You are reading this article, most probably you are into hunting, bird watching, range shooting, or even surveillance. And by now, you must know for a fact that there’s no better way to enjoy these exhilarating activities other a spotting scope. If there is one brand that offers a wide range of reliable spotting scopes for whatever purpose you want, it is Vortex. Since 2004, Vortex has been a primary player in the industry for developing all sorts of optics for multiple uses.
In this article, we will take a closer look at three of the best Vortex Spotting Scopes in the market. We will dissect every product’s strengths and weaknesses to help you make a decision as to which one suits your purpose best.
Features to Look for When Buying a Spotting Scope
Angular or Straight Spotting Scope
Before buying, you need to know which among the two primary types of spotting scopes is applicable for your purpose. If you simply want a scope for bird watching or viewing anything of the same height as you, a straight scope is necessary. This means that the lens and the scope are in the same lane horizontally.
Below are some of the advantages of using straight spotting scope:
o It is generally easy to use and spot a target
o Faster to spot target
o Easy to use when mounted in a car
o May need a tripod most of the time
o Less universal
On the other hand, the angular scope is more applicable if you want to spot a moving target just like in hunting or watching sports event. It is easy to use when viewing at an angle and can be easily mounted on a tripod for more convenience. Generally, it is more expensive than a straight scope. Hence, the most important step in determining what type of spotting to use is simply knowing what you will be using it for.
o Can be used even if you’re lying down
o Can be rotated at a certain angle to suit the best view
o Minimal effect of instability such as wind when mounted to a tripod
o High price
o More complicated to use
o Eyepiece prone to dust, rain, or snow because of its physical orientation
One of the reasons why you’re buying a spotting scope is to view targets from afar. Thus, the magnification and the lens size is also a major consideration. Generally speaking, the power of a scope is represented by two numbers. The first number is the magnification which tells us up to how many times the object will be magnified. Most spotting scopes are within the 15 to 60x magnification range.
The second number is the lens size. By convention, the higher the number the better as this means that more light is gathered through the lens. As a result, you are getting brighter and clearer images. The downside of an extra big lens size is that it is an added weight. If you are traveling with your spotting scope, the most ideal lens size is 50-60mm.
You will not be using your scope at home, won’t you? You will be bringing it with you in some of the best birdwatching and hunting havens on earth. Thus, portability plays a major factor. Choose a spotting scope with just the right weight to be carried anywhere. Size also matters. Personally, I would prefer a medium sized scope so that I can easily put in the trunk of the car. In some cases, you may also need to consider if having a tripod is not a problem with you. Some people, like me, sometimes does not want to carry extra weight.
The Vortex Spotting Scope Line-up
Vortex Optics Diamondback Spotting Scopes is one of the most popular among the line of scopes manufactured by Vortex. Considered to be an excellent choice for an angular spotting scope, Diamondback is just one of the few products with the perfect fusion of power, portability, and functionality. Since it is built on top of the line and heavy duty materials, this product is smartly designed to last for a long time.
One of the most attractive feature of the Diamondback Scope it its power magnification and lens combination. With a 20-60x magnification, spotting your target from a distance will be a piece of cake. Moreover, its massive 80mm lens allows more light to come in resulting to brighter, clearer, and realistic images. Despite of a big lens, it is relatively light compared to other products with the same specification making it perfect for any outdoor activity.
Other things that will make Diamondback worthy of trying is the ease of focus. Because of its generous eye relief and substantial exit pupil, using this product over a long period of time will not be a problem at all. In addition, it is manufactured with O-rings and purged with nitrogen making it water, dust, and fog proof.
- Relatively reasonable price compared to other products of the same specs
- Fully weatherproof
- Powerful magnification and huge lens diameter
- Potable and light
- Single focus functionality only
- Average image stability due to very high magnification
My Overall Take
I will not mince my words when I say go ahead and buy a Vortex Optics Diamondback Spotting Scopes now. Given its powerful magnification and superb lens size, there is no doubt that it is a very good buy. What makes this product attractive to me is the fact that it weighs less despite the size of its lens. This is a huge turn on. Despite a few downsides, I will still highly recommend buying this product.
The next item on our list is another high-end product from Vortex – The Viper HD Spotting Scope. Similar to the Diamond Black, it is also an angular spotting scope making it a versatile tool for all your outdoor activities. For this product to withstand the most unforgiving weather conditions, it is smartly built with a magnesium alloy covered with rubber armor. On top of that, it is also tightly sealed with O-rings to make sure that it is water, dust, and fog resistant.
When it comes to performance, Vortex Optics Viper will never be left behind. With its 15-45x magnification, a crystal clear image is almost a guarantee. Built with Porro prism and 65mm objective lens diameter, this product allows a massive amount of light to come in. Hence, this spotting scope will never let you down even in low light conditions.
Portability is also a thumbs up for this spotting scope. Since it only has 65mm lens, it is lighter compared to other products with bugger lens diameter. Thus, bringing this wherever you want to go will never be an issue.
- Magnesium allow body with rubber armor for longevity
- Stunning image quality even in mid to low light condition
- Built to resist water, fog, and dust
- Not the best magnification
- Relatively expensive
My Overall Take
Although it is a bit pricey, Vortex Optics Viper HD Spotting Scope can still be considered one of the best spotting scopes in the. It is in the mediocre level when it comes to magnification and lens size but image quality and clarity remains super. I also like how portable and light it is which perfect for people like me who are always on the go.
As its branding suggests, Vortex Optics Razor HD Spotting Scopes offers razor-sharp images with unbelievable quality. Included in the top tier angular spotting scopes of Vortex Razor HD is one of the most expensive items there is. However, when you dig dipper to its specifications, you will realize that it is all worth it.
For starters, it is built with a 27-60 magnification power which is a more an average. This is great for people who love spotting target from afar and needs more stability using a tripod. To complete its superb functionality, this product is also built with a whopping 85mm lens. This means that compared to other products in the market, Razor HD has the highest capacity to suck in all available lights to display images with extreme clarity every in very low light conditions.
When it comes to the built and design, it is covered my Armortek coatings that will protect the product from oil and even scratches. Furthermore, to ensure that its functionality is never affected by the presence of fog, mist or dust, Razor HD has been purged with argon and packed with O-rings.
- Razor shard HD image with 27-60×85 powerful magnification and an objective lens
- Protective coating to avoid scratches and dirt
- Built with multi-position eye cup twist
- Hefty price tag
- Relative heavier compared to other products due to an extra-large objective lens
My Overall Take
No one can question why Vortex Optics Razor HD Spotting Scopes is considered to be one of the best there is. This product is simply packed with the best specifications that you can ask for in an angular spotting scope. Despite its price, I am sure that a lot of people are still willing to spend this much just get the quality of the image that they are looking for.
Regardless which of the items on our list will you choose, I can personally guarantee you that they are of the excellent shape and quality. They have their own strengths and weaknesses. Hence, you need to go back again to the very basic question – for what purpose are you buying a spotting scope for? Once you have the answer to this question, the selection process will be a lot easier for you.
- In-depth Vortex Diamondback Spotting Scope Review as of 2018In this review we take a good look at the Vortex Diamondback series of spotting scopes - a true workhorse with its set of advantages and deficiencies. Read to gain more insight before buying.
- Vortex Optics Viper HD Reviewed - How Good is This Spotting Scope?Vortex makes many great optics products. How good is the Viper HD spotter and what should you be aware of? Read this in-depth review to find out more.
- Review of Razor HD Spotting Scope by Vortex Optics We look at the strengths and weaknesses of one of the Vortex Optics' best known spotting scope line-ups: the Razor HD.