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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/07/2011 at 14:06
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I am in the market (I think) for something a little different.  I use my optics for hunting and scouting. I am not as dependent on glass as I should "make myself" be.  By that, I guess I mean I'm impatient to a degree and cannot make myself spend a lot of time with glass to my eye.  I'm one of those that "has to just go there" instead of looking things over more carefully........  But that is my problem Whacko  I hunt everything with a bow so I don't do long range shooting.  

Here is the deal.  I have owned cheap stuff ($200-$400 glass) and can definitely see that I don't like it.  Not going to name names as this is my first post here and don't want to alienate anyone from the conversation.  

I've also owned little better stuff (within last few years) Leica Ultravids 10X42 (non HD) and Zeiss 8X30 BT Conquest.

I gave the Leica's to a good friend and still have the 8X30 Zeiss, which I usually carry.  

I am being cheap I guess, or maybe I just feel a need to find a great deal.  I have been researching a little as I'm wondering if I had something with a 40-43mm objective and possibly back up to 10X magnification, I could convince myself to use them more???????  

My research, so far, has brought me to looking very seriously at three options in either 8X-10X:

ZenRay APO ED2                  $400
Vortex Viper HD                    $600
Theron Wapiti APO ED          $400 ish

I'd like to hear from others the pros and cons of each, and compared to my existing Zeiss 8X30.  I actually picked up the Zeiss a couple years ago as I tend to like lightweight stuff.  Just wondering if guys that spend a lot of time using glass might have an opinion of these options, if they think it is an upgrade to my Zeiss, and if you think it may help me be a little more apt to use the glass Question

I think it was this site where I first heard of the Theron glass.

Sorry for the long winded first post, but figured I might get some good feedback here.  Any input would be greatly appreciated. 


Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/07/2011 at 18:00
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gotta be some help here Whistling

I don't know where I can buy the Theron's right away as the only outfit I talked to doesn't have any in stock.  
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/07/2011 at 19:36
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zen Ray ED 2
Pros
wide field of view, great contrast,  super resolution
 
cons
big binocular,somewhat fuzzy edges, but that is usually a non issue outside of obsessive optics freaks
 
Vortex Viper HD
pros
bright, lighter than the ZEN ED 2, good edge sharpness
 
cons
almost 2* less fov than the ED 2
 
Theron Wapiti APO-ED
 
pros
brightest image of the three, sharpest edge, somewhat more fov than the Viper
 
cons
 
might have a little more fov
 
All of the three are good choices.  What you can see with one, you can see with all three.  If you can't see it with one of these you won't likely see it with an expensive alpha either.  I use a 7x36 ZEN ED 2 for most of my use.  All three will show a little field curvature, but it is something you have to look for.
 
What Ziess?  I assume a Conquest?  All three are bigger than the Conquest and I think all three have a slightly better image.  But a 30 mm comparison to a 42 mm compqarison is sort of apples to oranges.
 
So which one?  Since you are a bowhunter and distance is not real important, I'd say go with the very wide fov and super depth of focus of the 7x36 ZEN ED 2.  It is not real small, but noticeably smaller than the 8x43 model.  Next. I'd look at the 6x32 Viper HD.
 
Want to wait a few days I'll have a review of those on your list along with the Vortex Razor HD and the Kruger Caldera (week to ten days probably).
 
 
 


Edited by Klamath - April/07/2011 at 19:46
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/07/2011 at 20:08
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Steve sums up the bins well.  I would add that "fuzzy" is a strong word for the slight edge softening in the Zen ED2, although I suspect it is most apparent in the 7X36 model.  In my 10X43 it is slight, and they provide a wide, pleasant field of view.   The only real improvement I could hope for would be in depth of field, and the depth of field isn't poor to begin with.

Like Steve said, I think you would notice in improvement over the 30mm conquest series with any on the list.

I just had my first look at the new viper HD, and thought it had a bit more improvement over the prior generation than others have noticed, especially in the area of contrast, and edge performance.  I freely admit, this is only after a brief outside-the-store evaluation with one 10X42 sample.  It did remind me how much I like the Viper line's feel, fit, and finish.  If they widened the field of view on these, and maintained the overall image quality, a real contender would emerge.

