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Vortex Razor 8x42 blacking out...a deal breaker?

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Old Tuesday 16th April 2013, 04:46   #1
fornacino
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Vortex Razor 8x42 blacking out...a deal breaker?

I want to replace my 13 years old 8x42 Celestron Noble and found that the new 2012 Vortex Razor 8x42 HD meet my optical, weight, and price requirements. Only one problem: The view blacks out unless I hold the bins (with fully extended eyecups) against my eyebrows, some fractions of an inch away from fully contacting my eyes. The same model in 10x42 doesn't have that problem. I wear no glasses.

I fear that in situations when sunlight comes from the side, there will be reflections and image degradation caused by light passing through the small gap between the eye and the eyecup. Is this a common problem? Should I buy the bins and just 'deal with it' or is it sufficient reason to reject the binoculars and look for another model? Zeiss Conquest and Alpen Rainier HD come to mind. Unfortunately I have no way to view through the Zeiss or the Alpen unless I purchase them on line, and they may display the same problem.

Any recommendations?

Thanks,
Aldo
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Old Tuesday 16th April 2013, 05:23   #2
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Only you can decide what's a "deal breaker" for you. But in general with a product, if something bothers you a little bit at first it may start to bother you lots more down the road.

Sounds like you don't wear glasses? Neither do I, and I find sometimes that the obsession with eye relief for spec wearers ends up causing too much eye relief for me, causing me to have to find a way to brace the bins agains my brow and/or nose. Sometimes these fancy new bins with 18-20mm+ of ER just don't work for me, I find I prefer 15mm or so.

You may get used to it with time, but my feeling is that optical quality is so close among bins these days that you should find one that FITS you well.

Ordering online is a great option from a site like Eagle Optics that allows a 30 day trial. The Zeiss Conquest HD is extremely similar optically to the Razor HD. Alpen Rainier HD is said to be very nice optically but it's a fair bit heavier. With either, it's impossible to predict if you will find the same issue, as different eye relief specs from different manufacturers aren't always comparable in "real world" use. A lot depends on how it fits your face, and how far the eye cups extend.

All that said..... Why not go for the 10x if you like it and it fits you well? The Razor HD is somewhat unique in that the 10x has nearly the same FOV as th 8x, making for a much larger apparent FOV.
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Old Tuesday 16th April 2013, 05:39   #3
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Aldo,

This kind of thing has been discussed a good bit here. Some people have ways of dealing with that, resting the eyecup on the brow and adjusting the angle of the head to increase the distance from the eye to the eye lens, and gazing "upward" for the view.

But I wouldn't put up with that. I like a firm snuggle against the eyecups (which gives consistency of eye placement, better stability, and side light blocking) with a view showing the sharp field stop all way around, with only a bit of blackout if I look close too the edge (which I don't normally but when panning, the eye moves in fits and starts, and blackouts are exaggerated).

I haven't used that Vortex, so I can't tell whether it simply has excessive eye relief/too short eyecups, or if you have an unusual eye socket geometry. I didn't have any such troubles in my quick trial of a Conquest HD, and it seemed good in every other way too.

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Old Tuesday 16th April 2013, 06:01   #4
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Aldo, I did encounter the exact same problem with the 8x42 Zeiss Conquest HD, but not the 10x, not saying you would have the same problem with them, I have no experience with the Vortex you mention.

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Old Tuesday 16th April 2013, 06:33   #5
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What you are describing is a very common problem. As others have said blackouts are a function of eye relief, length of the eye cups, depth of your eye sockets and as a smaller contributor exit pupil with a bigger exit pupil permitting easier eye placement. The goal is to have the full exit pupil reach your eye and if it doesn't blackouts result. The Vortex Razor 8x42 have too MUCH eye relief for the length of the eye cups resulting in the full light cone or exit pupil being behind the eye cups hence you have to hold your eyes behind the eye cups to avoid blackouts. The only thing you could try would be the Field Optics winged eye cups which would cover those gaps you are talking about and in effect make the eye cups a little longer so the exit pupil would hit your eye correctly eliminating the blackouts. If these don't help and you shouldn't have to hold the binoculars like this the only thing you can do is try another pair of binoculars. You have to keep trying them until you find one that fits your eye sockets with the correct eye relief and length of eye cups that work for your face. I sold a Swarovski 8x32 EL because I had blackouts with it because of this problem. Actually the much cheaper Leupold Hawthorne 7x42 works better at eliminating blackouts than the Swarovski did. Part of the reason is the Hawthorne has a 6mm exit pupil so it is much easier for the bigger light cone to hit your eyes correctly. That is why people like 7x42's and 8x50's. Not so much for the additional light which usually can't be used anyway but the easier eye placement. I would get rid of the Vortex's and try something else or even the 10x if it works better. All my binoculars I keep have to first pass the blackout test before I keep them. I haven't been able to find a 6x yet that passes the test partly because of the too long eye relief. I too do not wear glasses and I get along best with about 15 to 18 mm of eye relief depending on of course the length of the eye cups.

