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Resolution: 7X43 ED3 or Caldera 8X42

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/03/2012 at 17:23
Dr.Pepper View Drop Down
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Hello!
My name is Jon and I have sort of stalked guys like Klamoth around the net for the past day or three while reading about binoculars. I just registered here just hoping that you guys would collectively have time/be kind enough to make a couple of remarks about the binoculars mentioned.
To be honest, I am leaning towards the 7X43 as I like the thought of an increased depth of field and a more natural look.
I did see where Klamoth said that the caldera had an appreciable increase in fov when measured over what was advertised........
Basically, I am curious how you feel that the depth of field of the Zen 7 compares to the fov of the Kruger 8 in terms of contributing to general wow factor and overall joy in use. ( 1st question, I do know that this is subjective but I would appreciate your collective votes all the same) I am also aware that the Zen is actually listed at 440' fov to the Caldera's 438'.
 
The real deal breaker/nit pick for me is sharpness and resolution. I do know what it is like to get a cleaner image from an 8x over a 10X, regardless of the lesser power. What I am talking about is that bad feeling you get when the image starts going the other way while focusing before you are satisfied with the view ( happens all the time with microscopes too, also...my vision is fine and un-corrected).  Being able to get a very crisp image is my trump card.
 
Whichever one that is expected to have the best resolution and focusing abilities will be the one that gets ordered.   I can adapt to all of the other common nit picks, but not this one. So, what is your vote for the one with the better ability to Reaaalllly lock in on something in a super sharp way? (2nd question)
 
 
 
P.S. I am unwilling to wait until May and don't want to spend more than 400 something. (Zen Prime is out).
 
I have also used the search function quite a bit but was unable to find information that helps me regarding this particular comparison with such a stress on resolution.
 
Thanks!
 
 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/03/2012 at 19:01
Klamath View Drop Down
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Originally posted by Dr.Pepper Dr.Pepper wrote:

Hello!
My name is Jon and I have sort of stalked guys like Klamoth around the net for the past day or three while reading about binoculars. I just registered here just hoping that you guys would collectively have time/be kind enough to make a couple of remarks about the binoculars mentioned.
To be honest, I am leaning towards the 7X43 as I like the thought of an increased depth of field and a more natural look.
I did see where Klamoth said that the caldera had an appreciable increase in fov when measured over what was advertised........
Basically, I am curious how you feel that the depth of field of the Zen 7 compares to the fov of the Kruger 8 in terms of contributing to general wow factor and overall joy in use. ( 1st question, I do know that this is subjective but I would appreciate your collective votes all the same) I am also aware that the Zen is actually listed at 440' fov to the Caldera's 438'.
 
The real deal breaker/nit pick for me is sharpness and resolution. I do know what it is like to get a cleaner image from an 8x over a 10X, regardless of the lesser power. What I am talking about is that bad feeling you get when the image starts going the other way while focusing before you are satisfied with the view ( happens all the time with microscopes too, also...my vision is fine and un-corrected).  Being able to get a very crisp image is my trump card.
 
Whichever one that is expected to have the best resolution and focusing abilities will be the one that gets ordered.   I can adapt to all of the other common nit picks, but not this one. So, what is your vote for the one with the better ability to Reaaalllly lock in on something in a super sharp way? (2nd question)
 
 
 
P.S. I am unwilling to wait until May and don't want to spend more than 400 something. (Zen Prime is out).
 
I have also used the search function quite a bit but was unable to find information that helps me regarding this particular comparison with such a stress on resolution.
 
Thanks!
 
 
I quoted this so I could keep everything straight. Big Smile
 
I have both a ZEN ED 3 7x43 and a Kruger Caldera 8x42.  The Caldera has an obviously wider fov, mostly due to the increase in afov due to the larger magnification.  Having said that, the 7x43 does in no way seem narrow either.  Yes, my Caldera is wider than the specified fov, and I don't know if this is just a facet of my particular binocular or not.
 
Depth of field is magnification dependent.  Lesser magnification will have greater depth of field.  There are differences in how individual sets of eyes percieve the depth in any particular magnification.  For not example, not all 8x binoculars appear to me to have the same depth of field.  However, I do see a difference between 7x and 8x.  That is one reason I like 7x.  There is a lot less need for use of the focus wheel.  My 7x ED 3 is just about focus free past 50 yards or so.  The Caldera seems at least as good, if not better, than some other 8x in terms of depth of field.  The difference is that the 7x will still be in focus closer to you than an 8x will when focused on the same distant object.
 
