Oh, I knew without a doubt what the outcome of that poll would be. No doubt Swaro has a greater prestige name, and for good reason. I'm a huge Swaro fan. I have several of their products. That doesn't in any way sway my view that it's possible to put together a binocular that will perform to the same level for less money, just by virtue of the high labor and importation costs on stuff made in Austria. Vortex's Razor spotter proves that concept. I also know that the perception of the Vortex name is very rapidly changing and people are realizing that their high end stuff is pretty damn good, even when compared against optics that are considerably more expensive. Keep in mind how far they've come in only a few years, despite the fact they are one of the youngest brand names in optics and competing against some tough competition. They are making some good stuff and treating customers well. Word gets around. They are already introducing new products at a rate unmatched by virtually anyone else. They couldn't do that and provide a Leupold-like warranty at the same time unless they've been very successful.
Also keep in mind the new Razor HD cost significantly less than SLC, and in a short amount of time, you'll be able to get used models of them too, so the new vs. used comparison is a very short lived scenario, only because the Razor HD hasn't been on the market for there to be any used models available yet. As we've already seen over the years, today's alpha class binocular may very well be edged out by tomorrow's upper mid level binocular as technologies improve. That's already true of today's offerings vs. the alphas of 15 years ago.
Perception is reality, but it can also be very fleeting. It's way premature to evaluate the value of something that isn't even available for sale yet. In short time, they will be out in the field and people will be commenting on them. You will be able to see them at shows. Folks like Koshkin will get samples for testing. Some people's opinions of which is the better deal will undoubtedly change thereafter, and some won't. You are evidently assuming everyone has the same concept of value. If I like a product, I don't care who's name is on it, as long as I respect the company and the product gives me good performance for the price paid. You are asking people to determine what's a better value involving something that they can't even buy yet. Right now, I too would choose the Swaro if I could get both for the same price, but that's only because I haven't been able to see a Razor HD yet and nobody has reviewed one, so I know nothing of its virtues or lack thereof. 2 years from now, we may very well all have a totally different opinion than we do now, so as far as a product's life cycle is concerned, what we think now could be irrelevant once it's been on the market for awhile. I'm willing to give any reputable company the benefit of the doubt until proven otherwise.
On the ZenED2 comparison, I compared it head to head with the first gen Razor 8X42, and I had exactly the opposite opinion. Both had about the same center field resolution. Both had essentially the same CA control. The Zen has greater FOV, but less depth of field and softer field edge than the Razor. Razor had a larger sweet spot. Razor had better control over flare when looking toward off-axis light sources. I thought Razor edged out Zen by a slight margin. Sure, Zen is much less expensive, but I liked Razor eye cups, focuser, and diopter adjustment better, and the fact it's made in Japan rather than China.
Edited by RifleDude - February/24/2011 at 10:41