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Old September 7, 2012, 10:15 PM   #1
David_S
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Steiner Nighthunter Xtreme 8x30 Binos - Anyone tried these?

Reluctantly I am considering replacing my trusty old Asahi Pentax 7x35 binoculars. They have stood up to a lot of abuse over the last 40 years being humped around the mountains of NZ in all weather and taken on numerous desert trips in the heat and dust of the Arabian Peninsular. Not surprisingly they are looking a bit tired so it is time to think about an upgrade.

My requirements are for light weight (not more than my Pentax's 580g/20oz as I have to hump them up hills along with the rest of my camping gear and they spend a lot of time round my neck) robust construction, preferably waterproof, good optics, reasonable poor-light gathering as I hunt a lot early morning and late evening and realistic price, say less than $US1,000.

The Steiner Nighthunter Xtreme 8x30 Binos seem to fit most of my requirements except perhaps low light conditions with theiir small objective and and small exit pupil diameter.

Anyone have any first hand experience of the Steiner? Any other suggestions?

David
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Old September 9, 2012, 05:33 PM   #2
David_S
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OK - Rephrase the question. Anyone use Steiner optics?

Ummm! Obviously nobody uses these Nighthunter Xtreme 8x30 Binos.

But someone must use Steiner scopes or binos. So how do you find them? Optical quality, robustness, reliability in the field ....

And any suggestions for other binos which might suit my requirements.

David
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Old September 10, 2012, 03:44 AM   #3
moose fat
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I have two pair of Stiener Military and Marine 8X30's and they're great. My first pair I got 17 years ago and they have stood up to moose hunting in the summer/fall(now), boating, hunting in the sub arctic winter and eight kids. I had to get another pair for the front of the boat. The glass is crystal clear and the old pair hasn't loosened up, extremely good value, however, don't spill bug dope on them or the rubber armor coat will start to melt.

When we moose hunt we'll go untill its dark. Last night, comming home, we spotted a monster cow and her calf(dark and darker). We were watching them untill it got dark. The sun had already set and we could pick out the colors of brown and black on her rump, watch her ears, no antlers, against the background brown grasses, and greens and browns of the willows behind them, easily. The closest we got was about 200yds/m as we drifted past in my boat.

Last edited by moose fat; September 10, 2012 at 04:13 AM.
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Old September 10, 2012, 05:42 PM   #4
David_S
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Moose fat - thanks for that report. Really helpful as your hunting conditions sound similar to ours - if a bit colder. The M&M 8x30s are half the price of the Nighthunters which is cause for reflection.

How do you find the Steiner "autofocus" system? Does it work well or do you find it necessary to readjust the eyepieces between medium range (200yds say) and distant (500+yds)? I have quite a difference between my old eyes so this is important to me. Also I hunt with my son and we only take one set of binos so the eyepiece settings need to be easily changed.

David
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Old September 10, 2012, 10:19 PM   #5
moose fat
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David,
The M&M are individual eye-piece focus from aprox. 40 m to infinity. The main reason why I got one for the front of the boat. I don't know about the auto focus, but they are high quality so I would think the auto focus feature would be the same. And if the claim about the special coatings for twilght viewing are true I would think they would be exceptional also. If you can, try them, would be my suggestion.

Regards,
AJ
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Old September 11, 2012, 11:47 AM   #6
jmr40
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I had a pair of 8X30 military/marine Steiners and sold them. I found several sub $100 binoculars to be better quality.

I'm not familiar with the Nighthunter series, but I wouldn't think an 8X binocular with only a 30mm objective would be very good at all in low light. My military/marine were poor low light performers. I'd want at least a 40mm objective at 8X. If you want something lightweight I'd be looking at something in a 6X30.
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Old September 11, 2012, 04:30 PM   #7
David_S
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Thanks for your comments Moose and Jmr40

Quote:
If you can, try them, would be my suggestion.
Moose - I agree but it is always hard to check them out properly in a shop - the only real test is in the field so I was hoping someone here might give me the benefit of their experience.

