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Old Wednesday 2nd May 2012, 23:10   #1
newfie ghost
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First impressions of the Steiner Wildlife Pro 8X30

Steiner Optic is about as synonymous with birding as PETA is with hunting. If the number of binocular reviews were indicative of actual sales, you’d think Swarovski would outsell bread and Steiner would be out of business. No doubt Steiner primarily caters to government contracts from law enforcement and military; their individual focus, bullet proof construction, and inability to drown makes them a sensible choice for these markets.

But what about us birders? Many folks are familiar with the top of the line Peregrine/Discovery series but not everyone can afford them. Next up are the Night Hunter series with the XP glass and bright images and the somewhat more affordable Merlin series.

But what if a guy (or gal) was looking for a quality porro that was tough, waterproof, long eye relief, close focus and optically intriguing? How about all these traits and an internal bridge focuser in a porro? Does it exist? Yes, bring forth the Steiner Wildlife Pro 8x30 at $399-409 USD. Below is a very early impression of this glass.

Presentation and packaging: First and foremost the box and packaging is interesting and pleasing to the eye. The print, color and type of cardboard seems much more expensive than I’m used to. An inlay picture of a couple of grizzly bears fishing at the top of the falls and a factory sealed sticker help initiate the buying experience. Inside is a nice owners manual that is actually worth reading as it discusses more than function but also information about the company and other pleasant words about nature. A 30 year warranty a nice soft case, and click strap all round out your hard earned dollars.

The housing: The first thing you notice about this glass is the quality of the build- these things are built like a tank, nice and solid. They are smaller than what I thought being rather short and stubby, very weird from the perspective of a roofie. They fit in my hands comfortably, the rubber is grippy, but it does smell a little. It is a different smell than the Leica, but not too bad. The winged eye cups feel good and they peel back well for using eye glasses. Real world eye relief is great for glasses.

Focus: this model has a center focus, but it also has IF for each barrel. Odd, yes I agree. According to the manual, you are supposed to put the center focus in the middle, then look at something 100 yards away and adjust each barrel until sharp. Then they should be in focus from 20 yards onward (i.e., sport focus). To get closer views, just tweak the center knob. I am still getting used to this but it seems to work. The depth of field is very large especially for an 8 power and the center focus seems fast- Zeiss fl or Nikon Premier fast.

Color, 3d effect and brightness: The transmission curve according to Allbinos is flat and above 90%. The result seems to be a very accurate color rendition for the price point. No it is not the holy Nikon or Leica color, but pleasing for sure. Today is overcast so take this with a grain of salt. Even so I did compare against the Swaro el and Premier- not as good for sure but nice none the less. I thought I saw some minor hazing or glare even in the dim light, but the jury is still out on this. The thing I did like was the nice 3d effect, remember I am a roofie, but this is the best 3d effect I have seen in my collection. A strong point for sure. For a 30mm and for a dull day I was happy with the brightness, no not as bright as a 32el but hey- price check.

The image: No this is not the EDG, but I’d say the sweet spot is about 60%- the center sharpness is very good for this price point. I can resolve pine needles and very small berries at distance. Distortion is a bit high in the form of pincushion. It is high enough to bend straight lines near the edge of the view. There is also some “reverse rolling ball”- you can see the image wobble as you pan in the opposite way of rolling ball. This might bother some. Too early to tell, but I think there is some CA, but not really bad.

Summary: This is only my first impression but I like: the presentation, perceived quality, perceived toughness, look and feel in the hands, the 3d effect, good color and nice clarity. The cons seem to be: uncertain focus, too much pincushion while panning and potential glaring issue. I will update this review when I’ve had a chance to test it under different conditions (e.g., glare) and when I get used to this focus. I’d opt for one of the Steiner XP porros (e.g., marine), but IF is not for me. No it’s not the SE (hey it costs more and I can’t get one) and it is not the Habcht (cost even more and low eye relief), but I never had a Steiner and wanted one (damn marketing I guess ). Below is a Swarovski 8X32 EL and an 8X20 Nikon lxl Premier for size comparison
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Last edited by newfie ghost : Thursday 3rd May 2012 at 10:55.
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Old Thursday 3rd May 2012, 10:35   #2
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Note the allbinos score for the Steiner is 127.9 or 75.2%. The EL 8x32 received 135.3 or 79.6%. So from the allbinos review one might conclude the Steiner is not far off- only 4% better right? Can we trust these scores and percents enough to compare one glass to another? What do you think?
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Old Thursday 3rd May 2012, 21:39   #3
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109 views no comments........guess Steiner is not for birding.

