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Is the new Chinese ED glass that good?

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/21/2009 at 21:20
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I haven't been on here much lately, but I am looking for a new set of "eyes" for hunting and have been reading all the great reviews on these chinese ED glass.  The last I was on here, its been almost a year, the two best binos under the $400 I thought were the Mojave and Fury.  My how a year can change that huh?  So I guess I will go back to my main point.  I haven't seen either of the new Chinese ED Glass yet, ie. Zen or Hawke and am wondering, if my coin should go to one of these or the fury or viper or mojave?  I just want an 8x for hunting, not trying to see the other end of the world, i have a nice lil spotting scope for that.  Thanks for any help you can lend a brother!!
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I have the Hawke Frontier ED 8x43. Superb value and a great binocular.

No CA (much better than my zeiss Victory 8x40)  and wide FOV.

I expect the ZenRay ED/ED2 8x43 to be as good as or slightly better than the Hawke.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/22/2009 at 09:04
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The Zen ED2 is indeed that good.  Mine have been through some rough hunts the past 4 months and have held up very well.  Superb glass.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/22/2009 at 10:54
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The Chinese ED glass really is that good.  Some early postings about them had to be initially pretty enthusiastic to get the point across.  The only negative things heard are 99% from people who have not, and never will, try them.  99% of people who have them are very happy with them.  There is good reason for that.  There really is nothing that comes as close to the image you get for the price you pay than these. 
 
It is a pretty new design and the test of time is pretty well still on the path ahead of them.  They are a $400 binocular and do lack some rather subtle  characteristics of the expensive glass, and they lack the brand name panache',  but seem as well built as any other binocular in the comparative price range.  There is also nothing in the comparative price range that will match them optically either.  I would include the Fury and Mojave there as well.
 
I have the 7x36 and 10x43 ZEN ED 2.  I have had the 8x43 ED and ED2 and the original ZEN ED in 10x43 too.  I could be pretty happy with the 7x36 as an only binocular.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/22/2009 at 12:15
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I am not an optics expert...
 
I am very happy with my Zen Ray 8x43's (ED).  I bought them ealier in the year after reading a review on a birding forum before SWFA carried them.  I just ordered the vistas for my 16 year old for Christmas from SWFA last week, they aren't here yet maybe today.
 
Not a apples and oranges but my Zeiss Conquest 3x9 40mm is no better in a non scientific deer blind study.  My buddies 10 x 50 Nikons (about a $300.00 pair of roof prisms) pale miserably in a foggy morning comparison.
 
Richard 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/22/2009 at 12:37
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Originally posted by Klamath Klamath wrote:

 I have the 7x36 and 10x43 ZEN ED 2.  I have had the 8x43 ED and ED2 and the original ZEN ED in 10x43 too.  I could be pretty happy with the 7x36 as an only binocular.
 
Really?  I am fairly new to the optics scene and would like a better understanding of the comparison of the two - 8X43 and 7X36.  Just me being a rather newbie would look at the #'s and pick the 8X43 for everyday hunting.  I would have been believing that the 8X43's would be brighter - in the early am and late pm, and give a better picture of what could be coming through the woods.  Am I of course or is the difference smaller than what I am assuming here?  This is why I would rather ask on this site then ask some joe guy in a store who probably doesn't even know there are different power binos out there!!
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/22/2009 at 14:18
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What can be tested on a optics bench does not necessarily mean that the tested criteria will translate into observable benefit in the field.  You are correct in that with a 43mm objective there is more light energy present for the system to work with than there is with a 36mm binocular.  So yes, the 43mm should have a technical edge in brightness.  It will also have a technical edge in resolution.  The 36 asks 7x in magnification and the 43 asks for 8x.  So, brightness appears to me to be a wash in twilight hours looking at game animals.
 
What practically separates the 7x and 8x ZEN ED glass, for me anyway, is the 7x has both a wider field of view and a superior depth of focus when compared to the 8x.  This (again, for me) presents the appearance of a more comfortable and more stereoscopic view than the 8x.  Also, as a practical matter the 43mm ZEN is a big binocular and I like the smaller size of the 36mm little brother.  The 8x is a very wide field full size binocular, being bested by no common full size binocular I can think of off hand.
 
