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Thread: Zen Ray, ZEN ED 8 X 43 Binocular Reviews

  1. #1

    Zen Ray, ZEN ED 8 X 43 Binocular Reviews

    First, I want to apologize for taking so long to write this review. Life has a way of getting in the way of pleasure. I
    have had to much life getting in my way lately and have not had the free time in need to spend the time I needed to
    give these binos a good field test. I finally had the chance to take out several binos to really do some comparisons
    And speaking of pleasure the Zen Ray ZEN ED binos are a real pleasure to use and look through. I want to address a
    few of the non optical issues first.

    To start with I've had several people ask about where the Zen Ray binos are made. They are made in China. I personally
    have no problem with that but I'll leave that up to the individual.

    The hard case is excellent. The strap is way too long but I don't care because I never planned on using it. Most of you wont care either.
    You will need to cut it (unless you are 7'5") if you plan on using it and not a harness. I does have a very good, wide, padded area
    for the neck. My advice for ANY bino....get a harness. The eyepiece covers and objective covers are good. I've seen better and worse.
    And now................. for the good stuff.

    These are a very attractive and ergonomically well designed. The fit and feel of the ZEN ED really stands out. The overall length
    of the ZEN ED is 7' with eyecups extended. Some will find that a bit on the bulky side but over all it took very little to get
    used to the slightly longer barrel size. The rubber armor is as good as I've seen. The hinge is just stiff enough so that I don't constantly
    have to readjust for my interpupillary distance like so many of the competition. The same goes with the eyepiece. Zen Rays specs
    list the close focus distance at 6 ft. Maybe its just my eyes but I was able to focus as close as 4'8". The coatings appear to be flawless.
    The exit pupils at arms length are perfectly round with no flat edges or shadowy light or dark areas in the 5.4 mm dot of light. This is an
    excellent indication of well matched optics.The one thing I found disappointing was the diopter indicator mark on the right eyepiece.
    It is so small its really difficult to see.

    There are several features that really stand out with the ZEN ED's. The wide and almost absolutely flat field of view (FOV) are outstanding.
    Zen Rays specs list the FOV at an amazing 426 ft /1000yds. The image is bright, very sharp, and I saw no indication of chromatic aberration.
    I did a comparison of the edge to edge sharpness with two of the "big three". The ZEN ED compared very well to both. They definitely outperform
    everything I looked at in the $300- $800 range. The optical clarity gives you that feeling that you are where the subject is. That no doubt, is
    due to the flatness of the field. The color rendition, depth of field, and resolution are excellent. Optically the ZEN ED is second to none.

    I also want to speak to the VALUE of these optics. I have no hesitation in saying that the Zen Ray ZEN ED are the best value in
    binoculars on the market today. I did do quite a bit of price comparisons and have evaluated lots of binos that are similar in quality.
    Quality wise the ZEN ED's stand out from the competition and come very close to the quality you will find from the "big three".
    That's where the value comes in. For $359 these are tough to beat and they out perform many that are hundreds of $$$ more.
    You will notice that I refuse to mention the competing optics that I did price, quality, and performance comparisons with.
    I prefer not to beat up the other Mfgs but would like to speak to the quality of the ZEN RAY brand.

    The optical quality that most of the major optic companies deliver these day is astonishing.
    That the ZEN ED stands out from many of these speaks to the manufacturing and optical quality that these possess. I have
    already seen that a couple of the competing brands have lowered their price and trumpeted their warranty in responds to
    the ZEN RAY brand. This is a good thing, but personally I will choose the better optical quality over warranty every time. Can you buy
    a bino that performs optically better? Yes,............. but you WILL pay at least a $1000 more and the difference is so minimal
    I doubt most will be able to detect it. If you are planning on purchasing a pair of binos in the near future and don't plan on spending
    $1200 + ....................get the Zen Rays. I highly recommend them. They are....... "that" good.

    Welcome to the binocular wars……………………………..

