Vortex is one of the leading names in monoculars, and two of their leading models, the Vortex Solo and the Vortex Recce are both amazing optics for ranging. While they are relatively close in performance and features, there are some notable differences that might mean the world to you. We’re going to take a close look at both monoculars, how they compare, how they contrast, as well as individual lists of their respective pros and cons.
Vortex 8x36 Solo Monocular vs. Vortex Recce 8x32 Pro HD Monocular
Both the Solo and the Recce use a roof prism. This contributes to their lower cost compared to other optics that may use a Porro prism type. This also means that while they won’t have the lower light loss and ultra-high image quality of Porro prisms, they are still on equal footing with each other here and still produce amazing images. They are best leveraged during full daylight hours and can suffer a bit at dusk or evening light levels.
The Vortex Recce and the Vortex Solo both have similar limits to their magnification. They each have a maximum magnification of 8x, making them ideal for applications such as hunting, birdwatching, and shot ranging in distances up to 1000 yards or more. This somewhat modest magnification ensures that you still have a wide field of view even at max distance.
Objective Lens Diameter
Here is where we start to see a little differentiation between the two models. The Solo features a 36mm objective lens, while the Recce is equipped with a 32mm. The 36mm objective lens on the Solo will technically gather more light for your image than the Recce’s 32mm, but what it comes down to is that since they’re both daytime optics, that extra 4mm of glass probably isn’t going to make or break your decision.
Angle of View
You’ll find that even though the Solo has the larger objective lens, it also sports a more narrow angle of view than the Recce. The Solo has an angle of view of 7.5 degrees vs. the 7.6 degrees of view on the Recce. This variance of 0.1 degrees won’t mean much until you’re ranging at extreme distances, in which case you’ll find that the Recce will give you a wider field of view than the Solo.
Field of View
Due to the slightly narrower angle of view on the Solo, the field of view at a max distance is slightly more narrow as well. The Solo has a field of view that is 393' wide at 1000 yd (131 m @ 1000 m), while the Recce has a field of view that is 400' wide at 1000 yd (399 m @ 1000 m). This may not mean a lot to many people, but for hunters or others who will be using their monoculars to track potentially moving targets, that additional 7 feet can mean the difference between keeping the target in the reticle or losing it.
You get a similar reticle on both the Solo and the Recce, with the monoculars each having an MRAD (Mil/Milliradian) reticle that includes ranging silhouettes. The silhouettes give an easy ranging and sizing of targets at a glance, both by 20” width and 17” + 13” height, at intervals of 100m between 300m and 600m. They also include extensive mil measurements with sub-mil gradients for those who need the utmost specificity in their ranging.
Minimum Focus Distance
The minimum focus distance is another category where the two models diverge by relatively significant margins. With the Solo, you’ll have a minimum focus distance of 16.4' (4.9 m) which is much farther away than the Recce. The Vortex Recce has a minimum focus distance of just 5' (1.5 m), which means if you need a close focus, the Recce will definitely have an advantage over the Solo.
Exit Pupil Diameter
While it’s usually not a huge consideration for most people, the exit pupil diameter does differ between the two models. The Solo gives you a slightly larger 4.5 mm lens compared to the 4 mm on the Recce. This makes it just slightly more comfortable to use in the context of the eye relief the larger lens requires, though, in truth, both are very comfortable and produce beautiful images through the exit pupil lens.
While the exit pupil difference is only one-half millimeter between the Solo and the Recce, it creates a much different eye relief situation. The Solo is able to offer a comfortable 18 mm eye relief, while the Recce has a still comfortable, though slightly more cozy 14.5 mm eye relief. This may make the difference to those with corrective lenses since you’ll have nearly 2cm worth of space to comfortably view your image.
Both Vortex monoculars have a great fog-proofing system, with housings that have been purged and filled with inert gas. The only difference is the specific gas that’s used to fill the vacuum. The Solo uses a nitrogen-filled housing while the Recce has an argon-filled housing, and the only difference between the two gasses is that argon tends to work better over a wider range of temperatures, giving a slight edge to the Recce in the field.
Since both models have been purged and inert gas impregnated, they are both waterproof. While the exact waterproofing standard isn’t listed, they are both expected to comfortably shake off any rain or environmental moisture that you’ll encounter during use. It should go without saying, however, that they aren’t designed for underwater use, so be sure they aren’t subjected to submersion.
Another area where the two differ is in their physical size. The Solo is significantly smaller than the Recce, measuring just 4.9” long and 2.6" wide (12.4 cm x 6.6 cm) while the Recce measures 6.2” long and only 2" wide (15.7 cm x 5.1 cm). This may make a difference for those who have size limitations for gear that they pack, although, with only slightly more than an inch difference in the length, this may not have much impact.
The final difference we found between the Solo and the Recce was the weight, and for many people, this will be a considerable point even though the discrepancy is limited. Since monoculars are frequently used in situations where you may be bringing along a considerable amount of gear, every ounce counts. The Vortex Solo weighs in at a modest 9.7 oz (275 g) while the Vortex Recce has slightly more heft to it, at 11 oz (312 g).
Pros And Cons Of Vortex 8x36 Solo
- Comes with a neck lanyard, utility clip, soft carrying case, and a cleaning cloth
- Most of the accessories are well-made
- Great durability
- Rubber armor provides excellent shock resistance
- Rangefinding reticle with excellent optics
- Comes with a lifetime warranty
- Lightweight monocular won’t weigh down travel kit
- The eyecup is comfortable and folds up and down
- Does not come with a lens cap
- The case is poorly constructed
- The utility clip feels cheap
- Great for long-distance, but doesn’t focus well on objects at a closer distance
- The eye cup would be better with a twist-up and down design for various eye relief
Pros And Cons Of Vortex Recce 8x32
- Compact enough to keep on hand, whether that be in a rifle case, range bag, or even carry in the car
- Extra magnification is great for distance estimation
- Optics are crystal clear and very sharp
- The carrying case can be attached to a pack
- Lightweight enough to comfortably carry around the neck
- Good choice for the shooting range or for bird watching
- Included lanyard isn’t very good quality, but the hole on the body is the perfect size to use a paracord as a backup
- Eye strain when you use it for a long time
- Eye relief could be better, not ideal for those that wear glasses
- 8x magnification is okay but could be better