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

Last Updated: January 17, 2020

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 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

tt-table__imageDiamondback 20-60x60
  • Magnification: 20-60X 60mm
  • Configuration: Angled
  • Price Range: Under $400
tt-table__imageDiamondback 20-60x80
  • Magnification: 60-60X 80mm
  • Configuration: Straight
  • Price Range: Under $500
tt-table__imageViper 15-45x65
  • Magnification: 15-45X 65mm
  • Configuration: Straight
  • Price Range: Under $800
tt-table__imageRazor HD 22-48x65
  • Magnification: 22-48X 65mm
  • Configuration: Angled
  • Price Range: Under $1200
tt-table__imageRazor HD 27-60x85
  • Magnification: 27-60X 85mm
  • Configuration: Angled
  • Price Range: Under $1500



Vortex Spotting Scope Reviews

1. Diamondback 20-60X60 Angled

Vortex Optics Diamondback Spotting Scope 20-60x60 Angled
  • The Diamondback 20-60x60 Angled Spotting Scope is a superb choice when you need a heavyweight performer in a light, compact package

This is the most compact spotter of the Diamondback bloodline.  What can you realistically expect from the 20-60X60 mm Diamondback?  We'll tell it to you straight right here.

  • Price
  • Entry-level
  • Dielectric coating
  • XR FMC coating
  • Fog/waterproof

  • Diminished resolution after 40x

Getting a good buy means knowing what to expect from the get-go.  This is Vortex's entry-level spotter where XR FMC (Fully Multi-Coated) coatings, fog and waterproofness, and Dielectric coatings is the basic standard - pretty good for entry-level.

With a 60 mm objective diameter lens, resolution has said to be best up to about 40x and light transmission can't be compared to that of the 80 mm model.  This is just the way it is with its specs, and all basic spotters share the same limitations.

The single focus spotter has course adjustments that is suitable for daylight use, range work out to 100 yards, and recreational wildlife observation.

You will have to mount up to a tripod to get the most picture quality out of the spotter, and unfortunately, not even a table top tripod is included in the buy.  However, caps for both ends and a view-through carry case is included.


2. Diamondback 20-60X80 Straight Review

Vortex Optics Diamondback Spotting Scope 20-60x80 Straight
  • The Diamondback 20-60x80 Straight Spotting Scope is a superb choice when you need a heavyweight performer in a light, compact package.

It's heavier and bigger than its 20-60x60 angled sibling that we reviewed here, so if you're after a big performer, this Diamondback may be the way to go.

  • Price
  • Long eye relief
  • XR FMC coatings
  • Dielectric coating
  • Fog/waterproof

  • Diminished resolution at max power

The Diamondback is lightweight at 3 pounds, especially in comparison to other full-size spotters that can easily scale up to 5 pounds.  You'll still need to mount it to a tripod (at your cost since it's not included) to get the steadiest image with such high power.

Without specialized glass elements and lens assemblies, you must be realistic about its optical abilities at 60x max magnification.  Resolution will diminish and it will be difficult to identify specific details you'd need for birding, but it may be good enough to distinguish a trophy rack from a young  buck in the hunt.

At the range, you should be able to resolve bullet holes at moderate distances to get sighted-in and tighten your groups.  With 20-16.5 mm of eye relief, you'll have plenty of eye comfort and a forgiving eyebox to stalk and watch your target.

The Diamondback represents simplicity and Vortex standard in an entry-level package complete with an affordable price tag.


3. Viper HD 15-45X65 Straight

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.

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

  • 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
  • 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.

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

  • 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
  • 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.

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

  • 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

Never Miss a Thing 2


No, thanks!