New Posts New Posts RSS Feed - Zhumell Short Barrel 8x42
  FAQ FAQ  Forum Search   Events   Register Register  Login Login

Check GunBroker.com for SWFA's No Reserve and No Minimum bid firearm auctions.

Zhumell Short Barrel 8x42

 Post Reply Post Reply   Topic Search Topic Search  Topic Options Topic Options
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/21/2011 at 07:53
FrankD View Drop Down
Optics Journeyman
Optics Journeyman


Joined: November/11/2005
Location: United States
Status: Offline
Points: 684
Initial Impression.....

As I posted over in the binocular bargains thread I noticed a 10% off sale over on binoculars.com for any Zhumell products. I looked through the list and noticed an ED model that was going to sell for right around $250 with the sale. I was tempted to buy it but I primarily use the Zen ED IIs so thought the purchase would be somewhat repetitive. I looked through the rest of the selection and decided to order the Zhumell "short barrel" 8x42s. The specs looked decent:

7 degree field of view
24 ounce weight
Fully multicoated
Waterproof
etc...

What really caught my eye though was three things....

Size:

These are extremely compact, full sized binoculars...if that makes sense. You have to take a look at the pics to see what I am referring to. Their overall length is only 5.25 inches. They are very comparable in length to many 8x32 models currently on the market. Short and stubby is the best description of them considering they are a full-sized, 42 mm binocular. I did own a pair very similar to them in the Eagle Optics Denali several years ago. I would not be surprised to find that these two bins come out of the same Chinese factory. There are two big differences between these two models. I will get into that a bit later.

Styling:

I have to admit that I was attracted to their styling. They are your basic black binocular with steel/gray accents (base of the eyecups, focusing knob). They remind me quite a bit of one of the Minox models I remember seeing...HG maybe? The black and gray combination gives the binocular a very classy look.

Price:

I am on a tight budget these days. Money is not as easy to come by as it once was so I have to be very frugal with any optics purchases. Gone are the days where I will be sampling any of the high end European models...not to mention many of the upper midrange units. I have seen these Zhumell models listed several places on the net in the $125 range but binoculars.com had them listed at a regular price of $90 and with the discount that price came down to around $80 with free shipping.

So, at this point, what is not to like? I always enjoyed the more compact nature of the 8x32 models but just never felt as comfortable viewing the image they provide because they just don't give my eyes as much room to roam around the image. Having a full-sized 8x42 binocular in an 8x32 size range seems like the best of both worlds from my point of view. So I ordered them.

They came today and, truth be told, I did not have that high of an expectation for them. For $80 how good could they be optically. Heck, they aren't even phasecoated. Oops, did I forget to mention that? No, they are not phasecoated which, in my experience, usually means the image quality is lacking in several key areas that I look for, pun intended, in a binocular's optical performance. I expected the image to be a bit dim...and not quite as sharp...as a regular phase coated roof.

You see where I am going with this?

Well, I was fully ready to pass these on to one of my sons or even just put them in the car to use as a second level "car bin". I was genuinely surprised when I put these binoculars up to my eyes. These bins aren't "soft" and they aren't "dim". They aren't the brightest or sharpest binoculars out there...even at this price point (thinking of the 42 mm Celestron Natures I posted about earlier) but they are better optically than the likes of the Nikon Sporters or some of the other non-phase coated roof prism models at or below the $150 price point. They are actually quite sharp...or at least they appear to be. I do not get the impression that I am missing any detail when looking at any finely detailed objects (thinking tree bark, pine needles, etc.)

The brightness level is entirely satisfactory and actually a bit surprising in one sense. When I pick the bins up I expect 8x32 performance but when I put them to my eyes I see the benefits of the full 42 mm objective.

The second aspect that impressed me was how comfortable the overall image was to my eyes. Though not entirely "flat" the amount of field curvature around the edge of the image, not to mention overall edge distortion, is relatively small. It isn't a "huge sweet spot" type of model but the amount and intensity of the edge distortion is not distracting and, in truth, not really noticeable in regular use.

Color fringing is not something that jumped out at me that much either. I haven't "pushed" the bins by putting them in some extremely demanding CA situations but in regular use I have not noticed it. They don't have the "clean look" that ED glass binoculars do but, still, color fringing seems fairly well controlled in regular use.

Well, the question left remaining is whether or not there is anything to not really like about this binocular. In my opinion there really isn't. If I had to be picky I would say that there is a very slight color bias to the image. It isn't pronounced and is only evident when I compared them directly to the porros I had in my possession. What type of color bias? Well, it is a bit difficult to describe. It isn't the noticeable "yellow" bias that you might find in some models I have owned. It isn't really that warm "red/orange" bias I have noticed in some inexpensive ED models. It is close to that but not quite and, again, only evident when I compare them to something with a very neutral and "clean" image.

