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Hands-on Gear Review
Steiner Predator 8x42 Review
Cons: Don't like the funky eyepiece that extend to the side
Steiner says the Predator Pro 8x42 is made for hunters who demand all-around capability in their optics - mobility without weight, ease of use, and a bright picture in any light. It has a Color Adjusted Transmission coating on the lenses which is designed to make seeing wildlife easier. We found the image this pair produces to be clear, but don't notice much difference in the color from this pair versus any other pair without a CAT coating on the lenses.
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Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results
Marketed toward hunters, Steiner Predator earns mid-range scores for clarity and brightness. It supposedly has a coating on the lenses to make wildlife easier to see, but we couldn't see the difference.
The clarity of the optics for the Steiner Predator Pro 8x42 is good, which could be due in part to the CAT coating. In our clarity test, on the ISO 12233 chart zone 9 was clear in the center but we could see defocusing around the very far edges. No chromatic aberrations or purple fringing was noticeable in backgrounds along with no noticeable distortion in any of the horizontal or vertical lines.
The Steiner Predator Pro 8x42 binoculars have what the company calls a CAT coating, or Color Adjusted Transmission coating, which is supposed to make animals easy to see by filtering out blue and green light. As for as the brightness of the scene, the CAT coating helps provide decent performance that scores in the middle of our test group. The Steiner Predator is not as bright as the Nikon Monarch 5 8x56, Swarovski EL 8.5x42, or Vortex Viper HD 8x42, but did do a good job overall. While out birding we didn't notice that wildlife stood out more with the Steiner Predator versus the Nikon, Swarovski, Vanguard, or Vortox Viper binoculars.
Ease of Adjustment
The hinge for adjusting the interpupillary distance is smooth and operates easily. The focus adjustment knob moves easily and quickly, allowing for quick close focusing. The diopter on the left eye piece was stiff and hard to adjust. The diopter also had no way to lock so it could be accidentally moved.
Field of View and Close Focus Range
The Steiner Predator Pro 8x42 has a good field of view with 381 feet visible at 1000 yards. Only the Zeiss Terra ED 8x32 and Swarovski performing better. The close focus range of the Steiner Predator is 6ft, which is good but the Zeiss, Swarovski, and Vortex Viper have better close range.
The Steiner Predator Pro 8x42 has a good thick rubber coating with a spot to rest your thumb, and different nubs and ridges for the fingers. This makes the Steiner Predator easy and comfortable to hold. The eyepieces extend out on the sides to help keep light out of the eyepiece, which can affect the brightness of the scene. In theory this sounds like a good idea, but most testers found it annoying and uncomfortable. It also makes the eyecups more difficult to adjust and gave issues to those with glasses.
The Steiner Predator Pro 8x42 has a good, quality feel and we saw no noticeable alignment issues. Steiner states that the Predator Pro 8x42 can survive an 11g drop. The caps all fit nicely and the quick lock straps work smoothly. Steiner is a german company, but we found no documentation on where this pair is made.
The Steiner Predator Pro 8x42 is best used for birding and/or hunting. It is portable and ideal for this type o viewing. It would also make a good pair of general purpose binoculars to keep around the house or car.
The Steiner Predator Pro 8x42 is a decent value at around $400 dollars. At this price point there are always compromises that need to be made, but Steiner does do a good job of producing a fine pair of binoculars for not too much money. The Vortex Diamondback 8x28 performed similarly to the Steiner Predator, ranking only 4 points behind, but comes in at a better price point (almost half the cost) and includes an excellent VIP warranty so we give the Vortex the Best Buy award over the Steiner model.
The Steiner Predator Pro 8x42 is a good pair of binoculars at a good price point, if you can deal with the funky eye piece. As with most of the binoculars tested, we are amazed at the quality you can get at the different price points, and the Steiner Predator Pro 8x42 is no exception.
Other Versions and Accessories
The Predator comes in four different ranges starting at 8x22 and going all the way to 10x42.
Steiner HX 8x42
— Michael Payne
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