Mid-priced Binoculars Review
Zen-Ray Zen ED3
by Michael and Diane Porter
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Michael and Diane Porter wrote the following article, which also appears in the January, 2012, Bird Watcher's Digest.
This review of the Zen-Ray Zen ED3 is part of that review.
Zen-Ray Zen ED3 8x42
Overall Score: 4.46 (0ut of possible 5.0)
The Zen ED3 gives the viewer that Wow experience that comes with excellent optics and a wide field of view—426 feet at 1000 yards—wider than any of the other top ten overall scorers in our study.
It sports the open-bridge design that allows the fingers to wrap around one barrel. As is common in this design, the Zen ED3 is among the longer (6.5 inches) and heavier (27 ounces) binoculars in our study. It has excellent ergonomics, and the strap lugs are covered, soft, and close enough to the eyepieces not to poke into fingers.
Just one turn of the focus knob takes you from a close focus of 6.5 feet to infinity. The focus knob is free from slack and offers the right degree of resistance. It is unusually wide and would be easy to operate even with gloves. The diopter adjustment doesn’t have a scale, but it does have clicks.
The eyecups have an innovative design. When collapsed, they allow eyeglasses to come closer to the eyepiece glass than most binoculars do, as shown below.
In the photo above, see how far the eyepiece glass is from the top of the eyecup in the conventional binocular at right? Compare that to how close the glass comes to the top of the eyecup in the Zen ED3 binocular at left. This design provides a couple of extra millimeters of eye relief.
Pro: Wide field of view; fast focus; good ergonomics; unique extra tripod adapter socket at center of gravity of the binocular.
Con: Diopter setting doesn’t lock; some judges found the thumb indentations too far from the focus knob.
NEXT: Nikon Monarch ATB