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Zen Ray Prime HD

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/24/2011 at 16:58
FrankD View Drop Down
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Gentlemen,
 
My apologies. I posted some new reviews/comments about several models over on BF but did not copy/paste them to any other forums. Here is the first.
 
I was out at the Birding "fair" last weekend. While there I decided to check out all of the optics on hand. It appears that Zen Ray is planning on introducing a new model as per the 2012-2013 Zen Ray catalog that I now have in my hand. To quote the catalog:

Zen Ray Prime HD:

Edge to Edge crisp, brilliant image thanks to one of the most sophisticated eyepiece designs on the market. Rugged magnesium chassis with a sleek, conventional hinge body design.

5 group/6 element eyepiece featuring a doublet field flattener lens system
Extra Low Dispersion Glass to minimize color aberration
2nd Generation VividBrite Dielectric Coating
CrystalView Lens Coating to repel oil and water
Magnesium Allow Chassis
65 degree Field of View
Phase corrected Bak4 prism
4 stage Metal Allow Twist up Eyecup
Argon Gas Charged/O-ring Sealed
99.7% Light Transmission Rate at every glass surface/air interface with Fully Broadband Multicoating
Transferrable Lifetime Warranty

8x42

28.5 ounce weight
6.1x5.0 inch dimenstions
6 foot close focus
425 foot field of view
20 mm of eye relief
56-74 mm IPD

10x42

same specs but with a 340 foot field of view

I will try to see if I can take a pic of it in the catalog with my phone and upload it to this post.
 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/24/2011 at 17:07
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Originally posted by FrankD FrankD wrote:

It appears that Zen Ray is planning on introducing a new model as per the 2012-2013 Zen Ray catalog that I now have in my hand.
Frank,
 
Are the 2012 catalogs available to the general public at this time?
 
Stan
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/24/2011 at 17:16
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As far as I know, yes. They were being given out at the Birding event. I have a few copies. If you want one then send me a PM and I can send it out.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/24/2011 at 20:10
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Any rumors on a price point for these?   I think I'm going to be in the market for something in the 8 x 40 8 x42 range soon.
 
Thanks
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/24/2011 at 21:55
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These will likely be in the $600-650 range.  They will probably be available around the first of the year.
 
Keep in mind this represents a serious attempt by Zen Ray to sharpen the edge performance and to flatten the field in the ZEN ED series glass.  This is a new design, as I think the ED 3 represents about what can be reasonably achieved with that design.  So while they say edge to edge sharp, there will be a little pincushion distortion.  They evidently don't want to get into the rolling ball problems some experience with the Swarovision.  This is a different design from the SV as well, and is not an attempt to copy anything Swaro, as far as I can see.  Looks like a differrent glass inside and out.  Remember this is an effort to expand the quality of the Zen Ray offering up a notch.
 
The ED 3 is destined to remain in the lineup. 
 
I'm really waiting to get my hands on one of these. Yippee


Edited by Klamath - September/24/2011 at 21:56
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/11/2011 at 07:12
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Quote .....and I think a full APO-ED triplet objective.

Just wanted to copy/paste this bit of information to this thread as I don't think it was mentioned previously.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/11/2011 at 09:51
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Sounds impressive. One thing I'm curious about: When they state 99.7% light transmission through each glass/air interface, doesn't that mean the total transmission is .997^n? (Where n is the number of interfaces). Looking at the right side of this diagram (about the only one I could find so maybe not representative of all roof-prism designs), I would count at least 10 (maybe more depending on how the prism set factors in...as many as 17):



So would total light transmission be something like 97% (.997^10) or is it even 95% (.997^17)? That is still quite good (as long as it's matched by resolution and contrast). But when reported that way, I think most readers would tend to gloss over the "per surface/air interface" and just see the 99.7%.

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/11/2011 at 10:19
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Jono,
 
Your numbers appear accurate and, yes, I would agree that it can be a bit misleading when the various manufacturers say "99% light transmission" and don't always specify "per glass surface".
 
From what I have seen on the various forums and on some of the bino review sites the total light transmission numbers can range anywhere from the low 80's up into the mid 90's and, of course, that is going to vary at the different wavelengths of the light spectrum. The type of antireflective coatings and the prism coating on the roof prism (aluminum, silver, dielectric) play the largest role in this. Porros tend to have higher light transmission numbers as long as the antireflective coatings utilized are fairly modern.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/11/2011 at 11:16
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Frank, I've seen that with even cheap Porros. If the diagram I dredged up is anything to go by, the Porro by my count has 14 interfaces.  http://www.nikon.com/products/sportoptics/how_to/guide/binoculars/technologies/technologies_06.htm has a nice pair of animated diagrams showing the two types of prisms. Judging by that, I count 14 for Porros and 18 for roof prisms. So total light transmission for the Zen would be 94.7, which is more in line with what Swarovski claims for the EL series (91%). As mentioned, light transmission isn't the end-all be-all in optics. Even if a manufacturer publishes a total number, making it an apples-to-apples comparison, I'd still be looking at the overall package.