    Hoyt Alphamax 35, Sword Twilight Hunter, Limbdriver rest, Lil Bitty Goose, Slick Trick BH, B-Stinger Stab

    "The object of life is not to be on the side of the majority but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane"- Marcus Aurelius


  2. #2
    Thanks for the review. I was wondering if I just missed your review or you weren't able to get your hands on any. I currently have a bookmark for them and will certainly look them up when I buy a new pair. I currently us a set of 10x42 doctors that I have been happy with for the price also but have not seen them around recently.

    These Zen binos certainly have my attention.
    alpinebowman >>>---shots that are true pass right through--->
    09 blackout APG AM35 28" @ 71# Black Eagle Carnivores Rocky Mtn. Titanium's
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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by vichris View Post
    ...This is a good thing, but personally I will choose the better optical quality over warranty every time.
    Me too, but what is their warranty? I like both.
    The kill is the satisfying, indeed essential, conclusion to a successful hunt. But, I take no pleasure in the act itself. One does not hunt in order to kill, but kills in order to have hunted. Then why do I hunt? I hunt for the same reason my well-fed cat hunts...because I must, because it is in the blood, because I am the decendent of a thousand generations of hunters. I hunt because I am a hunter.- Finn Aagard

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bobmuley View Post
    Me too, but what is their warranty? I like both.
    I copied this from there site in the support section:

    The following products carry transferable limited lifetime warranty:

    2009 Model VISTA, MARINER, ZRS, and ZEN ED Binoculars
    SEDONA Spotting Scope
    Zen-Ray guarantees your product to be free of defects in materials and workmanship for the lifetime of the product. These warranties do not cover consumer caused damages such as misuse, abuse or repairs attempted by someone other than our authorized technicians.

  5. #5
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    Thats one solid review, great job!!
    I shoot a bow with some arrows Speed thrills, but accuracy kills

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wishbone View Post
    I copied this from there site in the support section:

    The following products carry transferable limited lifetime warranty:

    2009 Model VISTA, MARINER, ZRS, and ZEN ED Binoculars
    SEDONA Spotting Scope
    Zen-Ray guarantees your product to be free of defects in materials and workmanship for the lifetime of the product. These warranties do not cover consumer caused damages such as misuse, abuse or repairs attempted by someone other than our authorized technicians.
    I like those parts.

    Those parts leave a lot of company wiggle room IMO
    Guess we'll have to wait and see how they handle it.

    25X100 binos with adjustable columnation....now we're talking!
    The kill is the satisfying, indeed essential, conclusion to a successful hunt. But, I take no pleasure in the act itself. One does not hunt in order to kill, but kills in order to have hunted. Then why do I hunt? I hunt for the same reason my well-fed cat hunts...because I must, because it is in the blood, because I am the decendent of a thousand generations of hunters. I hunt because I am a hunter.- Finn Aagard

  7. #7
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    Great review. Trying to decide between these and the 8x42 Vortex Razor is tough. I can get the Razor brand new for $469 NIB with the $100 factory rebate. I have heard the ZEN ED is slightly better and warranties are the same. Any one who can give their direct comparison between the two would be great. For the price I don't think I can go wrong with either.

    Matt
    Elite E35---Easton Nemesis arrows, Ramcat's, HHA 5519, QAD HDX rest, Scott release

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Bobmuley View Post
    I like those parts.

    Those parts leave a lot of company wiggle room IMO
    Guess we'll have to wait and see how they handle it.

    25X100 binos with adjustable columnation....now we're talking!
    Bob

    I've always had pretty good luck with warranty issues on most optics I've dealt with. The exception was Celestron. I had some real issues with a telescope I bought from them a few years back. It's funny how competition (Meade) can sharpen a companies focus. I did hear alot of complaints about Burris a few years back but have not heard anything recently. So far my dealings with Zen Ray leave me with the confidence that they are very aware of customer service issues. It may appear that I'm not taking the warranty isssues seriously but in this day and age its a death warrent for a company to ignore customer satisfaction. When a company goes to the wall to build a high quality product that they can offer at an affordable price why would they neglect service issues?

    I'll repeat something I've posted before....and I don't say this off the cuff and its doesn't apply only to optics companies (think about some of our auto manufactors).

