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ZEN ED 10X43 update

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/08/2009 at 17:05
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Well, it has been a while since I posted my initial comparison review of my 10X43 ZEN ED and 10X42 Meopta Meostars.  Bow season has rolled around again here in Montana and I have been putting my ZENs through the paces.

My ZENs have been my primary optic this scouting season, to really see how they do.  After a hard, high-mountain muley backpack bowhunt this past weekend, I am ready to give the good folks at OT an update on these bins.  There has been quite a bit of discussion and interest in the ZENs.  So, here goes:

The ZENs have continued to be quite impressive optically.  I love their Chromatic Aberration control.  The contrast was very helpful when picking out gray deer in gray rocks.  Center of field resolution is still the most impressive feature of this binocular, as I really don't know of any binoculars at any price that will best the ZENs in this regard.  The straight optical performance is still quite astounding.

However, I did notice the sweet spot was not as large as I had previously thought.  When further comparing to the Meoptas, the Meoptas had significantly wider sweet spot.  The depth of field is also shallower, and I believe it is the culprit of the phenomenon I noted in my original review, where the Meoptas were easier to glass through.  I noticed some eye strain after long viewing sessions with the ZENs, although it really was not much of a bother.  The "halo" effect around the image continues to rear its ugly head and does occasionally annoy me.

I did beat these things around some wild, rough, and trail-less country.  They have been holding up extremely well, and still look like new.  The armor does not scratch or marr easily.  Many other pieces of gear have not fared so well during these trips.

I have had some issues with my pair.  The focus wheel has loosened up from the stiff state it arrived in, but the focus wheel continues to rub on something inside, making a grating sound.  A really annoying event has been the hinge tension has loosened considerably, and I am constantly adjusting the interpupilary distance.  I can set the hinge on the Meoptas and go seasons without them moving.  The lenses are kind of hard to clean (perhaps the new coatings on the ED2 have remedied this?).

During one scouting trip, the rainguard (ocular cover) tore free from the strap somehow while going through some thick brush.  I was not able to locate it.  I e-mailed ZEN RAY on 08/17/09 asking how I could get a replacement.  On 08/18/09 I received a reply e-mail from ZEN RAY telling me they would send a replacement free of charge.  Awesome!  Well, I still haven't received the rainguard (today is 09/08/09), and actually had to make do with an improper fitting rainguard from another company for the opening weekend backpack hunt.  I sent another e-mail today, so we will see how it goes.  As I am typing this, my e-mail just beeped at me.  Zen Ray replied (now that is fast!) and stated they mailed the rainguard two weeks ago.  They told me to contact them if the rainguard doesn't arrive by 09/10/09.  I hope so, because I am heading into the backcountry on horseback next week!

So the update is summarized as follows.  The ZENs really are a steal at their price range optically.  However, there are some issues that have had me wishing I brought the Meoptas on some of these trips.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/08/2009 at 17:22
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Thanks for the review. If i go with 7x42's I am seriously going to look a Meoptas.   So, are you bringing the Meoptas or Zen's next week?
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/08/2009 at 17:35
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I am going to take the ZENs for further torture testing, but if the hinge issue gets worse, the Meoptas are coming out.

I have heard nothing but good things about the Meopta 7X42.  Talk about exit pupil!
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/08/2009 at 18:07
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yes i was looking at a high quality 8x32's. I have a 3rd season elk hunt in Co planned. It is mostly timber. So at 51 do i bring something smaller and lighter with a smaller exit pupil as every ounce counts, or go heavier and a little bigger with the larger exit pupil? I want a bino that has the size and weight of the 8x32 and the exit pupil of the 7x42 lol
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/08/2009 at 19:26
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Originally posted by pahuntnut pahuntnut wrote:

yes i was looking at a high quality 8x32's. I have a 3rd season elk hunt in Co planned. It is mostly timber. So at 51 do i bring something smaller and lighter with a smaller exit pupil as every ounce counts, or go heavier and a little bigger with the larger exit pupil? I want a bino that has the size and weight of the 8x32 and the exit pupil of the 7x42 lol
 
