Where are Vortex binoculars made?

Where are vortex binoculars made

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Vortex binoculars are made in 3 countries, Japan, China and the Philippines. Each country produces different quality optics. 

In the beginning Vortex only made optics in Japan. Chinese and Philippine factories could not meet the product standards Vortex required. Advances in production techniques and worker training got quality up.

In other words, the quality of your optics is based on the country it was made. Japan makes the highest grade. Here, we break down some of their optics so you know what you are getting.

The Changed Manufacting Plan

Vortex binoculars

Over time, the Vortex manufacturing plan has changed. When Vortex started, all the optics were made in Japan. China simply was not good enough.

As the Sino plants improved, Vortex moved more and more of its productions to China. If advances continue, Vortex may move more production to the mainland.

Vortex Binoculars: A Manufacturing Breakdown By Country

Japan

The only Vortex binoculars made in Japan today are the Razor line. These 9 sets are the premier line and will set you back more than a moderately priced deer rifle.

The HD series:

  • RAZOR HD 12X50
  • RAZOR HD 8X42
  • RAZOR HD 10X50
  • RAZOR HD 10X42

HD series

The price of HD series varies, so check the latest price at

The UHD series:

  • RAZOR UHD 8X42
  • RAZOR UHD 18X56
  • RAZOR UHD 10X50
  • RAZOR UHD 10X42
  • RAZOR UHD 12X50
Features and Specifications: 
  • These optics have European quality glass and the best coatings around.
  • The difference between the HD and UHD designation is the prism inside the optics. The prism is what directs light down the barrels to your eye.
  • The UHD has the Abbe Koenig Roof Prisms inside of them. The HD have the Schmidt-Pechan prisms.
  • The Abbe-Koenig prism bends light 3 times. The Schmidt-Pechan prism bends the light 5 times.
  • The less bending the light has to do, the clearer the image will be. The tolerances and precision needed to make the Abbe-Koenig are also much higher than the Schmidt-Pechan.
  • The Abbe-Koenig is the best internal prism system you can get in binoculars.
  • They have HD magnifications of 8, 10, 10, and 12.
  • They also have UHD magnifications of 8, 10, 10, 12, and 18.

If you need the most precision possible, you need one of the binocs. If you are standing on a mountain in Colorado, glassing the valley or the mountainside across from you, high quality glass is the difference between seeing that trophy bull elk and missing it.

Professional guides invest a lot in their glass for this very reason.

Pros
  • The best Vortex has to offer
  • Excellent glass
  • Vortex warranty
Cons
  • The most expensive Vortex has to offer
  • Not for beginners

UHD series

The price of UHD series varies, so check the latest price at


China

Most of Vortex’ production is in China. While the company says its high end products are made in Japan, this is not 100% true. Some of the premium binocularss are made in China.

1. Kaibab HD

These binoculars are made in China. It has a Porro prism which is less expensive than the Abbe Koenig and the Schmidt Pechan mentioned above. 

Features and Specifications
  • The Porro provides good resolution, but not as good as the 2 just above.
  • Porros are smaller than roof prisms and provide better images than a roof prism.
  • If you are hunting in places where 200 yards is a long shot, the Kaibab will serve you well. At that range, the image quality is still enough to let you see parts of a deer hidden behind the brush.
  • It has 18x magnifications. 
  • They are argon purged and rubber coated.
  • “Kaibab” is from the Paiute Indian language. It means “mountain lying down.”
Pros
  • Second level prism
  • Vortex warranty
  • Coated lenses
Cons
  • Nearly as expensive as the Razor series
  • Not for beginners

Kaibab HD

The price of Kaibab HD varies, so check the latest price at

2. Fury HD

The Fury uses a roof prism, which is less expensive than the others and provides the lowest quality image of the 4 prism types mentioned so far.

