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Zen-ray vs. Meopta vs Zeiss Conquest

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/17/2011 at 14:08
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I have been looking and researching for a long time, and I still need some help.

The binos Im considering most are:

Zen-Ray ED3    8x43
MeOpta meostar B1 8x42
Zeiss Conquest  8x40


the Zen-Rays are several hundred dollars cheaper (which is a budget plus)

I have never looked through the Zen-Rays.

I have looked through the MeOptas in one store.  Compared to others, including Nikon EDG, I liked the MeOptas.  The MeOptas were actually the first binos I ever put to my eyes and said "wow" 

I have looked through the Zeiss Conquest binos in another store and compared to many others (most all brands)  and thought they were very nice.  In store Swaros were maybe detectably better and without a doubt the Leica were nice and bright (reminded me of my MeOpta experience)  all things considered I know these are all LESS than ideal conditions to compare and contrast optics.

I have 2 Zeiss Conquest Rifle scopes, and I love them.  I think they are great!


I am looking to you guys here in the forum with more knowledge and experience than me to help me decide.  Or, at least influence me.


Should I just wait till the Zen-Ray Prime HD comes out? and hear how they compare?  


One more piece of information. The Leupold cascades 10x42 are my standard of an absolute MINIMUM performance.  I am assuming the Binos Im considering with easily out perform the cascades.


Thank you for your input
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/17/2011 at 14:15
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I have compared Meotpa Meostar and Zeiss Conquest side by side.  I though the Meopta was quite a bit better. 

Never used Zen Rays.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/17/2011 at 14:16
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cool.  +1 Meopta.  

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/17/2011 at 14:49
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I have spent hours and hours with the Zen ED2 and Meopta Meostar in 10x configurations.  The Zens are the better value.  The Meoptas are the better overall binocular.
 
I have only briefly looked at Conquest binoculars, but haven't found them too impressive, for their cost.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/17/2011 at 14:57
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bitterroot,
I am very interested in your experience with the two.  I do under stand the value the zen's offer.  Tell me more about how you think the meo's are a better binocular.  
this is the kind of stuff Im looking for.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/17/2011 at 16:10
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I have posted a lot about these two binoculars.
 
The boiled-down version is the images are pretty similar.
 
The Zens are more neutral, and have better chromatic aberration control.
 
The Meoptas have a much wider sweet spot, excellent depth of field, and show a little more chromatic aberration.
 
The Zens are built well for their price point.
 
The Meoptas are built like they could deliver them by dropping them unprotected from the shipping airplane.
 
By far, most people that buy either pair are more than satisfied.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/17/2011 at 16:26
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does the chromatic aberration cause a problem when looking for game such as deer, elk, moose, ect?

I like the depth of field that the meoptas have.  that was a big plus to me.  And, a wider sweet spot sure sounds sweet.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/17/2011 at 16:30
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I might note that the ZEN ED 3 are an improvement over the ED 2, notably they have a brighter image and a bsttwe sewwt spot than the ED 2 does.
 
The Meopta may well be better built, but I like the feel of the ZEN better.  The Meopta feels nose heavy and I don't care for the diopter adjustment sticking out the way it does.   The ZEN ED glass are built like anything else in that price class.  Not alpha build, but not cheap either, thay are way above that.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/17/2011 at 16:49
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Chromatic aberration is not a problem for many people.  It is distracting to me, but only on very high contrast objects.
 
In hunting, I see CA most often at the edge of dark objects (moose, burnt trees, etc.) over snow.
 
The Meoptas control the CA pretty well in the center of the image.  The Zens control CA extremely well throughout the field of view.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/17/2011 at 17:07
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as far as sharpness, clarity, and brightness, how do they compare?

I have no intensions of taking a hammer to my optics or anything,... but sometimes things seem to fall apart in my hands for seemingly no reason.   Ill just throw that out there.  
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/17/2011 at 17:14
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I have been using a pair of Meostars for 5 or 6 years.  Been very happy with them.  A couple months back I bought a Leica Geovid HD as I wanted a RF bino. 

In all honestly they are so close it is hard to call, but the Meopta seem to have a larger sweet spot.

Granted my Leica's are on there way back for repair right now as they have what looks like to me a chipped internal lens which may be detracting from the overall image quality a bit.   Guess I will see when I get them back.

So I guess I am just saying the Meoptas are a very fine pair of binos.  There is no way I would pay more than what Meoptas cost for a pair of binos.  Only reason I bought the Leica was because I wanted a RF built in. 

If the Zen Rays are as good as everyone says, I would probably have a hard time spend more than what they cost.  Its just hard to justify $1000 or more for 2 or 3% better image quality


Edited by supertool73 - November/17/2011 at 17:18
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Originally posted by atomiclab atomiclab wrote:

as far as sharpness, clarity, and brightness, how do they compare?

