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Steiner 20x80 review cf 15x70 ultra

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#1 daniel_h

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Posted 28 May 2009 - 03:49 AM

My steiner rallye 20x80 arrived today - seeing as though i find very few reviews, have decided to do a write up. They will primarily be compared with my 15x70 ultra (sold as Garrett SS or obie ultra)
Firstly they are light ,maybe 4lbs cf. the ultras which are 5lbs.

They are wrapped in a rubber armour, which is WP,and they appear quite low profile cf. the ultras. They would be 0.5" shorter. The centralbar of the steiner is light but very solid, has two adjustment screws & feels like a big improvement over the big heavy metal bar that were on the 20x80 triplets i had. I found the bar on the triplets was prone to movement and did not handle the weight of the bino well. The steiner bar is so good you do not notice any movement - like the bar & bino are one - as it should be
The ep's appear quite recessed, meaning you have to get close - the er would be less than the ultras, maybe 10mm as opposed to 18mm.
The ep glass diameter is also a lot less than the ultras, 3/4" cf 1".
The ep's are less comfortable & the low profile body shape makes it feel a little claustrophobic cf the ultras.
I measured the exit pupil at 4mm cf the ultras at 4.5mm - i will endeavour to check this with more accurate equipment in the next few days.

The front lens have a nice purple coating, with a hint of orange when you alter viewing angle - it is difficult to see down the barrel.
When looking down the barrels the steiner's have smooth insides cf the ultras which have many little graduations.
On closer inspection with a laser pointer - the steiner barrels have a diffuse coating - like they have been sprayed with a fine powder, which diffuses the light and does not let reflection bounce around the ota from the laser. There is also a baffle at the very end before the light path bends.
Comparing the fov in daylight, the ultras are about 4.3deg, i estimate the steiner is 2/3 of this, at about 2.8 deg. The view is slightly restrictive but i am only used to the ultras and the wide views.

The steiner needed re-adjustment of focus when going from far to infinity, whereas the ultra was in focus going the same distance. The IF of the ultra is very stiff, and can move the fluid head when turned -the steiner was very free & easy, i will look for focus slip (didn't notice any) on extended viewing.
The IPD of the ultras is very good, from 56-74mm, the stiener is slightly less at the large end - but should not be a problem for most.

It is cloudy here tonight, but i did manage a look at the moon.
The steiner is slightly fainter, but showed less false colour, it was almost not detected - whereas the ultras showed a hint of green. The view was equally sharp - the ultras surprisingly lost sharpness at the bottom of the field.
Moving the crescent moon in the steiner off-axis revealed a hint of purple - but it was minimal and the ultras suffered the same problem - maybe a fraction worse ( i detected green to yellow mostly)
The image size of the stiener was very pleasing, the extra mag making a big difference.
When the weather clears i will do some star tests side by side.

i will include some pics in the posts below.

edit: sirius appeared for a brief moment - the steiner showed a slightly sharper view of the star - more pinpoint,but it is close

One thng i should mention is the cost - the stienerretails at about 700euros or $1000US & $1350Aus. I paid about half of this for a 5yr old pair. The ultra retails for $350US & $450AUS (the margin is less-direct china import)
For the money Surely Steiner could have included some type of case-even a cheap one - instead it's an optioned extra

Addendum: The binos came with a 128rc manfrotto head - which i must say i am not that pleased with,i did not find the handle to be in a comfortable position, and i think it added to the claustrophobia viewing with the steiner's. I will use my old head in future,which gives a better platform.

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#2 daniel_h

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Posted 28 May 2009 - 03:49 AM

another view

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#3 daniel_h

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Posted 28 May 2009 - 03:51 AM

& another - the steiner is on the right

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#4 daniel_h

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Posted 28 May 2009 - 03:52 AM

lastly the ep's (excuse the bad shots)

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#5 RichD

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Posted 28 May 2009 - 04:18 AM

Thanks for the review, the steiner appears from the ring around the objective to be eccentric ring type collimation - is this the case?

#6 daniel_h

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Posted 28 May 2009 - 04:43 AM

Rich, not sure what you mean - can you elaborate?

#7 RichD

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Posted 28 May 2009 - 07:45 AM

Just wondering if they are collimated at the objectives like the fuji FMTs/Nikon astrolux/SE series or at the prisms like the ultra you have there.

The ring round the objective visible in your first pic seems to have a notch cut into it which i have seen on other eccentric ring collimated bins.

