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Steiner Peregrine and Peregrine XP

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/19/2009 at 11:03
Klamath View Drop Down
Optics Master
Optics Master

Joined: May/20/2007
Location: United States
Status: Offline
Points: 1297

I recently had an opportunity to review these binoculars, so I accepted the chance.
I had made a decision some time ago that if I was to purchase a high end binocular, the Steiner XP would be it. This was a good chance to see if that decision would stand after a better chance to use this glass. Additionally, I had never had the chance to use the regular Peregrine.

The regular Peregrine is a traditional closed hinge design, looking mostly like the other Steiner roof prism binoculars, particularly the Merlin and Predator. The Peregrine is amply rubber armored, and it comes with an angled retro style fold down rubber eyecup instead of the more typical twist up style. This should be no problem for eyeglass wearers as I was easily able to see the full field with either shooting glasses or with my reading glasses. I vastly prefer the slanted eye cup style for their utility in blocking bothersome side light. The problem with this style is at times when you are exerting and your face is hot and sweaty and when it is cold, this might cause some external ocular fogging. This one weighs 24 oz and has a 7*, 367’ fov.

The XP is a typical “three finger gap” double hinge binocular. However, it has a different feel from any other similar binocular. It has a soft rubber, tactile, skin like armor with silicone pads under the armor at the location of the thumb indents. It has the easiest to grip and most comfortable to hold feel of any binocular I am familiar with. It is hard to imagine loosing your grip on this one in any sort of condition. This has angled style eyecups, but they are different from the other model. The XP has a crescent shaped, fold up-down flap that can be kept up in bright sun or folded down in order to moderate facial fogging of the lenses. This is attached to a regular twist up style of eyecup. There are no detents in the eye cup, but it seems to stay wherever it is left. Again, I happen to like the angled eye cup, but if it’s not for you it could be trimmed off pretty easily, or just removed for that matter.

This one weighs 30 oz and has a wider 7.4*, 390’ fov, pretty wide in a full size glass, but a bit less than Zeiss or Leica and about the same as Swarovski. Both are listed with 20 mm of eye relief. The XP has a repellent coating Steiner calls a nanno-coating. The coating seems to bead water pretty effectively. The regular Peregrine apparently has no such water repellent coating.

These both come with very nice, durable looking ballistic nylon cases. The straps are first rate, and don’t turn you into a walking Steiner bill board if you use them.

The straps attach with what looks like a proprietary clip into built in receptacles on the binoculars. The Peregrine attachment is on the side of the body, and the XP in the top of the rubber armor, where the attachment is essentially invisible. Snap in to attach, and push a center spot to release. The attach phase works better than the release. These clips look like they should come with some replacements, as they look to be the weak link in the package. The XP comes with a rubberized nylon, eye guard “hat”. It is a funny looking sort of thing, reminiscent of a double dunce cap. I would personally prefer that it come with the more traditional angled style eye guard that comes with the regular Peregrine. But as eye guards go, it works well enough, even though it is a bit tight.

The objective covers are tethered to the regular Peregrine with the same sort of clip arrangement that attaches the strap. The XP has nice, well fitted snap in covers that are not tethered to the binocular, but are connected to each other. The barrel beyond the hinge is too short to accommodate a flip up cover without some trimming to allow it to fit around the hinge. I have Quake Bushwhacker #6 covers modified for other open hinge binoculars that work just fine on the XP, so that is an option. I see no reason a Butler Creek, or similar flip up would not work just as well.

Focus characteristics:
The regular Peregrine has much the faster focus of the two binoculars, operating through the range in just one turn. It has a variable rate sort of feel to it, as it seems to change focus equally though the range. Most binoculars, including the XP, use much more of the focus travel focusing inward from about 50 feet or so. The XP functions like this. It uses 1.5 turns, using one turn of the wheel coming in from about 50 feet. As a purely personal preference, I happen to prefer the quicker focus. Whichever you like, the focus is smooth and even. The focus effort seems about right on both. Both binoculars have a left eye diopter location, where right side is the more typical location. The center focus on both is counter clockwise to infinity.

First impressions:
The initial focus set up is where I will usually first note a problem with a binocular that I am destined not to like. The questions asked and answered here are simple. How well do the diopter and the central focus balance the focus for each eye? How easy is it to find the best focus for each eye? The XP is best, and for me gives the most precise, both-eyes-the-same focus balance of any binocular I have tried, including its other high end European relations. This is the fifth XP I have had to my face and they have all been the same in this regard.

After a binoculars set up, I set it aside and do something else for a few minutes. When I return, I pick it up and look at the same things I used to focus it. If there is any even ever so brief flashes of fuzziness before the image snaps back into place, beware. Now these are pretty expensive binoculars, and here, both of these pass with flags flying high. But just because they are good binoculars, do not just take it for granted they will always, or that since they did for me they will pass for you. My eyes are pretty average and I have no major issues that need special attention either.

There is no eye strain evident even after long sessions comparing to different binoculars. You could easily look through these for long, stress free hours.

Image characteristics:
The fov difference between the two is not very large, but it appears to me that the XP has a larger advantage than the specifications indicate. The XP is flatter across the field and is sharper around the edges than regular Peregrine, but the regular one is not at all objectionable. They both are possessed of an ever so slight warm color bias, the XP with a yellowish-green tint and the regular Peregrine is a bit red-brown. The best way to see this bias is to take a bright white piece of paper in a well lit setting and look back through the objective with the paper in front of the eye piece. A chunk of bright white photo paper works for this. The color tint becomes visible in comparison with the white not behind the lens.

Both of these are alpha sharp in the centerfield, but the XP does have a bit of an advantage. The overall image of the XP is the best, due to the combination of wider field, flatter field, and less edge distortion. The image does appear just a tad sharper.

Both of these will function well past legal shooti

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/19/2009 at 15:35
SChunter View Drop Down
Optics Journeyman
Optics Journeyman

Joined: December/02/2007
Location: usa
Status: Offline
Points: 376
Although this is apples to oranges, how would you compare the xp's with the zen ray's that you have written favorably about?
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/19/2009 at 17:55
Klamath View Drop Down
Optics Master
Optics Master

Joined: May/20/2007
Location: United States
Status: Offline
Points: 1297
The alpha class binocular has a better depth of field than the ZEN/Promaster/Hawke binocular.  You are comparing silver coated prisms on the Z/P/H to dielectric coatings on the alpha class.  This should let somewhere in the neighborhood of 5% more light past the prism.  So if you have a ZEN and an alpha side by side, you will eventually be able to see a bit of a brightness advantage for the alpha.  When and if the ZEN class gets an upgrade to dielectric coatings, the result is anybody's conjecture.
While the ZEN class glass does not appear to be fragile by any means, I would be surprised if the durability of the alpha is not superior.  Smile
The ZEN class fits the niche of very nice optics for a very affordable price.  Somebody else can call them cheap, but I don't.  Besides if you are in the market for an alpha glass, the ZEN class probably has very little interest for you.  But if you are one of the many with a tight budget, you will be interested.
I continue to be amazed at the image of the ZEN class.  As good as the alpha class is, the plain truth is if you can't see it with the ZEN, you probably can't see it with the alpha either.  So the ultimate decision is how the binocular you want comes together in the whole package as you percieve it.  But the alpha has an appeal, and as I said in the review, I'm looking damned hard at that XP.

Edited by Klamath - May/19/2009 at 17:57
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/19/2009 at 21:08
Roy Finn View Drop Down
Steiner Junkie

Joined: April/05/2004
Location: United States
Status: Offline
Points: 4856
Very nice review Steve, thanks for sharing that with us.

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