So, to summarize, I love the handling of this binocular as I knew I would because the weight/length combination makes for an ideal compromise between compactness and full sized performance. Optically they perform well above what I would expect from an $80-$100 non-phase coated roof.

I would suggest for you binocuholics, or you folks on a tight budget, that you order one of these little gems. They are going to surprise you.
 
 
The above comments were posted when I originally received the Zhumell. The comments below are after I ordered a Swift Reliant (similar model under a different brand).

I received the Swift Reliants today and eagerly looked forward to comparing them to the Zhumell Short Barrel. Let me start off by saying that each definitely has its strongpoints. I am going to break down my review in that manner. Before I do I want to say that I believe the Swift is a bit of a defective unit for several reasons. For one, I have a difficult time getting my eyes to relax totally when looking through them. I have tinkered with the IPD and the diopter setting repeatedly and just cannot seem to get a truly comfortable and relaxed feel when looking through them. I get a bit of eyestrain but not an excessive amount. If I have to "force myself" to focus on the image then there is something wrong with the unit.

There may be an issue with the alignment of one of the optical elements in one of the barrels or it may be that the collimation is not perfect with this particular unit. In either case there definitely is an issue with this binocular. One almost has to expect some quality control issues with binoculars at this price point. I guess I have been lucky with some of the other models I have owned at this price point recently.

Having said that here is how the two binoculars compared.

Optics:
I have to admit that the Reliant does offer a slightly brighter and more contrasty image than the Short Barrel. I have to believe that the phase coating of the Reliant is the likely culprit. If the alignment wasn't an issue I have a strong feeling I would prefer the image quality of the Reliant to the Short
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/21/2011 at 10:42
Klamath View Drop Down
Optics Master
Optics Master
Avatar

Joined: May/20/2007
Location: United States
Status: Offline
Points: 1269
Frank,
 
Did you try to swap the Reliant?  Might be nice to see a comparison of the two with an issue free Reliant.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/22/2011 at 08:24
FrankD View Drop Down
Optics Journeyman
Optics Journeyman


Joined: November/11/2005
Location: United States
Status: Offline
Points: 684

No, not yet Steve. I have several optics to return and the Reliant is one of them. I am in the process of moving right now again so time is a bit of an issue.

That and I just reviewed another model. Will post it here shortly.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: June/16/2011 at 21:49
hwf090909 View Drop Down
Optics GrassHopper
Optics GrassHopper


Joined: June/16/2011
Status: Offline
Points: 2
Hi Frank,

Thanks for your detailed reviews on the zhumell bino.

As you mentioned at the beginning of this review, Zhumell is providing an ED version which is below 300$. This interests me. Although you didn't buy that model, did you ever have a chance of reviewing that model for a while? I tried to find some reviews on that model but was not lucky in getting any. Maybe this is because it is a brand new model from Zhumell.

Thanks in advance for your valued comments.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: June/18/2011 at 00:28
FrankD View Drop Down
Optics Journeyman
Optics Journeyman


Joined: November/11/2005
Location: United States
Status: Offline
Points: 684
I never did pull the proverbial trigger on the Zhumell ED model. I instead chose to go the route of the Pro Optic 8x42. ED glass, huge 435 foot field of view, compact for a 42 mm glass and very ergonomic. The kicer is that it sells for $150. I posted a thread about it here on the forum.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: June/19/2011 at 04:09
hwf090909 View Drop Down
Optics GrassHopper
Optics GrassHopper


Joined: June/16/2011
Status: Offline
Points: 2
Frank,

Thanks for your reply. I was reading a lot of reviews on the Zen Ray binoculars. It seems they had earned a nice reputation from many of the users on clarity and brightness. Considering that I cannot find much informative review on the Zhumell ED version, I probably should choose Zen Ray ED2 8X 42 binocular.

Thanks again for your help.
 Post Reply Post Reply
  Share Topic   

Forum Jump Forum Permissions View Drop Down

Similar Threads: "Zhumell Short Barrel 8x42"
Subject Author Forum Replies Last Post
Short barrel 308 ammo recommendations Lockjaw Reloading & Ballistics 33
reloading for a short barrel 308 budperm Reloading & Ballistics 30
Short barrel ’06 load scubasteve Reloading & Ballistics 1 10/14/2007 1:43:50 PM
short barrel .30 cals.... www.technika.nu Firearms 97
Bushnell ellite 8X42 vs Monarchs 8X42 BIGBEAR1 Binoculars 18
Vortex 8x42 Viper vs. Nikon Monarch 8x42 newguru Binoculars 3
Review Zeiss FL 8x42 vs Vortex Razor 8x42 tamanoir Binoculars 16
Nikon or Zhumell?? Jumbi Rifle Scopes 1 7/11/2007 12:38:28 PM
Zhumell Binoculars? tdbob Binoculars 0 11/21/2005 5:10:14 PM
Zhumell spotting scopes bobagrigg Spotting Scopes 6 11/26/2007 8:07:02 AM


This page was generated in 0.531 seconds.