Introduction

For this article I have decided to make a direct comparison between GPO Passion 8×56 and Steiner Ranger Xtreme 8×56. Both binoculars have 8x magnification and 56mm lens diameter which means that they are both suitable for use when light conditions are not ideal. Both are in about the same price range and designed for hunting in forest but can also be used for other activities such as birding or wildlife observations. They are both very useful when the user needs to locate and then follow small and fast-moving wildlife especially in twilight conditions.

GPO Passion 8x56 vs Steiner Ranger 8x56

GPO Passion 8×56 vs Steiner Ranger 8×56

GPO is quite a new name on the market but the company was founded by people with a lot of experiences in optics. As I have already mentioned in some previous articles – GPO has a very special corporate structure. The production of GPO items takes place in various factories around the world but engineering and management is strictly controlled in Germany. The Passion series from GPO offers good quality products at reasonable prices. Passion binoculars are made of high quality materials, are light weight and compact and offer excellent low-light performance. In this series there are two configurations available: 8×56 and 10×56. There are also series Passion ED and Passion HD available on the market.

GPO Passion 8x56 vs Steiner Ranger 8x56

GPO Passion 8×56 vs Steiner Ranger 8×56

Ranger Xtreme binoculars are known to be very robust but comfortable when hold in hands. They were designed to use in daytime or nighttime. Unlike GPO Passion, which features Abbe/Koenig prisms, Ranger is equipped with Schmidt/Pechan prisms – because of that the binoculars have a bit different design and appearance. Ranger Xtreme 8×56 only comes in green color. It also features side flaps that help to eliminate wind and light from the sides. Steiner Extreme is available in four configurations: 8×32, 8×42, 10×42 and 8×56.
I have decided to compare GPO against Steiner because Steiner is a brand with a long tradition while GPO is very young company. Steiner Ranger Xtreme is on the market for 6 years while GPO Passion 8×56 came to the market in 2019, so I think this comparison will be very interesting.

GPO Passion 8x56 vs Steiner Ranger 8x56

GPO Passion 8×56 vs Steiner Ranger 8×56

TL;DR

  • Suitable for use when light conditions are not perfect
  • Perfect for hunters, for use in forest in twilight conditions
  • GPO features Abbe/Koenig prisms but Ranger features Schmidt/Pechan prisms
  • Steiner is a brand with tradition while GPO is new on the market
  • In the same price range

Size & Weight

GPO Passion 8×56

Steiner Ranger Xtreme 8×56

Weight:

1250g

1190g

Width:

158mm

142mm

Length:

192mm

183mm

Interpupillary distance

57-75

58-73

When looking at both binoculars we can see right away that GPO is a bit larger and also heavier than Steiner. We can also see a big difference in their design. GPO is very modern and elegant while Steiner is much more robust.

GPO Passion 8x56 vs Steiner Ranger 8x56

GPO Passion 8×56 vs Steiner Ranger 8×56

Both binoculars have a single bridge design but their appearance is very different. Because GPO has a much smaller bridge length it is much easier and more comfortable to hold than Steiner. We can hold GPO in one hand or wrap our hands around both barrels, both positions are comfortable but over a time GPO gets a bit too heavy to be hold in just one hand. Because Passion binoculars have such elegance and smooth lines the grip is very poor. There are no ridges or bars that would enhance the grip, there is only a leather like rubber on the outer side of both barrels which somehow helps with the grip.

GPO Passion 8x56 vs Steiner Ranger 8x56

GPO Passion 8×56 vs Steiner Ranger 8×56

Ranger binoculars, on the other hand, have a lot of different patterns on the armor which increase the grip of the binoculars. There are three big ridges on the side of both barrels and a lot of small dots on the upper, inner and lower side. There is also a unique ridge on the bottom side of each barrel. Those ridges help the user to hold binoculars firmly and more comfortably.

