Steiner Binoculars Review: Optics for Life’s Defining Moments

If you want a real lifetime purchase out of a binocular, then Steiner is the no-brainer choice. They will last you forever – do I daresay bomb proof?

If you’re serious about owning a pair of binoculars that’s been fanatically made with numerous processes that oversees the production of every nook and cranny, then you’re about to spend the best $100-$1800 – ever. But first, check out this Steiner Binoculars review to determine which of the following are for you:

Steiner Binocular Reviews

Steiner is a German optics brand that takes every binocular build seriously. They’re obsessed about taking exhaustive measures to control production, testing, inspection, quality control, and literally every other process involved in making your optics.

Steiner also serves the military by providing indestructible binoculars, so I’m pretty sure a deer hunter is going to be able to trust something they make.

And, with all of Steiner’s painstaking measures to provide high end and matchless optics, you can trust that your hunting experience is going to be like no other – ever.

Their motto says it all… as they put it, “We are Steiner: Optics for Life’s Defining Moments”.

And, for those moments, expect to see ergonomic devices with plenty of texturing and stippling for grip and protection with Makrolon housing.

Don’t forget about that German glass with high-contrast coatings for their stellar image quality.

If I’ve got you excited already, then pull up your hunting bib coveralls because this is just the beginning.

Steiner Champ 10X26 Review

champ-10x26This Steiner Champ 10X26 binocular has Fast Close Focus technology with High Contrast Lenses and full body rubber armoring for ultimate protection. It’s compact and lightweight to conveniently fit anywhere to be taken everywhere.

Online, the $100 (approx.) binocular has a great rating.

While this little champ isn’t in Steiner’s hunting category, it will cater to a hunter. But, I will admit that I chose it only because of it’s cool name – the Champ.

There was no way I was going to pass up the chance to feature this compact bino.

To figure out what a little binocular is doing with big boy technology and how it can help out on the hunt, here’s the Q&A.

Champ 10X26 Binocular Q&A:

Q. What is Fast Focus Technology?

A. This means that you’re going to be able to get from close focus to infinity with less turns of the center focus wheel than you would with non-fast focus wheels.

This helps you get intricate detail in a matter of seconds for whatever distance your target is at.

For this Champ, it means you’ll be able to get sharp and clear focus as close as 10 feet and then use the center focus wheel minimally to get an almost instant focus for targets further and beyond.

The only thing to be aware of when it comes to fast focus systems is how “fast” they can be. There still needs to be a good balance, otherwise it’s going to be very easy to overshoot making finding the right focus a tricky process.

Q. What are High Contrast Lenses?

A. In 1988, Steiner introduced High Contrast Lenses to their binocular production. This is their lens coating technology that enables you to have the brightest and clearest picture quality possible.

Lenses with the High Contrast coatings allow more light to be filtered through the lenses which obviously helps to increase brightness, but the coatings also do something special.

In order to provide high contrast images, elements in the coating treatment help light rays to stay in phase with each other. This prevents light scattering and out-of-phase light-waves that causes chromatic aberrations.

Instead, you have sharp quality with the brightest and clearest images you can get.

Q. Is this a compact binocular?

A. Yes! The objective lenses are only 25 mm in diameter which is a huge factor that allows for such a small and light weight binocular. The Champ only weighs 10.5 ounces, and its physical dimensions are 4.9 x 4.1 x 1.8 inches.

The other factor that also makes it a compact bino is its folding design. Simply turn the barrels inward for a fold-like effect to make them even slimmer.

If you’re a hunter who wants a light weight and small device to keep on your person every second of the hunt, this Champ will live up to its name sake.

Q. Is the champ waterproof?

A. The Champ binocular is waterproof – according to Steiner’s website. I wouldn’t dare try testing in a pond or while out on a boat though. According to my definition of waterproof and water-resistance, the champ clearly falls into one category.

It’s only water-resistant, not water-proof, and there’s a difference. Waterproof means that your bino will be able to withstand and survive submersion. Water-resistant means it’s only going to handle rain, to a certain degree, and water spray, say while you’re out at sea.

