Great write-up Ilya!
I learn something with every review of yours I read.
Sample variation played quite a role in my spotter testing as well. Interestingly, the three Razors I looked through were remarkably similar.
It is interesting how different eyes see different things. I also noticed the Swaro 80HD and Leica 82 had increased contrast by the slimmest of margins. However, when compared side-by-side, I found the Razors I looked through displayed a slightly more saturated image than the Swaro. In fact, it is one of the most pleasant parts of the view, to my eyes.
Your discussion of CA is right on. I was, and am, able to force the scope into displaying CA, and like you, Ilya, I have also trained myself to be especially sensitive to the aberration. I do wish I hadn't. The only scope I tested that I did not notice any CA with was the Kowa 883. I suspect that had less to do with the flourite crystal objective, and more to do with the low-contrast viewing conditions I tested it in.
The fact is the differences in overall image quality between the Razor HD and any "alpha" scope is miniscule. Further, for any one optical category the Razor finds itself slightly behind the "alphas," there is another category where it finds itself slightly ahead.
IMHO, any discussion of the best spotters in the world, regardless of price, should include the Vortex Razor HD.
Edited by Bitterroot Bulls - June/18/2010 at 21:21