Hello and welcome to another episode of Optics Trade Debates. Today, we will be talking about a binocular series by Steiner, the Navigator Pro Binoculars.
These are marine entry-level binoculars and in the price range, they are cheaper than the Commander series. Ever since we have been dealing with optics, Steiner always produced the Commander and Navigator series. First, there was the Navigator, then it was the Navigator XP, and later on, the Navigator PRO, which shows that they upgrade their series regularly and you always know what to expect – no matter the generation. That is because they include the same features as for the Commander, but with lower build quality and optical performance, while not paying as much.
The smallest model is around 360 € without the Compass; the biggest model is around 580 €, including the Compass. There are four models in this series: the 7×30, the 7×30 with Compass, 7×50, and the 7×50 with Compass. All of them have a 7x magnification, which is optimal for marine use, and each model can come in a set with a Compass, or on its own. The Compass is illuminated, there is a button that enables you to turn on illumination during the day, and there is a small opening where the sunlight can enter.
The looks of these binoculars are quite legendary; if someone produces marine binoculars that are a little bit better in terms of optical performance for the same price, they would still not be able to beat the looks and the traditional shape from Steiner – the true classic marine binoculars.
We could say that Steiner owns this market. Nikon, Bushnell, and lately Minox, have been trying to get into this market. However, it is extremely difficult to do so. At the premium segment of the marine market, there is only Steiner. They were also the first binocular manufacturers who introduced binoculars with a Compass, and one of the first who made binoculars filled with nitrogen, so there was no internal fogging – they are the pioneers in building binoculars and they even began producing military binoculars.
Lookswise, they are immensely wide, because they are of the Porro prism type, and they are also extremely short. Typically, binoculars are longer than they are wider but in this case, it is the opposite. There is no focusing button; they call this Steiner-out-of-focus or Sport-out-of-focus. What you do during the day time is take a distant object (approximately 200 m distance), close one eye first, and begin to adjust the eye that holds the image until the object is completely sharp – in focus. Then, you close the first tube and open the second, and repeat the process. When you open both, you are able to see a clear image.
Sport-out-of-focus has its advantages; the main one being that it is extremely watertight – there is no focusing mechanism, which makes them watertight and a must on a boat. Another advantage is that no matter which elements these binoculars are exposed to (water, sun, etc,.), they do not suffer. Third but not least, it is easier for the eye to focus when your settings are set and stay that way – you are able to distinguish what you are seeing better in low-light situations. The disadvantages of Sport-out-of focus appear when you are looking at close objects (20 m, 30 m distance).
With some marine binoculars, there is the option of buying a floating strap so that the binoculars remain on the surface of the water if they fall in. This accessory is also available with Steiner, and it comes in yellow, so you can locate it immediately. The binoculars also have a simple click system, which is a nice solution. Not the best solution, however, was creating non-adjustable eyepieces. They also do not provide any information on what is the eye relief, which can be a bit problematic.
What do you gain with the Commander? A lot: far better light transmission rate, field of view, optical definition, build quality along with the materials, but for a much higher price. The Navigator Pro Binoculars are a bargain for what they are offering – perfect for someone who is a beginner sailor or would like to try and observe the sea.
Steiner does not tell us where these are made, but it does not matter. The Steiner Navigator Pro Binoculars are still a good purchase, especially if you consider the price. You get ocular and objective covers all made out of rubber, a strap, cloth; all in blue – so it matches the sea. All in all, the design is perfect – when thinking about marine binoculars, you picture these. The warranty period is 10 years (30 for the Commander). The fact that they are waterproof is a big plus, and they also offer service (for about 200 €); you are able to service them completely, even if they are entirely damaged.
We also have individual reviews, so if you go to our YouTube channel, you will surely find more useful information. See you in that video, bye.
Products mentioned in the Steiner Navigator Pro Binoculars debate:
Steiner Navigator Pro Binoculars: https://www.optics-trade.eu/en/manufacturer-steiner/binoculars_series-steiner_navigator_pro.html
Steiner Navigator Pro 7×50 with Compass: https://www.optics-trade.eu/en/steiner-navigator-pro-7×50-with-compass.html
Steiner Navigator Pro 7×50: https://www.optics-trade.eu/en/steiner-navigator-pro-7×50.html
Steiner Navigator Pro 7×30 with Compass: https://www.optics-trade.eu/en/steiner-navigator-pro-7×30-with-compass.html
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