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Air bubbles in my Razors ?

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Old Friday 10th August 2018, 13:01   #1
Swarovski Man
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Air bubbles in my Razors ?

Last week I bought (another) new pair of Razor 8x42s, and was delighted to find that they were Made in Japan - new/old stock from Amazon at £553. I really like these bins, despite some issues with glare and a relatively small field of view. However, when I took off my specs and looked at some flowers through them ( the view appeared even better ), I noticed a couple of hundred tiny dots through each lens. The lenses are clean, so it's not dust, and I can't focus them out of the view. Interestingly, when I move the bins off-axis, I get a partial black-out and then they look like hundreds of little stars against the night sky, with little "tails" like comets, which makes me suspect that they are air bubbles within one/some of the lenses on each side. Fortunately, this is not visible with my specs on and doesn't effect the otherwise, excellent view, so it doesn't actually bother me, but it does make me wonder about the quality of some of the glass inside !

Has anyone else experienced this with their Razors ?
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Old Friday 10th August 2018, 13:09   #2
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Hi,
Air bubbles in glass does occur, but you should see them looking through the front of the binocular, possibly using a magnifying glass and torch.

I bought several Hoya lenses for Minolta and the glass had hundreds of bubbles inside it.

It could be oil droplets also on a lens surface from grease.
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Old Friday 10th August 2018, 14:02   #3
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I had several Razor binos, both 8x42 and 10x42, and I agree with you that they are excellent binos (except for their glare control that could be better). I have seen air bubbles in the objective lenses of many binos, including Swaros and Zeiss, but only a few of them, definitely not hundreds. One fact that I remember about some Razor samples is that there was a lot of grease visible in the tubes, so the "bubbles" you see might indeed be oil droplets as suggested by Binastro.
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Old Saturday 11th August 2018, 12:32   #4
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I might be looking to buy some new bins and the Vortex Razor is high on the list. Not too keen on the bubbles you can see in yours though, But where did you get them from? I can't find any anywhere near that price. £553 is a bargain, the cheapest I've seen them is £799.
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Old Saturday 11th August 2018, 13:04   #5
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Originally Posted by giosblue View Post
I might be looking to buy some new bins and the Vortex Razor is high on the list. Not too keen on the bubbles you can see in yours though, But where did you get them from? I can't find any anywhere near that price. £553 is a bargain, the cheapest I've seen them is £799.
They came through a well known internet company, most likely to be a grey import, (see O.P.), so good luck if they ever fail and have to be returned.

Could I ask Swarovski Man, what were the terms of,
a. Your guarantee from the company you purchased them from.
b. The warranty that came the binoculars, was this stamped and who do you contact if there's an issue?

Usually with a grey import, it's a years guarantee from the seller. Maybe helpful to others, considering a similar transaction.

I'm not sure who the UK importer is for this U.S. brand should there be an issue, but usually the first step is to contact the retailer if there is a problem. Hence the higher price is for units that are covered by a UK warranty through the registered importer - that's what you're paying for.

It's well known with a major camera company that any grey import is not covered by a UK warranty.

Thank you.

Last edited by PYRTLE : Saturday 11th August 2018 at 13:34.
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Old Saturday 11th August 2018, 18:19   #6
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My understanding is you don't need proof of purchase with Vortex for the warranty. And if you did, I think at £553 I would take the risk. I'm torn between the Vortex Razor 8x42 which are now made in China and the Swarovski 8x42 SLC. Some say they can't tell the difference and other say it's night and day in favour of the SLC.

To be honest, I have to look really hard and be really critical to see any meaningful difference between any good quality bins. Never looked through Swarovski though. Back on topic, are these "bubbles" acceptable?
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Old Saturday 11th August 2018, 18:52   #7
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Kgiosblue,
I don't think we're looking at £553 realistically - closer to £900 at the moment, but you've found some for less. So, dependant on how the UK Vortex warranty works and that they're now made in China can they stand up against a Swaro SLC not only in build quality, but after sales customer service? I'm still not convinced, but many others rave about them. I guess production has shifted to China, like so many other optics, purely on cost. Yes, and if one cannot determine any difference between a mid price and alpha then why pay more?

