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Vortex Diamondback or Zen-Ray ZRS HD

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/12/2011 at 21:08
dep126 View Drop Down
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Hello everyone! Been surfing the forum for awhile and finally decided to join. This place is a great resource with tons of very helpful people.

As the title implies, I have narrowed my decision to one of these two models, in 8x42 configuration. I can get the Vortex for around $175 and the ZR is a little over $200. I have spent a fair amount of time looking through various bins at Cabelas, the ZR being the only model I have not actually handled. These will pull double duty, spending most of the time in my squad for surveillance and some time for hunting in thicker woods. It seems the 8 power is what I have been recommended.

I am looking for advice from those who have looked through both, or done a direct comparison. I liked the Vortex, and as has been repeated their warranty is top notch. Will the ZR be a better glass than the Vortex? I understand the warranty is a factor but i am primarily looking for the better bino.

Although i have pretty much narrowed it down to these two, i would be willing to look at other options i have overlooked. I looked through offerings from Nikon, Vortex, Leupold, Bushnell, and Steiner. My absolute budget limit is going to be $300.

Thanks for your help!
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/12/2011 at 21:34
Klamath View Drop Down
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The Diamondback is directly comparable to the Zen Ray Vista.  The Vista is a step below the ZRS in Zen Ray's line up.  The ZRS is a better glass than the Diamondback.  I have or have owned all three at one time or another.
 
The ZRS is a lot smaller than the Diamondback, being very little larger than the Diamondback 7x36.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/12/2011 at 22:08
dep126 View Drop Down
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Klamath,

Thanks for the information! With that being said, is there any competition to the ZRS which falls in my price range ($300 max), or are they going to be top of the heap?

I plan on ordering these just after the first of the year. Do you have any knowledge, or heard rumors, of new models coming out i should wait for?

Thanks again!
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/12/2011 at 22:38
NDhunter View Drop Down
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I will recommend another choice and it is the Nikon Prostaff 7.  I have it in the 10x42, but the
8x42 will be much the equal.  It is rated very well by OutdoorLife Mag. as one of the best for
new binoculars for 2011.
I like the 10x42, it handles very well, nice fit and finish, with the quality Nikon is known for.
I have many quality binoculars, and I really like this model.  I like the view to the edges, and
the brightness is very good also.
 
SWFA handles the Nikons, check with them.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/13/2011 at 09:03
FrankD View Drop Down
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Originally posted by dep126 dep126 wrote:

Klamath,

Thanks for the information! With that being said, is there any competition to the ZRS which falls in my price range ($300 max), or are they going to be top of the heap?

I plan on ordering these just after the first of the year. Do you have any knowledge, or heard rumors, of new models coming out i should wait for?

Thanks again!
 
Keep in mind that ZR has demo sales as well. I see their 8x43 ED2 demos are priced at $285. They are better optically than the ZRS HD in several areas (CA control and field of view primarily). They are physically longer and heavier than the ZRS HD though.


Edited by FrankD - December/13/2011 at 09:03
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/13/2011 at 09:13
dep126 View Drop Down
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Quote
 
Keep in mind that ZR has demo sales as well. I see their 8x43 ED2 demos are priced at $285. They are better optically than the ZRS HD in several areas (CA control and field of view primarily). They are physically longer and heavier than the ZRS HD though.
I did see the demo models on sale at the ZR site.  Anyone with any experience purchasing any of these.  I am assuming they have been checked over before being sold and include everything a new pair comes with?  Do these carry the same warranty as a new product?  I have an email in to ZR with these same questions but have not heard anything back. 
 
Thanks everyone, keep the responses coming!!
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/13/2011 at 11:03
tucson47 View Drop Down
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I ordered the ZRS HD here yesterday. Looking forward to getting my hands on them.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/13/2011 at 11:20
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dep126,
I think you would like the ZEN ED2s best out of the bunch. At $285 they are an absolute steal.  Near-alpha view in a nice package.  They whould include all the accessories and warranty of a new pair.
 
I have the 10X43 ED2s and they compare pretty nicely to my Swarovski SLC neus.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/13/2011 at 12:56
Klamath View Drop Down
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Originally posted by dep126 dep126 wrote:

Klamath,

Thanks for the information! With that being said, is there any competition to the ZRS which falls in my price range ($300 max), or are they going to be top of the heap?

Thanks again!
That's kind of a tricky question.  Lately I have been forced to seriously reconsider the less than $300 class glass.  After spending a lot of time lately with the Theron LT series, 8x32 and 8x42, plus the Sightron Blue Sky 8x32 I have come to the conclusion that that price range will probably do 95% of any needed binocular use as far as optics are concerned.  For full size bargain glass I don't know of a better deal than the ZRS HD (this is the reason I almost always recommend them...even at the risk of sounding like a broken record Smile).  They are very good, that is why I will stick my neck out so often with them.  The Theron LT is good glass, right there with the ZRS, ergonomics being a prime characteristic to distinguish them.  The Diamondback is good glass.  That Sightron is outstanding.  As few as five years ago, I would not have seriously recommended much in the $200 price class.  Nowadays they are all phase corrected have full broadband multi coatings, and even very good dielectric coatings on the prism.
 
Now the demo ZEN ED 2 has been suggested.  That is a seriously good suggestion.  The ZRS will give the ED 2 a run, but will come up a little short as the dielectric coatings and ED glass of the ED 2 will carry the day.  The ZRS ia a heck of a lot smaller than the ED 2, so that may factor into your choice.
 
