You may already know that Steiner is a prominent name in binoculars. This German binoculars maker has been in the optics business since 1947. Steiner binoculars come in a wide range of sizes, weights, magnifications, and price points.
Steiner divides its binocular offerings into five major lines:
- Nature & Travel
Within each line, there are several models from which you can choose.
Note: I get commissions for purchases made through links in this post.
Here are most of the models that I mention in this article. If you already know which one you’re interested in, just click the link to go to Amazon for more details.
- Champ 8×22 and 10×26
- XC 8×32
- Wildlife XP 8×44 and 10×44
- Wildlife XP Compact 8×24
- Predator 8×22 and 10×26
- Nighthunter LRF 8×30
- Safari Ultrasharp 8×22 and 10×26
- Commander Global C 7×50
- Commander 7x50c
- Navigator 7×30 and 7×50
- Marine 7×50
Additionally, there are many tactical and military models near the end of the article.
This ultimate buyers guide will help you sort out the differences so you can select the right pair of binoculars that will be most beneficial for the purposes you have in mind.
Whether you are a hunter, bird watcher, night sky watcher, law enforcement official, or have another interest in optics, the Owl can probably find a match for you.
Think of this article as a hunter’s binoculars buying guide, a birder’s binoculars buying guide, or an astronomer’s binoculars buying guide. There is something here for each of those hobbies and more.
If you like, you can use this table to skip to the part of the review that interests you the most. Otherwise, just keep reading below.
- 1 Just How Good Are Steiner Binoculars?
- 2 What Are the Best Steiner Binoculars for Hunting?
- 3 Which Steiner Binoculars Do You Suggest for a Safari?
- 4 Are Steiner Binoculars Good for Astronomy?
- 5 Does Steiner Make Binoculars That Work Well on the Water?
- 6 What Would You Recommend for Hiking or Sporting Events?
- 7 The Tactical and Military Lines Have Specific Purposes
- 8 Where Can I Buy Steiner Binoculars?
- 9 How Much Are Steiner Binoculars?
- 10 The Ultimate Decision
Just How Good Are Steiner Binoculars?
Steiner binoculars come in a variety of quality specifications from hobbyist through military grade. Some binoculars are nitrogen filled. Some are waterproof to a depth of many feet. Some are extremely light weight. Some have a very wide field of view.
Steiner was the first to develop several optics technologies.
- Makrolon rubber-armored housings
- Nitrogen-charged fog proofing
- A combination binocular and compass
- Water repellant Nano-Protection lenses
- A military laser protection filter
Not every set of Steiner binoculars includes each of these features, but you can find one that does if that’s a feature you need.
What Are the Best Steiner Binoculars for Birding?
You can choose from several binoculars for birding in, as you might expect, the Nature & Travel line. This line has the widest range of price points among Steiner models, from under $200 to midrange to high end binoculars.
If you’re on a tight budget, you’ll want to look at the Champ models. Both the 8×22 and 10×26 have a decent field of view (FOV).
The Champ 10×26 has an FOV of 302 feet (just under the length of a football field), and the FOV of the Champ 8×22 is 332 feet (just a little wider).
Based on their luminosity and twilight factor ratings, neither of these binoculars is particularly good in low light conditions. That’s probably okay most of the time for a birder. If you want to watch birds that normally come out in the evening or at night, you’ll probably want to check out other models.
For more information on the Champ binoculars, check this review.
All four of the Steiner XC models in the Nature & Travel line should perform well in low light and even dark conditions. These midrange binoculars have a wider field of view than the Champs – up to 436 feet for the Steiner XC 8×32.
An additional benefit of the XC models is that they are waterproof to a depth of 10 feet. The Steiner XC 8×32 is even guaranteed to 16 feet.
If you think one of the XC binoculars might be for you, see this article for more details. See this article for more details.
At the top of the line are the two Wildlife XP binoculars, the Wildlife XP 8×44 and the Wildlife XP 10×44. You really have to be dedicated to birding to get either of these sets for that purpose alone.