TL;DR

  • GPO is very modern and elegant but Steiner is more robust
  • GPO is a bit larger and also 140 grams heavier
  • They both have single bridge design
  • Steiner has a much better grip and ridges on the bottom side of barrels

Optical Properties

GPO Passion 8×56

Steiner Ranger Xtreme 8×56

Prism type:

Roof – Abbe/Koenig

Roof – Schmidt/Pechan

Lens Diameter:

56mm

56mm

Magnification:

8x

8x

Variable Magnification:

No

No

Coatings:

Fully Multicoated

Fully Multicoated

Close focus:

2.3m

2.3m

Field of View:

129m / 1000m

125m / 1000m

GPO and Steiner both have 56-mm lens diameter and 8x magnification. 56-mm lenses are able to capture more light than 42-mm lenses, meaning the image is much brighter on binoculars with 56-mm lenses.
Both binoculars are fully multi-coated; Passion uses GPObright lens coating technology that maximizes light transmission up to 92% which makes an image on GPO Passion bright even in the twilight conditions. Ranger on the other hand, uses the combination of High-contrast coatings and Steiner lens coatings which maximize clarity, color and definition.

GPO Passion 8x56 vs Steiner Ranger 8x56

GPO Passion 8×56 vs Steiner Ranger 8×56

As I have mentioned before, GPO and Steiner feature different prism type. GPO uses Abbe/Koenig while Steiner uses Schmidt/Pechan prisms – because of that their appearance is very different. Because they use different prisms, Steiner construction is smaller than GPO’s. In theory, the image in twilight conditions should also be much brighter on GPO – Abbe/Koenig prisms provide better image brightness.

GPO Passion 8x56 vs Steiner Ranger 8x56

GPO Passion 8×56 vs Steiner Ranger 8×56

I think it is very important to mention that Abbe/Koenig prisms are very hard to produced – that is the reason why they are normally a lot more expensive that Schmidt/Pechan prisms. There are only few companies that produce Abbe/Koenig prisms. Binoculars with Abbe/Koenig prisms are Zeiss HT series, Swarovski SLG 8×56, Noblex 8×56 and DD Optics Pirschler series.

TL;DR

  • Bright image because of 56-mm lenses
  • GPO Passion feature GPObright lens coating technologies, Ranger uses Steiner lens coatings
  • Abbe/Koenig prisms in Passion 8×56 binoculars

Focus Properties

GPO Passion 8×56

Steiner Ranger Xtreme 8×56

Focusing System:

Central

Central

Central Wheel Grasp:

8/10

7/10

Central Wheel Rotation:

9/10

9/10

Diopter Setting:

Right eye-piece

Left eye-piece

Diopter Range:

-2.5 / +2.5

Not listed

Central Wheel Diameter:

34mm

29mm

Central Wheel Length:

30mm

28mm

Total Revolution:

570°

360°

Bridge Length (Without the Central Wheel Length)

37mm

63mm

GPO’s central wheel is a little bigger than Steiner’s. Both wheels are made of rubber but the one on Steiner is more soft while on GPO is very hard and almost feels like plastic. In my opinion the grasp on central wheel is better on GPO. GPO has three rows of small vertical bars to enhance the grip – the grip is not ideal but I think it is still better than on Steiner. Steiner only has a few big bars on central wheel and it is very hard to adjust it especially if your hands are a bit sweaty. The rotation on GPO is fast and smooth while on Steiner it is slow and sturdy. GPO’s central wheel turns a rotation of 570° while Steiner’s only turns 360°. I couldn’t decide which rotation is better since faster rotation is better for birdwatchers but the slower is more convenient for hunters. I evaluated them both 9/10.

GPO Passion 8x56 vs Steiner Ranger 8x56

GPO Passion 8×56 vs Steiner Ranger 8×56

There is a significant difference between GPO and Steiner in diopter setting, GPO has a diopter adjustment ring located on the right eyepiece while Steiner has it on left eyepiece. This means that procedure to set the diopter on Steiner is just the opposite of the procedure on GPO. The rotation of diopter on both binoculars is pretty sturdy which is good, because this way it is quite hard to unintentionally change the diopter position. The grip on diopter is better with Steiner, the bars are bigger and more prominent. Steiner also has audible “clicks” when setting diopter which comes in very handy.