I cannot comment on the bubble problem, suffice to suggest it should be picked up at the lens and prism testing stage, as well as glass supplier quality control, but some obviously slip through this process. Thanks for replying.

Last edited by PYRTLE : Saturday 11th August 2018 at 19:18. Reason: Complete my reply
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Old Sunday 12th August 2018, 17:10   #8
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Originally Posted by Binastro View Post
Hi,
Air bubbles in glass does occur, but you should see them looking through the front of the binocular, possibly using a magnifying glass and torch.

I bought several Hoya lenses for Minolta and the glass had hundreds of bubbles inside it.

It could be oil droplets also on a lens surface from grease.
These days, it’s harder to make a bad lens—bubbles and striations—than a good one.

When the retainer ring is tightened on the field lens, hundreds of microscopic droplets CAN be sprayed out into the confined space of the ocular. They may the come to rest on the field lens, where they will be most readily observed when looking into a clear blue sky background.

With the speed required in production settings, it is easy for them to escape the observation of the tech.

Bill
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Old Sunday 12th August 2018, 20:06   #9
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Hi Giosblue.

I bought the Razors directly from Amazon - "Dispatched from and sold by Amazon" - they were not a grey import. Anyway, you are correct in saying that you do not need to produce a warranty card to take advantage of the guarantee, so that wouldn't be an issue anyway.

Regarding the price : I was watching them on Amazon and they came down c£30 per day, until they reached £563. The next day, they only came down £10, and I surmised that they had now bottomed-out and would go back up again ( as they do ), so I bought them for £553 with free postage. You are right - they were a bargain. They are currently on sale on Amazon for £961.

You say that you are considering purchasing Swarovski SLCs. You might be interested to know that I repeatedly tested the Razors against my Swarovski SLC 10x42s. The Swarovskis won hands-down. There were notable differences : the SLCs were sharper ( not just because of the larger image ), they were brighter ( despite having a smaller exit pupil ), they had no glare issues ( my Razors and Crossfire IIs both had this ) and, most importantly to me, the image is noticeably cleaner - the Razors have a grey/yellow cast that dulls the image, particularly when looking at white objects, which appear greyish. They also have no airbubbles/oil droplets on the lenses. In fact, after further testing of the Razors, I was able to observe these dots with my specs on as well. There was also a small mark on the inside of one of the objective lenses. Despite "my" model being made in Japan, the quality control left something to be desired. To answer your question "Are these air bubbles acceptable?" - to be honest, you don't notice them unless you deliberately move the bins off-axis ( I only did it because I was testing them ), but it is unacceptable in absolute terms if you are paying £799 or more for them. My advice would be save up and get the SCLs. I have owned the SLC 8x42s as well and they are also extremely good. Uttings should be doing their £100 off promotion at the next bank holiday in a few weeks, in which case you could get them for c£1,100.

I hope that all this is helpful.

Mark
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Old Sunday 12th August 2018, 21:44   #10
giosblue
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Thanks for the reply Mark, are you retuning the Vortex or are you keeping them?
The cheapest I have seen the Vortex at the moment is £800, I think the SLC,s are about £1250.
£450 more is fair chunk but doable. Are the Vortex really that bad? Some people say they struggle to see any real difference.

Ron
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Old Monday 13th August 2018, 22:47   #11
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Hi Ron.

I've returned the Razors to Amazon for a refund - there were just too many issues with them. They weren't bad, just not good enough compared to alphas. They were really only a bargain in relation to their RRP of £999/$1,279. I would categorise them as a mid-price bin selling at near-alpha prices. In fact, now that production has moved to China, Vortex should really bring the price down to reflect their lowered production costs and pass the saving on to the customer instead of pocketing the difference !

The Swaros are usually £1,205 across the board, so the price difference is not quite £450, and as I mentioned, if you wait for Uttings' sale, the difference will be c£350.

I can assure you that if you tried them side by side as I did, you would not struggle to see a difference.

Good luck with whatever purchase you decide to make.

Mark
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Old Tuesday 14th August 2018, 13:35   #12
jring
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Hi,

I'm with Bill betting on droplets or flakes of whatever on the field lens - visible bubbles in glass are rare nowadays and for them to be in focus they would have to be at a specific position in the field lens...