    " Oh and warranties are nice but remember they are often just a "marketing gimmick"."

    Warranties are great but why not judge an optic on its merits rather than what "might" happen if it fails. I've been a big fan of Leupold for years. They always had exceptional customer service but its alway been the quality of their product thats interested me. For that matter Bushnell and Tasco have always had a good warranty. When I was doing repairs I always recommend folks send their Tasco/ Bushnell binos to the factory for repairs. They did cleaning and collimating for free. I charged.

    I guess I'm just a little cynical when warranties become as important as the the quality of the product. Just my two cents.
    Hoyt Alphamax 35, Sword Twilight Hunter, Limbdriver rest, Lil Bitty Goose, Slick Trick BH, B-Stinger Stab

    "The object of life is not to be on the side of the majority but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane"- Marcus Aurelius

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by vichris View Post
    Warranties are great but why not judge an optic on its merits rather than what "might" happen if it fails.
    It all goes into the buying equation for me. From my experience with just about everything I have ever used, it's not "IF" it's going to fail or have an issue, it's "WHEN". So, warranty specifics as well as price and quality all go into the decision process on whether to buy or not. Given two items of similar quality.....one at $600 with full warranty (which has been proven in the past), or one at $300 without a warranty (or unproven warranty). It's kind of like trading options.....if you buy at $600 you're betting that you're gonna need the warranty at some point, and it's worth at least an extra $300. If you buy the $300 item, you're betting that you may not need the warranty, or hoping that if something goes wrong it will cost less than $300 to fix it.

    Having said all that.......I have never bought an aftermarket or extended warranty on anything I own.
    2006 LH Bowtech Old Glory 70#, 32 1/2" draw, back to the Hostage rest, SH 7-pin Hunter, 500gr TR Crush 300 @ 285fps.
    2007 LH Bowtech Commander 60#, 32" draw, Limbdriver rest, BG 5-pin Flashpoint.
    2014 LH PSE Freak SP 70#, 32" draw, not set up yet.

  10. #10
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    Chris, did you get a chance to try the ZRS too? I was debating sending mine back to get the ED but from what I have heard all I will gain is better low light viewing?
    2013 PSE Omen Max ~Spot Hogg Boss Hogg ~ Vapor Trail strings ~ HVR ~ Easton Torch

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by vichris View Post
    ....
    " Oh and warranties are nice but remember they are often just a "marketing gimmick"."

    Warranties are great but why not judge an optic on its merits rather than what "might" happen if it fails. ....

    I guess I'm just a little cynical when warranties become as important as the the quality of the product. Just my two cents.
    You don't know me too well. I break things, lots of things, and given enough time I would need them serviced. So, I tend to judge them on their optical merit and warranty as a part of their overall value. For me it would be a "waste" of money to buy something that I'm likely to have to buy again.

    Now looking at something like their Neptune series I'd be more likely to get into...even though they only have a 2 year warranty. Why? Because of the intended use would be limited to riding around the truck and being attached to a heavy tripod they would be alot less likely to be damaged. In addition, the competition between the big binos and their warranties aren't much better into you get an order of magnitude in price above them.

    Check out some 25x100s for me.
    The kill is the satisfying, indeed essential, conclusion to a successful hunt. But, I take no pleasure in the act itself. One does not hunt in order to kill, but kills in order to have hunted. Then why do I hunt? I hunt for the same reason my well-fed cat hunts...because I must, because it is in the blood, because I am the decendent of a thousand generations of hunters. I hunt because I am a hunter.- Finn Aagard

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bobmuley View Post
    You don't know me too well. I break things, lots of things
    Just like looking in a mirror.
    2006 LH Bowtech Old Glory 70#, 32 1/2" draw, back to the Hostage rest, SH 7-pin Hunter, 500gr TR Crush 300 @ 285fps.
    2007 LH Bowtech Commander 60#, 32" draw, Limbdriver rest, BG 5-pin Flashpoint.
    2014 LH PSE Freak SP 70#, 32" draw, not set up yet.