The Theron APO is a strong value performer, but the ED2s provide the Theron's image performance with a wider field of view, and better stray light control.  The image performance is close enough between the two that the user's hinge preference (open vs. piano) is probably the best criteria for choosing between them.


Originally posted by Klamath Klamath wrote:



Want to wait a few days I'll have a review of those on your list along with the Vortex Razor HD and the Kruger Caldera (week to ten days probably).
 


I am anxious to here your take on these, Steve.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/07/2011 at 20:12
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Thanks Klamath!  I'll pick your brain a little more.  

The Zeiss are in fact the Conquest 8X30 BT.  Yes they are smaller and lighter which is why I picked them up when I let the Leica's go.  I am just wondering if my zest to go light (picking the 8X30) put glass in my hands that is keeping me from using it as much as could benefit me.  Thing is, I wonder if going to a larger objective and maybe the 10X, it might be more comfortable for a little longer glassing.   I think I'm wanting to find out if going to the smaller glass was a good move, and maybe find out if I gave up something without even noticing it at the time.  I did like the Ultravids but am being a cheapo I guess.  I have been hearing some good things about the three I asked about and if they can give me a little edge for less than 50% of the Alpha stuff, I'd take it.  I may wait and look for your review.........
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/07/2011 at 20:17
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It is unlikely that going up in magnification is going to help ease eye strain for extended sessions.  If you are trying to improve on the 8X30s for eye strain perhaps the deep depth of field and steady image of the Zen 7X36 could help.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/07/2011 at 20:19
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Thanks Bitterroot Bulls.  It sounds like you prefer the ZenRay over the Theron.  I just recently remembered how much I liked the Ultravids (10X42) and feel a need to try something in this Mag. & Obj. range again to see if I really miss. 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/07/2011 at 20:22
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I really don't suffer from eye strain (don't think), but more along the lines of wanting more light and maybe magnification.  Mainly I think I am needing more light transmission, as I like to glass late, early, and in dark timber. 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/07/2011 at 20:27
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I fully recommend the Zen ED2 in 10X43, if that is your preferred configuration.  I have that model, and IMO it is the most refined ED bin coming out of China.  As I stated above, if you prefer a piano-style hinge, you give up little by choosing the Theron.

I also prefer the 10X40ish configuration.  My above recommendation was regarding your reference to long-viewing session comfort, as lower magnification binoculars are easier to hold steady, especially for longer periods.  I don't have trouble steadying 10X40 bins, but many do.

The bins we are discussing perform surprisingly close to the performance of the Ultravids.  Much closer than their price would indicate.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/07/2011 at 20:31
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Originally posted by Bullhound Bullhound wrote:

I really don't suffer from eye strain (don't think), but more along the lines of wanting more light and maybe magnification.  Mainly I think I am needing more light transmission, as I like to glass late, early, and in dark timber. 


I don't feel handicapped by 10X43s in low light, but the 8X43s will appear brighter in really low-light conditions, due to their larger exit pupil.  The trade-off is the 10X43s will show a little more detail.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/07/2011 at 20:33
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  That's what I like to,
Originally posted by Bitterroot Bulls Bitterroot Bulls wrote:

I fully recommend the Zen ED2 in 10X43, if that is your preferred configuration.  I have that model, and IMO it is the most refined ED bin coming out of China.  As I stated above, if you prefer a piano-style hinge, you give up little by choosing the Theron.

I also prefer the 10X40ish configuration.  My above recommendation was regarding your reference to long-viewing session comfort, as lower magnification binoculars are easier to hold steady, especially for longer periods.  I don't have trouble steadying 10X40 bins, but many do.

The bins we are discussing perform surprisingly close to the performance of the Ultravids.  Much closer than their price would indicate.