Quote:
I wouldn't think an 8X binocular with only a 30mm objective would be very good at all in low light
This is one of my concerns too, Jmr40. The 7x35 is a good combination but does not seem to be favoured by the manufacturers any more. Maybe the better quality glass and coatings available these days compensate for the smaller objective. I had a pair of 8x40 Pentax Wide Angle glasses which were great for glassing the hills but just too heavy to lug around or hang around your neck for any length of time.

As a matter of interest if money were no object (ha!ha!) what binos, if any, around the 20oz (550gm) mark would meet my specs?

David
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Old September 11, 2012, 06:48 PM   #8
moose fat
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Browse around in Cabela's, http://www.cabelas.com/home.jsp and get an idea of whats available.
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Old September 21, 2012, 04:52 AM   #9
phil mcwilliam
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I think the perfect hunting binocular is 10x42. I don't own Steiner, but have heard good things about them. I have a set of Swarovski 7 x 42 binos which have excellent clarity, however I noticed on a trophy red deer hunt that I found it difficult to count the number of tines(especially royals)at distance, where the mate I was with had 10x42 which you could.
Interestingly I just purchased a set of Redfield 10x42 to keep in the glove box of my buggy on the farm, as I wasn't happy having my Swarovskis bouncing around. For under $200, the Redfields are pretty good. Hard to justify the $2,000 difference in price between my two sets of binos.
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Old September 21, 2012, 03:43 PM   #10
Caulis
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Hi,

I own a 8x56 Nighthunter and a 8x30 Nighthunter. I'm pretty happy with both of them. The 8x56 is perfect for Nighthunting. The 8x30 I'm only using for hunting trips during daylight and when there is a lot of walking. I never tried the 8x30 at night.

I love the autofocus on both of them, no need to manually focus/refocus. That's just great, especially when it comes to observing moving game.

Compared to Zeiss or Swarovski Binos, that some Friends of mine own, I don't see any real differences...

I never had any problems with my Steiners and I'm treating them pretty rough.

Cheers,
Caulis
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Old September 21, 2012, 06:00 PM   #11
David_S
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That's good feedback Caulis and Phil, thanks.

Everything's a compromise. I think 7x42 or, better, 10x42 would be great especially in low light, but for me they are just too heavy. (Binos weight must be in the glass - a 42 objective is almost twice the area of a 30) Weight is ok if you are doing a day hunt with just a light pack, but most of my hunting involves packing in camping gear and food for a week and climbing high. Usually 1 or 2 days walking in, 2 days fly camping and then walking out.

I try to keep my pack weight down but the biggest contributors are the "toys" you can't do without - rifle, ammo, binos, rangefinder, knives, handheld radios, gps, locator beacons etc. My typical pack weight is around 19kg so the difference of 400g between even a 7x42 and the 8x30 represents a 2% increase. As my son says "ounces make pounds and pounds make pain!"

The smart thing is probably to have 2 pairs - a 7x42 or 10x42 for short trips and8x30's for the longer trips. (Or use a helicopter - $$ouch!!!)

David
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Old September 22, 2012, 04:26 AM   #12
phil mcwilliam
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David, whatever binos you choose make sure you get a harness system for them, rather than the neck strap they come with. A harness system does wonders for weight distribution & the binos are always at the ready.
I hear what your saying about weight, the 7x42 Swarovski that I hunt with are 955 grams. I hunt the Victorian high country for Sambar & have hunted Fiordland for reds, so I also no about hunting in mountainous areas.
I had a pair of Zeiss 8x32 (560 grams) which I used for many years prior to buying the Swarovski. The 42mm objective gives a better field of view & has better light gathering than 32mm.
Having owned & hunted with 7x42, 8x32 & 10x42 binos, I would still have to recommend the 10x42 as the better alround binocular. The Steiner 10x42 come in at 728 grams & with a good harness system you won't notice the weight difference from your old pentax.
Out of all the items you list of weight such as rifle, range finder, radio, gps, EPIRB ,& knife, I find I use my binoculars the most, so am willing to carry slightly more for this item.