http://www.amazon.com/Eyeshield-1-Sp.../dp/B00BSGJPQK
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Old Tuesday 16th April 2013, 08:28   #6
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Aldo,

I have never, with any binocular, been able to put the eye cups back into the sockets of my eyes without having severe blackouts. I have always had to brace the top of the eye cup up on and just under my brow ridge to see the entire view. I find that I don't have to do this when I use the optional horned eye cups that came with my Nikon 10 x 32 EDG which has ER of 17.3mm. These eye cups also fit on my Zeiss Victory 7 x 42 FL, which has 16mm ER and work with them in the same manner. The horned eye cups are used with the regular eye cups in the down position.

Bob

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Old Tuesday 16th April 2013, 10:49   #7
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Aldo, I think any of the winged eyecup attachments are a good solution for you.

You are unlikely to find the same match of your "optical, weight, and price requirements" again - the closest (and arguably better value) Zeiss Conquest HD is a fair bit heavier. There have also been reports (going from memory - you'll have to dig through the Conquest HD thread) of some users finding too much ER with that 8x, and thus experiencing similar problems to you.

Either get some "wings" or try and give the 10x some love - it's got a great Fov for a 10x, and is near as dammit extra wide field AFov. I'd be happily using one now, if that pesky anti-clockwise focus to infinity didn't annoy the bejayzus outta me!


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Old Tuesday 16th April 2013, 14:28   #8
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Seems like each binocular maker has their own idea of where the eyecup should end in relationship to the length of the eye relief. Some have eyecups extending on the shorter side compared to other manufacturers.

Eye placement varies between the brands I own. I have to place models with eyecups on the short side (in relation to the eye relief) higher up closer to the eyebrows. This method of accommodation was mentioned by Ronh and has been given the name Molcet by other members of this forum.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ronh View Post
Aldo,

This kind of thing has been discussed a good bit here. Some people have ways of dealing with that, resting the eyecup on the brow and adjusting the angle of the head to increase the distance from the eye to the eye lens, and gazing "upward" for the view.
...........................
Ron
Here is a description of the Molcet technique. I bet it will be familiar to you!

http://www.birdforum.net/showpost.ph...1&postcount=11

It sounds from you description that the 8x Razor may not be in physical contact with your face. If the Molcet method does not work and you do not have physical contact with your face, then I say do not buy the 8x Razor. You need to anchor the binocular to your face in order to get a steady hold. I know some people use a free floating hold, but ......

I would expect to see eye placement inconsistency between manufacturers and even between model lines of a manufacturer when considering the manufacture may be outsourced to different companies. It is surprising to hear about such a big difference between the two Razor models. I briefly looked through a current model once and do not remember any eye placement issues. I think it was the 10x. I am now curious to compare the two models.

I own several Zen-Ray models and I have to hold all of them slightly higher up than some of my other brands. There are other Zen-Ray posts here about posters modifying the Zen-Ray eyecups with winged replacements or rubber washers, etc, to extend the eyecups (but I did not have to do that). Some say they fit perfectly but they may not be a good choice for you. Just like shoes, the perfect fit is different between individuals.

Since you are looking for a high end binocular, then consider a used Nikon EDG I or II (or even watch for a vendor sale). I have the 8X32 and 10X42 and both have a longer eyecup in relationship to the eye relief, allowing perfect placement for me. The placement is consistent between the two models. I think you will also find the optical qualities superior to the new Razor, especially considering the flat field view.

If the size is not a turn-off, check out a used 8.5X42 Swarovski EL WB. They sell for about the same price as the Razor and may provide a superior view. As I recall, the eye placement was similar to the EDG. It is not uncommon to see offers of like new models with original boxes and paperwork. Make sure it is a model imported by Swarovski of N. America to get their famous customer service. You mentioned in the post from last year that you bought a Sightron 8X32 so I am thinking size is not a big issue for the Celestron replacement.

Whatever you get, make sure you have a return option, because the only way you are going to know for sure if they are right for you is to try them for several days.
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Old Tuesday 16th April 2013, 15:54   #9
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Hello Aldo,

If you find it irritating, do not buy it, if you can find something else which meets your requirements. I bought a Nikon 8x32 SE, which suffered from blackouts. As a wearer of specs, I was advised to hold it some special cockamamie way, unlike other binoculars, or build up the eyepiece with "o" rings, with the cups down. I sold the binocular to someone who wanted it.
There has to be another binocular which you will find comfortable, even if you have to spend a few dollars more.
You should not have to adapt to the binocular as it is a tool which is supposed to work for you.

