View Full Version : Zen-Ray ed3 10x43/ s4 gear lockdown review

01-17-2012, 04:23 PM
For anyone that is interested, I wrote a little review on the binoculars.

I have had my new pair of zen ray ed3s 10x43 for around a month now, I wish it was hunting season to put them to the real test. I have spent a fair amount of time over the last month hiking in the hills, being up at first light and glassing through them at dusk to give my thoughts on these binoculars a fair review. I wish I had my old leupold golden rings hd to compare side by side however I am going to have to count on the countless hours I have spent through them as comparison.

My first impressions of the binos out of the box were great! The rubber armor feels really good on the hands, it is not too plasticy feeling if that makes any sense. It also is not too sticky of a rubber like older style of binos or those bushnells they used to make in the 90s or so. My biggest complaint with these binos which is good because it is a small detail is the rubber coating on the body where you attach lanyard or bino straps. This area is a metal loop that is built into the body and the rubber armor loosely protects it. It looks and feels like a real cheap set of binoculars right there. I don't know if it would be better on future models to have the loops exposed and have the rubber coating stop at the body might be more aesthetically pleasing. There is what appears to be 20lpi checkering on the sides which fits nicely into my palms. There is also a cutout for your thumbs on the bottom of the binoculars. The diopter adjustment does not have numbers on it just the middle indicator and a plus on one side and respectively a minus on the other, it is not a big deal for me because my adjustment is right above the minus, if I had more unequal eyes I can see it being an issue if it accidentally gets moved it might take a minute to get back into focus. The ring also has the same 20lpi checkering.

The focus wheel Has the same 20 lpi checkering with the points knocked down and provides great traction on your index finger, the wheel is stiff which I really like, it is stiffer than a lot of other brands and might take some getting used to for some people. The focus wheel is also really fast meaning it has a really quick ratio that also might take some getting used to but is a really nice feature in my opinion because I can get on target quickly.

The open bridge design is the best thing since sliced bread! I do not think I will ever buy binoculars that have a piano style hinge again! This design allows me to be more steady because my hands are taking up more real estate on the binos. Also the added benefit of less weight.

The optical quality is superb, I have had these out well before light and was astonished! The gather light very well. During the day it is really crisp,and easy to look through for an extended period of time. I always find binoculars uncomfortable on the eyecups and find myself putting a lot of pressure on them to get correct field of view which in turn creates fatigue. With these, I rest them on the bridge of my nose and I'm done, I see myself spending a lot of time through these, more than in the past due to increased comfort level. the field of view is very good(340 ft/1000yards). I was happy with the quality of optics from my leupolds however I had serious issues with the design. Purchasing these Zen-Rays gave me a better pair of binoculars for my needs by making them comfortable for me and providing a better quality of optics! Again I wish I could compare side by side but I still give the edge optically to the Zens.

These binoculars also have two spots for a tripod adapter, one on the front, and the other in front of focus wheel. I haven't played around much with the most rearward one yet but I can see the advantages. The tripod adapter cover has a big ZR in a silver finish which I would like to see subdued, I will probably cover it in a sharpie.

They weigh in at 26.8 oz. that cut 6 oz. of off my leupold hd’s thus widening the margin of optical quality and weight even more.

I purchased these directly from Zens website. Great customer service, I also bought other items from him including the s4 lockdown which I highly recommend! They make sense and it is extremely easy to throw your binos up. I haven't spent more than 4 hours with them strapped on and I have no problem giving them five stars! Charles at Zen ray recommends using the supplied zip ties to attach the Zens to harness, I think I will throw in a few extra zip ties in my pack, I see them breaking at an Inopportune time. There was a small communication problem with my order, the box came in and everything was there except the harness, I was however billed for the harness, I took pictures of everything and sent it to Charles at Zen-Ray. He informed me the harness ships out separately from another site. It did create a little panic in me because I was thinking the worst, invoice says it's there and it was not, I thought it had the potential to turn into ,”it was in the box, I put it in there myself” issue. It turned out all good it just would have been nice to know that ahead of time. Speaking with Charles at Zen-Ray gives them 5 stars on customer service as well, he returned emails very promptly and answered all of my questions.

All in all, I will have these binoculars in the family for the rest of my life. When my kids get old enough to go hunting, I will either hand these down or buy them a pair of Zen-Rays. I do see myself with a pair of zeiss or Swaros but not any time soon! My opinion is these are the best binos for under 1500$ pretty good considering I paid under 500$ for them! I wish I would have found them sooner. Here is the specs from the website:

Dimension (HxW) 6.5x5
Weatherproofing Waterproof/Fogproof
Magnification 10x
Field of View 340ft/1000yards
Eye Relief 15.2mm
Close Focus 2 m
Weight 26.8 oz
Interpupilary distance (IPD in mm) 56-74
Carrying case EVA Premium Hard Case
Neckstrap Cushion Padded Premium Neckstrap with Quickconnect
Ocular Lens Cover Yes
Objective Lens Covers Yes

Here is a pic I took of my daughter around 30 yards through these binos holding up my iphone4s

01-17-2012, 04:28 PM
The picture is crisp, however I can't download a crisp version to this forum, sorry guys, I tried.

