Vortex Spotting Scope Review: Our Pick of Their 5 Best Spotters In 2022

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A spotting scope can be the most treasured optic to a nature enthusiast and avid outdoorsman.  With it, you can experience nature and organic wildlife interaction in its most unadulterated form.

Vortex_Spotting_Scopes

Vortex Optics helps you to be part of the action without interfering with nature by providing lightweight, compact scopes and sophisticated, HD options that do what they do best - see far off things up close.

With a variety of spotting scope magnifications, quality, and price points, Vortex can bring you closer to nature's goings-on without compromising on your needs and budget.

Best Vortex Spotting Scopes

IMAGEPRODUCTDETAILS
tt-table__imageDiamondback HD 20-60x85
  • Magnification: 20-60X 85mm
  • Configuration: Angled/Straight
  • Price Range: Under $500
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tt-table__imageDiamondback HD 16-48x65
  • Magnification: 16-45X 65mm
  • Configuration: Angled/Straight
  • Price Range: Under $400
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tt-table__imageViper 15-45x65
  • Magnification: 15-45X 65mm
  • Configuration: Straight
  • Price Range: Under $800
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tt-table__imageRazor HD 22-48x65
  • Magnification: 22-48X 65mm
  • Configuration: Angled
  • Price Range: Under $1200
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tt-table__imageRazor HD 27-60x85
  • Magnification: 27-60X 85mm
  • Configuration: Angled
  • Price Range: Under $1500
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Vortex Spotting Scope Reviews

1. Diamondback HD 20-60x85 Review

Vortex Diamondback HD 20-60x85
Image Credit - Vortex Optics

Out with the old and in with the new is the catchphrase for the Diamondback series of scopes. The Diamondback HD spotting scopes now have huge 85mm lenses to increase brightness and resolution for long-range performance from a full-size scope.

Pros:

  • Price
  • 85mm lens
  • HD optics
  • Good eye relief
  • Arca-Swiss compatible

Cons:

  • Heavy

The older Diamondbacks had 80mm objective lenses and were almost a full pound lighter than the hefty 60.9 oz of the new 85mm version. The extra weight can be justified to reap in the benefits of a larger lens.

Fortunately, full-size spotting scopes are made to be tripod mounted and Vortex conveniently outfitted the Diamondback line with Arca-Swiss compatible tripod heads without any of the usual, must-have mounting adapters. Of course, you can always just mount it directly to standard field mounts with the ¼-20 threading.

Though labeled “HD” for high-definition optical quality, Vortex does not disclose the specifics but mentions “select glass elements” alluding to ED glass benefits. Though perhaps true, at max power, there will be noticeable color fringing and loss of brightness as is normal for spotting scopes under $1000. On the plus side, it maintains practicable clarity to max 60x power and eye relief is 18.3mm at its shortest.

The focus knob was dumped, and a helical focus collar installed. Though it’s a modern scope feature, this type of barrel focusing has issues of its own that could be a drawback for applications where microseconds count like birdwatching. But for target shooting, some hunting, and recreational applications, the value for this full-size spotting scope is recognized.

2. Diamondback HD 16-48x65 Review

Diamondback HD 16-48x65

The Diamondback series didn’t have a compact spotting scope configuration, but the new Diamondback HD series does. The 16-48x65 scope has a wide FOV, low magnification, and a compact size for maximum portability in the hunt and for wildlife observation.

Pros:

  • Price
  • Compact configuration
  • HD optics
  • Good eye relief
  • Arca-Swiss compatible

Cons:

  • Chromatic aberration

The optical difference between the older Diamondbacks and the new HD version is the addition of the HD Optical System. Vortex uses select glass elements to imply ED glass benefits. However, even with ED glass, most scopes at max power at this price point will suffer from CA and loss of contrast and brightness. It is distracting for bird and nature observers but is acceptable for spotting groups at 100 yards or picking out deer at long range distances.

The low magnification of 16-48x allows for a compact size. It’s 14.25” in length and weighs 49.8 oz. It’s portable and high powered enough to consistently mount it to a tripod for optimal stability.

While it does mount to standard ¼-20 tripods, it’s also compatible with Arca-Swiss mounts without the need for special adapter plates. Make sure you use a quality tripod and mount as the helical focus can cause some movement as you try to fine focus at max magnification. Though the focus knob seems to be phasing out in preference to the barrel/helical/band collar focusing mechanism, the lack of it allows for a streamlined, modern, and snag-free form factor.

The Diamondback HD spotter has decent eye relief of 20.3-18.3mm that should be suitable for use with glasses. You also have twist-up eyecups, rotating tripod ring, and an extendable sunshade. The budget spotting scope has all the basics plus a little extra – Vortex quality and a Vortex warranty. For the money, cogent convincing is not required. It’s obvious that it’s a value buy in what is a budget market for a spotting scope.

