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Vortex Razor - another look

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/10/2007 at 17:51
koshkin View Drop Down
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I purchased Vortex Razor 8x42 binoculars based on the reviews of others here and on the brief experience I had with Stokes DLS.  Unfortunately, I do not currently have any similar binoculars in my possession to compare it to.  I do have a set of porro Fujinon FMTR-SX 8x30 binoculars, and since the light is reasonably decent right now I figured the exit pupil difference should not matter much.

Basically, I think all the praise for the Razor glass has been pretty much spot on.  It is bright and clear with very nice resolution.  I did not stare at the resolution chart with these a whole lot, but I did look at a bunch of distant targets.  Going off of my memory these are in the ballpark of almost any binocular I've ever seen.  These are probably a worth competitor to Minox HG and Meopta Meostar, but with a much wider field of view.  Perhaps, I should make an effort to look at these side by side, but I did not have that opportunity this time around. 

Surprisingly, I did see a very slight tinge of Chromatic Aberration when looking at a dark bird sitting on a power line a good distance away.  But I had to look for it.

The focusing mechanism is the best or one of the best I've ever experienced.  The focus wheel is reasonably stiff, which I like, but not stiff enough to be tiring for the fingers.  It is also pretty quick, but I can still find perfect focus very easily.

Eyecup design is superb as well.  There are a bunch of rock-solid stops, for any eyes or glasses.

Now, for the bad part, they were very comfortable in a gullwing stance, but not very comfortable in an elbows down stance.  Also, I have somewhat small hands and I had a hard time holding them steadily with my elbows down and adjusting focus at the same time.  The focusing wheel is sufficiently offset back toward the eyes to makeit uncomfortable for me.  I suspect someone with larger hands would be pretty comfortable with these.  Also, when I played with them last night in low light, I sometimes wished for a larger objective lens.  I guess my eyes can still dilate beyond 5mm.

As for a comparison against Fuji 8x30.  They are pretty close.  I slightly prefer the view through the Fuji due to a greater 3D effect.  Resolution wise they are comparable.  Maybe a slight edge for the Fujis, but very slight.

The bad thing is that now that I played with Razors I can't go back to Fuji's simple eyecups.  I guess that both are about to end up on Ebay, and there may be a Meopta Meostar 7x42 waiting for me in the future.

ILya
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/10/2007 at 18:08
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ILya,

 

Thank you for posting your comments. I saw your post over on the Razor thread and was going to comment but by the time I logged in and responded to a PM you had posted this thread.

 

If I could comment on a few points you made....

 

I did have a bit of a time finding the perfect hand positioning on these bins. I do have fairly large hands and find that I can either put all three finger in the finger grooves on the inside of the barrel or I can put my thumbs in the thumb grooves but not both at the same time with relative comfort. I noticed this originally but forgot about it until you mentioned it in your post. I am going to pay attention to see which way I tend to hold them regularly now.

 

As for chromatic aberration, I mentioned something in one of my threads on the various forums but I do not think it was this one. Later on the same day I posted the original thread I had them out looking at some tree branches against a fairly light sky right around sunset. I did notice a very thin red/maroon color band next to the branches, primarily in the outer 1/3rd of the field of view. As you said I had to look for it to see it. It was not as plainly visible as some of the other bins I have noticed it in nor was it of the color I most commonly see.

 

Ebay already? Do me a favor. Order those 7x42 Meoptas and do a side by side comparison of the two images. I would love to hear your comments on that comparison.

 

Thank you for sharing your experience.

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/10/2007 at 18:31
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I'll see if I can scrounge up any other binocular somewhere to compare the Razors to.  Also, I am not sure that comparing 8x42 Razors to 7x42 Meopta is entirely fair due to different magnifications.  My primary interest in 7x42 binos is due to their lowlight performance, so I am not particularly interested in getting 8x42 Meoptas for a more even comparison.

I have to say though that if Vortex ever makes a top notch porro, that would be an awesome binocular indeed.

ILya
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/10/2007 at 19:49
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I do not think it really is going to be apples to apples either but I would love to see the comparison regardless. Thank you for taking the time to post your thoughts.

 

...and I would love to see the porro as well.

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/11/2007 at 02:14
koshkin View Drop Down
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Let me see what kind of a price I can get on those Meoptas.  If I find a good deal, I'll hold on to the Razors for a couple of weeks and look at the two side by side.  I try to not have too much money invested at the same time in optics that I may not keep or my wife will have a word or two to say about that.  It will not be any sort of an apples to apples comparison.  It is hard to do any sort of a quantitative comparison between two binoculars of different magnification.   It may be interesting though to see is there any qualitative impressions that differentiate the two.  I have played with Meoptas before and I think they are comparable to Razors, but it is difficult to tell without looking at them side by side.

As for the handling of the Razors, if my hands were a little wider, I suspect that I would be able to use hte focus wheel while maintaining a comfortable hold.  The thumb indentations are not very well positioned for my hands, but they do not get in the way too much.  It is mostly the location of the focus wheel with respect to the handholds that gives me trouble.