This is a tough one, first off what is your budget?  Most 7x42's are over 30 oz.  In timber with the 8x32 unless you have the highest end you may be too dim.  I think you may want at least 42mm objectives.  A couple choices here from SWFA may be the Minox HG 8x43, 22.9 oz. or the Steiner Peregrine 8x42, 24 oz.  Nice light weight, should be bright, and very good for any task, and ask them about return policy.  I would recommend these over the new Chinese stuff!
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/08/2009 at 19:56
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thanks for the help. As for budget i was looking anywhere from the $500 Vortex VIpers in 6x or 8x up to the Meopta 7x42 I could even go with the swaro SLC 7x42.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/08/2009 at 20:01
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Thanks for the review Bitteroot.
ND, is the reason you don't recommend the Chinese product because of quality or durability issues? I understand some folks may have some political issues with products made in China.
On the other hand, the Zens are getting pretty good reviews and represent great value. If I can get into a near alpha class glass for a 1/3 of the price, I'm for it. I have Zeiss 7x42 binoculars, BTW.

Doug
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/08/2009 at 20:45
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Originally posted by tahqua tahqua wrote:

Thanks for the review Bitteroot.
ND, is the reason you don't recommend the Chinese product because of quality or durability issues? I understand some folks may have some political issues with products made in China.
On the other hand, the Zens are getting pretty good reviews and represent great value. If I can get into a near alpha class glass for a 1/3 of the price, I'm for it. I have Zeiss 7x42 binoculars, BTW.

Doug
Not all the reviews of the Zens are glowing.  I tried the 7x36 ED2, (see thread below)
after all the hype,  but the glare, flare, cloudy edges I experienced in those was something I had never seen before in any binocular, and I have experience with many.  They were not for me and were returned.  If I had a political problem, I would have not ordered them in the first place.  I was just looking for a quality 7X.  Sometimes you do get what you pay for, the Zens are not Alpha.
 
So, yes, there are many fine binoculars to recommend, and a Zeiss 7x42 would be an
excellent choice also.
 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/08/2009 at 20:48
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Thanks for the input. I am glad to hear that you had some experience with them.
My brother wants to get a pair of the 10x43's and I will check them out first.


Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/09/2009 at 09:16
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go with a 6x32 vortex viper or katmai.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/09/2009 at 13:59
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This is quite interesting.  I was think of buying a pair of these for my wife as they sounded so promising.  But I think I will give these more time in the field before I make a decision.  The hinges loosening up that much really concerns me.

In the end I will probably get her a pair of Meopta's, she really likes the pair I have.  Plus having two of them in the family and knowing what they have been through, and that have worked flawlessly has me pretty much sold on the durability of those.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/13/2009 at 12:30
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Well,
 
The rainguard from Zen Ray sadly has not arrived (09/13/09).  I am heading in the woods tomorrow, so I guess the Meoptas will be going with me this week.  The Zens are going to be relegated to back-up duty.
 
Although I am disappointed with Zen Ray's customer service on this issue, I am not ready to swear the company off forever.  I really think there was an honest mix-up somewhere.  BTW, here is a photo of my two 10X bins:
 
001.jpg bino compare picture by mcashell
 
 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/13/2009 at 12:32
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Sorry,
 
Posting that photo didn't work.
 
 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/13/2009 at 19:02
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OK, tried again.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/13/2009 at 19:22
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Too bad to hear that the hinge loosened up after only one hunt!  Like I found out these things are not for everybody.  A binocular is supposed to last for many years, not for just a few weeks.  I hope you have the return option available.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/13/2009 at 19:46
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Finally! A real picture!
Nice one!

I am a little bit disappointed now: hinge loosened?
I have just bought my Zen-Ray 8x43 ED2. It hasnt arrive yet but I dont feel comfortable now...

