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Zen Ray Summit 10x42

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#1 EdZ

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Posted 07 July 2009 - 09:15 AM

Zen Ray Summit 10x42
first notes

The eye lens is only 2.2mm below the outer edge of the eyecups with the eye cups down. This is approaching the danger zone for eyeglasses wearers, being very close to allow eyeglasses to come in contact with the binocular eye lens. Although I will note, my eyeglasses did not contact the eye lens with the eye cup fully retracted. However, they may be touching the metal rim around the eye lens when the eyecups are down. The metal rim is only 1.2mm below the eyecup rim.

Viewing with my eyeglasses on, I need to extend the eyecups out one click for proper placement. That would indicate an eye relief of about 15-16mm, since in almost all cases I can see the full field of view in any binocular with my glasses and with a minimum of about 13mm usable eye relief.

I read in some info these are fast focus and I thought I read elsewhere it is slow focus. Well both may be right and both may be wrong.

From closest focus 2m (about 6ft) to 30M (100ft) focus is extremely slow, requiring more than 360° turn of the focus wheel. In this range this is the slowest focusing I've ever measured in any binocular.

From 30m to 100m, focus is fast, requiring less than 45° turn of the focus wheel.

So I would consider
the Zen Ray Summit ZRS 10x42rf at 360°/45° extremely slow/fast

For comparison,
the Nikon Monarch 10x42 focus is 180°/30° very fast/very fast
the Celstron Regal LX 10x42 is 300°/20° very slow/extremely fast
the Garrett DCF 8x42 ApoRoof is 270°/60° slow/moderate
the Nikon SE 10x42 porro is 300°/60° very slow/moderate
Vixen Foresta 7x50 porro is 330°/75° extremely slow/ slow
Nikon SE 8x32 porro 300°/90° very slow/very slow


What's with the focus lock on the right diopter? I've used more than 70 binoculars and have never needed a focus lock on any diopter. Nice to have on the main center wheel, but that's not where they put it. Not sure what they were thinking here, but I consider this function superfluous.

Loupe/ruler test seems to show full 42mm aperture.

AR Coatings on the objective lens appear to reflect very little. I would consider these very good AR coatings.

Didn't yet measure resolution, but these come to a very fine focus. Resolution on 10mm lettering at 100 feet showed clear and sharp edged letters. All indications seem to point that these will achieve fine resolution when tested on USAF charts.

IPD is a fairly wide range, from 57 to 73mm.

FOV tentatively measured at 6°. That would be a 60° Afov eyepiece.

Primary aberration in outer fov is curvature. Although not yet measured, it seems like almost all curvature. This helps contribute to a fairly deep apparent field of view. With objects in focus in the center at 100yds, lichens on trees at 30 yds were in perfect focus at the field edges.

I thought also I read elsewhere this ZRS employed the use of a field flattener lens. maybe I'm mistaken about what I thought I read. But the above info on curvature tells me there may not be a field flattener, and IMO this actually seems to be beneficial. I see curvature and I see moderate pincushion, a good combination for a primarily terrestrial binocular, which, if I'm not mistaken, combined help to reduce the rolling ball effect.

edz

#2 daniel_h

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Posted 07 July 2009 - 06:36 PM

that curvature seems very big (migt be good for looing at the crescent moon, with the whole crescent in perfect focus :poke:

#3 RichD

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Posted 07 July 2009 - 07:16 PM

Thanks edz

#4 James S

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Posted 07 July 2009 - 10:30 PM

Is 6 degree for 10x consistent with their 315 ft FOV spec? I often find it confusing to converting between degree with ft.

#5 EdZ

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Posted 08 July 2009 - 06:07 AM

the 315ft/1000yd agrees with 6°

The curvature is not abnormal. Above I described apparent depth of field by allowing curvature to bring the outer edges of fov into focus. That can often be a very deep range. Curvature in the outer edges of a lens provides for progressively closer focus as you allow your eyes to scan out to the edges of the fov. Curvature provides apparent depth of field ONLY in front of the point of focus. BTW, since the moon is essentially all at the same distance, curvature would cause the outer edges to be out-of-focus, not in-focus.

Depth of Field for on-axis focus on a flower bed at about 75 yds., then moving the center of view to other nearer and further objects to see how much more is still in focus, shows decent focus from about 10yds further out to about 15 yds closer in.

