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Vortex Razor HD Spotting Scope

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: June/15/2010 at 21:26
Bitterroot Bulls View Drop Down
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Well,
 
I have had a little time with my Vortex Razor HD spotting scope and I am pretty impressed.  I put a little introduction video on youtube:
 
 
A friend told me it looked like a Vortex promo video.  That wasn't what I planned, but like I said, I am pretty impressed.
 
I'm going to play with it a bit more and post a member's review. 
 
 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: June/15/2010 at 21:49
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Rancid Coolaid graciously loaned me his Razor HD spotting scope for a test session a couple months ago, and I have to agree, it's an impressive scope!  Its optical performance comes very, very close to the "alpha" scopes for considerably less money.  
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: June/16/2010 at 09:00
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It does look like a Vortex promo, nice job. Almost makes me regret my recent purchase.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: June/16/2010 at 09:09
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Nice video.  I'll be anxiously awaiting your review.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: June/16/2010 at 09:19
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Originally posted by Bitterroot Bulls Bitterroot Bulls wrote:

Well,
 
I have had a little time with my Vortex Razor HD spotting scope and I am pretty impressed.  I put a little introduction video on youtube:
 
 
A friend told me it looked like a Vortex promo video.  That wasn't what I planned, but like I said, I am pretty impressed.
 
I'm going to play with it a bit more and post a member's review. 
 
 
 
THe above mentioned video for easier viewing
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: June/16/2010 at 09:37
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If you own the Razor, get the 30X wide angle (with reticle, if you want) eye piece, it is money very well spent!  Picture is slightly sharper and field of view is much improved over the 20-60 at about 30X.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: June/16/2010 at 10:16
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Rancid, have you compared that Razor to a Zeiss 85T, or a Pentax ED?  I know you did with Kowa.  Thanks. 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: June/16/2010 at 10:59
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To the Zeiss, no; to a Pentax PF-80ED, yes.  The Razor is appreciably clearer than the Pentax, with much better resolution at range.  Color and contrast are slightly better - but resolution is the game-changer for me.

The Pentax is easier to get behind, very nice site picture, easy to acquire; however, the image in the Razor, especially with the 30X wide angle, is nothing short of amazing.  The Pentax is good, the Razor is much better.

I shot a PF-80ED for a few years, tried the Razor, sold the Pentax immediately to buy the Razor.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: June/16/2010 at 18:30
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I spent the past few months months saving money and going over the current crop of super-spotters.  I got a little side-by-side time with the 85TFL (but not the new "black" version) and Razor HD.  I have to get my notes in order, but I will write up some opinions on that comparison and others.
 
I am tempted by the 30x wide eyepiece, and it is a relative bargain, but I have an interest in digiscoping, and it seems that the Vortex digiscoping adapter is designed for the dimensions of the zoom.  More on that in the review to come as well ...
 
Cool
 
 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: June/16/2010 at 23:15
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My review is up in the Member's Reviews section.

Smile
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: June/18/2010 at 12:59
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 Does the Vortex accept standard 1.25 eyepeices?
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: June/18/2010 at 13:03
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 Would you consider the extra 400 dollars money well spent? Have been looking to buy a spotting scope for some time now. Had pretty much decided on the Pentaxpf80 because all the reveiws stated that it actually was as good as scopes that cost more. If the Razor is that much better, I don't mind waiting and saving up a few more dollars.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: June/18/2010 at 21:17
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tompac,
 
The Razor HD does not accept astro eyepieces, and there is no adapter available that I know of.  I really like the Pentax spotters.   I used to have a Pentax 65ed, and really liked the fact that it took astro eyepieces.  Baader-planetarium makes great eyepieces that work well with the scope and they are relatively inexpensive.
 
I have spent a little, very little, time with the Pentax 80 at the range.  Another range member had one and let me take a good look.  This was before I had the Vortex, so I don't have side-by-side experience.  I would venture a confident guess, however, that the Pentax wouldn't hold quite up to the Vortex in just about all categories of optical performance.
 
