New Posts New Posts RSS Feed - ZEN ED vs. Meopta Meostar
  FAQ FAQ  Forum Search   Events   Register Register  Login Login

Check GunBroker.com for SWFA's No Reserve and No Minimum bid firearm auctions.

ZEN ED vs. Meopta Meostar

 Post Reply Post Reply   Topic Search Topic Search  Topic Options Topic Options
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/07/2009 at 22:05
Bitterroot Bulls View Drop Down
Optics Master Extraordinaire
Optics Master Extraordinaire
Avatar

Joined: May/07/2009
Location: Montana
Status: Offline
Points: 3381
Hi, I'm new to posting on the forum, but I've been reading the comments here for some time.  There is some great information posted here.  I have been reading a lot of posts on these two binoculars, so I thought I would put in my two cents.

Lately I've been comparing two of my favorite pairs of binoculars:  Zen Ray ZEN ED 10X43 and Meopta Meostar 10X42.  I use my binos for everything from sightseeing to birdwatching, but their primary focus (pardon the pun) is high mountain hunting for elk and mule deer. 

I've had my Meostars for nearly three years.  I just received my Zen Rays about three months ago, but they have been getting a lot of use in that time period.

First, how they are alike:  Both pairs have top-shelf glass, compare either to Monarch ATBs or Leupold Green Rings (I've owned both) you will immediately see the superiority of the Zens and Meoptas.  Both are wonderfully bright right to last light.  Both are wide: 330 ft at 1000 yards for Meopta, 340 ft (WOW) at 1000 yards for Zen.  Both have deep depths of field.  Both are center focus.  Both are extremely sharp, exactly what you have heard elsewhere.  Both adapt easily to tripods via the standard 1/4 in. threading.

The differences start with ergonomics:  The Meoptas are compact, but heavy.  This is actually a quite welcome feature when that extra weight steadies the view after a three hour climb to 10,000 feet!  The underside thumb impressions seem to have been designed for my medium-sized hands.  With the binoculars comfortably in both hands my index fingers are right at the focus wheel.  The focus is exceedingly smooth, with just enough tension to maintain position.  The diopter is affixed to the focus wheel (i.e. SLC), and has only two white witness marks to guide your adjustments.  I have found that during active hunts the diopter setting had wandered.  This became annoying enough that I remedied it with the tiniest drop of superglue at the junction of diopter and focus wheel.  The build quality of the Meostars is truly outstanding.  Mine took a roll down an avalanche chute with nary a scratch!  The rainguard and lenscovers, are well, not great.  The lenscovers kept falling off (Yes, the tiny drop of super glue did the trick!), and the rainguard was hard to work with.

Optical performance of the Meoptas is excellent overall.  the depth of field is SUPER deep.  If you have the diopter set and focus on a subject at 100 yards, you will be able to see near and far.  There is a noticeably warm, yellow cast on the image.  The image is extremely flat and free from spherical distortion until the very edge.  The sweet spot  is extremely large and sharpness falls only at the very edge of field.  The image is tack-sharp.  There is no interior light or reflections visible even with the eyecups firmly in the eyesockets.  Oh, but there is a chink in the armour, and it is:  Chromatic Aberration (CA).  CA is controlled well right at the center of the field, but move your subject out of the exact center and high-contrast subsects shine with a magenta or amber hue.  CA control is less than other binoculars in the Meopta's price range.

The build quality and ergonomics of the Zen Rays was quite a bit different.  The Zens are much lighter, but also much longer.  The zens have a harder armor with stippling.  The Zens have detented twist out eyecups of the rounded variety.  The binoculars have a center focus open-bridge design.  The diopter adjustment is on the right eyepiece and has only a faint witness mark with a + and - sign to guide you.  The diopter does not lock, but has not budged for me.  The Zen logo faceplate on the focus wheel does not spin when you turn the focus wheel.  Neat, but my logo plate was just off of horizontal.  There are defined thumb grooves on the underside of the barrels.  The binoculars were not designed for my hands, because when my thumbs are in the grooves I am stretching to reach the focus wheel.  The ergonomics are better, however, in that one can use the Zens one-handed much easier with the open-bridge design.  There is a dab of adhesive visible through one objective lense, but it does not effect performance.  The Zens seem sturdy and in fact carry a transferrable lifetime warranty.

