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Zen-Ray ED2 7x36 binoculars

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/17/2010 at 18:59
koshkin View Drop Down
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Zen-Ray ED2 7x36 Binocular

It looks like lately, it has become a habit of mine to be routinely conflicted about picking the right comparables for the products I review.  I suspect that one reason for it is that the products of most interest to me are often configured in a less than common way.

The only comparably priced and configured binocular to compare to the 7x36 Zen-Ray is the (also not very common) 7x36 Swift Eaglet.  Unfortunately, I do not have the Eaglet on hand, although I have seen it before.  The only other 7x binocular I currently have is a Russian military BPO 7x30 porro.  It is a pretty good piece in its own way, but it made no sense to compare it to the Zen-Ray.  Magnification is just about the only thing they have in common.

Ultimately, I decided to structure the discussion of this binocular in a somewhat different way.  I decided to run it side by side with two binoculars of completely different configurations that I have on hand: Hawke Frontier ED 8x43 and Vortex Viper 6x32.  All three binoculars provide approximately the same exit pupils of just over 5mm.  However, they espouse very different design philosophies.  Either one of the three can serve as my primary binocular, except the compromises involved are a little different for each one.


Part 1: Specs, mechanics and first look at the glass.

In the table below, I list the three binoculars in question plus two others: 
  • Swift Eaglet 7x36 (Zen-Ray's only truly direct competitor)
  • and Meopta Meostar 7x42 (that is, IMO, the best allround binocular for the money available)


Zen-Ray ED2 7x36Vortex Viper 6x32Hawke Frontier ED 8x43Swift Eaglet 7x36Meopta Meostar 7x42
Prism typeRoofRoofRoofRoofRoof
Weight, ounces           2219.426.220.631.39
Height, inches5.84.96.54.95.5
Width, inches4.84.8555.2
Field of View, ft @1000 yards           477420426374411
Real FoV, degrees9.158.048.167.167.87
Apparent FoV, degrees6448.365.3
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/17/2010 at 21:37
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ILya,
I don't know if this is apples to oranges or Granny Smith to McIntosh; how would the Zen stack up against the 8x32 Leica, even the non-HD version? I'm asking because having a bright, compact binocular is beneficial when bow hunting? The Zen is only a bit longer and right there otherwise.

Thanks for the excellent review,
Doug
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/17/2010 at 21:58
koshkin View Drop Down
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Originally posted by tahqua tahqua wrote:

ILya,
I don't know if this is apples to oranges or Granny Smith to McIntosh; how would the Zen stack up against the 8x32 Leica, even the non-HD version? I'm asking because having a bright, compact binocular is beneficial when bow hunting? The Zen is only a bit longer and right there otherwise.

Thanks for the excellent review,
Doug

Honestly, I do not know yet.

I suspect that Leica will outresolve it in good light, but barely.  In low light, I fully expect the 7x36 Zen-Ray to have a slight edge.

ILya
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/18/2010 at 11:20
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Great review! By looking at the picture of eyecups, it seems both ZEN ED2 and Hawke ED have larger exposed ocular lens area than Viper 6x32. or it is just an artifact from picture. Do you think that might explain the different AFOV among those binoculars?
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/18/2010 at 11:56
koshkin View Drop Down
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Originally posted by spf2 spf2 wrote:

Great review! By looking at the picture of eyecups, it seems both ZEN ED2 and Hawke ED have larger exposed ocular lens area than Viper 6x32. or it is just an artifact from picture. Do you think that might explain the different AFOV among those binoculars?

I do not think that we can read too much into the exposed area of the eyepiece.  FoV is driven by internal design requirements.  It is entirely possible that they could make the lens smaller BECAUSE they designed the binocular for a slightly narrower field of view, not the other way around.

ILya
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/18/2010 at 15:43
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Originally posted by tahqua tahqua wrote:

ILya,
I don't know if this is apples to oranges or Granny Smith to McIntosh; how would the Zen stack up against the 8x32 Leica, even the non-HD version? I'm asking because having a bright, compact binocular is beneficial when bow hunting? The Zen is only a bit longer and right there otherwise.

Thanks for the excellent review,
Doug
 
Ilya, thank you so much for providing such an invaluable feedback on our products.
 
Doug, there was light transmission rate study by another reviewer, comparing 7x36 ED2 with several other models, including 8x32 Trinovid and one Ultravid (not sure which model).  You can see how the ED2 lens coating is measured up with some of the best in the industry.
 
 
 
 
 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/18/2010 at 16:02
koshkin View Drop Down
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I certainly expect the coatings on the Zen-Ray to be very good.

As far as apparent brightness of a binocular goes, light transmission is only part of the story.  Because of the way we process information, a binocular with ostensibly lower light transmission can appear brighter to the eye because of other qualities.

Charles, I looked at the thread on birdforum you linked and there is some interesting discussion there on phase coatings.  I never really looked into how they are constructed, but I suspect they are simply phase-delay coatings that pick the evanescent wave at the interface.  I'll look into it out of curiosity, if nothing else.

ILya

P.S. Charles, your mailbox is full.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/18/2010 at 18:30
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I totally agree with Ilya.  There are so many other factors that determine the overall perceived brightness: tranmission rate,  effective aperture size, ocular lens design. It is the whole package that really counts.
 
Ilya, your interpretion on P-coating is right on. It just corrects the phase shift of the polarized wave by applying optical coating on the roof surface.
 
Thanks a lot for pointing out my mailbox issue. Still a slow learner on using forum.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/08/2010 at 02:44
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I added another part to my review: low light.

You can read it here:
 Part 2 

ILya
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/08/2010 at 06:14
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Good work, Ilya!
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