As far as your resolution question, I'd say in my two units, the absolute resolution edge goes to the Caldera.  To qualify that, I happen to know what the resolution actually measures on mine and it is right in the middle of the alpha range.  I had to return my initial Caldera and did that at the Kruger facility which is a reanonably short distance from where I live.  The Kruger engineer put my defictive unit and a couple of others through the resolution test while I watched.  8x will also always have the resolution edge in terms of definition because it has more magnification than the 7x.  I don't know what the ZEN ED 3 specs are or what mine checks out.  For me, both focus perfectly for each eye and there is enough resolution for any needed use.  They images are very hard to seperate and both are completely satisfactory.
 
Their main differences are in ergonomics.  For one the Caldera is smaller than the ZEN ED.  The Calders focuses counter clockwise to infinity, the ZEN clockwise.  The Caldera fosus rate is faster and maybe a little smoother than the ZEN ED.  There is shorter chunkier feel to the Caldera and longer and leaner in the ZEN ED. 
 
Tough to say which one I'd keep if I had to choose.  Might be tough to decide when I see the Prime too.
 
Welcome to OT and ask away if you need more info.
 
 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/04/2012 at 09:58
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I think Steve summed the comparison up very nicely. I have owned both and still do have the 7x43 ED3. I sold the Caldera and its counterpart, the Pro Optic 8x42, several months ago.
 
Bottom line is that either binocular is excellent optically. It is going to come down to more of an issue with ergonomics and mechanics. I have found that I personally prefer 7x for not only the greater depth of field but also the easier eye placement (more room for your eyes to roam with a 6.1 mm exit pupil). I certainly have no problem using an 8x40-something but when all else is equal I tend to prefer 7x.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/04/2012 at 11:22
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Thanks Klamath and FrankD (you were the other one I basically stalked around the net).
 
I know my post was very wordy. Thanks for mushing through.
 
I am actually a little scared of both of them. I know the wide fat eye pieces on the Caldera and the excessive eye relief on the Zen 7 have given plenty of people problems. I do think I could add to the eye piece and make it longer easier than I could change the shape of my face Wink
 
I can believe that in reality both have enough resolution to be just fine without having to test on the charts. I also doubt my luck in getting something
 
Klamath mentiond a sweet spot of around 70% on the Caldera and FrankD said else where that the 7 (production piece) were at 75-80% .
 
I also like how Klamath's squint test sort of reflects what FrankD said about eye placement.
 
Choice made. 7X43 for ease of use and I am curious why so many experienced optic freaks end up bragging about the 7X40 somethings.  I have already expereinced decent 8X42's so this will be something new.
 
I appreciate it.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/04/2012 at 11:25
Dr.Pepper View Drop Down
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Meant to say....doubted my luck in getting barrels that were equal to the Kruger cherry picked ones that Klamath got. If the Caldera  (with hand picked barrels) is only slightly better than the stock ED3, that says something to me about my chances of getting a decent ED3 out of the box.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/04/2012 at 14:42
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Originally posted by Dr.Pepper Dr.Pepper wrote:

Meant to say....doubted my luck in getting barrels that were equal to the Kruger cherry picked ones that Klamath got. If the Caldera  (with hand picked barrels) is only slightly better than the stock ED3, that says something to me about my chances of getting a decent ED3 out of the box.
Good luck.  You should like the ZEN ED 3.  However, some chance of a defective unit of almost anything is higher than I think it should be.  I should point out that the Caldera resolution specs in general are right in the middle of the alpha range. 
 
Sometimes I type faster than I think.  My first Caldera was an anamoly, having been a specimen that never should have survived QC checks.  The ZEN ED specs are also right in the middle of the alpha range, at least as specified by their design parameters.  I've just never bothered to try and evaluate my ZEN ED's to see what they were.
 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/08/2012 at 08:37
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I got the 7s in just as I was headed to the lake yesterday. Saw lots of nice birds, (eastern blue bird eating a moth, a couple of downys and a red bellied wood pecker from drive way, once at the lake I got a nesting pair of ospreys with multiple fish, along with a few herons, loons, and ducks)

I am not an optics expert and am not going to pretend I am one. Rather than claim that these are alphas, I will simply say that they work very very well and that my money is well spent. I do believe that it would take a noticeable increase in the cash outlay to substantially improve on these and by then it would be something so pricey, it would seem silly to take it to the swamp ( For reference to my attitude, I love black plastic rifles for their ease of care and better reliability as I have long since learned that nice things don't stay nice if they are actually used, at least by my clumsy person).

