Vortex Razor HD 13-39x56mm Spotting Scope Review

Vortex Razor HD 56mm spotting scopePrice as reviewed –  Our price £999 (RRP –  £1109) 

Pros

  • A cut price alternative to the Swarovski ATC…and its in stock!
  • Leap forward from predecessor 
  • Sharp optics throughout the zoom range
  • Bright, Clear image
  • Exceptional build quality 

Cons

  • Focusing system lacks precision of course/fine focusing systems of rival scopes
  • A touch heavy for a 56mm objective scope
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Background

Its been 8 years since Richard reviewed the original Vortex Razor HD 50mm spotting scope in Oman. Generally speaking he enjoyed using the scope with just the bulky case and fold down eyecup proving drawbacks. 

Now Vortex has released the new 56mm Vortex Razor HD spotting scope. With a totally new design, improved optics, arca swiss tripod foot, and exceptional build quality this scope promises a lot. Lets find out if it is the travel scope to have in 2023. 

Design

The design of the Razor HD 56mm is all new compared to its predecessor. Gone is the slightly dated two tone body and so is the dual course/fine focusing system. This is a bit of a shame as at high magnifications we personally prefer these to the central barrel focusing system found on this new model. The focusing is smooth but can lack precision at high magnifications. Fortunately the zoom eyepiece rotates very smoothly to compensate for this.   

The rubber armouring is also vastly improved, as is the eyepiece with a twist up/down eyecup replacing the old fold down rubber eyecup, a big plus for us. The addition of an arca swiss style tripod foot is also a welcome addition. The lack of a pull out sunshade is a bit of a pity though. 

The build quality is second to none, especially compared with the twice as expensive Swarovski-Optik ATC and much more expensive Kowa TSN-553. It is also better than the cheaper Opticron MM4 50/60mm spotting scopes, but this is to be expected. I guess the slight drawback of this excellent build quality is the scope is a touch heavier than we would expect, but then this is a quality item. 

Optics

The optics of the new Vortex Razor HD scope are another big plus point. They have moved on considerably from the original model and definitely compete with the likes of the Swarovski and Kowa mentioned above. Colours are accurate and sharpness is strong across the field of view at all magnifications, dropping off only slightly at higher magnifications. 

Brightness is another strong point of this scope, with dull conditions not proving a problem for it until you are above 30-32x magnification where there is the expected slight drop off in brightness. 

Overall the optics of the Vortex Razor HD are a big draw of this scope and make it a really compelling option at this price point. 

Conclusion

So who is this scope for? Well if you want a premium travel scope or high performance back up scope then look no further. The Vortex Razor is a fantastic addition to the Razor range of scopes and provides stiff competition to the much more expensive Swarovski ATC and Kowa TSN-553 scopes. 

We found the overall performance more pleasing on the Vortex than the Kowa and while the Swarovski does just have the edge for optical quality it is also close to £1000 more expensive…and trying to find one in stock is almost impossible at the moment. 

The thorn in the side of the Vortex might actually be the incredibly popular Opticron MM4 50/60mm scopes. For a bit less money they offer fantastic performance in similar environments which the Vortex Razor may find itself in. While further down the price scale there is the excellent Hawke Endurance ED 50/60mm scopes and the Viking Swallow ED 50mm. 

We hope you found this review useful and if the Vortex Razor HD 13-39x56mm scope has caught your fancy please click below to purchase. 

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