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Selection help please

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/13/2012 at 21:40
Weim hunter View Drop Down
Optics GrassHopper
Optics GrassHopper


Joined: November/13/2012
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I've been reading the forum for a few weeks now and researching different items you all have recommended. I, like seemingly a lot of others, was in the market for my first "real" set of binoculars. I will be using them 90 percent for hunting and scouting. Man was I in for a surprise when I sat down to educate myself some on the details details that separate the good from the bad, and who makes a nice set in my price range (200-300). Since then I have looked around trying to find a decent deal on some of the highly reguarded pairs by board members. I finally convinced myself that the pair for me was the Zen Ray Summit 10x43. However, I ran across a pair of kruger caldera's today. The current predicament I now find myself in is to buy this highly required pair for 215ish, buy a good deal on a new in box Kruger Caldera's for 300, or spend a little more and get a pair of zen ray ed3's? Thanks for any input.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/13/2012 at 21:44
Weim hunter View Drop Down
Optics GrassHopper
Optics GrassHopper


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Sorry for not being clear in original post. The pair I was referring to for 215ish is the zen ray summits.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/14/2012 at 09:55
FrankD View Drop Down
Optics Journeyman
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Touch call. All three binos are more than likely going to please you optically. I have owned all three and could easily see myself using any of them for your intended application.
 
The first thoughts to pop into my head when comparing these three fall along the lines of how each one is going to "fit" you personally. The ZRS is probably one of the most compact 42 mm class binoculars out there. It is sharp and bright with a relatively flat field of view.
 
The Caldera is almost as compact but has the short hinge design which allows your fingers to wrap around the barrels more securely. The Caldera's field of view is the largest of the three at almost 440 feet and it has large eyepieces which don't necessarily fit all individuals. The image is just as bright and sharp as the ZRS but with a slightly more neutral color representation.
 
The ED3 is probably the "best" optically in my opinion but only slightly ahead of the other two. It controls color fringing very well which results in an extremely bright and contrast filled image with vibrant colors. It is a bit longer than either of the other two models but if size isn't a consideration then it is probably the "safest" bet.
 
Hope this helps some.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/14/2012 at 17:11
Weim hunter View Drop Down
Optics GrassHopper
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Thanks Frank! When I set out to buy a pair, size was a major consideration/concern for me. When duck hunting I already have to pack a lot of gear and the actual bag I carry for personal gear is pretty small. When doing other types of hunting or scouting I cover a good bit of ground and try to do so as quietly as possible. The more I learn about binos, the less of a huge concern it has become because I would like to have the best optical performance as possible and don't have 2k to spend to try to combine both. Most of the ones I am looking at are relatively the same size. If I had not run into the Caldera's a 100.00 below retail I would have been done with my search. Now I'm trying to figure out if the Caldera's are 75$ greater in proformance than the ZRS. Then I asked myself if I was going to drop 300 on a pair should I pony up 75 more and get the ed3's that seem to garner rave reviews. I think I might be on a slippery slope here, lol. Next thing you know I will have convinced myself to spend a grand.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/15/2012 at 13:36
Klamath View Drop Down
Optics Master
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I pretty much agree with Frank.  I've had all three and wound up with the Caldera.  I think the optics in the Caldera and the ZEN ED's are pretty much a wash.  As Frank said the eye cup diameters of the Caldera may be a personal issue for some.

I have always thought that the ZRS HD is hands down the best binocular to be had for less than $250.  Some will throw the Bushnell Legend Ultra HD in there as well, but the two of those I had pretty much had too much field curvature as to render the sweet spot size in the center of the field useless for me.

The Caldera and the ZRS are both noticeably smaller than the ZEN ED, the ZRS being the smallest of the lot, and it is not much bigger than some 7x36 models.

Image differences will be hard to pin down.  Frankly, if you don't have all three side by side, you won't be able to single out many defining image differences.  

I've lately started to notice some rolling ball effect in the Calderas that I have never had issue with before.  The wide field of the Caldera and its relatively low pincushion distortion at the edges may make that a little problematic.

The ZRS is the best bang for the buck of the three (particularly if size is a necessary factor), at least in my never to be to humble opinion. Big Smile
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/15/2012 at 14:28
Bitterroot Bulls View Drop Down
Optics Master Extraordinaire
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I have seen these as well, and like the ED3 (Well mine is an ED2 - but more or less the same bin) best.  Both of the others show noticeably more CA, and I am particularly sensitive to it in bins.
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