The optical performance of the Meoptas was expected.  The optical performance of the Zens was shocking!  I purchased my Zens for around $370 from Zen Ray.  My intention was to use them in my patrol car (I am a full-time Law Enforcement Officer), so I did not have to keep my Meoptas where they would be tossed around and generally abused.  I was in for a surprise.  The Zens are nuetral in color.  There is no noticeable color bias.  They are remarkebly sharp.  Yes, they are just a tad, wee bit sharper at center field than my beloved Meoptas.  This is only noticeable when looking at the same subject alternating binoculars while both are tripod mounted.  The field is flat, but not quited as flat as the Meoptas.  The field is deep, but again not quite so deep as the Meoptas.  The field is ridiculously wide, and truly amazes the eyes, but it comes at a cost.  The biggest issue with the Zens is the internal reflections and stray light visible around the field.  If you put the eyecups further out of your eyesockets you can mitigate this effect.  However, I like to hold the eyecups up firmly against the top of my eyesockets for stability and the stray light can be distracting.

A big difference between these two optics is hard to explain.  The Meoptas are easier to see through.  When moving from one subject to another in the field focus is instantaneous and effortless, while there is just a fraction of time and a little effort that goes into doing the same with the Zens.  It seems like I could look through the Meoptas forever and never strain my eyes.  Now the Zens aren't particularly straining, but there is a difference when comparing both side by side.

The verdict?  I'm keeping them both, and I will continue to evaluate them.  I can assure you that the Zens will be making it to the hunting fields, but the Meostars are not forgotten.  My suggestion to those looking to buy a pair of these would be:  You will not be disappointed with the Meostars, they are the performance equivalent of binoculars costing twice as much in a well-made, robust, ergonomically pleasant, easy viewing package.  However, the Zens offer way too much for the money.  Their performance is top-shelf, but their price is bargain bin.  You can buy two pairs of Zens and still pay less than a discounted pair of Meoptas.  If you are on a budget and can deal with some minor ergonomic and technical issues, you will be way ahead in the long run.

I appreciate you guys reading my thoughts, and I'm anxious to hear yours!  Oh, and those Meoptas picked out my 10X9 mulie bedded in a pine pocket at 9000 feet last season ... that's real world performace!

-MattShocked
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/07/2009 at 22:10
mike650 View Drop Down
Optics God
Optics God
Avatar

Joined: May/14/2006
Location: West of Rockies
Status: Offline
Points: 12712
Nice write up Matt!!  Thunbs Up
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/08/2009 at 07:38
RifleDude View Drop Down
MODERATOR
MODERATOR
Avatar

Joined: October/13/2006
Location: Texas
Status: Offline
Points: 14313
Good job, Matt!  Thanks for your review!
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/08/2009 at 07:49
Kickboxer View Drop Down
MODERATOR
MODERATOR
Avatar
Moderator

Joined: February/13/2008
Status: Offline
Points: 18344
Dude... you just made me a binocular fan. 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/08/2009 at 07:57
RifleDude View Drop Down
MODERATOR
MODERATOR
Avatar

Joined: October/13/2006
Location: Texas
Status: Offline
Points: 14313
Originally posted by Kickboxer Kickboxer wrote:

Dude... you just made me a binocular fan. 
 
WOW!
 
 
Wink
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/08/2009 at 14:26
Bitterroot Bulls View Drop Down
Optics Master Extraordinaire
Optics Master Extraordinaire
Avatar

Joined: May/07/2009
Location: Montana
Status: Offline
Points: 3381
Thanks for the feedback.  Sorry about the typos in that post.  I'll be a little more careful next time.

A few more points on these two instruments:

The Meoptas have the thin, twist out eye cups I really like (think Swaro).  The Zens eye cups are nice, but with a lesser build quality (think Diamondback).

The lens covers on the Zens are the over-the-barrel type that are nicer to use than the Meopta's in-the-objective type.

The Zen's strap is completely useless.  It is way too long.  I think you would have to be about 7'6" tall to use it.  The Meopta's strap has gel padding "cells" on the underside that are kind of comfortable, but a chest harness is still the way to go with both.

I whined about CA in the Meoptas, but failed to mention that the Zen's were very well controlled.  CA was nearly non-existant until the edge of the field, where it was quite mild.

I hate to bragWink, but I thought a field picture of the Meoptas would be nice (They are hiding behind the deer):

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/08/2009 at 16:02
RifleDude View Drop Down
MODERATOR
MODERATOR
Avatar

Joined: October/13/2006
Location: Texas
Status: Offline
Points: 14313
Originally posted by Bitterroot Bulls Bitterroot Bulls wrote:

Thanks for the feedback.  Sorry about the typos in that post.  I'll be a little more careful next time.

