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VORTEX RAZOR VS. KOWA, ZEISS, SWAROVSKI

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/06/2009 at 15:43
338LAPUASLAP View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/07/2009 at 08:31
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Have experience with the Swaro AT80 and ATS80 scopes and the Kowa units.
Just purchased a Vortex skyline 80mm ED angled, and thus far fiind it to be ( subjective) better than the Swarovskis and the equal to the ED kowa.
I would imagine the top line Vortex would be an improvement over that.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/07/2009 at 16:38
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The Kowa 883/884 is considered by many benchrest shooters, birdwatchers, and many others to be the best in the world bar none.  I did look through one at the range and it is all its cracked up to be for sure.  My neighbor has a Zeiss 85t FL and it is excellent also, but no better than my Nikon 82 ED which I compared side by side (only advantage to Zeiss was the more forgiving eyepiece).  I would have considered the Razor also but i do not like angled eyepieces at all.  The Bird Watchers Digest just did a review on high end spotters.  I believe the new $3400 Leica and the Kowa mentioned were determined best.  Considering my neighbors Zeiss goes for $2200 minimum, and I got my Nikon 82 ED for $1000, I consider it the best value in an alpha spotter available, and it is fantastic. 

Edited by JGRaider - November/07/2009 at 16:39
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/08/2009 at 17:58
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The Kowa Prominar 883/884 is most frequently regarded as the best scope you can get, bar none by all who have reviewed it.  I have looked through one, and I can't dispute that claim, as it is superb.  I'm sure the new Leica is fantastic too, but it is so astronomically expensive, I can't see how anyone can justify it.

The Zeiss Diascope is very nice, but it is a little soft at the field edge.  Not a big deal, but worth noting.  All of the Swarovski spotters are incredible.  They are usually near the top of comparative reviews they are included in.  I don't personally like the central body mounted helical focus as well as the dual ratio coarse/fine focus knobs that the others have.  I find it much easier to get the image in crisp focus without moving the scope with the dual ratio knobs.

I saw the Vortex Razor at a show, and it looked very good -- as best I could evaluate its optics inside a building.  Even though I wasn't able to compare it side to side with the likes of Swaro and Zeiss, I was impressed enough by the image that I might be tempted to buy it based on its price.  I've never been disappointed by any of Vortex's higher end optics.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/08/2009 at 18:35
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Originally posted by 338LAPUASLAP 338LAPUASLAP wrote:

http://swfa.com/Kowa-88mm-High-Performance-Spotter-P7246.aspx http://swfa.com/Zeiss-20-60x85-Victory-FL-Diascope-P12869.aspx http://swfa.com/Swarovski-ATS-80-Spotter-P1556.aspx http://swfa.com/Vortex-20-60x65-Razor-HD-Spotting-Scope-P13265.aspx
 
I was looking at the above spotters...
 
I am wondering if people could give any input as to narrowing this list down.  I like the under dog / looking at the Razor Vortex need input on this.


You probably already know this but some of the spotters you listed don't include the eye piece. Also the Swaro listed is not the HD flavor but is still considered in the" top 10 or so spotters" out there per most "birdie" reviews I've read.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/08/2009 at 18:53
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Sharp ShooterYes, I do realize the eyepiece is not inlcuded...
 
I was trying to compare them at the same price ranges vs. the features of them and peoples reviews of the "base" or body tube lenses vs. viewing eyepiece...
 
I am not to suprised by these comments leaning heavily on them also really wondering about the under dog "razor" have just heard nothing but fantastic things wondering if anyone puts them aside to the "TOP 10". 
 
I am again open to anything If any "no name" spotter should be considered tell me...
 
Short of putting a full telescope on a table I am not looking for any field work just tableing it for sight ins and long distance targeting.Sharp Shooter
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/08/2009 at 19:01
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The Razor is so new to the market that you aren't likely to get many comments about it vs the others.  I have no doubt it is a great spotter, and Vortex is a good company backed by an excellent warranty and c.s.  
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/17/2009 at 20:01
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I owned a long range of spottings scopes, from cheap ones to very expensive, among which such as Diascope 20-60x85, Nikon ED 20-75x82 and now own a Kowa HD 883 20-60x88 and I can tell you, there is no other scope like it. It is absolutely top of the line with all the rest following after, so if the buck is not a problem, go for it my friend!
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/17/2009 at 21:07
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Tranan, I never see a good, used Kowa 884 for sale.  Is there a place a guy could look, or do you just keep surfing the internet hopefully stumbling into one?  Is the 883/884 line tough?  Thanks, I'd like to find one of these.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/22/2009 at 19:46
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Unfortunately I must agree with you. I have actually never seen any used ones out there yet. That could be due to the fact that they are still very new or to the fact that those who own such a scope do not sell it unless they are forced to.
As far as toughness is concerned...hard to say. It feels very robust. I have however, never used mine "the hard way". I am very careful with the way I treat it. I purchased the KOWA stay on case to it which gives it an extra protection and have it mounted on a good quality Zeiss tripod. Though many optics are supposed to be tough, I am the last man to say that because optics are like jewels to me. I make sure I treat them as gently as I can, though I am a very intense user.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/06/2010 at 16:54
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Just an FYI. Bird Watchers Digest apparently just did a review that had very good things to say about the Razor. The article was High End Scope Review. I have not read it but a friend told me about it.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/05/2010 at 21:25
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I just got a Razor HD loaner from Vortex and will be reviewing it over the next few weeks.  It is pretty impressive so far.

