Binoculars are popular tools for a variety of reasons. Whether you’re an avid birdwatcher, a guardsman, an astronomer, or a member of the military, a good pair of binoculars will be a powerful tool at your disposal that can last a lifetime.
The only issue with binoculars is that there are so many options, you can have trouble picking your favorite!
Read on to find out which pair of binoculars best fits your needs!
Every binocular has a prism inside. These prisms are vital to the binocular’s operation and method of viewing.
All three of the binoculars on our list use Porro prisms, which the Steiner brand tends to prefer.
You can recognize a Porro prism by its offset nature, with the objective lenses being farther apart than the ocular lenses.
Porro prisms are an excellent option for their range of view and greater depth of field. With all three binoculars featuring Porro prisms, you are guaranteed a crisp, clear, and deep image, no matter which model you choose.
What’s the purpose of binoculars without magnification? The magnifying factor of your binoculars is one of the most vital aspects to consider when purchasing a new pair.
Thankfully, most binoculars feature their magnification factor right in the name.
For example, the 7x50 Military and 7x50 Commander both have a magnification factor of 7- hence the number seven in their name.
Alternatively, the 10x50 Military has a magnification factor of 10. If you want to zoom in as much as possible, the 10x50 is the perfect set for you.
Objective Lens Diameter
The ‘7’ in 7x50 is only one half of the equation- the other half is the objective lens diameter.
In your binoculars, the objective lens is the piece of glass furthest from your eyes- the lenses on the far end, pointing toward your objective.
The diameter of these lenses forms the second half of a binocular’s model number. As such, all of the Steiner Military and Commander models feature a 50mm objective lens, which is a respectable size for binoculars.
Angle of View
A binocular is an optical device- you can look through a lens on one end and see out of another.
Any optical device, from reading glasses to a telescope, has an angle of view and a field of view- and your new set of binoculars are no exception.
These terms might sound similar, and ultimately, they are somewhat related- however, they do relate to individual aspects of your binoculars.
For example, an angle of view refers to how much an optical device can see in front of it when measured diagonally. The angle of view is the extent of the optical device’s vision when measured in angles.
Traditional Steiner military models feature an actual angle of view at 7.4 degrees. Conversely, Steiner commanders feature an actual angle measuring in at 8.3 degrees.
If you want to spring for the 10x magnification model in the Military line, you can expect an angle of view that measures in at roughly 6.2 actual degrees.
Ultimately, if the angle of view is your most significant concern, then the Steiner 7x50 Commander binoculars may be your best option.
Field of View
While a similar term, the field of view angle of an optical device does not have much to do with its angle of view. However, both are vital specs that determine the visual range of your binoculars.
Typically, a field of view will refer to the width of everything visible through an optical device.
This field of view refers to a distance 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.
Coming in the first place, the 7x50 Commander binoculars have a field of view that measures 438 feet at 1000 yards.
The 7x50 Military comes in at 388.5 feet at 1000 yards, while its 10x50 model features only 328 feet at 1000 yards.
Minimum Focus Distance
When it comes to any binoculars, you want to have as much vision in focus as possible. Military binoculars are no exception; in fact, keeping your military binoculars in focus might be even more vital than with other models.
The minimum focus distance of your binoculars refers to the shortest distance possible where your binocular image will stay focused.
Thankfully, the Commander and Military models both feature the same minimum focus distance, so that is one less factor that you must concern yourself with.
Both Steiner binoculars feature a respectable minimum focus distance of 66 feet, so wherever you are, you can identify foreign objects from a distance.
Exit Pupil Diameter
Both the Steiner 7x50 military and 7x50 Commander feature an exit pupil diameter of 7.1 mm.
However, the Steiner 10x50 Military features an exit pupil diameter of 5 mm.
20.2 mm 20.2 mm
Every human head is similar, but we all have our differences. One of these major differences is the distance between our pupils.
As such, no binoculars can feature a singular interpupillary width. To remedy this, many binoculars feature an adjustable distance; this tool is known as the ‘interpupillary adjustment.’
The interpupillary adjustment of the Steiner 10x50 Military ranged from 56 to 74 mm. While other models feature some level of pupillary adjustment, Steiner does not provide this information.
Ultimately, if you have an average-sized face, any of these binoculars should fit your needs. However, if you want specific information, the Steiner 10x50 might work for you.
Neither the Steiner 7x50 Military nor 7x50 Commander binoculars feature a diopter adjustment. However, the Steiner 10x50 Military features a -5 to +5 diopter adjustment.
All of our compared models feature individual focus types, meaning that you can individually adjust the focus of each eyepiece.
Reticle MIL Ranging
Binoculars are the ideal tool for viewing items from a significant distance. However, some binoculars take this ability a step further and feature rangefinding abilities.
Rangefinder devices, typically available in tools such as gun sights, are an excellent tool for any user to determine the distance of their target without having to estimate based on their surroundings or prior experience.
Thankfully, all of the models on this list feature rangefinder reticles to grant maximum convenience for their users.
Fog is known to ruin visibility in any environment. Unfortunately, this lowered visibility goes for binoculars, as well.
Fog can cause beads of water to form on either the object or ocular lens of your binoculars, or otherwise distort and block your vision entirely.
Thankfully, Steiner binoculars feature fog-proofing measures to help ensure clarity of vision and keep your binoculars working at peak efficiency.
All of the Steiner Military and Commander models feature some fog-proofing measures, such as a nitrogen-filled casing to help minimize the effects of fog.
Whether you use your new binoculars in an aquatic environment or face the misfortune of rain impeding your day, binoculars with water resistance are always helpful.
Steiner knows this fact very well and has therefore made all of their Military and Commander-line binoculars waterproof. Many of their models are waterproof across the board.
We don’t recommend that you go around dropping your binoculars in the ocean, but if a water-related mistake happens, the odds are high that your Steiner Military or Commander binoculars will be safe.
Of the three binoculars in our lineup, the Steiner 7x50 Commander may be the largest. Measuring 8.1 x 6.2 x 3 inches, the Commander is ever so slightly larger than the other two.
On the other hand, the 7x50 Military measures 8.1 x 6 x 2.7 inches.
Alternatively, the 10x50 Military is slightly thinner but taller than its 7x50 cousin. These binoculars measure 81 x 5 x 3 inches.
Lugging around any objects can be a nightmare, especially if they feature a sizable weight. Thankfully, binoculars tend to be fairly light, though some of them can still weigh upwards of two pounds- such as all of the ones on this list.
The lightest binocular in this lineup is the 10x50 Military, weighing in at 35.3 ounces, while the 7x50 Military tails just behind at 36 ounces.
The 7x50 Commander is the heavier set of binoculars on this list, weighing 38.4 pounds.
Life would be easy if we could declare an outright winner in this competition. However, it is challenging to do so- primarily because everybody has different needs that their binoculars can suit.
If you only want to maximize how much you can see, the Commander might be your best bet. However, if you want something powerful, yet relatively lightweight to carry around, the 10x50 Military is an excellent option.
Consider all of the available options in the context of your needs and decide which binoculars work best for you!