Vortex Spotting Scope Reviews: Diamondback, Viper HD & Razor HD

For the convenience of using one optic at the range and in the hunt, a spotting scope can be just the right kind of pal. So, if you’re in the market for a new scope, read everything we have on Vortex before you spend a dime. We will dish the dirt on the:

If you want to know about long distance magnifications, quality glass, and getting the best value, you want to stay right here! This is one of the best Vortex spotting scopes reviews that you’ll ever come across.

Vortex Spotting Scope Reviews

Now, Vortex has all the favorable elements that hunters are looking for in a company when they’re researching the market before their big buy – American owned, family owned, and veteran owned.

They also pledge to put first what I call the “Three P’s”: People, Products, and Promises. Vortex is committed to their customers and their products, and that’s why all their spotting scopes come with their VIP Unconditional Lifetime Warranty.

With promises like that, you can trust you’ll be getting an excellent product from actual American hunters that live to make your outdoor dreams come true.

All the Vortex spotting scopes share the same matchless VIP warranty, porro prism design, fully multi-coated coatings, and full weatherproof-ability. With these shared features in mind, all your optic needs will be realized with Vortex. I guess that’s why they say “Vortex is the Force of Optics”.

Vortex Diamondback 20-60X60 Review

diamondback-20-60x60-angledThis porro prism Diamondback has 20-60X magnification, fully multi-coated coatings, and even dielectric prism coatings to give this scope a punch of optical power. It’s also fully weatherproof with a built-in sunshade, adjustable twist up eyecups, and a rotating tripod ring.

Online, it has a good rating with more than a couple of dozen reviewers. This Diamondback is also one of Vortex’s more popular spotting scopes that has a high number of reviews.

The Diamondback series is just one of three that Vortex has in its spotting scope offerings. And, this particular 60 mm model gets the featured spot since the 80 mm is borderline impractical for most hunters.

Also, the angled is quite popular even though its straight counterpart has a star rating that’s worth noticing later on in this Vortex scope review.

To find out all there is to know before you buy Diamondback spotting scopes, make sure you read our insightful Q&A.

Diamondback 20-60X60 Spotting Scope Q&A:

Q. Is this a porro prism spotting scope?

A. Yes! The Diamondback spotting scopes have porro prisms for maximum image quality since internal light reflections in the optical pathway will be kept to a minimum.

Additional advantages of porro prism scopes are the fact that they don’t need any extra fancy phase coatings and they are easier to manufacture.

This in turn means more optical performance and superior image quality for the best prices possible.

Q. What type of glass are the porro prisms made out of?

A. This is a question that I see a lot all over online forums. So, to answer it nice and clearly, this Diamondback has BAK4 prism glass.

BAK4 is generally seen as superior glass to BK7 glass because of its higher refractive index rate and expected, round exit pupil without any grey caps.

Q. Can I see bullet holes from 300 yards?

A. With good eyesight and splatter targets at the range, you should be able to see your bullet strikes at that distance.

Now, with that being said, for 20-60X power, you’d expect a lot more distance from it, am I right? Unfortunately, it seems the higher in power you go after about 40X, you’ll start to lose sharpness, clarity, and focus.

So, those 30-06 holes might not be visible the further out you shoot.

Q. Is this a high-end spotting scope?

A. The Diamondback series of spotting scopes is born from the same bloodline as the Diamondback binoculars series. And, both series are made with affordability in mind.

This isn’t the high-end series for Vortex, instead, it’s the entry-level line.

But, it does feature some high-end qualities such as being fully waterproof and fog-proof and it has XR fully multi-coated coatings and Dielectric prism coatings. That’s a lot of swank for an entry-level optic.

Q. What is the VIP warranty?

A. Vortex prides themselves in the way they run their company and its relationship with their customers. The VIP warranty is pretty much a one-of-a-kind type of warranty because it’s unlimited and unconditional.

This means that you can toss it off the cliff side, drop it in the lake, and buy it used from a private seller and still Vortex will repair or replace it for free.

They don’t care how the defect and damage happens, who did it, or when. You don’t need to hold onto a receipt, provide proof of ownership, or fill out a warranty card. And, this is all for life!

Q. How much does the Diamondback cost?

A. Online, this angled Diamondback comes in around $360 with free shipping. For the quality and the warranty, that’s an excellent price!

The straight 20-60X60 costs approximately $400 online. And delightfully, it has an excellent rating as well. Now, the beastly 80 mm models will run you up around $500.

