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5 Best Vortex Spotting Scopes of 2020 – Reviews & Top Picks

Last Updated on November 18, 2020

close up photo of spotting scope

Spotting scopes are great for quick, high powered terrestrial viewing. Vortex is particularly well known for striking the perfect balance of effective features. However, even with their reputation, and general level of quality, that’s not to say that all of their products are equally well-suited to your needs.

In this article, we have profiled five different Vortex spotting scopes. The objective isn’t just to find great products, but to specifically identify the equipment that works for you. Consequently, we’ve tried to find options that are suitable for people with a range of intentions, and budgets.

That being the case, read on for some Vortex Spotting Scope reviews!


A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites

Image Product Details
Best Overall
Winner
Vortex Razor HD Spotting Scope Vortex Razor HD Spotting Scope
  • High-quality glass
  • 20X magnification
  • Fully coated lenses
  • Best Value
    Second place
    Vortex Optics Diamondback Spotting Scopes Vortex Optics Diamondback Spotting Scopes
  • Lightweight
  • Quality lens
  • Easy to adjust
  • Premium Choice
    Third place
    Vortex Optics Razor HD Spotting Scopes Vortex Optics Razor HD Spotting Scopes
  • Great specs
  • Very durable
  • Very precise focus dial
  • Vortex Optics Viper HD Spotting Scopes Vortex Optics Viper HD Spotting Scopes
  • Good specs
  • Great focus dial
  • Multi-position eyecup
  • Vortex Optics Razor HD Spotting Scopes Vortex Optics Razor HD Spotting Scopes
  • Durable
  • Lightweight
  • Easy to mount
  • The 5 Best Vortex Spotting Scopes – Reviews 2020

    1. Vortex Razor HD Spotting Scope – Best Overall

    Vortex RS-65A Razor HD Spotting Scope

    The Vortex Razor is an HD (high density) spotting scope that features fully multi-coated lenses. The coatings are optimized for a high level of light transmission without producing glare. The actual quality of glass is also exemplary. The product uses extra-low dispersion glass that can facilitate vivid colors and truly high-definition image quality.

    The lens is 60×85 and features a Porro prism construction. It also features a Triplet Apochromatic APO system for further enhanced vividness. Magnification is rated at 20X. It also features an eye-relief of 16.5mm.

    The unit benefits from durable mounting hardware that makes it easy to safely secure to most rifles, and it can be attached to tripods with similar ease. And, with a bodyweight of just over 5 pounds, it is relatively easy to get around with.s

    Many do note that the eyepiece tends to be fairly loose. It is still certainly usable, but the problem may prove distracting, if not frustrating.

    Pros
    • High-quality glass
    • Fully coated lenses
    • 20X magnification
    • High-quality mounting hardware
    Cons
    • Loose eyepiece

    2. Vortex Optics Diamondback Spotting Scopes – Best Value

    Vortex DBK-60A1 Optics Diamondback Spotting Scopes

    The Vortex Diamondback is the best Vortex scope for the money. For a very moderate price, you get many features similar to those seen with our top choice. The scope is angled, and it features fully coated lenses for high-quality viewing.

    The Diamondback is also very well suited for a range of different situations. The highly fortified rubber exterior of the unit is sealed for protection against water, while the lenses are also protected from fog infiltration.

    The scope has a close focus rating of 20 feet and benefits from 14mm of eye relief. The field of view is 114 yards and utilizes an easy focus adjustment nob that facilitates straightforward adjustments. The fine focus dial allows for micro-adjustments that permit ultra-precise viewing.

    Last, but not least, it is also very lightweight. Weighing just 2 pounds, it will be very easy to transport. Buyers should note that clarity becomes a problem on higher magnification settings. At 20X, image quality is very high, but the further out you go, the hazier it gets.

    Pros
    • Great price
    • Very durable
    • Quality lens
    • Easy to adjust
    • Lightweight
    Cons
    • Viewing becomes hazy at higher magnification

    3. Vortex Optics Razor HD Spotting Scopes – Premium Choice

    Vortex RS-85A Optics Razor HD Spotting Scopes

    The Vortex RS-85A is a higher-end unit that will be optimal for buyers with a sizable budget. It benefits from Triplet Apochromatic lens and high density, extra-low dispersion glass to produce beautiful colors, and vivid image rendering.

    Coatings are all anti-reflective for further clarity, making the scope highly effective, even in low-light situations. Meanwhile, the helical focus dial provides several benefits. Low-profile, it helps to ensure that the unit is sleek and easy to transport.

    It’s also highly nuanced, making it well suited for micro-adjustments. Consequently, you experience the exact level of focus required for the viewing experience you’re trying to attain.

    The scope is O-ring sealed and treated to prevent moisture and fog from getting into the inner workings. The rubber coating can resist drops and dirt and oil, further improving its durability.

