The Merlin 10×42 Binoculars from Steiner aren’t perfect; they aren’t waterproof & the strap isn’t great. But everything else about them is more than impressive.
The Merlin 10×42 binoculars are a great pair of full-size birding optics. Sure, they may be too pricey for some customers, but we guarantee that they’re worth every penny of the $500 they cost.
Steiner is a brand name synonymous with excellence in the binocular world. Right up there with Zeiss and Swarovski, they are lauded among the birdwatching community for their performance, comfort, and protection against the elements.
The Merlin line may be marketed specifically for bird-watching, but they’re also brilliant specs for hunters, nature viewers, hikers, and sport-spectators, as well.
Steiner Merlin 10×42 Binoculars Overview
There’s plenty to talk about when discussing the Merlin 10×42 binocs’ positive attributes. But before we dive into that conversation, let’s take a look at the device’s technical details.
- Magnification – 10x
- Objective Lens Diameter – 42mm
- Eye Relief – 18mm
- Exit Pupil – 4.2mm
- Field of View (at 1,000 yards) – 274 feet
- Prism – Roof
- Weight – 24 ounces
One thing you might have noticed right away is that something doesn’t quite look right: these binoculars are fairly large but also incredibly lightweight. Steiner has developed specs with 42mm objective lenses that weigh in at just a pound and a half. That’s just a taste of the kind of unbelievable innovation this company is capable of.
One of the strongest attributes of the Merlin 10×42 model is the combination of rugged construction and precision performance. These binocs feature heavy-duty rubberized armor alongside some superior multi-coated optics for that perfect mixture of strength and subtlety.
With a close focus of 7.9 feet, the Merlin 10×42 models are also great for up-close viewing. Combine that with the decent 274-foot field of view and you have a pair of perfect birding binoculars.
On the downside, there are a few drawbacks to choosing this model. The biggest flaw is its lack of waterproofing. The Merlin series features water-resistant binoculars, but not fully moisture-impervious ones. This means you’ll need to be cautious when taking them into potentially inclement weather. They won’t be damaged in the time it takes you to put them away when the rain starts to fall, but you certainly shouldn’t keep using them in a downpour.
Another drawback, which most Steiner binoculars share, is the lack of a decent strap. The Merlins come with a simple length of black nylon that is neither comfortable nor very strong.
Take a look at these pros and cons outlined by actual consumers to help you decide if the Merlin 10×42 binocs are right for you. (Note that there are only two cons listed–this is because no others could be found.)
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The Bottom Line — Steiner is one of the absolute best binocular manufacturers working today and these Merlin binocs are some of the top birding optics available. Period.
Lightweight, powerful, resilient, and as comfortable as they come, we cannot recommend them highly enough. If you have $500 to spend on your next pair of binoculars, you must strongly consider purchasing these.