There are plenty of binoculars available for consumers to buy, but you want the best ones. However, what does that entail? What are the best binoculars?
Ultimately, the best binoculars are the ones that fit your needs the most. Two of the most popular binocular lines are the Steiner Commander and Navigator. Which of these binoculars works best for you?
Read on to learn everything you need to know about these excellent binoculars and how they stack up against each other!
The prism of a binocular is vital to its operation, as prisms help direct light from the objective to ocular lenses. In the case of the Navigator and Commander binoculars, you will find them equipped with Porro prisms.
Binoculars with Porro prisms will have an offset look, with objective lenses having a wider diameter between them than the ocular lenses.
The doubled-up, offset Porro prisms provide a wider range of view than their Roof prism relatives, with a more significant sense of depth reception and a crisp, clear image.
One of the most vital aspects of binoculars is how far they can magnify. After all, if your binoculars can’t magnify, they’re not binoculars!
Thankfully, it is not a challenge to identify how much a pair of binoculars can magnify an image.
Both of the models in our comparison feature the number 7x50 in their name. The ‘7’ stands for 7x magnification- you can magnify up to seven times the original image size.
If your goals are purely to see with greater magnification, both the Navigator and Commander are excellent options.
Objective Lens Diameter
The other half of ‘7x50’ refers to the objective lens diameter, or how wide the lenses on the far end of the binoculars are.
Both the Steiner Navigator and Commander feature 50mm objective lenses.
Angle of View
In terms of optical devices, the angle of view refers to the diagonal range of vision that your binoculars have when measured in degrees.
The Steiner Commander features an actual angle of view that measures 8.3 degrees, while the Navigator comes in second at 7.1 degrees.
Field of View
Similar to the angle of view, the field of view refers to the width of your vision, usually measured at around 1000 yards. The standard measurement for a field of view is the number of feet at 1000 yards.
The Commander has a field of view of 438 feet at 1000 yards, while the Navigator lags slightly behind at 372.7 feet at 1000 yards.
Minimum Focus Distance
Every optical device has a specific range at which it performs optimally. You know that your binoculars have a maximum distance that they can see, but did you know that they have a minimum distance, as well?
You could certainly see closer than the minimum focus distance, but your image will be blurry and out-of-focus. Therefore, a smaller minimum focus distance is better.
Here, the Navigator narrowly clutches first place by having a minimum focus distance of 65.6 feet. On the other hand, the Commander had a distance of 66 feet.
Exit Pupil Diameter
Both the Commander and Navigator feature a standard exit pupil diameter of 7.1mm, much like other Steiner models.
Both the Commander and Navigator binoculars have an eye relief of 20.2mm, which means that there are 20.2 millimeters of space between your eyes and your ocular lens.
Steiner does not provide a specific range of interpupillary adjustment for either of these models.
However, they do confirm that both the Navigator and Commander lines feature interpupillary-adjustment features.
Neither the Navigator nor Commander models feature a diopter adjustment.
Both the Steiner Navigator and Commander feature individual focus, meaning you can separately focus each eyepiece.
You know that binoculars are great tools for viewing things from a distance, but did you know that some can help you find just how far away your target is?
Rangefinder devices are powerful tools used to determine the distance of a target, whether via a gun scope, binocular, or dedicated rangefinder device. Typically, these devices consist of a reticle featuring some sort of measurement.
The Navigator binoculars do not feature any rangefinding abilities, but every model in the Commander line features a rangefinding reticle.
Fog can ruin your visibility in virtually any environment. Whether it’s distorting your image or blocking it out entirely, or perhaps forming beads of water on your lens, fog can ruin the visibility of any optical device and binoculars are no exception.
Thankfully, the Steiner Navigator and Commander models feature a nitrogen-filled casing to help minimize the negative effects of fog on your binoculars.
Having waterproof devices is always a significant benefit. Whether you’re working in a marine environment or live in an area with high levels of rainfall, water can severely damage your belongings.
Thankfully, both the Navigator and Commander binoculars are entirely waterproof. We don’t recommend dropping your binoculars in the ocean to test them, but they should withstand sufficient amounts of water damage.
Coming in at 8.1 x 6.2 x 3 inches, the Commander is wider but shorter than the Navigator.
The Navigator, including its built-in compass, measures 8.1 x 5.5 x 3.8 inches.
Nobody likes carrying around extraneous weight, so a lightweight pair of binoculars is always appreciated.
These binoculars are relatively lightweight, coming in at just over two pounds each. The Steiner Commanders weigh 40.2 ounces, while the Navigators come in at 39.2 ounces.
When it comes to different binocular models, there is often no inherently better choice. One model will be better than the other at a specific function which may make it more valuable to you than the other.
If you prefer the high-tech, illuminated nature of the Commander, it may be your best bet. If you want something a little smaller and low-tech, the Navigator may be the one for you.
When deciding on a pair of binoculars, consider your specific needs!