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Zen Ray question

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/06/2011 at 07:52
tompac View Drop Down
Optics Apprentice
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 I own a pair of Nikon Monarch ATB 8x42 binoculars. And I am very satisfied with them. However, I am not against upgrading. I keep reading good things about the Zen Ray ED binoculars. So my question is, has anyone done a side by side comparison and if so, how much better would you rate the Zen Rays? I got a real good deal on the Monarchs and think I could sell them locally for close to what I paid for them. Thanks in advance.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/06/2011 at 08:06
300S&W View Drop Down
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 I ordered one of these from SWFA yesterday:
   


Edited by 300S&W - January/06/2011 at 14:05
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/06/2011 at 13:47
Klamath View Drop Down
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I have a Monarch 8x42 and have had just about all of the Zen Ray stuff at one time or another.  I have not used the Monarch in quite a while, so I decided to go out and use it a little against the ZEN ED 2 stuff I have.
 
The Nikon is a decent enough binocular, but the ZEN is an improvement.  My 7x36 ZEN will show up better detail, even quite a ways out.  The Nikon is clear and bright enough, just not quite what the ZEN represents.  However, the biggest factor in the difference is the 2* wider fov of the ZEN ED.  Now the Nikon is OK at its listed 330' @ 1000 yards, but I have come to prefer a little wider fov.  Personally I do not require the 426' fov of the ZEN ED either.  But it is nice to have.  My pedrsonal sweet spot kicks in from 7-7.5* or so with an 8x glas.  The Monarch is 6.3*.  Another place they will seperate out is in dark gray days or in twilight.  There the ZEN is better.  The Nikon is lighter however.
 
I would take the next step down Zen Ray ZRS in preference to the Nikon too.
 
Hope this helps some.  Fire away if you have a more specific question.


Edited by Klamath - January/06/2011 at 13:50
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/06/2011 at 14:18
SChunter View Drop Down
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I owned both--ATB's were 10x42 and Zen EDII's 10x43--
the simple answer--I sold the ATB's.  The Zen's were that much better.  Color, clarity, light gathering all went to the Zen.  I also have Leopold GR's that are equal to the Zens, maybe a little better at late light gathering, but not much.  I do like the focus on the Leopold better than the Zens, but the Zen's are great at that price.  The ATB's are not at the top of the Bino heap at this price point!
my .02
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/06/2011 at 14:59
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Optics Apprentice
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 Thanks for the replys. I have been pleased with the Nikon in all respects but one. And that is low light. Overall they do what I want.  But it seems I am always looking for a faster horse! That said I also look for bargains.(which lead me to the nikons in the first place) And from what information I can gather, the Zen Rays are a heck of a bargain for the optics you get. If money was no object, then I could go buy a pair of alphas. But money does matter on my budget. Wish I could do a personal comparison between my Monarch, the Zen Ray and a Vortex Viper.  8x is about all I can handle as far as holding steady.
  I am at a disadvantage. No place around here sells much of anything in the way of optics. And ALL my hunting buddies own El Cheapo binoculars.  (They think my Monarchs are really super! And no, I don't try to convince them otherwise.Big Smile )
 Anyway, thanks again and if you have any other information, please do share!
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/06/2011 at 15:58
Klamath View Drop Down
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The simple fact of life with today's optics, IMO, is that what extra you get for the alpha brand is not worth what it costs.  This is NOT to say the alphas aren't better, they are.  Just nowhere near enough better to tempt me.  YMMV fo sure and that is just me talking about my preferences. 
I've had Vipers too and the comparison is
1  Zen ED
2  Viper
3  Monarch
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/06/2011 at 16:31
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The first pair of non-$25 toy binos I bought were a pair of Monarch ATBs.  8x42s I think. 
Shortly thereafter I bought a pair of 8x42 Zen Ray ZRS binos off of sample list for $159 (less than half the price of the Monarch ATBs at Outdoor World).  The Zen Rays, optically, are better in terms of resolution and brightness.  I took the Monarchs back.

I now have two Zen-Ray ED2s (7x36 & 10x43) and they are altogether better than the ZRS line (more expensive though, but around the same price as the ATBs).  I actually prefer the 10x43 Zen Rays to the Vortex 10x50 Razors that I have (but my father disagreed when he looked through both, so YMMV).  I think the ED2s are very, very, very good glass, and for the cost, the best value out there for roof prism binos.


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