I have no intensions of taking a hammer to my optics or anything,... but sometimes things seem to fall apart in my hands for seemingly no reason.   Ill just throw that out there.  
 
Clarity means too many different things to different people, so I can't give an answer to that.  They are similarly bright and similarly sharp (apparent sharpness) with the smallest edge in centerfield sharpness going to the Zens, and midfield and edge sharpness going noticeably to the Meoptas.
 
The Meoptas have a bit warmer (yellow bias) image.  The Zens more neutral.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/17/2011 at 20:38
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I don't know if this will help explain what I am looking for when I ask about sharpness and brightness and clarity.
Ok, heres the story.

My cousin and I were hunting mule deer in south east New Mexico a couple years ago and I had my (very cheap) Bushnell binos,  which I knew wasn't real good, but I didn't know how bad they are.

My cousin and I met up on top of a hill after much frustration, and not seeing much deer for 2 days.  We were doing a little glassing and my cousin tries to point out to me a group of doe.  I look with my binos and I don't see any.  After a lot of back and fourth and pointing and describing, he hands me his Leupold Acadia binos.  BAM!!! there they were.  They were OBVIOUS!  5 doe stand in the grass and amongst minor non-obstructing brush.  They were in the open.  Going back and fourth (bushnell, now Leupold, now bushnell now Leupold)  they are gone (bushnell) they're there (leupold)  
you get the point.


It was amazing!  I was Stareing at them through my binos and COULD NOT SEE THEM.


hence my desire for the best binos I can afford.

I know this story has no measurable detail for glass comparison, but it is a story to tell what Im looking for and why Im looking for it.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/17/2011 at 21:15
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I have owned all three bins in question so I can help a bit.
 
I agree with all of what the others have posted at this point.
 
The Zeiss are an excellent bin and probably have the highest light transmission figure of the three because of their use of a specific type of roof prism (Abbe-Koenig). Sadly though, and possibly as a consequence of this type of prism, they also have the highest noticeable color fringing (CA) in the image. This robs the image of some detail and contrast.
 
The Zen Rays are an excellent bin overall. Their image quality is only bettered by the likes of the $2000 Zeiss, Leica, Swaro and Nikon and then only outside the sweetspot. My meaning with that statement is that the big four's sweetspot is a larger percentage of the field of view. Inside the sweetspot the Zen Ray's are entirely comparable to the big four especially with the Zen ED3's upgrades.
 
The Meopta is certainly comparable optically with the other two. The sweetspot is larger than either of the other two which is one of the reasons why folks compare them so often to the big four. Comparable models to the Meopta from the big four would be the Leica Trinovid, Swaro SLC (two versions ago), Zeiss Classic and Nikon Premier HG/LXL. The reason I say that these specific units are comparable to the Meostar is primarily because of their prism coating. The Meostars utilize a silver prism coating which, though better than some coatings, isn't quite as good as the dielectric prism coating found on the newer versions of the big four bins. The Meopta also doesn't utilize ED glass in the objective design. All of the big four's flagship models now do. On that issue you have to keep in mind that Meopta has come out with a new HD version of the Meostar which does incorporate ED glass but it has not yet hit the store shelves. The Cabelas Euro (a rebadged Meopta Meostar) does now include ED glass and is labeled the Euro HD. It is available for about $1000 in the 10x42 version.
 
Despite the fact that the current Meostars don't have the dielectric prism coating and don't have ED glass they still do offer a very attractive image representation because of the unique combination of optical characteristics they do provide. The previously mentioned large sweet spot is one of them. They also have a very flat field of view because of a field flattener element in the design. Lastly, they do have a particularly wide field of view in both the 8x42 and 8x32 configurations...at least in comparison to everything else except for the Zen ED series.
 
Now, based on the story you related I think you will see that improvement in clarity with any of the bins you are considering. It is often mentioned on the various optics forums that the biggest jump in optical performance is going from the sub-$100 roof prism models to the $300 units. That may have been true 5 years ago but now there are even $100-$130 roof prism models (thinking Swift Reliant, Zen Ray Vista and Eagle Optics Radian here) that offer that optical jump from the likes of bins like the Bushnell H20 series, etc... The models you are considering are a significant step up from even those $100-$300 models so you will have no problem achieving that "clarity" that you are after.
 
The Prime HD you referenced is likely going to be an entirely different animal than the other three. It has the potential to be the best optical value when you consider the optical design promised. If we are truly talking edge to edge sharpness with the latest glass and prism coatings plus an ED glass objective then there aren't going to be any bins to rival it except for the Swaro Swarovision EL (and maybe the Nikon EDG) but they are going to be 3 to 4 times the Prime HD's price point.


