• BirdForum is the net's largest birding community dedicated to wild birds and birding, and is absolutely FREE!

    Register for an account to take part in lively discussions in the forum, post your pictures in the gallery and more.

Pulled the trigger on new ED2 7x36s (1 Viewer)

Tantien

Well-known member
Yesterday, I ordered these bins because with ZenRay offering a $150 coupon on them, they are $250 (delivered), which IMHO is a great deal.

I have lots of choices at home now, including the Nikon SE 8x32s, Vortex Viper 8x32s, both with EP= 4, but I needed to see myself for the 7X difference, the wider FOV and the larger EP (5.1) will make for me. I'm over 60 now and my EP is 3.1 - 4.1 so I'm not sure that I will see the difference.

But I've not had a 9+ degree FOV since my old Minolta 8x40 Extra Wide (and heavy) porros.

So am eager to hear anyone's experience with them so far for travel and general use (compactness, weight, clarity, fit, finish etc.)

My Vipers cost over $550. And they have narrower FOV than the ZenRays (400 vs 477), closer focus (3 ft vs 5.1), less eye relief (16 vs 16.8), a touch lighter (20.6 vs 22 oz) and an inch shorter in height (4.9 vs 5.8)

But for $250 I think I can live with these differences. I'm not even sure this is a valid comparison but the bargain was too hard to pass up!

What do you think/have you experienced?
 

NDhunter

Experienced observer
United States
Go back on the ZenRay subforum to when they started in 2009. This is the model they first
came out with.

There were some issues, and were changed with some improvements for the glare flare that
was a problem.

I suppose you are buying a used one, and things have got much better since 2009.

I would be very surprised if ZenRay is still selling this model.

I had a 7x36 ED2. And you will find my post along with much more.

Jerry
 

Tantien

Well-known member
Hi Jerry: Thanks!

I'll check out your post on that thread but this is a brand new bin.

I've also read Holger Merlitz's 2009 review as well and other more recent versions. Very impressed and the price is right.

Go back on the ZenRay subforum to when they started in 2009. This is the model they first
came out with.

There were some issues, and were changed with some improvements for the glare flare that
was a problem.

I suppose you are buying a used one, and things have got much better since 2009.

I would be very surprised if ZenRay is still selling this model.

I had a 7x36 ED2. And you will find my post along with much more.

Jerry
 

BruceH

Avatar: Harris Hawk
Tantien .... It is good to see you back posting.

The 7X36 E2 was discontinued for a period but then Charles decided to re-introduce it. He is a big fan of the 7X. Here is a link discussing the newer version.

http://www.birdforum.net/showthread.php?t=267000

I have one from the first go-around but with the glare issue fix. I am not a big 7X user so it gets limited use, but I do like it and commented about it in the above link.

It gives a nice sharp view. The pincushion does increase more toward the edges than some, but it is far enough outside of my primary view that it is not an issue. Charles stated in the linked thread that the re-issued model has the same coatings as the ED3 and is made in the new factory. It also has the diaopter lock removed because some owners were forcing the adjuster when in the locked position.

I think it is definitely worth $250 and it is listed as a new unit, not a demo or refurb. Here is the link and the $150 discount code is CYBER .....

http://www.zen-ray.com/shop/binoculars/zened2/zened2-7x36.html
 

Pinewood

New York correspondent
United States
Hello,

I have a unit like Bruce's: original model corrected for the glare issue, with the dioptre lock.

Mine has remained unused for years. I found the edges too soft. I did buy the Meopta MeoPro 6.5x32, which is smaller. I also carry a 10x32 when I use the MeoPro.

An exit pupil larger than your own dilated pupils has the advantage of easy eye placement. d

Happy bird watching,
Arthur :hi:
 

Cluster

Well-known member
I have a ED 2 7x36. I posted a while ago about it. That was almost 2 years ago, perhaps it's worth reporting on my longer term impressions. My first had a QA issue in that the collimation (I mean the position of the sweet spot in one barrel) was off. This was sorted out in reasonable time by ZR, they replaced the bin. As it was shipped across the pond, I asked them to check it over first.
The replacement was fine, in fact I loved the view so much that it very quickly became my go-to bin. Wide FOV, good sized sweet spot and sharp, it seemed to make colours "pop". Noticeable softness and distortion at the edges, but for me not very much more than the 8x30 EII. It is reportedly heavy on the rolling ball effect for some, but for me, possibly because I tend not to "scan" with it, I don't notice it.
After two years I still love it, aside from the slack/play in the focus mechanics. Even this is not as much a issue for me as on other bins (it ruins many for me), because the focus point is reached in a progressive manner, rather than "snapping in", I can get to the best focus without overshooting (where the slack becomes a bigger issue). My ED2 is now my backup for my Leica UV7x42HD, but gets plenty of outings, particularly used when just spending an hour walking in the park.
In recent months I found that the dioptre on my ED2 is up against the stop (other bins adjust only just off centre). This is a QA issue that slipped past me. I guess that, as in most non-alpha bins, it depends heavily on the example that you get.