GPO Passion 8x56 vs Steiner Ranger 8x56

GPO Passion 8×56 vs Steiner Ranger 8×56

TL;DR

  • GPO’s knob has a better grip
  • The rotation on GPO is fast and smooth which is good for birding
  • The rotation on Steiner is slow and more sturdy which is good for hunting
  • Steiner has a diopter adjustment ring located on left barrel and audible “clicks”

Eyepiece Properties

GPO Passion 8×56

Steiner Ranger Xtreme 8×56

Eyepiece type:

Multi positioned

Multi positioned

Number of Click-stops:

2

1

Eye relief:

20mm

Exit pupil:

7mm

7mm

Firmness:

6/10

8/10

Quality:

9/10

7/10

Suitable for Eye Glass Wearers:

Yes

Yes

External Diameter:

42mm

45mm

Internal Diameter:

29mm

32mm

GPO and Steiner both have multi-positioned eyepieces but a different number of click-stops. GPO has two click-stops while Steiner has only one. You can feel and hear the clicks as eyepieces on GPO fall into place but you can’t hear them on Steiner.

GPO Passion 8x56 vs Steiner Ranger 8x56

GPO Passion 8×56 vs Steiner Ranger 8×56

The eyepieces on Steiner are made of very soft rubber and they feel very comfortable even after a long use. The eyepieces on Steiner have round edges and also feature side flaps to eliminate the wind and stray light. Side flaps can be folded so they are not in the way if you are wearing glasses. GPO’s eyepieces on the other hand, are made of much harder rubber which almost resemble plastic. Eyepieces on GPO have very sharp edges and they are uncomfortable for user when watching through binoculars for a longer period of time.

GPO Passion 8x56 vs Steiner Ranger 8x56

GPO Passion 8×56 vs Steiner Ranger 8×56

I evaluated the firmness on GPO with 6/10 because I have a feeling that eyepieces don’t rest securely in mid-positions, they easily change the position when they are pressed to the face. The firmness on Steiner is much better so I evaluated them with 8/10.

TL;DR

  • Both have multi-positioned eyepieces; GPO has two click-stops and Steiner has only one click-stop
  • GPO’s eyepieces are made of hard rubber and have sharp edges
  • Steiner’s eyepieces are made of much softer rubber and have comfortable round edges

General Properties

GPO Passion 8×56

Steiner Ranger Xtreme 8×56

Housing Material:

Magnesium

Poly carbonate Makrolon

Armoring:

Rubber

Rubber

Quality of Armoring:

8/10

8/10

Build in Rangefinder:

No

No

Waterproof:

Yes

Yes

Submersible:

Not listed

Yes

Filled With:

Nitrogen

Nitrogen

Number of Colors:

1

1

Tripod Adaptable:

No

Yes

Made in:

China

Germany

Introduced in:

2019

2013

Warranty period:

10 years

10 years

MRSP Price

579.00

719.00

GPO and Steiner have a different housing material, GPO is made of magnesium while Steiner is made of poly-carbonate Makrolon. They are both covered with rubber. The rubber on GPO is much harder than on Steiner. It has very poor grip and feels very smooth, although the design and overall appearance is very nice. Steiner’s armor is softer and provides better grip. It is also more robust, sturdy and gives the impression of toughness. It was very hard to evaluate the quality of armoring because the binoculars are so different. They are both quality made, Steiner provides better grip but GPO has finer and more elegant design. I gave them both 8/10.

