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Steiner Predator xtreme binoculars

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Steiner Predator xtreme binoculars

Old 01-20-2014, 01:35 PM
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Default Steiner Predator xtreme binoculars

Wanted to seek some opinions. I've used Steiners in the past and have loved their clarity, ruggedness, and reliability - but am unfamiliar with their "predator" lens coatings which are supposed to make game "pop" slightly from the background (evidnetly a sort of a green filtering that makes brown items a little more noticeable).

Anyone have experience with the predator xtreme or predator pro binos from Steiner?
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Old 01-20-2014, 01:37 PM
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Love the concept, if it works ?!?!
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Old 01-20-2014, 01:44 PM
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That, my friend, is the question!
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Old 01-20-2014, 02:18 PM
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German engineered binoculars built in China by a company owned by Americans that is owned by Italians. (Steiner > Burris > Beretta)

I've never used them, but the idea of using optical coatings to contrast specific objects to make game stand out seems a little hokey. For a lens coating to do that to a point that it makes an appreciable difference, it has to severely affect light transmission (you're amplifying certain wavelengths by downplaying others). Can't see that contrast if you can't see what you're looking at in the first place.

The only review I can find that says the coatings "work" is by a guy who claims they're more fogproof because they have argon and nitrogen purging (it doesn't work that way). So I've written that one off.

Slight difference in contrast? I'm sure. Worth buying on that feature alone? Eh. For $350, you can get a better performing binocular with ED or HD glass without a marketing gimmick.

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Old 01-20-2014, 02:50 PM
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Originally Posted by OpticsCamp View Post
German engineered binoculars built in China by a company owned by Americans that is owned by Italians. (Steiner > Burris > Beretta)

I've never used them, but the idea of using optical coatings to contrast specific objects to make game stand out seems a little hokey. For a lens coating to do that to a point that it makes an appreciable difference, it has to severely affect light transmission (you're amplifying certain wavelengths by downplaying others). Can't see that contrast if you can't see what you're looking at in the first place.

The only review I can find that says the coatings "work" is by a guy who claims they're more fogproof because they have argon and nitrogen purging (it doesn't work that way). So I've written that one off.

Slight difference in contrast? I'm sure. Worth buying on that feature alone? Eh. For $350, you can get a better performing binocular with ED or HD glass without a marketing gimmick.
There was a time where I went on a buying spree with Stiener Binos. The tecnology at the time was really cutting edge and the best at the time for the money. They were rugged, dependable and I must say the coolest looked binos I have ever seen.

I have been getting rid of all mine in favor of the much better ED and HD glass that is available out there at Budget prices.
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Old 01-20-2014, 03:35 PM
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Thanks for the input - I kind of thought that it might fall into the "too good to be true" category, but I was also hoping to hear from someone who has actually used them in the field.

I have also been considering the usual suspects (Nikon Monarch, Leupold, etc). My budget for a good set of glasses is up to $500 (less is preferable, but it is an investment worth making at my age - most I have been looking at are in the $300-$400 range). Also considering Celestron Granite and Zen-Ray Zen ED3 (a bit more pricey but still within budget) - any thoughts on them?

Along with the standard hunting concerns (not too heavy, waterproof, fog proof, armored) my main consideration is clarity and light transmission - particularly early morning twilight. Ranges are usually 300 yards or less in wooded / rolling terrain.
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Old 01-20-2014, 04:22 PM
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Originally Posted by Vulture6 View Post
Thanks for the input - I kind of thought that it might fall into the "too good to be true" category, but I was also hoping to hear from someone who has actually used them in the field.

I have also been considering the usual suspects (Nikon Monarch, Leupold, etc). My budget for a good set of glasses is up to $500 (less is preferable, but it is an investment worth making at my age - most I have been looking at are in the $300-$400 range). Also considering Celestron Granite and Zen-Ray Zen ED3 (a bit more pricey but still within budget) - any thoughts on them?

Along with the standard hunting concerns (not too heavy, waterproof, fog proof, armored) my main consideration is clarity and light transmission - particularly early morning twilight. Ranges are usually 300 yards or less in wooded / rolling terrain.
Look at any manufacturer's ad copy about their lens coatings and you'll see a lot of claims that are usually unverifiable. Marketing departments love overselling proprietary lens coatings because it's nearly impossible to verify, unless you're one of the seven people or so who owns a spectrometer. In that case, you might get an accurate measurement of the .8% increased light transmission between coatings used in otherwise equal optical systems.

I will give Celestron credit in that they actually have graphs comparing their Starbright and XLT coatings. But that's much more important when you're talking about astrophotography, because cameras work much differently than our eyes.

Anyway...

I've realized more and more over time that a lot of the price built into the big names goes towards marketing. I was just at SHOT Show last week, and Nikon somehow built an entire two-story log cabin in their booth space. Better optics through marketing, I suppose.

CalHunter had a similar question a few months back about going for a binocular with increased objective size for low-light conditions. My recommendation was to go with an ED or HD 42mm binocular with a good field of view, because those factors are far more important in low light than the coatings or gigantic FOV-limiting objective sizes. I sent him a pair of Bresser Everest 8x42 EDs to give them a field test, and he decided to keep them.

I think you're on the right track. I can vouch personally for both the Granites and the ZEN ED3. Again, I'll recommend a 42mm binocular just because the extra light gathering you're going to get from a 50mm+ objective size is going to limit FOV so much that you're actually losing in the long run.

On paper, the Zen-Ray ZEN ED3 8x43 and the Celestron Granite 8x42 are nearly identical. The 1mm difference in objective size isn't going to get you any noticeable increase in performance as far as low light conditions, so that's a wash. Close focus is 6 feet for the ED3, 6.5 for the Granites. FOV is exactly the same and size and weight are comparable. You get a bino harness with the Granites, if that's your thing. The Granite also has better lens covers (clip-in style attachment).

I personally prefer the ED3, and here's why:

Celestron just dropped their pricing on the Granite 8x42 from $439.95 to $349.95, but you're still getting $450 worth of binocular. The ED3 is $415, and you're getting more than that in performance. The ED3 has been the bellwether for sub-$500 ED binoculars since its release. Don't get me wrong, the Granites are excellent, especially at the new price, I just think you're getting more with the ED3.

I also find the ED3 more comfortable, for what it's worth. I think it's the eye cup design.
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