I should add, that of the bins I've owned in the past, this would be one that I consider (along with the EII) to be the best value I've had to date.
 
Last edited:

Tantien

Well-known member
It's like deja vu all over again.

Thanks Bruce! Yeah my bargain bino EDD has flared up again. ;)

It's so odd to see the design of this version--again! I've own a pair of Altas Optics Intrepid ED 10x42s for many years and my only real gripe about them was that there was play/slack in the focus mechanism. Love them otherwise. They are almost kissing cousins to the ZenRay ED2s.

And so look at the "family resemblance below to the ZenRays. The Atlas Optics Intrepid 10x42 on the left (and clearly not to scale because they are largish bins).

And now the one ding I read about the 7x36s is that that same focusing slack exists in this one too. |<|

Tantien .... It is good to see you back posting.

The 7X36 E2 was discontinued for a period but then Charles decided to re-introduce it. He is a big fan of the 7X. Here is a link discussing the newer version.

http://www.birdforum.net/showthread.php?t=267000

I have one from the first go-around but with the glare issue fix. I am not a big 7X user so it gets limited use, but I do like it and commented about it in the above link.

It gives a nice sharp view. The pincushion does increase more toward the edges than some, but it is far enough outside of my primary view that it is not an issue. Charles stated in the linked thread that the re-issued model has the same coatings as the ED3 and is made in the new factory. It also has the diaopter lock removed because some owners were forcing the adjuster when in the locked position.

I think it is definitely worth $250 and it is listed as a new unit, not a demo or refurb.
 

Attachments

  • Altas Optics Intrepid ED 10x42.jpg
    Altas Optics Intrepid ED 10x42.jpg
    24.2 KB · Views: 81
  • zen-ed-ed2-front-450_1_1.jpg
    zen-ed-ed2-front-450_1_1.jpg
    35.2 KB · Views: 77

Tantien

Well-known member
Thanks for that feedback Cluster.

I have two bins at home that I will be comparing with this: one's the venerable Nikon SE 8x32's (which I'm hesitant to travel with due to them not being waterproof, so cold/rainy Alaska and the steamy tropics kind of limit the SE) and the other's the well-respected (but 2X the cost) Vortex Viper 8x32.

So more than anything, I'm very curious how these $250 bins compare to my more expensive ones.

They are on their way and I'll let you know. :)

I have a ED 2 7x36. I posted a while ago about it. That was almost 2 years ago, perhaps it's worth reporting on my longer term impressions. My first had a QA issue in that the collimation (I mean the position of the sweet spot in one barrel) was off. This was sorted out in reasonable time by ZR, they replaced the bin. As it was shipped across the pond, I asked them to check it over first.
The replacement was fine, in fact I loved the view so much that it very quickly became my go-to bin. Wide FOV, good sized sweet spot and sharp, it seemed to make colours "pop". Noticeable softness and distortion at the edges, but for me not very much more than the 8x30 EII. It is reportedly heavy on the rolling ball effect for some, but for me, possibly because I tend not to "scan" with it, I don't notice it.
After two years I still love it, aside from the slack/play in the focus mechanics. Even this is not as much a issue for me as on other bins (it ruins many for me), because the focus point is reached in a progressive manner, rather than "snapping in", I can get to the best focus without overshooting (where the slack becomes a bigger issue). My ED2 is now my backup for my Leica UV7x42HD, but gets plenty of outings, particularly used when just spending an hour walking in the park.
In recent months I found that the dioptre on my ED2 is up against the stop (other bins adjust only just off centre). This is a QA issue that slipped past me. I guess that, as in most non-alpha bins, it depends heavily on the example that you get.

I should add, that of the bins I've owned in the past, this would be one that I consider (along with the EII) to be the best value I've had to date.
 

Tantien

Well-known member
Just got them in (First impressions)

Hi All,

They came in surprisingly fast (given that they were shipped Monday from Oregon to San Francisco, California).

