Binoculars review

Vortex Razor HD 8x42

Vortex Razor HD 8x42
20 June 2024
The Vortex Razor HD series was launched in 2012 and for several years constituted the top-of-the-range line of products of this American brand name. In 2019 it was deposed by the Razor UHD models but it remained in their line-up.

It consists of four roof prism binoculars with the following parameters: 8x42, 10x42, 10x50, and 12x50. As these instruments used to be the top line the producers weren't skimpy with the best technologies available at that time. Like in the case of a bit less expensive Viper HD series you get low dispersion HD elements but the whole objective system is even better corrected when it comes to chromatic aberration and it gets the APO mark from the producer, suggesting that its performance is completely apochromatic.

You also deal with XR Plus Fully Multi-Coated layers that cover all air-to-glass surfaces. Additionally, all Schmidt-Pechan prisms are protected by dielectric multicoatings and phase correction coatings. What's more, the outer elements feature hydrophobic Armor Tek layers that are supposed to protect the surfaces against scratches, dirt, and grease.

The casing is made of magnesium composites and padded with a good quality rubber armour. The binoculars are argon-purged and waterproof. Buyers get in the accessory kit a set of caps, a strap, a stylish case, and a harness. The product comes with a lifetime warranty of the producer.

  • Lornetka Vortex Razor HD 8x42
  • Lornetka Vortex Razor HD 8x42
  • Lornetka Vortex Razor HD 8x42
  • Lornetka Vortex Razor HD 8x42
Manufacturer data


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Magnification Lens diameter Angular field of view Prisms Eye relief Weight Price
8 42 130/1000(7.4o) BaK-4/roof 17.5 mm 686 g 4739 PLN
Results of the review
Real front lens diameter Left:   42.14+/- 0.05 mm
Right:  42.13+/- 0.05 mm
8 / 8.0 pkt
Real magnification 7.93+/- 0.05x 3/3.0
Transmission 90.1+/- 1% 18/25.0
Chromatic aberration Very low in the centre, a bit lower than medium on the edge. 8/10.0
Astigmatism Low. 8.3/10.0
Distortion Distance of the first curved line from the field of view centre compared to the field of view radius: 93% ± 3% 10/10.0
Coma Appears in a distance of 65-70% from the field centre and is on the borderline between medium and high values on the very edge. 5.9/10.0
Blurring at the edge of the FOV Blurr occurs in a distance of 85% ± 4% from the field of view centre. 7/10.0
Darkening at the edge the FOV Moderate. 3.8/5.0
Whiteness of the image Excellent, very flat transmission graph. Almost perfect colour rendering. 4.9/5.0
Collimation Perfect. 5/5.0
Internal reflections
Left: Right:
Vortex Razor HD 8x42 - Internal reflections - Left Vortex Razor HD 8x42 - Internal reflections - Right
Distinct "drop" and a brighter arc under the exit pupil. The performance a bit weaker than in the 10x42 model.
Housing Solid but also shapely and very nice at the same time – the designers did a great job here because the pair of binoculars certainly catches your attention. A quite compact instrument for the 42 mm class. Comfortable to hold and to look through – everything fits immediately. Padded with good quality rubber that sticks perfectly well but can be slightly pulled out near the objectives. Rubberized eyecups with four detention stops. Produced in the Philipines. 7.8/8.0
Focusing A big and comfortable central wheel – it moves smoothly and is properly damped. Its focus throw amounts to an angle of about 570 deg. A ribbed dioptre correction ring that can be shifted is put on the right eyepiece. It moves the outer element. 4.5/5.0
Tripod A quite comfortable access. 3/3.0
Interpupilary distance from 54.7 to 75.3mm 5/6.0
Closest focusing distance 1.55 meters. 2/2.0
Eyepieces FOV Aparent field of view of 58.0 deg (simplified formula) and 53.7 deg (tangent formula). 9/20.0
Field of view Measured by us amounted to 7.31 ± 0.04 deg and was slightly narrower than declared in official specifications. 5.5/8.0
Quality of the interior of the barrels Inner tubes strongly ribbed, dark, and properly matted. Areas near prisms are dark but the cell they are set in is not covered by anything and gray. Some specks of dust. 4/5.0
Left: Right:
Vortex Razor HD 8x42 - Vignetting - Left Vortex Razor HD 8x42 - Vignetting - Right
OL: 3.27%, OR: 4.61%
Prisms quality Good quality BaK-4. 8/8.0
Antireflection coatings Green-purple on objective lenses, greenish on the prisms, purple-green-yellow on the eyepieces. Low intensity. 5/5.0
Warranty [years] lifetime 6/6.0
Final result
148.8 / 190 pkt
Econo result 0pkt.