But, you’d be out of luck if it went overboard.

Q. Can I wear glasses with the Champ?

A. Unfortunately, no. Steiner doesn’t list the eye relief for the Champ, so I had to do a little more digging.

And, it turns out I suspect a little bit of strategic marketing tactics as to why they don’t – it’s a very short 9.5 mm. I should’ve said tiny instead of short.

If you wear specs, this is no way enough of an eye relief to be able to see the entire 302 feet field of view.

Steiner Champ 10×26 Specs:

  • Magnification: 10X
  • Power Variability: Fixed
  • Objective Diameter: 25 mm
  • Close Focus Distance: 10 feet
  • Dimensions: 4.9 x 4.1 x 1.8 inches
  • Weight: 10.5 ounces
  • Field of View: 302 feet/1000 yards
  • Eye Relief/Exit Pupil: 9.5 mm/2.5 mm
  • Optics Coatings: Fully Multi-Coated
  • Glass: BAK-4
  • Prism System: Roof
  • Focus System: Fast-Close Focus
  • Waterproof/Fog-proof: Yes/No
  • Eye cups: Wrap around
  • Tripod adaptable: No
  • Rangefinder: No

Noteworthy Features:

  • Fast-Close-Focus Technology for acquiring speedier image focus than convention center focus systems
  • High contrast, fully multi-coated lenses provide maximum light transmission for bright, clear images
  • Convenient binocular in a compact and lightweight in design
  • Fully waterproof and fog-proof for enduring rain and ocean spray
  • Rubber armoring for protection and textiled ridges provides an ergonomic, secure grip
  • Backed by Steiner’s Heritage Warranty

Rating:

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Steiner Predator 10X42 Review

predator-10x42This Steiner Predator 10X42 has in-house ground BAK-4 prisms with fully multi-coated optics, CAT coatings, and N2 Injection System technologies.

And, we can’t forget the easy-to-use ClicLoc system and the Fast-Close-Focus center wheel on the Makrolon housing chassis.

This $300 (approx) general-hunting binocular has an excellent rating online. If you’re looking for a Steiner hunting-specific bino, this is the one you’ll find with the highest star rating and reviewer input.

As one of the most recommended hunting binoculars in the Steiner line-up, it’s definitely made a name for itself in the industry. And, this path of fame is enough for it to make its way into this Steiner Predator binocular review.

But, to truly appreciate everything this Predator has to offer, let’s go over each concern you may have about all the techie, new systems in the Q&A.

Predator 10X42 Binocular Q&A:

Q. What is CAT coatings?

A. CAT stands for Color Adjusted Transmission and they’re unique to the Predator binocular series. While it’s similar to High Contrast Lenses, it’s a little bit different. CAT goes a step further and filters out green and blue light.

Because of this filtering of light-waves process, it’s supposed to give you an edge in locating and identifying game faster and more accurately versus binoculars without the CAT treatment.

By providing excellent light transmission qualities, wildlife colors are enriched while the haze and glare of foliage and brush are filtered out.

This means, you’ll be able to see the coat of that sleeping buck beneath the fall leaves that camouflage him.

Q. What is the N2 injection System?

A. Unlike the Champ binocular that’s only water-resistant, this Predator binocular is both waterproof and fogproof to provide ultimate weatherproof-ability.

Not only is this bino going to stand up to wet weather, it’s also going to overcome condensation-inducing conditions to remain fog-free.

The lens chambers have been dry nitrogen purged and sealed with a pressurized level of 14-psi. Say goodby to cold, early morning fogginess.

And, as far as being waterproof goes, it’s submersible to three feet. While it’s no Swarovski binocular that can handle 13 feet of submersion, three feet is still better than none!

Fun fact – Steiner was the first optics manufacturer to use nitrogen in binoculars for fog-proof effects all the way back in 1973.