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by qdmbucks View Post
    Great review. Trying to decide between these and the 8x42 Vortex Razor is tough. I can get the Razor brand new for $469 NIB with the $100 factory rebate. I have heard the ZEN ED is slightly better and warranties are the same. Any one who can give their direct comparison between the two would be great. For the price I don't think I can go wrong with either.

    Matt
    Razors are made in Japan
    Zen Ray China

    Some of the best glass in the world comes out of Japan.

    We all know about the outstanding customer service of Vortex.

    Zen Ray ??

    The Zen Ray sounds like a very good buy, we know the Razor is a good buy.

    I am going to assume they are very close optically.

    Either way I am sure you will end up with some very good glass at a very good price

  14. #14
    just googled it. There wasn't much direct comparison.

    http://birdforum.net/showthread.php?t=140126

    I got an impression that current Razor cannot compete with ZEN in either price or performance, unless they come up with something else.

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by PT1911 View Post
    Chris, did you get a chance to try the ZRS too? I was debating sending mine back to get the ED but from what I have heard all I will gain is better low light viewing?

    I would do it. The ED is much better than the ZRS. The FOV is much bigger, the edge to edge sharpness is much better and the field is much flatter on the ED.
    Hoyt Alphamax 35, Sword Twilight Hunter, Limbdriver rest, Lil Bitty Goose, Slick Trick BH, B-Stinger Stab

    "The object of life is not to be on the side of the majority but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane"- Marcus Aurelius

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    Quote Originally Posted by nsbc07 View Post
    just googled it. There wasn't much direct comparison.

    http://birdforum.net/showthread.php?t=140126

    I got an impression that current Razor cannot compete with ZEN in either price or performance, unless they come up with something else.

    Thanks that helps. I keep seeing around the internet(so we know its the truth) that vortex is coming out with another ED bino to compete with the razor.

    Matt
    Elite E35---Easton Nemesis arrows, Ramcat's, HHA 5519, QAD HDX rest, Scott release

  17. #17
    Originally Posted by Bobmuley
    You don't know me too well. I break things, lots of things


    Quote Originally Posted by 5MilesBack View Post
    Just like looking in a mirror.
    Guys,

    I don't know if either of you have heard of a company called "Davidsons". Davidsons is a firearms distributor based out of Prescott AZ. I used to work for them. They distribute most if not all of the major firearms mfgs. Davidsons claim to fame was their lifetime gaurantee. Here's how it read. "If ANYTHING EVER goes wrong with one of our firearms we will replace it. If no replacement is available we will fix it at no charge or refund your money".

    Google it.

    Their gaurantee was good as gold, and they lived up to it. I replaced duck guns that guys had dropped in a lake and then fished out years later. I could go on for hours with some of the stories about guns we replaced. The problem was that we sold the same Remington 870 for about $20 more than out competitors,....Davidsons was pricey. We had some loyal customers but our competitors kicked our butts,........ consistantly. They still do. Most of our competitors sold 2 or even 3 times the volume we did.

    The moral of the story is............................ ...........Hmmmmmm I'll let you figure it out.......

    I do think for 95% of bino users the Zen Ray warranty is more than enough.......especially considering the price.
    Hoyt Alphamax 35, Sword Twilight Hunter, Limbdriver rest, Lil Bitty Goose, Slick Trick BH, B-Stinger Stab

    "The object of life is not to be on the side of the majority but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane"- Marcus Aurelius

  18. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by rodney482 View Post
    Razors are made in Japan
    Zen Ray China

    Some of the best glass in the world comes out of Japan.

    We all know about the outstanding customer service of Vortex.

    Zen Ray ??

    The Zen Ray sounds like a very good buy, we know the Razor is a good buy.

    I am going to assume they are very close optically.

    Either way I am sure you will end up with some very good glass at a very good price
    It's funny, I remember a time when "Made in Japan" from an optics company was an indication of inferior quality. "Time" and technology have a way of changing the conventional wisdom. Some of you are finding out time and technology is changing the conventional wisdom about Chinese optics.

