While I was conducting my own evaluations, I noticed that the Steiner had a much better edge clarity as well as a wider field of view. While both scopes were set to 3.5X, the Steiner’s clarity went all the way to a definite edge but the edge was preceded by a very slim blue ring, whereas the Nightforce edge seemed fuzzy and non-distinct. When both scopes were adjusted to above 5X, the edge clarity was superb in both and distinct.
Comparing the Steiner directly to the Nightforce F1, I prefer many of the features incorporated into the Steiner. The parallax knob has yardage markings (actually in meters according to the literature) that give a very good indication of about where the turret should be for a parallax free view whereas the NF has hash marks without any distance indications.
(Nightforce parallax turret marked with hashes out to infinity)
Steiner has also provided an easy to adjust illumination feature with “off” positions in between each intensity level. Nightforce utilizes an illumination method that is difficult to adjust for intensity and simply has an “on” and “off” position. However, the turret on the NF is a bit more streamlined and does not have as large a diameter turret. There are obvious benefits to the Steiner approach when clip-on NVS systems are considered; immediate adjustment capability that will not “bloom” the operator’s eye is important. Also important is the ease of adjustment that does not require any tools or the exposure of sensitive electronics to adverse weather elements.
Steiner’s second turn indication is one of the best on any scope, as the first set of numbers get elevated out of view exposing the second set of numbers for the subsequent revolution. There are no turn indicator hash marks beneath the turret to try to remember as many other scope brands utilize. In the following pictures, both of the elevation turrets have one rotation dialed on. Note that the turn indication hash mark is barely visible on the Nightforce while there is no doubt that 15 mRAD is dialed on to the Steiner scope.
(Second rotation on the Steiner elevation turret)
(Second rotation on the Nightforce elevation turret)
I prefer the zero stop mechanism on the NF however to the Steiner’s. Nightforce uses a clutch mechanism that the operator can set for whatever distance or elect to not utilize at all. This means that a person may set their zero stop to be below their “zero” should they want to. Steiner has elected however to have their zero stop be 0.1 mRAD below the “0” marking on the turret, so establishing a 100 yard zero will not allow much adjustment below this setting. I do know from handling a Steiner 5-25 scope that the elevation turret travels to 0.4 mRAD below zero, so I may have an anomaly with my particular elevation turret.
I much prefer the Steiner windage turret to the NF though. I appreciate having stops built in so that the turret can’t be turned more than ˝ revolution. The Steiner windage turret is marked to 6 mRAD but mine actually moves through 7.5 mRAD in each direction, after which it will not turn any further. There is no worry about the turret being accidentally turned one full revolution, and even 6 mRAD is sufficient enough for all but extreme long range shooting.