Vortex Diamondback 20-60X60 Specs:

  • Viewing Configuration: Angled
  • Magnification: 20-60X
  • Power Variability: Variable
  • Adjustable Eyepieces: No
  • Eyepiece included: Yes
  • Objective Diameter: 60 mm
  • Close Focus Distance: 20 feet
  • Length: 14 inches
  • Weight: 33.8 ounces
  • Field of View: 114-51 feet/1000 yards
  • Eye Relief/Exit Pupil: 17-14 mm/ 3-1 mm
  • Optics Coatings: Fully Multi-Coated
  • Glass: BAK4
  • Focus System: Focus Knob/Single Focus
  • Waterproof/Fog-proof: Yes/Yes
  • Digiscope adaptable: Yes

Noteworthy Features:

  • 20-60X magnification for long distance and fine detail viewing while out in the field
  • 60 mm objective lens for ultimate light gathering abilities and more convenient than the 80 mm
  • XR Fully Multi-Coated Coatings and Dielectric Prism Coatings for excellent light transmission and reflectivity
  • Fully fog-proof and waterproof to endure endure even the harshest terrain and weather
  • Porro prism spotting scope for ultimate optical performance
  • Angled design for more ergonomic and comfortable use
  • Built-in sun-shade, durable rubber twist up eyecups, and rotating tripod ring for convenient and intuitive use
  • Backed by Vortex’s VIP Unconditional Lifetime Warranty

Rating:

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Vortex Viper HD 15-45X65 Review

viper-hd-15-45x65-straightThis Viper HD has it all from ED/HD glass, XR Fully Multi-Coated glass, and Dielectric Prism Coatings to being fully weatherproof, having ultra-hard ArmorTek, and a fine-tuning Dual Focus knob.

This particular straight model has a near perfect rating online, albeit from a fairly small base of reviewers. Needless to say, this spotting scope is a keeper.

As one of the higher end scopes for Vortex, this is definitely worth featuring in our Vortex Viper HD review. I chose the straight model because of its fantastic star rating, although, the angled version did have double the reviewer base.

But, if you’re curious as to why I sound so excited to feature the Viper HD, let’s not wait any longer and get straight into the Q&A.

Viper HD 15-45X65 Spotting Scope Q&A:

Q. What kind of focus system does it have?

A. The Viper HD has a dual focus system that allows you to get on target fast and then be able to make fine adjustments for perfect image clarity.

The focus knob has two serrated pieces to it. The first one that’s closest to the body of the scope is the fast focus. This allows you to get in focus quickly.

The serrated piece that’s on the end of the knob is the fine focus. This allows you to sharpen the image to be able to see the sex of your target, measure the rack on your bull, and locate vital zones accurately.

Q. What are the benefits of a straight spotting scope?

A. The straight design has been the traditional and conventional design for ages. It’s actually only been recently that angled models are rapidly rising in popularity.

But, before everyone gets ahead of themselves and dismisses the legitimate use of a straight spotting scope, here’s some benefits that might draw you towards buying Vortex spotting scopes with the straight design.

The straight design is generally easier to use. If you’re a first timer getting used to spotting scopes, this is the way to go. It’s also easier and faster for a lot of hunters to look straight though the scope and expect to see the target in the direction they’re looking at.

You might also want to consider the straight design if you use car window mounts frequently since they’re more compatible with car mounts.

Q. Does it have ED glass?

A. It does! This Viper HD has what the Diamondback lacks, the HD Lens Elements.

This means that it has High Density, Extra Low Dispersion glass that chromatically corrects for aberrations caused by out of phase lightwaves.

The result is high definition images, rich color, and sharp images without color fringing on high contrast objects.

Q. What is the distance range of this Viper HD?

A. If you’re wondering about being able to see bullet placement, this will depend on type of calibers and targets used, atmospheric factors, and of course, your own unique vision.

But, for the sake of being general for those looking for an answer, .22 holes can be seen up to 200 yards on almost any target. On splatter targets, you should be able to expect to see them at 300 to 400 yards with max magnification.

For general viewing, you’ll be able to clearly see targets out past 600 yards without image distortion at max power – the better glass quality makes sure of that.

Q. Is the Viper HD convenient to pack?

A. This particular model is 52 ounces – while that’s relatively mid-size for a spotting scope, it’s still three and a quarter pounds you’ll have to think about lugging around with you.

While the magnification is certainly more powerful than a set of binoculars, and the optical quality is a lot better than the Diamondback, you’d be compromising on weight.

But, if you do a little bit of stationary glassing before your hunt or your hike to get in closer for the shot, the Vortex Viper HD is an excellent option to consider.