I would have tried to get a refund too - even for a discounted demo unit.
For a good price I can live with an opened or damaged box or fingerprints on lenses (much less so with scratches from "cleaning" the fingerprints with a shirtsleeve) or as in case of one of my pairs a bag with a terrible smell (a few weeks of fresh air work wonders). But mechanics and optics should be ok...

Joachim
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Old Tuesday 14th August 2018, 13:55   #13
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Oh dear, that's a shame Mark, I hope you have better luck with your next purchase.
Enjoyed the thread though, thank you.

Pat
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Old Tuesday 14th August 2018, 19:24   #14
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I ordered some Vortex Razor 8x42, should be here tomorrow. Best price I could get was £679 and that was from abroad. I recently sold my Bausch and Lomb Elite 10x42 phase corrected for £330. I paid £660 in Nov 1992. So these are only costing me £350
I'm better with 8x that's why I sold them, despite their age, they are an excellent set of bins.
I still have some Nikon Monarch 7 8x30, which I think are really good, so I will be using these for a comparison.
Done lots of research on the Vortex Razor and I'm really looking forward to trying them out. I don't know where the ones Ii will get are made, but I think it will China from what I've read.

Ron
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Old Tuesday 14th August 2018, 19:34   #15
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Good luck Ron,
Hope they're free from problems and give you much enjoyment for many years.
Pat
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Old Tuesday 14th August 2018, 19:45   #16
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Thanks Pat, any problems and they will be going back. To fair though, I'm not expecting any.
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Old Wednesday 15th August 2018, 19:22   #17
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Well! the Vortex Razors 8x42 arrived today. Here are my initial impressions.

After removing the outer packaging I was presented with a high quality box, very similar to the box of a Kowa 883 scope. So even before I opened it, It felt like the buying experience was a good one.
Inside was not to disappoint either, the first thing I checked was where they where they made, as I expected, China. However that wasn't to much of a disappointment, I was more concerned how they were made rather than where. On picking them up they felt really good, I personally prefer the hard rubber covering to the softer types. The ergonomics for me where perfect, much better than any binocular I have had in the past. ( I haven't that many) The indent on the right hand side fits me perfectly when I am focusing (which is extremely smooth and precise) and the bottom of my thumb my fits nicely into the left hand indent. The next thing I noticed was how big the eye cups were, much bigger than I've had before. These are also a perfect fit for my eye sockets and provide a very comfortable viewing experience. So, out of the box and into my hands and eyes I couldn't wish for anything more.

Handling, feel, fit and focusing Rating form me 10/10

I have checked down each tube with a torch and held them up to the light to see if there are any defects and there aren't any.
It was late when i got home and raining so I haven't had time to have a meaningful look though them yet, but initial observations were good. Very bright, clear with a fairly wide FOV, certainly wide enough for me.
To be honest I've never paid much attention to the ergonomics of my binoculars, but I really like these.

I will post more when I've had the chance to try them of at my local nature reserve.

ps there is one thing about the appearance I'm not to keen on. The end caps on the focusing knob look cheap.

Last edited by giosblue : Wednesday 15th August 2018 at 19:32.
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Old Thursday 16th August 2018, 09:07   #18
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To be honest I've never paid much attention to the ergonomics of my binoculars, but I really like these.
The ergonomics of the Razors are among the very best: they feel very well in the hands and are light for 42mm binos; also they have comfortable eyecups, and a nice rubber armor, the mechanics are good and the focus wheel is very smooth. The samples that I owned had many specks of dust inside the tubes as well quite a bit of grease, but it seems your sample does not have such an issue. Optically they are nice, with the exception of the glare control. Also, at least for me, the eyecups did not have enough many positions and I had to compromise between not seeing the full FOV and blackouts.
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Old Thursday 16th August 2018, 09:47   #19
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Hello Pete,
It's worrying to note that you, as well as Mark, had internal issues with your units and no longer have them. This suggests to me that despite the value, overall build and optical performance as reviewed by owners and testers, the binocular hasn't been sufficiently good enough to keep for some users.
Whether this was down to an upgrade or dissatisfaction only the owners can say. Out of interest, why did yours move on? Cheeky to ask I know.
I appreciate that there are many satisfied owners of a pair of Razors.
Pat
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Old Thursday 16th August 2018, 11:01   #20
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For what it's worth, I felt the 10x50 was best model in the Japanese made Razor range. I hope to see the current offering this weekend.