So one makes his choice and goes from there.  I can see no practical difference in the amount of detail I can see with a 7x or an 8x.  As a practical matter, for me, there is no real observable difference.  As the distance increases, there is the appearance of a larger image with an 8x, but not enough for me to tell any more detail than I get with the 7x.  So, I settled on a two binocular combination of the 7x and 10x.  The 10x is enough bigger that I can begin to see an detail advantage in certain situations.  So, I can very easily like the 7x36 for a one binocular choice.  However, I have about 20 binoculars, so I am not a one binocular user.
 
Most people are just like you and pick based on how many x's there are in the spec.  This is often a mistake.  What is needed is a binocular with adequate resolution ability for the situation, with an image that can be held steady.  Increasing magnification can increase image shake (in fact probably does for most), decreases brightness and will increase eye strain.  However, what can never be accounted for is how one person's eyes will react to a binocular.  Some people can in fact hold a 10x steady enough, and some eyes can in fact distinguish enough extra detail that more x's in the specs can work for them.


Edited by Klamath - December/22/2009 at 14:29
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/22/2009 at 15:02
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Excellent Thanks for the excellent description.  For that very reason is why I am "still wet behind the ears!"  I did know enough that for the areas that I hunt, that I do not need a bigger optic than an 8X.  But since I have never looked through either, i was just concerned with the view in the dusk & dawn areas.  This is when I really need all the help I can get.  I am glad to hear that the is not much noticable difference between the two sizes and I would like the smaller set for hunting.  I think, when the BOSS allows, I will get the 7X36.  Thank you again everyone for your help. 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/29/2009 at 09:16
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Thier is not doubt the zens are optically very good... the Chinease are great at copying quality products.   The jury is still out on the mechanical quality and reliabality.  That takes time and real world expereinces to determine.  NV Hunter    

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/29/2009 at 11:34
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Yeah, the Chinese do have a copycat and patent infringement history. However, the new Chinese ED binocular design appears to be unique and as far as I can tell it is not a copy of any existing design. 
 
Yes time has yet to tell the tale of this design.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/29/2009 at 13:32
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Originally posted by Klamath Klamath wrote:

 You are correct in that with a 43mm objective there is more light energy present for the system to work with than there is with a 36mm binocular.  So yes, the 43mm should have a technical edge in brightness.  It will also have a technical edge in resolution.  The 36 asks 7x in magnification and the 43 asks for 8x.  So, brightness appears to me to be a wash in twilight hours looking at game animals.
 
7x36mm=5.14mm Exit Pupil
 
8x43mm=5.37mm Exit Pupil
 
There is Not Enough Difference between the two E.P.'s (light transmission to the eye) when it comes to visibly discerning ANY 'significant' difference during dawn or dusk, especially if your own eye pupils only dilate to 5mm's.
 
 


Edited by Bird Watcher - December/29/2009 at 14:15
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/30/2009 at 12:38
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Originally posted by Bird Watcher Bird Watcher wrote:

Originally posted by Klamath Klamath wrote:

 You are correct in that with a 43mm objective there is more light energy present for the system to work with than there is with a 36mm binocular.  So yes, the 43mm should have a technical edge in brightness.  It will also have a technical edge in resolution.  The 36 asks 7x in magnification and the 43 asks for 8x.  So, brightness appears to me to be a wash in twilight hours looking at game animals.
 
7x36mm=5.14mm Exit Pupil
 
8x43mm=5.37mm Exit Pupil
 
There is Not Enough Difference between the two E.P.'s (light transmission to the eye) when it comes to visibly discerning ANY 'significant' difference during dawn or dusk, especially if your own eye pupils only dilate to 5mm's.
 
