The first major impression we get when pulling these compact German designed binoculars from the box is how tiny they actually are. This makes them ideal for taking to the opera, horse racing or a music festival, while the size – even when unfolded to their maximum width – avoids obscuring the view of the person right next to you.
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While the binos may be branded with the word ‘Safari’, perhaps those actually heading out to the Serengeti may prefer a larger magnification than the 10x magnification on offer here. The size of the objective lens appears relatively modest on paper too at 26mm. However, that small overall size does make for an ideal companion for those seeking a jack-of-all-trades observational aid when travelling or holidaying. A broad range of uses, a compact size and a fair price suggests we could be onto a winner in theory here. So how do the Steiner 10x26 Safari Ultrasharp binoculars perform in practice?
Steiner Safari UltraSharp 10x26 Specifications(opens in new tab)
Objective diameter: 26mm
Field of view at 1000m: 101 metres
Closest focusing distance: 5.6 metres
Eye relief: 11mm
Dimensions: 120mm in length
Once again the specification we chiefly need to be paying attention to here is that 10x magnification wedded to a 26mm objective lens. While both those numbers may appear relatively modest, it’s always a trade off between specification and size, which here we’re happy to say is achieved without too much compromise. And it’s fair to say we prefer the extra power a 10x magnification provides over a more standard 8x. Other features we’d expect to find in the Steiner’s price bracket, such as a waterproof and fog proofed construction, are also present and correct, making them ideally suited to use in the great outdoors. A foldable design aids compactness, while a central focus wheel allows for swift and easy focusing straight out of the box. A carry pouch with zipper is also provided. What we don’t get is adjustable length of eye relief, but the rubber eye cups deliver a degree of comfort nonetheless, with fine tuning available via the left eyepiece for when we’re viewing with our without spectacles.
Build and handling
The Steiner 10x26 Safari Ultrasharp binoculars come with a thin fixed neck/shoulder strap threaded and attached straight out of the box. Handily, the binoculars have a folding mechanism, ensuring they can be transported in both as unobtrusive a way as possible, and also self-adjusted quickly, so as to get the inter-pupillary distance between the eyepieces spot-on for more comfortable viewing.
These polycarbonate constructed binos also feature the standard issue rubberised finish described as long life, with a ridged and roughened feel to the body at the locations where fingers and thumbs typically grip, to prevent any slippage, even when using with wet hands.
The focus wheel/mechanism is thankfully smooth, too, allowing for an adjustment that is both swift and precise, whereas on many competing models operation can be quite stiff.
Steiner Safari UltraSharp 10x26 performance(opens in new tab)
While we weren’t expecting results to be up there with Zeiss or Leica binos we’ve previously tested, for the size, shape and price the UV glass coated Steiner 10x26 Safari Ultrasharp binoculars make a respectably decent showing of it, maintaining sharpness across our field of view and into the corners. Colors are accurate and brightness is more than reasonable, even on a cloudy day.
If we’ve a gripe it’s that due to the lightweight build it’s tricky to hold the binos completely steady, particularly when viewing objects at greater distances – at closest focusing distance of 11ft it’s much less of an issue – while there’s no screw thread provided should we want to attach them to a mini or travel tripod for extra stability.
Steiner Safari UltraSharp 10x26 Verdict(opens in new tab)
These good looking German designed binoculars are compact enough to comfortably slip into a jacket pocket or the glove box of the car for everyday use. The price for the Steiner 10x26 Safari Ultrasharp binoculars also feels very fair; particularly given the sleek styling, build quality and performance, as well as their portability at a lightweight and manageable 297g. In short, if you’re looking for a multi purpose, multi subject pair of binos that are ready for any eventuality that are quick and easy to use and delivers an operability that matches the price, you won't go wrong with this option from the German brand.
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