The Steiner Safari Ultrasharp 10X42 is a decent compact binocular with a very wide range of applications: from spotting animals to exploring the mountain route that lies ahead. Read the review!
- Price: € 349
- Weight: 731.3 grams (720 grams specified)
- Dimensions: 64mm x 128mm x 148mm
The Steiner Safari Ultrasharp 10X42 is the second binoculars I test from this German brand. The previous one was the smaller brother of the 10X42, the 10X25. It will therefore come as no surprise that there are great similarities between the two binoculars. And yet… the differences in performance are quite large.
Roof prism binocular
The Steiner Safari Ultrasharp 10X42 is a roof prism binocular in which the prisms in the binocular are in a straight line behind each other. This construction method usually produces compact and light binoculars, but due to the more complicated construction, they are more difficult to build and therefore often more expensive. An additional property is that a roof prism binocular gives a slightly less depth experience.
Sizes and weights
The house of the Steiner Safari Ultrasharp 10X42 is from Makrolon. Makrolon is a polycarbonate, in short a plastic. Polycarbonate is strong and light, which means that the weight of this adult binoculars is limited to 731.3 grams. Steiner itself states a weight of 720 grams and this test sample stays close to that. I measure the weight with the two large lens caps on the binoculars, so that could give a few grams difference.
The binocular has a size of 64 mm X 128 X 148 mm in the most compact position. It is waterproof and can be used from -20 degrees to plus 70 degrees, and the latter came in handy during the heat in Dubai and Oman.
As mentioned, the Steiner Safari Ultrasharp 10X42 comes with lens caps and with a large plastic protector at the eyepieces. The latter is easily removable. You fold the lens caps downwards, as it were, so that they dangle from the binocular tubes out of sight. I am satisfied with this construction because you never lose the caps.
Belt and Carrying Bag
A carrying strap is of course supplied with the Steiner. You can attach the protective cap for the eyepieces to this strap. The reason you don’t see the carrying strap in the photos is because I am not a fan of carrying straps. They are actually always in the way when I put the binoculars in the backpack or take it out. And… I like to walk with a camera or binoculars in hand. But this says more about me than about the viewer. The storage bag (146 grams) is of good quality and spacious enough to easily store the binoculars with strap.
The two tubes of the Steiner Safari Ultrasharp 10X42 can be adjusted over a width of 18 mm, so that the centre of the pupils can be separated from 56 mm to 74 mm. Something officially called eye relief. With the binocular tubes at the correct width, you see a nice large round image, which proves that the two viewer tubes are nicely aligned.
Steiner Safari Ultrasharp 10X42 image
The Steiner Safari Ultrasharp 10X42 has a field width of 100 meters at 1000 meters; the image you see from left to right and from bottom to top. This width is slightly below the average of what is common with a 10X42. Not that this is a downside. The binocular is well suited to visually scour the environment to see if a beautiful animal is still hiding somewhere. But birdwatching in the backyard is also part of the Steiner’s focas area. The minimum focusing distance is 2 meters.
The Steiner has a focus wheel in the center; something they call Fast-Close-Focus at Steiner. It is indeed fast. In one and a half turns you go from sharp at infinity to sharp at 2 meters away. The wheel is nice and stiff on the fingers and turns smoothly. As far as focusing for those with perfect eyes.
If you wear glasses or have contact lenses, focus the binoculars on your right eye. On the left binocular tube, the binocular has an adjustment wheel to adjust the diopter over a range from -4 to +4. With this diopter adjustment you also focus the left tube. The whole works easily and delivers – as already mentioned – an excellent razor-sharp image.
Ease of use
Due to its size and weight, you may not immediately think of taking the 10X42 Steiner as a binocular on a hiking holiday. Yet there is something to be said for it. Its size makes it comfortable to hold and the weight ensures stability. The outside of the plastic housing is provided with a non-slip rubber layer, so that it will not slip out of your hands quickly. And it feels good. Both eyepieces have retractable rubber caps that fit well on the eyes. As a result, you only occasionally suffer from stray light from the side. Spectacle wearers who like to or have to look with their glasses on (more than – or + 4 diopter deviation) have the caps screwed in.
One more thing about comfort. You can’t see the Steiner logo anywhere in the photo. There are just two right triangles on top… Only after taking the photos – and three months of testing – I discovered that at the bottom of the box in which the binoculars are delivered, there were still three stickers with the same shape… Those stickers are a black with logo, a leopard print with logo and a zebra print with logo. You can’t argue with taste, so do what you want with it. But… I wouldn’t stick them: the logos are made of hard plastic and are exactly on the spot of your index and middle finger. They are slippery and not nearly as comfortable as the underlying grippy rubber. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
The image quality of the Steiner Safari Ultrasharp 10X42 is fine. And actually there is a big difference here with the 10X25 that I tested earlier. The image that the binocular gives is extremely pleasant for the eyes and has a true-to-life color. And the entire image is razor sharp all around. Only when I go looking for it I see something of minimal distortion at the edges. Because the lenses are nice and deep in the housing, I have not been bothered by stray light in the lenses.
Super in the twilight
What strikes me in a positive way about the 10X42 is the performance in less light: you can see very well in the twilight. And let that be the moment when most animals show their noses again. Incidentally, my findings are also supported by figures: The Steiner Safari Ultrasharp 10X42 has a twilight factor of 20.05 and a brightness of 17.6. Both very much better than the 10×25 and up to par with viewers that are 10X more expensive.
The Steiner Safari Ultrasharp 10X42 is a binocular with super performance. Its image is razor-sharp, beautiful in color and you can see continue spotting for a long time, especially in poor light conditions. The binocular fits comfortably in the hand, focusing is quick and easy and the eyecups work fine. The weight may be a point of discussion for backpackers, but the size is not for me. Steiner delivers a good protective bag for the 10X42. The suggested retail price of € 349 is a steal for the performance it delivers. And a 10-year warranty is nice. With 9.6 points almost a 10!