Q. What is the ClicLoc system?

A. This is basically the “quick release” system that’s incorporated in many optics brands neck straps for fast and easy access to the binocular.

The idea is to have the binoculars hanging in front of your person and ready for action the moment you need it.

Both the neck strap and the harness have convenient parts that allow the binoculars to be attached and released in a matter of seconds with the push of a button.

Since this binocular has pretty standard dimensions of 6.9 x 4.9 x2.6 inches, it’s not going to be the smallest one that you could fit in your pocket.

But, with the ClicLoc system, there’s no need to stow it – it’s right in front of you for every critical second that you need it and then don’t.

Q. What is Makrolon housing?

A. Makrolon is what the binocular is made out of. It’s a durable fiber-reinforced, non-corrosive polycarbonate that’s made with latex-free nitrile compounds, NBR, that make up the rubber armoring of the binocular body.

The benefits are its extremely durable chassis which makes it impervious to all types of rugged and harsh terrain and weather.

Not only is the Makrolon housing going to provide ultimate protection to the binocular and the prism assemblies, it’s also very light weight, helping to keep poundage to a minimum.

Tip – chassis refers to the internal skeleton or frame of the binocular.

Bonus Tip – Steiner was the first optics manufacturer to revamp Makrolon for use in the construction of binoculars in 1967.

Q. How durable is this binocular?

A. You really don’t know how happy I am to answer this question, so let me put it this way – there is not a binocular that exists that can match the durability of this Steiner.

The abuse it can handle is incomprehensible to the average hunter. We just know it’s good and it’s tough.

To prove its ruggedness and durability, I’ll inform you that during the testing phase of its production it literally goes through a brutal pressure test of 11 Gs of impact! That’s 11 times the force of gravity!

So, those rock slams when scaling the rocky cliff side, the dings and bangs when it hits the tree trunk while in the blind, or the jerking around in the metal bed of your pick up truck, it’s all going to be a cake-walk for the bino.

Steiner Predator 10×42 Specs:

  • Magnification: 10X
  • Power Variability: Fixed
  • Objective Diameter: 42 mm
  • Close Focus Distance: 13 feet
  • Dimensions: 6.9 x 4.9 x2.6 inches
  • Weight: 28.2 ounces
  • Field of View: 316 feet/1000 yards
  • Eye Relief/Exit Pupil: not listed/4.2 mm
  • Optics Coatings: Fully Multi-Coated
  • Glass: BAK-4
  • Prism System: Roof
  • Focus System: Fast-Close Focus
  • Waterproof/Fog-proof: Yes/Yes
  • Eye cups: Wrap around
  • Tripod adaptable: No
  • Rangefinder: No

Noteworthy Features:

  • Fast-Close-Focus Technology for acquiring speedier image focus than convention center focus systems
  • Fully multi-coated High Contrast CAT coatings to filter out blue and green light for game and wildlife color enhancement
  • Convenient binocular in a compact and lightweight in design
  • Fully waterproof for enduring 3 feet of submersion
  • Dry Nitrogen purged with N2 injection System to stay fog-free in all types of various weather
  • Makrolon housing with NBR rubber armoring for protection and textiled ridges provides an ergonomic, secure grip
  • ClicLoc System for easy and fast access to binoculars with neck strap or harness
  • Backed by Steiner’s Heritage Warranty

Rating:

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Steiner HX 8X42 Review

hx-8x42This HX 8X42 binocular has Steiner Nano-Protection technology, Fast-Close-Focus, and their N2 Injection System all built into their 10 feet submersible Makrolon housing binocular to make your hunt a successful one.

They’ve also been built with excellent luminosity elements and HD lenses on a new and improved ergonomic scouting design.

The HX series of binoculars are still yet to see some crazy reviewer activity, but for now, they’re still the best-kept secret. The new to 2016 high end binoculars are around $800, and it’s certainly up there with other premium binos.

The HX series is specifically featured as a hunting binocular by Steiner, and they’re the latest edition to the hunting category.

As we’re getting into the higher end of the Steiner line-up, this was an obvious pick to include in this review for all you bull zealots out there.