  • shapely, solid and stylish casing made of magnesium composites,
  • slight astigmatism,
  • very low chromatic aberration,
  • moderate brightness loss on the edge of the field,
  • sharp image up to 85% of the field,
  • practically invisible distortion,
  • excellent colour rendering,
  • high quality coatings,
  • good quality prisms made of BaK-4 glass,
  • sharp image already from 1.55 metres,
  • lifetime warranty,
  • sensibly dark areas near exit pupils,
  • good blackening inside of the tubes.

  • truncated exit pupils.

The times when you could buy a pair of binoculars from the best manufacturers for a sum of about 1000-1500 USD are definitely over. Now you have to spend definitely more than 2000 USD.

Still, it's worth remembering that a graph showing a corelation between the quality of optical instruments and their price is rather logarithmic than linear. At the beginning the quality increases very quickly with a jump of the price but on the other end of the spectrum just several percent of quality increase might cost you as much two times more.

Vortex Razor HD 8x42 and Vortex Razor HD 10x50.

That's why, if I had to look for a pair of binoculars that is just slightly weaker than the best products available on the market but doesn't have a budget-wrecking price tag I would focus on the 1000-1500 USD range. Such series as Meopta Meostar B1, Nikon Monarch HG, or Zeiss Conquest HD fit that price range and their price/quality ratio remains excellent. They are almost top-of-the-range devices but they can cost even two times less than the best instruments available on the market.

I don't doubt that the Razor HD series produced by Vortex belongs to that group as well. The result of the 8x42 model in our tests proves that it is able to compete with the best pairs of binoculars very effectively.

In fact, you get here everything you might expect from a top-of-the-range pair of binoculars: a solid, magnesium casing that is also very stylish, good optical properties, especially excellent antireflection coatings that are able to ensure you a very flat transmission graph with a level near 90% in the wide range of spectrum. As if it wasn't enough, you also get a very comfortable eye relief distance, amounting to 17.5 mm, and a possibility of focusing up from a distance of 1.55 meters.

What's more, the producers really made an effort to ensure that the binoculars are lightweight and handy. The Razor HD 8x42 weighs just 679 grams and it's a value even a tad lower than the one stated in the specifications. The length of the instrument reaches just 149 mm so when it comes to physical dimensions and the weight the Razor can compete with many bigger 8x32 models. For example the Zeiss Conquest HD 8x32 weighs 630 grams.

Striving to guarantee low weight and limited dimensions has its price, though; is the reason why the Razor HD 8x42 has one flaw. Small prisms cause distinct vignetting and you get truncated exit pupils as a result.

If you are determined to pick holes in the performance you can complain about a bit too narrow field of view, lagging behind that of other top-of-the-range instruments. The field of view of eyepieces should exceed 60 degrees and here you get a tad less, 58 degrees. Of course you don't feel any discomfort or an impression that you look through a keyhole but still the situation is far from the ease offered by an instrument with 60-70 deg eyepieces. Especially that the Razor HD 10x42, tested by us earlier, could offer eyepieces with an apparent field of view of 67 deg. The regress is clear here.

Still, these two flaws, mentioned by us just a moment ago, don't change our very high assessment of the Razor HD 8x42; it is able to repeat an equally perfect result of the Razor HD 10x42, tested by us before. If you are looking for an excellent, very solid pair of binoculars that will serve you for many years and looks like a million dollars and you don't want to spend a fortune on it, you definitely should take a closer look at the Razor HD series.