enough resistance to prevent accidental turning past the focus point. The fine wheel has less resistance which I found just right at higher magnifications where so little travel of the wheel is needed to adjust focus.

Lastly the tripod mount collar has a small nut which can be slackened off to allow the scope to be rotated. I didn't use this feature so I cannot comment on its usefulness.

I will post more when I have had more time to fully evaluate the scope. I can't wait to get out again and use this beauty. I would also like to try it out in poorer weather to fully evaluate the optics under more challenging conditions. The conditions today were so good I wasn't able to find any fault at all with the optics. I have a photo adapter on order and will post a review of this one I have had time to set it up and do a field test. Still awaiting delivery of this though :-( . At the moment I am very happy with my purchase though and I am a tough person to please. I expect a lot from optics especially at this price point. Very happy so far though with nothing to complain about. I can't even offer anything in the way of constructive criticism as the item is perfect for my needs. Highly recommended !
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Old Monday 24th October 2011, 12:36   #10
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Glad to hear it. Thanks for the review. I've been saving my pennies for a scope, and the Razor is the one I'm targeting. Hopefully I'm just a month or so away...
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Old Sunday 4th December 2011, 16:01   #11
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I own the Razor, and for the price its the only scope I can imagine buying.

Be aware though: It is not light. The aluminum chassis and 85mm glass makes for a real weight in your pack.
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