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Zen Ray FB (1 Viewer)

scott63

Active member
I can't find their FB page anymore, must have deleted it. Not that they monitored it or kept it updated, way to go ZR....smh
 

Nixterdemus

Well-known member
Here's the deal.

ZR, we hardly knew thee the wake is over.

RIP

Might one believe in the hereafter I suppose resurrection is not completely out of the realm of possibility.
 
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David in NC

Well-known member
When I first found this forum ZR was a hot ticket. I was initially looking for maximum performance compared to price (i.e., VALUE!) and ZR seemed to offer this. I liked the looks of the product (in real images not just the computer drawings ZR used to have on their website), and reviews here were most often extremely favorable. Add in that they had some 7x units and it was seemingly bliss. I NEARLY "pulled the trigger" several times but didn't.

Heck - the forum had given them their own subforum they were so hot and so popular a point of conversation here. FOR A WHILE-they were the epitome of "maximum performance to price" and did represent a GREAT bargain, and this was confirmed by their popularity of some of the more enlightened forum members. At one time-these were probably a pinnacle of "price to performance."

I ultimately bought other brands but have watched as minor complaints about CS began turning into major complaints, with the most common one being no contact from the company or no way to even CONTACT the company. For some, posting here and emailing "Charles" might get some response, and then another short burst of news from him about the company or new products, then he'd be gone again.

However that was then-this is now. I think we all know that the company can't be relied on to even be there for communication, much less for one to risk getting any after sale CS from.

I may make some here upset but I am shocked that some forum members still suggest or mention ZR to those looking for bins or asking about suggestions.
 

pbjosh

missing the neotropics
Switzerland
I also think it serves as a warning to folks pondering other new brands and recent darlings. Some newer operations are probably more upstanding but small companies can fail quickly. That doesn't mean the binoculars aren't good and aren't good value, but warranties are worth as much stock as you put in the longevity of the issuer.
 

David in NC

Well-known member
I also think it serves as a warning to folks pondering other new brands and recent darlings. Some newer operations are probably more upstanding but small companies can fail quickly. That doesn't mean the binoculars aren't good and aren't good value, but warranties are worth as much stock as you put in the longevity of the issuer.

Absolutely agree with this.
 

Nixterdemus

Well-known member
I tried the 7X36 w/mega FOV. Yes, it was a huge, wonderful static image.

In a pan/scan in the woods everything was doin' the Watusi [que: Wilson Pickett, Land of 1000 dances]. In the vertical it performed what I penned as the fountain effect. So much, way too much PC had the peripheral moving as a kaleidoscope on each end. To me. Looking at the sky or an open field was a much different experience.

I gave them away to me brother who wearing glasses I deducted would not see the entire FOV; in effect saving him from the confusion. After that I considered the Prime version though once bitten twice shy the urge slowly dissipated.

I think Charles is a nice well meaning guy that perhaps became overwhelmed w/quality issues that were beyond his control. Plus, it would seem that he didn't have deep pockets. Didn't Theron & Kruger open shop about the same time? I do not hear much about them anymore nor do I see an abundance of new models over the years from them.

I'm not privy to the speedbump/wall Charles hit, but give the devil his due he put out several models in a fairly quick succession that showed promise.
 

black crow

Well-known member
Ah what a shame. I still have one of the first 7x36s. If something goes bad I'll do a Jimi Hendrix on them.
 

perterra

Well-known member
I tried the 7X36 w/mega FOV. Yes, it was a huge, wonderful static image.

In a pan/scan in the woods everything was doin' the Watusi [que: Wilson Pickett, Land of 1000 dances]. In the vertical it performed what I penned as the fountain effect. So much, way too much PC had the peripheral moving as a kaleidoscope on each end. To me. Looking at the sky or an open field was a much different experience.

I gave them away to me brother who wearing glasses I deducted would not see the entire FOV; in effect saving him from the confusion. After that I considered the Prime version though once bitten twice shy the urge slowly dissipated.

I think Charles is a nice well meaning guy that perhaps became overwhelmed w/quality issues that were beyond his control. Plus, it would seem that he didn't have deep pockets. Didn't Theron & Kruger open shop about the same time? I do not hear much about them anymore nor do I see an abundance of new models over the years from them.

I'm not privy to the speedbump/wall Charles hit, but give the devil his due he put out several models in a fairly quick succession that showed promise.

Zen Ray was never more than a 2 or 3 person importer. Likely with backing from some Chinese optics/marketing company. The Prime I won in a contest was an excellent binocular, I really mean excellent, heavy but with a view equal to the Conquest I have.