They are bright and sharp and focus very well. My pair says that the field of view is 435' compared the website citation of 440' No big deal, it is a very nice look. The focus is one of my favorite things actually. It is much faster than what I am used to, but the firm yet smooth tension and the ability to come to a dead stop instantly make it super easy for me to micro fuss and tune and get the last bit out.

I may never own a pair of 8's again. To me, the stuff people say about 7x being enough and the ease of use (e.p. size) and the increased depth of field make it a no brainer trade off. I think I would consider an alpha 8 or 8.5 as a once in a lifetime buy but I have so many hobbies that it is better for me to take the same money and get a darn good pair of 7's and a darn good pair of 10's and then some lower end spotter with 80mm ED glass and still have money left over for a tripod.....

I have been taking a pair of Atlas Intrepid ED 10's to the lake. For some reason, I just get along with these binoculars very well. They sort of fit in that category of stuff that I know is pretty solid yet is cheap enough to really use. I reckon they are somewhere along or between the equivalents of the ed1/ed2. I am relieved that most of the differences between these two are in the weight (Zen is heavier, not by scale but by in hand judgments), the much better and faster focus on the Zen, and the cooler bias that the Zen has. I am not experienced enough to say if the Intrepid is "warm" or if the Zen is "cool" I guess it is a hair of both since the Zen is dielectric and the Atlas is silver mirror. Whatever the root of the difference, since I was used to the Atlas, it was very noticeable at first light. I actually really liked it after a couple of minutes.  I was scared that I would be so overwhelmed by the optical differences that I would have to now order a new pair of ed3/caldera 10's. It just isn't so. The Zen is noticeably better built, and has a cooler/bluer look. After that and allowing for the mag differences, they are both nice and sharp, focus well, and make very good use of their fields before falling off. No new 10's for me, but the 7's are definitely going to stay.  7 for general, 10 because I have a pair that I am comfortable with and it does make a difference when watching an osprey eat

I cannot figure out the eye relief, I am so adaptable that I can use them with the eye cups all the way in or all the way out, just by slightly altering where they rest on my eyebrow. I am not going to over analyze this as it ends up costing me more money every time I ask questions. There is something a hair strange going on, but I have no problem making them work or getting the full field of view.

 

I do wish the eyecups had a firmer feel and an extra stop in them. That is about the only thing I can fault at all. I suspect that this one of the things that alphas are better at.

 

I am keeping them unless I discover something crazy in the next day or two, and consider my self pleased. Sadly, it only makes me want the Zeiss model worse. However, I know that it will not be almost 5 times better. Which reminds me....I have been reading and have been pointed out by other members here that porros are really the way to go in terms of performance vs price. I can easily believe that because as well as I like these Zen's, they are simply not 4 times as good as my Vortex 6.5 X32 porros. Not a brand bash but a compliment to the porro design.

I wish Zen would make a version of the kingfisher/raptor with the same care and glass put into the ed3 and then let the better design do the talking. I would trip over myself to buy one or three.

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/08/2012 at 12:14
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Originally posted by Dr.Pepper Dr.Pepper wrote:

 ...

I cannot figure out the eye relief, I am so adaptable that I can use them with the eye cups all the way in or all the way out, just by slightly altering where they rest on my eyebrow. I am not going to over analyze this as it ends up costing me more money every time I ask questions. There is something a hair strange going on, but I have no problem making them work or getting the full field of view.

 

I am keeping them unless I discover something crazy in the next day or two, and consider my self pleased. Sadly, it only makes me want the Zeiss model worse. However, I know that it will not be almost 5 times better. Which reminds me....I have been reading and have been pointed out by other members here that porros are really the way to go in terms of performance vs price. I can easily believe that because as well as I like these Zen's, they are simply not 4 times as good as my Vortex 6.5 X32 porros. Not a brand bash but a compliment to the porro design.

I wish Zen would make a version of the kingfisher/raptor with the same care and glass put into the ed3 and then let the better design do the talking. I would trip over myself to buy one or three.

