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You say you can’t afford both a rangefinder and a decent pair of binoculars? With the Steiner Nighthunter rangefinder binoculars, you don’t have to choose. You get the best of both worlds.
Steiner optics have always been top-notch. Combine that with a very good laser rangefinder and you have a mix that’s hard to beat.
If you’re in a hurry, check them out at Amazon right now by clicking the link below.
In this review we’ll look at the Steiner Nighthunter laser rangefinder 8×30 binoculars in detail. I think you’ll see that this is a very special set of optics.
If you want to skip to a certain section of the review, just click the link in the box below. Otherwise, just keep on reading.
What Are the Best Features of the Nighthunter Binoculars?
The majority of rangefinders are monoculars. Whether you use them for golf, hunting, or other purposes, simply getting the range using one eye is often sufficient.
But then there are the times you really wish you were looking through a pair of binoculars while ranging.
This is where the Nighthunter delivers.
You get a great pair of Steiner binoculars. They’re almost as large as a standard pair of 8×42 binoculars. The Porro prism design (where the objective lenses are farther apart than the eyepiece lenses) gives you a 3D view that is obviously lacking in a monocular.
The field of view (FOV) is 336 feet at 1000 yards. That’s not bad for 30 millimeter objective lenses and a magnification of 8 times normal.
On top of that, you get the Steiner Sports-Auto-Focus™. You set the focus for your eyes once, and then the binoculars automatically focus for you from 20 yards to infinity. I don’t claim to understand how they do this. Nor do I know why all binoculars aren’t given this capability.
I’m also not sure how the stated close focus of 66 feet squares with the 20 yards mentioned above. The actual close focus must be somewhere in that 60 to 66 foot range.
The Nighthunter is nitrogen-filled using Steiner’s N2 injection™ system which makes them both waterproof (to 16 feet) and fogproof.
As you can see above, the Nighthunter comes with “Ergoflex” flared eyecups to help prevent glare and unwanted light and wind. You also get caps for both the eyepiece and objective lenses and a carrying case to keep your optics safe.
The Nighthunter laser rangefinder (LRF) is contained in Steiner’s standard Makrolon® housing. This is a polycarbonate that, combined with NBR Long Life armoring, provides you with a lightweight (28 ounces) chassis that is tough enough to withstand 11 Gs of impact. You would really have to deal harshly with these optics to make a dent in them.
What Are the Best Features of the Nighthunter Rangefinder?
That’s right! I haven’t even really touched on the laser rangefinder features of the Nighthunter yet.
Steiner claims that you can range to 1860 yards with the Nighthunter. You may know that such a distance is likely only possible under perfect conditions – conditions that you normally don’t have while wandering around the real world.
You might be surprised to learn that at least one owner has been able to range as far as 1665 meters, which is 1820 yards – nearly the stated capability of the Nighthunter.
“Will consistently ranged [sic] steel plates out to 1665m even in bright light.”
As to how the laser rangefinder actually works, I’ll quote Steiner here.
“The 8×30 LRF’s built-in laser rangefinder utilizes an eye-safe, invisible FDA Class 1 laser in the left half of the unit. The digital display is superimposed over the image seen in the unit’s right half.”
The short video below doesn’t tell you anything, but it does give you a closer look at the Nighthunters.
How Do You Operate the LRF?
Once again, I’ll defer directly to Steiner.
“Operation is quick and easy. Just center the target display on the target while touching and releasing the “RANGING” button located on top of binocular. The digital display will instantly provide an accurate distance in either yards or meters.
Holding the ranging button for more than three seconds activates the unit’s scan mode for measuring small or moving targets. Scan mode switches off automatically after 20 seconds to conserve battery life.”
Note that you have the option of ranging in either yards or meters. You can switch between the two using the topside buttons.
The LRF is powered with a single CR2 battery. Steiner provides one with your purchase, but you’ll probably want to have a spare handy for long outings.
Other features include the standard Heritage™ Warranty and a neck strap with a standard attachment.
The Nighthunter measures 5.7 by 6.5 by 2.6 inches, so it won’t take up a lot of space amongst your other gear.
What Is the Verdict on the Steiner Nighthunter LRF Binoculars?
Overall, this is a great pair of binoculars that you can use accurately for targets over a mile away. Remember that it will also auto-focus for you.
One user (the same one mentioned above) does have a wish list of features for the Rangefinder.
“Down side is the lack of a tripod adapter and the reticle can fade out at times in bright light. Horizontal distance or angle indication would also be nice.”
If those features don’t apply to your situation, just don’t worry about them. I think the pros far outweigh the few cons that you could assign to the Nighthunter LRF binoculars.
Note that the “Nighthunter” designation doesn’t seem to apply to all Steiner 8×30 LRF binoculars.
However, if you have come to the conclusion that the Nighthunter just isn’t for you, take a look at this overview of Steiner optics. I think you’ll find something there you will like.