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New Zen Ray Vista and ZRS HD

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/03/2010 at 18:52
Klamath View Drop Down
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I did not have much intention of trying either of these, but my curiosity eventually got the better of me.    I have come to like the 7x36 ZEN ED 2 enough that I made arrangements to trade an 8x43 in NIB condition for a second 7x36.  I sent it in, and the new one is not in yet, as Charles was getting low on inventory and asked if he could wait until he got his next order with the new ZRS. The second one will be the glare fix version as well.  So, as events turned out out, I now have the Vista and ZRS, and another ED 7x36 in route.  I really had no particular expectation on either one.  I quite liked the original ZRS HD. I had the original ZRS in 10x42, and I wound up giving it to my nephew for a birthday present.  I did not think too much of the original non PC Vista. 

 

When ZR says they are new, they mean new, not just revisions or updates of the older versions, but completely different design and housing on both and neither bear a lot of resemblance to their predecessor, neither physically nor optically.

 

The Vista 8x42

 

These bear an astonishing resemblance to the Vortex Diamondback, both physically and optically.  The Diamondback I have is the 7x36 version, but the interior assemblage of parts looks different.  I suppose this may be an example of convergent evolution, as I believe the Vista and DB come from different manufacturers.

 

The Vista comes in a black armor.  It uses a 1.5 turn focus travel.  The first 1.0 turns take it from the close focus to 100’.  The Vista is 5.0” by 6.1” with the eye cups extended and 5.8” retracted.  It weighs 24 oz.

 

The focus travel is quite smooth, and somewhat easier than the ZRS, but a lot less stiff than the ZEN ED 2.  The diopter is right barrel, non-locking.  It shows no tendency to shift settings and seems stiff enough to stay where it is set.  The IPD range is from 56-75mm.

 

The ZRS HD 8x42

 

I really expected to see a similar physical package with the new ZRS and the old ZRS.  This is not the case.  The new ZRS is quite a bit more compact, not very much larger than the Diamondback 7x36.  It has the same rubber armor and thumb indents found in the ZEN ED.  It is 5.4” retracted and 5.8” extended.  The extended distance is the same as the Vista when retracted.  The locking diopter is gone on this model.  Like the Vista, it shows no shift and looks to be stiff enough to avoid unintentional movement.  The eye cups, diopter, and focus knobs on both look identical.  This has 1.75 turns of the focus wheel.  Like the Vista, it uses one turn to go from close focus to 100’.  The focus tension is a little stiffer than the Vista, but still less than the ZEN ED.  This one has an IPD range from 54-75mm, better for closer set eyes.  The case and accessories for each are identical.  There are typical tethered objective covers that stay put, the rather typical soft rain guard, decent nylon case, and a just right length for around the neck wear black strap with the red and white Zen-Ray on the strap.

 

The views

 

The comparison line up of binoculars were;  7x36 Diamondback, 7x32 Leupold GR Switch Power, 7x36 ZEN ED 2 (my Swift Eaglets are gone at the moment) , 8x42 Promaster ELX ED, 10x42 original ZRS, and10x 43 ZEN ED 2.

 

The first ZR binocular I unpacked was the Vista.  So I set it up and started using it. 

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/03/2010 at 19:01
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Steve any chance you can change the font size on this post?
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/03/2010 at 21:16
Klamath View Drop Down
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Ouch, that was kinda small.  Fixed it. 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/03/2010 at 21:29
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Thanks. Nice review.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/04/2010 at 11:10
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FYI, if Steve wasn't such a good guy and hadn't edited the font size on his post, you could temporarily zoom in with your browser (usually CTRL-+ and CTRL-0 will set it back to the default)...or get a pair of Vistas and stand back about 10 feet from the monitor. Big Smile
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/04/2010 at 20:02
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Great Review!
 
I think I can scrounge up the change for some of the new ZRS.  That seems like a lot of performance for $200.
 
When will SWFA be shipping?
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/04/2010 at 21:51
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Thanks Matt.
 
I don't know when SWFA will get their shipment.  As far as I know Zen Ray was expecting theirs by today (March 4).  I think they had some more ZEN ED 2 coming as well, so it was probably busy at ZR today.
 
I doubt you will be dissapointed.  I was pleasantly surprised.  Lots of bang for the buck in either one.
 