They look and feel great--very substantial with thumb indentations too (Prime HDs don't have them). The fit and finish is pretty good but some things were noted out of the box:
  • The objective caps were loose-fitting as previously mentioned--these WILL fall off without much effort.
  • The label/cap at the end of the focus wheel was loose and when twisted (to tighten), is upside down and does not move when the focus wheel is turned. When I took the picture below, I turned that lable right-side up so it looks fine when, tightened, actually it is about 7 o'clock from the current photo.
  • There is a minor amount of play in the focus wheel--when you look at the focus wheel there are rubber strips for finger grips--the play is the distance between any two of these strips.
  • The hard case is far superior to the canvas one that came with my HD Primes.
  • The view appears to be rich and yet neutral.
  • Eye Relief: best for me with my glasses on. Without my glasses, too much vignetting when they are fully out and even is there at the one (and only) stop down; I need to rest them beneath my eyebrows to keep that down. A second stop would still be better.
  • The rounded ocular eye cups are very comfortable and feel more like the Vortex's, but it matters only if you don't wear glasses.
  • Included neck strap comes with quick-release snaps.

For the sale price of $250, I think these are quite good so far. More as I use them.

Also: anyone have a wife who looks at you like you have a 3rd head when you want yet *another* pair of binos? Yeah, I need to tell her that I'm got like another pair--hey maybe I should say it was for HER! ;)
 

Attachments

  • IMG_20170125_143336.jpg
    IMG_20170125_143336.jpg
    166.5 KB · Views: 87
  • IMG_20170125_143638.jpg
    IMG_20170125_143638.jpg
    186.4 KB · Views: 128
  • IMG_20170125_143433.jpg
    IMG_20170125_143433.jpg
    190.7 KB · Views: 115
Last edited:

jremmons

Wildlife Biologist
I picked up a pair of these for my employee to use when he's assisting with surveys (I'm currently using the 10x43 ED4 for my work surveys).

First impressions (I got them today) are that they are fairly bright, supress CA well, and are very 'easy on the eyes' in that they take almost no adjustments; I put them up to my eyeballs and saw what I wanted to see. The edges are blurrier than some I think, but given the wide FoV I don't mind much. The central sweet spot is quite nice, and the edge fall off probably starts being noticed from about 70% of the center of view, which isn't too bad I think.

Mechanically/structurally I noticed a small amount of play in the focus wheel and loose objective caps. The armoring is quite nice and my eyecups snap firmly into place and don't have noticable slack. Hinge tension must be about ideal as I didn't even think about it.


For $250, I'm not sure you'll find a better pair of binoculars. 7x is a great format for general use and it seems to me that it is easier to produce better images in lower powered binoculars at lower costs.
 

chill6x6

Well-known member
I'm one of the ones that jumped on the boat too! Maybe they will be hear tomorrow!

THANKS'S BRUCE! |8.|
 

Tantien

Well-known member
Twins from another mother

I finally got them together today to really see their family resemblance.

The resemblance to the old Atlas' is spooky. And the size difference is nominal for the 10x vs 7x and the 42 vs 36.

I also compared the 7x36's to my Nikon SE and Vipers and I think these compare very favorably to either, with the biggest plus is the lack of vignetting with my glasses on; the ZRs are far less fussy and the field of view was really comfortable. The biggest plus over the SE's are the wider FOV, better oculars with less vignetting and so a much more immersive experience. I still love the SE's but they are much more limited where I can take them.

I saw more of that pincushion distortion (bowing at the top/bottom of horizontal structures) more so than with either of the Nikons or Vortex's, but overall I am very happy with this pair and they might very well be my travel pair of binoculars, allowing me to leave my SE's without feeling deprived.

The Vortex's definitely held their own, but honestly I'm not sure that I can say that they are worth over 2X the cost of these ZR.
 

Attachments

  • IMG_20170125_165802.jpg
    IMG_20170125_165802.jpg
    394.7 KB · Views: 113
  • IMG_20170125_165812.jpg
    IMG_20170125_165812.jpg
    360.4 KB · Views: 126

BruceH

Avatar: Harris Hawk
I'm one of the ones that jumped on the boat too! Maybe they will be hear tomorrow!

THANKS'S BRUCE! |8.|

Well Chuck, I hope I am not in your dog house! The biggest risk with this class of binoculars is the greater inconsistency in quality of the lower priced Chinese binoculars. The good new is Zen-Ray has been great in replacing units with a problem. It is best to contact Charles with his direct e-mail if there are any concerns as I think the website contact page sometimes drops messages.