In any event, the trepidation I had with the glare and focus issue is moot. Once they are adjusted to the eyes, they focus fine. Massive depth of field, bright and very sharp, at least as good as a $600+ roof if not better. The distortion is there but these are worth the money and I will keep them. Love the 3d view as I never seen anything like this in any of my roofs or my cheap porros. Pays to try a new glass in good conditions.

Conclusion, Steiner is worthy of a birding glass as it is on the battlefield. I wouldn't hesitate to buy another one.
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Old Friday 4th May 2012, 02:56   #4
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Newfie,

I don't think there are many Steiner users on this forum.

Bob
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Old Friday 4th May 2012, 03:16   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ceasar View Post
Newfie,

I don't think there are many Steiner users on this forum.

Bob
I used to have a Merlin 8x32 when they first came out i always thought it was overpriced! Though i got my money back i bought a Pentax SP that at that time i thought was a much better glass. Then a friend showed me his original Peregrine not the XP! I thought it was great very sharp contrasty and felt really good in the hand. I don't remember what turned me off about them though. I think it had something to do about focus and dof. I did have a fleeting look at the XP and though it had an alpha type view just, it's package didn't do it for me. Though they advertise (quote, birding series and hunting) i don't think it's where they accel. To much gimicke in there coatings it might be allright for military use but, for birding? I want to see real and true colors. This goes for hunting, hiking or whatever nature provides!
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Old Friday 4th May 2012, 06:05   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by newfie ghost View Post
... Can we trust these scores and percents enough to compare one glass to another? What do you think?
No.
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Old Friday 4th May 2012, 08:36   #7
ceasar
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Steiner doesn't seem to have much interest in Birding binoculars either. This particular binocular discussed here is not listed with Eagle Optics.

There are quite a few "sea going" porro's listed with IF and very long close focusing ability.

There are two different 7 x 30 porros listed with them which if they had center focus and a reasonable close focus would probably make them attractive to birders. They have long eye relief and weigh about 18 ounces and are waterproof. The Commander XP is expensive-in the price range of the Nikon SE-and has what appears to be modern optical coatings. The Navigator is less costly.

Bob
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Old Friday 4th May 2012, 08:55   #8
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I tried out the the Steiner Navigator at the BirdFair last summer. IF wouldn't suite everyone, but the view was very good once set up. I suspect there was a cut in the blue transmission in that model as there was noticeably less glare off the water than other pairs I tried. They didn't have the other porros with them for demo.

David
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Old Friday 4th May 2012, 12:14   #9
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I've read the lower end models like the safari are not that great. I have seen the Merlin series and they are probably over priced as noted. There is a new Merlin pro that is better and has larger field of view but I havent seen one.

The peregine with its discounted prices is a steal and a great view.

This wildlife is the glass that folks on here were asking about in 2010 and 2011 when they were wondering about how a porro could function with both IF and center focus as well as internal bridge.

http://www.birdforum.net/showthread.php?t=163467

http://www.birdforum.net/showthread.php?t=167387

http://www.birdforum.net/showthread....r+wildlife+pro

http://www.birdforum.net/showthread....r+wildlife+pro
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Old Friday 4th May 2012, 12:55   #10
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I had a Steiner Safari a few years ago but, although it seemed quite robust and well made, it never endeared itself to me. The view was competent but lacked any 'wow' factor. I've noticed that members of Birdforum seldom mention or enthuse about Steiner...
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Old Friday 4th May 2012, 13:18   #11
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I don't object to IF and actually own some bins with that focusing scheme. But I must admit I have been underwhelmed by every Steiner I've ever raised to my eyes. That includes some military models. They may be built tough but my belief is that their glass and coatings are pretty much pedestrian.
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Bins: Swaro 7x42 B SLC; ZenRay 7x36 ED2; Pentax 8x32DCF-WP/9x21UCF; Minox BD6.5x32 IF; Leupold GR 9x35IF/8x30Yosemite; Dakota 7x28; Binolux 7x35s 11 & 10.5; ZOMZ 6x30 12.5
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Old Saturday 5th May 2012, 13:31   #12
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Saw my first Baltimore Oriole and Scarlet Tanager of the year. The Steiners worked well and I never felt like I was missing something without the alpha. For the price point, great view- sharp, contrasty, very accurate color and bright for the aperture.

