Sitka Mountain Gear
Vortex or Swaro SLC
Equipment
Contributors to this thread:
molsonarcher 31-Aug-19
Trial153 31-Aug-19
molsonarcher 31-Aug-19
greg simon 31-Aug-19
LBshooter 01-Sep-19
Ward's Outfitters 01-Sep-19
Shrewski 01-Sep-19
Bou'bound 01-Sep-19
NoWiser 01-Sep-19
Spiral Horn 01-Sep-19
SBH 01-Sep-19
molsonarcher 01-Sep-19
JTreeman 01-Sep-19
M.Pauls 01-Sep-19
Lost Arra 02-Sep-19
txhunter58 02-Sep-19
Grey Ghost 02-Sep-19
bowbender77 02-Sep-19
svrelk 02-Sep-19
HDE 03-Sep-19
Spiral Horn 03-Sep-19
kadbow 03-Sep-19
Bou'bound 03-Sep-19
HDE 03-Sep-19
COHOYTHUNTER 03-Sep-19
Mule Power 03-Sep-19
molsonarcher 03-Sep-19
Bill in MI 03-Sep-19
Empty Freezer 03-Sep-19
JTreeman 03-Sep-19
greg simon 03-Sep-19
KHNC 04-Sep-19
HDE 04-Sep-19
Spiral Horn 04-Sep-19
Spiral Horn 04-Sep-19
ohiohunter 04-Sep-19
KHNC 05-Sep-19
5575 05-Sep-19
From: molsonarcher
31-Aug-19
I have a chance to buy a very lightly used pair of Swaro SLC 10x42 binos for a little less than the price as a pair of new Vortex Razor HD 12x50. Which is the better deal/product? I am looking to use these on some western hunts, as well as Kodiak in 2021. I hunt about 1 week each year where these would be used, so spending more for the real high end Swaro EL types is not really an option. I live in Ohio, so anything bigger isn’t really an advantage.

From: Trial153
31-Aug-19
If nothing else youd be better off with the 10x vs the 12x considering your mostly hunting back east. Next if the SLC s are the newer verison you be crazy to go vortex anything over them.

From: molsonarcher
31-Aug-19
Trial, the SLC are about 10 years old.

From: greg simon
31-Aug-19
I’d get the Swaros.

From: LBshooter
01-Sep-19
depends on your use. I'd make an offer on the swaro, if no then go with the new.

01-Sep-19
Vortex optics are junk. They will fail you. Buy the Swarovskis

From: Shrewski
01-Sep-19
Ward’s gives you great advice. I would never take a Vortex anything over a Swarovski.

From: Bou'bound
01-Sep-19
All binoculars are Used after the first trip. Not a factor. Buy quality and forget it. Swarovski gear will outlive you

From: NoWiser
01-Sep-19
Swaro hands down.

From: Spiral Horn
01-Sep-19
Don’t know what you are paying for either, but Vortex Optics are Chinese-made junk. Beware of any company that needs to sell you via their warranty. If choosing between the two, buy the Swarovski, hands down. However, I was recently shopping for a new spotting scope and stumbled across the Nikon Monarch HG 10x42 and was shock by the superb image and FOV - they are about $1k and blow away anything except the Swarovski ELs, Leica Noctovid and Zeiss Victory.

From: SBH
01-Sep-19
Swaros

However you are comparing two totally different pieces of glass....12x50 are gonna have to be on a tripod in my opinion. 10x42 are an everyday use hang on your neck type of glass. They aren't the same, regardless of brand.

Either way, swaros are better product hands down.

From: molsonarcher
01-Sep-19
Thanks guys. I was leaning toward the Swaros, and I don’t think I will be able to beat this deal. Swaros it is.

From: JTreeman
01-Sep-19
I also don’t know the $ involved, but food for though. I once, in my younger days bought a pair of swaro 10x42 el’s, a couple years later sold them to finance a hunting trip I couldn’t afford (still doing that today), and sold them for essentially exactly what I paid for them. That’s not a bad deal! And if you are getting them for a steal, should be even easier for you to come out ahead of the need ever arises. I’m pretty sure the same can’t be said for the Vortex.