Edited by Klamath - March/04/2010 at 21:52
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/05/2010 at 22:34
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Photos?
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/07/2010 at 16:09
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Originally posted by Digit Digit wrote:

Photos?
 
Steve, thanks a lot for the review. I hope you had good time with those two pairs.
 
here are some photos.
 
 
2010 VISTA
 
 
 
 
2010 ZRS HD
 
Thanks
 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/08/2010 at 08:28
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Klamath,
thanks for the thorough timely review. If you are so inclined would you consider this non hypothetical questionWink?
Suppose for a moment that one has a budget of $300 to spend on a pair of 10x Zen Rays  ..
The sportsman will use these bins for general nature observation, bow and gun hunting to include waterfowl jump shooting from a kayak.
In your educated opinion should I purchase the Zen-Ray 10x43 Zen ED Binocular DEMO-A for $289 off of the Sample list or
The ZRS HDs for $215 directly from ZR?
I have read the posts here and elsewhere regarding the internal reflection issue with the first gen. EDs but am not sure if the issue is troublesome enough to pass on the under $300 EDs in favor of the new Summits.
Your feedback and any from Charles if he cares to weigh in would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks,
Dave

2010 (SUMMIT)

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/08/2010 at 12:21
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Originally posted by DLJ6 DLJ6 wrote:

Klamath,
thanks for the thorough timely review. If you are so inclined would you consider this non hypothetical questionWink?
Suppose for a moment that one has a budget of $300 to spend on a pair of 10x Zen Rays  ..
The sportsman will use these bins for general nature observation, bow and gun hunting to include waterfowl jump shooting from a kayak.
In your educated opinion should I purchase the Zen-Ray 10x43 Zen ED Binocular DEMO-A for $289 off of the Sample list or
The ZRS HDs for $215 directly from ZR?
I have read the posts here and elsewhere regarding the internal reflection issue with the first gen. EDs but am not sure if the issue is troublesome enough to pass on the under $300 EDs in favor of the new Summits.
Your feedback and any from Charles if he cares to weigh in would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks,
Dave

2010 (SUMMIT)

 
Dave,
 
The 10x43 ZEN ED demo is an incredible deal from SWFA.  If I were you, I would jump on that one while it lasts.  The ED glass controls the color fringing, especially at the edge of the FOV much better. The field of view is also 8% wider with ZEN ED.  With that said, if you do not pay much attention to those features, I think the new 2010 ZRS HD will be an excellent option too.
 
I would encourage you to order new ZRS HD through SWFA too. I know they are not up on the website yet.  Chris and his team have been very busy.  It definitely worthy giving them a call to reserve a copy through SWFA.
 
Thanks
 
Charles
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/08/2010 at 12:31
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Good review, Steve!  Thanks for your time and effort!
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/08/2010 at 18:57
Klamath View Drop Down
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Originally posted by DLJ6 DLJ6 wrote:

Klamath,
thanks for the thorough timely review. If you are so inclined would you consider this non hypothetical questionWink?
Suppose for a moment that one has a budget of $300 to spend on a pair of 10x Zen Rays  ..
The sportsman will use these bins for general nature observation, bow and gun hunting to include waterfowl jump shooting from a kayak.
In your educated opinion should I purchase the Zen-Ray 10x43 Zen ED Binocular DEMO-A for $289 off of the Sample list or
The ZRS HDs for $215 directly from ZR?
I have read the posts here and elsewhere regarding the internal reflection issue with the first gen. EDs but am not sure if the issue is troublesome enough to pass on the under $300 EDs in favor of the new Summits.
Your feedback and any from Charles if he cares to weigh in would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks,
Dave

2010 (SUMMIT)

Dave
 
You sort of describe two non hypothetical binoculars.  The jump shooting ducks from a kayak, and generally closer range expanses of shotgun hunting, really indicate no more than 8x.  In my purely non hypothetical personal opinion, I'd go 7-8x. 
 