Both are nitrogen-filled for the ultimate in fog proofing. Combine that with fluoride glass for extremely detailed viewing and their Distance-Control-System (which eliminates the need for fine tuning the focus) and you have a very pricey set of optics.
If you want the best and can afford it, either of these is the binoculars to get.
What Are the Best Steiner Binoculars for Hunting?
Steiner realizes that hunters are looking for something special in a pair of binoculars. That’s why they have a full line of models in the Predator, HX, and Nighthunter optics.
As a deer hunter, for example, you may prefer to go out into the woods at dusk when your quarry tends to be more active. For such occasions, you need binoculars that accommodate those low light conditions.
Most of the Hunter line of Steiner binoculars do perform well in low light. Only the Predator 8×22 and Predator 10×26 might be questionable. All the other models should work just fine for you.
The Hunter HX binoculars are the only Steiner models specifically noted as nitrogen-filled, other than the Wildlife XPs mentioned above. Along with their other high-quality features, this puts them at the high end of this line.
Steiner has you covered there with the Predator 8×22 and Predator 10×26 (click for more details at Amazon) each of which weighs just over 10 ounces. (Note that these were the two models that might not work well in low light.)
Then there is the Nighthunter Laser Range Finder (LRF) 8×30. Its main feature is the laser which is rated accurate to 1860 yards – over a mile!
It also has a scan mode that lets you continuously monitor your target. The additional capabilities of the Nighthunter necessitate a higher cost, but if an LRF is what you needed, you might consider this cost reasonable.
Which Steiner Binoculars Do You Suggest for a Safari?
It would seem that a pair of binoculars with Safari in their name would be a model to consider when going on an actual African safari. You may or may not find this to be the case, depending on how and when you plan to use them while on your trip.
Many safaris involve riding in some sort of jeep or truck across the African plain. If you hope to spot animals in the distance while the vehicle is moving, you’ll want something you can hold steady, that has a wide field of view, and that handles bright light well.
If you only intend to use the binoculars after the truck has stopped, you requirements may be less strict. If your driver or spotter has already found something interesting to look at, it’s probably already fairly close, so you won’t need clarity at a great distance.
The Steiner Safari Ultrasharp binoculars both have decent FOV at over 300 feet. The 8×22 is the better of the two at 377 feet. The Safari Ultrasharp 10×26 widens to 302 feet.
Both Safaris are among the lightest Steiner models in weight. The Safari Ultrasharp 8×22 is the lightest at just 10 ounces. It is almost identical to the Champ 8×22. The Safari costs a little more.
The Safari and Champ models are among the few that apparently don’t come with objective lens caps or rain protector caps. Even though they are reported to be minimally waterproof, if you think water in any form could be a problem while using your binoculars, you’ll either want to avoid these models or be ready to keep them away from the water as the need arises.
Are Steiner Binoculars Good for Astronomy?
Many people think of using a telescope when first presented with the possibility of looking into the sky at night. However, a good pair of binoculars mounted on a tripod will serve just as well and perhaps better in some cases.
Other than the moon, objects in the night sky all appear pretty small. If you’re going to hold your binoculars in your hands while gazing upward, you need to be quite steady. If you have something stable to lean against, that makes it easier. However, there isn’t always a support that will work.
If you don’t have a steady hand, you may want to opt for a pair of binoculars that you can mount on a tripod. Steiner has several of these from which to choose most of which are in the military grade line making them more expensive.
One example is the M2080 which is great in low light situations (aka night time). It’s relatively large and heavy, but since you’re mounting it on a tripod anyway, these factors make little difference.
See below for a list of the other military-grade binoculars.
Does Steiner Make Binoculars That Work Well on the Water?
Steiner has a specific line called Marine that consists of binoculars made for you if you’re on a ship either in fresh or salt water.
These binoculars are not only waterproof but are also corrosion-proof, are fog proof, and have special coatings and construction necessary for use at sea.
