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Review: Styrka S9

Printed From: OpticsTalk by SWFA, Inc.
Category: Other Optics
Forum Name: Binoculars
Forum Description: Anything that requires two eyes to look through it
URL: http://www.opticstalk.com/forum_posts.asp?TID=44098
Printed Date: October/23/2017 at 03:09


Topic: Review: Styrka S9
Posted By: Klamath
Subject: Review: Styrka S9
Date Posted: April/27/2017 at 12:31
Review: Styrka S9 8x42.

Next up in the new binocular brand review series is the Styrka S9. This is their top of the line model. They can be purchased at around the $980 mark. Styrka is pronounced Steer-ka. Supposedly a Norse word for strength. Not being a Norse speaker, I’ll have to take their word for it.

Styrka was formed in 2014 and binoculars have been available for about a year. They are a company closely affiliated with Celestron. Most current Stryka people came directly from Celestron. Some of those people have previous employment experience at Kowa. Celestron provides engineering assistance and functions as the OEM. Evidently Celestron is happy with their position as an Astronomy company. The evidently decided it was worth expanding into a broader market, but decided to use a different brand name. They are an independent entity from Celestron, in spit of affiliation

They have a pretty simple, straightforward warranty; They call it Styrka Pride. From the website:

“That’s why the Styrka Pride Warranty is so simple. In the event of damage or malfunction, we will repair or replace your Stryka product free of charge. No questions asked. No registration required. No receipt needed. No matter who bought it. The only caveat? The warranty doesn’t cover theft, loss or intentional damage. Send us your Stryka product and we’ll clean and tune it up once per year. Regular maintenance helps keep your Styrka performing like the day you bought it.”

Styrka offices are in Egan, Minnesota. They have a service facility there, where the bulk of the warranty and service work will occur. More difficult repairs will go to Celestron. They tell me they inspect every binocular before it leaves their possession. The test includes a spin over a collimator.

Out of the box comes a sturdy, somewhat chunky, well armored dual hinge binocular with a pleasing, solid feel. There are a good selection of accessories. There is a zippered case that comes with a harness designed to allow the user to carry the binocular on their chest, a padded neck strap, a cleaning cloth, and straps for the case if you opt not to go the chest harness route. It has very good standard ocular and objective covers.

Focus action: Focus is counterclockwise to infinity. There is a total of one and a half turns. From the close focus distance of 6 feet, a full turn of the wheel gets to a focus of distance of 75 feet. One quarter turn gets to infinity, with an additional one quarter travel past infinity, The focus is soft and smooth with no side to side play as direction is changed.

The eye cups are pretty typical click stop affairs. Down, halfway, and fully extended. All the way down you can get to within 1 mm of the ocular lens surface. Full extension is 12 mm. Eye relief is listed as 18 mm. They are solid enough, but they have some tendency to retract a stop on their own in use.  The eye cup assembly is a screw off affair.

The weak point in this binocular is the eye cups. Not to pick on Styrka, but this is a pet peeve of mine with binoculars as a whole. The problem is that they may need more extension for some users to match the eye relief specifications. The S9 shares this feature, the eye cup extends out 12 mm above the surface of the ocular lens. You can get to within 1 mm of the surface of the lens with the eye cups all the way down. The eye cups are quite comfortable and I have no problem getting full field with extended eye cups with reading glasses.

Image performance: The S9 has a listed 7.5* fov (394’). This checks out under actual measurement. There is no field flattener technology used. There is a typical classic edge with minimal distortions at the edge. The sweet spot is wide and the edge is not particularly distracting. This binocular happens to have a distinct brightness strong point in dark, dreary, gray day usage.

There is a very slight yellow bias, but the colors in the image appear pretty neutral. The S9 is possessed of a very sharp image and very good contrast. Edges of objects are very well defined, and things like fur and  feather detail are easily observed. Apparent sharpness is top notch. Overall we have a very clean, sharp, colorful image that is pretty easy on the eyes. This is a top notch image and should be considered well above good enough.

This is a superb binocular for CA and glare control. I can’t induce either one in any condition.

Ergonomics and construction: This is a solid and substantial feeling binocular. It has ample grippy armoring. It has a somewhat chunky feel compared to other dual hinge binoculars, but is rather typical in handling characteristics.

With cell phones there is the iFixit site which does complete tear downs of various phones. They are checked for ease of repair,, for construction, and the cost of the total of the parts is evaluated. We likely need a similar site for binoculars, somebody to tear down the instrument and evaluate its construction. Lacking that, I will offer the comment that this looks to be a very solid, well made instrument.

Summary: We can wonder why we see an influx of new companies into what seems like a crowded binocular market. The thing they seem to have in common is they are founded by people with considerable optical experience. That seems to me to indicate they have all seen something they can use to do better. I don’t know, but in any case I welcome the competition. We all benefit from that.

