Vortex Optics Viper HD 15-45×65 Angled Spotting Scope Review
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- Includes built-in Picatinny accessory rail
- Excellent image quality
- Best-in-class color reproduction
- Short eye relief at maximum magnification
- Narrow field of view
- Rapid and fine focus knobs are difficult to use with gloved hands
Welcome to my review of the Vortex Optics Viper HD 15–45×65 Angled Spotting Scope. Vortex Optics makes some amazing spotting scopes, and I’d heard plenty of good things about the Viper lineup. So, I was pretty keen on checking out the Viper for myself. Read on to find out how well this scope stacks up against the competition.
The model of Viper I tested features a 65mm objective lens with an angled eyepiece. If you prefer the straight eyepiece design, Vortex has you covered there with another model boasting the same features as the scope I’m reviewing.
If you’re an eyeglass wearer, the Viper might not be for you. The eye relief is a bit short at maximum magnification, coming in at just 15mm. Eye relief at minimum power is 20mm.
The spotting scope is 15.8 inches long, and weighs in at a mere 3.3 pounds, so it’s compact and lightweight enough to comfortably pack along for a hike into the woods for hunting or birdwatching.
What Comes in the Box?
Obviously, you’ll want to know what you can expect to receive for your investment. In the box, you’ll find the following items:
- The Vortex Optics Viper HD 15–45×65 Angled Spotting Scope
- An eyepiece cap
- An objective lens cover
- A custom-fitted soft case
You won’t get a hard case or a tripod, unfortunately, although most included tripods are junk anyways.
What’s the Magnification of the Scope
This spotting scope provides 15X to 45X magnification, and the image is clear and sharp throughout all of the power levels. Vortex Optics does an excellent job grinding and treating their optics, so this model does not suffer any noticeable problems with chromatic aberration.
The field of view of the Viper is a tad on the short side, ranging from 65 feet to 140 feet at 1,000 yards, depending on your magnification level.
How Easy is the Vortex Viper to Use?
The Viper is astonishingly easy to use, considering it has an advanced dual focus design. There’s a rapid focus dial to get your subject mostly sharp, and then you can hone in your image even further with the fine focus. My only complaint is that the knobs are a bit small for use with gloved hands. Other than that, the magnification wheel and both focus knobs feature plenty of stippling, allowing you a good feel on the controls even when your hands are slippery.
What’s the Light Gathering Capability Like on the Spotting Scope?
Since it has a 65mm objective lens, transmittance on this model is pretty good. The scope performs well in low light conditions, and is even suitable for some limited astronomy hobbyists. The optics on this scope are fully multicoated, which is another factor leading to the good light transmission of the glass.
How Are the Optics and Focus on This Spotting Scope?
Focus is very nice, with the dual focus system that allows you to achieve a much sharper image than you might otherwise. The magnification wheel and focus knobs turn smoothly, but offer enough resistance to prevent you from moving them when you don’t intend to. Close focus range is 16 feet, allowing you to get up close and personal even with nearby objects.
The optics utilize a porro prism design, and the prism glass is clearly the premium BaK–4 variety. The extra low dispersion glass utilized within the lenses offers excellent color reproduction, and the whole setup lacks any problems with phase shift. Vortex obviously didn’t skimp on the phase correction coating on the prisms.
What’s the Housing Like on the Spotting Scope?
The housing is rugged and well built, offering enough texture to provide you with a positive grip even when your hands are slippery or clad in gloves. The scope offers a built-in sunshade to reduce glare, and a rotating tripod ring allows you to adjust the orientation of the eyepiece to the most comfortable viewing position. As a really nice touch, Vortex has integrated a Picatinny rail atop the Viper, allowing easy attachment of red dot sights and other accessories.
How Durable is the Scope?
This scope is both fogproof and waterproof, owing to the fact that the lenses are O-ring sealed and the optics chamber is argon-purged. Argon gas purging is much akin to the optics being nitrogen-purged, except that argon is used instead of nitrogen to provide even more fog resistance in extreme temperatures.
Vortex Optics Viper HD 15–45×65 Angled Spotting Scope Summary
Thanks for reading my review of the Vortex Optics Viper HD 15–45×65 Angled Spotting Scope. This scope is definitely a premium piece of kit, and will provide you with years of service. It offers excellent image quality and durability, but suffers from a narrow field of view and controls that are a bit difficult to use if you’re wearing gloves.