Leupold BX-4 vs Zen Ray Prime HD

Discussion in 'Long Range Scopes and Other Optics' started by CleanShot, Jan 17, 2014.

  1. CleanShot

    CleanShot Well-Known Member

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    Hello

    I'm considering buying the Zen Ray Prime HDs but I just saw a deal on some Leupolds I was curious about. I have had a hard time finding any info on the Leupold BX-4 McKinley the forums.

    Does anyone have any thoughts on the Leupold BX-4 McKinley's? Any specific comparisons between them and the Zen Rays would be all the better.

    Thanks
    Sam
     
  2. theo98

    theo98 Well-Known Member

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    Sam,

    I also ran across the great deal and will have the 10X delivered on the 18th (via Midway). However, these are the 1st generation of BX-4's (#117790). The newest upgrade on Leupolds website (#119282) has a different armored coating, the diopter adjustment is lockable and set in the focus control (just like the BX-2's), and the ocular eyepieces have been slimmed down (all according to Leupold).

    I've read the Zen Rays are great binos, but have no experience with them. I love my BX-2's but with the closeout price of these BX-4's, was willing to step up to some great HD ED alpha glass!

    Ted
     
  3. ZSteinle

    ZSteinle Well-Known Member

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    I have nothing but good this to say about my zen ray ed3's. They are awesome for the price. I have beat the crap out of them for 3 years with zero issues.
     
  4. CleanShot

    CleanShot Well-Known Member

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    I've been waiting out some Zen Ray Primes but the price of these BX-4s made me wonder especially given Leupold's a more established company.
     
  5. theo98

    theo98 Well-Known Member

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    CS,

    Did you get in on the Leupold BX-4 deal from midway? I'm returning home today to mine and will be checking it out in detail...review will be forthcoming!

    Ted
     
  6. Txhillbilly

    Txhillbilly Well-Known Member

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    I also have the Zen Ray ED3's,and they are really great bino's.
    Leupold lost my business years ago,and will never get it back.
    I want quality,not a long time name with a jacked up price.
     
  7. CleanShot

    CleanShot Well-Known Member

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    I wish I did but I hesitated just long enough that when I went back the deal had just finished. How are you liking them?
     
  8. 02Silver

    02Silver Well-Known Member

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    I bought Zen Rays a few years ago when you had to get them from ZR directly. Mine are the ED or ED2's. They are terrific.

    Even my son's cheaper pair of Vistas are not too shabby.
     
  9. theo98

    theo98 Well-Known Member

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    CS,

    Yep, great deal, as far as Midways special price. I spent about 6 hrs comparing them to my Leupold BX-2 Cascades, both in late afternoon light and at twilight dusk. The BX-4's were a little more immersive, developed a deeper DOF and were easier on the eye relief... all due to their 70ft greater FOV (@1000yds).

    However, color rendition was exactly the same as the BX-2's and low to no light capabilities were also equal. I didn't care for the BX-4 diopter dial control on the right eyepiece, too loose with sloppy control (BX-2's on the focus knob works Great). The main focus knob was out-of-the-box stiff to set, like it needed breaking in and was a fast adjustment that was hard to hit the best focus. Didn't think it would make much difference, but the extra 6oz of weight was very noticeable during extended viewing.

    Worse, found my BX-4's too soft, not tack-sharp as are my BX-2's. Don't know, may have received a "late Friday assembly unit", but with these issues and the overall great BX-2's I have, I'm sending the BX-4's back to Midway. This particular pair didn't turn out to be such a great deal! Maybe the Updated BX-4 119282's will have fixed the issues I've noted above!?

    Ted
     
  10. bruce_ventura

    bruce_ventura Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the detailed review. I would have expected the flatter field to be an obvious difference. Also, the higher priced roof binos tend to have a better phase coating that contributes to better resolution. Reality is often different than marketing BS. Seems as though the BX-2 Cascades are the sweet spot in the whole lineup of Leupold binos.
     
  11. CleanShot

    CleanShot Well-Known Member

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    Interesting... thanks for the info. Maybe I'll stick to the idea of purchasing the Zen Ray Primes
     
  12. lloydsmale

    lloydsmale Well-Known Member

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    cameraland has a great deal on mckinleys right now.
     
  13. theo98

    theo98 Well-Known Member

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    CS,

    The original BX-4's (#117790-no longer listed by Leupold) are "Back on-sale" at Midway! My pair were definitely defective, so the comparison to my BX-2's wasn't really fair. Other than the soft focus issue I noted, their flat and wide FOV and very generous eye relief (all better than the BX-2's) did contribute to a very immersive and deep 3D view that was easy on my eyes during extended viewing. I was assured by the techs that the BX-4 resolutions and sharpness are a good step above the BX-2's. Of course that is what they would say, however the degree of extended HD coatings and newer engineering in the BX-4's should support that. I just didn't see that in my defective sample.

    After speaking to 4 different techs, I discovered, they have introduced the Leupold McKinley BX-4, a 2014 updated version of the original #117790, the #119282 (now on their site and coming soon to Midway @ $599). Leupold states the optics are the same, but changes incorporated are a different armor coating (like the BX-2's), slimming down of the eyepieces (old version are big), integrating a locked diopter adjustment into the focus wheel (Great) and moving the right barrel logo up to eliminate interference with the objectives dust cap. These are nice ergonomic advances and if the optics are Equal or Better than the original McKinleys, these Binos will be a great choice for top end alpha glass users and ones that I'll be looking to get in my hunting bag!

    Hope this clears up any confusion...

    Thanks,

    Ted
     
  14. CleanShot

    CleanShot Well-Known Member

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    Ted: Why are you so convinced that the pair is defective and not just that the model isn't great?