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Binoculars review

2012-04-23 12:47:05

Steiner Ranger Pro 8x42

Even several years ago the Ranger series, produced by the German Steiner company, consisted of five porro prism binoculars which were a cheaper alternative to the top-of-the-range Night Hunter instruments. Rangers’ quality was uneven. For example the 8x56 model we praised a lot by us but the 10x50 lost for a change in the big 10x50 binoculars test, conducted by our editorial office staff.

At the beginning of 2009 Steiner decided to substitute the Ranger series by new Ranger Pro binoculars. Not only the number of models was changed but also some of their basic parameters and the prism system as well. Currently the Ranger Pro series includes four devices with the following parameters: 8x32, 8x42, 10x42 and 8x56. All of these are roof prism Schmidt-Pechan instruments. They also feature very solid and original casings which are waterproof up to a depth of 3 meters, nitrogen-filled (with the possibility of refilling) and they can work in the temperature range from –20 to +80 degrees C.

All air-to-glass surfaces are multicoated and prisms – additionally phase corrected. The producer doesn’t specify what reflection coatings are covering the Schmidt-Pechan prisms, though. The buyer gets front caps, attached to the casing on special straps, a cloth hood for eyepieces, straps and a hard case. The binoculars comes with a 10-year guarantee period.

Steiner Ranger Pro 8x42Steiner Ranger Pro 8x42Steiner Ranger Pro 8x42Steiner Ranger Pro 8x42
Manufacturer:
Steiner
web site
Distribution / Sales:
Kaliber sp. z .o.o.
web site
ul. M.Kolbego 16
02-781 Warszawa
 
Basic parameters:
Magnification Lens diameter Angular field of view Prisms Eye relief Weight Price
8x 42mm 122/1000(7o) BaK-4/roof ? mm 790g 1850PLN
More information about this product

Results of the review

Real front lens diameter Left:   42.09+/- 0.05mm
Right:  42.05+/- 0.05mm
8/8.0
Real magnification 8.18+/- 0.05x 3/3.0
Transmission 81.9+/- 1.5% 10/15.0
Chromatic aberration Medium in the centre, a bit higher than medium on the edge. 4/10.0
Astigmatism Very low. 8/10.0
Distortion The distance of the first curved line from the field centre compared to the field of vision radius: 40% ± 5% 4/10.0
Coma Appears in the distance of 70% of the field of view radius and is between medium and high on the very edge. 6.2/10.0
Blurring at the edge of the FOV The blur occurs in the distance of 82% ± 4% from the field of view centre. 6/10.0
Darkening at the edge the FOV Very low. 4.5/5.0
Whiteness of the image Quite flat graph. A smaller difference between red and blue light transmission than in the case of the 10x42 model. 4.3/5.0
Collimation Perfect. 5/5.0
Internal reflections
Left: Right:
Steiner Ranger Pro 8x42 - Internal reflections - Left Steiner Ranger Pro 8x42 - Internal reflections - Right
Light area near both pupils.
2.9/5.0
Housing Very original and characteristic but solid and handy too. Comfortable to hold and to look through. Rubber-covered eyecups with four-stop regulation, additionally equipped with folded shields, protecting against sidelight. The rubber next to objectives sticks out quite significantly. 7.3/8.0
Focusing Average size central wheel, comfortable, ribbed, with a full turn of 560 degrees. Individual focusing on the left eyepiece performed by a comfortable ring which moves the outer element. 4.5/5.0
Tripod Moderately difficult access. 2.5/3.0
Interpupilary distance from 55.7 to 74.3mm 5/6.0
Closest focusing distance 1.65 metres 2/2.0
Eyepieces FOV Apparent field of view of 56.9 degrees. 6/10.0
Field of view Measured by us amounted to 6.95 ± 0.04 degrees and it was a bit lowr than that stated in specifications. A typical field for this class of equipment. 5/8.0
Quality of the interior of the barrels Black and matt. Almost perfectly clean. 4.8/5.0
Vignetting
Left: Right:
Steiner Ranger Pro 8x42 - Vignetting - Left Steiner Ranger Pro 8x42 - Vignetting - Right
OL: 1.25%, OR: 3.53%
4/8.0
Prisms quality High quality BaK-4. 8/8.0
Antireflection coatings Green-purple on objectives, greenish on eyepieces and green-yellow on prisms. Medium intensity. 4.5/5.0
Warranty [years] 10 4.5/6.0
Final result 124/170
72.9%
Econo result 0pkt.
 

Summary


Pros:
  • very solid, stylishly interesting casing,
  • negligible astigmatism,
  • slight lightness fall-off on the edge of the field of view,
  • good whiteness rendering,
  • excellent blackening and cleanliness inside the inner tubes,
  • good quality of prisms.

Cons:
  • noticeably truncated exit pupils,
  • significant chromatic aberration on the edge of the field of view.


A solid piece of equipment – such expression comes to your mind after glancing at the chart with test results and the binoculars themselves. Not outstanding, not sensational, simply solid. In most categories the binoculars get medium or good scores; their build quality is impeccable and it comes with a ten-year guarantee from a renowned producer. The device has two slip-ups concerning truncated exit pupils and too high chromatic aberration. You can also have some reservations about the transmission which graph is presented below. We know Steiner can produce brilliant antireflection coatings so it’s a pity they didn’t use a bit better ones in the Ranger Pro.


I can understand the Steiner’s tactics – they support decent mechanics more than great optics. It is obvious for 400-500 Euro you can buy a better pair of binoculars than the Ranger Pro. However, for the same sum of money I really doubt you can find a piece of equipment more solidly made.


Steiner Ranger Pro 8×42 and Kowa BD 8×42

The fact that Steiner offers two very similar series of binoculars is less understandable, though (I speak here about the Rangers Pro and the SkyHawk Pro instruments); additionally they have almost the same price and they differ only in the target group. A good pair of 8x42 binoculars is simply a good 8x42 instrument, no matter whether it is used by a bird watcher, a hunter or a tourist; such an artificial division is a bit strange. Making those series more distinguishable from each other when it comes to the price and their performance would be a far better approach. For instance one of them could be kept as it is and the second one could consist of optically better models but with a price tag on average by 200-300 Euro higher. Customers would enjoy a better choice and Steiner – a wider line-up. In the current form the differences between the Rangers and the SkyHawks are, in fact, negligible.