If the specs and Zen's previous models are anything to go by, I'm sure the overall package will be formidable, especially considering the price difference. I think it was Klamath not long ago who made the observation that the Vortex Razor HDs couldn't really compete with the ED3s anymore and they're much closer in price.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/11/2011 at 11:31
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Jono,
 
Truthfully I doubt the total light transmission number will be that high for the Prime. Most of the high end light transmission numbers I have seen from independent, 3rd party evaluators have the Alphas in the very high 80's and very low 90's. The Swaro number you posted seems accurate from what I remember reading. The Zeiss FL was the highest of the roofs from what I remember with a number around 93% for the Abbe-Koenig prism models and just a percentage point lower for the Schmidt Pechan prism designs. The Swaros weren't too far behind nor were the Leica Ultravids.
 
Compare those numbers with the Leica Trinovid or Nikon Premier LXL, both of which sported silver coated prisms. I believe their numbers were in the mid-low 80s.
 
You are, of course, correct. Total light transmission numbers don't really give the whole picture but they are a nice comparison piece for conversation. I do agree that the Prime HD should be one formidable binocular considering all of its listed features. Quality control is going to be the big hurdle for them to overcome particularly with the focusing feel/tension. Since the Prime HD isn't an open-bridge design I don't anticipate that being as much of an issue.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/11/2011 at 13:16
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On light transmission:

The numbers in marketing materials from just about any company are certifiable garbage, so you can comfortably ignore them.  

99.7% is likely a number for a single material interface at some single unknown wavelength.

The actual number of lens elements in Zen Prime HD is likely higher than in the diagram above, but we do not know which are cemented and which are air-spaced, so I would not put too much time into calculating total transmission (and a couple of percentage points of light transmission difference is virtually irrelevant anyway).

Besides, there is also one reflective coating in the prism which is very important for color fidelity and overall performance (and which is where some manufacturers play interesting tricks).

Either way, Prime HD sounds like a nice binocular and it will be interesting to see how it performs.

ILya
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/12/2011 at 06:58
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Thank you for the info Ilya. I do hope you get your hands on one of the Prime HDs for review. I always enjoy reading your comments/perspective.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/20/2011 at 23:13
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I am very excited to see the Zen Prime HD.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/21/2011 at 10:24
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Getting to be that time of year, I'm excited to see what 2012 will bring us in new products.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/21/2011 at 23:36
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Originally posted by atomiclab atomiclab wrote:

I am very excited to see the Zen Prime HD.
me to considering how nice the ED3's are
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/06/2011 at 22:23
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Tedster,  several people have spoken about the lesser construction of zens.  I know there were problems with a certain lot of ED2's.  What do you think about the construction of you ED3's?
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/06/2011 at 22:56
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Originally posted by atomiclab atomiclab wrote:

Tedster,  several people have spoken about the lesser construction of zens.  I know there were problems with a certain lot of ED2's.  What do you think about the construction of you ED3's?
Well, I'm not Tedster, but it looks like the ED 3 are better built than the ED2.  Having said that, I don't know about this whole "lesser construction" thing.  They are as well built as anything else in the price range where they live.  They are not of the build quality of any of the alphas, but they aren't supposed to be either.  I have has the ZEN ED series in all of its forms since they came out.  They are as bright and tight two to four years later as the day the came out of the box.  I don't baby them , but I don't beat the crap out of them either.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/06/2011 at 23:02
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well said
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/07/2011 at 00:39
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Originally posted by Klamath Klamath wrote:

Originally posted by atomiclab atomiclab wrote:

Tedster,  several people have spoken about the lesser construction of zens.  I know there were problems with a certain lot of ED2's.  What do you think about the construction of you ED3's?
Well, I'm not Tedster, but it looks like the ED 3 are better built than the ED2.  Having said that, I don't know about this whole "lesser construction" thing.  They are as well built as anything else in the price range where they live.  They are not of the build quality of any of the alphas, but they aren't supposed to be either.  I have has the ZEN ED series in all of its forms since they came out.  They are as bright and tight two to four years later as the day the came out of the box.  I don't baby them , but I don't beat the crap out of them either.
i have had the ED2 and the were great i had the 8x43 and the 10x43 they were both nice bins clear,bright excellent colors now i have the ED3 and they are a notch above the ED2 and very well built there a really good bin i have no complaints except they are hard to hold still and that is not the bin its me....lol
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/07/2011 at 22:04
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thats kinda what I was wanting to know.  If the build/durability or over all construction was better on the ED3 from someone with experience with them.

I know the 8x43 ED3 would be a real good bino.  Im just not there yet
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/08/2011 at 00:09
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atomiclab
when you do reach the point that you are ready to try a pair you wont be dissapointed with them
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/24/2012 at 22:42
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The Zen Ray Prime HD binos should be coming out soon.  I heard they would be coming out at the end of Jan to the mid of Feb.

Well its late January.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/18/2012 at 22:07
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Any update on the Prime HD?  Would like to see one of these......Looking for an 8X32 or 8X42.....
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/19/2012 at 10:23
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The wait is a pain in the backside for sure.  However, what I've seen says it will be worth a wait.  I want mine yesterday too.  ZR is headed to the factory in a few days.  Hopefully that will be to put the seal of approval on the final version.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/22/2012 at 20:50
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I received an e-mail today from Zen-Ray Optics  saying the Prime HD would be available in early March for pre-order and delivered by mid May! SmileSmile
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