Zen Ray binos
Thay are getting many positive reviews as the best binos avaliable under $1000. Ed glass,phase coated, silver mirrored prisms ect.
They are about to release a eD2 model that will also have Diaelectric prism coatings instead of silver, priced around $600. They also have easy clean exterior lens coatings.
What about the similar Promaster ED and Hawk ED binos??
Go to birdforum.net for info on the Zen Ray's. However, be prepared for an avalanche of enthusiasm overlooking the ZR's obvious six faults: weight, weight and more weight, silly Euro open bridge design and magnesium frame. Everyone is gaga over their CA benefits, image quality and PRICE.
Yes, hard core birders, myself included, typically have a love affair with expensive binoculars. Do we identify more birds because we carry very expensive binoculars? No, at least not directly. We carry such expensive binoculars because we are addicted to the image quality they provide; because they show the birds we love in even more glory than less expensive binoculars and, to some extent, because it is very difficult to go back to a lesser model when you've used the best. A premium binocular does make birding even more enjoyable and therefore makes it more likely that you will go birding - in that sense a premium binocular can make you a better birder. If it was just a matter of identifying birds, though, an honest answer is that we could identify as many birds, or at least very close to it, with a binocular at half or even less than half the price of today's premium birding binoculars. There is a lot of good glass out there under $1000, including the Elite, Pentax DCF SP and so on.
As to euro bin's - they all weigh way, too much! The golden rule, established by others, which I respect, says keep bins to 24 oz or less - unless of course you have a gun bearer in tow or you never get out of the bus.
Good binoculars are more than good glass or good CaF2 (or good pretend CaF2). Good image is obviously important and better images for less money is a real step forward; however, good bin's must be packaged in an durable, reliable, weight efficient manner that promotes excellent handling. ZR's (I believe Atlas is a clone) offerings despite a huge step forward on the image/price scale are, presently, silly and unpractical. Copying euro trash for snob appeal (or brand loyalty if you wish) is worse than silly, it's a waste.
I'm not going to comment on those brands, since we don't carry them over, here, but thanks for your opinions. I will stick with the Swarovski EL when I want an open bridge binocular, even at its sinful and evil 28 ounces. Each to their own.
I might, someday, upgrade (slightly) the Monarch's to Vortex Viper 8x42's - also fairly light weight with excellent handling and an aluminum, not magnesium body.
The above are perfect for being around my neck for up to six or seven hours a day. On many occasions I have tried Zeiss and Swarovsky, but never Lecia bins. Of those that I've sampled that had good optics - they were all way too heavy including those with open bridge designs. Conquest's were an exception, I was not very impressed with their optics.
As I see it, Bin's with excellent optics, poor handling and heavy weight get left behind. You can only use the bin's that you carry. Of course if you can afford a gun bearer or two, then that might change everything.
They are the best I have owned so far, never liked my 10x40 Zeiss Conquest and these beat my Pentax SP 10x42 for color, contrast, sharpness. Focusing is a bit slow.
I would encourage OP to look up a seller, source. All the others have picked this up. Even that Texas rifle scope outfit.
Bushnell Legend HD is not the same, but is clearly in the same game.
The more choices we have, the better.