Steiner 10X50 LRF Binocular and 20X80 Binocular Review
I have a couple nitpicks for the Steiner other than the actual size and heft of the unit. While adjusting the individual eye pieces for clarity, the eye cups turn in and out. If a person has significantly different diopter settings for each eye, the actual eye cups can have a big difference in height which leads to a strange feeling when holding the binocular up to the eyes and also providing an irregular view through the binocular. I didnít find this to be a problem as my left eye was set on ď0Ē and the right was only one tick mark to the negative side. However, the possibility exists for an uncomfortable view. The last nitpick is with operation of the laser. After getting a reading, the distance is displayed for a couple seconds and pressing the laser button during this time did not always reactivate the laser. Obtaining multiple readings in a short time frame wasnít possible using this approach, the unit seemed like it needed to reset in order to reactivate the laser. The laser does have a scan function to help in obtaining readings on multiple targets by simply holding the button until the scan function is enables. The scan turns off by itself after about 20 seconds.
The only problem I encountered with the Steiner Military 10X50 LRF was while attending a wind reading clinic in Eastern MT. The binocular was left out of my pack in direct sunlight and the temperature was in the eighty degree range. After being out of my pack in the sunlight for about 45 minutes, the laser was no longer operational. I was only able to get a reading of 97 yards at the furthest. I speculated that the binoculars were hot, so I placed them inside my pack for about 10 minutes. After removing the binoculars from my pack, I was able to range targets out to about 700 yards for a couple minutes after which the binoculars got hot again. Since then, the unit has continued to be very reliable but Iíve also kept them in my pack on warm days. After contacting Steiner about this problem, I was informed to send them in and a new unit would be sent to me. I was also told that this is the first time this problem has been identified and the engineers at Steiner would like to take a look at the binocular to try to identify the problem and find a solution. This is great customer service and shows that Steiner is working on making the best products possible.
Retail price on the Steiner LRF binocular is around $2400. If you are considering a high end binocular LRF combination, the Steiner Military 10X50 LRF will suit you well and not leave you wanting for better optics. Once you get used to how the button needs to be pressed, the laser works extremely well and provides reliable readings in difficult atmospheric conditions.
The Steiner 20X80 binocular is nothing short of huge. This extremely large binocular came to me in a nice, well padded carrying case. The case has a carry strap that is comfortable but I doubt many people will be carrying this binocular for very long distances. Again, this case is an additional item for purchase, one that I would recommend as it will provide very good protection. This binocular is meant for extended range and duration viewing and as such comes with a mount for attaching to a tripod. The mount attaches to a rod on the binocular that spans the length of the binocular.
I utilized the tripod mount for the binocular testing and found the optics on this binocular to be very nice. Again, this binocular uses individual eyepiece adjustments to focus the binocular. After each eyepiece is focused, no further focusing is required for a change in viewing distance.
The 20X magnification combined with 80mm objective lenses provided a very bright and clear view. Again, no chromatic aberration or color fringing was detected and color fidelity was excellent. I spent considerable time viewing objects at close to 4.5 miles away and although the mirage was heavy, this binocular gave incredible resolving ability. In the time I spent with it, I didnít notice any eye fatigue but was rather enjoying looking at things as far away as I could find. For the intended purpose, this binocular is amazing. Viewing long distance objects is much more comfortable through a binocular than a spotting scope where I find I have to close or squint my non-dominant eye. Although many spotting scopes have magnification higher than 20X, this binocular makes up for magnification in viewing comfort. I think I will be purchasing one of these for my optics collection! I donít know a better way of stating how impressed I am with this binocular.
While using these binocular at the same wind reading clinic mentioned above, I noticed that I was able to see the trace of my shooting partnerís bullets for nearly the entire flight path. Using a spotting scope in the past, I was only able to see the trace for a short period of time, usually just prior to the target. This binocular really aided my view of the path and allowed me to provide accurate corrections to him. Again, this binocular has amazing optics and the use of two eyes instead of just one was highly beneficial.
If you are looking at high end optics, I can wholeheartedly recommend either of these binoculars. The optics are crystal clear, the LRF works very well, and I know that Steinerís excellent customer support will back up their product should you ever need assistance.
The Steiner 20X80 binocular weighs 68 ounces and measures 8.750 inches wide, 11.75 inches long, and 3.875 inches tall when laid flat. As I said, this is a very large binocular intended for extended range and viewing duration. Retail price on this binocular is around $1600.
Nicholas Gebhardt has been an active hunter primarily pursuing mule deer, antelope, coyotes and prairie dogs since he was old enough to legally hunt. Nicholas is a precision rifle competitor and uses the knowledge he gains from competition shooting to aid in his ethical taking of game in the field under most any condition. He enjoys custom rifles and is usually in some form or another of either planning or building the next one. Nicholas earned his B.S. in Wildlife Biology from the University of Montana and is a Captain in the Montana National Guard.
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