I also agree we should review more affordable glass like this one.
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Old Saturday 5th May 2012, 13:53   #13
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Newfie, glad you like them! I had posted earlier on my little experience with steiner glass i think it reflects on what others thought to? All that matters is if you enjoy the view! : ) Bryce...
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Old Saturday 5th May 2012, 13:56   #14
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it is curious that Eagle Optics doesn't carry this particular model. An 8 x 30 porro suitable for birding.
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Old Saturday 5th May 2012, 14:56   #15
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Bob I'm pretty sure Steiner wouldn't let EO just carry the 8x30 porro.... they'd be stuck with the whole line :(
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Old Saturday 5th May 2012, 15:22   #16
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Bob I'm pretty sure Steiner wouldn't let EO just carry the 8x30 porro.... they'd be stuck with the whole line :(
That was kinda my thinking as well!
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Old Saturday 5th May 2012, 16:21   #17
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I've been wondering about the Steiner 8x30 wildlife pro binoculars and have been waiting patiently for a review.

I own a Steiner 8x30 Predator and have been very pleased with its performance. I bought them to take to Iraq as part of my four years in the Marines. They are very rugged and have served me well since buying them 10 years ago. I like the sharpness, 3D affect, DOF, and I.F.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/1719885...in/photostream

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Old Saturday 5th May 2012, 16:34   #18
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I've been wondering about the Steiner 8x30 wildlife pro binoculars and have been waiting patiently for a review.

I own a Steiner 8x30 Predator and have been very pleased with its performance. I bought them to take to Iraq as part of my four years in the Marines. They are very rugged and have served me well since buying them 10 years ago. I like the sharpness, 3D affect, DOF, and I.F.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/1719885...in/photostream
berryns,

Looks like the Predator has four years of sand/dirt on them too! :-) They must be very robust to keep on working after four years under harsh conditions.

Just the opposite look of your B&L Zephyr, which looks like it never saw the light of day.

Also cool to see what the "Old School" Monarch looked like, which has an external focuser.

Thanks for sharing those photos, and thanks for serving your country.

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Old Saturday 5th May 2012, 18:40   #19
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brocknroller,

Thanks for the kind words. Haha... the 'dirty sandy' look is spray paint that I applied back in 2003. Amazingly, the insides are clean and the lens coatings have stood up to countless shirt sleeve and tail cleanings in a sandy environment.

The B&L are practically new. They were sitting in a Grandmother's closet for many years.

The Monarchs aren't phase coated but optically they are quite good. Compared to a pair of 8x36 Monarchs, which I owned for a few months, their DOF, stray light control, and construction are, in my opinion, better. Although, the image isn't as sharp as the 8x36's.
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Old Saturday 5th May 2012, 19:08   #20
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I've been wondering about the Steiner 8x30 wildlife pro binoculars and have been waiting patiently for a review.

I own a Steiner 8x30 Predator and have been very pleased with its performance. I bought them to take to Iraq as part of my four years in the Marines. They are very rugged and have served me well since buying them 10 years ago. I like the sharpness, 3D affect, DOF, and I.F.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/1719885...in/photostream
Thanks for your service! Glad you like the Steiner!

Eagle optics carries the Steiner brand, but not this model. Don't know why. Optics planet carries them as do Cabelas (sold out on line now) but I got mine from backcountry.com. They had a 15% off sale that I just caught in time.

Last edited by newfie ghost : Sunday 6th May 2012 at 17:43.
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Old Sunday 6th May 2012, 01:17   #21
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Bob I'm pretty sure Steiner wouldn't let EO just carry the 8x30 porro.... they'd be stuck with the whole line :(
Bob A,

EO carries a large selection of Steiners; roofs and porros both but no 8x porros. They have about six 8x roofs.

Bob

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Old Monday 7th May 2012, 21:59   #22
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One last thought, the guy who started Steiner optik worked at Zeiss and left to start his own company.

Update: I tired this glass in better and brighter conditions and when I had the chance to fine tune the diopter (this is tricky given there are two) these things have very impressive center sharpness. I won't dare say how sharp because you probably wouldn't believe me. Let's just say this glass is bird worthy.
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