Happy bird watching,
Arthur Pinewood
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Old Tuesday 16th April 2013, 17:23   #10
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I have a few bino's with 20mm eye relief sometimes I just use my sunglasses, works great!!!

Best
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Old Wednesday 17th April 2013, 03:59   #11
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Thanks to all for taking the time to respond with excellent suggestions. Apparently this is a common problem that people deal with in different ways. I think that I could adjust to the blackout (...perhaps using the Molcet technique) However, most of you suggest looking for binoculars that fit or install winged eye cups after purchasing the razors 8x42.

I would readily purchase the Razor 10x42 but comparing the 8x with the 10x, I felt that the 8x was somehow sharper or had more contrast than the 10x. It was a brief comparison outside the door of the optics shop, so I may be wrong.

The Nikon EDG are out of my price range and as far as purchasing used bins, I do not have enough experience in spotting flaws and I'm afraid of getting burned.

I may try to overcome my reticence to purchase on line and then return the goods if they don't fit...how often can you do that?

Thank you again for the valuable suggestions

Aldo
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Old Wednesday 17th April 2013, 05:36   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fornacino View Post
Thanks to all for taking the time to respond with excellent suggestions. Apparently this is a common problem that people deal with in different ways. I think that I could adjust to the blackout (...perhaps using the Molcet technique) However, most of you suggest looking for binoculars that fit or install winged eye cups after purchasing the razors 8x42.

I would readily purchase the Razor 10x42 but comparing the 8x with the 10x, I felt that the 8x was somehow sharper or had more contrast than the 10x. It was a brief comparison outside the door of the optics shop, so I may be wrong.

The Nikon EDG are out of my price range and as far as purchasing used bins, I do not have enough experience in spotting flaws and I'm afraid of getting burned.

I may try to overcome my reticence to purchase on line and then return the goods if they don't fit...how often can you do that?

Thank you again for the valuable suggestions

Aldo
Many, many times without problem. Take my word for it. I am the KING of the returns! Amazon knows me by name and I make them tremble.
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Old Wednesday 17th April 2013, 05:50   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fornacino View Post
Only one problem: The view blacks out unless I hold the bins (with fully extended eyecups) against my eyebrows, some fractions of an inch away from fully contacting my eyes.

I fear that in situations when sunlight comes from the side, there will be reflections and image degradation caused by light passing through the small gap between the eye and the eyecup. Is this a common problem?

Thanks,
Aldo
These are two different things.

One is placement of the eye-pieces in relation to the eyes to provide a clear view. Whether you rest the binocular against the lower edge of the eye-brows or on the bone bewol the eye-socket makes no difference as long as you can
-place the bins against the eyes swiftly and without further "fine-tuning",
-have the unobstructed view you desire.
All the binoculars I use, I place them in a different way to my eyes. The way doesnt matter, as long as they fit.

The other factor is, whether the binocular is prone to suffer from reflexions from light penetering from the sides. Thats something which has to be found out in the field in varying conditions.
IMO, one can eliminate this light only by using horned eye-cups. But these (and any very close contact of eyes to eye-pieces) easily lead to fogged-up eye-pieces. Not sufficient circulation of air in the gap, you know.
With too-close contact, I experience fogging in winter and summer, partly due to being a heavy sweater.

Personally, I place the swift and easy placement of the binoculars to the eyes on top of my list of necesseties. Having constantly to fine-tune this placement is a no-no for me.
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Old Wednesday 17th April 2013, 05:52   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fornacino View Post
Thanks to all for taking the time to respond with excellent suggestions. Apparently this is a common problem that people deal with in different ways. I think that I could adjust to the blackout (...perhaps using the Molcet technique) However, most of you suggest looking for binoculars that fit or install winged eye cups after purchasing the razors 8x42.

I would readily purchase the Razor 10x42 but comparing the 8x with the 10x, I felt that the 8x was somehow sharper or had more contrast than the 10x. It was a brief comparison outside the door of the optics shop, so I may be wrong.

The Nikon EDG are out of my price range and as far as purchasing used bins, I do not have enough experience in spotting flaws and I'm afraid of getting burned.

I may try to overcome my reticence to purchase on line and then return the goods if they don't fit...how often can you do that?

Thank you again for the valuable suggestions

Aldo
Bruce is correct in that the Nikon EDG has a lot of adjustability for eye relief so it is possible for almost everybody to set eye relief perfectly to get no blackouts. If you look you can easily pick up a like new one on Ebay for $1K or so. They will outperform your Razor. Here is one now. Remember also that the bigger the exit pupil of your binocular the less likely it is you will get blackouts and the easier the eye placement so get a 7x42,8x42, or 7x50.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Nikon-8x42-E...item4d0b940938

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Old Thursday 18th April 2013, 04:51   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oetzi View Post
These are two different things.