Features and Specifications
  • The integrated electronics includes a ballistic calculator and a wind measurement. It also scans for temperature and pressure. 
  • This scope pairs with Applied Ballistics Garmin devices to give you maximum precision when taking a shot.
  • The ribbed barrels mean hanging on to these even with gloves is easy to do. If you hunt in really cold climates like Alaska and Canada, a solid grip on your glass is critical. If you hunt in wet weather, those ridges also ensure you can hang on.
  • The Fury is a premium level binoc and a top choice for hunters who need to shoot out to 700 yards or so.
  • It has a rigged grip surface, a built-in compass, and a rubber coating. 
Pros
  • Compact
  • Light weight
  • Vortex warranty
  • Ideal for hunters
Cons
  • Roof prism
  • Not suited for extreme long range shooting
  • Need battery for onboard electronics

Fury HD

The price of Fury HD varies, so check the latest price at

3. Diamondback HD

The Diamondback series uses a roof prism. These optics are Vortex’ mid range offering.

You are not going to get the absolute best images, but these are good enough for scanning and identifying things. 

If you need to observe very fine details, this is not the pair of binoculars for you. If you are interested in a set of binocs that are good quality and affordable, these are an excellent choice.

Features and Specifications
  • It has magnification levels of 8, 8, 8, 10, 10, 10, 10, 12, and 15.
  • It has a wide choice of objective bell sizes.
  • It is argon purged.
Pros
  • Roof prism
  • Great value for the money
  • Big selection within the Diamondback series
Cons
  • Not suited for fine detail
  • Not suited for very long range

Diamondback HD

The price of Diamondback HD varies, so check the latest price at

4. Crossfire HD

The Crossfire HD family is on the border between entry and mid level binocs. The smaller magnification levels are entry level. The higher magnification is mid-level.

Features and Specifications
  • The larger front bell gathers more light than straight-tube binocs. More light is a good thing, especially in the twilight hours.
  • This set will mount to a tripod for hands free use. That is handy for bird watchers and not so much for hunters. Hauling around a tripod is extra weight and encumbrance a hunter does not need.
  • These have a roof prism.
  • They have magnification levels of 8, 10, 10, and 12.
  • They are rubber-coated.
  • They have a tripod mount.
Pros
  • Good for mid-range viewing
  • Excellent value
  • Good light gathering
  • Entry level hunting binocs
Cons
  • Image quality is good, not excellent or superior

Crossfire HD

The price of Crossfire HD varies, so check the latest price at

5. Raptor

The Raptor series are an entry level binocs with the Porro prism. You are going to get good images. Not the best and certainly not the worst.

I call this ideal for waterfowl hunters in a bayou or swamp with big clearings. You need a bit more in your glass hunting open water.

The wide-spread front lenses means you get more depth of field than with narrow binocs. Depth of field lets you gauge how far away something is. If you do not have a rangefinder, you need as much depth of field as possible.

Features and Specifications
  • 8.5, 10 magnification levels
  • Excellent depth of field
  • Rubber coated
Pros
  • Good choice for some waterfowl hunters
  • Wide front lens separation improves depth of field
  • Entry level hunting set
Cons
  • Not suited for long range
  • Smaller front bell does not gather as much light

Raptor

The price of Raptor varies, so check the latest price at

6. Vanquish

The Vanquish series is entry level for people who are new to binocs and just want something to look at distant objects.

Features and Specifications
  • It has a reverse Porro prism. This means the front objective lenses are close together while the eye pieces on the back are separated.
  • In a regular Porro, the front lenses are farther apart than the eye pieces. This is neither good nor bad, except that it makes these binocs more compact than many others.
  • The depth of field is more limited than with other binocs. However, if you understand that limitation, this is not an issue. 

Because of the depth of field, I recommend these for watching sports or even concerts if you get seats in the nosebleed section. You don’t care how far away the action is as long as you get a good view.