The laser confirms the full use of 42mm aperture.

A quick look with the laser shows a very well balanced beam thru the light path. Only 7% of lens completely illuminates exit pupil with all on and off axis rays. Roofs typically show the smallest percentage of the lens provides full illumination from all rays with readings generally between 1% to 10%. A real sleeper in the roof category is the Garrett 8x42 roof which shows 30% of the lens provides full illumination from all on-off axis rays, the only roof I've seen with a reading greater than 10%. A typical porro shows 20-30%, with about a third of all porros tested greater than 25% and some as high as 50%.

Outside that few central mm of the lens, off axis illumination starts to drop off. Off axis rays from near the edge of the lens illuminate only half the exit pupil. While the illumination from central rays in the ZRS is better than the Nikon Monarch 10x42rf, it is slightly less than most other roofs I've tested. The illumination from outer rays of the ZRS is about euqal with all other roofs.

Objective AR coatings are about equal or slightly better than the Bushnell Legend 8x42rf. They are not quite as good as (they are slighly more reflective than) the Celestron Regal LX.

Sharpness of view out the field edge seems to be fairly good out to about 80%. At 60% some minor degrading of the view starts, but in comparison to others looks still good out to 80%. This is prelimianary and will be checked for detail.

One annoying feature I've found is the tripod bracket 1/4x20 screw hole has a limited depth. My tripod L bracket does NOT screw all the way in before it bottoms out in the limited depth of the hole. Therefore, this binocular cannot be secured rigidly to a tripod. It wobbles on the tripod.

edz

#6 James S

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Posted 08 July 2009 - 02:49 PM

great review. I think I can follow your observation and conlcusion there. But I have no idea how you test binoculars with laser. Is it special equipment or regular laser pointer? Sorry if the question sounds stupid. Thanks

#7 EdZ

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Posted 08 July 2009 - 03:21 PM

it's a holographic target laser, not a laser pointer.

#8 EdZ

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Posted 08 July 2009 - 07:07 PM

I measured resolution a little while ago. Light is overcast outside, quite subdued dull light. Generally sunlight gives readings better than subdued light.

On axis = 8.6 arcsec = 86 arcsec apparent on axis, suspected better. That's very good. Among the better readings. Best binoculars approach low 80s and a very few beat 80. Mediocre binoculars are near 90 and poor are near 100.

Off-axis aberrations are very well controlled. (these are Day res/night res converted) At 60% out I could still see 40 arcseconds resolution. My normal benchmark for all binoculars is - extent of 1 arcmin res, or 60 arcsec at 10x or 600 arcseconds.

This ZRS can see 1 arcmin at 75% out from center. That's a very good limit of sharp field of view. Similar to Nikon Monarch 10x42rp, Bushnell Legend 8x42rp and Lieca Trinovid 10x42rp. Not as good as Nikon SE10x42 or Celstron Regals.

The ZRS 10x42 reaches 2 arcmin of distortions at 90% out, same similar ranks as above.

The best fov sharpness by far is shown in the Celestron Regal 8x42. It has 95% sharp fov. The Nikon 1SE10x42 has only 85%.

#9 EdZ

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Posted 09 July 2009 - 01:47 PM

curvature

measured at 3 locations, 50, 70 and 90% out from center
total values are rounded

at 50% out
total aberration is 20 arcseconds (200 arcsec apparent), 18 of it is curvature

at 70% out
total aberration is 40 arcseconds, 30 of it is curvature

at 90% out
total aberration is 80 arcseconds, 45 of it is curvature

so at 70% out in the fov, fully 75% of the total aberration is curvature. Near the lens edge, about 55% of the total error is due to curvature and the other 45% a combination of other aberrations. Overall the amount of curvature is still farly low.

Curvature and total aberration profile is very similar to Nikon SE 10x42.
It is no where near as good as the Celestron Regal LX 8x42rp.
The ZRS is not as good as the Regal 10x42rp out to 70% but then the Regal 10x42 drops off quite quickly to worsen by 90% out.
The ZRS is about equal with the Nikon Monarch 10x42rp out to 70% but then the Monarch 10x42 drops off quite quickly to worsen by 90% out.
The ZRS 10x42 is much better across the entire area when compare to the Bushnell Legend 8x42rp.
The only 10x50s that come close to this performance are the Leupold Wind River Mesa and the Fujinon FMT-SX.

edz

#10 EdZ

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Posted 09 July 2009 - 10:05 PM

while observing doubles tonight I used the ZRS 10x42 on 100 Hercules. It did appear that the two faint spots were seperated. I would say I only suspected they were seperated, not I definitely saw that.

