Steiner is a name that has made history in the binocular market and surely does not need an introduction. Although this fact has recently changed with the introduction of a complete line of aiming scopes for the professional market, the flagship of this German company has always been binoculars, mostly based on the successful optical arrangement of Porro prisms.
Light, robust and optically excellent, but nonetheless cumbersome and quite “ugly” for todayʼs prevailing aesthetic standards. Today we will test a Steiner product, the 8x42 Ranger Pro, which is based on a roof prism optical scheme, specifically with the configuration known as Schmidt-Pechan (from the names of the two respective types of prisms used). Therefore, the binoculars have a configuration that is very popular now: two clean, uncluttered and straight parallel cylindrical bodies without “corners” of off-axis optical parts (eye pieces or lenses).
Fairly heavy, the optical instrument conveys a feeling of solidity and toughness that actually corresponds to the real resilience of the instrument: in a demonstration, an identical model was literally thrown multiplr times against a brick wall and a concrete floor without sustaining damage. The structural frame is made of Makrolon, a particularly resistant tecnopolymer originally designed for aeronautical use and reinforced with fiberglass; the entire instrument is then covered with NBR material rubber, with a non-slip surface grip that gives us an impression of “softness” to the touch and safety in handling.
The model we tested was designed for hunting in poor lighting conditions: with a wide viewing angle, excellent optical quality and exemplary eye relief, the Ranger Pro is also distinguished by the excellent price/performance ratio and it compares surprisingly well on the technical and performance side versus the competition… considering the competition we’re talking about is all placed in the immediately superior price range.
The eyepieces are equipped with telescopic extendable silicone lens hoods, defined “Twist-up”. With a half turn rotation, they extend and position in a way to allow perfect alignment and distance of the eye to have perfect field of view without glasses; they are also equipped with folding side flaps, to eliminate any stray light interference. Interesting ClicLoc connectors for the strap are located on the side. These allow for an extremely simple and fast hooking and unhooking of the connectors.
The body of the binoculars are filled with nitrogen, but the process is characterized by a higher filling pressure compared to the competition, thanks to a patented process and technology: this way, the interior of the instrument remains condensation resistant for periods longer than any other binoculars on the market. Additionally, thanks to two-way valves, you can always return the binoculars at the factory for a refill of nitrogen, even after decades.
The focus speed and precision is very high: with a single 360° turn of the focusing knob, the instrument goes from a minimum of less than two meters focus to infinity. The quality and brightness (especially in adverse light conditions) of the image observed through the instrument is excellent: the colors are very natural and both sharpness and definition are excellent; with proper focus, chromatic aberration worthy of notice is negligible, the fringing caused by the secondary spectrum is reduced while the drop in brightness at the edges is, for practical purposes, almost unnoticeable.
The wide field view, 122 m to 1000 m, should be mentioned because it is quite remarkable considering the class of the instrument. The packaging includes a semi-rigid case, a neoprene ClicLoc strap, removable lens cap and a neoprene hood covers for the eyepieces. Ultimately, considering the foregoing plus the 10 years warranty, we can only give a positive assessment: 5 out of 5.