Vortex Viper HD 15-45X65 Specs:

  • Viewing Configuration: Straight
  • Magnification: 15-45X
  • Power Variability: Variable
  • Adjustable Eyepieces: No
  • Eyepiece included: Yes
  • Objective Diameter: 65 mm
  • Close Focus Distance: 16 feet
  • Length: 15.8 inches
  • Weight: 52 ounces
  • Field of View: 140-65 feet/1000 yards
  • Eye Relief/Exit Pupil: 20-15 mm/ 4.3-1.4 mm
  • Optics Coatings: Fully Multi-Coated
  • Glass: BAK4
  • Focus System: Focus Knob/Dual Focus
  • Waterproof/Fog-proof: Yes/Yes
  • Digiscope adaptable: Yes

Noteworthy Features:

  • 15-45X magnification for that extra reach that a binocular can’t get you
  • 65 mm objective lens for that extra light gathering for low light strength
  • XR Fully Multi-Coated Coatings, Dielectric Prism Coatings, HD Lens Elements for exceptional image quality
  • Dual Focus knob for fast and speedy target acquisition and then fine tuning for intimate detail-rich glassing
  • ArmorTek external lens coatings for protection from scratches, outdoor elements, and other potential glass damage
  • Fully fog-proof and waterproof to endure endure even the harshest terrain and weather
  • Porro prism spotting scope for ultimate optical performance
  • Straight design for easy use and convenience for car mounting
  • Built-in sun-shade, durable rubber twist up eyecups, rotating tripod ring, and a built-in Picatinny accessory rail for convenient and intuitive use
  • Backed by Vortex’s VIP Unconditional Lifetime Warranty

Rating:

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Vortex Razor HD 11-33X50 Review

razor-hd-11-33x50Optically, this Razor HD 11-33X50 has it all! The best ED glass, APO system, PlasmaTech, and Dielectric Phase Coatings for the clearest and brightest images possible. Of course it’s also fully weatherproof with ArmorTek and a dual focus knob.

Online, this scope is practically perfect. It currently has a small base of reviewers that have all awarded it a very deserving double thumbs up.

From the high end and premium Vortex series, the Razor HD, this one was chosen because it’s the most compact and practical spotting scope for a hunter. Plus, I was able to get my hands on it and give it a test-run myself.

So, if you’re curious to see how this Razor HD holds up with questions from real hunters like yourself, dig into our Q&A!

Razor HD 11-33X50 Spotting Scope Q&A:

Q. What is the image quality like?

A. For a high end binocular with excellent glass, you can imagine the images are going to be superb – and the good new is, it holds up to your high expectations. Since I was lucky enough to get my sticky mitts on one of these, I can confirm that it has super-clear glass.

At max magnification, there was some minor color-loss and image “softening” around the edges of the field of view. But, that’s absolutely a flaw that you can live with when most of the image, and definitely the center, was perfect and sharp.

And… this was all done free-hand at 33X power! This scope is that good!

Transition through the zooming powers was smooth and clean. I’m telling you, the extra care and quality put into the Razor HD glass is night and day difference compared to the other Vortex models.

Q. Is this Razor HD good value?

A. You betcha! The best thing about the quality glass is that you’re getting it for the same $600 price that you would pay for the above Viper HD with 15-45X power.

Granted, you are losing some super-high magnification, but with 33X and exceptional glass, you’d give up the extra 12X power in a heartbeat.

If you’re looking for bigger, expect to pay over 100 percent more! The Razor HD 20-60X85, which I personally got to play around with as well, costs a whopping $1600!

But, in my opinion, it’s far too big to be practical for a hunt. Perhaps it could be helpful for those of you who are experts at extended, long distance shooting in the field or at the range.

Q. Can I use this to go hunting?

A. The lower magnification, light weight, excellent glass, and compact size is exactly why I chose this model for this Vortex scope review. Of the Razor HD series, it’s the smallest and most compact spotting scope of them all.

It’s only 10.3 inches in length, weighs a mere 25 ounces, and can be hand-held at 33X. These elements alone make it a winner for use while on the move in the hunt.

Bonus features are its very wide, linear field of view of 191-96 feet at 1000 yards, its long eye relief of 19-16 mm, and its exit pupil of 4.6-1.5 mm.

Bottom line: its lower magnification and small size gives it an upper hand in low light conditions and wide, open hunting terrains.

Q. Are there any other models in this series?

A. There is a healthy variety of sizes in the Razor HD series if you don’t mind lugging around something bigger than this compact version.

Other models currently available to you directly from Vortex are the: 22-48X65 and the 27-60X85. You can get either size with the straight or angled design.

