I also want to know what is the difference between the military marine's and the Predator http://www.opticsplanet.com/steiner-bin ... ator.html# I am maybe willing to spend the extra $50 Just tell me the difference between the 2 Are these binoculars compact enopugh to carry hiking?
Yes, autofocus (individual eyepiece focus) does work well for medium and long ranges, though it is an impratcial system for close-in work. If you are willing to give up using your binos at distances under 30 yards or so - and a great deal of birding is done under 30 yards, especially in heavy cover - you will be happy with a Steiner 8x30 for your application.
The Military-Marine is Steiner's standard optical package. I would rate it as comparable to other porro prism binoculars in its price range. It will not compare to higher end and more expensive Steiners optically, but it is still a good optic.
The Predator Porro is basically a Military-Marine with Steiner's CAT lens coatings. These supposedly enhance browns and reddish tones, the idea being to better spot animals against a green background. It may work for that, but I don't recommend it for birding since accurate color reproduction is an important feature in a birding bino.
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