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Steiner Dicovery
Reviews Views Date of last review
3 34267 Sat November 8, 2008
Recommended By Average Price Average Rating
67% of reviewers None indicated 7.5

Description: Its now 5 weeks since I went to the press launch of the new Steiner Discovery binoculars at Titchwell Manor in Norfolk. In all a very pleasant two days of birding with several magazine editors and the team from Steiner in Germany and Intro 2020 (the UK importers).
Now the cynical among you might think that having had a two day “jolly” at the expense of these two companies would guarantee a glowing review however good the product may or may not be!

Why would they invite a photographer, well firstly the lenses that are of most use to me in my kit are without doubt my “bins” because it is the careful observation of birds that allows me to get the best images when the big white lenses are let loose, but I’m more than happy with my current 8 X 42’s I probably will never consider buying new bins.

The introduction presentation was very informal and informative, it covered the history of the company and their development of optics suited to marine use and their ongoing progress into the birding arena, and then onto the two new models, the Discovery 8 X 44 and 10 X 44 binoculars.

Seeing the unassembled components gave a reassuring insight into the incredibly high engineering standard and build quality, the unbelievably lightweight magnesium alloy chassis being like the sort of high tech components you would find in the aerospace industry, I started to take these bins seriously.

We got to inspect the rubber cushioned soft-grips, twist out eye-cups, and the dual dioptre adjustment, gimmick or not they have dioptre adjustment on both barrels. Nano-protection on the lenses, what I hear you ask, yes I thought the same, is the unique waterproof coating on the optics that repels rain, a sort of virtual windscreen wiper, well I’ll look forward to testing that! One thing that I did think was that with there being so many great optics available now, breaking into the market does mean coming up with some serious kit in order to compete, and it seems that Steiner had done some detailed “homework” as to what might suit a birders needs, and incorporated that into the design of these Nitrogen filled binoculars.

Presentation over, I was straight outside to get a proper look at what the bins performed like in use, greeted by a Marsh Harrier heading over Titchwell reserve, with my own bino’s still in the car I could not make a direct comparison, but the initial impression with the 10 x 44’s was very good indeed, with one 360 degree turn of the focus wheel they covered the whole range from about 1.9 metres to infinity, and really cracked into focus. A wide field of view (110m) and startling depth of field, Steiner have aimed high and on first impressions hit the target, the 8 X 44 performed just as good too.

Newly arrived Swallows on the telephone wires above were the next subject to look at, and this was when I started to be properly impressed, there was no hint of cromatic aberation at all along the edges of the wires, but a crisp sharpness akin to that of a slightly over sharpened digital image, with good control of contrast the feather detail was all there in both the well lit and shadow areas of the bird, the colour was spot on too.

After lunch we headed to Holme, three pairs of bins around my neck, my own and the two Steiner’s, for some serious testing/birding, and an aching neck later, nice views of Ring Ouzel allowed a direct comparison of all three optics, and soon my own bins trailed in third place with the 10 X 44 taking the lead. It did take a little while to get the hang of adjusting the dioptre on each barrel, once done however it was very apparent that this is no gimmick, and I would put money on other manufacturers following suit. I also liked the distance scale on the focus wheel, this allowed me to adjust the binoculars to an approximate focus as I lifted them to my eyes, making finding the bird very fast and easy.

The balance of both Steiner’s also impressed with the soft grips and barrel shape allowing a comfy shake free experience, the well designed eye-cups also added to the clarity of view by cutting out light creeping in from the sides. What did impress though more than anything was that when adjusting the barrel spacing I could not make part of the view black out in the way that happens with many other binoculars I have used.

Fine views of Short eared and Barn Owls finished the day before retiring to the hotel for dinner, Titchwell was the location for the following days testing, another sunny fine day and loads of great birds to view, but before breakfast I was out for dawn at Thornham, again the Steiner’s had the edge in low light.

I have just returned from a photographic trip in Scotland and the Hebrides, over the past few weeks I have more or less used the 10 X 44 Steiner’s in preference to my bins, purely because I really do like them for most of the reasons outlined above, the 8 X 44s are as good but that extra reach just does it for me.

Scotland does seem to have a dislike for me, I have yet to have a trip there when the weather is on my side, this time I did have one sunny day out of 15 the rest of the trip was dreadful weather, which brings me back to the Nano-coatings. Nano-coating is designed to break the surface tension of water droplets thus causing rain to fall off the lenses according to the blurb, watching the Skua passage at Ballranald point could just have been the ultimate test, and wow they did as it says on the tin, and some, providing a very clear view despite the driving rain.

The extended loan period is nearly over and I would appreciate some good excuse not to give these binoculars back, however when they do go back, you can expect to see my binoculars up for sale because I want some of these.

Nigel Blake

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Keywords: binoculars steiner

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Registered User

Registered: September 2004
Location: East Kent
Posts: 118
Review Date: Sun June 3, 2007 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Price you paid?: None indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: dual Focussing, nano coating and build quality.
Cons: None apart from affording them!

I've had a couple of pairs for the same length of time as Nigel and I too would love an excuse not to give them back, especially the 10x42's!

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Jimmy Carter
Registered User

Registered: September 2008
Location: Wales
Posts: 4
Review Date: Tue November 4, 2008 Would you recommend the product? No | Price you paid?: None indicated | Rating: 5 

Pros: The Optics are undoubtbly very good
Cons: Build quality

I have serious reservations about the build quality and durability of this product. I personally do not think that they will stand up to prolonged use in the field. The rubber armour has a cheap feel, which I belive would very quickly become shabby. This is a great shame as the optics are very good, but for me the build quality lets them down and does not justify the large price tag (even the heavily discounted price that I paid).
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Registered User

Registered: August 2003
Location: London
Posts: 717
Review Date: Sat November 8, 2008 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Price you paid?: None indicated | Rating: 0 


The Steiners seem to do quite well compared with Nigel's own binoculars. However, he doesn't tell us what make they are, so the comparison is worthless.

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