But, there are some discontinued Razor HDs that you can still find online from other independent optics retailers. These would be the previously mentioned 20-60X85 and the 16-48X65, in either angled or straight.

Q. What are the benefits of an angled spotting scope?

A. While the straight design is more common and it has its advantages, there are several reasons why the angled design is doing so well.

The first is the most obvious – ergonomic and comfort benefits. It allows you to hold the scope without having to arch your head further back if you want steeper and higher images while on a low angle.

Another benefit is the fact that it enables you to mount the scope lower on a smaller and lighter tripod. This could be great for where you need to stay undetected. At these lower heights, you’re also less affected by wind.

Q. What is its close focus distance?

A. For a compact scope, you know it’s going to be close. How close? 6.6 feet!

If you’re a birder or a wildlife observer on the side, this is going to be super beneficial for you, especially because this Razor HD has the dual focus system. You’ll be able to get in close for intimate details or zoom out wide and then hone in on your 400 yard target.

Q. What is the APO System and PlasmaTech?

A. The APO system is the Triplet Apochromatic lens that works with the high-density and extra-low dispersion glass elements to make those HD images really pop. Color fidelity and sharpness is the name of the game here.

Now, PlasmaTech is a fancy term for a fancy application process of coatings for ultimate durability and optical precision performance.

Long story short, these elements add up to provide you with outstanding image quality that belies its $600 price tag.

Q. What convenience features does it miss out on?

A. While it is a high end scope, there are some features that did get cut.

The built-in sunshade and the rotating tripod ring that were included in both the Viper HD and the Diamondback were scratched with this compact model.

It also doesn’t have the Picatinny accessible rail that the Viper HD had. And weirdly, it features the fold down rubber eyecups instead of the twist up ones. Hmm…

Vortex Razor HD 11-33X50 Spotting Scope Specs:

  • Viewing Configuration: Angled
  • Magnification: 11-33X
  • Power Variability: Variable
  • Adjustable Eyepieces: No
  • Eyepiece included: Yes
  • Objective Diameter: 50 mm
  • Close Focus Distance: 6.6 feet
  • Length: 10.3 inches
  • Weight: 25 ounces
  • Field of View: 191-96 feet/1000 yards
  • Eye Relief/Exit Pupil: 19-16 mm/ 4.6-1.5 mm
  • Optics Coatings: Fully Multi-Coated
  • Glass: BAK4
  • Focus System: Focus Knob/Dual Focus
  • Waterproof/Fog-proof: Yes/Yes
  • Digiscope adaptable: Yes

Noteworthy Features:

  • XR Fully Multi-Coated Coatings, Dielectric Prism Coatings, and HD Lens Elements for exceptional image quality
  • Additional optical features such as the APO System and PlasmaTech adds to exceptional glass quality and images
  • Dual Focus knob for fast and speedy target acquisition and then fine tuning for intimate detail-rich glassing
  • ArmorTek external lens coatings for protection from scratches, outdoor elements, and other potential glass damage
  • Fully fog-proof and waterproof to endure endure even the harshest terrain and weather
  • Porro prism spotting scope for ultimate optical performance
  • Angled design for comfortable glassing and lower mounting
  • Excellent close focus distance of 6.6 feet
  • Compact and lightweight; perfect for all hunting situations
  • Backed by Vortex’s VIP Unconditional Lifetime Warranty

Rating:

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Which is the Best Vortex Spotting Scope for You?

If my best recommendation regarding quality and value isn’t obvious by now, I’ll be super clear about it (pun definitely intended!). For the best bang for the buck, you’re going to want to go with the Razor HD.

You’ll also be getting the best glass that Vortex can offer you. It’s a win-win! Don’t you just love those kinds of buys? And, don’t be worried if you’re only a newbie to hunting optics. Just go with the straight model if you’re in doubt.

The Viper HD is absolutely a great buy as well. It’s a step up from the Diamondback, but for the same increase in price, you may as well go with the recommended Razor HD.

All of Vortex’s spotting scopes can be used well by either rookies and young hunters to the most experienced and seasoned of us all. If your budget doesn’t stretch that far you might want to have a look out our review on Barska Spotting scopes, we cover 6 that cost under $300 each.

Vortex Has Your Back

Vortex has had our backs when it comes to providing excellent glass for the best, and I even daresay “fairest”, prices that you’ll find in the optics industry. You don’t need to, and you shouldn’t have to, spend more than what Vortex offers for the quality.

Buying the best of what you can afford undoubtedly leads you to Vortex. Plus, with the unbeatable VIP warranty they offer, you literally have nothing to lose!