As far as I am concerned Nikon lines can easily be bested by lots of stuff.  They have sat on their laurels (well earned I might add) from their introduction in the early 2000's of the phase corrected Monarch ATB.  I owned a couple of these for a long time, so I think I can s[peak from considerable experience with them.  They will probaly wind up being considered a mid size classic, but Nikon just sat and watched as newer brands appeared to take up the sword that Nikon (and Pentax too) dropped.


Edited by Klamath - December/13/2011 at 12:58
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/13/2011 at 13:36
dep126 View Drop Down
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Klamath,
 
Thanks again for the help.  I think I may end up getting the demo ZR ED2 8x43.  For $285 it seems like an outstanding deal.  I called and spoke with a nice gentleman at ZR earlier today, I didn't catch his name, but he said the demo models were only used inside, fully reconditioned, and carry the full warranty. 
 
I had considered a pair of Vortex Talon HD which I could get for around $375, but after comparing them with the Diamondbacks I really couln't tell much of a difference. 
 
I did look at the Theron LT, I really liked the open hinge design.  I may take a second look at those.  And I had never looked at the Sightron either, but will now. 
 
Right now, it seems those ZR ED2's are edging everything else out. 
 
I looked briefly at the specs on the upcoming ZR Prime, but at $600 just too much for me. 
 
 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/14/2011 at 07:11
FrankD View Drop Down
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I don't think you will be unhappy with the 8x43 ED2s. They are an excellent binocular. As I mentioned the only thing "not to like" is that they are fairly long compared to the other models we are discussing here. If compactness, for example, were a primary consideration then I think some of the other models, the Sightron SII 8x32 in particular, would get the nod. Otherwise I think the 8x43 ED2 is the best of the bunch optically.
 
 
Here is a link to a rather long discussion on the Sightrons over on birdforum. The thread goes off on different tangents at times but does come back to the Sightrons, especially in comparison to similar models, on several occassions.
 
I was about to post an update on it in comparison to a pair of Nikon Premier LX (Venturer/HG) that I have on hand.
 


Edited by FrankD - December/14/2011 at 07:13
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/14/2011 at 10:31
Dan View Drop Down
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I personally own a pair of the Diamondback binoculars and couldn't be happier with them. They have been used for hunting in East Texas. So we are talking dusk and dawn, and tall pines that dont always let a lot of light through. Unfortunatley I let me brother borrow them and still haven't got them back yet. Wink
 
But in my opinion the Diamondbacks and Vortex for that matter are really great. Good glass, good company, and a GREAT warranty.
 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/05/2012 at 12:10
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Sorry for the thread revival, but I'm also interested in a comparison between the two.  I've looked at a whole bunch of reviews and I think I'm down to the following:
 
Vortex Diamondback 10x50
 
ZRS HD 10x42
 
From the reviews I've read, the ZRS seems to be a little more clear, but would the 50mm objective on the Vortex brighten things up more for dawn/dusk low light hunting use?
 
I will be using these for hunting and will need them primarily to distinguish antlers on deer during dawn/dusk.  Size isn't a really big deal.  Just looking for objective input from actual users/reviewers between the two.  I've also posted another thread on this subject.

Thx!
J
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/05/2012 at 15:46
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I tried the Vortex Diamondback 10x50 and own the ZRS HD 10x42. I really loved the ZR and it is clearer than the Vortex imo. It is also one of the brightest 10x4x binos I have seen. Not sure if that's because of their dielectric coatings or what, but it's bright!

Theoretically, the Vortex 10x50 should be brighter since the exit pupil is bigger and it's letting in more light. However, I think the ZRS is clearer and provided a better image to my eyes. And as I said, it is very bright...enough so that I would probably choose it over the Vortex for better optics.

That being said, I think you can't go wrong with Vortex at just about any price point. Their optics are all pretty solid, and they have the best customer service/warranty there is. Not that Zen-Rays isn't great...never had to use it. But Vortex is a little more well known, is a bigger company, and has a legendary warranty.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/06/2012 at 09:47
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Thanks for the help!  Now I just need to know the difference between the ZRS HD and the ED2......
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/06/2012 at 11:15
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The ZRS is much smaller than the ED series ZR stuff.  The fov is a little smaller, but probably not enough to make any practical difference.
 
The ZEN ED 2-3 have ED glass and better dielectric prism coatings.  They are considerably larger than the ZRS.  The ZEN is a little brighter than the ZRS and has a small edge in centerfield sharpness.  The ED glass of the ED 2 will control color fringing better than the non ED objective in the ZRS.  If you are not susceptible to seeing fringing, the ZRS will be fine.  If you are the ZEN ED is the way to go.  If you don't know what I'm talking about regarding fringing, then you likely are not affected...pretty obvious whether ot not you are seeing pink, green, or purple fringes around game animal or birds or other objects in the view I think.
 
If you are more in the market for compactness, then the ZRS is where I'd go.  If you have large hands the ZEN ED offers more grip surface.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/23/2012 at 11:38
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Originally posted by jrmy_1 jrmy_1 wrote:

Sorry for the thread revival, but I'm also interested in a comparison between the two.  I've looked at a whole bunch of reviews and I think I'm down to the following:
 
Vortex Diamondback 10x50
 
ZRS HD 10x42
 
From the reviews I've read, the ZRS seems to be a little more clear, but would the 50mm objective on the Vortex brighten things up more for dawn/dusk low light hunting use?
 
I will be using these for hunting and will need them primarily to distinguish antlers on deer during dawn/dusk.  Size isn't a really big deal.  Just looking for objective input from actual users/reviewers between the two.  I've also posted another thread on this subject.

Thx!
J
The ZRS HD has Magnesium body. It is more durable than the plastic body of diamondback. I like the ZRS better mainly because of its dielectric coating. It is much brighter than the aluminum or silver coating in other binoculars
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