On another note, my Pentax 65ed failed (the body broke).  I used the Pentax "Worry Free" warranty and it worked as advertized.  I sent the scope and the fee ($20 I think), and they fixed the scope.  It did take three months to get the scope back, and I never really had a lot of confidence in it again.  the broken scope may have been a fluke, and the warranty experience was quite satisfactory.
 
I also had to use the Vortex warranty service.  I broke an inexpensive (I think I paid $12) Vortex binocular tripod adapter.  It was completely my fault.  I called Vortex to see if I could buy another directly.  They sent me a new one for free and it arrived in three days.  A nice Vortex ballcap was in the box, to boot.
 
Of all the Vortex product line's many excellent features, the way the company takes care of the customer trumps all.
 
Save for the Vortex.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: June/18/2010 at 22:02
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I hate to be repetitive, but only if they had a straight eyepiece......I'd have one tomorrow.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: June/18/2010 at 22:11
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I finally posted my review of the Razor HD.  It is in the Members' Reviews section.

As for being repetitive, if enough people want a straight Razor HD, I am sure Vortex would make it.

JG, consider running a poll on what people want.  Perhaps, we can convince Vortex to give this a shot.

Personally, I have mostly moved into the "angled eyepiece" camp.  However, I would definitely like to see the Razor HD line extended in some way.  

ILya

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: June/19/2010 at 11:43
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Originally posted by Bitterroot Bulls Bitterroot Bulls wrote:

tompac,
 
The Razor HD does not accept astro eyepieces, and there is no adapter available that I know of.  I really like the Pentax spotters.   I used to have a Pentax 65ed, and really liked the fact that it took astro eyepieces.  Baader-planetarium makes great eyepieces that work well with the scope and they are relatively inexpensive.
 
I have spent a little, very little, time with the Pentax 80 at the range.  Another range member had one and let me take a good look.  This was before I had the Vortex, so I don't have side-by-side experience.  I would venture a confident guess, however, that the Pentax wouldn't hold quite up to the Vortex in just about all categories of optical performance.
 
On another note, my Pentax 65ed failed (the body broke).  I used the Pentax "Worry Free" warranty and it worked as advertized.  I sent the scope and the fee ($20 I think), and they fixed the scope.  It did take three months to get the scope back, and I never really had a lot of confidence in it again.  the broken scope may have been a fluke, and the warranty experience was quite satisfactory.
 
I also had to use the Vortex warranty service.  I broke an inexpensive (I think I paid $12) Vortex binocular tripod adapter.  It was completely my fault.  I called Vortex to see if I could buy another directly.  They sent me a new one for free and it arrived in three days.  A nice Vortex ballcap was in the box, to boot.
 
Of all the Vortex product line's many excellent features, the way the company takes care of the customer trumps all.
 
Save for the Vortex.
 
 Thanks for the reply. I am not in a hurry to purchase a spotting scope. Would definitely like to see more eyepeice options on the Razor before I purchased one. This will be a lifetime purchase for me. And I don't want to be stuck with a scope that I can't get eyepeices for.
 The newest zoom for the Pentax is supposed to be really good. Not the same as a fixed eyepeice, but good none the less.
 Buying a spotting scope is turning into a hard decision. About 4 years ago I decided to purchase a good digital camera. And the more I looked the higher the price got. I finally settled on a Canon PowerShot S3IS. Which was a couple of hundred more than I planned to spend. BUT, I feel like I have a camera that will serve me well for many years. Last year I decided to purchase a replacement for my old metal detector. Started out willing to spend 600 to 800 dollars. Ended up buying a Minelab Etrac for 1500. I felt the extra money was well spent because I had the latest technology and felt like this detector would serve me well for many years. And that is how I am approaching buying a spotting scope. The trouble is, unlike the camera and the metal detector, I don't have any experience with spotting scopes. And there is NOWHERE around for me to look thru different scopes.
 Would be very upset if I purchased a scope and then found out that what I bought ain't what I need.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: June/19/2010 at 15:15
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tompac,
 
What will the scope be used for?  Is there a need for an astro eyepiece?  If your concerns are about quality of view, rest assured the Vortex is absolutely top shelf. 
 
