Pros: Rugged product by proven company. CAT lens coating works for hunting.
Cons: Price. CAT lens coating limits use.
GENERAL: Like everything else in the world, binoculars are all about value. What you got for what you paid. The Steiner Predator is great binocular, and its immense popularity with sportsmen is understandable, BUT...it is overpriced when compared to optics in the $500 range.
SPECIFICATIONS: The Predator 10x42 weighs in at 25 ounces, slightly less than what you would normally expect from a ten by forty-something binocular. The lenses are fully multi-coated, meaning there are multiple layers of lens coating on both sides of the lenses which increases light transmission. It is nitrogen filled to resist fogging and ships with all the standard accessories (strap, lens covers, etc.), all of which work fine, but are not particularly noteworthy. Steiner offers a limited 30 year factory warranty.
CORRECTION TO EPINIONS DATA: When I wrote this review, the data provided by Epinions stated that the Field of View (FOV) was 98.33 feet at 1000 yards. That is incorrect. FOV is the left to right distance you can see without moving your binocular. The industry standard test is performed at 1000 yards. The Predator 10x42 FOV is 295 feet. That means when you look at a fence line 1000 yards away, you'll see 295 feet of fence without having to traverse your binoculars. 295 feet is approaching a bit narrow, with about 330 feet being the average for a 10x40 or 10x42.
PROS: I?ve said it before: Steiner didn't land the US military contract by accident. I used the Steiner Military/Marine 10x50 when I served in field artillery, and I can attest to the fact that Steiners can take a pounding day after day and still perform like the day they were new. The Predator 10x42 is a chip off the ol' block. It just "feels" rugged in your hands.
Regardless of the feel, binoculars always boil down to optics. How good is the image. The image produced by the Predator 10x42 is good. Very good. The image is sharp out to the edges (where cheaper optics will start to blur, fade, or get dark). The CAT coating performs as advertised. You can glass into a tree line and the greens and browns are enhanced, making it easier to spot game. As twilight approaches, you can distinguish colors longer than with a cheap pair of binos.
When I test a particular binocular, I try to use it for 20-30 minutes continuously to check for eye strain. With a pair of $35 Bushnell binos, after 20 minutes you?ll feel like your optic nerve is twisted in a knot and you?ll blink rapidly as you try to get your vision back to normal. With the Predator 10x42, I felt virtually no eye strain after 20 minutes and only a slight after 30 minutes. Not bad at all.
The Predator claims to be waterproof and fog proof. I actually submerged it and let it sit for 10 minutes?no leaks. I then rushed it inside to a warm house?no fogging. The results speak for themselves. For obvious reasons, I did not drop it to test the durability of the armor case. Try that one for yourself if you?re that interested!
CONS: Price. The Predator is not a good value. The CAT lens coating makes this a limited-use binocular. It is a designed to be a hunting binocular, or at least a binocular designed to help spot game. For $715 it ought to be the best hunting binocular in the world. It isn?t. It is a fine binocular, no doubt, but it doesn?t excel over other binoculars costing $200-$300 less. Compare the Predator to Pentax DCF?s ($420), Cabela?s Alaskan Guide ($550), or Burris Signatures ($450) and you will see what I mean: You cannot justify $715 for the Predator.
With the CAT lens coating, don't plan on watching baseball games from the outfield. The colors will look a little odd. You will get used to it, but it isn't what the binocular is intended to do. Again, it is a limitation on use, but the Predator doesn't claim to be anything more than an outdoorsman's binocular.
CONCLUSION: Steiner's Predator 10x42 is a fine instrument. I would hunt with it any day. However, considering other binoculars to be had in the $700+ category or the $500 and below category, there is no reason in the world to buy the Predator. Lower the price and this is a 5 Star binocular.