But, what has this HX all the way up in the several hundred dollar price range? We’ll answer this question by highlighting the HX’s most revered features in the following Q&A.

HX 8X42 Binocular Q&A:

Q. What is Steiner Nano-Protection?

A. This is their nano-enforced, hydroponic molecular external lens coatings that’s responsible for keeping your lenses looking like they did when you first took them out of the box.

The external lens coating protects the glass from every element of nature you can throw at it. How? The surface coating creates a smooth and polished exterior that repels fingerprints, dirt, dust, water, and snow.

All particles that don’t belong on the lenses just requires a swift and light wipe with a lens cloth for that clear glassing once again.

With innovative and easy cleaning and coating technologies, this HX is a maintenance-free binocular.

Q. What is Hugh Definition?

A. Okay, this is just a jab at Steiner for a spelling error I found on their website.

I’m not taking it personal though, I’m sure there’s an error or two of mine somewhere in here, and to Steiner’s defense, spell-check doesn’t always catch correctly-written words used out of context. But, back to the binocular at hand.

This HX has High Definition lenses to give every detail of your glassing experience a truly bright and clear view with details of every inch of your prey.

While HD isn’t glass itself, it’s the result of combined glass coatings, lens elements, and in-house grinding and polishing processes that provides the HD effect.

Q. Would this be a good low light hunting binocular?

A. This is going to be an excellent binocular for both day time and low light hunting. While it is only a 8X42, it’s not always objective size that matters, so don’t get too caught up in that hype.

So let’s take a look at what else it has in its ballpark.

According to Steiner, this HX has a luminosity factor of 31.7 and a twilight factor of 23.7. These are excellent values if ultimate brightness at all times of day is important for you.

Basically, the higher the number, the better the bino is at maximizing light waves it collects with what little light is available at night, say from the moon.

Also, the luminosity factor is the overall brightness put into a value, and it’s usually in the higher teens or in the twenties for most binoculars. This is the same for twilight factors.

While these values matter, and so does objective lens size, it’s also the quality of the glass that plays a huge role in how good it’s going to perform when the night sky is upon you.

Good thing for you, this HX has everything you could want in a high-quality, low light hunting binocular.

Q. What comes in the box with the purchase?

A. While the Champ binocular was on the short end of the stick as far as getting all the extra accessories, the Predator 10X42 and this HX 8X42 won’t fall short of your expectations.

It comes with a neoprene neck strap, the ClicLoc System feature, objective lens covers, rain protection lens caps, and the carry case.

 Steiner HX 8×42 Specs:

  • Magnification: 8X
  • Power Variability: Fixed
  • Objective Diameter: 42 mm
  • Close Focus Distance: 8 feet
  • Dimensions: 5.8 x 4.9 x 2.6 inches
  • Weight: 28 ounces
  • Field of View: 326 feet/1000 yards
  • Eye Relief/Exit Pupil: 17 mm/5.6 mm
  • Optics Coatings: Fully Multi-Coated
  • Glass: BAK-4
  • Prism System: Roof
  • Focus System: Fast-Close Focus
  • Waterproof/Fog-proof: Yes/Yes
  • Eye cups: Wrap around
  • Tripod adaptable: No
  • Rangefinder: No

Noteworthy Features:

  • Fast-Close-Focus Technology for acquiring speedier image focus than convention center focus systems
  • Fully multi-coated High Definition coatings to for detail-rich, bright, and color enhancement images
  • Steiner Nano Protection coatings for external lens protectant qualities from all sorts of debris and for easy cleaning
  • Fully waterproof and can survive an impressive 10 feet of submersion
  • Dry Nitrogen purged with N2 injection System to stay fog-free in all types of various weather
  • Excellent specs for low light hunting strength
  • New and improved ergonomic design for easier and more comfortable handling when out in the field
  • Makrolon housing with NBR rubber armoring for protection and textiled ridges provides an ergonomic, secure grip
  • ClicLoc System for easy and fast access to binoculars with neck strap or harness
  • Backed by Steiner’s Heritage Warranty

Rating: Not Rated Yet

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Steiner Nighthunter LRF 8X30 Review

night-hunter-lrf-8x30This Steiner Nighthunter LRF 8X30 binocular is a rangefinding champ with N2 Injection System technology on a Makrolon housing body that’s fully waterproof to 16 feet!