My 7X36 is more of a casual use binocular rather than a birding binocular. The idea was to use it for outdoor events such as air shows, sporting events, etc. The wide field is excellent for that along with the big depth of field and easy eye place placement. Extra detail and perfect color is not that important in those situations. That fact that it is relatively inexpensive compared to an alpha works out when in a large crowded event.

It is also a great binocular to have for friends who are not use to using binoculars. First, if it get dropped, you are less likely to go into cardiac arrest then if it was your Noctivid or SF. It is a good choice for the inexperienced because of the more steady view of a 7X, the easy eye placement, the smaller size and lighter weight, and the greater depth of field. I noticed people not used to using binoculars are more impressed with those that are easier to use than the incremental improvements in color balance, center view, etc.

Hopefully you will have fun with the wide FOV this summer when viewing in heavy cover at some of your birding spots.
 

chill6x6

Well-known member
Well Chuck, I hope I am not in your dog house! The biggest risk with this class of binoculars is the greater inconsistency in quality of the lower priced Chinese binoculars. The good new is Zen-Ray has been great in replacing units with a problem. It is best to contact Charles with his direct e-mail if there are any concerns as I think the website contact page sometimes drops messages.

My 7X36 is more of a casual use binocular rather than a birding binocular. The idea was to use it for outdoor events such as air shows, sporting events, etc. The wide field is excellent for that along with the big depth of field and easy eye place placement. Extra detail and perfect color is not that important in those situations. That fact that it is relatively inexpensive compared to an alpha works out when in a large crowded event.

It is also a great binocular to have for friends who are not use to using binoculars. First, if it get dropped, you are less likely to go into cardiac arrest then if it was your Noctivid or SF. It is a good choice for the inexperienced because of the more steady view of a 7X, the easy eye placement, the smaller size and lighter weight, and the greater depth of field. I noticed people not used to using binoculars are more impressed with those that are easier to use than the incremental improvements in color balance, center view, etc.

Hopefully you will have fun with the wide FOV this summer when viewing in heavy cover at some of your birding spots.

Not at all Bruce.... I pretty much had an idea of what I was buying before purchase. $250.00 will only buy so much! Ashlee and I used them a little bit last weekend along with a few other binoculars around that price range with similar roots of manufacture.

The actual VIEW is fine. Certainly plenty bright. Nice case as has been mentioned. No way would the objective covers say on as is for more than a few moments. Diopter adjustment worked perfectly. The insides are dark...no exposed metal that I can see...some slight dust and a few tooling marks.

Other more important things..... exit pupils look truncated....see pic below. Focus adjustment is my main concern. It has the most slack/takeup of any binocular I've purchased in.....??? years??

But it is what it is. Your description/summary of it's future/potential use is pretty much on the spot. PERFECT binocular for a beginning/casual/young birder getting their feet wet with optics. It would be hard to beat in that regard. I'm thinking about ordering another for a youngster I know that has shown an interest for birding. I like the 7X with the big exit pupil and huge FOV. Perfect for starting out.

IMO this binocular is worth the $250. I just don't see it being worth any more than that tho. Certainly not a candidate for a primary birding binocular.

ROUGHLY taken pics below of exit pupil from two different binoculars. Pics taken from the exact same place in the house looking out a window. Reflections are those of the binocular itself, btw. Can you guess the binocular?
 

Attachments

  • IMG_3490.jpg
    IMG_3490.jpg
    46.8 KB · Views: 99
  • IMG_3489.jpg
    IMG_3489.jpg
    46.2 KB · Views: 91

jremmons

Wildlife Biologist
Interesting analysis, Chuck. I've used the 7x36 most of this week as my sole binocular (too wet and cold for the Nikon SE) and really haven't felt at a loss at any point any time. I haven't noticed the truncated exit pupil issue, but I've never noticed that in any set of binos I've used.
 

chill6x6

Well-known member
Interesting analysis, Chuck. I've used the 7x36 most of this week as my sole binocular (too wet and cold for the Nikon SE) and really haven't felt at a loss at any point any time. I haven't noticed the truncated exit pupil issue, but I've never noticed that in any set of binos I've used.

From what I know, most of the binoculars you've used/owned have been at least a notch better than that Zen-Ray.

The slop in the focus not bother you?
 

jremmons

Wildlife Biologist
The slop in focus is definitely annoying, but mine is no worse than the old EL I had. The best focus I've used was on the Nikon EDG and Lxl. The FLs also has a good focus.

When you said you wouldn't want it as a primary birding binocular, I assumed you meant due to the optics more than the rest. In terms of optics I don't see this really lagging much behind the alphas and subalphas except in edge performance.
 

Users who are viewing this thread

Top