Very good close observation of this 14.2" equal mag 6 double. Very good for a 10x binocular. I seldom get down under 150 arcsec apparent, and this observation is a suspected 142 arcsec.

edz

#11 James S

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Posted 11 July 2009 - 10:19 AM

it's a holographic target laser, not a laser pointer.


Thanks. very much enjoy your review. Although I have different zen-ray model, following your test method made me appreciate the binoculars I have more.

#12 EdZ

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Posted 13 July 2009 - 07:56 AM

Pincushion

compared to several other well known binoculars
the Pentax PCF WP II 8x40 has no perceptable pincushion

the Nikon SE 10x42 has the most, although still considerably less than some 10x to 15x binoculars I've seen.

Nikon AE 10x50 and Bushnell Legend 8x42 rp have about the same and just less than the Nikon SE 10x42

The Bushnell Legend has far more than the Celestron Regal LX 8x42 rp

The Celstron Regal has more pincushion than the Zen Ray Summit ZRS 10x42 rp


So, all of these binocular with the exception of the Pentax have greater pincushion than the ZRS. This may have some bearing on choice by birders, since a moderate amount of pincushion helps alleviate the rolling ball effect.

edz

#13 EdZ

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Posted 13 July 2009 - 08:41 AM

Chromatic Aberration

I compared six small binoculars, first on the edge of a dark tree limb against a background of very bright blue/white sky. Then on a bright lit white post with a dark shaded background.

inside = side of target towards center of fov
outside = side of target away from center of fov

FWIW, I could NOT see any false color on-axis in any of these six binoculars. From what I know and have read, "Chromatic aberration can manifest itself as a mixture of axial and later color, in which case it is partly cured by the use of a small aperture. Axial color can occur at any position in the image, whereas lateral color is absent in the image center and progressively worsens toward the image corners. Axial color yields fringes of a single color for an "in-focus" object, whereas lateral color delivers two differently colored fringes at either side of the tangential structure". van Walree.
So these observations are lateral color, that which appears quite often as green in the inside edge and purple on the outside edge of an object in the outer fov as the bright/dark edge of the object is moved out towards the edges of the fov. The purple is always a combination of red and blue defocus.

Nikon AE 10x50 porro
color free to 30% off-axis. after 30% out yellow/orange fairly broad band on outside edge of limb. White post yellow on inside edge.

Nikon SE 10x42 porro
color free to 50% off-axis. after 50% out green on inside of limb and blue/purple on outside edge of limb. White post green on outside edge.

Bushnell Legend 8x42 roof
color free to 30% off-axis. after 30% out green on inside edge and purple on outside edge of limb. White post green on outside edge.

Celestron Regal LX 8 8x42 roof
color free to 30% off-axis. after 30% out green on inside edge and red/purple on outside edge of limb. White post green on outside edge.

Zen Ray Summit ZRS 10x42 roof
color free to 30% off-axis. after 30% out green on inside edge and red/purple on outside edge of limb. White post green on outside edge.

Pentax PCF WP II 8x40 porro
color free to 30% off-axis. after 30% out green on inside edge and blue/purple on outside edge of limb. Gets progressively worse further out. White post green on outside edge.

The Nikon AE10x50 showed the most false color. It had the widest band of false color at the edges of objects.
The Pentax PCF WP show the most pregressive worsening to the outer edge, froma relatively thin band at 30-40% out to a thicker band at 70-80% out.

The Nikon SE and the Pentax showed the most hint of blue at the outside edge.
The Celestron Regal LX and the Zen Ray Summit showed the most red/purple at the outside edge.
The Bushnell Legend purple had somewhat less red and the Nikon AE orange also had somewhat less red.

In photopic light the eye is much less sensitive to blue error and more sensitive to red. Terrestrial users may be seeing the predominat red error in the ZRS leading to the perception of a red biased view. In scotopic (dark adapted) light the eye is less sensitve to red error and much more sensitive to blue.

edz

#14 EdZ

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Posted 13 July 2009 - 11:01 AM

Objective AR Coatings
in order of relative lack of reflection from least reflection to most reflection.

