Monday, April 11, 2011

Vortex Razor HD 8x42 Binocular

From Jay B.:

5/5 Rating

Well, FedEx dropped off my new Vortex Razor 8x42 HD binos a couple of day ago and I’ve been having fun since then.

I was expecting to see some nice glass and I have owned some of the original Razors, but the glass in these new HDs keeps blowing my mind every time I look through them. “Razor” is a great name because it describes what you see: razor-sharp detail and colors come through true and bright. They have a nice solid feel and the mechanics are smooth. The eye cups have nice solid stops, so they stay where you set them. The focus wheel is large and really makes focusing easy.

Yesterday I took them to my local high end optics dealer with the idea of comparing with other high end glass. My test was a shaded balcony on an apartment building a quarter mile away. The day was dark and overcast which I thought was a good thing since I wanted to see how much light these would gather in.

The first binos I asked to see was the Swarovski 8x42, but they didn’t have them, so I had to compare with the 8x32s ($1,950) instead. One thing I noticed right off the bat was a slight violet tint at the very edge of the view. The Razors had no tint whatsoever. I then looked for distortion at the edge. Again, the Razors came out on top with barely perceptible at the very edge. I also checked them for chromatic aberration (which is violet distortion around images in high contrast situations like tree leaves against the daytime sky). I could see no difference between the Swaro’s and the Razors. On the balcony was a red plant back in the shadows. Both binos were able to pick it up with the Razors definitely doing a better job. I’m going to surmise that if I’d had a pair of Swaro 8x42s, they would have done at least just as good as the Razors, maybe better ... who knows, but it would have been extremely close.

The shop owner then handed me Nikon's top-of-the-line 8x42’s ($1,400) and within seconds, it was clear they didn’t have a chance against the Razors. I could not find the red flower and the sharpness just wasn’t there. Then he had some Zeiss 8x40’s ($1,900) to try. They were better than the Nikon, but didn’t come up to the Razor or Swaro. Another thing I’ll mention is that I decided to try 8’s instead of 10’s, since these are just for target and I’m mainly out 80 yards max. There is more depth-of-field with these and I’ve never achieved such an easy time getting things perfectly focused.

So that’s it! Anyone looking for top-end glass would not be well served if they left out Vortex Razor HDs from the list. They are selling on-line for $1,180.

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