Charles (from Zen-Ray): if you are reading this, is there any way to re-tight the hinge?
:)

THanks!
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/13/2009 at 20:18
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Maybe a hammer, anvil and a punch.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/13/2009 at 20:56
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The tension of the hinge can be easily adjusted. If you remove the tripod adapter cover (with "ZR" logo), there is a ring with a slit across the center at the end of the assembly. You can rotate that ring clockwise slightly to tighten the tension.

Matt, please let me know if you need any additional help on this one. Thanks
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/13/2009 at 21:08
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Charles thank you for your kind offer that goes a long way toward saying good things about the company.  While I dont think I'm in the market for the two higher end models I am considering both of the two models that are under $ 200.   Glass is something that can be really hard to buy without looking at it first to compare what you are getting.  If I didnt have such a history of rapidly breaking binoculars I might go for better ones.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/13/2009 at 21:15
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Originally posted by Zen-Ray Zen-Ray wrote:

The tension of the hinge can be easily adjusted. If you remove the tripod adapter cover (with "ZR" logo), there is a ring with a slit across the center at the end of the assembly. You can rotate that ring clockwise slightly to tighten the tension.

Matt, please let me know if you need any additional help on this one. Thanks

In Brazil, we would say: Muito obrigado!
In english: Thank you very much!

;)
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/13/2009 at 21:44
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Originally posted by brunoleke brunoleke wrote:

Originally posted by Zen-Ray Zen-Ray wrote:

The tension of the hinge can be easily adjusted. If you remove the tripod adapter cover (with "ZR" logo), there is a ring with a slit across the center at the end of the assembly. You can rotate that ring clockwise slightly to tighten the tension.

Matt, please let me know if you need any additional help on this one. Thanks

In Brazil, we would say: Muito obrigado!
In english: Thank you very much!

;)
 
brunoleke,  Muito obrigado! Thanks for bringing this issue to my attention. This will definitely help us provide a better service to our customers.
 
One can always PM me if you have any question with regard to our products.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/13/2009 at 21:49
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Originally posted by Urimaginaryfrnd Urimaginaryfrnd wrote:

Charles thank you for your kind offer that goes a long way toward saying good things about the company.  While I dont think I'm in the market for the two higher end models I am considering both of the two models that are under $ 200.   Glass is something that can be really hard to buy without looking at it first to compare what you are getting.  If I didnt have such a history of rapidly breaking binoculars I might go for better ones.
 
Urimaginaryfrnd, thanks for the kind words.  Yes, besides ZEN, we also have sub $200 ZRS and VISTA that are optically competitive at their own price points. So there is something for different budget and usage application.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/14/2009 at 10:44
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Originally posted by NDhunter NDhunter wrote:

Maybe a hammer, anvil and a punch.

Seriously?Loco
Do you think that NONE binoculars, someday, will never have 1 or 2 millimeters of disajustment?Whacko

I mean, even the 2,500 dollars binoculars can be loosened or thightened again just by doing adjustments. Thats not a "problem".Wink

Actually, that is something that few binoculars allow you to do. Cool

Before someone complains about the loosened or tightened hinge of a pair of binoculars, pay attention: does it allow you to readjust? If the answer is Yes, then you have a good point. If the answer is no, well... what can I say?

You should consider to open your mind and see that somethings are not a problem, but part of a smart solution.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/14/2009 at 14:25
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obviously NDhunter is a little biased, and that's fine.  I wonder why, if the euro brands are 100% fool proof, why do they even have a customer service/repair facility?    
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/14/2009 at 14:39
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One thing I find interesting is how these China based bino's have the feature list packed such as........ED glass, magnesium frame, water repellent coatings, dielectic prism coatings, open bridge design....etc. etc...sell them for 400 bucks and still make a generous profit, provide CS and lifetime replacement/repair ( I doubt any of the US based resellers actually even have a repair facility to open up a bino and replace an internal part). Does make you wonder why the euro's cost 2000 bucks.
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