ILya
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/06/2010 at 09:28
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I can't wait to read how this one turns out.  Thanks for the effort Ilya (again). What are you comparing it to?  
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/06/2010 at 10:39
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Though they don't get the respect I think they should, look at the Pentax ED 80 spotter, it sells for about $1200 with one of the best eye pieces in the industry.

I put one side-by-side with a Kowa 884 and the Kowa was sharper at range and had a little better contrast and color, but I'd call it "just a little" at best.

My experience: if you want the best Kowa 880-series is it.  If you can live with a little less contrast and slightly less resolution at range (meaning you will lose bullet holes with the Pentax 100 yards before you do with the Kowa), Pentax is the best deal going.

Admittedly, I've not seen the Razor but am interested in seeing one for myself now.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/06/2010 at 15:43
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I've heard that more than once from reliable sources like yourself,Rancid, so I believe it.  I feel the same way about my Nikon 82ED.  The only reason i didn't wind up with the Pentax 80 is that the Nikon was more compact, and I do not wear glasses.  
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/06/2010 at 18:32
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Jeff, clean out your mailbox.

ILya
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/16/2010 at 18:29
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I wear glasses, does that rule the Nikon 82Ed for me?
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/20/2010 at 18:45
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I just went through a LOT of looking. I brought home the non-HD Swarovski ATS 80 for a week. I was so disappointed in it. The purple chromatic fringing on everything at higher powers was awful. I just wanted to love it so badly. It wasn't meant to be. My excellent hunting store nearby took it back. I went and picked up an HD Swarovski STS. It IS all it's advertised to be. It's amazing. 

I looked through the Vortex at the store. It just doesn't cut the mustard compared to the Swarovski HD. The store has a resolution scale (it goes to ridiculously fine increments but you need them with the better scopes) mounted on the wall (it's a large store) with window mounts on a board so you can side by side them. 

Here's my take on the ones I looked through:

Bushnell HD FLP 80. This scope is AWESOME for less than $600 ($475 on Amazon). It kicked the pants off of all but the Swarovski, seriously. I was shocked. Had I not wanted a scope to be able to use with my camera, I'd own this scope, period. I never hear about it, but it's extremely impressive. I'm serious, this scope is a bargain of the century. Drawbacks: Made by the chicoms and can't use it with an SLR)

Bushnell HD FLP 65. Just like it's big brother, but dim. If you're a hunter, NO 65 in my opinion, is going to cut it. SUPER bargain.

Nikon Fieldscope 65. Pretty nice but honestly, the Bushnell HD FLP 65 was better than it. The Nikon seemed too dark at high resolution and didn't resolve any finer on the chart. I wanted to like this as it was on sale and I'd heard so much. I'm a big Nikon fan. This scope, for the money, disappointed me.

Vortex ED 80. It was a good performer. I especially liked the focuser on it. I could NOT bring out the resolution on the chart as well as the Swarovski. Just wouldn't do it, the chart doesn't lie. Pretty good for the money, but NOT as nice as the aforementioned Bushnell. 

The others weren't worth mentioning. 

In my opinion, one really needs the ED lenses. 

Try this: Look at a branch against the sky or in the store, look at the edge of a florescent light. On the Swarovski HD, you'll notice no purple fringing or softness. Now, defocus it. On the Swarovski HD, you'll notice it just goes out of focus, no fringing. On others, and all the others, the purple fringing will pop out. This gives evidence of the correction capabilities of the scope. Believe it or not, the Bushnell just about pulled off a Swarovski copy cat here! 

On branches, or antlers, I just couldn't put up with not being able to count brow tines at 500 yards in the early early morning. So, Swarovski HD it is!

Just one guy's opinion. 


Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/11/2010 at 20:42
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+1 on the Swaro 80 HD.... low light, 1300 yards, seeing bones (antlers), it does very well.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/23/2012 at 13:16
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Bushnell vs Swaro?

No disrespect, but the FLP sounds like a "lotta sugar for a nickel".

I'm seeing these around for under $400.00

I have no plans to digiscope.

Is the FLP 80 really that good?