Celestron Regal LX 8 8x42 roof
Nikon SE 10x42 porro

Zen Ray Summit ZRS 10x42 roof
Pentax PCF WP II 8x40 porro

Bushnell Legend 8x42 roof

Nikon AE 10x50 porro

The Zen Ray ZRS 10x42 has very little reflection from the objective coatings. The Celestron Regal and the Nikon SE have almost none.

edz

#15 EdZ

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Posted 14 July 2009 - 05:40 AM

I measured the fov of the ZRS10x42 last night. It is actually 5.8°

#16 Scopenik

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Posted 28 January 2010 - 02:17 PM

I own a Canon 15 x 50 IS and a very inexpensive Meade Simmons Wilderness 10 x 25. I have been looking for the longest time to purchase a pair of binos primarily for terrestrial viewing that have acceptably good optics, are considerably lighter than the Canon 15 x 50 IS and at a happy enough price point . The Nikon 10x36 Monarch ATB Binoculars seem like a safe compromise. I noticed your thread on the Zen Ray Summit 10x42 while looking at Zen-Ray Optics ZRS HD (ZEN-RAY SUMMIT) 10x42 waterproof binoculars. A tad heavy for the lighter sweet spot but some of the features including Silver Prism Coating and price make them read very tempting. I am interested to read what your conclusion is on the Zen-Ray Optics and suggestions for a pair of binos would be used more often than ones that are quite heavy or extremely expensive. I have been watching to see if Nikon might release a more compact size of their Monarch X.

Glenn T.

#17 Rick

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Posted 28 January 2010 - 06:37 PM

Glenn I also have the Canon 18x50IS and few other premium bins. I strongly recommend the Bushnell Legend Ultra HD which have been going for ~$200 now.

cheers,
Rick

#18 Wes James

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Posted 28 January 2010 - 06:59 PM

The Bushnell Legend Ultra HD's have really had my attention... except the long eye relief concerns me, as I don't wear my glasses when using binoculars... Darn!

#19 Rick

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Posted 28 January 2010 - 07:30 PM

Wes, I really don't know what to say. As Edz has said, 12mm useable with eyecups fully retracted is on the short side. The eye lens sits another 5mm below so the bin has 17mm total. That is actually LESS total ER than the original but the FoV is almost 2° WIDER.

The issue seems to be some folks need to bury the oculars in their eye sockets. OK I guess when indoors lookin out, but in outdoor use your body heat will fog the lens in Winter and humid Summer days. Best to have a little space between the eye and the eyecups for air flow I say.

Anyway, there are easy workarounds to having too much ER. Nothing you can do when the ER is too short.

Rick

#20 Scopenik

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Posted 30 January 2010 - 01:47 PM

I stopped in at a local Bass Pro Shop and compared the;
10 x 42 Bushnell Legend Ultra HD
10 x 42 Nikon Monarch ATB
10 x 36 Nikon Monarch ATB
10.5 x 45 Nikon Monarch X

Admittedly this was a casual, unscientific hands on look at the 4 binos. It is a large store that has bright, well lit and dimmer areas. Both the 10 x 42 Bushnell Legend Ultra HD and the 10 x 42 Nikon Monarch ATB seemed quite good. I don't know why exactly, but the Monarchs seemed to edge out the Bushnell's by a bit even though their field of view is slightly less. I have been hoping to settle on a pair that are light and compact enough that I will carry them with me more often. It was surprising how the 10 x 36 Nikon Monarch ATBs are so close in weight to the larger 10 x 42 model.

I have been intrigued to look through the Monarch X since their description has been so exciting, but I could not really notice an appreciable quality of image though them over the 10 x 42 Nikon Monarch ATB which cost about 1/2 as much. Plus the Monarch X is significantly heavier and larger.

I did not notice a significant difference between the Bushnells and the similarly priced ($40 more) Monarchs in how ER or the Eyeguard behaved in practice.

Well, I continue to drive myself crazy trying to settle on a pair of binos that I feel confident that I will bring with me more than my very heavy 15 x 50 Canon IS. I have been seeking a pair that find the sweet spot for weight, compactness and price so that resistance to bring them along is minimized.

The sales person at Bass Pro highly recommended their $20 binocular harness. I have not used a binocular harness before. They may help to lessen the heavy, large aspect of some binos. Should I try them with my Vixen BT-80 Binoculars? (Bad joke, please do not take that seriously. The harness looks useful with various field glasses.)