Features
  • Textured grip, easy to hold
  • Smallest of the Vortex binocs
  • Eyepieces lock in place
Pros
  • Great for watching sports
  • Compact
  • Lightweight
Cons
  • Not well-suited for hunting
  • Reverse Porro reduces depth of field

Vanquish

The price of Vanquish varies, so check the latest price at

7. Bantam

The Bantam is the entry level, first tier for Vortex binocs. These are made with kids in mind. They are inexpensive, but still deliver good images to the eye.

In the world of hunting, we have something called a truck gun. A truck gun is cheap to buy, easy to use and is handy for unexpected situations. It is not a preferred weapon, but something that will get the job done in a pinch.

The Bantam is a pair of truck binoculars. Put one in the center console, in the glove compartment on hanging off a strap from the back seat. The idea is you keep it immediately handy. If it breaks (got that Vortex warranty still going on), you are not out much money.

Features and Specifications
  • It is rubber coated.
  • It has a roof prism.
  • It is shockproof.
  • It is very easy to use.
Pros
  • Inexpensive
  • Lightweight
  • Great “truck” binoculars
  • Excellent for beginners
Cons
  • Not suited for mid and long-range viewing
  • Small bell does not gather a lot of light
  • Entry level

Bantam

The price of Vortex Optics Strike Eagle Riflescope varies, so check the latest price at

8. Triumph

The Triumph is definitely entry-level for Vortex. The binocs are good and above average quality. 

These are suited for close work. Hunters, you want to be under 200 yards with less than 100 yards better. Birdwatchers and observers need about the same distance.

This is a set of binocs I would take to a professional sporting event when I was in the mid-level stands.

Features and Specifications
  • These binoculars mounts to a tripod. Bird and wildlife watchers will appreciate this hands-free viewing. Hunters do not need a tripod unless they are sitting in a blind and have room for that extra equipment.
  • This straight-line tube optics has a roof prism.
  • They are rubber coated.
  • They work with a tripod.
  • A neck strap is included.
Pros
  • Good for sports
  • Good 1st binocs for kids
  • Definite entry level
  • Lightweight
  • Compact
Cons
  • Not suited for mid to long-range viewing
  • Small objective bell

Triumph

The price of Triumph varies, so check the latest price at

Philippines

Only one Vortex binoculars family is made in the Philippines, the Viper. That is subject to change.

1. Viper

The Viper is a mid-level scope series. These straight tube binocs use a roof prism.

This one is similar to the Triumph and the Crossfire series. The biggest difference is the Viper tubes are purged with Argon, while the others use Nitrogen.

I can see using these on the Plains hunts for deer, speed goats, and other critters. If you hunt in the South in forests, these are also good.

I call these acceptable for hunts in places like Illinois, where you may sit on the edge of corn or soybean fields that are 100s of acres. You can at least know where the deer are and how they move and make needed adjustments the next time you are in a stand.

Features and Specifications
  • Rubber coated
  • Right eyepiece locks
  • Argon purged
  • Chest harness included
Pros
  • Argon purged
  • Superior lens coatings
Cons
  • Small front bell
  • Roof prism
  • Not suited for long-range viewing

Viper

The price of Vortex Optics Viper varies, so check the latest price at

Conclusion

Many people have problems buying items made in China because of the state of US-Sino relations. However, China is a global manufacturing powerhouse.

The quality has improved over the years and sometimes rivals that of other countries. Where binoculars are concerned, the quality has yet to reach Japanese or European levels. For that matter, the quality also lags what optics are made in the US.

Chinese labor is far cheaper than American labor. China also has fewer regulations on its industries and fewer workers’ rights.

Vortex’s decision to move so much of its production to China is a matter of business. To compete in the extremely tight optics market, Vortex had to reduce costs. 

Buyers overwhelmingly support that decision. Vortex is one of the top sporting and hunting optics makers in the world now. Money definitely talks.

Can you get better-quality binoculars? Yes. Will the higher quality come with a higher price? Yes.

Vortex makes good stuff.

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