After the huge success of the 85mm Razor HD, Vortex came out with the smaller Vortex Razor HD 65mm in 2013 as well as a 50mm version. The 65mm is a great lightweight alternative for those looking to cut weight without sacrificing too much in optical performance. The Razor is one of the lightest and most compact 65mm spotters on the market today. And with a $1199 price tag it is without a doubt the best optics you can possibly buy under a budget.
The more we used the Vortex Razor HD 65mm the more it continued to impress us. Especially when compared to other spotting scopes that cost 2-3 times as much. Overall light gathering ability is pretty impressive right up to last light. However definition and sharpness does noticeably start to suffer as the light fades. So basically you’ll have no problem spotting that buck at last light, but you might struggle to see his 5” extra hanging off one side where you might be able to see it with the more expensive high end spotters on the market. Colors are accurate and for the most part neutral and un-bias. Definition in the center of the scope is good, but starts to suffer as you move to the outer edges. The field of view is nice but I would prefer it to be a little wider to eliminate the “tunnel vision” effect that you get with a narrow field of view. At 18x the FOV is still 138ft which is plenty for locating game then zooming into 48x for a closer look. Eye relief is generous throughout the entire zoom range and eye glass wearers will not have any FOV restrictions with the eye cup twisted down.
One of my favorite features on this scope is the dual speed focus control. It is without a doubt the nicest of the scopes we tested. The fine focus was silky smooth and made those fine adjustments easy to make without shaking the scope too much, which really came in handy for digiscoping. While the course focus wheel was quick and responsive and offer slightly more resistance so you instantly knew which wheel you were adjusting. At 50 oz this was by far the lightest scope we tested. The scope is also perfectly balanced which makes life a lot easier for your tripod head, especially with the added weight of a digiscoping camera hanging off of the eyepiece. The rubber lens caps do an excellent job of keeping dust and dirt off your lens but they do have a tendency for fall off inside your pack.
Overall this scope performs well above its price point and it without a doubt the best value in the 65mm category. It’s also extremely lightweight and compact making it a perfect solution for the backcountry hunter on a budget. It does have a few limitations, but in the end I wouldn't hesitate to throw this scope in my pack and head out hunting or digiscoping.
Reviewing the Vortex Razor HD next to the Leica APO-Televid