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Zen Ray (1 Viewer)

dries1

Member
Is it possible to remove the Zen Ray sub-forum and possibly replace it with another brand (Maven for example), after all the brand is now long defunct.
 

pbjosh

missing the neotropics
Switzerland
This is something I've thought of as well but now that you mention it, I'll add my support.

Additionally, it's always seemed to me that particularly Meopta, and perhaps Kowa and Canon, ought to be higher up in the rankings. Personally I think Meopta should be listed just after Swaro/Leica/Zeiss/Nikon. On the other two, I don't know if Kowa ought to be before or after Bushnell but it seems odd that it's below GPO and Pentax... I realize it's partly alphabetic, but to me that's not a reason to have much smaller / newer brands listed higher than much more established and larger brands.
 

Chosun Juan

Given to Fly
Australia - Aboriginal
Is it possible to remove the Zen Ray sub-forum and possibly replace it with another brand (Maven for example), after all the brand is now long defunct.
That's a silly suggestion.
This has been brought up before, and it was decided to leave it.

Why would you delete all that valuable information ? It was an interesting story from a business and product perspective, and is a good heads up for existing owners and buyers on the second hand market - are Bausch & Lomb, or Swift subject to the same short shrift ?

Surely it doesn't take up that much storage room, and doesn't prevent any other brands being added. If you want another brand added then I'm sure the first step would be to ask.





Chosun :gh:
 

NDhunter

Experienced observer
United States
Is it possible to remove the Zen Ray sub-forum and possibly replace it with another brand (Maven for example), after all the brand is now long defunct.

I agree, and I have also brought up the same recommendation on here.

A failed brand is just a poor moment in history. For some, a very sore subject when they had a binocular that could not be fixed.

It is time to move on, nothing new with Zenray for years, they closed in 2017, so I agree, remove it.

We also have some newcomers to the site, like GPO. So the smart decision, is if a brand goes bad, then delete it.

Jerry
 
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Chosun Juan

Given to Fly
Australia - Aboriginal
I agree, and I have also brought up the same recommendation on here.

A failed brand is just a poor moment in history. For some, a very sore subject when they had a binocular that could not be fixed.

It is time to move on, nothing new with Zenray for years, they closed in 2017, so I agree, remove it.

We also have some newcomers to the site, like GPO. So the smart decision, is if a brand goes bad, then delete it.

Jerry

Still a silly suggestion.

I would remind you that Swift is also a 'failed' brand. :eek!:

These posts (including from Admin and now Mods) .......
Hi,
I think it serves a purpose for the time being...and I'm not sure the criteria for a dedicated forum for a bino manufacturer is that they should be in business.
cheers,
Andy

There must be thousands of Zen-Rays still out there in the world so there is potential for discussion. If they develop problems that need repairs this is the place that information can be shared. I think it is far too early to consider relegating this brand to Others.

Lee

Zen Ray deserves to get a decent history documenting its too short existence.
The brand's rise and fall surely has many lessons for other optics entrepreneurs.


I agree. The brand positioning, business model, and the products it brought to market, deserves it's own documented history. For those with any business acumen, they will realize that those influences were the foundation of changes that we see in the industry and market today.

Instead of being such 'Negative Nancy's', why not harness the beauty of BF and have a 'junkyard' for Zen-Ray bins instead of junk. Where good parts can be salvaged off otherwise terminally damaged bins (dropped and smashed objectives for example - may still yield good focusing mechanics parts, diopter mechanisms, eyepieces, etc).

My 8x43 ED3's have been going strong for nearly a decade now. Still the best ergonomics I have ever held. The quality of the view genuinely raised eyebrows with the head honcho's at Swarovski, and they still serve brilliantly as the only bin I need.

Are all the calls coming from actual Zen-Ray owners ? Or just 'armchair' experts ?? You should tell us about the Zen-Rays you own .... :smoke:

I would actually like to hear more of the story - was the ED4 development the straw that broke the camels back ? An interesting industry tale ...... :cat:








Chosun :gh:
 

NDhunter

Experienced observer
United States
Swift is a historical brand, with porros going back 60 years or more.

Zenray was a bad flash in the pan. It brought out the facts of the China made model, "Just good enough",
to get it out the door.
The company could not stand behind all the problems.

