Sitka Gear
Vortex Razor UHD 12X 50 v Swarovski SL.
Contributors to this thread:
DeerBadge 19-Jul-22
BIGRICH 19-Jul-22
Grey Ghost 19-Jul-22
Beginner 19-Jul-22
Bou'bound 19-Jul-22
DeerBadge 19-Jul-22
smarba 19-Jul-22
Whatthefoc 19-Jul-22
Dale06 19-Jul-22
JTreeman 19-Jul-22
Beendare 19-Jul-22
McCree 19-Jul-22
DeerBadge 20-Jul-22
Ermine 20-Jul-22
Grey Ghost 20-Jul-22
Old School 20-Jul-22
Shaft2Long 20-Jul-22
RonP 21-Jul-22
cch 21-Jul-22
Norseman 21-Jul-22
DeerBadge 21-Jul-22
Kurt 21-Jul-22
CFMuley 21-Jul-22
wytex 21-Jul-22
APauls 21-Jul-22
Nyati 23-Jul-22
RonP 23-Jul-22
shakey 24-Jul-22
From: DeerBadge
Good day fellow Bowsiters. I am thinking of getting some new binos and was curious on everyone's thoughts on the Vortex Razor UHD vs. the Swarovski SLc or EL. I know there is a price difference for the Swarovski's but I am looking more for your thoughts/experiences in regards to sharpness and low light conditions between the brands. Are the Swarovski worth the price difference?? I will be using them In Wisconsin for whitetails, but someday might need them or want to use them out West etc. I like to buy the best I can afford at the time when I buy things. I plan on using the pair I buy for a long time and do not want buyers remorse:) Thank you in advance for your thoughts and input, I appreciate it.

I've purchased too many pairs of binocs over the years. A friend let me use a pair of swaro's on my first western trip and that sold me on them. I saved up for a pair of EL's and gave all the other ones to my kids . They are pricey but i believe they are completely worth it , my wife begs to differ though on that purchase.

From: Grey Ghost
Are you sure about 12 x 50s? That seems like overkill for whitetail woods.

As for brand, my Swaros have been worth every penny I paid for them. I have a buddy who has the Vortex Razors. It’s a decent glass, but they don’t compare to Swarovskis.


From: Beginner
I own 2 pairs of Swaros and they were the best investment I have made when it comes to hunting. Vortex makes good binoculars too just not quite the quality imho.

From: Bou'bound
comparing the two reminds me of the old Styx song......................You're Foolin' Yourself

Buy the best once and be done with it.

From: DeerBadge
I am not set on the 12x50, but looking for a set that I can use on the open fields I hunt, but also out west etc. What configuration should I be think about Matt?

Scheels has the EL on sale for $450 off, because I think they might be a discontinued model, but not sure on that assumption.

From: smarba
I have used several brands over the years, but purchased Swaro 10x42 EL about 2 years ago. Love them. BUT...a friend purchased some Maven 10x50 for half the price and dang...I am extremely impressed with the Mavens.

Although I concur with others that 12x is too much power unless you intend to only glass from a tripod. Too hard to hold steady by hand. Can't go wrong with 10x42 for nearly all hunting situations.

From: Whatthefoc
Don’t buy swaros.

The vortex guys are well behaved all day, but during that last 5 minutes before dark, they are a pain in the a$$. Let me see let me see. I shoulda bought vortex just like them.

From: Dale06
I’ve used swaro 10x32 el for about 10 years. They’ve worked well for tree stand white tail, to ground blind antelope, to spot/stalk elk, to dall sheep (rifle). I’ve not tried Vortex.

From: JTreeman
I don’t think anyone can really argue that the Vortex are as good as the Sawros except maybe the guy selling Vortex. That really shouldn’t even be the discussion here IMO. The real question is what do YOU need. For Midwest WT hunting I don’t think you really need Swaros. And I really don’t think you need 12x50’s.

If it was me I would probably never buy 12x50, if you want big go bigger. If you want all round use, 10x42 is a solid choice. If you are literally just treestand deer hunting I would even consider 8x30.

If I was just a Midwest guy I would look at Maven, I own maven, vortex, and Swarovski. And have I think the Maven are very impressive for the money. Are they swaros? No. Do you need swaros? Probably not. Do you want swaros? That is up to you.


