Armchair comparison 2013 Razor HD 12x50 vs 2012 EL 12x50

Racethesunset

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 8, 2013
Messages
639
Location
Arizona
Since the specs were released on the new Razor lineup a few months back, I have thought that I might want to transition from the Swarovski EL 12x50 to the 2013 Vortex Razor HD 12x50 for weight savings. Well after months of waiting for the latter to arrive, I finally had the chance to compare the two yesterday.

Full disclosure: in the past I have used the Swarovski SLC 15x56, EL 12x50, EL 10x42, and Vortex Viper 15x50 for covering open Arizona mountains and hills, and was interested in the new Razor HD for the weight savings (about 7 oz from my current sweetheart, the EL, over a pound from the previous one, the SLC). I compared both handheld and on an Outdoorsmans tripod with pistol grip looking at lower elevation rock outcroppings, shrubs, hills and other things on a sunny afternoon.

The quick summary is that both sets are fine optical specimens that fill a niche market. They both have twelve power magnification coupled with excellent resolution and image quality. Physically, they are well constructed and well balanced, and a stable hand can hand-hold for short periods, although a tripod is recommended.

Initial impressions are as follows (1-10, 10 best):

On axis resolution
EL - 10/10
Razor HD - 9.5/10 expected this to be high, the 10x42 version is very good

Edge to edge clarity
EL - 10/10 best on the market
Razor HD - 9/10 very close

Chromatic abberation control
EL - 9/10 edges only
Razor HD - 8/10 more noticeable

Coloration
EL - 10/10 neutral
Razor HD - 10/10 cool

Eye cups
EL - 8/10 a bit too firm
Razor HD - 9/10 flexible is good!

Focus wheel
EL - 7/10 grainy, a bit slow for hunting
Razor HD - 9/10 quicker, smooth

FOV
EL - 9/10 feels perfect
Razor HD - 6/10 too constrained

And that last one, my friends, is the rub. IMHO, the narrow Razor HD FOV on the 12x50 platform made for a constrained viewing experience. Transitioning back and forth between the two for an hour straight showed the flaw (I would usually call FOV a design characteristic, but as a hunting bino they messed up here). I planned on keeping them for a few months of testing, but I could not get over it. Coupled with the mild level of CA at the edges, the Razor HD view is rather constricted.

Nevertheless, if I did not already have the ELs, they are a BARGAIN at $1300 in terms of pure optical image quality and a multipurpose tool for longer range glassing.

Happy hunting!
 

HellsCanyon

Senior Member
Rokslide Sponsor
Joined
May 29, 2012
Messages
3,474
Location
Lewiston ID
Solid review. I've had my razor hd 12x50s for 2 weeks now and I will say I'm very impressed. This is the first pair of 12x bino's I've owned, but have used the Viper hd 15x50s.

I will say I was actually pretty impressed with the FOV for a 12x bino and haven't found myself wishing for more (I don't really glass using the edge of my FOV I'm pretty concentrated). Even while shed hunting last weekend they were great. But these are my first pair of binos that cost more than $350 so I don't have much to compare to. :)

Mike
 
OP
Racethesunset

Racethesunset

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 8, 2013
Messages
639
Location
Arizona
Thanks!

Totally, the Razor HDs have stunning image quality and are going to do very well.

The alpha glass 12x alternatives do not have noticeably better resolution or brightness, and I think the weight savings is worth the FOV in some respects, which you could definitely get used to.
 

Matt Cashell

Administrator
Staff member
Joined
Feb 25, 2012
Messages
4,174
Location
Western MT
Thanks for the review, RTS!

It seems lateral CA is pretty tough to correct for in a 12x50 configuration. Was CA visible on-axis at all with either bin?

Nice review.
 
OP
Racethesunset

Racethesunset

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 8, 2013
Messages
639
Location
Arizona
Thanks for the review, RTS!

It seems lateral CA is pretty tough to correct for in a 12x50 configuration. Was CA visible on-axis at all with either bin?

