Before I start this review, I should mention that I did not have high expectations for this product when I first received one to test. I was familiar with Vortex products and knew that they did a fine job designing and building binoculars and scopes. But they seemed to be aiming mostly at the lower-to-mid-price range—for birders on a budget.
Not that there’s anything wrong with that—the birding market needs far more affordable products, especially for people who are just starting out and aren’t ready to put down a lot of money for a hobby they may or may not pursue further.
Well, I knew after about two minutes of looking through the Vortex Razor that the company was moving into some brand-new territory and taking on the big names in the optical field. The scope easily outdid my expectations and then some. It was bright and sharp, and also very rugged, attractive, and comfortable to use.
It has a dual focusing knob, allowing you to move the focus in and out quickly, and then fine-tune the focus. The scope employs extra-low dispersion glass in its lens elements, like all of the finer scopes, with, of course, anti-reflective coatings to increase the transmission of light. The 85mm obective lens provides a bright image even in dim light. The inside of the scope is purged with argon gas to prevent internal fogging. The magnesium alloy body makes the scope relatively light (just over 65 ounces) but strong and rugged.
I can’t say that this scope is quite as good as the top-of-the-line Kowa or Swarovski scopes, but at the price (the Vortex Razor has a suggested list price of $2,000 but can be found for about $1,600 if you do some searching online), this is one of the best deals in birding—especially because the price includes a 20-60x zoom eyepiece, an attractive carrying case, and an unconditional guarantee. I recommend this scope wholeheartedly.