The Vortex comes with the zoom and a fixed 30x eyepiece is available (with and without ranging reticle).  The Vortex fixed eyepieces are significantly less expensive than the Pentax XW fixed eyepieces.
 
Both the Pentax and Vortex are great values.  High magnification and low light are likely the instances where the Vortex will really shine.
 
Let us know what choice you make.
Smile
 
 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: June/19/2010 at 15:53
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tompac,
Keep in mind that most high end spotting scopes only accept their own eyepieces, so you aren't really any more limited with the Razor HD than the majority of scopes you can buy.  Between the 20-60X variable and fixed 30X eyepieces available for the scope, they should satisfy the majority of what you'd want in eyepieces, except for the super wide FOV you get from a fixed 20X.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: June/19/2010 at 19:47
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Originally posted by Bitterroot Bulls Bitterroot Bulls wrote:

tompac,
 
What will the scope be used for?  Is there a need for an astro eyepiece?  If your concerns are about quality of view, rest assured the Vortex is absolutely top shelf. 
 
The Vortex comes with the zoom and a fixed 30x eyepiece is available (with and without ranging reticle).  The Vortex fixed eyepieces are significantly less expensive than the Pentax XW fixed eyepieces.
 
Both the Pentax and Vortex are great values.  High magnification and low light are likely the instances where the Vortex will really shine.
 
Let us know what choice you make.
Smile
 
 Scope will be used for shooting, most at less than 300 yards. In fact, most will be less than 200. Looking at wildlife. Possibly getting into digiscopeing. Calibrating my laser transmitter. Distance for this will be 500 to 1000 feet. Target would be about the same as spotting for a 30 caliber bullet. And this will be done early morning or late afternoon when the "heat devils" are not danceing. And last, casual star gazing.
 I am guessing from your post that you put the Vortex variable in the same class as the Pentax?
 I should also add that I will not be backpacking scope much. So weight and size are not a factor for me. I have one camera tri-pod that probably will not be stable enough for the 80mm objectives at high magnifacation. Plan on useing elevating base that I use with laser transmitter(very stable) and building a tri-pod.(I am a machinest and welder) Will not be something you want to tote around, but will be extremely stable.
 
 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: June/19/2010 at 19:51
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 I want to stress the fact that I don't have the opportunity to look thru different scopes. So I really appreciate you guys chiming in here. And as this is a long term investment for me(1000 dollars is a lot of money in my book) I want to purchase a scope that I will be happy with. Learned a long time ago that a bargain price ain't neccesarily a bargain!!!! 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: June/20/2010 at 02:55
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tompac,
 
I am confident the Vortex Razor HD will serve your needs.
 
I don't have enough time with the Pentax 80mm to know for sure if it would.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: June/20/2010 at 09:04
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: June/20/2010 at 10:14
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Here is an interesting quote from the same site, in their summary of the Kowa 883, where they were talking about having to use a 100X booster to rank the resolution performance of the high end scopes behind the Kowa 883...

"It's worth noting that the next-highest-scoring five scopes on resolution — Zeiss, Leica, Swarovski, Vortex, and the 77mm Kowa — scored so close to each other that it required 100x magnification to rank them. We believe that the resolution differences between these scopes would not often be discernible in the field. But it's nice to know you have the sharpest spotting scope in the world (referring to the Kowa 883)."

Bottom line, the fact that the Razor HD even competes in the "world class" category at $1600 complete with eyepiece makes it virtually impossible to beat value-wise if you're considering a high-end scope.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: June/20/2010 at 10:26
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: June/20/2010 at 10:43
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 Believe I have convinced myself on the Vortex. Have to wait and save up some more money. Started shopping for spotting scope a few months ago. Budget was 1000 dollars max. Was looking at Bushnell Elite 80, Brunton(don't remember model name)  and Celestron Regal 80ED. The Celestron outperformed the other two, but I had some reservations about quality. Then someone mentions, "For a few more dollars you can step up to the Pentax PF80." And I study this scope. And it looks pretty doggone good. So I decide to wait and get this scope when I get the money saved up. Which brings us to present day. I hope when I get the money saved for the Vortex, someone doesn't say"You know for a few more dollars..............."Wink
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