GPO Passion 8x56 vs Steiner Ranger 8x56

GPO Passion 8×56 vs Steiner Ranger 8×56

Both binoculars are filled with nitrogen and waterproof. Steiner is tripod adaptable but I couldn’t figured it out if GPO is also tripod adaptable. I found some information on the internet that GPO can be mounted to a tripod but I couldn’t unscrew the tripod bolt. I don’t know if a tripod bolt is so strongly tightened or there just isn’t one.
GPO binoculars come in a nice black box in which you will also get beautiful olive green hard case, cleaning cloth, neoprene case and neck strap and objective – ocular covers. With Steiner binoculars you will get soft black case, neoprene neck strap and cleaning cloth.

GPO Passion 8x56 vs Steiner Ranger 8x56

GPO Passion 8×56 vs Steiner Ranger 8×56

As I said in the beginning, Steiner Ranger is in the production since 2013 while GPO Passion is new on the market. Although GPO’s engineering and management is located in Germany their production lines are not – GPO Passion is manufactured in China. On the contrary Steiner is designed and produced in Germany. Both binoculars are in the similar price range only Steiner is 140 € more expensive.

GPO Passion 8x56 vs Steiner Ranger 8x56

GPO Passion 8×56 vs Steiner Ranger 8×56

TL;DR

  • GPO housing is made of magnesium while Steiner is made of Makrolon
  • Both are covered with rubber and quality made; GPO has more elegant design while Steiner is more robust and tough
  • Steiner is on the market for a few years -since 2013, while GPO is new on the market
  • GPO is produced in China, Steiner is produced in Germany
  • The price for Steiner Ranger is around 140 € higher than for GPO Passion

Group Test

How we made a test
We made a test with a group of 6 people with very diverse knowledge about sports optics. Some had previous experiences with binoculars and other almost none. We compared central and edge sharpness, glare, real FOV, eye-box and overall impression. Everyone in the test group tested binoculars individually without being influenced by other people. We also covered down any brand signs on binoculars, so no one was influenced by knowing which company manufactured which.

GPO Passion 8×56

Steiner Ranger Xtreme 8×56

Central sharpness:

1

5

Edge sharpness:

5

1

Glare:

1

5

Real FOV:

2

4

Eye-box:

3

3

Overall impression:

2

4

All in total (total of 36 point)

14

22

Before the group test I had a feeling that Steiner would win and that actually happened. Steiner convincingly won in categories of central sharpness and glare, where it got 5 out of 6 points. Steiner also won in category of real FOV but with not so many points. GPO has triumphed over Steiner in edge sharpness category, GPO got 5 out of 6 points. In the eye-box category both got 3 points. In the end we see that Steiner is a winner, 4 out of 6 people would rather buy Steiner than GPO but almost everyone who made the test agreed that GPO has much better design.

Conclusion

In general we can conclude that both binoculars are nicely and quality made but because of a 56-mm lens diameter they are a bit heavy to carry around. Both are suitable for hunt and observations in dens wooded areas. They both deliver good optical performance but some things are still better with Steiner. I think it would be very interesting to test them both again when sun gets down and see which one perform better when light conditions are not so good. I think that results may be different because GPO Passion features Abbe/Koenig prisms which provide better image brightness and higher light transmission rate.
The decision which binoculars are better and which one to buy totally depends on each individual. For some people the price is the most important factor others are more interested in optical properties of binoculars. In the end everyone gets to decide for themselves which binoculars suits them better.

This review wasn’t sponsored and is unbiased. The article, however, features affiliated links to Optics-trade. As a wildlife enthusiast interested in sports optics, I made this test because I would like to see how binoculars perform and if they meet the advertised expectations. With this test I hope to help people choose the right binoculars for their personal use. I am not in any way connected with the manufacturers of sports optics and I’m not personally in favor of a specific brand.
In the end, I would like to thank Optics-trade.eu who lent me these binoculars for the test. I also thank them for letting me use their videos.

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Hunting Binoculars

Written by Hunting Binoculars

1 Comment

Brock

This was an outstanding review. I’m still torn between the two and also would love to know how the Minox 8×56 HD would fair against both of these. I found this review very informative. Thankyou

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