Nice review.

On axis and all the way to a few degrees off the edge, both bins had no visible CA against land-based targets. You could pull purplish ghosting from shadows and skylined objects at the edge a little more easily with the Razor's, but not much.
 
OP
Racethesunset

Racethesunset

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 8, 2013
Messages
639
Location
Arizona
Put another way, I found the Razor HD eye alignment a little more difficult to just pickup and 'fall into' the view.

When I positioned the Razor more slowly and correctly the CA effect was less noticeable.

This could have been because I am used to the EL's, however, I have picked up enough glass to know when the view is 'immersive'. Again, not to take away from the Razors, they are optically excellent.
 
Last edited:

Matt Cashell

Administrator
Staff member
Joined
Feb 25, 2012
Messages
4,174
Location
Western MT
Wow, that is good CA control in a 12x50.

The specs for the Razor FOV is 5.4 deg vs. the 5.7 deg for the Swaro. Was that 16 feet at a thousand yards just really noticeable to you, or do you think the FOV is under spec.?

Thanks.
 
OP
Racethesunset

Racethesunset

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 8, 2013
Messages
639
Location
Arizona
Wow, that is good CA control in a 12x50.

The specs for the Razor FOV is 5.4 deg vs. the 5.7 deg for the Swaro. Was that 16 feet at a thousand yards just really noticeable to you, or do you think the FOV is under spec.?

Thanks.

Good point, I don't know about the printed vs actual.

The linear field of view is a bit more pronounced:

EL - 328ft? (EDIT: varies across sites for some reason) at 1000m
Razor HD - 278ft at 1000yds

I noticed this immediately.

EDIT: EL 12x50 linear FOV seems to be listed differently across retailers, reviews, and sites. Swarovski lists them at 100m at 1000m, which is 328 linear feet.
 
Last edited:

Matt Cashell

Administrator
Staff member
Joined
Feb 25, 2012
Messages
4,174
Location
Western MT
Yeah but that 328 is at 1000 m, it is only 300 feet at 1000 yards.

And you have the 278/1000 yds. linear right for the 2012 Razor.
 
Last edited:

Matt Cashell

Administrator
Staff member
Joined
Feb 25, 2012
Messages
4,174
Location
Western MT
Now I double checked and Vortex lists the 2013 Razor HD as 285/1000, while the 2012 was 278.

Is yours the newest single hinge?
 
OP
Racethesunset

Racethesunset

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 8, 2013
Messages
639
Location
Arizona
Yeah but that 328 is at 1000 m, it is only 300 feet at 1000 yards.

And you have the 278/1000 yds. linear right for the Razor, I miscalculated 284 earlier.

We will get it right eventually :)

...I no longer have my TI-83 plus to calculate sin and tan from the angular FOV, not that Sunday morning is the best time for that.

There isn't really a hard limit for FOV for my comparison, it's just a preference really. I would actually compromise edge to edge sharpness for a more 'natural' view if given the opportunity, as being able to see a a bigger area while panning (within reason - not looking for 400ft/1000yd here), has helped me in the past. You know when it happens, the critter walks across the top 5ft of your viewport at dusk, and you smile at your 'luck'. Anyways, yea, can't go wrong with either pair IMO.
 
OP
Racethesunset

Racethesunset

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 8, 2013
Messages
639
Location
Arizona
Now I double checked and Vortex lists the 2013 Razor HD as 285/1000, while the 2012 was 278.

Is yours the newest single hinge?

Yes the 2013 single hinge. The difference appears to be getting more and more marginal :) When you look through the two, you will see what I mean. There's a perceived FOV difference that feels like more than 15 feet.
 

ftballman125

Member
Joined
Sep 16, 2013
Messages
97
Going to bump this up. Does anyone have experience using eye glasses with the 12x50 Razor HDs? The eye relief is 15.5, which is right on the edge I think...
 
Top