| Observer 10×42 | Steiner | Warranty 10 years | Waterproof | Weight 706 gms | Close Range Focus: 2m | Item Number: 2314 | £329.99p |

The Technical Stuff:

Objective Lens Diameter: 42 mm

Magnification:  10 x

Weight:  706 g

Width:  128 mm

Height:  148 mm

Depth:  65 mm

Exit Pupil:  4,2 mm

Luminosity:  17,6

Twilight Factor:  20,5

Field of View at 1000 m:  100 m

Focusing System:  Fast-Close Focus

Close Focus Range:  2 m

High-Performance-Optics: STEINER High-Contrast Optik

Waterproof:  Yes

Temperature Range:  -15°C to +55°C

Eyecups:  Cylindrical Rotation Eyecups

Rubber Armouring:  NBR-Longlife

Carrying Strap:  Standard

Strap Attachment:  Standard

Objective Cover:  Yes

Rain Protection Cap:  Yes

Bag:  Yes

Warranty:  10 years

The Maker’s View:

The new Observer series are designed for a versatile use to match any situation under all conditions. Two full sized models in a lightweight design provide comfortable ergonomics for long-term observation, bright images, crisp resolution and a wide field of view. Hardly any other binocular gets you so close with such clear, sharp detail, for so little budget.

10x power and bright images are perfect for long range detailed observations from close up to far away without added weight. STEINER High-Contrast-Optics provide bright, brillant views, accurate colour and clear images with high contour sharpness for exceptional performance up to close range of 2m. Fast-Close-Focus central focusing wheel requires minimal, stepless rotation for quick absolute sharpness from close-up to infinity. Comfortable, easy to use. Outstanding Ruggedness with durable polycarbonate Makrolon housing, temperature range between -15°C to +55°C. Non-slip NBR-Longlife rubber armour protection resists oil, acid or adverse weather.

Ergonomic Design with rubber armoured protruding controls providing comfortable and silent observations with effective sound absorption. Cylindric rotation eyecups made of soft, skin-friendly and non-aging silicone. Lightweight roof-prism design has less bulk to stay out of the way while observing.

The perfect all round companion for anyone who demand versatile capability in their optics.

Fatbirder View:

I’m not going to attempt to comment on the technical stuff… I’m a birder not a scientist so my reviews are by a layman for laymen. Having said that I’ve picked up and used a good many makes and models over the years and a decade ago, despite my arthritis, gave up the lightest-weight bins around for just about the most expensive ones on the market because they were orders of magnitude better.

I appreciate the light-weight of these compared to some, but nowhere near enough to tempt me despite their low middle-range price.

They do have a few nice features and robustness is perhaps tops. They are heavily rubber armoured and would, I think take a good deal of abuse. They also have perhaps the best system for dust covers to the non-eye end of the bins that I’ve seen. A neat click-in slot that anchors the rubber hinged covers means that they slip on easily and are unlikely to get lost when you have them open in the field.

Having said that the rain-cover is rigid plastic and nothing special; the thin carry strap is a joke too and the case nothing to write home about. I really do not know why companies save a few pennies here on what no matter how affordable, is still an expensive purchase; even on Amazon they are a shade over £250. If I was happy to pay that I would as surely be happy to add a couple of pounds for a good quality padded strap and rubberised rain-guard to match the lens covers.

Robust could be a synonym for ‘clunky’ which is how my partner described them.

The makers extol the comfort of the rubberised armour and I would agree were it not for the fact that the nubbin that you attach the hanging strap too are just a tad too far down the barrel so that when holding them it digs into my hand. Fifty millimetres close to the eye-pieces would have eliminated this for all but the biggest hands.

Clunky is also one way of describing the eye cups too. They do not twist out smoothly but rather as if on a ratchet. I notice some grease there too presumably either water protection or lubrication? Maybe it was just a spillage I can’t be sure.

Concluding on look and feel it’s a shame that a tiny bit more thought and expense could have impressed rather than irritated.

When it comes to using them the optics are about what I would expect for mid-priced binoculars… not as totally bright and sharp as optics that are four to six times as costly, but extremely good value for money.

I have just two criticisms. Firstly, the dioptre adjustment is, like many brands on the left eyepiece. It is really quite stiff to turn. On the one hand this should mean it will not slip and have to be constantly adjusted. On the other hand it’s not easy to turn the adjustment while keeping the binoculars from folding up.

The other issue is with the ‘fast-close’ focus. In effect this means that you do not have to turn the focus wheel much to go from near to far or vice versa. This also means that it’s hard to quickly re-focus at a distance as a very small move of the wheel will mean quite a large distance covered and I tended to have to fiddle backwards and forwards a bit when looking at birds 100 meters away. Obviously when birding you need to be able to home in on a bird quickly when it’s on the move and it was hard to do that.

To conclude these are a good price for the optical quality, but not without some drawbacks and a few niggles.

One has to ask oneself whether they would be one’s selection when progressing from really cheap optics often given as gifts to new birders on to the next stage. The truth is there are a great many mid-range binoculars to choose from and it is harder and harder to produce ‘generalist’ optics rather than focusing (sorry) on the particular requirements of different users.