    I know I did.
    Hoyt Alphamax 35, Sword Twilight Hunter, Limbdriver rest, Lil Bitty Goose, Slick Trick BH, B-Stinger Stab

    "The object of life is not to be on the side of the majority but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane"- Marcus Aurelius

  19. #19
    "Originally Posted by Puckinhead
    I just received my 8 X 43 Zen ED's Monday. I am no way an optic expert but when I looked through these I was shocked on what I have been missing with cheap binos. The brightness and clarity are outstanding. I did have one issue. Looking at the objective end I could see some specks of something on the inside glass. The specks did not show up while looking through them normally. I got in touch with Zen Ray and they are sending me a new pair. I can't wait to get them. I must say if you are in the market for a new pair of binos you will be pleasantly surprised with these. Cheers "





    Sorry to hear about your issue with the specks but glad to see they are taking care of you.

    Bob Muley.... 5 Miles Back,.......take note.
    I'm telling you all there's not going to be an issue with warranty........unless Obama is successful in totally destroying our economy. In that case this will be the least of our troubles



    Umm.............. some of you might have noticed. I'm working graveyard for awhile.
    __________________
    Hoyt Alphamax 35, Sword Twilight Hunter, Limbdriver rest, Lil Bitty Goose, Slick Trick BH, B-Stinger Stab

    "The object of life is not to be on the side of the majority but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane"- Marcus Aurelius

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by vichris View Post
    ...I do think for 95% of bino users the Zen Ray warranty is more than enough.......especially considering the price.
    So, you're saying I'm special because I'm in the other 5%?
    The kill is the satisfying, indeed essential, conclusion to a successful hunt. But, I take no pleasure in the act itself. One does not hunt in order to kill, but kills in order to have hunted. Then why do I hunt? I hunt for the same reason my well-fed cat hunts...because I must, because it is in the blood, because I am the decendent of a thousand generations of hunters. I hunt because I am a hunter.- Finn Aagard

  21. #21
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    I would like to field test a pair of the Zen ray EDs and do a side by side test with my Razors.
    2011 ATHENS ACCOMPLICE 34
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    .

  22. #22
    Quote Originally Posted by Bobmuley View Post
    So, you're saying I'm special because I'm in the other 5%?
    Yes thats exactly what I'm saying Bob.






























    "special Ed"
    Hoyt Alphamax 35, Sword Twilight Hunter, Limbdriver rest, Lil Bitty Goose, Slick Trick BH, B-Stinger Stab

    "The object of life is not to be on the side of the majority but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane"- Marcus Aurelius

  23. #23
    Another reviewer posted this in responds to my review on another forum.................

    "There is a Latin phrase "res ipsa loquitor" which applies here. This means the thing speaks for itself. Take a look through these and see for yourself. The image presented will stand against anything. That may be a tough thing for the high $$$ users, but it is what it is."
    __________________
    Hoyt Alphamax 35, Sword Twilight Hunter, Limbdriver rest, Lil Bitty Goose, Slick Trick BH, B-Stinger Stab

    "The object of life is not to be on the side of the majority but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane"- Marcus Aurelius

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bobmuley View Post
    You don't know me too well. I break things, lots of things, and given enough time I would need them serviced. So, I tend to judge them on their optical merit and warranty as a part of their overall value. For me it would be a "waste" of money to buy something that I'm likely to have to buy again.

    Now looking at something like their Neptune series I'd be more likely to get into...even though they only have a 2 year warranty. Why? Because of the intended use would be limited to riding around the truck and being attached to a heavy tripod they would be alot less likely to be damaged. In addition, the competition between the big binos and their warranties aren't much better into you get an order of magnitude in price above them.

    Check out some 25x100s for me.
    Why would you expect someone else(the company) to pay for your missuse and or mistakes? Sounds like a policy from the Obama administration to me.

  25. #25
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    Zen Ray Binos

    I just ordered a pair of the Zen Ray ED 10x43's from Steve (S&S Archery) on here. Great price on a pair of binos if they are as good as all of these reviews. Can't wait to try them and give my feedback..

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