One is placement of the eye-pieces in relation to the eyes to provide a clear view. Whether you rest the binocular against the lower edge of the eye-brows or on the bone bewol the eye-socket makes no difference as long as you can
-place the bins against the eyes swiftly and without further "fine-tuning",
-have the unobstructed view you desire.
All the binoculars I use, I place them in a different way to my eyes. The way doesnt matter, as long as they fit.

The other factor is, whether the binocular is prone to suffer from reflexions from light penetering from the sides. Thats something which has to be found out in the field in varying conditions.
IMO, one can eliminate this light only by using horned eye-cups. But these (and any very close contact of eyes to eye-pieces) easily lead to fogged-up eye-pieces. Not sufficient circulation of air in the gap, you know.
With too-close contact, I experience fogging in winter and summer, partly due to being a heavy sweater.

Personally, I place the swift and easy placement of the binoculars to the eyes on top of my list of necesseties. Having constantly to fine-tune this placement is a no-no for me.

Thank you for the clarification and the warning about using horned eye cups. It's becoming clear to me that my best bet is to continue looking while putting high value on bins that fit the eyes.

Aldo
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Old Thursday 18th April 2013, 04:53   #16
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Bruce is correct in that the Nikon EDG has a lot of adjustability for eye relief so it is possible for almost everybody to set eye relief perfectly to get no blackouts. If you look you can easily pick up a like new one on Ebay for $1K or so. They will outperform your Razor. Here is one now. Remember also that the bigger the exit pupil of your binocular the less likely it is you will get blackouts and the easier the eye placement so get a 7x42,8x42, or 7x50.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Nikon-8x42-E...item4d0b940938
Thank you for the link. The EDG's look very nice and the price is attractive, but unfortunately the seller allows no returns...bummer.

Aldo
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Old Thursday 18th April 2013, 04:56   #17
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Many, many times without problem. Take my word for it. I am the KING of the returns! Amazon knows me by name and I make them tremble.
Good to know. Guiltless returns...I must try.

Aldo
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Old Thursday 18th April 2013, 05:20   #18
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Thank you for the link. The EDG's look very nice and the price is attractive, but unfortunately the seller allows no returns...bummer.

Aldo
Don't worry about the seller not offering returns you still covered with the Ebay guarantee which says if the item is not as described then you will get your money back through Ebay or Paypal. You just file a dispute. Also, the seller has 100% positive feedback meaning he has NEVER had a complaint so you have nothing to worry about.
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Old Thursday 18th April 2013, 05:27   #19
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I think he's more worried about not liking them (eg if they don't fit his face), not about them being defective or misrepresented or something.
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Old Thursday 18th April 2013, 10:17   #20
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Thank you for the link. The EDG's look very nice and the price is attractive, but unfortunately the seller allows no returns...bummer.

Aldo
Aldo ... Try sending the seller a message explaining the situation and ask if he would be willing to offer a return for a limiited number of days if they do not work out for you. He has not had any activity yet so he may be willing to give on this.

I bought a $600 binouclar from an individual on eBay this time last year who had a no return. I contacted the seller via eBay and let him know I was very serious about wanting the binocular but had never used that particular model. I offered to cover postage and he agreed to a return option. The binocular exceeded my expectations and I have them now.

If you contact the seller, also confirm that they are originally from Nikon USA and are covered by the Nikon USA warranty. If they have not been registered, then it is 25 years free, after that, there is a small charge or a small charge now if not the original owner. Make sure all of your contacts are via the eBay message system so you are protected by eBay polices.

The Nikon EDG is one of the finest binoculars available, and has a flat field view similar to the Swarovski Swarovision EL. It would be great if it worked for you and you could get it for that price.
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Old Saturday 20th April 2013, 05:36   #21
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Aldo ... Try sending the seller a message explaining the situation and ask if he would be willing to offer a return for a limiited number of days if they do not work out for you. He has not had any activity yet so he may be willing to give on this.

I bought a $600 binouclar from an individual on eBay this time last year who had a no return. I contacted the seller via eBay and let him know I was very serious about wanting the binocular but had never used that particular model. I offered to cover postage and he agreed to a return option. The binocular exceeded my expectations and I have them now.

If you contact the seller, also confirm that they are originally from Nikon USA and are covered by the Nikon USA warranty. If they have not been registered, then it is 25 years free, after that, there is a small charge or a small charge now if not the original owner. Make sure all of your contacts are via the eBay message system so you are protected by eBay polices.

The Nikon EDG is one of the finest binoculars available, and has a flat field view similar to the Swarovski Swarovision EL. It would be great if it worked for you and you could get it for that price.
Good suggestion. 4 hrs left on the item...just sent an email with proposal.

Thanks,
Aldo
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