For quite some time, Vortex Optics has tried to create a worthy successor because of their top-of-the-line binocular (the DLS), and frankly, it’s been somewhat of challenging. Vortex Razor binoculars have already been through at least two earlier versions, even though the optics were always good, the sooner binoculars had radically different designs and features, as if there really wasn’t a set idea at heart of what their flagship optic ought to be. Well, it appears like the 3rd time was the charm! With the release of the Razor HD binoculars, we think Vortex has finally found their stride with this line. Currently, Vortex Razor HD binoculars can be found in 8×42, 10×42, 10×50 and 12×50 versions, but this review covers only the 42-mm models. Vortex Razor HD binoculars cost $979.99 for the 8×42 model and $999.99 for the 10×42 model. Knowing Vortex, further expansion of the line to add a 32-mm line is a virtual certainty.
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Structure and Design
Structurally, the brand new Razor HDs certainly are a throwback to an easier roof prism design – gone may be the open bridge look of the last version. The brand new kinds are smaller, sleeker and more desirable. For example, rather than weighing over 30 oz., despite using heavier denser glass (that’s what HD is, in the end!) the brand new Razor HDs tip the scale at 26.1 oz. and 26.7 oz. for the for the 8×42 and 10×42 models respectively. Because of their inherently better ergonomics, the brand new kinds feel even lighter than that. Note too that people weigh them with rainguard and objective lens covers in location to reflect just what a user’s field weight may very well be. Removing those lightens them by another 1.5 to 2 oz. Another feature that plays a part in the low weight of the brand new Razors may be the magnesium chassis. In comparison to traditional aluminum frames, magnesium offers an excellent combo of less weight and greater durability and strength. Many top quality optics companies are substituting magnesium for aluminum within their binocular frames. Unlike the black rubber armoring of the prior version, Razor HD binoculars are clad in a thinner, natural green armoring with gray and black accents and a knubbled texture that imparts an excellent, secure grip. The barrels are notably more slender, and also have well-placed, shallow thumb pads on the lower. The effect is these binoculars don’t require large hands to comfortably hold. Razor HD binoculars are 6.25 inches tall (eyecups fully extended) and 4.9 inches wide (hinge fully open). Much like all high-end roof prism binoculars, Razor HDs are vacuum-sealed and purged with argon to be waterproof and internally fog proof.
Vortex Razor HD binoculars include a field of view of 388 feet at 1000 yards on the 8x model and 362 feet on the 10x version. That’s about the average field on the 8×42, but it’s really very good on the 10×42. Eye relief on the 8x model is 17.5 mm, correctly sufficient for some people’s needs; that of the 10x model is 16.5 mm. It’s worth noting that the 10x eye relief is fairly typical for top quality binoculars of this magnification. As noted above, we were happy with the entire optical performance of the 42-mm Razor HDs. One area where the Razors really excel is minimum close focus. We measured the minimum close give attention to both Razor HD models at only 5 feet, fully a foot much better than Vortex literature claims. Both Razor models go from minimum close focus to infinity in a zippy 1.5 turns of the focus knob. Focusing action was smooth, aided by a huge focus knob with raised ridges in the armoring for better purchase. With these binoculars, focusing is simple. In conditions of the field curvature and edge performance, the Razors match pretty much with even the priciest binoculars out there. Chromatic aberration, needlessly to say with an HD glass binocular, was minimal. The sweet spot of crisp focus in the visual field center is fairly large. The main one optical property where the Razors aren’t exceptional is their depth of field, which is only average. Though no optical property by itself, it’s worth noting that the Razor HD binoculars have a fairly broad interpupillary distance selection of 53-74 mm. This will be enough to supply a comfortable setting for nearly any user.
Glass and Coatings
As noted above, among the big improvements is to the glass and coatings. We noted that the brand new Razor HDs showed a considerable improvement in the already good image quality of the old Razors. Because the old Razors were made out of HD glass lens factors and we’ve no information saying it’s not similar glass, the evident inference is that Vortex improved the coatings of the brand new ones. The problem is, coatings really don’t translate well within an article, so all we are able to do is name them and let you know what they’re likely to do! Like all high-end roof prism binoculars, the Razors are fully multicoated and phase-coated. The multi-coating is Vortex’s proprietary XR lens coating which increases light transmission, reduces image-degrading reflections and increases overall image brightness. The prisms are BaK-4 glass, which is industry-standard for all high-end binoculars. To these, Vortex adds a dielectric coating to the prism faces for the most vivid image color. The prism faces are phase-coated to make certain that all of the various different wavelengths of obvious light are focused to the same plane. You may not “see” the result of phase-coating – what the human brain perceives is a notable difference that manifests as sharper images and more vibrant colors. Lastly, there may be the ArmorTek coating on the lenses that repels oil and salts and even reduces the tendency for dust to stick to the lens, making them better to clean.
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The eyecups on the Razor HDs adapt by the now standard helical twist mechanism. A counter-clockwise twist extends them; a clockwise twist collapses them. There are two fully-stable positions marked by fair firm detents between fully up and fully down, and none showed any tendency to collapse inadvertently during field use. The eyecups include a slightly-tapered rim of very soft rubber, making them very comfortable against the facial skin. Dioptric adjustment is achieved with a twist ring on the upper right barrel. This ring locks constantly in place when not used, in which case it really is flush against the very best of the proper ocular tube. Pull the ring up from the tube to permit it to twist freely. When the adjustment is complete, snap it firmly right down to re-lock it. You will find a scale of relative adjustment on the ring and ocular tube that plainly shows the positioning for equal eyes and a sign of where your unique settings are. The mechanism is just a little stiff, however in our opinion, that’s definitely not a bad thing. We think that is an excellent diopter adjustment mechanism.
Strap, Caps and Case
The rainguard on the Vortex Razor HD binoculars is smartly designed; it is made up of two, inch-deep, pliable rubber cups joined by a flexible bridge. A typical strap loops through a set bracket using one side (prevents dropping it in the field) and a gapped (detachable) bracket on the other. The rainguard is easily seated set up, and once set up, simply will not dislodge accidentally. It’s hard to assume how this may be any better, really. Both objective lenses have soft rubber caps that fit snugly over the ends of the barrels and so are mounted on the barrels by flexible rings and short tethers so they can’t be lost, meaning you will have them if you want them. The weight of the lens caps ensures that except under hurricane conditions, they hang along and don’t inflate to occlude the view. The tether rings are wide, so they maintain their position on the barrel ends quite nicely and don’t slide around or fall off. By angling them just slightly off vertical, you can drastically reduce the tendency to allow them to inadvertently close when the binocular bumps against your chest. Again, these show fundamentally good design. The strap is broad, well-padded and contoured to match the curve of your neck, length being adjustable by standard means. For an extremely basic strap, it really is quite comfortable. The case is well padded and manufactured from water-resistant/ waterproof cordura. It closes with a wide folding flap and a double-toothed clasp. It really is roomy enough to easily accommodate the binocular despite having eyecups fully extended. You will find a nice zipping net compartment on the lower of the flap closure for storing things such as an optical cloth or a tiny bottle of lens cleaner. Incidentally, Vortex offers a nice lens cloth with the binocular. The case has lugs for attachment of a strap of its, which is roofed with the purchase. Basically, that is a great case.