Chosen, you seem to be one of the only ones who talks about your Zenray, and if it is still doing the job
for you, that is a good thing.

Jerry
 

Kammerdiner

Well-known member
As an owner of 3 Zens I guess I'm qualified. Two still work, the third is junk. Went back to wherever Zen pretended to be, and came back a chewed up mess.

Fingers crossed on the other two, but I mostly go with what I know. The Zens are relics.
 

Kammerdiner

Well-known member
To be fair, the two Zens that still work are very good. A 7x36 is fine, but the edges are fuzzy. It makes me think a super wide FOV is not too important for birding. BTW, it's rated at 477', same as the new NL. Hmm.

An 8x42 Prime (which I won in the contest) is really nice! Kind of a brick, but solid. I think they mimicked the Nikon SE eyepiece, which means blackouts can be an issue.

I shouldn't really complain.
 

Chosun Juan

Given to Fly
Australia - Aboriginal
To be fair ...... An 8x42 Prime (which I won in the contest) is really nice! Kind of a brick, but solid. I think they mimicked the Nikon SE eyepiece, which means blackouts can be an issue.

I shouldn't really complain.
I had the 10x42 Prime HD for a while, and I couldn't really fault the quality of its construction. Solid as a brick is right ! There was a heck of a lot of glass in there. About an ounce shy of the new NL if memory serves. The fit and quality of the armouring was very nice. Ultimately the ergos and ER alignment margin of error didn't really agree with my glasses, but the thing that absolutely drove me to distraction was the CCW to infinity focuser. I am one of those strange cats that can't live with that. Others might not be bothered at all by that.

I believe Leupold did a badge engineered version - the BX4 McKinley HD (I think they may have licensed it? /ordered it, rather than partnered in its design). I know they did another iteration which slimmed down the eye cups for better fit. Worth a look for the price.

It would be interesting to get the complete story behind Zen-Ray's demise. Many companies deal with the higher defects rates of some Chinese product, and build this into their business model. (In electronics, even the Taiwanese and Korean supplied product used to be subject to this). It doesn't seem to have deterred Vortex from going to more MIC supply - and they have a substantial warranty that they have to stand behind.

I don't have the inside story - so these are my suppositions only. I have a feeling more of the stress (product quality, availability, time resources, financial return and cashflow) came from the attempt to design, manufacture (both in partnership) and launch, the ED4. That was meant to be the greatest thing since sliced bread, and never made it. That was the time that Zen-Ray stopped answering phones or taking orders for the ED4, whose full, sorted, launch date just delayed itself into permanently disappearing. A shame, but building on where Swift left off, they have paved the way for the Mavens, Tracts, and GPO's of today.

It's tough for the minnows - as Swarovski has shown - what the punters really want is that 70° AFov, bright, sharp to the edge view, in a quality, sophisticated mechanical package - and no fail service.






Chosun :gh:
 
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jgraider

Well-known member
Swift is a historical brand, with porros going back 60 years or more.

Zenray was a bad flash in the pan. It brought out the facts of the China made model, "Just good enough",
to get it out the door.
The company could not stand behind all the problems.

Chosen, you seem to be one of the only ones who talks about your Zenray, and if it is still doing the job
for you, that is a good thing.

Jerry


I agree with Jerry. 99% of binocular owners could care less about ZR anymore, and would especially like to forget about the way Charles treated his customers, me being one of them. I gave my ED3's away and haven't given ZR another thought, and don't intend to.
 

Kammerdiner

Well-known member
The ED3's are fantastic birding binoculars :t:





Chosun :gh:

I'll agree with Chosun on this one. I had the 8x(43) ED2 and it was a great birding bino. Wide enough FOV and deadly sharp in the center.

Sadly, something came loose internally and the whole focus is shot. Probably just a screw that wasn't tight. Ah, but life is too short to bother.

Mark
 

Pileatus

"Experientia Docet”
United States
I'll agree with Chosun on this one. I had the 8x(43) ED2 and it was a great birding bino. Wide enough FOV and deadly sharp in the center.

Sadly, something came loose internally and the whole focus is shot. Probably just a screw that wasn't tight. Ah, but life is too short to bother.

