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Vortex Razor HD review

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/10/2011 at 11:22
FrankD View Drop Down
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Quote With the field flattener that the prime HD is supposedly going to have, would this likely cause for the rolling ball effect?
 
From what was posted elsewhere it appears that Zen Ray is going to introduce a very small amount of pincushion distortion to the image in order to counteract the rolling ball effect found in other binoculars with field flattener lenses.


Edited by FrankD - October/10/2011 at 11:24
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/10/2011 at 12:38
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No, the Prime is not the same as the ED 3 it will be a totally new traditional piano hinge style binocular.  The reason you can't find it at SWFA, or anyplace else, including Zen Ray's site is that it is not avaiable yet, probably sometime around the first of the year.  I think Zen Ray has a catalog printed with it, but that's it.
 
There is a fine line to walk with regard to flat field and sharp edge performance.  Don't expect the new Prime to be like the Swarovision in that respect.  You will LIKELY see a much flatter field and much sharper edges than Zen Ray's previous lines.  It is a shot by Zen Ray to improve performance in their own lines, not necessarily to take a shot at Swarovski or someone else.  So there will be some pincushion, and there are HD field flatteners in the eyepiece and I think a full APO-ED triplet objective.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/11/2011 at 07:07
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[QUOTE=Klamath]So there will be some pincushion, and there are HD field flatteners in the eyepiece and I think a full APO-ED triplet objective.[/QUOTE]
 
That is something that was not mentioned previously. That alone is worthy of comment as not many binoculars utilize that design.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/14/2011 at 04:19
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Can I chime in here?  I have no idea what you guys are talking about, rolling balls, flat hd's? 
I suspect you can help me though.  I want to be able to see antler definition during a restricted antler hunt.  For example, I saw a bull moose but at 275 odd yards my 8x30s could not allow me to count whether he had 3 or more brow tines.  
So,  I need the magnification to see the brow tines, and the definition to count the number of them.  

I am looking at 10x42 roof prism style binos and have two basic criteria. 1) not Chinese 2) Not necessarily the most expensive. A third consideration for me is my left I is significantly different than my right, thus I was steered towards checking out a pair of Steiner NightHunter XPs as they have left eye diopter.  I have looked at Pentax ED (?, $1100), Swaro, Vortex, Lieca, Leupold, Ziess,  etc.

My conclusion is, probably any glass in the $800- and up catagory that doesn't give me a headache will probably be good to get me the detail I need out at 300 odd yards.

Suggestions?
Thanks




Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/14/2011 at 10:01
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Casey,

For $1200, which is same price as Razor HD 10x42, I'd be looking hard at the Valdada JENA 10x42 B/CF ED, which is new this year and made in Germany.

Also, the Cabela's Euro HD can be had for $1000. While I haven't looked through them, if they are like the original Meopta Meostars, they should perform well, with the addition of ED glass. Made in Czech Republic.

I would also recommend the Kowa Geneis XD binocualrs. Can be had for around $1500, and give a view on par with alphas, at a price much less. The one con is that they are a bit heavy. Made in Japan.

Minox APO-HG are very nice, and lightweight--can be had for about $1800. Made in Germany now. The older ones were made in Japan. Newer ones have 15% more FoV and supposedly better quality.

At the top of the heap, Nikon EDG, Leica Ultravid HD, Swarovski SLC HD & EL Swarovision, Zeiss Victory FL--All of those can be had for around $2000-$2700 and all will give you the best image possible.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/14/2011 at 10:07
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EDIT: The Valdada Jena also appears to be same binocular as Docter ED binocular.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/14/2011 at 11:04
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anyone has a photo of PRIME HD binoculars.  Is it double bridge like ZEN ED3?
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/14/2011 at 12:09
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Originally posted by spf2 spf2 wrote:

anyone has a photo of PRIME HD binoculars.  Is it double bridge like ZEN ED3?
Don't have one, but I've seen a CAD drawing.  As has been mentioned before, it is a traditional single hinge design.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/14/2011 at 13:03
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Check out the prime hd thread. That catalog pic is the closest anyone, short of Charles, has gotten to see it.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/14/2011 at 14:32
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Thanks for the recommendations!  