At the time I replaces the sold swaros with some ZenRays, while not bad, certainly not on par with the big boys. I later sold them and bought another pair of 10x42 el’s, so I would have been better off if I had just kept the original ones, but I couldn’t have spent that $ on trophy fees in africa I guess ;)

—Jim

From: M.Pauls
01-Sep-19
I’d be going Swaro if I have the option. Just because they are king.

I’ll buck the trend though in the whole “Vortex is junk”, and “Vortex will fail you” comments. I’ve had a lot of Vortex and have always been pleased. For reference I’ve had Vortex Razor, Swaro EL, and now use Leica Ultravids, along with a few other binos thrown in the mix over the years. I was also able to compare all of them side by side in my field over a few evenings watching at dusk. My Swaros and Leicas had about 80 seconds on picking up detail at 800 yards over the Razor as the sun went down. Keep in mind I’m just a human making judgements. My Razor, previous Gen Razor, was built like a tank IMO and a had them a number of years, 5 I think. I was hard on them. I got good deals on both upper end glass pieces, so I bought them, but after my test, I would conclude that if buying new, I would have been just fine with the Razors at their price. If I was in the mountains every day glassing for hours on end, I may think differently, but Razors are not junk, and no they won’t “fail you” in any normal situation.

From: Lost Arra
02-Sep-19
I had two different Vortex binoculars. Sold them both. My problem was 1) the eyepiece came out, yes they fixed it at no cost but I still had no binocular for a while 2) both were too particular about the position on my face for a clear view without blackouts. Swaro's and old Leopold Gold Rings are my favorites.

From: txhunter58
02-Sep-19
Swaros!

From: Grey Ghost
02-Sep-19
My hunting buddy has Vortex 10x42s, He often asks to use my Swaro 10x42s when he needs to confirm a difficult spot. There IS a significant difference in optical quality.

Buy the best, forget the rest. Swarovski.

Matt

From: bowbender77
02-Sep-19
Swaros all day long.

From: svrelk
02-Sep-19
Swaro. No question...

From: HDE
03-Sep-19
Well, you already made your decision so it's pointless to jump on any fan wagon, but for anyone else torn on a decision, get what fits your purpose.

The first red flag to always consider is when someone calls a reputable company "junk". Ignore that advice. If the company and their product was "junk" they would not be in business. Unless, of course, they are successful conmen and make people think they offer a superior product or service...

From: Spiral Horn
03-Sep-19
OK - how about a company who’s optical quality is vastly and completely overrated. Don’t know how anyone who knows optics would consider a binocular using bak-4 prisms and lesser glass made in China (moved all their bino manufacturing there in 2017, including Razor & Viper) and say it is even close to being in the same league as those using Abbe-Koenig or Schmidt-Peckan Prisms and Schott or Japanese ED Glass. Physics = cannot squeeze higher/equal quality out of lesser components. They are simply not.

I recently was in the market for a new spotting scope and checked out the Vortex Razor, along with Zeiss, Swarovski, Meopta, Cabelas Instinct (Meopta clone), Nikon, Kowa. Everything blew away the Vortex. I was shocked as I thought the Vortex would be a good price point, but it was the bottom of the heap by a wide margin. About the same as a Bushnell. Pity, as I really wanted to like it and would have bought it if it measured-up. Personally, think they are selling more on warranty than anything else. Beware of anyone who needs to sell on warranty.

I challenge anyone to go to a quality bino/optics shop and compare the Vortex Razor binos with any of the top 3, Mavens Top end or even the mid-priced Nikon Monarch HG (made in Japan). After comparing and talking with the optics guru there, doubt anyone will be praising the Vortex.

From: kadbow
03-Sep-19
I would go with 10x, you pick the brand. I have had my vortex for 15 years or so, love them and have never had an issue with them.

From: Bou'bound
03-Sep-19
don't confuse value with quality.

Price has everything to do with value and nothing to do with quality (pure quality is about performance and features and quality does not change based on how much you pay for it).