Last edited by phil mcwilliam; September 22, 2012 at 07:39 AM.
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Old September 22, 2012, 11:59 AM   #13
603Country
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Like someone else mentioned, I think that 10x42 or 10x40 are just about perfect for hunting, and the weight won't be that much more (if at all) than a 7x35 or 8x30. I made that decision many years ago, when finally the 7x35's weren't enough and the 10x50's were too heavy. I wanted good glass, lightest weight reasonably possible, rubber armored, as small as possible, and the 10 power. I found a pair of Leica 10x40 that met all my wants, and I sucked up the nerve and paid the money. These days, from what I've seen and handled, the Swaro's would be my choice if I could make myself pay that much money and my wife never found out what I paid. Otherwise, I'd shop until I found something else that met those wants of many years ago. Surely somebody else would have what I needed.

There's a problem with buying good binocs, so I'll mention it. You'll be able, in fading light, to see things that you can't find in a scope that's lesser quality than your binocs. That causes frustration that leads to scope shopping.
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Old October 9, 2012, 02:07 AM   #14
David_S
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Well I went for the 8x30 Nighthunters

Thanks everyone for your comments which I found very helpful.

In the end weight and compactness won out and I went for the Steiner 8x30 Nighthunters. I am making a serious effort to reduce my pack weight as I am not a young man anymore so decided I would not go heavier than my old Pentax, and to put up with the reduced twilight performance compared to the bigger objective models.

In practice most of my hunting is in daylight as I am normally camped high and like to be back in my camp before dusk as finding my way around mountains at night is not my favourite pastime. In any case the chamois which I normally hunt bed down in the late afternoon, early evening. Deer, though, are another story.

First impressions of the Steiner are good. Compact, solid feel, comfortable to hold, Ok with glasses, and brighter crisper optics than the old Pentax. The "auto-focus" seems to work well. I find the eyepiece cover a bit of a fiddle. The objective covers are much better but I would have liked the lenses to be recessed a bit more for protection. All in all a definite step up from my trusty old Pentax.

David
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Old October 11, 2012, 11:52 PM   #15
bamaranger
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stieners

About 1995 I was issued a pair of 7x50 Mil/Marine Stieners. They ride everday in the patrol vehicle and have been in and out of packs, boats and ATV's, hung and left in the rain overnight on a limb (man, was I glad they were there the next day) and overall used heavier than most guys optics I'd bet. They've been used enough that the rubber armor has worn off on the top sides where my fingers fall.

They are every bit as clear and indexed as the day they were issued. Some comments:
-For my use, mostly from the veh, the 50mm models are OK, but if I was afoot, I'd get something lighter.
-My 7x50's work pretty good as a night glass. And their ability to cut fog and haze is good too.
-Again, for me, were I to select a pair again, I would get the 10x50's. For getting LPN's, facial features, hull numbers, etc, the additional X power is more useful. For sustained viewing, counting numbers of enemy infantry, armor, etc, the 7x is likely OK, but I wish now I'd spec'd more X power.
-higher priced, but a bargain in the long run. Cheaper glass will not last if used hard. My issues have outlasted multiple pairs of other bino's, bought by managers and admin's trying to save a dollar. You get what you pay for applies double to optics in my book.
-I'm looking hard at a pair of 8x30's for personal use. The price is still not too bad
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Old October 14, 2012, 01:36 AM   #16
David_S
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Nowthat's good feedback!

Bamaranger, That's just the sort of positive feedback a guy likes to hear after he's made the plunge and handed over the money!

Tks, David

PS If any of you guys out there have negative views on Steiner binos (and 8x30 nighthunters in particular) I don't want to hear them.
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Old October 15, 2012, 07:59 PM   #17
lefteye
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Sorry, too late.
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