It’s pumped up with all sorts of systems such as the ClicLoc System and the Sports-Auto Focus System that will have you doing very little work and enjoying all the fun stuff – shooting.

Hunters are still yet to discover the Nighthunter bino, and it might be a little bit yet before we see a ton of activity because it does have a hefty price tag.

Despite this, there is a market for rangefinding binoculars, so I predict that this Nighthunter will soon see its day.

As the only one of its kind in the Steiner hunting category, this 8X30 completes the best Steiner binocular review. I should also probably mention that I’m partial to rangefinding binoculars – they’re just so doggone cool!

So, to know more about what this laser rangefinding binocular does, here’s a full run down on the magnifying, distance-measuring gadget.

Nighthunter LRF 8X30 Binocular Q&A:

Q. What does LRF mean?

A. Laser Rangefinder. This is the internal feature that measures the distance from yourself to your target, and it provides the line of sight distance only. It can range from as close as 20 yards to an impressive, extended range of 1860 yards.

That’s further than most laser rangefinders in the market.

The Nighthunter LRF also has a scan mode that allows you to keep track of updated distances of moving targets.

There are two buttons on the top, right side of the binocular that control the rangefinding feature. Just tap with your index fingers and shoot.

Q. How far does the binocular emit the laser beam?

A. If you don’t really know anything about laser rangefinders, then you could easily make the mistake of thinking this LRF binocular, all others like it, and all laser rangefinders emit a laser beam.

I mean, it does have laser in its name right?

Well, sorry to disappoint – it doesn’t emit a laser beam, per se – well, not one that you can see…

The Nighthunter does emit a laser beam of sorts, but it’s at wavelengths that are invisible to human eyes.

Depending on the reflectivity of the target, atmospheric conditions, and the like, those emitted laser beams need to hit the target and then return or be reflected back to the internal laser rangefinder in the binocular.

That’s how you get your distance.

So, no sci-fi or tactical laser use here, just good ol’ fashioned rangefinding technology in one very intuitive binocular.

Q. Does this Steiner binocular have a ballistic reticle?

A. While this Nighthunter can range out to an impressive distance of 1860 yards, it doesn’t have a ballistic reticle to really take advantage of those distances.

But, if you’re out hunting and you’re glassing an area, the binos will be perfect to get your eyes on your targets. Then, just switch over to your BDC or really souped-up ballistic reticle or even ballistic turret rifle scope to get your sights on your trophy for a dead on shot.

While the reticle on this bino is a small, circular aiming ring, that should be plenty enough to do some glassing with. If you need more information on some fantastic ballistic reticle rifle scopes, check out our in-depth Rifle Scope Reviews.

Q. What are the advantages of this porro prism design?

A. Porro prisms have that traditional zig zag and offset design that many hunters are familiar with on low budget binoculars.

But, they tend to get a bad rep since the rise in popularity of roof prism binos is taking on a greedy life of its own.

But, porro prisms in their basic function are optically superior to roof prisms because of its unique prism assembly.

Less reflections means less light loss, and all prism surfaces are internally reflective, unlike roof prisms that require special coatings in order to function.

Another advantage of porro prisms is its 3D-like effect that you get because of its ability to provide a rich depth of field.

This means, you’ll be able to better judge distances of objects through the bino because you’re seeing it as if you’re that much closer to the actual view.

Q. What kind of focus system does it have?

A. This has an automatic focus system that means it will automatically adjust to your eyes after you’ve adjusted it for 20 yards. After this first and only focus, you won’t have to do it again.

The fast Sport-Auto Focus System has an independent focusing system per eye.