There are lots of time people should forego quality to get value based on need and intended use and incremental cost/benefit.

Just don't fool yourself into believing that making that decision results in the same quality.

From: HDE
03-Sep-19
Thank you Bou'bound for stating it better than I did.

Spiral - never said Vortex was an apple like the Swaro's, just said get what fits your purpose.

And, it's a slippery slope for a well known public hunting figure to talk trash about a company that a lot of people use...

From: COHOYTHUNTER
03-Sep-19
I actually went from Vortex Razor HD to Swarovski SLC in 2017. I can tell a world of difference in quality. I specifically notice it at long distance and low light. I have tried lots of different mid to high end optics and I have never liked anything better than these Swarovski

From: Mule Power
03-Sep-19
Quality is an investment not a cost. Buying lesser quality and replacing it later us an expense.

I have never heard a bad word about Swarovski. Service is as good as performance. Buy the SLCs!

From: molsonarcher
03-Sep-19
Guys. Thanks for all the input. I was leaning toward the Swaros initially, and am glad I went that way. They are better than anything I’ve ever owned. Even though they are the older Swarobright model, they will work well for me. Absolutely blew the 2 pair of cheaper Vortex away that I have last night at low light. I’m upgrading gear, albeit slowly, to have what I need for a long time. Someone on this site once said “ buy nice or buy twice”. They were totally right.

From: Bill in MI
03-Sep-19
Had vortex (binos and a spotter)...for a while, Nikons, bushnells, then Zeiss. Now I have my Swaro's (bino, spotter, and a rifle scope gassssspp) nuff said

03-Sep-19
Are you guys sayin that the swaro 10X42 is a better glass than the 12X50 vortex razor for a western hunter like myself?

From: JTreeman
03-Sep-19
Apples to oranges, but the short answer is yes.

—Jim

From: greg simon
03-Sep-19
Swaro 10x42 is a better glass than Vortex 12x50 for _______.

Just fill in the blank

From: KHNC
04-Sep-19
Razor UHD from Vortex does not use Bak-4 prism. They have Abbe/Koenig

https://www.optics-trade.eu/us/vortex-razor-uhd-10x42.html

Also, made in Japan, NOT china. Japan does not make junk. If you say so , and drive a Honda or a Toyota, then you are a hypocrite.

From: HDE
04-Sep-19
How is something made in Austria better than something made in Japan when Japan has been a leader in lens technology for several years...?

From: Spiral Horn
04-Sep-19
The comparison In this thread was between a lightly used Swarovski SLC 10x42 vs a new Vortex Razor HD 12x50. Imagine he was asking the question cause they were about the same price. In this head-to-head comparison the SLC simply wins in any objective contest.

From: Spiral Horn
04-Sep-19
The Vortex Razor HD line and all of their binocular lines below that are made in China using Bak-4 prisms and Chinese glass.

The new UHD line that Vortex is just introducing is indeed manufactured in Japan with higher graded lenses and prisms, so they should be a big optical improvement. This line is just currently hitting the shelves and the jury is still out as there aren’t many reviews yet. Know Vortex has a lot of loyal fans and hope the optics are spectacular. Looked at the specs and these binos also take a big jump in size (~20% larger), weight (1/2 pound heavier), and price (+$900) compared to the Razor HDs - now listing for over $2k. Next time I’m in a good optics shop will compare these against some known performers.

From: ohiohunter
04-Sep-19
My razors are Japanese, but I don’t care much for the blue hue. My next Bino will be the Nikon hg’s.

From: KHNC
05-Sep-19
The UHD's can be purchased in the 1500 range. But, you are not wrong on the HD's depending on what year model you are referring to. There are models made in Japan until recently.

From: 5575
05-Sep-19
I've had about as many brands as you can imagine. 3 yrs ago went with a new pair of slc 10x42s. To tell you the truth I wasn't impressed like I thought I would be. My 10 yr old SLC seemed better just not as light. I got rid of them and found a deal "1400"on a 2017 pair of 10x42 ELs..very happy camper these days.

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