There are three lines in this group: Commander, Navigator Pro, and Marine (which is currently just a single pair).
Many of these models include a compass. The Commander Global C 7×50 even has one that works anywhere in the world. If you are a global seafarer, this is the pair for you.
Three of the four Commander models are 7×50. The other model is 7×30. All four are military grade.
The Navigator Pro line also comes in 7×30 and 7×50, with and without a compass. These are not military grade but are great for recreational use on the water.
The Marine 7×50 is noted as a great value for the price. Users also state that it works extremely well in low light conditions.
All of the above Marine lines have a close focus of 66 feet. That makes sense for use on the water where you’re not likely to be closer than that to your target.
They all have a field of view of at least 350 feet. The Marine 7×50 is the narrowest but is still 356 feet. The widest are the Commander 7×50 and the Commander 7x50c at 438 feet.
With objective lenses or either 30mm or 50mm and a compass in most of the models, these binoculars are medium to heavy in weight, ranging from about 18 ounces for the Marine 7×50 to more than 40 ounces for the Commander Global C 7×50 and the Commander 7x50c.
What Would You Recommend for Hiking or Sporting Events?
When you go hiking, including up mountains, you probably want a light-weight pair of binoculars. After all, you’re most likely carrying a backpack full of other supplies too.
Any of the compact versions, especially those in the Nature & Travel line will do for hiking. It so happens that, with the possible exception of the XC models, these will be useful at almost any sporting event too.
The Steiner Wildlife XP Compact 8×24 binoculars are the lightest of the three in this line at 12.1 ounces. The 10×26 set weighs virtually the same, and the Wildlife XP Compact 10.5×28 weighs just a tad more at 12.6 ounces. Even though they are the heaviest, the Compact 10.5×28 binoculars are one of the best choices available.
The Tactical and Military Lines Have Specific Purposes
As you can tell by the names of their categories, the Tactical and Military Steiner models are intended for law enforcement and military personnel respectively. This is not to say that you can’t find other uses for them.
In general, these will be of the highest quality since military specifications are normally well above those required for civilian use. As mentioned above, this increase in quality will also come with an increase in price.
If your job is in either of these areas, you probably have been given guidelines as to what is acceptable for use in your field. Recommendations here aren’t likely to help you much.
That said, I can still show you in the tables below what is available in these categories along with some their relevant features.
First, here are the models in the Tactical line. The model number itself shows the magnification and the objective lens size. For example, the P750 is a 7×50 pair.
|Model||FOV (ft.)||Close Focus (ft.)||Weight (oz.)|
Then, here are the Military standard binoculars. Again the magnification and size are in the model number.
An “r” in the model number means that pair includes a ranging reticle. A “c” means it contains a compass. “LRF” designates a laser rangefinder.
|Model||FOV (ft.)||Close Focus (ft.)||Weight (oz.)|
Where Can I Buy Steiner Binoculars?
These days you can find just about everything online, particularly at Amazon. But if you want to examine a pair of binoculars in person, you need to find a brick and mortar store nearby that carries what you’re looking for.
For Steiner binoculars, two places to check out are Gander Mountain and Cabela’s. You can find a Cabela’s store in all but about a dozen states. They also have locations in several Canadian provinces.
Gander Mountain is primarily is the eastern US, but they are expanding. You can find them as far west as Denver and El Paso.
Other stores to look at are Big 5 in the western section of the US and Scheels in the Midwest.
How Much Are Steiner Binoculars?
As hinted at above, these binoculars are available in a fairly wide range of prices. You can find them for less than $200 up to more than ten times that amount and many price points in between.
The actual price you pay will partly depend on whether you get them online (usually less expensive) or in person.
The Ultimate Decision
Hopefully you now have a clearer idea of what to look for and what is available in the Steiner optics lines. You should be able to use this information to make a wise choice by combining it with your wants and needs.
Steiner will certainly continue to innovate and develop more and better products in the future. As they do, the Owl will try to update this article to keep you in the know regarding binoculars from this high-quality designer.