Vortex Optics Viper HD 15-45X65mm Straight Spotting Scope (V501) – Upgraded for 2018

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Viper HD 15-45x65mmViewing Configuration: Straight
Magnification: 15-45X
Power Variability: Variable
Adjustable Eyepieces: No
Eyepiece included: Yes
Objective Diameter: 65 mm
Close Focus Distance: 23 ft
Length: 14.6 in
Weight: 58.8 oz
Field of View: 136.5-67.8 feet/1000 yards
Eye Relief/Exit Pupil: 19.6-17.8 mm/4.3-1.4 mm
Optics Coatings: Fully multi-coated
Glass: BaK-4
Focus System: Center/Dual
Waterproof/Fog-proof: Yes
Digiscope adaptable: Yes

Best Uses: Hunting, For the Range, Bird Watching, Wildlife Observation

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Vortex Viper HD 15-45X65 Review (New to 2018!)

Vortex Viper HD 15-45x65 Straight Spotting Scope Side OnThe Viper HD spotting scopes may not be new, but this model is! The entire Viper line was revamped for 2018, and they’re far better than they were before. If you thought the scope was already popular and in high demand, we’re about to see what the upgraded features do to the rating polls. What are those features? Let’s get to it!

The most obvious tell-tale sign of an upgrade is in the new body style. It’s trim, sleek, and packable. The uniform, dark green finish is similar to the color scheme of Swarovski optics, and it works.

Previously, we’ve had the Viper and the now discontinued Viper HD spotters. What are the differences? The new to 2018 spotters now have the Helical Focus mechanism. It’s a collar focusing ring on the body of the scope. It has the ability to do both fast and fine adjustments with one control. It’s an improvement since it makes it easier focus, it’s very large and heavily textured, and it makes for precise and fine focusing a breeze with fluid and smooth action.

The optics are High Definition quality. How? The glass has extra-low dispersion (ED) elements that reduces chromatic aberration and enhances light transmission for ultimate color fidelity from edge-to-edge. Combine this with XR Fully Multi-Coated and Dielectric Coatings, and you have optics fit for glassing in any terrain, any condition, and for several hundred yards.

Even though the power range is significantly less than its 20-60x Viper sibling, don’t be fooled into thinking it can’t range long distances. The glass quality is the most important factor that will enable clarity at longer ranges that what you would expect. The lower magnification range, but still high power, actually helps in keeping size and weight down to a minimum. It’s just barely bigger than a compact spotter, but it’s still ideal for hunting and any activity where portability, packability, and easy setup is desired.

Vortex spotters have always been a highly-rated and highly-bought product. We expect to see the new Viper HD scopes reach and even surpass previous ratings as a result of all the improvements. Better glass always means a better spotting experience!

PROS:
  • Price
  • Helical Focus
  • Excellent glass quality
  • Excellent coating quality
  • Trim profile
CONS:
  • Heavy

 

Vortex Viper HD 15-45X65 Q&A:

How much does the Viper HD weigh?

This 15-45×65 model weighs in at 58.8 ounces. This is about 3.6 pounds. It’s heavier than other spotters with these high-power specs, but you can expect that the extra weight comes from the improved optical system and focus mechanism. Even at this weight, it’s not typically an issue as it does provide more stability when mounted in windy conditions etc, but it’s still a conveniently portable spotter. Of course, if you want the extra power of its 20-60×85 sibling, you’re definitely going to tack on some serious weight there!

 

What is Helical Focus?

This is the manual focusing system where the lens elements are fitted within the focusing collar. When rotating the collar, the entire lens tube moves together in forward or back motions. Because of this setup, very fine adjustments can be made when focusing over a whole range. However, the helical focus system does compromise on close focus distance providing only moderate distances. In this case, the new Viper HD offers 23 feet and the old one had 16 feet in close focus distance.

 

Do the New Vipers Cost more than the Old Vipers?

At retail cost, no. They actually sell for the same price as the older counterparts, however, with the release of the new models, expect to see discounts offered on the recently discontinued Vipers.

 

Are the Viper HD and the Viper Series the same Spotting Scopes?

No. There used to be both the Viper and the Viper HD spotting scopes available. The Viper line lacked some specific coatings and HD quality. They are discontinued. The Viper HD line up to 2018 were the most recent versions, but they have discontinued with the release of these new models with the upgrades.

 

What are all the Models in the Viper HD line?

The Viper HD spotting scopes have two different magnification and aperture platforms. There is the 20-60×85 model available in both angled and straight, and this 15-45×65 model available in both angled and straight.

 

What is the Benefit of a Straight Body Design?

The angled body design is now a very popular model made for easier target acquisition when bird watching or for more comfortable viewing and multiple people of different heights are using the same spotter. However, the straight body design is desired for its ability to achieve fast target acquisition and for its compatibility with easy use with car window mounts.

 

Does the Spotting Scope come with a Case?

The Vortex spotting scope does come with a custom fitted case that can be worn while using the scope. As a side note, the spotter is completely weatherproof and argon gas purged. It also comes with an eyepiece cap and objective lens cover.

 

Noteworthy Features:

  • Excellent glass quality for mid to long range use
  • Excellent coating quality to reduce glare and reflections
  • Helical focus for both fast and fine adjustments
  • Compact size, packable, and conveniently portable
  • VIP Unconditional Lifetime Warranty

 

Our Verdict on the Vortex Viper HD 15-45×65 Spotting Scope

Vortex Viper HD 15-45x65 Straight Spotting Scope Side OnThe scoop on the scope is, the Vortex Viper HD 15-45×65 spotter is your versatile and portable optic for all your glassing needs. The price is right in line with the mantra of “buy the best of what you can afford.” When you’re looking for the lowest prices possible, spend a little bit more for better quality and you’ll end up with a Vortex!

However, there’s no denying that the Razor HD line is the best of what Vortex has to offer. If you want to spend as much as you can afford plus some, get a Razor. The power and aperture range is more flexible than the Viper HD line, and you might be surprised to see how appropriately comparable the 22-48×65 Razor is to this Viper!

To provide an affordable alternative, you know it won’t be a Swarovski, but we can offer up a Pentax PF-65ED II spotter. It has the interchangeable eyepiece system that might be of benefit if you want the flexibility of changing up the power range to suit your spotting preferences.

What can we say? Vortex made upgrades and the changes worked. But, it’s been enough talk, and we’re sure you’re ready to see if it can walk the walk too. It’s time to test out that high-end quality without spending high-end costs!

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Simon is an avid outdoor enthusiast who is passionate about bringing you the most up to date, accurate & understandable information on hunting, optics, and the outdoors.