They look like beauties BTW

#8 charen

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Posted 28 May 2009 - 02:51 PM

Nice write up.
Just to add to what RichD said about eccentric ring collimation.
From what I understand - there are two ways to collimate binoculars - the newer method is via the prisms screws in the prism housing.
The other is via the objectives were you turn the 'eccentric' [or uneven] rings that hold the objective lens in the cells untill you find collimation. This can be a difficult and frustrating method. The eccentric rings are found on older models from Zeiss and Nikons etc. Some number of my post WW11 Japanese binos have the eccentric rings also.
The Steiner picture of the objectives look like they have the eccentric rings. Do not move them to find out however !

I am surprised at the limited E.R. which will limit the Steiners for some. The newer version Senator/ Military's have 13 mm E.R.
However the impression you give is of well built high optical quality bino.
Will be intersting to find out how the go under dark skies.
It appears that you have a quality bino at a good price.

Chris

#9 daniel_h

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Posted 28 May 2009 - 05:03 PM

Ah, i understand now - i thought you were meaning at the ep's..Yes at the objective end there is a ring which has two notches cut into it
Will check more closely & report back

#10 ronharper

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Posted 29 May 2009 - 12:39 AM

Thanks for the review on the Steiner, Daniel. Steiner seems to be in the wind lately. Their Peregrine XP has been reviewed as a just-brushing-Zeiss type roof binocular. And this big porro sounds good too. Sharp stars, that is the stuff, as far as I'm concerned! I have a 16x70, and of course have contemplated the next step up.

Regarding eccentric ring mounted objectives, I have tweaked my 7x50 Fujinon, so I have a little experience with how at least those work. I hope along with tedium, I can also spread a little bit of one of the few things I know!

An eccentric ring bino will have not one, but three visible rings, each with two notches to allow for rotation.

Directly against the glass of the lens, there will be a ring that holds the lens in place in its cell.

Next, coming out away from the glass, and at a larger diameter, is the ring that rotates the eccentric cell inside the barrel, to adjust the alignment.

Last, nearest the end of the barrel, and at the largest diameter, is the third ring, which is tightened down on the center ring, to hold the adjustment fixed. In my Fuji, there was a keyed (ie, nonrotating) washer between this ring and the middle ring, so that tightening the outer ring won't rotate the middle ring, which would alter the adjustment.

Since the Steiner has only a single ring visible, I'm guessing that ring holds the lens in place in its cell, and that there is no eccentric adjustment.

FWIW, on the general subject of collimation, I have read that top quality roofs have not only eccentrically mounted objectives, but also eccentrically mounted eyepieces. The idea is, eccentric mounting is basically an optical error to begin with, and splitting the error between objective and eyepiece reduces the aberrations that necessarily result in an imperfectly aligned telescope.

Whatever, enjoy the Steiner!
Ron

#11 Swedpat

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Posted 29 May 2009 - 04:30 AM

Hi Daniel, and thanks for the review!

About 10 years ago I bought a Steiner Rallye 8x30. I recognize some of the issues you describe of the 20x80. The smooth inside of the barrels I think is typhical for Steiner porro-binoculars. But maybe it's improved with your 20x80 in comparison to the 8x30 I had? I remember a smooth and glozzy inside which especially during low light conditions provided tremendeous rings of light in the field around light sources. Friends who tried the 8x30 also reacted to these.

My Rallye 8x30 was almost uncoated (mostly white reflections) which provided a very bad contrast.
When I carefully compared it at very lowlight condition to a Nikon compact 7x20, I hardly could notice any improvement of brightness in comparison to the 7x20. This support that the coating was very bad.
The sharpness I considered at excellent, however.

Therefore I then thought it's a pity that such a good optics lacked a descent coating, and a baffered inside of the barrels. Because of the very good sharpness I Actually thought that such a measurings would make the glass to close a high-grade instrument.

At your picture of the eyepieces I recognize the design with the deeply recessed eye-lenses. Though the stated eye relief of 8x30 was 20mm I could not successfully make use of it with eye-glasses. Likely 4-5mm of the eye-relief was wasted because of a unnecessary deep recessment.
But I know this is also the case with the Ultra 10x50/15x70.

Regards, Patric

#12 daniel_h

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Posted 29 May 2009 - 08:07 AM

Ron, thanks for the advice - i had a closer look & there is definitely just one ring, and the thread changes slightly between ring & barrel??

I had a quick look at saturn tonight - there was a hint of a diffraction spike off to one side of the planet - will check thoroughly tomorrow if it's clear

I caught a peek on M8 later - the image scale was great, stars were sharp to 80% of the field. I have not seen it look so good. M7 - one of my favourite bino objects also filled the fov with pinpoint stars - am pleased with my purchase






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