Mark
The same will happen to each of us!
 

Chosun Juan

Given to Fly
Australia - Aboriginal
I'll agree with Chosun on this one. I had the 8x(43) ED2 and it was a great birding bino. Wide enough FOV and deadly sharp in the center.

Sadly, something came loose internally and the whole focus is shot. Probably just a screw that wasn't tight. Ah, but life is too short to bother.

Mark
I think the prime benefit of the ED3's is the ergonomics - they are on another level !

I recall showing them to the Bushnell rep as we compared the M Legends. He was blown away by the Zens (which I found a bit odd as there is a lot of similarity in the views (Fov, distortion profiles). I think a lot of that was down to the ergonomics. Even though very similarly sized the Bushnell's had this weird patterned armour (almost like it was designed by a 13 year old high on video games) that made them a lot more uncomfortable to hold. The focus knob wasn't a patch on the Zen's either. I also noted the Bushnell's had a muddier coloured view so I wouldn't be surprised if there is some minor coating and/or glass spec differences too.

The fast speed of the Zen ED3 focuser is fantastic for tracking flitting birds. If there is one Achilles heel of the bin though it is varying amounts of focus backlash and focus tension from unit to unit - some unacceptably so. One of the gems of wisdom to surface in the Zen sub-forum somewhere was that this slack/tension is adjusted by a small scew inside the bin somewhere in the focus mechanism train.

My particular unit has a very light touch (no doubt helped by 40°C to 50°C summer temps here !) , but also more backlash than other units. That hasn't changed over the nearly decade I have owned it - however my tolerance to it has strangely grown !

Might be worthwhile having your unit looked at - or even seek advice to see if it is a DIY project (the nitrogen charging as a minimum would need refilling).





Chosun :gh:
 

jgraider

Well-known member
Which is why Zen Ray's were never a great birding binocular, or great binocular period. Optics were great, mechanicals were far from it.
 

gcole

Well-known member
I owned every generation of the 7x36 models. Liked them all. Yes , in the end Zen Ray’s demise left a bad taste in many ... but that’s not a reason to loose all of their history. Why not take all of the brands no longer in business, even the defunct and put them all in say .... a category called “ Out of Business ” for those who still have a need to know or want to learn of what they were all about. If all the bashing of the Zen Ray stopped, maybe the original owners would come back to our forum and openly talk about what happened and share some of their experiences regarding their efforts from the startup to their final end.
 
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pbjosh

missing the neotropics
Switzerland
My mother still uses and enjoys a Zen Ray as well. We had one tooth-pulling service issue when they were new, but for now the replacement pair continue to work.

I wouldn't want to lose the information in this forum, but it does seem odd that a dead brand has a prominent position, while some newer brands do not have their own forum.

Perhaps a better option would be to add a forum for Maven, and to re-order the forums. Obviously the suggestion below is just an idea - perhaps some shuffling of the order is needed, perhaps Kite deserves a subforum, etc. It still does strike me as weird to see GPO listed above, say Optricron and Meopta.

Alpha Brands:
Leica
Nikon
Swaro
Zeiss

Mid-sized Brands:
Bushnell
Kowa
Meopta
Opticron

Smaller Brands:
GPO
Hawke
Maven
Leupold
Pentax

Defunct Brands:
Swift
Zen Ray

Other Brands
 

eitanaltman

Well-known member
The solution is this:

Create an "Archived Brands" folder, in which there are sub-folders for defunct brands like Zen-Ray

Problem solved. There isn't a subforum for a dead brand hogging space at the top level of the Binoculars forum, and the historical info remains available for archival use.

Zen-Ray does deserve a bit of a special status as being the first to really pave the way for the current craze of "good enough to get out the door" Chinese ED clone brands. I use the 8x43 ED3 for a while, as well as the ZEN ED2 spotting scope. Both were brilliant optically for the price (as long as you didn't look at the edges), at the time there was not the plethora of inexpensive options with dieletric coatings and ED glass. Also temporarily had the ZRS HD (won free in a contest). Like others I had multiple mechanical issues and found Charles becoming harder and harder to get a hold of over time. I sold mine off and never looked back.
 

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