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The Binocular Advisor

Binoculars of Note

Steiner Peregrine XP

High-end Binocular Round-up, 2008
from Bird Watcher's Digest, September, 2008

by Michael and Diane Porter

Peregrine XPOur survey of top binoculars (High-end Binoculars Round-up, Bird Watcher's Digest, September, 2008) included the Steiner Peregrine XP binocular.

King of Eye Relief

If you wear glasses and have trouble seeing the full field of view through binoculars, the Steiner Peregrine XP may be your answer. It has 20mm of eye relief in both the 8x44 and the 10x44 models, giving that big-picture experience even to a person whose eyeglasses are large or sit far from the eyes.

Optically, the Peregrine XP is superb. In our survey of high-end binoculars for Bird Watcher's Digest (September, 2008), our judges liked the soft twist-out eyecups, which come with well-integrated winged flanges. They got a score of 4.8 out of a possible 5.0 in the optical quality column of our Ratings Chart.

Peregrine EyecupsThey stay out of the way for glasses wearers, who don't benefit from them. But when a person who does not wear glasses flips the flanges up, they seal off all extraneous light and contribute to the perception of a luminous, high-contrast image. In the photo at left, one eyecup is turned down and the other is up, to show the difference.

One of the new binoculars employing the open bridge, the Peregrine XP has a comfortable contour and ergonomic design. It has a softer rubberized covering than many binoculars. Thumb pads on the underside are gel filled and have a cushiony give to them.

Strap attachement — good

Peregrine Strap AttachmentIn order to eliminate intrusive lugs, the Peregrine XP has small sockets at the ends of the barrels, into which the strap clicks. The smoothly turning focus knob has pronounced ridges, easy to use even for a gloved finger.


Several of our judges commented that, at 30 ounces, the Peregrine XP was on the heavy side. With its 44mm objective lenses, larger than that of most of the binoculars in the survey, this weight is not surprising or excessive.

Waterproofing — with extra insurance

Peregrine ButtonsThe manufacturer adds a positive internal pressure when they purge the binoculars to provide extra insurance against outside air contamination. The hinge at the far end of the barrels has two small buttons, marked "N2."

Peregrine ButtonUnder the buttons are the valves through which technicians add the extra gas to raise the internal pressure above normal sea level. See photo at left, in which the button (stamped N2, for Nitrogen) has been removed. In the round plate under the button, you can see the hexagonal port underneath through which extra gas is added.

Easy cleaning

The Peregrine XP has a water-repelling coating ("NANO-Protection") on the objective lenses to make cleaning easy and protect against spots and soil.


The manufacturer's website states that the Steiner Peregrine XP comes with a 30-year lifetime warranty.

The Peregrine XP is available in 10x44 and 8x44.

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What does waterproof really mean?

Binoculars can fog up internally if there is waper vapor inside to condense on the glass. And plain old air, like what we breathe, contains water vapor.

So to make a binocular waterproof, the manufacturer removes all the air from inside the binocular, replaces it with a dry, inert gas, such as nitrogen, and seals the binocular tightly. The seal prevents the nitrogen from leaking out and ordinary air from getting in.

But waterproofing and fogproofing are relative things. Even waterproof binoculars are susceptible to having some of the nitrogen leak out and air getting in. That means that after a few years, even a waterproof binocular may fog up.

A good manufacturer will fix the binocular if that happens. They'll replace the air with nitrogen and seal the binocular again, But it can be inconvenient for the owner. If you're on a trip, or if it's the height of spring, you may not want to be without your binocular for even a few days.

Steiner, the manufacturer of the Peregrine XP binoculars, takes pride in making their binoculars very resistant to fogging up.

Their secret is overfilling the binocular with nitrogen. After they have replaced the air with nitrogen, they force in extra nitrogen. They use a tiny nozzle and put the air in, sort of like the way you add air to the tires on a car. The small buttons with N2 on them (which stands for nitrogen) cover the port through which the extra nitrogen is added.

It's just a little extra insurance. As a result, Steiner explains, their binoculars hold up for decades without ever fogging up.




Bird Watcher's DigestText copyright 2008 by Michael and Diane Porter.

This article appears as part of the High-end Binoculars Round Up in the September, 2008, issue of Bird Watcher's Digest.

Photo of magazine copyright 2008 Bird Watcher's Digest. Image of N2 button removed with gas port revealed copyright Michael and Diane Porter 2008. Other images of Peregrine binoculars are courtesy of the Steiner Binoculars, manufacturer of the Peregrine XP.



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