Vortex Optics Viper HD Reviewed – How Good is This Spotting Scope?

Vortex has always amazed its customers with its amazing range of spotting scopes, this manufacturer is one of the most famous optics companies in the world that provide high quality products.

The Viper HD spotting scopes from Vortex are the some of the finest mid-range spotting scopes, where the combination of high quality glass with precise and careful construction has made an incredible product available for users.

Before we proceed with the Vortex Viper HD spotting scope review, let’s make it clear that this is not the only high-quality product in this price range, and you should always consider alternatives. Some options you should definitely have a look at are the Ares by Athlon Optics (there’s also a 65mm version) and the Pentax PF-80ED.


There are two optical configurations of Viper HD spotting scopes: the 15-45X65 and the 20-60X80 (20-60X85) and these are available in two versions, an old version and a new one, so before we dive into information about this interesting product, you should know the difference between these two.

The older version of the Viper HD

It is more classical, more traditional, like the very much known version of spotting scopes: a long objective and a short angled or straight eyepiece. The focusing system is placed on top where you can reach it with your fingers and the tripod mount and collar are in the middle of the scope body.

This version is useful for many activities especially hunting where perfect stability is needed to get the best optical performance.

The newer version (V500)

In 2018, Vortex decided to renew the look of Viper HD and give it a more trendy shape and appealing features. It still looks like a normal spotting scope except for some differences. The main difference is the focusing system: the focusing knob has been replaced by a helical focusing ring that wraps the body of the objective. This feature is important for users who rely on fast action and need a convenient product to fulfill their needs.

Besides, the new version has a more compact shape than the older one and the eyepiece looks harmoniously attached to the main body of the scope.

Now let’s focus on the newer version since the old one is not manufactured anymore and only available at some retailers.

So, what make the Vortex Viper HD spotting scope special?

You should definitely consider giving this outstanding product a try because to its impressive aspects from magnification to field of view and brightness of image – for the price. Both the 15-45X65 and the 20-60X85 provide breathtaking optical performance.

This type of scope with small magnification range that does not exceed 45X is very useful at closer range since you will have a very wide field of view and a nice bright image even in dark situations thanks to the 65mm objective lens.

This product weighs almost 60 oz / 1700 grams which makes it quite heavy so a tripod would be necessary to keep it steady and do the work. For birding and hunting that involve longer hikes, it is a perfect tool.

This one here is a more advanced scope equipped with a 20-60X eyepiece that has the ability to provide much broader zoom capabilities. In addition to that, the 85mm objective lens gives full clarity to crisp sharp images and makes your experience like never before.

If you are going for a 20-60X85 then make sure that you will need it in your activities otherwise, a 15-45X65 is good enough and will save you some money. Besides, this item weighs around 76 oz / 2150 grams.

Pros of the Viper HD

  • High quality optics

All Viper HD products contain high-end glass such as the XR anti-reflective coatings and extra low dispersion crystal clear lenses that enhance light transmission and reduce chromatic aberrations.

  • Wide field of view

Thanks to the wide lenses on both scopes (65mm or 85mm) you will get a very wide field of view that will make you appreciate every detail of your view (reaches 136.5ft at 1000 yards).

  • Versatile and convenient focus mechanism

The new focusing system (helical) is versatile and convenient for many activities as it allows the user to quickly set the desired focus with an easier grip. It is the best solution to fast moving targets.

  • Rotational tripod adaptability

The tripod mount allows the device to be rotated around the viewing axis thanks to the special collar, so you can set your product at the desired position and eyepiece angle.

  • Durability

The body of Viper HD scopes is fully covered with a rubber armoring that gives it a powerful shock resistance. In addition, these scopes are O-ring sealed and argon purged so they are 100% water and fog proof.

Cons of Viper HD spotting scopes

One major con of these spotting scopes is the size. With the 85mm version weighing almost 2.2 kg, it adds quite a bit of weight to your gear. There are products of similar or better performance that weigh less, e.g. the Athlon Optics Ares 85mm. I hope that Vortex will find a solution and come up with a lighter device in the future.

As a conclusion, Viper HD scopes are mid-range but they have high-end features available for you at a relatively low price. It’s a great product for hunting and wildlife watching.