But lets get to the single binocular question.  I have been there myself.  Need one, bills to be paid with the extra money.  To be real honest the new ZRS HD is a hell of a lot closer to the optical quality of the ZEN ED than I was prepared to find.  I no longer have the ZEN ED 1 series, but I still have the nearly identical Promaster ELX ED.  Now if somebody with an optics hobby like mine wants to we can pick apart most anything.  Are there some differfences, yes there are, but to be as honest as I can, unless you have both side by side they are hard to find.  Most people probably would ask "what difference".  If you don't have them side by side you sure won't wish for much different, no matter which one you have.
 
The glare issue seems to have been limited to just the initial production run of the 7x36.  There was some discussion of that veiling glare from some of the x43 owners, but not very much.  I am fortunate in that a lot of things that bug some people to distraction usually don't bother me.  I can identify them if I look, but so far I can ignore the faults if there enough good points.    I was not bothered at all by the glare, but it was a deal breaker for some others.  Having said that, the ZRS HD is a little bit better at stay light control.  The ZRS is almost as good at CA and color fringing contrrol as its larger ED sibling.  You don't say if you wear glasses, but eye relief for glass wearers may be better at 8x.
 
So, in my estimation there are three other practical differences.  One is the ZRS HD has a smaller IPD adjustment which will adapt them better of people with closer set eyes.  If you don't have close set eyes (neither do I) this will not mean much.  The second is the ZRS is quite a bit smaller than the ZEN ED.  I'm thinking of the duck hunter in the kayak here.  It is an inch shorter and over 1/4# lighter than the ZEN ED.  The size directly ties into the third difference, which is ergonomics.  The two binoculars simply feel different.  I like the bigger size If I am only worrying about managing a binocular and not a gun, camera or other stuff.  I like a bit more compactness when I have other gear along.
 
My advice here is get the ZRS HD.  I'd also go 8x42 rather than 10x.  It is a common mistake to go to too much power first.  I like 8x because the image is more stable, the field is wider and typically will be brighter than 10x.  The depth of field is deper with 8x, again I'm thinking of less focus fiddling when you are out duck hunting.  Personally I find if I can't get enough detail with 8x, then I need more magnification than going to 10x. 
 
There is my non hypothetical $0.02.  Wink


Edited by Klamath - March/08/2010 at 19:07
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/08/2010 at 20:04
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Somebody asked for some pictures, so let's see if I can figue this out. Wink
 
 
 
ZRS and Vista
 
The Diamondback 7x36 and ZRS HD 8x42
Here is the the whole lineup, L to R
 
Diamondback 7x36, ZRS 8x42. Nikon Monarch 8x42, Vista 8x42. ZEN ED 7x36 and 10x43.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/08/2010 at 20:18
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Thanks for the quick replies Charles and Steve.
Steve, I do wear eyeglasses but prefer to push my bins up under them. I agree 8x is likely the best all purpose mag. level. I used to own a Pair of Zeiss Jena plant 8x30s and they were great in the bow woods. When we glass from the yaks we are doing so from as far upstream as sight lines and conditions permit in order to determine against which bank the waterfowl are holding. Your point regarding the physical characteristics are duly noted and relative compactness is appreciated when wrangling gear in a tree stand or during spot and stalk maneuvers.  I will be sure to let you guys know what I decide to go with and how they work out for my less than hypothetical applications!
Great site and info here, thanks again.
Dave
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/17/2010 at 18:18
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does the new ZRS still have metal alloy body?  I just got a pair of Nikon monarch from the fleabay. The eyecups got twisted off so easily. Did anyone else have the same problem? 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/18/2010 at 10:17
Klamath View Drop Down
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The ZRS HD is a magnesium alloy body.
 
The eye cups have ALWAYS been problematic with the Monarch.  Seems like they are either fine or crap, not much in between.


Edited by Klamath - March/18/2010 at 10:19
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/19/2010 at 15:33
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thanks.  now, I had to use loctite to glue the monarch's eyecups. They will not come off now. But it will not twist either.  I may try a pair of new ZRS one day. I need a binoculars at that compact size.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/29/2010 at 21:20
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Yippee Took delivery on my 2010 10x42 ZRS from SWFA last Friday. I used them for an hour or so bird watching around the yard over the weekend. I am impressed! Edge to edge clarity and the brightness are outstanding for under $200 bins. Diopter and focus wheel offer good resistance. I will report back after I have a few more hours on them.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/30/2010 at 15:03
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it is really tempting.  from the picture, I really like the compact size of ZRS.
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