All in all considering that Vortex is a pretty young company, Razors and Stokes DLS are very impressive binoculars in both design and execution.

ILya

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/12/2007 at 06:44
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ILya,

 

I took some time yesterday to study my hand positioning on the Razors. It appears that my most comfortable hold is with the pinky and ring finger in two of the three finger depressions on the barrel. My middle finger then falls on the hinge closest to the eypiece with, ofcourse, my pointer finger on the focusing mechanism itself. I can utilize three fingers on the barrel indents but then it is a bit of a stretch to reach the thumb indent and far from what I would call comfortable.

 

As for the Meoptas, I do enjoy using them. I have compared the 8x42 side by side with the Razor and made note of some interesting differences in my original "review". I am curious as to why you are opting for the 7x42 model. I compared them with the 8x42 and found very little noticeable difference between the two of them except for a slightly brighter image on the 7x and a narrower apparent field of view. I do not know if you noticed it or not but the 7x's and 8x's actually have the same 411 foot field of view. I remember reading somewhere that the prism size/design was actually optimized for the 8x but I honestly do not remember where. I do appreciate a high quality 7x42 as I have owned a few but was just generally curious as to your choice.

 

Thanks.

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/12/2007 at 11:16
koshkin View Drop Down
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Frank,

My interest in the 7x binocular is due to a couple of factors: I find myself using the binoculars in bad light fairly frequently and I appreciate the larger exit pupil.  By the same token, 7x offers slightly greater depth perception.  Another factor for lowlight viewing is that hand tremors are even less noticeable than with 8x making for an easier view.

For quite a while my primary binocular was a IOR 7x40 porro, which has the most awesome 3D effect of any binocular I've seen to date.  I gave it to a friend and used a bunch of different binoculars ever since.  10x is a bit too hard for me to hold steadily, so I am generally more comfortable with binoculars of 8.5x or less.  After giving it some thought, I decided that rather than having several binoculars for different tasks I will buy a nice spotter for long distance observation (which I already did) and an allround binocular of some sort that would be good in low light without being too bulky.  Well that brought me back 7x40 or similar binoculars.  I've played with some 8x binoculars with 50 or 56mm objective lenses and they are a little too big and have to narrow of a field of view.

Quality 7x offerings are comparatively sparse and Meopta stands out as a very good choice for under a grand.

ILya
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/12/2007 at 11:42
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Quote Quality 7x offerings are comparatively sparse and Meopta stands out as a very good choice for under a grand.

 

Agreed. The Meopta does have an exceptional view considering the price. I thought the image entirely comparable to the Trinovid with a slightly brighter, and a bit warmer, image. I think you will enjoy them quite a bit.

 

Thank you.

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/12/2007 at 11:45
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Frank, I have to agree with Koshkin on the 10x hand shake.  I tried the Swarovski SLC, Leica Ultravids, Leupold Gold Ring and Bushnell Elites this weekend at Gander Mountain in 10x and they are too shakey for me to hold to long.  I feel I might not enjoy them at all.  I tried out a pair of 8.5 EL's and loved them.  I am going to stick with a 7x or 8x myself.  Plus I think the 7x, 8x will gather more light at dusk and dawn when I need it the most.  I am only going to buy one pair and I want to get the best that I can for the best price.

 

Koshkin and Frank, just curious what kind of spotting scope do you guys own?  I was thinking of purchasing one myself after my binocular purchase.  Thanks

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/12/2007 at 12:04
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/12/2007 at 13:04
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Thanks for all the great review about Razors.. I am very tempting to get one to try myself.. But for $700, it is not a small investment. Especially when someone said the cost of this binoculars is less than $100.  I think I will wait for a year or two until the price comes down by half, even from Vortex or its competitor.. remember how much computer price has come down in the last few years..
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/12/2007 at 13:08
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I am not sure what the cost of the Vortex Razor is, but I would be very surprised if it is less than $100 dollars.  Not sure who told you that.

I've had some exposure to optics manufacturing, and I have some idea how much it costs to have a scope made in China with reasonable quality control.  Considering that Razors are made in japan and with much more stringent quality control, I would expect them to cost a fair bit more than $100, especially at reasonably low volumes they have right now.

ILya
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/12/2007 at 13:25
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I tend to agree with ILya's comments. I would expect the Razors to cost far more than $100 to manufacture. From what I hear they are keeping their profit margin down to make them more attractive for consumers.

 

BH,

 

I have the same scope as ILya, the Pentax 65 ED A. When hunting for scopes myself I asked for the least expensive, decent quality ED scope on the market and this model was suggested to me. I have no regrets. I have several different eyepieces for it but the XW 20 mm is truly astounding. I actually compared it with a 77 mm Leica and was surprised by the similarity. The Leica was a little brighter but it was outfitted with a zoom lens so the Pentax was noticeably wider with just as good levels of sharpness across the entire field of view.

 

The Pentax 65 ED A is one of the best kept scope secrets on the market today. I even hear they came out with an improved version this year.