    The unit features eye-relief of 16.7mm, close focus of 16.4 feet, and a field of view of 117 feet. It weighs just slightly more than 4 pounds, ensuring that it will be at least relatively easy to haul around.

    Of course, all of these premium features don’t come cheap. It’s a pricey scope that won’t be suitable for those on a restrictive budget.

    Pros
    • Very durable
    • Lightweight
    • High-quality glass
    • Great specs
    • Very precise focus dial
    Cons
    • expensive

    4. Vortex Optics Viper HD Spotting Scopes

    Vortex V501 Optics Viper HD Spotting Scopes

    The Vortex Viper is a moderately priced scope with many features that are sure to impress. It features quality high-density glass, which has then been coated with glare-reducing materials for further enhanced vividness.

    It also has a helical focus dial that is compact and easy to use. The dial features many different stop points, ensuring that you get the exact level of focus necessary for the situation you find yourself in. It also features a built-in sunshade that further enhances protection from glare.

    You additionally benefit from a multi-position eyecup that is made for comfort in a variety of different viewing positions.

    And of course, the actual build quality of the scope is very high. It’s rubber-coated and sealed to be protected against dirt, fog, and water. The rubberized armor also makes the scope easier to grip.

    It features a close focus of 23 feet, a field of view of 136 feet, and eye-relief of 17.8mm. Unfortunately, this product won’t be quite as vivid as some of the others we’ve seen to this point—especially from about 300 yards or more out.

    For the price, this is somewhat to be expected, but it’s nevertheless something to keep in mind as you contemplate this unit.

    Pros
    • great focus dial
    • very durable
    • good specs
    • multi-position eyecup
    Cons
    • not super vivid from great distances

    5. Vortex Optics Razor HD Spotting Scopes

    Vortex RZR-50A1 Optics Razor HD Spotting Scopes

    The Vortex Razor closes our list. This lightweight unit comes in at just 4 lbs, making it easy to take out with you. The product is o-ring sealed for protection against dirt, dust, water, and moisture. The coating is rubberized for further durability, dirt protection, scratches, and oil. Rubber also has the benefit of being very easy to grip, making the Razor comfortable and easy to hold.

    It features 16mm of eye-relief, 26.2 feet of close focus, and a 138-foot field of view. The eyecup folds back so that people who wear glasses can enjoy the entire field of view, and it also comes with an easy mounting platform that will be compatible with most tripods.

    Unfortunately, focus does become a problem at higher magnifications. If you need a long-distance product, this one may not be up for the task.

    Pros
    • lightweight
    • durable
    • easy to mount
    Cons
    • not great at higher magnifications

    Buyer’s Guide

    Scopes can be very complicated. Below, we break down several of the most important components to help you better understand what to look for.

    Body

    You may find it prudent to consider the body of the scope. No matter your intentions, you will want to get something that is durable. Fortunately, all of the products listed above comfortably meet that criterion.

    Ideally, you will be able to get a product with a durable “armored” exterior. This typically takes the form of rubber or plastic—though rubber does have the benefit of resisting oil and dirt better than most other materials.

    You’ll also want to contemplate the seal. Best case scenario, the scope you buy will resist dirt, moisture, and fog—all factors that can jeopardize the performance of even the best scopes.

    Magnification

    Magnification actually doesn’t matter as much as you think. Scopes can essentially be magnified endlessly depending on several other, independent factors. The lens, which is typically adjustable and replaceable determines the magnification level.

    However, other factors, such as glass coating and focus will have a much bigger impact on what you actually see when you look through the scope.

    man using spotting scope

    Image by Wolfgang Claussen from Pixabay

    Focus

    Focus dictates the clarity of your image. Most of the units we looked at today benefit significantly from highly adjustable, low-profile focus dials. If you want to maximize clarity, opt for something capable of making micro-adjustments. This will ensure that focus is tailored precisely to what you are viewing.

    Lens Coating

    Lens coatings are put in place to reduce glare, see clearly in low light situations, and experience colors the same way you do with the human eye.

    Not all scopes feature the same coatings, so pay attention to this consideration.


    Conclusion

    From our Vortex scope reviews, it’s probably pretty clear that there are a lot of great products out there. Still, only one of them will wind up being right for you. Do you want something high end and effective? If so, consider the Vortex RS-65A Razor HD Spotting Scope.

    Or, maybe you want something a little bit more affordable. If that’s the case, our runner up choice, the Vortex DBK-60A1 Optics Diamondback Spotting Scopes will have plenty to offer.


    Featured Image: Pxfuel

    About the Author Robert Sparks

    Robert’s obsession with all things optical started early in life, when his optician father would bring home prototypes for Robert to play with. Nowadays, Robert is dedicated to helping others find the right optics for their needs. His hobbies include astronomy, astrophysics, and model building. Originally from Newark, NJ, he resides in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where the nighttime skies are filled with glittering stars.