But as an importer your warranty is pretty much as good as the depth of your pockets or the goodwill of your supplier. In Charles case, both may have gotten shallow.
 

Chosun Juan

Given to Fly
Australia - Aboriginal
Well, it does seem like the fb page is AWOL, and the website is still offline ..... I do hope they make a comeback :)

What folks don't realize is that:
"(they) coulda had class. (they) coulda been a contender. (they) coulda been somebody,

As far as the actual products go, the ZRS HD, ED3, and Prime HD, represent very good value for what they* are ....
(* provided you get a suitable quality example).

I myself have the 8x43 ED3 - best ergonomics on the market, bright, neutral view, excellent CA handling in the centre, wide field of view, and wild pincushion to give that quasi-3D effect. I love the oversize knurled metal focusing wheel, and fast ratio focus speed - perfect.

As far as the focus wheel backlash goes, it seems to range on a spectrum ..... no, or negligible backlash = stiffer focus -----> 1, or 2mm backlash = perfect light touch (Zeiss/Nikon Alpha style).

My own unit falls into the latter part of the spectrum. This backlash used to be a non-negotiable fail for me initially ...... now, half a dozen years down the track I really don't consciously notice it.

So much for the oft quoted 'myth' on this forum that you have to be a long term owner to give a considered opinion on a bin - not worth the breath with which it is said IMHO .... give me a technical, or engineering type, optics connoisseur, or propeller head adept at evaluation and 1/2 to a couple of hours of varied conditions and environments. :)

Had the ED4 been as much of an improvement over the ED3 as the ED3 was over the ED2, and delivered on time and on quality target for the same great value for money pricing, then no doubt we would be talking great things about Zen-Ray.

As for any CS issues Zen-Ray has been having lately (and to what extent or % we really don't precisely statistically know - there seems to have been some premature bleating on this particular sub-forum), let me pass on a little analogy .... when the Koreans made inroads into the Japanese stranglehold on the TV market back in the 90's and noughties, they didn't worry about repairs, or matching the Japanese 'Alpha dawgs' 《0.5% field fault rate. They just shipped vast quantities of containers of restyled, value-priced product over here with only ~95-97% of the product fault free, and implemented seamless and prompt new product replacement policies. Customers flocked to them (well relatively anyway).

Perhaps Zen-Ray has been hit with a higher than expected reject rate, and this is affecting the bottom line ..... :cat:
They either fix the source quality (perhaps not easily influenced since the Bushnell Legend M units I saw had exactly the same issues), and/or secure more financing to support the business and allow a pipeline of new product to be successfully introduced.

I hope they make a go of it.

So what to do? My recommendation is the same as it has always been - if you can try the unit you intend to purchase in person beforehand and can get it at the right price, and if you also get along with it, then by all means get yourself a great bin.

I may be a bit unusual in that CS means pretty much nought to me - I expect my products to be trouble free until they are technically obsolete or catastrophically die. Not for me the constant tinkering. My Zens have been living in my car as 'beater bins' for the last few years - getting knocked around (flying off the passenger seat into the footwell at high speed /G under heavy braking etc, and they have not one single problem.

Buyer beware, but these are still top of the pops at the entry level tier (well unless you are lucky enough to get a ~$150 Bushie M and like the lesser ergos). Maybe you can pick yourself up a better than RRP deal - but do check the individual unit/ return policy first.


Chosun :gh:
 

WJC

Well-known member
undoubtedly, Zen Ray binoculars are still out there. They wear different brands, cosmetics, model numbers, and prices, but they are out there. I saw the signs of a folding company years ago but wish all the best for Charles.

Some people choose to rush to the sound of every new bell ... whether made of brass or tin. Sadly, most of those people will continue to do so.

Bill
 

ceasar

Well-known member
I was a winner of one of the first Zen Ray 8x42 VISTA binoculars in the drawings Zen Ray had for some of their binoculars here on Bird Forum. I never used it very much and it remains in the original box.

t looks very much like the first versions of the Vortex Diamondback 8x42 did (I have one) and if my memory is correct it's suggested price was about $50.00 less than the Diamondback.

The diopter on my Vista will not move. It is frozen in the "Zero" position. It has a 7.5º FOV while the Diamondbacks is 8º.

Bob
 
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black crow

Well-known member
I had out my 7x36 today on a long hike. These are very good optics imo. I think the price I paid was a great value. Why did things so south when they had a good product? That's what I'd like to know.
 