Glenn T.

#21 Erik D

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Posted 30 January 2010 - 04:21 PM

I own a Canon 15 x 50 IS and a very inexpensive Meade Simmons Wilderness 10 x 25. I have been looking for the longest time to purchase a pair of binos primarily for terrestrial viewing that have acceptably good optics, are considerably lighter than the Canon 15 x 50 IS and at a happy enough price point .

The Nikon 10x36 Monarch ATB Binoculars seem like a safe compromise. I noticed your thread on the Zen Ray Summit 10x42 while looking at Zen-Ray Optics ZRS HD (ZEN-RAY SUMMIT) 10x42 waterproof binoculars. A tad heavy for the lighter sweet spot.......... I have been watching to see if Nikon might release a more compact size of their Monarch X.

Glenn T.


Glenn,

Have you considered the Celestron Regal LX 10X42 discussed in this recent thread:

http://www.cloudynig...5/o/all/fpart/1

Currently available for ~$180 with free shipping.

This model passed EdZ' extensive evaluation and testing with flying colors. Received universal praise from just about every CN member who purchased a pair. I paid $275 for my pair 2nd hand, in like new condition and consider them well worth it. It's a great bargain at the current price. Here is EdZ's CN report in case you missed it:

http://www.cloudynig...hp?item_id=1771

I usually fly between 50,000 to 100,000 miles each year. Made three trips across the Pacific last year. Expect to do the same or more this year. Sometimes my flights to Asia takes more than 30 hrs door to door. So I become very conscious of the bulk and wt of every pair I carry in my pack on each trip. For me a pair of compact 10X42 roofs are closer to the ideal magnification and size than 8X32 or 8X42 binocular. That's why I purchased a pair of Regal LX 10X42 even though I already have 8X32 and 12X50 roofs of very good quality.

EdZ' report list the Regal LX 42 at 25 oz. My own weighing have them at ~28 oz with neck strap and a pair of Eagle Optics tethered lens caps. They are about an inch shorter than my Leupold Olympic 12X50 roofs and the same wt. Close to home I usually prefer the 12X50s as my dual use astronomy and long range terrestrial binocular. 20% higher X and 41% more light collecting area.

Don't have first hand experience with the Nikon Monarch, Bushnell HD or Zen Ray models. I do have about two dozen other binos for hand held use. Will be happy to provide more details about size and weight if you if you like.

One other thought, If you really like the idea of IS binoculars but just want a pair of lighter wt you COULD consider a pair of 12X36 IS II. They cost more than the compact roofs we are discussing but are really quite compact and light wt. I think they are around 25 oz with two AA batteries. More so than my Leupold 12X50 roofs which are the most compact and light wt 50 mm roof prism I am aware of. I would love to see a pair slim down 15X50 IS IIs.

ERik D

PS. New listing:
http://cgi.ebay.com/...#ht_2846wt_1167

#22 Scopenik

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Posted 30 January 2010 - 05:32 PM

Thank you Erik D. Celestron's Regal LX 10X42 do sound quite good. Being a bit of a nut reading every review that I can find and comparing the Specs listed by manufacturers, vendors and users I have read about them but have not seen them in person. They do seem to be more a tad heavier than the ever popular Nikon Monarchs ATBs. It is amazing that porros seem to have fallen so out of favor, and I guess the design of the light path prevent them from competing in a compact form and magnification with many of the roofs.
Your suggestion to re-look at Canon's 12 x 36 IS is a good one. I had incorrectly assumed that they would be heavy for that size but I now see that Canon lists them at 23.3 oz without batteries.
It is also surprising to me that more expensive roof binoculars in similar sizes tends to be significantly heavier.

Glenn T.

#23 KennyJ

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Posted 30 January 2010 - 05:49 PM

Glenn ,

If you have a particular desire to regularly hand - hold binoculars with higher than usual magnification , but not to spend TOO much , you can do a LOT worse than try those Canon 12 x 36 IS .

To all intents and purposes that model has the same effective aperture as the Canon 10 x 42 IS ( measured at 37mm ) provides higher magnification and ergonomically , it is probably the better of the two , in spite of costing considerably less than half as much .

You may just be pleasantly surprised !

Kenny






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