Everything You Need to Know About the Vortex Spotting Scope


Closeup of a scope mounted on a rifle


If you are an avid birdwatcher, a serious hunter, or target shooting enthusiast, you have probably considered a spotting scope. Click the item in the table below to go directly to the section you most want to read, or continue to see the whole review.

Spotting scopes offer many great advantages over traditional binoculars and rifle scopes. In this article, we’ll look at why you should seriously consider one of these devices and delve into one of the top manufacturers of spotting scopes on the market today: Vortex.

With our reviews of the Vortex spotting scopes, we’ll take a look at the Vortex optics choices and help you determine which Vortex scope might be right for you.

Why Use a Spotting Scope?

The first thing you should decide is whether a spotting scope is right for you. There are many instances in which a high-quality pair of binoculars will get the job done, but binoculars come with some inherent limitations.

A spotting scope is basically a small telescope that you use to look at things on the earth rather than in the sky (though they can be used for that too!). As a small telescope, they come with orders of magnification well beyond anything a binocular could accomplish.

Standard binoculars usually come in magnification ranges from 10 to 40 times. As they get much larger than this, the physical size of the binocular becomes unwieldy and heavy. And because you have to hold them up to your face, they are difficult to steady, making them impractical at these large magnification levels.

So, many birdwatchers, hunters, wildlife enthusiasts, and marksmen prefer to use spotting scopes mounted on a tripod. With a spotting scope, you get a greater degree of magnification and a steady way to see thousands of yards.

Spotting scopes can also be adjusted for magnification, meaning you are not stuck with a single level. With binoculars, the magnification is fixed, but with a spotting scope, you can adjust your magnification. This gives you much more flexibility to use a scope in different situations.

Another bonus to using a spotting scope is that they can be adapted to be used with a camera. When you attach a camera to the lens, you can take some breathtaking pictures for a long distance.

The Vortex Spotting Scope Review

What Is the Vortex Razor HD?

Vortex 20-60×85 Razor HD Spotting Scope

The Vortex Razor HD is the premium line of Vortex optics. They offer the highest resolutions and the greatest magnifications of any of the Vortex scopes.

With an 85mm objective lens, you are going to get a lot of light flooding through the scope. This is particularly handy in low-light settings. The more light the scope can gather, the brighter the image will be.

You can adjust the magnification from 20 times to 60 times, giving you a tremendous ability to see far away objects as if they are right in front of you.

The Razor HD scopes are equipped with a triplet apochromatic lenses which deliver high definition images with clarity, sharpness, and amazing color fidelity. If you want to the absolute clearest images possible out of your spotting scope, it will not get any better than the Razor HD.

The lenses are coated with an ArmorTek layer which protects the lenses from smudges, dirt, and collecting dust and particles. It also aids in reducing scratches which can seriously impair the scope. The lenses are also fully multi-coated for high resolution and greater light transmission.

If you are worried about the scope fogging, the Razor HD scopes are argon gas purged to ensure that they are fully fog proof.

The Razor HD is also completely waterproof and shockproof so that transporting your scope will not cause damage.

Vortex Optics Razor HD Angled Spotting Scope, 16-48×65

If you are looking for high definition images but don’t quite need the 60 times magnification, this model will deliver.

It comes with the same premium high-density ED lenses and the full multi-coating as the previous model. Your images will be crystal clear with the HD glass.

At 48 times magnification, this model will give you a roughly 75 feet field of view at 1,000 yards and at 16 times around 138 feet. This gives you a wide viewing range so that you won’t miss anything.

What Is the Vortex Viper HD?

Vortex Optics Viper HD 20-60×80 Angled Spotting Scope

The Viper HD is the middle line of Vortex spotting scopes. The lenses are fully multi-coated and feature dielectric prism coating for superior brightness and color accuracy.

With an adjustable magnification up to 60 times and an 80mm objective lens, these Viper HD spotting scopes will really let in a lot of light. You can be sure that no matter the lighting conditions, you will be getting optimal image quality.

They are also fully fog proof and waterproof to protect the scopes from damage and to deliver great images even in humid conditions which tend to fog glass.

With a clarity that runs the entire span of the scope, you will not have to move the scope just to keep an object clear in the center. Your whole field of view will receive the same great image clarity. This is especially useful if you are viewing objects that move.

Vortex Viper HD 15-45×65 Spotting Scope

If you are looking for a mid-range scope with a little less magnification, then the 15-45×65 is a great option.

The Viper HD models also use a Porro Prism design for great image clarity and light transmission. With this model, you can expect a field of view at about 100 feet (15x magnification) and about 50 feet (45x magnification) at around 1,000 yards. This should give you a good breadth of image so that you are not constantly moving the scope.

What Is the Vortex Diamondback?

Vortex Optics Diamondback 20-60×60 Spotting Scope

The Diamondback series is Vortex’s entry level spotting scope line. They come with the great craftsmanship of Vortex, but without the same high definition imaging. In giving up the higher-quality lenses, these models run anywhere from 1/2 to 1/3 the price of the Razor HD models.

The lenses are fully multicoated with Vortex’s XR Anti-reflective protection to keep the lenses from being scratched and to allow for superior color transmission.

If you are looking for a basic, quality spotting scope, then the Diamondback series is a great way to get the feel for the difference a spotting scope can make to your birdwatching or hunting experience.

What Is the Warranty on Vortex Scopes?

All Vortex spotting scopes come with a VIP (very important promise) Warranty. Vortex has a “no fault” policy so that if anything happens to your scope they will repair or replace it at no cost FOR LIFE. Few companies will offer an Unlimited Lifetime Warranty on their products, which is an indication how much faith Vortex has in its products and how much they care that you are satisfied.

Our Verdict

If you need superior magnification without loss of image quality, the Vortex spotting scope line has a good selection of scopes to fit your budget. Whether you are seeking that elusive bird, or hunting far off prey, or just want to take in all the beauty nature has to offer, a Vortex spotting scope might soon become a tool that you wonder how you ever lived without.

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