Location: United States
Does anyone have any real life experience with the Alpen rainier 77 HD ED (10X42)??? How do they compare to the alphas as well as the "super mids" i.e. Zen-Ray, Leupold McKinley, Kruger Caldera (is this model now defunct and soon to re replaced by another?) I just recently purchased a super mid, ED3, and I must say there is nothing that I do not like about it including the build quality itself. Unfortunately, my wife feels the same way about them so now they are hers. Hence, the need to purchase a second pair of binos in the near term. I am attracted and intrigued by the Alpen rainiers but, in the end, I undoubtedly will include the McKinleys and ZR Prime HD's for consideration. Is there anything in the super mid category that I may have missed other than possibly Vortex? I do hope to see/hear some good things about the Alpen rainier other than their apparent no fault warranty which is a real plus.
Location: United States
I just read this and it made me proud that I purchased an ED3
Joined: May/20/2007 Location: United States Status: Offline Points: 1052
Not to dredge up the old but what a rebuttal to the old cliche of you get what you pay for in optics (via the same old same olds) when sometimes you actually can get more than you paid for-----look at my ED3!!! I, like you, like value for my money and I like the creativity that can be found filling a niche in a market economy. Alpen was founded by 2 guys from Bausch and Lomb, Kruger by a couple of guys from Leupold, and then there is the perfect example of Zen-Ray. As I said, there is literally nothing that I don't like about my ED3 other than the fact that my wife commandeered it from me. Thanks to the foresight of these bino entrepreneurs, there is now more to chose from and competition will force the same old same olds to either compete or lose market share. If they react like we know they will (must) there will be even more and better choices ahead but right now, Zen-Ray and others i.e. Kruger? seem to be leading the way. Now, I will want to check out the Prime HD.
The Leupold Golden Ring HD series is pretty awesome. Their warranty, should it ever be needed, is the best in the business, the one all others strive to emulate AND has the benefit of a history of having been honored stretching back many decades.
So too, Vortex has the Razor, Talon, and Viper models each of which uses HD glass. The Viper line offers FOV that is a bit narrow for me but the Talon and Razor lines are better in this regard. The Razor would be the clear top of the heap and the 8x42 model is within your $1200 budget.
I don't have a lot of experience with the Zen Rays, Krugers, or Therons and I don't doubt they are optically very good but, I have quite a bit of difficulty considering them as a realistic choice for anyone except perhaps someone who has a lot of disposable income and /or likes to collect binoculars. This may seem counter intuitive to some as these brands cost significantly less than their brand name cousins but, none of these brands have proven themselves in the market yet so; who knows how long they will be around? Even Vortex is just now entering a longevity phase where I am comfortable considering them as a viable option.
I remember just a couple of years or so ago the Promaster brand came onto the stage with a lot of fan-fare and enthusiasm. They got great reviews on lots of forums and were supposed to be THE brand that would give the major name players a run for their money. I remember doing reviews of both their Infinity Elite binoculars and spotting scope. As I recall I liked the binoculars better than the spotting scope which I felt had some pretty significant problems. Now, just a short few months later, nobody talks about them at all. In fact, I only know of one company that still even sells anything by Promaster.
Zen Ray, Kruger, Theron, and whatever other new brand to come along could be all they are touted as being, but until they have been around long enough to prove themselves as a viable, long-term presence in the market, I'll stick with better known names whose likelihood of continued success is less of a question mark.
Nice speech and I agree with it as far as it goes. It is however, only one side of this whole issue. This OP and the way the replies have gone is as good an opportunity to air this out somewhat. What you seem to miss with Promaster is that they got sales rights to the glass and promptly proceeded to do not one damn thing with it. Zen Ray however took it and ran and they are seemingly off to a good start. Zen Ray is now past the use of the original design of Jerry's "Chinese Clone" description. The new ED 3 is from a different source and ZR most likely will not use the original source any longer.
I have always had, have now, and will likely always have Leupold products. I would normally have recommended the Gold Ring but it is discontinued, so I didn't. You are right, it is a heck of a binocular.
But I happen to like the "rest of the story" approach here. Keep in mind that this is a response to the general point lucznik raised, rather than a direct response to his post. I have no wish for a war here. Thinking about this for a bit and digesting his pretty standard post in opposition approach, I have realized one big reason why I happen to be so fond of Zen Ray, Kruger, and Theron. There is only one reason for these companies to exist in the first place. That is because these guys recognized that very high quality optics at very decent prices were a producible product and that there was a market for them. Did we see the major players move to fill what now appears to be an obvious void? No we didn't. That made me realize I'm pretty well torqued at the major players for sitting on their asses and relying on every body's brand loyalty and just keep on offering mediocrity. All we have to do is look at Nikon's continuing machinations with the once classic, but now worn out Monarch design. Did they really improve it ever? Not in my opinion. Leupold certainly had ample opportunity to step up with their Green River line and promptly did nothing (except for the Yosemite). Now the Green River an Monarch binoculars are certainly decent mostly useable glass, but they are not at the level of the Zen Ray, Kruger, and Theron offerings. Do we see a ZEN ED 3, Kruger Caldera or a Theron Wapiti APO-ED in (insert the favorite major player here} lineup? No there is not.
I guess I have always tended to be an early adopter when I see something I like that I have been looking for for a long time. I have to watch how I spend my money, and I happen to think that spending over $2k for a good binocular is nothing short of ridiculous. I also see no crime in
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