When you ask somebody to recommend an item, you should take measures to minimize any amount of personal bias they have. This rule goes doubly for binoculars.
Every human eye is at least slightly different from other ones. After all, we all see slightly different shades of color than other people. Your eyes can vary wildly from those of your friends, rendering their product recommendations null and void.
The best way to compare any product is by taking a direct look at its features, and your binoculars are no exception.
When in a marine environment, you want only the best binoculars to help keep you afloat as you navigate the seas- but what works best for you might not be what works best for everybody else.
Read on to learn everything you need to know about the differences between these two exceptional marine binocular models from Steiner.
By the time you’re done, you should know exactly what model you want to get!
When you’re comparing the Steiner Military and Navigator, you’re truly comparing three models- the Navigator features two variations.
You have the Steiner 7x30 Navigator Open-Hinge Marine and the 7x50 C Navigator Pro Binoculars. For our purposes, we will focus on the Navigator Pro in our comparison, as both the Navigator Pro and Military are available in 7x50.
However, we will mention the 7x30 whenever it is relevant for comparison purposes.
When it comes to prism type, no Steiner binocular in this comparison fares better than the others. All three models use the same prism type.
Steiner binoculars tend towards Porro prisms, recognizable by their offset nature- the object lenses of these binoculars do not line up with their ocular lenses.
Porro prisms may result in a bulkier binocular than roof prisms, but also grant a wider field of view and a more significant sense of depth perception.
In short, a Porro prism will make you feel like you’re looking at a three-dimensional image rather than a static projection.
No matter which option you choose, you will have an excellent prism system that can grant you a fantastic image.
When you’re considering any tool, you want to know that it performs as best as possible. Ideally, you want to minimize any extraneous efforts for optimal performance.
Whether you’re looking for a new power saw or a new car, you want to know a tool’s performance specifications before you buy it. Binoculars are no exception.
In a marine environment, there is nothing more important in a set of binoculars than its performance specifications.
The marine world can be a harsh one, ranging from cloudy skies to heavy fog and large items at great distances. You want a set of binoculars that are up to the task and meet your needs.
Let’s see which set best fits your needs.
One of the main features of any set of binoculars is its magnification. After all, the entire purpose of binoculars is to see items in high detail from a significant distance.
When it comes to magnification, neither the Steiner Navigator nor the Military models have a blatant advantage. They all feature the same rate of magnification.
All of the models in this comparison feature magnification up to seven times the original image- this number is the ‘7’ in ‘7x50.’
But, you might wonder- what does the 50 stand for? Let’s take a look at that now.
Objective Lens Diameter
The ‘50’ in 7x50 stands for 50 millimeters, or 50mm. The 50mm number refers to the diameter of the objective lens, which is the lens furthest from your face.
The Navigator Pro and Military both feature 50mm objective lenses, granting a wider range of vision. However, the Navigator Open-Hinge Marine Binoculars feature 30mm objective lenses.
While the Navigator Pro and Military tie in this scenario, the Navigator Open-Hinge falls at a disadvantage.
Angle of View
Any optical device has an angle of view and a field of view, whether it’s a camera doorbell or a set of reading glasses.
These terms may sound similar, but ultimately, they describe different items- though they are somewhat related.
An angle of view refers to how much an optical device can see in front of it. The angle of view is, measured diagonally, the extent of the optical device’s vision when measured in angles.
The Steiner Military features an actual angle of view of 7.5 degrees, the highest on this list. However, second place does not go to the Navigator Pro as you may expect.
The Navigator Pro features an actual angle of view of 7.1 degrees, while the Navigator Open-Hinge fares at 7.3 degrees.
Ultimately, the Steiner Military walks away with the gold prize in this category, but the Navigator Open-Hinge survives with a close silver medal.
Field of View
A field of view is related to an angle of view, but they are ultimately very different terms.
A field of view specifically refers to the width of everything visible through an optical device, typically measured in yards, meters, or feet, depending on the size of the device’s field of view and native measurement system.
With binoculars, experts measure the field of view at 1000 yards.
The Military comes in first place, with 388.5 feet visible at 1000 yards. Surprisingly, the Navigator Open-Hinge comes in second once again with 385.5 feet at 1000 yards.
The Navigator Pro comes in last place with 372.7 feet at 1000 yards.
Minimum Focus Distance
Focusing is important in military binoculars. After all, you want to see what you’re dealing with in open waters. Typically, marine environments will feature far-off landmarks, but sometimes you need to see closer.
The Steiner Navigator and Military both feature a minimum focus distance of 66 feet- meaning that they will not easily focus at any lesser distance. The Navigator Pro trails slightly behind at 65.6 feet.
Exit Pupil Diameter
Both the Navigator Pro and Military feature an exit pupil diameter of 7.1mm.
The Navigator Open-Hinge has an exit pupil diameter of 4.3mm.
Eye relief refers to the distance between your eye and the ocular lens of your binoculars- the lens closest to you.
The eye relief of the Military is 16mm, while the Navigator Open-Hinge features 17.4mm. The Pro features the most eye relief at 20.2mm.
The interpupillary adjustment refers to the distance between the pupils of your eyes and is a vital step in setting up any binoculars.
The Steiner Military features a variable interpupillary distance of 2.2-2.9 inches, while the Navigator series does not catalog their interpupillary distance.
None of the compared models feature diopter adjustment.
All compared models have an individual focus type.
Reticle MIL Ranging
Binoculars are excellent for seeing items from a far distance, but some of the best binoculars feature rangefinding abilities.
Rangefinder devices are an excellent way to determine the distance of your target without having to estimate based on your surroundings.
The Steiner Military features a built-in MIL Ranging reticle to help accurately assess distances. Neither binocular in the Navigator series includes such a feature.
Fog can ruin any good set of binoculars, whether by letting beads of water form on your lenses and distort your picture or blocking it out entirely.
Thankfully, some binoculars come with fog-proofing measures to ensure clarity of vision and save you a headache.
All of the Steiner Military and Navigator models feature some form of fog-proofing measure, such as a nitrogen-filled casing to help minimize the effects of fog.
No matter what environment you’re in, having waterproof devices can be very helpful- especially when you are in a marine or naval situation.
The Navigator Pro and Military models are both entirely waterproof, while the Navigator Open-Hinge is water resistant as per an IPX8 rating.
The Steiner Military is the largest binocular in this lineup, coming in at 81 x 6 x 2.7 inches. The Navigator Pro is a comparable size, coming in at 8.1 x 5.5 x 3.8 inches with its included compass attachment.
The Navigator Open-Hinge Marine is notably smaller, coming in at 6.5 x 4.2 x 2 inches.
Nobody likes lugging heavy equipment around- it can be tiring and reductive. However, everything has a weight; all you can do is try to find the lightest tools to meet your needs.
The lightest binocular on this lineup is the Navigator Open-Hinge at 17.6 ounces, under half the weight of the larger models.
The Steiner Military is next, weighing 36 ounces, while the Navigator Pro weighs 39.2 ounces with its included compass attachment.
Ultimately, it is challenging to declare an obvious victor in this comparison. If you solely want to maximize your field of view, the Steiner Military may be your best option- however, the Navigator models have several advantages over it.
Life would be easier if somebody could outright tell you the best option, but unfortunately, many people lack the context of your preferences, needs, and life.
Consider all of the available options in the context of your needs and decide which binoculars work best for you!