Edited by FrankD - November/17/2011 at 21:22
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/17/2011 at 22:09
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Thanks FrankD,

maybe I should wait till the Zen-ray Prime HD comes out and hear what people have to say about them.

I would like to hear more about the meoptas wht the HD lenses.

It might be nice if someone had experience with both standard meostars and HD meostars side by side they would share their experience and opinions.


This has all been great information.

Thinking of dropping the Conquest binos from the considerations.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/18/2011 at 08:52
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Originally posted by atomiclab atomiclab wrote:

My cousin and I were hunting mule deer in south east New Mexico a couple years ago and I had my (very cheap) Bushnell binos,  which I knew wasn't real good, but I didn't know how bad they are.

My cousin and I met up on top of a hill after much frustration, and not seeing much deer for 2 days.  We were doing a little glassing and my cousin tries to point out to me a group of doe.  I look with my binos and I don't see any.  After a lot of back and fourth and pointing and describing, he hands me his Leupold Acadia binos.  BAM!!! there they were.  They were OBVIOUS!  5 doe stand in the grass and amongst minor non-obstructing brush.  They were in the open.  Going back and fourth (bushnell, now Leupold, now bushnell now Leupold)  they are gone (bushnell) they're there (leupold)  
you get the point.

It was amazing!  I was Stareing at them through my binos and COULD NOT SEE THEM.
 
Makes me wonder if your lenses needed cleaning.  Wink 


Edited by Bird Watcher - November/19/2011 at 17:12
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/18/2011 at 10:15
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Originally posted by atomiclab atomiclab wrote:

I don't know if this will help explain what I am looking for when I ask about sharpness and brightness and clarity.
Ok, heres the story.

My cousin and I were hunting mule deer in south east New Mexico a couple years ago and I had my (very cheap) Bushnell binos,  which I knew wasn't real good, but I didn't know how bad they are.

My cousin and I met up on top of a hill after much frustration, and not seeing much deer for 2 days.  We were doing a little glassing and my cousin tries to point out to me a group of doe.  I look with my binos and I don't see any.  After a lot of back and fourth and pointing and describing, he hands me his Leupold Acadia binos.  BAM!!! there they were.  They were OBVIOUS!  5 doe stand in the grass and amongst minor non-obstructing brush.  They were in the open.  Going back and fourth (bushnell, now Leupold, now bushnell now Leupold)  they are gone (bushnell) they're there (leupold)  
you get the point.


It was amazing!  I was Stareing at them through my binos and COULD NOT SEE THEM.


hence my desire for the best binos I can afford.

I know this story has no measurable detail for glass comparison, but it is a story to tell what Im looking for and why Im looking for it.
This sounds like a fairly typical cheap optical crap trap.  It often happens as part of the learning curve Smile.  You can get good glass nowadays for not a lot of money, some of it even pretty inexpensive, but there is still a world of cheap crap out there that makes me wonder why it is sold.  Bushnell is their own worst enemy in this regard, IMHO.  So, we all understand wanting decent optics.
 
Now assuming the Bushnell you had was clean and properly adjusted, the ZEN ED 3 should blow away the Acadia almost as bad as the Acadia blew away your cheap Bushnell.  Same thing for a Kruger Caldera, the Meostar, or a Theron Wapiti APO-ED.   But in truth, the optical differences from the ED 3, Caldera, the Meopta, and the APO-ED are mostly akin to discussions of "how many angels can dance on the head of a pin?"  If it can be seen with a binocular, these will find whatever it is.  If you can't see anything with these, the problem is not the binocular.  So if cash is tight heading int the Holidays, the ZEN, Kruger, or Theron will cost less money than the Meostar.  Just remember that ANY good binocular is a precision instrument, and you will have to become aware of that fact enough that you counter your own admitted tendencies to have stuff fall apart in your hands Smile.
 
EDIT to add:  It may well be a good idea to wait for the ZEN Prime HD.  I should get one a little early, and will post a review as soon as I can, but that is maybe still several weeks away.