Casey in Alaska
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/14/2011 at 15:56
Klamath View Drop Down
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Originally posted by Casey in Alaska Casey in Alaska wrote:

Can I chime in here?  I have no idea what you guys are talking about, rolling balls, flat hd's? 
I suspect you can help me though.  I want to be able to see antler definition during a restricted antler hunt.  For example, I saw a bull moose but at 275 odd yards my 8x30s could not allow me to count whether he had 3 or more brow tines.  
So,  I need the magnification to see the brow tines, and the definition to count the number of them.  

I am looking at 10x42 roof prism style binos and have two basic criteria. 1) not Chinese 2) Not necessarily the most expensive. A third consideration for me is my left I is significantly different than my right, thus I was steered towards checking out a pair of Steiner NightHunter XPs as they have left eye diopter.  I have looked at Pentax ED (?, $1100), Swaro, Vortex, Lieca, Leupold, Ziess,  etc.

My conclusion is, probably any glass in the $800- and up catagory that doesn't give me a headache will probably be good to get me the detail I need out at 300 odd yards.

Suggestions?
Thanks
 

I understand the non Chinese criteria, but unless you have some real need to spend 2x more money, Chinese optics are sort of a reality.  Yes there are lots of Japanese things, but the thing is you will almost NEVER have total assurance there are not Chinese components.  ALL of the major Japanese Optics Players, ALL of them, have significant Chinese connections, even including owning facilities in China.
 
Off the top of my head, there are the following Japanese or European glass that fit your criteia.
Vortex Razor HD
Vortex Viper HD
Minox has a coup[le of Japanese models, but you'll have to be your own Sherlock Holmes Smile.
Meopta Meostar, or Cabela's Euro, both now upgrading to some sort of HD glass.
 
Understand, I have no wish to sell Chinese Optics.  I am solely interested in what you pay versus the quality of what you get.  I have pretty well convinced myself that one of  the best of the bunch above, the Razor HD, is not able to seperate itself from either the Kruger Caldera or the ZEN ED 3.  It is also over 2x the price of those too. 
 
Just because you buy a glass from a recognized Japanese company name, DON'T assume it is Japanese glass.  Maybe, maybe not.
 
The Steiner diopter option may well work for your eye situation.  I've not seen a Nighthunter, but the Peregrine XP is a fantastic glass.  So is the Predator Xtreme ass well.
 
Unless you want to, there is really no need to spend much over $500 for a really good binocular.


Edited by Klamath - October/14/2011 at 16:01
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/14/2011 at 16:58
Casey in Alaska View Drop Down
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Thanks for the breakdown on where things are made.  Yes it matters to me and I am doing my best to stick with it.  Not willing to roll over on it because they have such a large market share.  Yes I am willing to try and do the research to find non ChiCom products.

Speaking of which - Whats the Status of the Bushnell Elite Bino?  I see ALLBINO has them ranked number 10, well above many famous names.  

Concerning your comments Razor vs Kruger and Zen, where are the Kruger and Zen made? If they are ChiCom, thats all I need to know.   

As to not being able to be CERTAIN there are no Chinese components, of course not.  But that also does not mean you throw in the towel. We do the best we can with the info we have. :) 

Thanks
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/14/2011 at 23:49
Klamath View Drop Down
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Originally posted by Casey in Alaska Casey in Alaska wrote:

 

Concerning your comments Razor vs Kruger and Zen, where are the Kruger and Zen made? If they are ChiCom, thats all I need to know.   

As to not being able to be CERTAIN there are no Chinese components, of course not.  But that also does not mean you throw in the towel. We do the best we can with the info we have. :) 

Thanks
Casey,
 
First off here, welcome to OT, I forgot my manners!
 
Now you have given yourself a bit of a conundrum to deal with.  Just what is ChiCom anyway?  Optics from a Chinese source being sold by a Chinese company here in the USA?  Or maybe something else?
 
How about this.  Kruger Optical was started by a bunch of engineers and other optics types with previous employment with primarily Leupold and Bushnell, two US companies.  What they first did was to establish a glass manufacturing concern.  They called this Pacific Rim Optical, and it is in China, but owned by Americans.  They did well enough that they expanded and formed the larger Kruger Optical, of which Pacific Rim Optical is now a division thereof.  Kruger Optical has its Corporate headquarters in the USA in a touristy little town called Sisters, which is smack dab in the middle of the state of Oregon.  They have full manufacturing, design, repair, and assembly facilities there.  Right down to a CNC mini-factory where they can make whatever they want to.  I've been there twice, since its only a couple of hours drive from where I live.  Now the Caldera is a design produced at Sisters.  Taking this one step further, Kruger also owns a complete factory also in China, in addition to the glass manufacturing capability in PRO, also in China.  So the design was done in Oregon and everything else is done by Kruger employees in Kruger facilities in China.  The binocular states "Made in China".  Kruger also makes optics for other people. for example they made/make the Cabela's Alpha Extreme.  They use the terminology "Crafted in the USA".
 
