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You say you love the features and specifications of the Steiner Commander series binoculars but can’t afford the price? I’ve got good news for you. The Steiner Navigator Pro series is virtually identical at a fraction of the cost.
You are probably wondering how that is possible. The main difference between the two series is that the Commanders are built to military specifications while the Navigators are not. If that doesn’t matter to you, one of the four Navigator Pro models is probably what you are looking for.
If you already know which Navigator you want, click the link below to check the availability and pricing at Amazon. Otherwise, keep reading the review to help you decide, clicking a link in the box to skip to a specific section, if you like.
Steiner had several groups of people in mind when they designed these binoculars. They were thinking of hobby sailors, recreational boaters, and weekend fishermen.
If you fit into one or more of those categories, or if you simply are on the water a fair amount of time, then the Navigator Pro binoculars are for you.
All of these models are built to withstand the special environment that you encounter both on fresh water and salt water excursions.
One caveat regarding the Navigator Pro line. I would take this as a rumor at this point until there is official word from Steiner. There is a comment online reported by an owner who spoke in person with a Steiner representative to the effect that these binoculars may soon be discontinued due to low demand compared to Commander and hunting models.
Even if this proves to be true, you should still be able to find them at retailers for a good, long time.
In the video below from Optics Planet, the statement is made that the Navigator Pro is top of the line. This isn’t correct; the Commanders are at the top. The video may have been made before the Commanders were available. All other parts of the video are valid.
The four models in this series are very similar, differing mainly in objective lens size (50 millimeters vs 30 millimeters) and whether or not they have the built in compass. The “c” models have the compass.
Because of the items mentioned just above, the size and weight will obviously differ as well.
Here are the specifications common to all 4 models.
- Sports-Auto-Focus™ – Set the diopters once, then get auto-focus from 20 yards to infinity.
- High contrast optics system – This isn’t explained well, but it sounds good.
- Close focus of 66 feet – Virtually the same as the 20 yards of auto-focus.
- Cylindrical eyecups – Fold them down if needed.
- NBR Long Life Armoring – Nitrile butadiene rubber is great stuff.
- Waterproof and submersible to 16 feet – It’s okay if you get them a little wet.
- Field of View (FOV) = 370 feet – Find and keep your target in sight, even on the waves.
- Neoprene neck strap – Comfortable, even though heavy, around your neck.
- ClicoLoc® strap attachment system – Snap on, snap off easily.
- Objective lens covers – Protect those large lenses.
- Rain protection cap – Cover the eyepiece lenses too.
- Carry case – Keep the elements away when not in use.
- Compass battery = CR 1225 – You’ll want to get a spare just in case. (This obviously applies only to 2 of the models.)
- Heritage™ Warranty – No muss, no fuss, for the life of your optics.
Here is a quick comparison of the weight (in ounces) and dimensions (in inches) differences.
|Model||Weight||H x W x L|
|7×50||36.3||5.5 x 8.1 x 3.0|
|7x50c||39.2||Same as above, plus compass|
|7×30||18.3||4.2 x 6.5 x 2.2|
|7x30c||19.8||Same as above, plus compass|
In addition to the Commander and Navigator Pro lines, Steiner also has a Marine line. Currently the Steiner site only mentions one Marine model.
According to a Steiner representative…
“The main difference between the Marine and Navigator lines is that the Navigators offer a slightly wider field of view, and they can be submerged to a depth of 6 ft, while the Marines are only waterproof, not submersible.”
So if those differences don’t matter to you, you might also consider the Marine model amongst your options.
While the Commander series is the best of Steiner’s marine models, the price says that they’re not for everyone.
If you want nearly the same quality without the cost, you really need to check out the Navigator Pro. This is one of a very few models of binoculars for which I could find no negatives worth mentioning.
However, if you found that these aren’t for you either, look at this Steiner binoculars overview. You will probably find another series and model more to your liking.