Edited by Klamath - November/18/2011 at 10:19
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/18/2011 at 21:24
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Yes I kept my binoculars and lenses clean and clear of anything sticky, smudgy, or dirty. and they were adjusted as best as they could, diopter and focus.  I don't dislike bushnell as a whole, but the binos I have are crap.

also to my defense Im really not destructive.  Im afraid I have come across like a chimpanzee banging a pair of optics against a rock or something.

honestly I want what most people want, the best I can get.  The closest to alpha glass since I can't afford alpha glass.  

binos up to 800 to 900 dollars is a pretty big investment to me.  I just wan to make the best selection I can.  
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/18/2011 at 21:33
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Klamath,

I agree  I think I should wait and see what the new Zen-ray Prime will about.  

that or the HD MeOpta sounds like a good idea.  It doesn't look like the cabelas euro HD come in a 8 power, only 10 power.
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The Cabela's Euro HD is now only available in a 10x42.  You will probably see a 12x50 HD version next as a progression from the original Euro 12x50.  Not sure on the time-frame yet though for the 12x50 HD.
Still hoping to get the Meostar B1 10x42 HD out and on shelves in the next few months.
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Thanks MeoptaSuruja,
So can you tell me, do the HD lenses in address the CA issues well?  The CA thing seems to be the most common complaint I here from optics guys.  I guess thats the whole point of going to HD lenses isn't it.

I sure would like something in the 8x40 range though.
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Originally posted by atomiclab atomiclab wrote:

Thanks MeoptaSuruja,
So can you tell me, do the HD lenses in address the CA issues well?  The CA thing seems to be the most common complaint I here from optics guys.  I guess thats the whole point of going to HD lenses isn't it.

I sure would like something in the 8x40 range though.
I might toss out a caution flag here.  Smile  As a general rule High Density Extra low Dispersion glass used in the objective does serve the purpose of reduction of color fringing and/or chromatic abberration.  Things have to be right for this to do any good.  The glass has to be of the right type (Abbe number greater than 90) and the focal lengts in the binocular have to be correct.  Marketers are clever folk and their goal in life is to make you think that buying their stuff is your idea.  There are a lot of monikers used to draw purchasers into thinking they are getting the latest ,greatest glass, XD, HD, LD, ED and others.  Often as not that tells you precisely nothing.  For instance there is also a type of High Density glass sometimes used in the eye piece design to flatten the field.  This is also designated HD, and has nothing to do with CA.  So when you see HD you have no clue as to what it means, maybe don't know, or for that matter care a whole lot.  If you like the image and it has the moniker, you're good to go. 
 
Now for the flag.  Chromatic abberration is demonstrably present in just about any binocular.  The thing is, you never know how two different sets of eyes will react to the CA.  For example, I typically am not at all bothered by CA.  On the other hand, Bitterroot Bulls (Matt) has stated he is.  So when you se a comment on a particular binocular from Matt that he sees it and a comment  from me that says I don't, the question you might ask is ..."which one of those guys do I believe?"  Fact is we are both right.  Whether ot not the CA bothers you is up to how your eyes react to the optical design.  The thing is... IF IT BOTHERS YOU, you won't have to look very hard to see it.  If you don't see bluish, purplish, or greenish color fringes at the edge of high definition objects, then my serious, heartfelt advice is ..DON'T GO LOOKING FOR IT Smile.  If you sensitize yourself to see the stuff because you heard that it is a problem with a particular design, you run the risk of winding up able to see it everywhere.  So the old adage of ..."be careful what you chase, you might catch it"...may come into play.
 
There are lots of things that people really get into as to what bothers them.  Edge sharpness, CA, focus direction, how hard the focus wheel turns...lots of stuff.  Some of that, especially things like CA and edge sharpness are self inflicted, and some are real live chacteristics of that person's vision.  So my advice is to look for the strong points in a binocular as you evaluate it and don't go looking for imperfections.  Anything has imperfections.  Look hard enough  and you will find something.  In short if the curent Meopta (non HD) does not show fringing for you, then don't worry much if it does not have HD glass.
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you know Klamath, you are really right.  I shouldn't get carried away.  I do very much respect you guys and I appreciate all of you and what you have to say and your reviews.  You are right though.  different peoples eyes are different (ie. so many people love nikon.  I have never seen any  nikon that worked well for me. none) .

But point still made.  
1.   your post helped me stay grounded in reality for my optics search.
but 
2.  I am still looking forward to reading reviews of the new products coming out.  

still building up my savings, so I have some time still
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Originally posted by Klamath Klamath wrote:

If you don't see bluish, purplish, or greenish color fringes at the edge of high definition objects, then my serious, heartfelt advice is ..DON'T GO LOOKING FOR IT Smile.  If you sensitize yourself to see the stuff because you heard that it is a problem with a particular design, you run the risk of winding up able to see it everywhere. 
 
Well said Steve.  I curse the day I taught myself to see CA.  Now it is the first thing I see.
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Originally posted by Bitterroot Bulls Bitterroot Bulls wrote:

I curse the day I taught myself to see CA.  Now it is the first thing I see.
That is something I hope not to bring on myself doing binocular reviews.  One of the first things anybody seems to ask is some question about CA.  So, I just about have to look for it for review purposes.  However I do it in very specific ways, ways I hope will not eventually make me see it everywhere.
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