01-17-2012, 05:09 PM
You should open a free photobucket.com account. Download pics there, then just copy/paste the [IMG] url link in your post. Pics show up full size and full resolution.

As far as the binos go, they are nice! My roommate picked up a pair. We were hog hunting the other day and comparing them to my Swaro 10x42 SLC NEU's. There was a noticeable difference, but not a whole lot. Barely noticeable in sweet spot crispness, and just a bit more noticeable out toward the edges. Definitely a great value.

Bitterroot Bulls
01-17-2012, 05:33 PM
Thanks for taking time to post this, doc. Well done. I look forward to long-term updates.


I have the same SLC neus and the Zen ED2s and I agree that side-by-side there are small, but still noticeable, differences in the image, but it is amazing how close they really are!

Jon Boy
01-17-2012, 06:33 PM
I hunted with the ED3s all season and I am very pleased. I dont think you can get much better Binos in the same price range.

Kevin Root
01-17-2012, 06:44 PM
You should open a free photobucket.com account. Download pics there, then just copy/paste the [IMG] url link in your post. Pics show up full size and full resolution.

I was wondering how the pictures showed up in your posts so well. Thanks for that tip!

01-20-2012, 12:23 AM

Testing. 1-2 testing 1-2. Check check

05-21-2012, 11:23 PM
Well, honestly this thread and a couple of other reviews that are extremely positive are the reason I orderred a pair of the ED3 10x43. I was so excited to receive them and equally disappointed after 30 minutes of comparing them to my $150 Nikon Action 10x50. I knew there was a problem with them right out of the box because the focus nob has 1/8 inch of needless loose freeplay, an immediate sign of poor construction. To make a long story short, my inexpensive binoculars focus equally sharp or slightly sharper and quite a bit easier than the $440 zen rays, that I actually paid $60 to have overnighted to me on my BIg Sky/Yellowstone vacation. I orderred these because I REALLY want to see the animals clearer, and they were an unclear disappointment. A further bad sign was that the place where I bought the Actions, had another pair of nikons for $250, and these actually Were noticably higher quality than the $150 Actions.

I'm not a Nikon rep, and I don't give a rats patootie about the brand name, I just wanted the quality that others were talking about. It's always possible I got the only lemon pair of ED3's and all the others are as exceptional as everyone says. Whatever the case, these are going back.

05-21-2012, 11:43 PM
Welcome to the forum pro, I'm sorry you received lemons, I would send them back as well, I would also have them send me a new pair or have them look at them to see if they are defective. I hope it works out for you.

Jon Boy
05-21-2012, 11:53 PM
Proheli, I would contact charles at zenray. Im sure he will get it fixed for you. This is literally the first bad review Ive heard about them.

05-22-2012, 09:20 PM
Thanks guys, I appreciate the info, and I will call Charles tomorrow. I did find a couple of other odd/negative reviews but the majority really are very positive.

05-22-2012, 10:32 PM
I've got the ED3s and that review hit the nail on the head. Like BSA said, side by side comparison to the swaros there were differences, but for the price of the ZenRays it defiantly makes up for it.

Great review DR.

05-22-2012, 11:30 PM
I've got the ED3s and that review hit the nail on the head. Like BSA said, side by side comparison to the swaros there were differences, but for the price of the ZenRays it defiantly makes up for it.

Great review DR.

Thanks Ben, I appreciate that. It's a big pill to swallow making a big purchase like that over the Internet without laying hands on the product. I took the plunge and wanted to share my experience with others and tell them the water is fine, come on in!

05-23-2012, 01:53 AM
Great review Dr.

05-23-2012, 06:24 PM
I know the feelig DR, I did the same with mine. Couldnt have been any happier after opening the box when they got here, but the wait was nerve racking

05-30-2012, 06:17 PM
Thanks guys, I appreciate the info, and I will call Charles tomorrow. I did find a couple of other odd/negative reviews but the majority really are very positive.

EDIT: 1 week later

I emailed Charles and then we spoke on the phone. He was concerned, friendly and helpful from the start. He orderred another pair of binoculars, had them sent to his office, and then had them checked for quality. I would have had them sooner than now but for travelling and the Memorial day weekend.

I'm very happy with this new pair, and already enjoying them. Without going into what I previously stated, this pair is issue free, brighter than the initial pair, they focus easily, and I don't see any of the dark rings around the edges.

There was some heavy "accordian-ing" marks on the box the first pair was shipped in, and I am guessing that the first pair was dropped surprisingly hard enroute to me, and this is why they arrived in less than perfect condition..., but hey, what do I know.

I'm happy with this pair and a "thank you" goes to Charles for sorting out the problem immediately.


P.S. I should also say that in my internet research on binoculars, there were a few other reports, from people who bought even higher end binoculars than ZR and periodically, they also arrive in the mail with similar issues, which then had to be sorted out, and were.

09-20-2012, 09:40 PM
I own a pair of Zen rays and a pair of swarovski! to be honest I can't tell a difference!

J Bird
09-25-2012, 08:56 AM
Anyone compair these to the vortex talons?