A few more points on these two instruments:

The Meoptas have the thin, twist out eye cups I really like (think Swaro).  The Zens eye cups are nice, but with a lesser build quality (think Diamondback).

The lens covers on the Zens are the over-the-barrel type that are nicer to use than the Meopta's in-the-objective type.

The Zen's strap is completely useless.  It is way too long.  I think you would have to be about 7'6" tall to use it.  The Meopta's strap has gel padding "cells" on the underside that are kind of comfortable, but a chest harness is still the way to go with both.

I whined about CA in the Meoptas, but failed to mention that the Zen's were very well controlled.  CA was nearly non-existant until the edge of the field, where it was quite mild.

I hate to bragWink, but I thought a field picture of the Meoptas would be nice (They are hiding behind the deer):

 
Thunbs UpThe pic says it all!
 
Excellent
Nice buck!
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/08/2009 at 16:54
lucytuma View Drop Down
Optics Jedi Knight
Optics Jedi Knight
Avatar

Joined: November/25/2007
Location: Wisconsin
Status: Offline
Points: 5389

Good informative review.

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/08/2009 at 20:26
Kickboxer View Drop Down
MODERATOR
MODERATOR
Avatar
Moderator

Joined: February/13/2008
Status: Offline
Points: 18344
OK... the next time I go hunting, I am carrying a binocular.  And using it.  But if something runs off because I raised a binocular to search, you will all hear from my attorneys...

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/08/2009 at 21:09
John Barsness View Drop Down
Optics Optimist
Optics Optimist


Joined: January/27/2009
Status: Offline
Points: 785
Great evaluation, Matt. Also nice buck! He looks like an old guy, the kind I like to hunt....
 
I have been a big fan of Meopta binoculars for a few years now. Have tried to break 'em but haven't been able to, with a lot of hunting. Have just got the Zen Rays and have been very impressed with the optics, but will have to test them this year while hunting to see how they hold up. Would be very interested to hear how yours do.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/09/2009 at 17:22
Bitterroot Bulls View Drop Down
Optics Master Extraordinaire
Optics Master Extraordinaire
Avatar

Joined: May/07/2009
Location: Montana
Status: Offline
Points: 3381
I really appreciate the kind words.  I will be giving the ZENs a thorough thrashing this season.  You can expect an update.  I look forward to the one handed operation while hunting elk horseback.  By the way John B., I'm honored you replied to my post, as I assume you are THE John Barsness, and I am a long-time fanHowdy.

 You are correct, he was an old buck, but it is hard to get an accurate age when the teeth are gone!  It does make me wonder what he looked like when he was in his prime.  Pretty decent for a general tag, public land MT mulie, though. 

I am curious John, what do you think of the ZEN's ergonomics?  Break Dance
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/10/2009 at 09:43
John Barsness View Drop Down
Optics Optimist
Optics Optimist


Joined: January/27/2009
Status: Offline
Points: 785

Matt,

I just received my review sample of the Zen Ray a little while ago and am pretty impressed so far. I have no difficulty focusing them with my thumbs in the slots (I have short but broad hands). I wear glasses and had no problem getting a full FOV with the eyecups provided; in fact the eye relief was perfect for me. I found them very comortable to use--but haven't done any real extensive glassing with them yet (will do that this week as my wife and I get serious about bears about this time of spring).

One of my big questions will be ruggedness. I am a big Meopta fan myself, and have beat the snot out of my 10x42's in many places over the past few years, not just in North America but very dusty parts of Africa and very wet parts of New Zealand. I like the Meopta optics and their ruggedness--and I agree completely about a little extra weight being useful when glassing while hunting and hiking.

One of the things I have noticed about the Zen Ray is that though it is a little lighter and longer than the Meopta, the extra length makes them a little "muzzle heavy" (to borrow a shooting term) with the balance slightly in front of the thumb cut-outs. This seems to help when glassing.
 
I also agree about the neck strap. My wife would like it as she prefer a long strap, slinging the binocular back around her side, above her hip, when not glassing (also common in African PH's), but I like a short strap, just long enough to go over my head. So I'll probably be using a shoulder harness instead.
 
Glad you like my articles! By the way, how did you old muley eat? I have taken some that we quite tasty and tender, especially before the rut. Only a couple haven't been.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/10/2009 at 11:55
Ed Connelly View Drop Down
Optics Retard
Optics Retard
Avatar
God of no Chihuahua

Joined: December/16/2007
Location: USA
Status: Offline
Points: 24220
Great review , Matt!!!   I didn't know that there was so much to look for inside of the binoculars!!  Bucky    I thought stuff that was far away just looked bigger!!  Ha!!  Roll on Floor Laughing
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/10/2009 at 20:00
Bitterroot Bulls View Drop Down
Optics Master Extraordinaire
Optics Master Extraordinaire
Avatar

Joined: May/07/2009
Location: Montana
Status: Offline
Points: 3381
Ed, Once you start really looking you can't stop.  I will honestly say I will never forgive myself for learning to notice CA.