Chosun Juan

Given to Fly
Australia - Aboriginal
I had out my 7x36 today on a long hike. These are very good optics imo. I think the price I paid was a great value. Why did things so south when they had a good product? That's what I'd like to know.
My guess? Two things:-
1. Greater than tolerable reject rates across all products (earlier ones worse than later ones), and attendant returns, repairs, replacements ate excessively into customer service resources and business profits. The adverse negstive impacts on product/ Company reputation provided an unwanted feedback loop that exacerbated the problem.
2. Development issues (perhaps practically unresolveable) with the ED4 line chewed up available expenditure and then some - finally having a fatal impact on business finances and health.

Perhaps they will be able to secure additional investment and rejig and relaunch ? ...... who knows ?? :brains: I certainly wish them all the best. :t:




Chosun :gh:
 

Steve C

Well-known member
ZR went south when they decided to branch into their own assembly facility in China to do some OEM work. This was the proverbial "biting off more than they could chew". They should have done one or the other, certainly not both. I have no real inside information, but this is the way I see the chain of events.
 

black crow

Well-known member
My guess? Two things:-
1. Greater than tolerable reject rates across all products (earlier ones worse than later ones), and attendant returns, repairs, replacements ate excessively into customer service resources and business profits. The adverse negstive impacts on product/ Company reputation provided an unwanted feedback loop that exacerbated the problem.
2. Development issues (perhaps practically unresolveable) with the ED4 line chewed up available expenditure and then some - finally having a fatal impact on business finances and health.

Perhaps they will be able to secure additional investment and rejig and relaunch ? ...... who knows ?? :brains: I certainly wish them all the best. :t:




Chosun :gh:

I hadn't heard that had so many return and repair issues. Dang I hope mine last. I really love them and have an emotional attachment to them. They were my first semi expensive binocular as I caught the optics bug. I seem to have it worse this time around but I think from now on I'll stick to companies with long track records. Not that I'm going to be around much longer. :gn:
 

Troubador

Moderator
Staff member
Supporter
Not that I'm going to be around much longer. :gn:

BC

Sorry Pal but you can't just abandon Bird Forum by shuffling off this mortal coil without applying for a formal release from your Bird Forum vows.

What do you mean you didn't read the small print?

We absolutely insist on you hanging around this neighbourhood for good while longer yet. :t:

Lee
 

black crow

Well-known member
Name one of my pair of binoculars. Send me your address and I'll have it shipped to you after I die to soften the blow you tender hearted softy. I'm actually sicker than I want to be and I didn't actually think I'd be here this long after my diagnosis several years ago. I could be gone sooner or later. I'm not sure anymore.

Unfortunately I just sold the Swarovski and all I have that might interest you is maybe the Zen 7x36, Meopro 10x32, Celestron Granite 8x42, Eagle Optics 6x32. I'd pick the Granite if it was my choice or the Meopro but I'm serious about gifting them to you. I don't know people into optics like we are and they'll all end up at GoodWill. Oh yeah maybe the Oberwerk 25x100 and tripod. The damn tripod cost me over $300. The optics on that huge binocular are surprisingly good not to mention powerful. Oberwerk makes some really nice optics. I've never tried their small ED roof prism and I don't think I've ever seen anything said about them here. I've almost bought one just out of curiosity.

But anyway thanks for those kind words. This forum continually surprises me with the good will I find doled out basically to a stranger who talks too much. I keep buying binoculars just so I can have something to keep me here with all this friendliness.


'
 

Steve C

Well-known member
BC,

Sorry to hear about the degree of your diagnosis. I would suggest that you look into donating your binoculars when and which ones as you see fit to some African conservation organization. Many young people in these conservation efforts are sorely in need of a working, decent binocular. I don't know one right off the top of my head, and you may well get some suggestions from people on the forum who have some experience with some of these places. That way your binocular lives on doing good work and you can have the feeling of knowing you may have helped someone more than you know. That is where most of mine will go at some point. A few to family and friends, who are not into optics like I am, but most will be donated like this.

You may ask the question in a separate thread. As ZR seems to be gone, you might not get a lot of views here.

I hope for your peace in your remaining time here.
 

Troubador

Moderator
Staff member
Supporter
Name one of my pair of binoculars. Send me your address and I'll have it shipped to you after I die to soften the blow you tender hearted softy. I'm actually sicker than I want to be and I didn't actually think I'd be here this long after my diagnosis several years ago. I could be gone sooner or later. I'm not sure anymore.

BC I am so sorry to hear this and bless you for your kind thoughts but you know, I have plenty of binos and I support Steve C's suggestion to send them to a conservation organisation in Africa. It would be nice for you to find one you like the sound of but if that is too much hassle for you to face right now. Just tell me and Steve and we will put together a short-list for you to choose from.

Best wishes Lee
 

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