From: Beendare
Hopefully this helps;

A buddy just got a screaming deal on the Vortex UHD 18x ($1,000 off) He previously had the Kaibabs and sold them after he and I compd side by side on tripods in the AZ desert; 15x Swaros, 15xMeoptas and 15x Kaibabs.

The meopta and swaros were essentially identical- Awesome, the kaibabs were visibly less crystal clear.

I’m looking forward to comparing the UHD’s to my Meoptas. The vortex UHD models are Japanese made- so yes they are better quality than the lower end Chinese made Vortex models.

That said, I have a few buddies that are optics whores and they say the 12x 50 Swaro is THE best bino made by any mnfr or any power. I’ve used them and can see why they say that. I don’t own a pair as they are too hard to hand hold steady. Since I already have the 10x Swaros and the 15x Meoptas for tripod work, the 12x is a tweener that doesn’t serve a good purpose for me personally.

My take; purpose and the terrain you will use binos in is a factor. Hand holding is a factor too- an 8x hand holds better and doesn’t give up much in most terrain. A top quality 8x or 10x bino is the best choice for most guys. My guide buddy that prefers the 12x hunts wide open high desert and spends 250 days a year glassing in that type of country.

From: McCree
I had an original set of Vortex Razors I got back in 2008ish. Vortex has an awesome warranty and replaced them with a pair if Razor HD's several years later due to an issue. I later purchased a pair of Fury's thinking I'd like the range finding binos. I don't care for them for bowhunting and the Fury lenses didn't compare the the Razor HD's. At this point I decided to upgrade to a pair of Swaro SLC's. No regrets! I primarily whitetail hunt in Indiana and Illinois but also hunt Idaho and CO in Sept for elk. I would recommend 10x42 SLC's or EL's. The SLC's are a little cheaper but my research showed they were actually better in low light, which was important for me so that's what I went with. If you go that route check with Camera Land and ask for the Rokslide member discount.

From: DeerBadge
Thank you everyone for the information. I will look into the other options and take it from there. I am thinking a 10X 42 will be enough for me in the Wi whitetail stand, if I need more power somewhere else I will just use a spotting scope etc. Thank you again.

From: Ermine
They don’t compare. Swaro is the clear winner

From: Grey Ghost
I think 10x42s are a wise choice. As stated, 12x50s are difficult to hand hold, and they are a bit of a boat anchor to hang off your neck and shoulders all day.

When you compare brands, concentrate on the acuity of the outer edges of the field of view. That’s where quality glass separates itself, and is also what minimizes eye strain when you spend continuous hours glassing.

Good luck, Matt

From: Old School
I have a pair of 10x42 Swarovski SLC’s. Great for whitetails in the Midwest and also work for what I need bowhunting elk out west.

There really is no argument as to which is better - Swaro’s are in an entirely different league than Vortex.

Which is the best value? Only you can determine that for how you hunt and what you “need”

From: Shaft2Long
I’ve got a friend that has the Vortex you mention. Compared them side by side with my at least 15 year old Leica 8x50 and to my eyes, you had to really try and see and difference in magnification. Clarity my leica’s were still better. The magnification was a surprise.

From: RonP

RonP's Link
here is a link comparing the vortex uhd and swaro slc. not sure why it is 10x50 vs. 10x42 but, you may find it helpful.

edit - my personal preference for deer, elk and antelope are 8x32 but, most of my bino use is to confirm the naked eye rather than to sit for extended periods glassing to locate game or to field judge antlers.

From: cch
If you want high power that are easy to use and save a bunch of money. Check out the cannon or sig sauer 12-16 power image stabilization binoculars. I know some of the best hunters around who use them. Wish I would have known about them before buying my Leicas.

From: Norseman
IMO, 8x42 Swaros are the best all around whitetail and elk binoc out there, when used while in the act of hunting. Sitting on a hill glassing a half mile away in full daylight brings are many more options.

From: DeerBadge
Thank you RonP for the link, I checked the review out it was very helpful. Thank you to everyone else and their input, I am thinking I am going to go with the Swaros.

From: Kurt
Bought a new pair of Swaro 10x42 ELs (pre-Swarovision and HD) in 2002. Been used since and have never needed to be sent in. But about 10 yrs ago my wife started getting pissy about me taking "her" binoculars everytime I went hunting as we have a great mountain for wildlife viewing behind the house.