Newpro are the UK distributors for Vortex. http://www.newprouk.co.uk

David

PS. It looks like Country Sports Wholesale Limited may also distribute Vortex products.

Last edited by typo : Thursday 16th August 2018 at 11:33.
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Old Thursday 16th August 2018, 13:57   #21
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Hello Pete,
It's worrying to note that you, as well as Mark, had internal issues with your units and no longer have them. This suggests to me that despite the value, overall build and optical performance as reviewed by owners and testers, the binocular hasn't been sufficiently good enough to keep for some users.
Whether this was down to an upgrade or dissatisfaction only the owners can say. Out of interest, why did yours move on? Cheeky to ask I know.
I appreciate that there are many satisfied owners of a pair of Razors.
Pat
Hello Pat,

The Razors were just one step (out of many) in my search for the best binos *for me*. I owned all the alphas and most (if not all) of the current middle-tier offerings, you name it I had it. I still believe that the (Japan made) Razors were/are quite competitive in the mid-tier range, despite the fact that range is rather crowded. However there are better options if you are willing to spend more, and personally I ended up having a small collection of high-end Nikons (EDGs and SEs), Zeiss (FLs and SFs), and Swaros (all SVs). (Leica does not work well for me).

Peter

Last edited by PeterPS : Thursday 16th August 2018 at 15:03.
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Old Thursday 16th August 2018, 14:26   #22
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Thank you for your full and open answer Peter, certainly a learning curve there and one of some experience along the way.
Pat
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Old Thursday 16th August 2018, 16:57   #23
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Ron,

Glad to hear that you are happy with your purchase. I know that it's subjective, but I agree with you about the ergonomics of the Razors - they handle beautifully and feel superb in the hand. To my mind, they are redolent of the Leica BLs, which also look and feel great, due to the combination of painted metal and thin armouring - you really feel as if you are in contact with the equipment that you are using.

You also seem to have a better model than some of the Made in Japan examples - interesting !

Enjoy using them and please let us know of your longer-term impressions regarding the optics.

Mark
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Old Thursday 16th August 2018, 20:16   #24
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Took the new bins out for a spin to the local nature reserve after work. Really good viewing conditions, very clear with bright sunshine. I also took my old 12x50 Alpins and my Nikon 7x20 Cf. In the bright sunshine the Vortex appeared to be almost to bright compared to the old Nikons and the Alpins. I felt a bit dazzled with the Vortex, were as the the old bins seemed to tone things down a bit. In the bright light the view from the 30 year old Optolyth was more then acceptable to my eyes. Also the view from the old Nikons was good. These 7x20 Nikon bins are really sharp with bright light. However when a the clouds came over and the light dropper, both the Nikon and the Optolyth were found wanting. The Vortex still gave a really bright clear view.

The handling of the Vortex is superb, it really is a pleasure to use them. I've only used them for an hour or so but they have impressed me. The image is very bright, it is tack sharp and to my eyes the colours are pretty neutral, no obvious cast.
I then compared them to the Nikon Monarch 7 8x30.The view from these two are different.
The Monarchs seem to have a bolder, more contrasty image than the Vortex, but it was like you were looking through binoculars more than with the Vortex. In comparison, the Vortex looked paler, not washed out by any means butwith the Vortex I got the feeling that there was less in the way of the view. To be honest,I could quite easily live with either. I think the Monarch 7 8x30 is a really nice binocular.

With regards to eye placement, I had no problems at all. I have never had any problems in that regard with any bins. Some people have mentioned glare, I was using these in the evening when the sun was quite low and it was no more than you would expect from any lens.

So, so far I'm delighted with them, the focusing is silky smooth, the lens covers are a perfect fit, you can feel air being pushed when you slide them on.Despite it's country of origin. everything I see tells me this is a quality product and I'm struggling to see what more can you ask from a pair of binoculars.

Having said that, I wouldn't mind trying some Nikon 8x42 HG's.

Ron
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