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10x50 Vortex Razor HD vs Ultravid (non-HD) (1 Viewer)

yarrellii

Well-known member
Supporter
Looking at some nice 10x50 roofs I've come across an unexpected duel.

Apparently, many top manufacturers have simply forgotten about the good-old 10x50, and it's quite scarce among middel-upper-class or top notch ranges (there's no 10x50 top Zeiss, only x54/56, no 10x50 top Nikon -bar WX-, etc.), apparently, only Swarovski and Leica keep the traditional format with stunning performers, but it is absent from lower ranges, like Trinovid, for example. However, Vortex does have some nice 10x50 (or so it seems), the Viper HD and the Vortex HD

I've come across several 10x50 UV (non HD) and some 10x50 Razor HD.
For those of you who have tried them both. How would they compare?
Is the original UV able to keep up with the HD Razor?
Is the narrower FOV of the Razor a big minus in comparison to the Leica?
How do they perform sharpness/contrast/brightness wise?
If we forget about the Razor HD, could the "lesser" Viper HD equal the performance of the non-HD Ultravid?

Any comment is more than welcome :) Thanks!
 
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dries1

Member
I have a 10X50 UV non HD, I have never looked through a Vortex Razor HD, but if recommending a 10X50 I would definitely try out the Leica.

Andy W.
 

[email protected]

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I have had both the Razor and the Ultravid in the 10x50 and I would recommend the Ultravid. One reason is it's much bigger FOV and it has better contrast and like all Leica's great color saturation. It is also MIG instead of MIC like the Razor. In Leica's there is not much difference between the regular Ultravid, the Ultravid HD and the Ultravid HD Plus. About the only 10x50 that is a little better than the Leica is Swarovski EL 10x50 and it is probably the best 10x50 outside of the Nikon WX 10x50 and it is about $6K if you can find one and a little to big for birding.
 
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Whiterain

Well-known member
The other posters' experience with the larger ones are probably more relevant, but thought I'd chime in anyways.

I own the Leica UV (pre-HD) and Razor (Japan), both in 8x42. It took me lot of back and forth between the two when trying to figure out which one had a better image, which was surprising because the image appears completely different between the two.

Comfort/ergos: Razor, easily. Both are fine in the hand, but the Razor's texture, focusing wheel operation, and most importantly to me, how easily the eye cups sit at just the right spot without any effort or need to fiddle with the position. They just snap up and give a full view with correct eye relief and sit where they're supposed to. The Leica has a much larger eye cup that isn't uncomfortable, but seems like I'm having to rest it against bone rather than just below.

Image impression: Razor. They just offer a more attractive view for me. Brighter image, brighter colors, just prettier.

Image sharpness: It took me a lot of back and forth between the two, mostly because the Razor just gave a better looking image with much less effort in my hands. That said, the Leica does resolve detail measurably better. The difference was much less apparent at night.

CA: Both have some, but the Leica's have a little more. In my sets, however, the Leica didn't fringe as badly in one direction, and the visible color wasn't as distracting as the same fringing on the Razors. Perfectly centered up, both are pretty free of CA, but the Razors give a little more leeway before roof tops become rainbows.

If I only had a minute to compare the two, I'd almost certainly favor the Razors. They do such a good job at making a less sharp image appear excellent, and the whole image as a package seems to mask its flaws very well. The Leica, for me, was the opposite. The glass is very clear, but the pickiness of position, comfort when held in the ideal position, and some other subtleties seem to mask an excellent image with the "just okay" first impression.

Again, this may not translate well when comparing the 50's, but I'm still impressed how nice of a package Vortex put together so that I prefer to use them over a competitor with better resolution, simply because I "liked them better" even if they aren't the better pair.
 

yarrellii

Well-known member
Supporter
Whiterain, this is actually what I wanted to read :) First hand experience (personal experience, with all its subjectivity). I understand that there can be a long way from the 8x42 to the 10x50 models, so that your comments are limited, but either way I really appreciate.
It is really interesting what you say... I had a very similar experience between the 7x42 UV HD and the 7x42 FL. In my case it was like this: the UV was way more comformable, the ergonomics were ace, it was devoid of any flaw, the image was sweet and warm, rich and full of contrast, while the FL was more bulky, felt heavier, had softer edges, worse handling of "difficult light situations" and some shining around the edges due to false pupils, but it simply gave me a "wow" that the UV did not achieve, so I stayed with the FL, although I felt the UVHD were a more "perfect package". Even though this sounds weird. I've been looking into both devices; the Razor can be had for a bit less than the UV (non HD), but then the latter has a good and tested customer service here in Europe (while I don't know how Vortex promises/warranty works over here). Thank you again.
 

Whiterain

Well-known member
Yarrelli,

That comparison brought me to a weird spot myself. I have both, certainly don't need both, and instead of flipping a coin on which ones to grab it just makes sense to sell them both and try to land in a single pair that does both. Interesting about different warranties across the pond--whenever I've called Vortex you'd think they already had their kneepads on.

Thinking id probably be happier with some swaros but I'll probably end up giving the SF's a go since I can get a little better deal on them. Guees if it doesnt work out there's bound to be someone who wants to make a trade in the other direction! Wouldn't even think twice if the SF was a half inch shorter, had smaller eye cups, and more traditional lens covers. Sigh...

Also Denco seems exactly right on all fronts. Better glass in the Leica, and Id have to look, but seeing his comment about color fringing next to mine seem to line up with my observations, more so considering I hadnt read that part of his post until I had already posted mine. Good stuff!
 
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yarrellii

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Supporter
It is always interesting how different people experience binoculars, be it Denco, yourself, it goes to show one more time that there is no one-size-fits-all, and that personal preferences and physiology sometimes play a more important role than optics themselves. Thanks to you all!
 

Patudo

Well-known member
Hola, I. - this may be difficult but if you can get hold of a Meopta 10x50 to have a look through, I definitely recommend it. I spent some time with the various Meostar binoculars at the last Birdfair (the stand was very very quiet for some reason) and came away with a very good impression of the 10x50. I thought it had very similar image quality to the 10x42 HD despite not being labelled "HD", but was less finicky with regard to eye placement. It compared well with the Ultravid 10x50 I later tried, and if I was seriously in the market for a 10x50 and could not afford the Swarovski EL, I would test both of these very carefully. I didn't make detailed notes, so don't have a great many impressions to give you, but the Meostar range, although having a smaller field than its competitors (Monarch HG etc.), seemed to me to have a more "alpha-like" image in terms of colour rendition and cleanness. Build quality is very good, very confidence-inspiring, reminding me of the Swarovski SLC but less refined. I wasn't a huge fan of the diopter setup, but you won't have to adjust this very often. If you can get hold of one, I think it'll be worth your time to have a good look through it.
 

yarrellii

Well-known member
Supporter
Patudo, thanks for that. Those are very interesting remarks. I also hold Meopta in high regard. I once had the 8x32 Meostar, but the eyecups were so small that the viewing comfort was seriously compromised. Besides, I got an early unit that displayed a bit of a too warm image. Otherwise, I actually liked the "quirky" shape a lot. It felt very reassuring, a bit like the "industrial" FL. I actually prefer that kind of looks (and their feel) to flashy things like the new CL or the MHG.
My plan is to use them mostly at night, so I'm also considering something like the APM ED, which can be had for half of the price, but is IF. We'll see...
Thanks again!
 

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