To get that first adjustment, you just need to focus each eye with the independent diopter on each eyepiece – this is why you’re not seeing a center focus wheel.

Once you’ve focused it, images will be razor sharp no matter the distance. From either 20 yards to infinity, you won’t have to focus for moving targets or those faraway objects again. We have a great article on how to adjust binoculars correctly that is well worth a read.

Q. How much does this LRF cost?

A. This Nighthunter is an expensive tool, selling online for around the $1800-$2000 mark. For a binocular with this magnitude of features, it’s a great price.

The Sports-Auto Focus, the 16 feet submersion for waterproofness, the excellent, high-quality glass, and the laser rangefinding feature puts this binocular into the high end for premium optics.

While other binocular brands could easily sell this same model in the $2000-ish price range, this one stays just below that benchmark. Every penny spent on it will be well worth it.

 Steiner NightHunter Laser Rangefinding Specs:

  • Magnification: 8X
  • Power Variability: Fixed
  • Objective Diameter: 30 mm
  • Close Focus Distance: 66 feet
  • Dimensions: 5.7 x 6.5 x 2.6 inches
  • Weight: 28 ounces
  • Field of View: 343 feet/1000 yards
  • Eye Relief/Exit Pupil: not listed/3.8 mm
  • Optics Coatings: Fully Multi-Coated
  • Glass: BAK-4
  • Prism System: Porro
  • Focus System: Sports-Auto Focus
  • Waterproof/Fog-proof: Yes/Yes
  • Eye cups: Wrap around
  • Tripod adaptable: No
  • Rangefinder: Yes

Noteworthy Features:

  • Sports-Auto Focus Technology with independent eyepiece diopter for acquiring speedy image focus from 20 yards to infinity
  • Fully multi-coated High Definition coatings to for detail-rich, bright, and color enhancement images
  • LRF – Laser rangefinding technology for extreme long distances to 1860 yards
  • Fully waterproof and can survive an outstanding 16 feet of submersion
  • Dry Nitrogen purged with N2 injection System to stay fog-free in all types of various weather
  • Porro prism design for optical superiority and rich depth of field
  • Makrolon housing with NBR rubber armoring for protection and textiled ridges provides an ergonomic, secure grip
  • ClicLoc System for easy and fast access to binoculars with neck strap or harness
  • Backed by Steiner’s Heritage Warranty

Rating: Not Rated Yet

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Which are the Best Steiner Binoculars For You?

A compact and light weight binocular is a device that every hunter could get used to, and for around $100 for the Steiner name and quality, it’s a steal.

The Champ is exactly that – a champ – especially when it comes to performing excellently as an entry level binocular for an entry level hunter.

But, spending only a couple hundred dollars more will get you the hunting-specific Predator 10X42 binocular that will glass for all types of game.

A long-time hunter or a youngin’ to the field will both get long-time and heavy use from this practical Steiner binocular.

If you’re looking to buy Steiner binoculars for less $1000 but it needs to have everything you could want on it – then the HX series is by far, the way to go.

All the innovative technology it has is elegantly built into the ergonomic and streamlined bino. Every type of game hunter will gladly welcome an HX on their next hunt.

However, sometimes it’s time to splurge and you deserve to get yourself a real bull-magnet that will really change the way you hunt.

If you’re ready to have your optic do a little more of the work so you can have just a little more fun, then the Nighthunter LRF is definitely going to be worth it.

While it’s pricey, the intuitive technology will be something that hunters of all skill levels will be attracted to.

Hunters new to the game will sweep this up for the extra optical guidance and seasoned pros will appreciate the hard work taken out of the equation for them.

Steiner Knows What Hunters Want

Steiner has the German glass, the quality control, and the scientific and engineering know-how to produce some of the finest binoculars in the world.

As a leader in a very small and elite circle of world-class optics, they know exactly what the hunter wants, how to provide it, and how to make it stand the tests of life.

As they put it, “We are Steiner: Optics for Life’s Defining Moments”.