 
 
But I would think that larger glasses like 43mm will pull in more light (in absolute term) than its 36mm cousin. Now I am confused. Head Banger
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/30/2009 at 12:58
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Every time I read the title of this thread I think it is someone teasing Ed about being Chinese instead of Mexican or something like that.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/30/2009 at 13:21
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Resolution decreases at the outer edges of a lens because of the lens curvature.  So, the Bigger lenses have a larger central area (sweet spot) of resolution than smaller lenses.
     The less light you will be working with, the greater the importance of exit pupil size on your choice of binoculars.
(NIKON "The Complete Optics Guide for Successful Hunting" by John Barsness)
 
 
 
 
 A LARGER exit pupil delivers a brighter image to the eye.
 
 


Edited by Bird Watcher - December/30/2009 at 17:57
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/30/2009 at 14:01
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There is indeed more light energy in the system with a 43mm glass than there is with a 36mm.  You can do the math yourself and see how much larger the surface area is between the two.  You can also do the math yourself and see there is no practical difference in the exit pupils either, as Birdwatcher correctly illustrated.  The difference is that, as I pointed out earlier, is that the 36mm is asking for magnification of 7x, and the 43mm is asking for 8x.  Again, and speaking only for myself, there is no observable difference in what detail I can practically see in the field with a 7x or an 8x.  If I need more magnification, I prefer to step up to a 12x -15x on a tripod.
 
According to Zen Ray, the technical resolution (measured in arc seconds) is about 0.5 arc seconds better in the 8x43 than it is in the 7x36.   The resolution specs on the 7x are right at 4.0 arc seconds, which is in the very darned good range.  I will get back to my earlier claim that just because some test can be done by a qualified optics technician on an optics bench does not necessarily mean that the average user will see a corresponding benefit in the field.  I can't see the resolution difference, any anybody who can, in field use, has better eyes than me.  However, I will note that I could truthfully say the 8x has a bit better apparent brightness than the 7x.
 
For me, I will take the 7x36 any time over the 8x43 mostly because it is smaller than the 8x43.  That and the fact that I can get every bit as much information from the 7x as I can the 8x.
 
So, it gets back to the old axiom of, "You had better try what you buy for yourself before you buy it".  You never know how two different set of eyes will react to the same binocular.  There are guys reading this that will think "that Steve character is nuts, anybody knows that 10x is better".   Well, That Steve character has 10x binoculars too.  He is also perfectly willing to accept the fact that just because he prefers 7x, that others will like more magnification.  Some people are really like that, and that is why binoculars come in all sorts of magnifications.
 
As a matter of my experience, a too common mistake is going for more x in the magnification specification, when better resolution, better color, and better contrast is very often a better solution.


Edited by Klamath - December/30/2009 at 14:10
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/30/2009 at 14:20
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Originally posted by Klamath Klamath wrote:

  Again, and speaking only for myself, there is no observable difference in what detail I can practically see in the field with a 7x or an 8x.  
 
According to Zen Ray, the technical resolution (measured in arc seconds) is about 0.5 arc seconds better in the 8x43 than it is in the 7x36.  I know what the specs are, but will leave that out because somebody will then be able to claim you can see better with both for the higher arc second number and because of the 1x more magnification.  I will get back to my earlier claim that just because some test can be done by a qualified optics technician on an optics bench does not necessarily mean that the average user will see a corresponding benefit in the field.  I can't see the resolution difference, any anybody who can, in field use, has better eyes than me.
 
 
Steve,
 
I might add, that, I was, at one time, comparing a Leupold Katmai 6x32mm against a Bushnell 7x35 and against a Minox 8x44mm. Personally speaking, for my 60+ year old eyeballs, I was able to see better resolution, as I increased magnification & aperture. The distance, of the birds under observation, was less than 100 feet, at that time.   Also, I was using a handgun target mounted upon a fence from approx. 40-45'. The increased magnification of 1x & 2x did make a gradual difference in my ability to see more, in terms of finer print. I wear Varilux eyeglasses for everyday use, but usually take my eyeglasses off when using my binoculars.