The Styrka S9 is a superb binocular and seems worth every penny of its asking price. It has a great image, sharp with good contrast, is particularly bright in gloomy gray days, and has excellent focus action (yeah I know some will complain about either focus direction). The S9 has superior glare resistance and CA control. It may be a bit chunky for some, the big white STYRKA across the case will be visible from quite a ways off (curable with a sharpie marker), and the eye cups may lack some extension. But if something is out there to be found, you will be able to find it with this.

Yes it is new. It is also very good. I will let you make your own decision on where you stand on the new issue.






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Steve
"Everything that can be counted does not necessarily count; everything that counts cannot necessarily be counted". William Bruce Cameron




Replies:
Posted By: koshkin
Date Posted: April/27/2017 at 14:16
Good review.

Keep in mind it is Styrka, not Stryka.

It means "strength" in swedish and "laundry" in Russian. Always have me a laugh.

ILya

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http://www.opticsthoughts.com - www.opticsthoughts.com
http://www.opticsthoughts.com - opticsthoughts.smugmug.com
Those who are merciful to the cruel, are cruel to the merciful.


Posted By: Klamath
Date Posted: April/27/2017 at 15:09
Ilya

Thanks for the correction.  I placed the mis-spelled version in the add to the dictionary, and it magnified from there.  I guess that means I need to wash out my spelling Big Smile.


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Steve
"Everything that can be counted does not necessarily count; everything that counts cannot necessarily be counted". William Bruce Cameron



Posted By: Kickboxer
Date Posted: April/28/2017 at 07:52
Good review.  Thank you. 

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Opinion,untempered by fact,is ignorance.

There are some who do not fear death... for they are more afraid of not really living


Posted By: Troubador
Date Posted: April/28/2017 at 10:30
Styrka probably means 'strong-smelling laundry' in Finland.
Nice review Steve
Kipis
Lee


Posted By: Whitefire
Date Posted: April/29/2017 at 21:10
Excellent review, K. For sake of perspective can you give a familiar brand and model the Styrka S9 compares to?
Wf

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May His face shine upon you and give you peace.


Posted By: Klamath
Date Posted: April/30/2017 at 13:53
The more binoculars I review, the more the similarities that there are become apparent.  The differences begin to fade.  I used to think that there had to be a definitive answer to the question of which was the best binocular, and that there had to be significant differences between brands and models.  I no longer tend to think that.  When differences can ony be seen when side by side, mounted on a tripod using far more energy and inducing more eye strain than necessary, field worthy differences are really difficult to find.  Differences are more in the mind's eye than in the binoculars.  However the question remains and likely will never go away.

So getting to the question of what do they compare to?  All of these new brands hit at least, at the very least, at the level of the Zeiss Conquest HD.  They play up to and even beyond the Swarovski SLC.  In the case of the GPO, Maven B2 and Styrka S9 the level is equal to or above the SLC.

A more thorough comparison will come when I get the review series done. Big Smile

Yet to come is the Stryka S7, the Tract Toric, and the Maven B1 to go along with the previously reviewed Maven B2.


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Steve
"Everything that can be counted does not necessarily count; everything that counts cannot necessarily be counted". William Bruce Cameron



Posted By: JGRaider
Date Posted: April/30/2017 at 14:42
Originally posted by Klamath Klamath wrote:

When differences can ony be seen when side by side, mounted on a tripod using far more energy and inducing more eye strain than necessary, field worthy differences are really difficult to find.  Differences are more in the mind's eye than in the binoculars.  

I'ts never been more true than today, I'll agree, and IMHO.   I think you'll like the Toric 8x42 better than the 10x42 version.  I always enjoy your reveiws....thanks again.  


Posted By: RifleDude
Date Posted: April/30/2017 at 15:59
Good stuff as always, Steve!

We have a wealth of very good binoculars available to us nowadays. A decade or so ago, there was a fairly significant jump in performance between the "mid" price range and the upper tier binos, and now that gap has narrowed dramatically.


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Ted


Money can't buy happiness... but it's much more comfortable to cry in a Porsche than on a bicycle.


Posted By: Klamath
Date Posted: April/30/2017 at 19:13
Originally posted by JGRaider JGRaider wrote:

Originally posted by Klamath Klamath wrote:

When differences can ony be seen when side by side, mounted on a tripod using far more energy and inducing more eye strain than necessary, field worthy differences are really difficult to find.  Differences are more in the mind's eye than in the binoculars.  

I'ts never been more true than today, I'll agree, and IMHO.   I think you'll like the Toric 8x42 better than the 10x42 version.  I always enjoy your reveiws....thanks again.  


The 10x42 Toric was/is a great glass.  I sent the one I had back due to diopter issues.  It was a demo and had been reviewed before, so it had trapised areound the country some.  Close, intermediate, and distance viewing needed different diopter settings.  I am more of an 8x guy at heart, so you are probably right. Big Smile


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Steve
"Everything that can be counted does not necessarily count; everything that counts cannot necessarily be counted". William Bruce Cameron




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