John, that buck was not bad at all.  I prefer pork fat in my deer burger.  I think tough big game meat comes from 1) running the animals before harvest and 2) rut or post-rut time of harvest.

Also, I have no question about the toughness of Meopta binoculars.  I am 100% confident in their durability.  Time will tell with the ZENs.

One more note.  Prior to last season I noticed the smallest speck of dust at the extreme edge of field in the right barrel of my Meostars.  Exterior inspection led to the conclusion the speck was on an internal lens surface.  Most people I showed could not even locate the spot, even when I told them exactly where in the field it was.   However, I e-mailed Meopta, and they instructed me to send them in.  Six days later I had a brand new pair in sealed package at my doorstep.  That is excellent service!

The new pair looked, felt, and operated exactly like the original pair.  Looking through them was like seeing an old friend.  The consistency of image between units was remarkable.  I have noticed that variations occur between units of even the most prestigious brands.  the Meopta warranty is tried and true.  I have not tested the Zen warranty, and hope not to.

-Matt
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/11/2009 at 13:30
Klamath View Drop Down
Optics Master
Optics Master
Avatar

Joined: May/20/2007
Location: United States
Status: Offline
Points: 1267
Matt
 
That is a good review, although it does point to individual differences when looking at a view through a binocular.  I cannot make mine show me any CA (except under extreme conditions), nor is there anything even remotely like the stray light issues with mine (for me).  Although I purchased, the 8x43, I had a 10x43 for review purposes for about six weeks before I decided to buy the 8x.
 
People who want a really decent binocular for not a lot of money really need to look the either the ZEN ED, the Hawke Frontier ED (see Koshkin's review) or the Promaster Infinity Elite ELX ED.  I have the Promaster as well, and what can be said for the Hawke and the ZEN also applies to the Promaster.  The Promaster does have water and oil repellent coatings the other two don't.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/11/2009 at 18:38
Bitterroot Bulls View Drop Down
Optics Master Extraordinaire
Optics Master Extraordinaire
Avatar

Joined: May/07/2009
Location: Montana
Status: Offline
Points: 3381
Steve,

Thanks for the compliment on my review.  I should have been clearer about the CA, though.  I said the ZENs show mild CA at the edge of field.  "Mild" is a strong word for the visible CA, and it is only at the extreme edge of field.  It is barely perceptable at its strongest. Further, it takes a highly contrasted subject to show any CA, anywhere.  I thing you got it right with "(except under extreme conditions)."

Perhaps this is more appropriate:  The CA control in the ZENs is similar to the best bins in the world.  The CA control of the Meoptas is not, however it is the weakpoint in an otherwise above-excellent bin. 

I have noticed in using the Zens that I am naturally placing the eyecups in such a position as to eliminate the interior light reflections, so it is not really a problem.

I would have a hard time recommending any binoculars other than those you listed to anybody other than the "money is no object" crowd.  I used to say this about Meopta.

I wonder what a Meostar ED would look like?  That would be interesting.Mouth Taped Shut
 Post Reply Post Reply
  Share Topic   

Forum Jump Forum Permissions View Drop Down

Similar Threads: "ZEN ED vs. Meopta Meostar"
Subject Author Forum Replies Last Post
LEUPOLD GOLD RING , MEOPTA MEOSTAR, ZEN ED II DAVE44 Binoculars 23
Meopta Meostar , Meostar HD, Zen Prime DAVE44 Binoculars 4
Meopta MeoStar S2 or Zen-Ray Prime HD 82 No Style Spotting Scopes 4
ZEN RAY ED 2, MEOPTA ? DAVE44 Binoculars 27
hawke ed or zen ray ed or promaster ed skilly1979 Binoculars 8
Zen-Ray 10x43 ZEN ED Demo's Brady Samplelist.com 0
Zen-Ray 10x43 ZEN ED Demo's Brady Binoculars 8
Zen Ray - ZEN ED vs. ZEN ED 2 Reefdonkey Binoculars 12
New Meopta Meostar M2 spotting scope Varoum Spotting Scopes 18
Meopta Meostar icon308 Rifle Scopes 9


This page was generated in 0.063 seconds.