I have heard Leupold is making their own facility in China as well.  Meopta is now a US owned company, but the glass and components are from their original source in the Czech Republic.  Does this make them US?
 
Zen Ray is in Beaverton Oregon.  Their glass is made in China.  Initially, they were using modifications of pre existing designs, but now have grown to the point where they are much more active in actual design, and are at least looking to expand their force of control over the whole process, from design through manufacture through packaging.  Much like Kruger has been able to do.  We will likely be seeing some results of this increased control of the process forthcoming with the Zen Prime HD.
 
Steiner has its own facility in China.  Look the Nighthunter over really good.  If it does not say specifically "Made in Germany"  it's not.  It will most assuredly say "Steiner Germany" and brag about German engineering etc, but it may not say "Made in Germany"  I don't know as I've never seen one.  I'd call somebody at SWFA and ask them.
 
Minox is another "German" company that used to be in Japan and has facilities in China.  Take your favorite Minox specimen and again, call and ask SWFA what it says about where they are made.
 
However you have the right idea in that anything in your price range that your eyes like, will likely work just fine.  Good luck, ask away, and let us know what you decided and how it turns out.
 


Edited by Klamath - October/14/2011 at 23:57
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/15/2011 at 00:26
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Awesome info! Thanks, I enjoy the search! :) 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/15/2011 at 12:56
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Originally posted by Casey in Alaska Casey in Alaska wrote:

Awesome info! Thanks, I enjoy the search! :) 
Glad you liked the info.  However the basic question still remains.  What are you considering as ChiCom?  Like practically everybody, I wish we could get our gear with an honest "Made in the USA" label.  I suspect that there are likely several possible possible answers to the ChiCom definition.  For example if the Beijing Optics Company came over and started selling their Red Flag Brand of fine optics in a, chain of Beijing Optics Stores, I wouldn't be a customer.  But when a USA based company like Kruger, Zen Ray, Bushnell, Leupold, Swift, or Vortex uses a Chinese optics company for the source of a particular binocular, the distinction starts to blur I think.  What if Vortex did all of the design work, as they do with a lot of their stuff,  or what if Bushnell or Leupold does the same thing, as they do with a lot of their stuff?  Or what if Kruger owns the whole process, but some of their ownership is in China? At some point, we have to realize that as far as the usefulness of the optical gear is concerned, the design of the optics, the quality of the design, and the manufacturing standards set by the company that is going to sell the glass becomes more important than where it was made.  Maybe it is an outfit like Cabela's, which has no optical structure to speak of, but they can still set whatever quality standards they wish at a given price level.  So could and you or I if one of us decides to start an optical company. 
 
So it comes down to just how much of what from everything to nothing needs to exist or not exist to qualify or not qualify as ChiCom?  Now I don't intend to single you out, it is just that your ChiCom query got me to thinking about what is/is not Chinese depending on who is defining it. Smile
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/17/2011 at 13:22
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Casey,
 
I understand your Chinese connections concerns, but I tend to agree with Steve on the issue.
 
 
Still, you have your criteria, and there are options available that meet all of them.
 
 
I owned a pair of Meopta Meostar 10X42s that would absolutely meet all of your criteria.  They were extremely well-made and durable.  A fine all-around instrument.
 
 
 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/17/2011 at 14:03
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Yep, if you are willing to buy a Chinese glass you can.  That's for sure.  I will keep looking and see what I decide on ... 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/17/2011 at 15:13
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Originally posted by Casey in Alaska Casey in Alaska wrote:

Yep, if you are willing to buy a Chinese glass you can.  That's for sure.  I will keep looking and see what I decide on ... 

Then bide your time and look hard for a Leupold Gold Ring HD, which is discontinued, but can be found from time to time.  It'll set you back around $500 or so.  
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/21/2011 at 11:33
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Very interesting turn of events.  I bought a pair of Razor HD 10x42's earlier this year.  I actually came to the same conclusion comparing the 10x42 SV El's to the Razor HD.  The SV's are better but by (my eye) a narrow margin.  Warranty considered it was an easy decision for me. 

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