Vortex Optics Razor HD 11-33X50 Angled Spotting Scope (RZR-50A1)

razor-hd-11-33x50Viewing 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

Best Uses: Hunting, For the Range, Birdwatching, Wildlife Observation

Our Rating:

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Vortex Razor HD Spotting Scope Review

Optically, 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. For our part, we like the Razor so much we awarded it a spot on our list of the best spotting scopes under $1000.

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 pros, cons and Q&A!

 

PROs:
  • Price
  • Dual focus
  • Very close focus distance
  • Fully weatherproof
  • Digiscope adaptable
CONs:
  • No interchangeable eyepieces

 

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

What is the image quality like?

For a high end spotter 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. They are ‘one of the finest spotting scopes on the market‘.

 

Is this Razor HD good value?

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 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 27-60X85, 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.

 

Can I use this to go hunting?

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.

 

Are there any other models in this series?

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 27-60X85 and the 16-48X65, in either angled or straight.

 

What are the benefits of an angled spotting scope?

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.

For more a more thorough comparision of the two body types, you can read our article about straight vs angled spotting scopes here.

 

What is its close focus distance?

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.

 

What is the APO System and PlasmaTech?

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.

 

What convenience features does it miss out on?

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…

 

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

 

Our Verdict

The scoop on the scope is, the Vortex Razor HD 11-33X50 spotter is a compact and lightweight unit. It’s absolutely on par for its price and quality. However, for as expensive as it is, it doesn’t offer interchangeable eyepieces. But, this is only one of the spotters in the Razor spotting scope series. You could always check out the other sizes it comes in if you wanted more ranging power.

The Vortex Diamondback Spotting Scope 20-60×60 is one of our favorites. It has everything a hunter needs without getting too fancy and too hefty in cost. You have to check it out if you’re serious about Vortex!

But, the Nikon 13-30x50mm FieldScope ED 50 does pretty well for the price range too. This Nikon does offer interchangeable eyepiece technology. Not too shabby right?

Vortex knows how to pump out quality in a competitive optics market with just the right price. They’re fair, a family-oriented business, and they know what customer service means to their buyers. It’s time to get on the Vortex band wagon if you want to maximize your hunt to its full potential!

 

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