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65mm Razor vs 85mm Razor
I want some opinions please. I am looking to purchase a new spotter. My use will be everything from glassing mulies, whitetails, antelope, etc from the truck to packing it into the backcountry for elk, mulies, etc. to taking it to Kodiak next year to hunt blacktails. So pretty much all around. I have been eyeing the Vortex Razor HD, but am torn between the 65mm and the 85mm. Keeping in mind that I want to be able to pack it, what are your thoughts on size and straight vs angled eye pieces?
65mm angled if those are my two choices and use as you described.
Personally I like straight scopes better than the angled ones. I can find what I'm glassing faster with them. The angled variety is good for looking at stars, but not so much for animals, especially if glassing downhill. I also do a fair amount of glassing from my truck using a window mount. An angled scope is almost impossible to use that way. If I was strictly buying one for lightweight pack-in trips I'd buy a straight 65mm.
I have the angled 65mm razor, when comparing the two(65 vs. 85) the difference is greater distance and tighter FOV with the 85mm, but I felt less strain when using the 65mm, not to mention the extra$$ didn't seem quit worth it. I use a phone skope with mine so leaning over isn't an issue and it allows greater zoom. But as Matt mentioned, a strait spotter is a little more friendly when trying to position it while standing-but not as big a deal as looking from a vehicle, which is where strait spotters have the advantage. I have a strait spotter, Nikon (82mm) , but with the phone Skope I use the angled Razor exclusively now. So, in short I would go with the 65mm and save the few hundred bucks, I haven't regretted it.
Angled for me, works much better in the mountains the way I glass, I keep a straight in my truck... and just remember... you'll likely never wish you had a 65mm when you are using an 85mm, but you may wish you had an 85mm when using a 65mm.
The other difference between 65mm and 85mm is the larger objective lens will let more light in during low light conditions. So there are trade-offs. But on a pack-in trip, I'd opt for the weight savings of a 65mm over the benefits of a larger objective lens.
65 and definitely angled for me. I had the 85 and returned it. The 85 was kind of a beast to handle. I also bought the big vortex tripod $300. It’s nice to be able to stand up and look through the scope. That said, I mostly use this setup for short walks from the truck to glassing points. For backpacking I’d find a lighter weight Slik tripod.
I’m with Nick on this one. The primary reason I use a spotter is to see 6.5 bullet holes at long range, or to see the detail of an animal sometimes miles away. All else being equal the 85mm spotter will provide more fine detail at long range and under less favorable light conditions. That can make all the difference in being able to ensure that Ram might be legal or that buck is a shooter before trekking through the mountains after him. Also find that most situations where I need a spotter in the field I’m glassing uphill and prefer the angled version (the body also rotates for downhill or truck window viewing).
About a year ago I set out to buy a new spotter and the Vortex was at the top of my list. I went to the local Cabelas and looked through the Vortex Razor HD, Cabelas Instinct Euro HD (Metopta Meostar with a fixed eyepiece under the Cabelas label), and the Swarovski ATS 80. When I first started viewing at 30x in broad daylight they all provided a great image. However, when I cranked them up to look into the distant underbrush I began to see a huge difference in image quality. Above 45x the Vortex image significantly degraded with pronounced tunneling and pincushioning. Both the Cabelas and Swaro provided a noticeably superior image at 60x and were pretty much neck and neck. The Swaro is $3k, Cabelas $2400, and RazorHD $1500.
Great news is Cabelas currently has the Instinct Euro HD on sale for $1899. The better news is Cameraland, NY has the genuine Meopta Meostar S2 brand new case-demos (with the removable 20-70 eyepiece) on sale for $1799. Way too good of deal to resist on this top-quality spotter, so I bought the Meopta today.
I only have an 85mm Razor, so its what I carry. I did buy a lightweight carbon tripod to counter the extra weight a little, but its still at 7.5# with the scope, cover and tripod.
For me, I only carry it when I need it. Mule deer and antelope where I'm trying to pick out smaller details I use it. For elk, as long as I know its an elk I've seen enough so I just carry my binos.
Mine is angled, and I prefer that when i'm hiking and glassing. In the truck or whitetail box blinds straight is easier but I've figured out how to make it work for me.