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Zen Ray - ZEN ED vs. ZEN ED 2

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/04/2011 at 09:28
Reefdonkey View Drop Down
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So I am new to the board.  I came across this forum because I am looking to buy new hunting binoculars.  I have always had low end binoculars and have had trouble identifying game in low light conditions when my hunting partner who has Steiner Nighthunters (I can't remember if they are 10x50 or 12x50) has no problem.

 

Anyway on to the point, I am looking to put less than $500 into the binoculars and after reading this board and several other reviews the Zen Ray ZEN ED look like the way to go.  Are the upgrades in the ZEN ED2 worth the extra cost?

 

Thanks for the help and all of the information that I have found here.

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/04/2011 at 10:34
Klamath View Drop Down
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The ZEN ED is a good binocular and you should be pretty happy with it.
 
The changes in the ED and ED2 are the ED2 has dielectric prism coatings, oil and water repellent lens coatings (like rainguard).  The focus is different in that the ED 2 has less wheel travel, is a lot stiffer to move.  That last makes it less likely to get bumped out of focus when carrying it, but a bit more difficult to focus.  Personally I like the ED 2 focus. 
 
The ED has the original silver coated prisms.  When you have the two side by side, you can see a difference in the image.  The ED 2 is a little brighter, and the contrast (the ability to finely separate out color shades) is a little better.  But I need to emphasize that you need to have them side by side.  While the difference is there, it is small enough to be pretty insignificant.
 
I'd venture the opinion that the repellent coatings may be the significant practical difference.  What is "worth it" is a personal call and I can't make that for you. Smile


Edited by Klamath - January/04/2011 at 10:38
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/04/2011 at 12:22
Reefdonkey View Drop Down
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Thanks for the input.  Since I have been known to sit in the rain for hours, it is probably worth the extra cash for the coatings.

 

I can tell by your posts that you have extensive experience with several different brands.  Do you know how the ZEN ED2 will compare to the Steiners in low light (dusk/dawn) conditions?

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/04/2011 at 13:24
Klamath View Drop Down
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Aside from the Steiner Peregrine and Peregrine XP I don't have much to base Steiner comments on.  I do have a porro Predator 8x30 and don't think too much of it.
 
The comparison of a 50mm (I think Nighthunters might be 56mm) to the 42 mm class is s bit of an apples to oranges deal.  I have 7x, 8x and 10x ZEN ED binoculars and all work just fine for even somewhat after the end of legal hunting hours where I am.
 
So I guess it comes down to just how critical low light performance is to you.  I tend to think that gets way overplayed and personally I will go for a good all around setup in 7-10x at 4-5 mm exit pupil glass.
 
I'd just get the ZEN ED 2 in whatever magnification you would prefer and just go use it and enjoy it.  Sometimes gear selection can get way over thought.
 
Those coatings do work pretty well.
 
EDIT:  Welcome aboard.  I should have said that earlier.  Your avatar must have distracted me. Big Smile


Edited by Klamath - January/04/2011 at 13:28
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/04/2011 at 14:28
Reefdonkey View Drop Down
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Thanks for the welcome.  I have learned a lot on this board over the last few days.  The biggest thing that I learned was that I had no idea how much I didn't and still don't know.
 
One last question:  I read somewhere during my reasearch that Zen Ray and Hawke are manufactured in the same plant and they look identical outside of coloration.  What is the quality difference between the Frontier ED and the ZEN ED?  I didn't see a Frontier ED with the dielectric prism coatings, so I will still probably go with the Zen-Ray.  Just curious mostly.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/04/2011 at 15:22
Klamath View Drop Down
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There are four different binoculars which are variations of the same design.  The Hawke Frontier and the Promaster Infinity Elite ELX ED were first and ZEN just behind them (at least that is the order in which I found them) followed by the Atlas Intrepid.  The ZEN ED 2 is the only one which has adopted the dielectric coatings and the faster stiffer focus.  I think the rest have the repellent coatings and retain the initial silver coated prisms.  Zen Ray was teh one who first got the 36mm version. Each brand probably has a few tweaks unique to itself, but the basic design is the same.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/04/2011 at 21:36
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Werlcome to the OT reef!
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/05/2011 at 08:13
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Sorry I can't follow with the forum members but I tried the 7x36 EDII this summer and returned them - center of view was great but there were too many cons that made me unhappy with them.
 
I'm one of those that believe in the notion that you can't spend too much on optics. If I had a budget limit of $500, I would try to get a bargain on a used top rated/alpha binocular - either in SWFA's sample list or that other online auction site. And unless you're glassing mountainsides out west or using them in sheep country, I think 8x provides more attributes than 10x or so. Good luck.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/05/2011 at 15:26
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>> center of view was great but there were too many cons that made me unhappy with them.

Hmm.

I wear glasses and see about 85-90% of FOV. edges are some blurry..

but overall about 70-75% of FOV has very good sharpness.

For wide-field binocular edges is good, its better, than in Nikon action ex /Minolta wpfp 7x35 (these binoculars is very good for its price)

75% of FOV - its about 360 ft/ 1000 yd.






 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/10/2011 at 20:37
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Have the 7X36 ED2 and I like them; also have the 8X43s and the 16X43; just because they were at a good price; the gearing and the smoothness of Zen-Ray is impressive. The optics aren't as tight and accurate as Minox or the Germans, but their pricing is 1/2 the cost of the Zeiss or leica, too. For me the compromise was the Minox HG line; their chassis is lighter than the Zen-Rays and the eye Relief is great for glasses wearer, too. Plus, the chassis is so light it makes hand holding very easy.

Have three pair of the Minox HG line, and the 8X33 HG is so compact that it's easy to put in a large pocket on a jacket.  Not sure why the Minox people did not put ojective covers on their glasses, but they did not. Their image is very nice and they are more than the Zens but cheaper than the Zeiss or Leica.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/10/2011 at 23:57
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BTW, I just checked the SWFA list of samples and they have a HG Minox 10X43 on their website; they don't stay up; it's fist come, served.  I got my first 8X and 10X there and they were significantly reduced from the straight retail.  I believe the bins are priced <$400. 

Good luck, that was what you were looking at less han 500, right.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/13/2011 at 08:13
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  I got my Zen-Ray 7x36 ED 2 binocular last evening.  So far?  NICE.  VERY WIDE fov and I DEFINITELY found out what "tunnel vision" isn't.

Edited by 300S&W - January/13/2011 at 08:14
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/14/2011 at 15:37
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Wow.  This is a lot of good advice.  I'm glad I found this thread for making my own decision.
Thanks for the input, all.
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