 

I had to "fix" the eye cups on my 7x43 ED 3.  To get optimal picture I had to hold my eyes away from the eye cups and I figured there was no way that was going to fly.  There are two ways to do this.  The simple way is with a couple of 1" or so sections of bicycle tire innertube and a couple of 0-rings of the same diameter as the outer rim of the eye cup.  Place the innertube rings over the eyecup and be sure to leave enough tube over the top of the eye cup.  Fold the inner tube outwards over the eye cup and place the 0-rings on top of the eye piece and roll the innertube back over to its natural position.  The innertube ring will flip back over the 0-ring and secure it.  Your eye cup will now be extended by the combined width of the innertube and the 0-ring.  The second way is with the angled eye cups from the Nikon EDG.  Just slip them on and bingo.  The standard objective cover will still work with the innertube and the Nikon has included objective caps. 
 
I tend to think the porro prism superiority thing is getting to be a goner.  It is certinly true enough and if one needs to go cheaply enough then something like a Nikon Action or Leupold Yosemite or the Vortex Raptor will certainly get you superior optics at that price level.  The Nikon SE porro series are certainly right in there with the best binoculars ever, but porros at that performance level are slowly dying out.  I agree this is a shame, but it is the way it is.  I have a Raptor and don't expect it to play with your ED 3, it won't.  Neither will we likely see a modern improved porro, manufacturers have decided they are out and that I think is that.  I think there is no way Nikon will sacrifice potential sales of expensive high end roofs with less expensive optically equal porros.  I don't think that will happen.
 
As for still wanting a Zeiss, go ahead and go for it if you want.  I want to see a new one myself, but I have zero intention of buying one (I hope Big Smile).  My belief is that once you get to enough, then enough is enough.  More resolution, contrast, color etc beyond what the eye can readily use is nothing except more expensive.
 
You have made the right call and it is wise not to overanalyze things.  That gets expensive and before you know it, you will be finding fault with your new Zeiss, or whatever.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/09/2012 at 08:13
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Thanks Steve,

 

Still loving these.

 

 I guess I have to agree that I really don't see the big brand names cutting their profits by offering something to the public that is better and cheaper.  My Raptors must have been cherry picked as they were a replacement model after I sent my first pair back for having a very odd shaped sweet spot.  I know they won’t really compete except for when the light and angles are just about perfect, but I still like them for the price and feel.   The replacement set cures my original complaint very well. I would think that a pair of 50mm porros would be a disaster to carry......Which I guess is one of the big reasons that roofs were developed.

 

I will probably never own a Zeiss because of the fact that I can have a solid system for the price of one entry ( mentioned above).  The fact is, I reeaally want them, but it is hard to drop that kind of a cash on a single toy. I just have to make excuses for myself in the meantime.

I keep thinking on them way more than any of the other traditional alphas because of the different prisms they sport. I do believe in that thing where Einstein (I see that you are a fan)was saying that it is insanity to do the same thing over and over and to expect different results. The unique prism system of Zeiss is certainly different than the rest, so that is where I would (from the armchair admittedly) expect to see the most difference.   Another reason, is that I hear that Zeiss has the best centerfield resolution, and I "think" that matters to me. One day...maybe....but for now, I have stuff that already works extremely well.
Also, I found another site where you posted pictures on how to modify the eye cups. Thanks!

 

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Originally posted by Dr.Pepper Dr.Pepper wrote:

Thanks Steve, 

 

I will probably never own a Zeiss because of the fact that I can have a solid system for the price of one entry ( mentioned above).  The fact is, I reeaally want them, but it is hard to drop that kind of a cash on a single toy. I just have to make excuses for myself in the meantime.

I guess we are all different there.  I used to want alphas really bad too.  But that was back in the day when they had no competition to speak of from other roofs.  I went from "Wow I want that Trinovid"  to "Wow would you look at how good this is for way less than $500!!".  While I will grant the alpha the advantage of the better end of the deal, it just is not worth it (to me anyway) for what you have to pay for the difference.  Even when I have had the $$$ in pocket to go alpha, I never got the "Wow" today that I had in the days of the first phase coated Zeiss and Leica, so I just kept the extra $$.  I hope you keep liking your choice. Smile
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/09/2012 at 20:47
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Are the 7x43 ED3's available from SWFA? I only see the 8 and 10x43's.
 
Never mind, they are ED2's.


Edited by mil169 - April/09/2012 at 21:38
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