The Steiner Merlin binocular is the subject of today’s scrutiny of high quality optics. Upon opening the box I am pleasantly greeted by a fully zippered deluxe thermo-molded case.
So many manufacturers make great binos and then fall asleep in the design of the extras like the case, eye cups and straps. I must say, Steiner has this one right and as a whole I think they do a fair job in this area across all their series.
The roof prism Steiner binocular is compact, more like a mid-size binocular, with a brown rubber armor. The brown rubber armor absorbs light; this means the binoculars won’t reflect light and alert wildlife to your presence. When you wrap your fingers around it you can tell that this bino is meant to be a tool…an everyday tool if necessary.
And this rugged binocular has some interesting features that the user can decide on. First off, it has winged eye covers that will turn down for viewers with glasses. This is a nice option to have; other manufacturers will gladly sell you an extra set of eyecups for those lucky enough not to wear glasses when using binoculars.
Another nice feature that Steiner has incorporated is in the flip down objective covers and neck strap. Both the strap and the lens covers have a button that will release them should the user want to leave them at home. Personally, I didn’t think they flipped down very well, but in Steiner’s defense, this pair is fresh out of the box and would probably loosen up with age and hang better. The center focus knob and diopter adjustment are kind of tight but again, I suspect that they will work better with use.
The optics on this binocular is fantastic. The image is crisp and clear at it’s closest range (about 6 feet) and far off. The German optics are fully coated and offer remarkable color fidelity…this is especially nice for the naturalist viewing wildlife. You can tell that Steiner put careful thought into the design of the Merlin binocular series for hunters, birders and naturalists.
The optics are spectacular, the unit is hiker friendly, the armor is both silent and anti-reflective, and the accessories are well made with the additional option of detachment. I like this binocular and would readily recommend it as a true bargain in it’s price range. Way to go Steiner.