I fixed that problem with a pair of Swarovision 10x42 ELs in 2012. They are great, clear right to the edge although slightly heavier than "my wife's pair". Never have had to send the newer ones in either. I really like the SV10x42ELs! Use them for about 50% of my bino country serious glassing.

I also use a pair of Leica 8x32 Ultravid (pre-HD) bought in 2005. They are about 19 ozs and get used while tree stand hunting in tighter cover (no views over 400-500 yds), for spot and stalk plus calling elk, spot and stalk black bear hunting and general hiking. Really a nice size and optically excellent glass...and again I've never had any issue requiring the Leicas to be sent in. I wouldn't take them on a sheep, caribou or deer hunt where I have antler point or age restrictions vs the 10x42s though. They probably get around half of my annual usage.

Our third pair of binos are Leica Geovid 15x56HD rangefinder binos. They sit on a big Manfrotto tripod and used for a closer look at critters on the mountain behind the house. They get drug along on sheep counts every year too. Great for glassing really long range off a tripod only, or for what I got them for originally...long range prairie dog shooting with the rangefinder built in. They see <5% of our binocular usage annually.

If I could have only one binocular out of what we presently have it would be the SV10x42 ELs. That said Swaro now makes the very expensive NL series of binos. I'd look at them and compare them to the ELs...they have a wider field of view.

Good luck!

From: CFMuley
I went through a few pairs of Vortex Razors HD’s. I was never completely happy with them, and finally sucked it up, and bought a pair of rangefinding EL’s. I will never go back! The difference is night and day!

From: wytex
10x42 SLC are great binos . If you can find a good used pair go for it. Swaro will back them and upgrade the glass for a very reasonable price if needed. Have not looked through ELs but I bet they are even better than my old SLCs. If you buy Vortex first, no doubt you will be looking to upgrade again in the near future.

From: APauls
Swarovski EL's are the pinnacle. That's what we've all been told for ages. I finally bought a pair on eBay one year. At the recommendation of Brotsky several years later I jumped on a pair of Cabelas Euro's which are really Meopta's. They were half the price (on an incredible sale) of Swaro. I brought them home and compared side by side FOR A YEAR. I tested them in the yard, I hunted with both etc. Now consider that the Meopta's were brand new, and the Swaro's were EL glass, but about 8 - 10 years old. However they are always amazing. Ran them both side by side and here is what I found:

Optically both are amazing. At the end of the day I could not see a low light difference. The only difference I found was the Meopta's had better colours. Overall, I found I was better able to discern detail through the Meopta's because the enhanced colour allowed me to see details better. Optically I gave the check to Meopta. I would imagine a new pair of Swaro's would have been equal.

Fit/Feel/Finish: In my usage I would say I still preferred the Swaro's. It's like they were made for my hands. The Meopta's are also very nice, but something about the Swaro's was just like you didn't even notice them. Hands always fell in exactly the right spot. Honestly could not be better. Just perfect. The Meopta's also had a very slight squeak going in and out of my bino holster that the Swaro's did not. Could be because the rubberized coating was newer as compared to the used Swaros. I gave the edge to Swarovski. Neither were a pain to use in any way.

Decision: In reality, it was a no-brainer. I sold my used Swaro's for $1800 or something, same as I paid and continued on with my Meopta's. The hardest thing I had to fight, was the notion in my brain that had been there since I was a toddler that Swaro's are the best of the best, and I was getting rid of the best, and I was a fool for getting rid of them. I've since made peace with it ;)

From: Nyati
I’ve used Leica 10x42 since early 90s. Bought the vortex 12x50 for wife last year . I may “accidentally “ put them in my pack this year

I have the Razors and ELs. The Razors have great glass and are much higher quality than the next closest Vortex bino. BUT! They still don’t compare with the Swaro’s I’m not a fan of the Diopter dial on the Vortex either. If it’s price. Check with the he sells used binos or at least he did. I’ve bought 2 pairs from him. He will let you try them before buying.

From: RonP
careful with that link :)

From: shakey
If you are worried now about the vortex then you will always wonder if you should of bought the Swarovski. I have the el’s and my brother has vortex and is looking at Swarovski now. I can’t believe more guys on here are not talking about the NL’s, I’m contemplating giving my son the el’s and buy the nl’s for my self.

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