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Old technology v.s. the new era of glass

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  • Old technology v.s. the new era of glass

    Despite the on and off QC issues, I still find that Vortex makes some decent glasses and spotting scopes. But the QC issue with their upper shelf products is potentially very irritating, below is an example of that as well as personal comparisons to some old but high quality glass.

    My son stopped by yesterday to show me some new Vortex glasses and spotting scopes he just purchased. He bought them online, so he obviously didn't have the opportunity to inspect them first, here's how that played out.

    First he pulled out the Razor HD 27x60x85 spotting scope. I glassed the mountains behind my house, probably a good 5 miles and they were stellar. Honestly, I couldn't find anything to complain about, well other than them weighing in at about 4 lbs. and almost 1-1/2 feet long, but hey, this isn't a compact scope by design. But the clarity even at 60x was very good. I glassed with them for about an hour until light conditions were very dim. Light gathering capability was very good even at 60x, even right up until it was nearly completely dark, I was pleasantly impressed.

    At the same time he had his brand new compact Vortex on another tripod side by side with the big boy, so I would be able to get a good comparison. This was also a Razor 11x33x50, and at under a foot long and around 1-1/2 lbs., I found it to be a nice compact package for packing in. But when I started glassing with it I immediately noticed something wasn't right, I couldn't get it to focus at all. It was blurry no matter what I did. My boy hadn't even tried it out yet, so he was like, no way, are you serious? Yep, yet another QC issue with Vortex, this being at least the 5th or 6th piece of glass from them that has been defective right out of the box in the last several years, super disappointing. So another one gets shipped back to them, to which I gotta say they have excellent CS, as I have had much experience in dealing with them on this level.

    So on another tripod lined up with the others was a pair of glasses. They were a bit on the heavy side, but again they aren't what you'd be carrying around your neck, thus be using without a tripod. But the quality was superior, right up there with any pair of comparable Leupold's. Having been a dedicated Leupold consumer for the last 35 years or so, that's a tough statement for me to make, but true none the less. I glassed right up until it was dark, and with just the light of the sun having set to my back, I could still see the hill side quite clearly at 4 or 5 miles away. Two words, nice glass.

    I lined up my Vortex & older Leupold spotting scopes and glasses to get a good side by side comparison, and minus the 11x33x50 spotting scope being defective, I was honestly impressed with the potential that Vortex has brought to the industry. And I hang on the potential part of this statement, because if they should ever resolve the QC issues I've come to know them so well for, especially their rifle scopes, I'd be more inclined to buy their glass. As I sit here right now trying to count the number of rifle scopes, 4 I think, 2 pairs of glasses, and now one spotting scope, I'm left with a feeling of insecurity.

    My Sons and I started buying Vortex glass maybe 5 or 6 years ago. The stuff we looked at in the LGS's was very impressive, thus the retail price eventually inspired us to start buying their glass. Honestly I was very reluctant to go down that road, after all I've been using Leupold for probably clsoe to 40 years, but I caaved. But it wasn;t loong before I experienced the first time ever that I had to send optics back due to QC issues. This was something I'd never had to deal with before with glass, after all I had been using glass with the reassuring "Gold Ring" on it.

    This alone has been a major problem for me, being that I have yet to have a single problem with any Leupold optic. I have Leupold glass that is probably a good 35-40 years old, some I've bought used might even be older. Many have been dropped more than once, as well spent many hunting seasons bouncing around on the dash board of an old poorly suspended GMC 4x4, those old 60's & 70's kidney busters. But even when it concerns really old glass, I've never had a bad experience with Leupold servicing these dinosaurs, and at no charge to me ever. I have several very old pairs of Leupld glasses, including 2 pairs of 10x40's with the individual diopter focus. Those get sent in for cleaning and alignment every few years or when ever I notice them needing it, and I always get them back in almost like new condition despite the fact that they're 3 or 4 decades out dated. One thing is for sure, you won't catch me leaving for a hunt without them, they're still good clear reliable glasses, out dated or not. And I also have 30-35 year old Gold Ring rifle scopes that have never failed me. These are the optics of old technology by which I will always compare the others too.


  • #2

    glass optics have peaked 10 years ago. Most mid range scopes are 99%. Not much to improve.

    Now, the mechanicals have been the problem, cheap scope= poor mechanicals. adjustments focus strength on recoil all problems. So far Leupold seems to have the best mechanicals.


    • #3

      YUP !!!
      shoot\'em till your arm falls off


      • #4

        I am a diehard Leupold "fan". I must have 2 dozen VX3s here, a handful of VX2s and a couple of the new Redfields. It comes down to the comparison game. Everyone compares their product to the best. "Quality as good as Leupold" "These are as clear as a Leupold" Why would you want to change? If they have worked for 40yrs without issue, why even consider changing. You get what you pay for usually with optics, if it is $100 cheaper, it is usually cheaper quality. I have found myself looking at other brands in the store, but always go back to the Gold Ring! I have heard good things about the Vortex, and bad about them. I have heard and seen good Nikon, and bad Nikon, but I have never had a bad experience or even heard of a bad experience with a Leupold.