Calais (Antares AR) - Exceptionally smooth. Cranks and casts with superior smoothness. Looks great, if you like that look, shiny, durable finish, with minimal (no) screws exposed. As long as you are using moderate to heavy weight lures, it cast very well and with good control. Not the reel for finesse or really light stuff (none of these are the top choice for that). Reel is noticably heavier than other 2 and especially the Steez. Salt? - no problem.
Steez - Also a smooth reel, in the Daiwa sense, but not as silky smooth feeling as the Antares. Looks great, if you like that look. Which one looks best is always subjective. For 1/4 oz up to 1/2 oz, my guess is the Steez out casts the Antares. Above that, they are equal, and eventually at heavy weights, the Antares may prevail. This is about (one of) the lightest reels made, and it still feels very strong and exhibits minimal flex. This reel is more expense by a significant amount. Salt - no way.
if that's the case, i'd expect a steez to be awesome with lighter baits than 1/4 oz, unless you're using braid or low quality line in terms of casting performance.
You are implying that the Steez should be very good at less than 1/4 oz since you were casting that weight with a Luna. I don't diagree that the Steez is better at that weight and below than the Luna. My point was that none of these 3 reels are the best choices for really light weights. Maybe the starting point is something below 1/4 oz, but there are others ( Pixy or Conquest 50) that cast really light stuff better.
As pointed out on another recent post - rod choice makes a difference, but that being equal I still say even the Steez is not the best choice for true finesse fishing.
Seriously, though, I have two of the three in my arsenal now and not long ago had the services of the Met Mg7, which IMO is very close to the Core, although not exact.
Calais 100/Antares AR, and I am assuming that you mean this size of the Calais and not the 200 size?: This reel excels for open water coverage with any type lure and casts baits down to 1/4 very well. Smooth operation, exceptionally strong frame, above average drag strength and also very smooth dartanium drag release. Only thing I don't like it for are deep cranks, large 1oz+ SBs and topwater twitching as the weight wears me down faster over a day than an MG reel.
Steez: Great reel for every presentation from 1/4oz - 3/4oz, but will excel IMO for plastics/jigs, twitching techs like minnows/topwaters, shallow-med cranks, SBs, just about anything. Once again, stay away from deep cranks and large SBs of 3/4oz+ with big blades. Strong, very light, quick and very good drag smoothness and strength. Also, the ergonomics is fantastic as the reel is exceptionally light and sits low in the rod seat. This is the reel for quick fan cast coverage of water.
Met Mg in place for Core: This reel IMO combines a little from the two above but is priced a little high for what the overall reel encompasses. It has same HEG as the Calais, so it's cranking power is better than Steez but not as good as the Calais 100/Antares AR. However, it will have a lot of the attributes of the Calais and weight closer to the Steez. Drag is strong but not as precise in minute settings and there is no clicking tension knob (although it holds its settings well as it is very firm/tight). Biggest plus is the available 7.0:1 burner along w/HEG and MG frame. This is the only reel out there currently with this combo so techs like froggin', carolina riggin', burning rattlebaits, flippin' will be very strong with this reel. The Met Mg/Core however doesn't feel as well made or refined as the Steez or Calais IMO and for MG, the Steez is smoother for me vs the Met MG7 (never had a Core).
Good luck! Any one of these reels are winners in my book.