3. Viper HD 15-45X65 Straight

Vortex Optics Viper HD Spotting Scope 15-45x65 Straight
207 Reviews
Vortex Optics Viper HD Spotting Scope 15-45x65 Straight
  • The Viper HD 15-45x65 Straight Spotting Scope is packed with features for incredible glassing and high end optical performance.

There's often talk about a jump up in quality when you're contemplating the Viper HD over the Diamondback line of spotting scopes.  To see if it's worth the extra bucks in price, let's check it out.

Pros:

  • Price
  • Helical focus
  • HD lens elements
  • ArmorTek
  • Rugged build

Cons:

  • Heavy

Since the Viper spotting scopes were upgraded, they've been a hit with hunters and nature observers looking for high-end quality without spending a grand or more.

With a Helical focus design, you have dual focus in one mechanism.  While dielectric and XR FMC coatings are standard for Vortex spotters, the 15-45X65 Viper HD takes image quality a step further with HD lens elements for high-definition, sharp resolution, and true color fidelity.  The ArmorTek coating will protect the objective lens from debris and scratches.

Image quality is never a complaint from buyers, and neither is its build quality.  If anything, it's always been said that it can take a beating, especially by hunters that dish out the poundings off road.

The Viper HD is heavy at 58.8 oz for a 15-45x spotter, but it's all justified with the extra glass and focusing quality put into the scope.  This is still compact spotting at its best - freehand or mounted, it's in the palm of your hand.

4. Razor HD 22-48X65 Angled Review

Vortex Optics Razor HD Spotting Scope 22-48x65 Angled
295 Reviews
Vortex Optics Razor HD Spotting Scope 22-48x65 Angled
  • The Razor HD 22-48x65 Angled Spotting Scope employs high-end optical technology, precision craftsmanship, and ultra-sleek functionality to make the Razor one of the...

This is as top-notch as Vortex goes with its spotting scopes, and yet, this Razor HD still comes in way below the $2000 price point you see with its comparable competitors.

Pros:

  • Price
  • APO lens
  • HD lens elements
  • Plasma Tech
  • Helical focus

Cons:

  • Eye relief

If you wear specs or plan on wearing your shades during use, you might find the 17-16.7 mm eye relief on the unforgiving end of things.  But, at least you get an included eyepiece at this level of quality and price.  The Razor HD has the interchangeable eyepiece system, and most comparable scopes will come as a "body only" sale forcing you to buy the eyepiece separately - not the case with Vortex.

As a Razor, you can expect the best, edge-to-edge sharpness in image quality: a triplet APO lens assembly, ED (Extra-low Dispersion) glass elements, and Plasma tech precision application.  No CA (chromatic aberration), true color fidelity, and the clearest and sharpest resolution to resolve details at incredible distances is the Razor standard.

When buyers say it's worth spending more for the best, they mean Vortex.  Value, savings, and high-end quality - it doesn't get better than this.

5. Razor HD 27-60X85 Angled

Vortex Optics Razor HD Spotting Scope 27-60x85 Angled
295 Reviews
Vortex Optics Razor HD Spotting Scope 27-60x85 Angled
  • The Razor HD 27-60x85 Angled Spotting Scope employs high-end optical technology, precision craftsmanship, and ultra-sleek functionality to make the Razor one of the...

For max performance and max magnification, this Razor outweighs all others - figuratively, not literally - it's actually not that heavy for its full-size specs.  If you're after the absolute best in the industry, the Razor fits the bill.

Pros:

  • Price
  • High magnification
  • 85 mm aperture
  • High quality glass
  • Helical focus

Cons:

  • Eye relief

With such high magnification and sharp resolution paired together, every hunter will be able to identify bedded bucks at midday in nooks and crannies not visible with the naked eye to being able to stalk them from several hundreds of yards away when they're up and feeding at low light.

Digiscoping and photography should only be done on scopes of this caliber.  Razor sharp image quality must be the standard when capturing rare moments, and this beast of a scope is up for the job.

APO lens, HD lens elements, and Plasma Tech is the best of what Vortex has to offer, and the Razor HD has it all.  The Helical focus is a dual focus collar in one that allows for fast/course and slow/fine adjustments.

Just be aware of the 17-16.7 mm of eye relief if you wear specs or shades as things may get a little tight around the eyes.  Even though the Razor HD 27-60x85 is jam-packed with quality features, it's still lightweight at 4 lbs - and this is on an 85 mm spotter!

You have it all when you pull the trigger on a Razor HD: quality, low price, and bragging rights.

Other Vortex Spotting Scope Reviews:

More Vortex Optics Reviews:

Source of Images: VortexOptics.com

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