Vortex Razor UHD 18x56 Review, By Jared Bloomgren

honuswagner

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Great review, thanks for sharing.

Jared, have you put these up against the likes of Swaro or Leica binos? Interested if you think Vortex is catching up with the UHD line.
 

robby denning

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Probably among the most questions I’ve got the last six months is on these Bino’s performance. Thanks for stepping up Jared


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Jared Bloomgren

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Great review, thanks for sharing.

Jared, have you put these up against the likes of Swaro or Leica binos? Interested if you think Vortex is catching up with the UHD line.
I do have enough experience to say they are taking a step in the right direction! The little time I had to look through these compared to Swaro hasn’t made me want to spend the extra money!
 

Racethesunset

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Good write up - couple questions.
  • How is the central resolution / details compared to the SLC 15's? Are you gaining additional detail?
  • Is the outer 2/3 usable, e.g., are there any blackouts or issues looking to other parts of the image circle other than the center? Is it clear to the edge?
  • Any preference of the new UHD 18 over other big eye binoculars that you've used?
Thank you for any info.
 

Jared Bloomgren

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Good write up - couple questions.
  • How is the central resolution / details compared to the SLC 15's? Are you gaining additional detail?
  • Is the outer 2/3 usable, e.g., are there any blackouts or issues looking to other parts of the image circle other than the center? Is it clear to the edge?
  • Any preference of the new UHD 18 over other big eye binoculars that you've used?
Thank you for any info.
o The resolution I feel is very similar between the two but I haven’t spent as many hours behind the SLC’s either. When comparing them at the local sporting goods stores outside I had trouble deciphering much difference between the two.

o Like mentioned in my article, my inter-pupillary distance caused a little bit of an issue for me so that did cause dark areas on the outside if I wasn’t perfectly still. When I was using a tripod I didn’t have any issue with 100% clarity across the entire field of view.

o For the price point I would say these have my preference as compared to other large sizes binos.
 
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Hatchet Jack

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Would be nice to see a thorough review with field use against some of the top dogs. I should be able to get some time behind the maven 18x and compare them to the 12x50 EL, 15x56 SLC and kowa 30x66 twin spotters on a coues hunt here in a couple weeks so i'm curious to see how they all stack up. It's easy to take one look through something and say it competes with the alphas, but the top tier glass starts to shine when you're behind it 6-8 hours a day. I'm also interested to see if the 18x would be a good compliment to carry with the 12 ELs.
 

mj23polaris

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What are the chances the glass for these are made at the same place and built to same or close specs as the Maven b5s?

I thought I remembered hearing on a podcast there is only a few glass manufacturers in Japan.

I say that because maven and vortex dropped new 15 and 18 power binos this year around the same time.

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Jared Bloomgren

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Would be nice to see a thorough review with field use against some of the top dogs. I should be able to get some time behind the maven 18x and compare them to the 12x50 EL, 15x56 SLC and kowa 30x66 twin spotters on a coues hunt here in a couple weeks so i'm curious to see how they all stack up. It's easy to take one look through something and say it competes with the alphas, but the top tier glass starts to shine when you're behind it 6-8 hours a day. I'm also interested to see if the 18x would be a good compliment to carry with the 12 ELs.
Looks like you’ll be the expert soon! Good luck!
 

Jared Bloomgren

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What are the chances the glass for these are made at the same place and built to same or close specs as the Maven b5s?

I thought I remembered hearing on a podcast there is only a few glass manufacturers in Japan.

I say that because maven and vortex dropped new 15 and 18 power binos this year around the same time.

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Good question! I have no idea...
 

fiskeri1

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I was also really impressed with the image quality of these and ordered a pair for my upcoming AZ deer hunt. Got them yesterday, set the diopter and put them on my tripod in my living room.Did some near, far focusing and heard a “click”. Suddenly the right side is way out of focus. I was beyond shocked to say the least. Guess I’ll be sticking with my 10’s next month.
 

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robby denning

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I was also really impressed with the image quality of these and ordered a pair for my upcoming AZ deer hunt. Got them yesterday, set the diopter and put them on my tripod in my living room.Did some near, far focusing and heard a “click”. Suddenly the right side is way out of focus. I was beyond shocked to say the least. Guess I’ll be sticking with my 10’s next month.
So they’re busted?


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fiskeri1

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So they’re busted?


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Apparently so. The left side is perfect but I cannot get the right side to focus - at all - at any distance.

Sent a note to Vortex CS, will see what they have to say but I have two hunts right after Christmas and will probably return these.
 

Jared Bloomgren

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VIP Warranty.
Apparently so. The left side is perfect but I cannot get the right side to focus - at all - at any distance.

Sent a note to Vortex CS, will see what they have to say but I have two hunts right after Christmas and will probably return these.
VIP Warranty. Should be able to have them repaired or another pair before the end of hunting season.
 

robby denning

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Yeah, they might be able to get you a pair before you leave. I would demand it. I’ve had two pair in the 15x, and one in 18 X. (HD lines). I’ve put a few weeks use on both of them and haven’t had any issues. Sounds like you got a lemon. Sorry man!! Let us know how it shakes out


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COwineguy

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These are tempting. I currently run ELs 12X50 and am wanting a bigger pair of binos but am not sure the 15s are a big enough jump to justify the cost. My issue in the past with vortex is they were always great customer service but I felt like I needed it all the time. I have had their 12X50 razor and 3 of there spotters all razors, 50, 65, 85. 3 of the 4 were worked on. I know their is a tradeoff for good glass and price but it left me a little gun shy. I also have thought of trying the Sig 15s. Kind of a power and price compromise but I would really love a pair of 18s that worked well.
 

fiskeri1

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Thanks guys, I've also seen someone need to take advantage of their warranty while in the middle of a hunt (Razor spotter) and was already a little apprehensive of the purchase. That and the realities of getting a replacement to me during Christmas time is leading me toward taking advantage of Cabela's return policy instead of the warranty route.
 

Racethesunset

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These are tempting. I currently run ELs 12X50 and am wanting a bigger pair of binos but am not sure the 15s are a big enough jump to justify the cost. My issue in the past with vortex is they were always great customer service but I felt like I needed it all the time. I have had their 12X50 razor and 3 of there spotters all razors, 50, 65, 85. 3 of the 4 were worked on. I know their is a tradeoff for good glass and price but it left me a little gun shy. I also have thought of trying the Sig 15s. Kind of a power and price compromise but I would really love a pair of 18s that worked well.
Depends on what you would complement the 18’s with.

18x56 UHD FOV at 1000 yd is pretty narrow at 194 ft, so you would miss action on the edges of the field if you used it as a tripod workhorse bino.

15x56 SLC HD fov at 234 ft is better for this.

12x50 EL fov at 300 ft and above it’s class resolving power raises the bar another notch.

YMMV
 

robby denning

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Thanks guys, I've also seen someone need to take advantage of their warranty while in the middle of a hunt (Razor spotter) and was already a little apprehensive of the purchase. That and the realities of getting a replacement to me during Christmas time is leading me toward taking advantage of Cabela's return policy instead of the warranty route.
I can’t blame you man. I totally understand, when it’s time to go hunting, or when you’re hunting, warrantees aren’t all that helpful. A guy has limited time and failures often erode your trust making you just want to move on. I totally get it. Let us know what you decide. Sure sorry this happened. I’m letting Vortex know by the way.


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