Edited by Bird Watcher - December/30/2009 at 14:35
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/30/2009 at 16:53
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Originally posted by Klamath Klamath wrote:

There is indeed more light energy in the system with a 43mm glass than there is with a 36mm.  You can do the math yourself and see how much larger the surface area is between the two.  You can also do the math yourself and see there is no practical difference in the exit pupils either, as Birdwatcher correctly illustrated.  The difference is that, as I pointed out earlier, is that the 36mm is asking for magnification of 7x, and the 43mm is asking for 8x.  Again, and speaking only for myself, there is no observable difference in what detail I can practically see in the field with a 7x or an 8x.  If I need more magnification, I prefer to step up to a 12x -15x on a tripod.
 
According to Zen Ray, the technical resolution (measured in arc seconds) is about 0.5 arc seconds better in the 8x43 than it is in the 7x36.   The resolution specs on the 7x are right at 4.0 arc seconds, which is in the very darned good range.  I will get back to my earlier claim that just because some test can be done by a qualified optics technician on an optics bench does not necessarily mean that the average user will see a corresponding benefit in the field.  I can't see the resolution difference, any anybody who can, in field use, has better eyes than me.  However, I will note that I could truthfully say the 8x has a bit better apparent brightness than the 7x.
 
For me, I will take the 7x36 any time over the 8x43 mostly because it is smaller than the 8x43.  That and the fact that I can get every bit as much information from the 7x as I can the 8x.
 
So, it gets back to the old axiom of, "You had better try what you buy for yourself before you buy it".  You never know how two different set of eyes will react to the same binocular.  There are guys reading this that will think "that Steve character is nuts, anybody knows that 10x is better".   Well, That Steve character has 10x binoculars too.  He is also perfectly willing to accept the fact that just because he prefers 7x, that others will like more magnification.  Some people are really like that, and that is why binoculars come in all sorts of magnifications.
 
As a matter of my experience, a too common mistake is going for more x in the magnification specification, when better resolution, better color, and better contrast is very often a better solution.
 
thanks for the explanation. It totally makes sense now.
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Originally posted by Bird Watcher Bird Watcher wrote:

  
Steve,
 
I might add, that, I was, at one time, comparing a Leupold Katmai 6x32mm against a Bushnell 7x35 and against a Minox 8x44mm. Personally speaking, for my 60+ year old eyeballs, I was able to see better resolution, as I increased magnification & aperture. The distance, of the birds under observation, was less than 100 feet, at that time.   Also, I was using a handgun target mounted upon a fence from approx. 40-45'. The increased magnification of 1x & 2x did make a gradual difference in my ability to see more, in terms of finer print. I wear Varilux eyeglasses for everyday use, but usually take my eyeglasses off when using my binoculars.
 
Good point.  At some point anybody will establish both upper and lower limits of what is acceptable for them, or at least be able to define the limits of what makes a practical difference to them.  I have a bunch of 6-7x binoculars and while I can say I don't see much difference between 7x and 8x, I can see what appears to me to be a larger magnitude of difference between the 1x difference of 6x and 7x.  So any binocular of less than 6x will have no draw for me.  I will also prefer a 7x over a 6x, but I will also take a 6x with superior image qualities over a larger magnification glass that is less good optically.


Edited by Klamath - December/30/2009 at 18:51
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/02/2010 at 23:03
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first let me say I hope to buy more Zen Ray ED glass before the market catches on and the prices go up! I have been photographing for 15 years and have used the best Zeiss, Leica
Canon and Pentax lenses I know good glass when I see it. Zen Ray ED glass is steal right now. I was out scouting today and was able to identify fresh deer tracks at  75 yards on a fresh trail today in good light. Saved me 75 yard of walking! I have the Zen Ray ED 10x
I hope they make a 15x and an extreme low light 8x56. These binoculars shame my zeiss conquest rifle scope. I will say I can see where in very low light the performance probably drops a little faster than the $1k glass but not much. My zeiss conquest rifle scope limits my hunting hours not the Zen Ray ED
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/02/2010 at 23:16
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Originally posted by Gymrat500 Gymrat500 wrote:

Excellent  i was just concerned with the view in the dusk & dawn areas.  This is when I really need all the help I can get.  I am glad to hear that the is not much noticable difference between the two sizes and I would like the smaller set for hunting.  I will get the 7X36.  Thank you again everyone for your help. 
you will probably find the scope on your rifle limits your hunting hours before the binos do
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