Now we're talkin' Wink  that's what I like to hear.  The Ultravids were the best light gathering glass I've owned, and if one of the three we have discussed gets close, I think I'll be happy.  I have heard that the focusing knobs on the ZenRay's are kinda sloppy.  Any truth to that?  
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/07/2011 at 20:37
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One thing that really gets me is glass that fogs up.  Thoughts?  I know most decent glass now is pretty good in this department but is there an edge? 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/07/2011 at 20:51
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Originally posted by Bullhound Bullhound wrote:

 
I have heard that the focusing knobs on the ZenRay's are kinda sloppy.  Any truth to that?  


My Zen ED1 had a slightly sloppy knob.  It was also a bit stiff and slow.

My Zen ED2's knob is smooth, tight, and fast.  The rubber ribs are also easier to get a purchase on.


Originally posted by Bullhound Bullhound wrote:

One thing that really gets me is glass that fogs up.  Thoughts?  I know most decent glass now is pretty good in this department but is there an edge? 


The hydrophobic coating on the Zens is EXCELLENT!  It is one of the best hydrophobic coatings available.  I tested it by pouring a glass of water across the lens, and it just rolled off, leaving a clean lens.  Very nice. 

That said, just about anything will fog to some extent going from a cold environment to a warm, moist environment.


One thing you should think about is the Ultravids have a deep depth of field, and I have found that is important in long-term viewing.  The Zens and Therons have good depth of field, but it is one area where they are still a bit behind bins like the Ultravids.


Edited by Bitterroot Bulls - April/07/2011 at 20:52
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/07/2011 at 21:11
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Originally posted by Bullhound Bullhound wrote:

One thing that really gets me is glass that fogs up.  Thoughts?  I know most decent glass now is pretty good in this department but is there an edge? 
The increased eye relief of the 7x36 makes it less likely to fog, it keeps your sweaty brow further away from the ocular lens.  However almost any binocular can and will fog externally when it is cold and wet and you are keeping the binocular under your jacket for ease of carry or to keep it out of the rain.  The temperature and humidity differential this creates will sometimes fog stuff up.  There are some anti fog products out there, but I have not used any, so can't comment further.
 
Eye strain is likely not to be much of an issue with glass as good as the ZEN ED or a Theron.  Strain is usually the fault of something in the glass in a binocular and your eyes not matching, a defective binocular, or one simply mismatched for the task.  The magnification issue is something really only you can answer.  I happen to like the greater depth of field, brighter image, and wider field of a 7-8x binocular, especially if I'm not where I'll be looking at long distances.  However, I have and use 10x and in their element they sure have their place.  You said you bow hunt, so I would think 10x less suitable there.  Having said that, there are lots of bowhunters who are probably perfectly happy with 10x.  That is something you pretty much have to figure out for yourself what you like.
 
I pretty much think Matt is right about the edge sharpness deal.  The depth of field does seem to be one way to help seperate this class of binocular from the more expensive alpha.  It is just you asked for pros and cons and one thing that is a recurring complaint with the ZEN ED is the edge.  I do not happen to think that is an issue of any note, nor is the depth of field much of an issue either.


Edited by Klamath - April/07/2011 at 21:14
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/07/2011 at 21:24
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  Boy!  I sure appreciate the input!  Excellent     Yes, I just bowhunt but most of my glassing isn't really related to my shooting.  I have to say you guys have some very good information on glass!  Sure glad I found the site.  

It really sounds like the FOV issue takes the Vortex out of the picture.  If I read you fellas' comments correctly, that is the main issue, along with them not being quite as good at light transmission.  

I am very close to just grabbing a set of the ZenRay ED2 10X43, but almost want to wait for Klamath's full review.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/07/2011 at 21:26
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Originally posted by Klamath Klamath wrote:

Eye strain is likely not to be much of an issue with glass as good as the ZEN ED or a Theron.  Strain is usually the fault of something in the glass in a binocular and your eyes not matching, a defective binocular, or one simply mismatched for the task.


Agreed ... for the most part.  There is also some strain that is the result of the eye (and/or brain) trying to compensate for the natural movement of a handheld binocular.  It is the reason it is "easier" to look through a binocular on a tripod or a stabilized binocular.  This strain is lessened by using lower magnification binoculars.

Another type of strain is the result of the eye attempting to focus at the edges of the depth of field. 

