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ZEN Prime HD 8x vs 10x

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/03/2012 at 13:26
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Optics Master
Optics Master

Joined: May/20/2007
Location: United States
Status: Offline
Points: 1297

ZEN Prime HD 8x vs 10x


Ok, I have had these for a few days now and have made as much use of them as I have had the time, so here are my comments to this point.


My usual preference for binocular magnification is 7-8x.  There are times however when 10x is really nice.  My main problem with 10x stuff is it typically suffers for my viewing with a quite shallow dof.  I had an original Vortex Viper that was very good in dof for a 10x glass, but its optics were not as good as some others I have used.  I currently have a ZEN ED 2 x 43 as my 10x glass.  After using the beta sample Prime HD 10x42, I had hoped that the first production run would give better results in dof as compared to the beta.  My goal is to see if I can find a good 10x 42-50 mm glass and one in the 7-8x30-36 mm class as the two main use glasses.  The original 7x and 10x combination I used was the Swift Eaglet 7x36 and the Viper 10x 42.  Had that not served to infect me with the optics bug, I could have been quite satisfied with that particular combo for quite some time.


So when got the USPS box from ZR, I first removed and opened the 10x Prime.  First impression was…well the dof is improved over the ED 2 and the beta Prime, an dis a better binocilat generally.  Other observations clearly showed that this is a very nice binocular.  The next thing was that ZR did was to ever so slightly round the edges of the eye cup on the production model.  It does not look like much, but it improved the contact comfort around the oculars immensely.  Both eyes will focus to the same precision of image.  In addition to the improved apparent dof, the Prime HD has a better 3-D effect than either the beta or the ED 2.  It is just about on par with the 3-D effect from the Wind River 10x50 Mesas, which are a very good binocular in their own right.  So…OK, it had passed what it needed to pass for me to keep the 10x.  So I had at that point just about decided to send the 8x back.


Then I decided to open the 8x.   It trumps the 10xin just about every way I can think of, and there is nothing wrong with the 10x as it is good enough to keep.  At first I thought that what I had was a very cherry mismarked 10x unit.  I next checked the fov specs and they are right with those listed by ZR.  Then I got into serious comparison of the two Primes.  That evolved into comparing them against whatever else I had around.  In my view, the 8x Prime got better as the comparisons progressed.


If you look at a USAF resolution chart, the 10x at close distance does show its advantage.  I have a variety of targets I use in optical evaluation.  To the south of me are the Klamath Hills.  Our farm sits at 4,100 ft elevation and the high point of the KH is 5,730 high point of Captain Jack.  Two years ago there was a lightning strike fire just below that summit.  At a distance of (Google Earth) 1.7mi the Dept of Forestry left a weather data collection station.  It is white, 2 feet x 3 feet with a 5’ high instrument tower.  It looks like a mail box in binoculars.  At the same distance from a fire in 1998 there is a standing, burned Juniper snag.  The skeleton is 16’ tall and probably 8’ in circumference.  This is south by south west from me.  Looking to the east there is the 6,800’ Stukel Mountain.  At a distance of 3.71(again measured with Google Earth) on the north end of the mountain there are several houses.  One of these has a very large motor home.  It is tan with several stripes of maroon of increasing intensity that make a good test object.  At the top of this mountain at 5.1 miles there are several communications towers.  So this is the sort of distance I was using.


Both units carried over the nice focuser and the sturdy construction.  Both have the same slightly more rounded edge to the eye cup.  The 10x does have better eye relief than the beta sample, about 1.5 mm.  This was done by using a thinner assembly around the ocular lens.  This looks like the same unit in both binoculars.  The eye relief is better in the 8x, so if you need eye relief, get the 8x.

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/07/2012 at 10:44
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Optics GrassHopper
Optics GrassHopper

Joined: February/23/2012
Location: Westport, WA
Status: Offline
Points: 22
Thanks for the comparison Steve.
I am seriously thinking about the Prime and have been on the fence about 8x or 10x for binoculars in general.  Do you think the 8x are hands down better - enough to not consider the 10x unless you just had to have 10x?
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/07/2012 at 15:18
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Optics Apprentice
Optics Apprentice

Joined: February/21/2007
Location: Texas
Status: Offline
Points: 98
Appreciate the observations. Personally, I've always preferred 8x as it generally provides better resolution, clarity, and FOV. Typically, the ER is a better too.
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