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ZenRay HD Prime vs Vortex Viper vs Monarch 7

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/03/2016 at 11:55
thinkingman View Drop Down
Optics Apprentice
Optics Apprentice


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I  am considering purchasing the above-mentioned binoculars in 10X42 for hunting.
They are all in the $450-$550 range and seem well-regarded.
I value field of view, brightness and edge clarity.

Please let me know your thoughts.


Edited by thinkingman - August/03/2016 at 12:00
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/03/2016 at 16:08
JGRaider View Drop Down
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Zen Ray customer service has become a horrid affair.  You can read about the latest over on birdforum.com.   If you're willing to spend around $600, the Tract Toric UHD is head and shoulders above both the Monarch 7 and Viper, on par with the Vortex Razor HD and Zeiss Conquest HD.  The Toric should cost $1200, but since Tract eliminates the middleman, the savings go to you.  
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/03/2016 at 16:13
WJC View Drop Down
Optics Apprentice
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Joined: May/28/2014
Location: Twin Falls, ID
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In general, as FOV increases, edge clarity decreases. That can be solved by throwing dollars at the problem, however. Since most come from a handful of Asian manufacturers, I would recommend looking at the reputation of the vendor, their return policy, their repair policy, and documented customer satisfaction over time.

There are several factors to consider that relate to image brightness that most shoppers never consider. However, the contributions of all never equal aperture. But, since you are only looking at the 42mm instruments, choosing the right vendor again claws its way near the top of the heap.

Cheers, and good hunting!
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/03/2016 at 16:29
3_tens View Drop Down
Optics Jedi Knight
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Vortex VIP Warranty!
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/04/2016 at 22:36
PhilR. View Drop Down
Optics Apprentice
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As mentioned by JGRaider, Z-R customer service has really gone down the tubes.  For that reason alone I would not recommend the Prime.

Between the other two, the pick should be easy as you stated you value FOV.  The Monarch 7's FOV is wider, and the difference is easily seen.  Subjectively I prefer the M7's handling, light weight, and very good focus wheel over the Viper too, but of course you might evaluate these much differently.  OTOH - if you value customer service, the Viper would be the one to pick.  Nikon's CS can be hit or miss, but Vortex CS is reputed to be one of the best in the industry.  At any rate - the good news is that neither is a bad choice at all.

If you would consider other binos -- the Leupold McKinley (not Mckenzie) is supposedly a clone of the Prime.  They are no longer imported, but it's not hard to find new ones if you shop around.  I found a new 8x42 McKinley for $269 back in January.  It may well be worth your time to look around for a 10x version.   Personally though I would consider the Leupold Mojave HD or the Toric mentioned above.  The Mojave handles very nicely -- moreso to my hands than just about any other "mid-level" 42mm bino including the overly-heavy McKinley/Prime.  You might really like the camo finish of the Mojave HD too.

I have not used the Toric (yet), but I am certainly looking forward to that occasion.......

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/05/2016 at 16:47
perterra View Drop Down
Optics GrassHopper
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I won a Zen Ray prime in contest a while back,  the glass itself is damn impressive. I own a Zeiss Conquest HD and in my eyes the Zen is the equal. 

But (Big Butt) as others have said, they are sure stumbling around on service from what I read. I'd heed WJC's post,  so many so close, I'd buy on the customer service.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/05/2016 at 19:22
WJC View Drop Down
Optics Apprentice
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After Ft. Lewis pulled the plug on all the civilians doing optics, I talked to ZR about taking on their American repairs. They were very interested, talked about sending me a U.B.M.M. for collimation, etc. 'Next thing I knew, phone calls weren't being returned and the thinkology in the conversations that did happen were all over the board. I didn't have a problem with the product, but communications took a nosedive. Say what you mean and mean what you say seemed to be a long forgotten sentiment.

Finally, one day, while contemplating the socio-economic value of navel lent, I just decided to cut my losses and stop wasting my time with them. The downturn in things possibly came when they found out that I would want to be paid in dollars and not the "prestige" of working on their gear.

My long list of experiences here would not be politically correct—although totally truthful—so I will just move along.


Edited by WJC - August/05/2016 at 20:24
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