Maybe strain isn't the right word.  Maybe "ease of viewing" is a better descriptor. 


Originally posted by Klamath Klamath wrote:

nor is the depth of field much of an issue either.


Again, agreed for the most part.  It is likely not very apparent in the 8X42 class.  However, it is immediately noticeable to me when I have my 10X43 Zen ED2s side-by-side with my 10X42 Swaro SLC neus.  A deep depth of field in 10X42 binoculars makes a difference to me, however slight, during long viewing sessions.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/07/2011 at 21:36
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Originally posted by Bitterroot Bulls Bitterroot Bulls wrote:

Again, agreed for the most part.  It is likely not very apparent in the 8X42 class.  However, it is immediately noticeable to me when I have my 10X43 Zen ED2s side-by-side with my 10X42 Swaro SLC neus.  A deep depth of field in 10X42 binoculars makes a difference to me, however slight, during long viewing sessions.

So you are saying the depth of field i the Zen's is noticeably lacking compared to the SLC?  
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/07/2011 at 21:38
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Originally posted by Bullhound Bullhound wrote:


So you are saying the depth of field i the Zen's is noticeably lacking compared to the SLC?  


Not at all, it is quite adequate.  If I don't have them side-by-side I don't notice it.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/07/2011 at 21:55
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Originally posted by Bitterroot Bulls Bitterroot Bulls wrote:

Originally posted by Bullhound Bullhound wrote:


So you are saying the depth of field i the Zen's is noticeably lacking compared to the SLC?  


Not at all, it is quite adequate.  If I don't have them side-by-side I don't notice it.

OK got ya.  Is it your opinion that the Vortex is the least impressive performer of the bunch?   It sure seems like you guys are easily more impressed with the ZenRay ED2 and the Theron APO, over the Vortex glass.   
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/07/2011 at 21:57
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One more thing I'd like to ask is perceived balance?  Does the slightly larger size of the ED2 help or hinder in balance in your opinion? 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/07/2011 at 22:06
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Originally posted by Bullhound Bullhound wrote:

OK got ya.  Is it your opinion that the Vortex is the least impressive performer of the bunch?   It sure seems like you guys are easily more impressed with the ZenRay ED2 and the Theron APO, over the Vortex glass.   


Its performance is similar to the others, but with a narrower field of view.  All are of sturdy construction, but the Vortex has the nicest fit and finish, IMO.  The Vortex is quite a bit more expensive.  The Zens and Therons certainly offer more value.




Originally posted by Bullhound Bullhound wrote:

One more thing I'd like to ask is perceived balance?  Does the slightly larger size of the ED2 help or hinder in balance in your opinion? 


I don't have trouble with its balance.  It is definitely longer, though.  The ergonomics work for me.
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Well, I'll let you know how I like them!  Just paid for the ZenRay ED2 10X43!

should have them early next week!  Thanks a bunch for the help guys!  I had a good idea what I wanted to do but you kinda pushed me over the edge! 
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Well, I'm sure you will like them just fine.  I am happy with mine.  But what I may well conclude is the Kruger Caldera might be the best of the bunch (the $400 ish bunch).  Big Smile
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Originally posted by Klamath Klamath wrote:

Well, I'm sure you will like them just fine.  I am happy with mine.  But what I may well conclude is the Kruger Caldera might be the best of the bunch (the $400 ish bunch).  Big Smile

now you say that? Baseball Bat         oh well, I'll report back how the ZenRay work out.  Thanks a bunch to you guys for offering up your thoughts. Excellent
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Let me ease you mind a little Bullhound.  I  had a Zen ED2 in 10x43 and used it extensively guiding mule deer and aoudad hunters.  One of my buddies/guide used a Swaro EL, the other used an older SLC, all in 10x42 "ish".  At that time I also owned a SLCneu, a Leica Trinovid, a Bushnell elite, and a Leupold Gold Ring HD.  I saw virtually no difference in the view of the Zen than that of the EL or SLCneu, so the optics are fantastic.  It was also tough enough to handle tough hunts.   You're going to be well pleased.  
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