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/12/2007 at 13:42
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Originally posted by birdhunter birdhunter wrote:

Frank, I have to agree with Koshkin on the 10x hand shake.  I tried the Swarovski SLC, Leica Ultravids, Leupold Gold Ring and Bushnell Elites this weekend at Gander Mountain in 10x and they are too shakey for me to hold to long.  I feel I might not enjoy them at all.  I tried out a pair of 8.5 EL's and loved them.  I am going to stick with a 7x or 8x myself.  Plus I think the 7x, 8x will gather more light at dusk and dawn when I need it the most.  I am only going to buy one pair and I want to get the best that I can for the best price.

 

I have read a few opinions that 10x is too "shakey" but my experience is that magnification only marginally effects the apparent shakeyness (at least from 8.5x to 10x. I'd rather see the detail a little blurred than not see the detail at all because there are times when you can support your arms with other objects (trees, stands, etc). Also, a taut harness seems to help stabalize a bit. I directly compared the vortex 10x42 to minox hg 10x43 and 8.5x52 (as you can read in other posts) and found the vortex to be the most well-balanced of the three.

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/12/2007 at 13:51
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Originally posted by spf2 spf2 wrote:

I think I will wait for a year or two until the price comes down by half, even from Vortex or its competitor.. remember how much computer price has come down in the last few years..

 

I have not been in the optics game for long but price is directly affected by technology. Computers, DSPs, and similar transistor-based technologies decrease in price because the technologies advance and sizes decrease so rapidly. Optics on the other hand (dealing with glass and coatings) I would imagine advance at a much flatter rate. I would be surprized to see prices decrease much on new binoculars in the next 5 to 10 years.

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/12/2007 at 13:58
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Everyone's hands are different.  I do not have the steadiest hands in the world. Because of that, unsupported, I can typically see more detail with an 8x binocular than with a 10x.

ILya
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/12/2007 at 18:13
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My questioning of the choice of 7x magnification was not done as any form of criticism nor was I advocating the use of 10x. I was looking more for an explanation of why he chose 7x over 8x in this particular binocular series.

 

Just thought I would clarify that.



Edited by FrankD
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/12/2007 at 18:32
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I just looked at the samplelist and saw that there are several Swarovski SLC 7x42 binoculars there.  Do you have any idea how these compare to Meopta 7x42?

ILya
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/12/2007 at 18:42
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Also, Frank, do you know anything about Fujinon CD 7x42 binocular?  The field of view on this one is 459ft.

I just found out that there is a Minox BD 7x42 BR.  I am reasonably well familiar with that line and the view is very good (although narrow FOV is a bit of a turn off) and the price is good.

ILya


Edited by koshkin
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/12/2007 at 19:34
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koshkin,

140m @ 1000m would be closer to 420' @ 1000yds. for the Fujinon CD 7x42. Anyway, the CD advertises light transmission of 80%+. With todays optics and optical coatings, and compared to other makes and models this seems rather "low", considering that the Fujinon FMTR-SX & FMT-SX boast light transmission of 93%+. The CD would be a step "backwards" from your FMTR-SX 8x30.

The Minox BD 7x42 BR aspheric with M* lens coatings boasts light transmission of 92%. The FOV of 368' @ 1000yds. is not as good as the Fujinon CD, but, the light transmission seems far superior, on paper.   

Edited by Bird Watcher
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/12/2007 at 19:39
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With Minox BD 7x42 BR I know what to expect.  I am having a hard time, however, finding someone who has has personal experience with the Fujinon 7x42.

ILya
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/13/2007 at 05:54
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Koshkin,

 

BW gave you a very good explanation on the bins in question. I owned the BD BR 7x42 for a time. What I found was the image was very sharp and very bright. However, the extremely narrow apparent field of view gave me too much of a tunnel effect at that magnification for me to really enjoy using them.

 

I also owned the 7x42 Swaro SLC "New" for a time. Excellent bins. The image quality was very good. I actually compared them directly to a pair of Leica Trinovid BNs and found the images to be practically identical in every regard. The only extremely minor discrepancy was that the Trinovids had a more neutral level of color representation. Though drastically improved from the original SLCs the SLC New still had the ever so slightest hint of warmth in the image.

 

As for how they compared to the Meostars, the Meostars have a warmer color representation than the Swaro SLC New and possibly the slightest bit more CA present in the image. Otherwise they too offer identical optical performance in my humble opinion.

 

I am sorry. I have no experience with the Fujinon.



Edited by FrankD
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/13/2007 at 09:32
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Hi.

 

For what it's worth: 

 

I briefly tried the Fujinon CD 7x42 years ago in a telescope/binocular store.  It came out around the same time as the first (non-phase-corrected) Baush & Lomb Discover 7x42 roof prism model, so I think that these were not phase corrected.  The binocular felt heavy, and the view did not seem particularly sharp and contrasty to me.

It may be that this model has been improved since that time, but I don't know and I haven't seen any advertising to indicate that.

 

Hopefully, someone else can give you better and more current information.

 

 

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