I just sold a Straight Bushnell Elite 80ED with a Manfrotto wilderness tripod and trigger head and a Elite 1500 rangefinder for what I paid.

Became interested in upland and big game hunting about 5 years ago.

My binos are the second gen MIG Minox HG 8X43. Leupold VX3 4.5-14X50 on my 2 AccuTrigger Savages 1 on my 24" Tactical 25-06 and 1 on my 24" Stainless 300 WinMag. A Vortex Viper 2-7X32 BDC on my Stag M4 .223 Coyote Rig, Vortex 2-7X32 Diamondback on my Ruger 10/22. Misc. other optics I own are Vortex Fury 10X28 and MIC Minox BVII 8x25 BR compact binos. My rangefinder is a Leupold 6X22 RX1000 which I don't like as much the Elite I sold. Looked through a friends Swaro rangefinder which were very very nice.

Still haven't drawn tag. I'm only putting in for Bull/Buck Elk/Deer/Antelope and desert Big Horn... so I realize I limit my success of drawing. None the less I'm feeling like the fisherman that got caught by the lure.

I know this hobby can become quite expensive.  WBY AccuMark, Swaro, Gitzo, Sitka, Schnees etc.. vs my rig... Savage, Leopold/Schott, Slik, UnderArmor, USA made Danners.  My 12 gauge upland rigs are a Win 1500XTR for Dove and a Beretta Xplor Light for Quail and Chukkar.

Where I am going with this, you ask. I have a good idea what the top of the line is...I would love to have the top of the line...I know my rig is not the top of the line but workable.

Do I really want to spend 5-8K for a couple alpha spotters on good legs; one at the truck and one for my Eberlestock backpack, as well as an alpha rangefinder.  I could get by with just a 65MM scope  for both truck and backpack; but if I had the choice of only one it would be at least an 80MM.


I'm not a guide nor do I have the time and money to put in a tag in other states.

This why the FLP 80 sounds interesting. If the glass is as good as you say, I'd spend another $400 on legs and a head and use for both the truck and pack. And maybe buy another Elite 1500 LRF.  This would be only a 1K investment for all.

The big question is, If I draw, am I cutting myself self short with the FLP. I'm sure it'll be fine at the range and on a bright day and maybe Antelope hunts here in the Southwest...but how about in the dawn/dusk , overcast, hazy, snowing, raining etc. looking for a Bull or Buck in the shadows?

Though I have an eye what's lurking in the shadows ;)

Like us all, would like to make a well informed decision. If completing this piece of the hunting rig requires alpha equipment....I know...cry once - buy once.

I know this is a vanilla or chocolate question. I've been told angled gives a hunter more viewing options.

Thanks for any advise.




Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/24/2012 at 12:59
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Whew thats quite a post Soon2bLEO!

I use a Razor 80mm in angled, but I'd be cautious about angled out of a vehicle. The Razor has a rotation around its base, so you dont have to have your head on the ceiling when its on a window-mount, but its still not quite as convenient as a pure straight tube.

When I was selling optics I'd tell most people: You'll be happier not having a socpe at all this year, and doubling your budget for next year. Always buy the best glass you can afford, then keep it forever.

Your setup so far sounds pretty primo though!
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/24/2012 at 20:09
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I use a straight Swarovski 80 HD. I like straight because it keeps me on axis with my target (I don't see angled rifle scopes)

If you're on a budget and have to buy now, I'd list the order of scope 1/2/3 as the FLP/Vortex/Swarovski in order of cost. The Vortex has an amazing warranty but Burris also has excellent customer service. Swarovski is special and I'd agree with the above poster, save and buy as good as you can.

I recently went hunting with friends and my Canon IS 10x42L binos djd a better job than their Nikon spotting scope! Better optics are worth all that you can dump into them!
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/25/2012 at 19:28
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TV-PressPass said:

>>>>You'll be happier not having a socpe at all this year, and doubling your budget for next year.

Good advice. Thank you.

Huck BB2 said:

>>>>I'm serious, this scope is a bargain of the century.

Had me very intrigued. As I stated in my post, being able to put together a decent/workable rig for under 1K definitely touched my frugal side. Especially on the "when and if I draw".  It's different buying guns as they usually appreciate...kinda money in the bank...I don't believe optics are the same...though the prices continue to go up...quality of glass, coatings etc gets better as well with the price increase.

And then I said:

>>>The big question is, If I draw, am I cutting myself self short with the FLP.

I know, I know I'm singing to the choir! :)

And now I have it in writing for my CFO aka SO "there is no cheap way out!

Thank you both for the replies.

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/01/2012 at 00:11
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only have experience with the swaro, zeiss and vortex. All in all in my experiene vortex seems to be the best bang for your buck. it might not be the very best optically but for the price it's tough to beat.
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