Manufactured in Germany, the Steiner Binocular brand is one of the most respected within the optics industry and is synonymous with quality workmanship and materials as well as good value for money.
Steiner Optics was actually founded way back in 1947 by a man called Karl Steiner and so for almost 70 years, Steiner have been developing the mid to high performance binoculars and other optics for military, law enforcement, marine, birdwatching and other serious outdoor use.
As a general rule, I have found that Steiner binoculars are of a high quality and often demonstrate industry leading innovation. It is this as well as the combination of superior German optics, precision manufacturing and rigorous testing, that Steiner has in my opinion some of the best binoculars in their class currently on the market.
Many of Steiner's innovations have now been copied by many other manufacturers, these include the use of very tough armour made from rubber, the use of nitrogen filling to eliminate fogging of the lenses and water pressure proofing many of their bins to depths of up to five meters. Steiner were also the very first to add a compass into a binocular.
Many of their models have to endure the very rigorous specification test of the U.S. Military and because their toughness and durability, Steiner binoculars are used by the military, hunters, boaters, hikers, birders, safari guides and outdoor enthusiasts all over the world.
The three models in the Wildlife XP binoculars are designed with travel and wildlife adventures in mind and are basically an evolution of the very popular and one of my favorite compacts, the Wildlife Pro Series.
The main improvement is that they incorporate Steiner's XP optics system that focuses on extremely high precision during the assembly and manufacture of the lenses and which has an improved coating process which result in producing a very high quality, high contrast and bright image for a binocular in this size class.
Designed with travel in mind, it is light and compact. Like the other Wildlife and safari models, it features a duel hinge which enable the binocular to fold down to a really small size when not in use and will easily fit in most jacket and even shirt pockets. For more on this see my article on the Best Compact Pocket Binoculars, which goes over the different compact designs in detail and shows just how not all of them are created equal.
The neck strap can be attached and removed very quickly and easily using their ClicLoc system and shows a good attention to detail.
Other build features include a tough rubber armor, the body is fully water proof (up to 2m) which protects them from both moisture and dust. The have also been filled with Nitrogen gas which prevents internal fogging of the lenses and use a two-way-valve, which makes repairs simpler should it ever be needed. Steiner also back the Wildlife XP with an impressive 30 year warranty.
Models in the Wildlife XP Series:
The Wildlife XP's range in price from about £200 - £300 depending on the model and where you buy them. In the US, look out for the Wildlife Pro Models which range in price from about $300 - $400:
The wildlife Pro series of binoculars as the name suggests are designed for wildlife viewing and make perfect binoculars for safari holidays: Tough, waterproof, portable and manufactured from precision alloy, the Steiner compact Wildlife Pro series binoculars are built to handle the world's harshest conditions. The Wildlife Pro models are wrapped in a smooth, quiet and non-reflective earth tone rubber armoring that is said to make them almost invisible to wildlife.
Binoculars in the Wildlife Pro Series include:
Depending on the model, they have a list price of between $400 and $500, but I have often seen them listed on Amazon from about $300 - $400.
The Safari UltraSharp series consists of four low cost models, two very small roof prism designs and two compact porro prism models. All of which are aimed at the travel and outdoor enthusiasts and specifically those going on wildlife and indeed as their name suggests, safari adventures.
Considering their low price point (see price range below), all the Safari UltraSharp binoculars feature a surprising amount of quality features and should outperform most of their competitors in this price bracket.
All models are fully waterproof and covered in a tough and durable outer armor. They also come with Steiner's "High-Contrast-Optics" that they have been specially coated and manufactured with precision to give you a high contrasting, bright image with a natural feel to the colours.
The two porro prism models come with what Steiner call their Sports-Auto-Focus Plus system. Now as I explain in this document on Auto or Self Focusing Binoculars, they don't actually auto focus at all, they are probably better described as fixed focus binoculars with a very long depth of view.
The upside of these fixed focus is that you never have to focus on an object making target recognition as fast as possible.
However on the downside, to get the very long depth of focus they always have a pretty poor (far) near focusing distance. With the Steiner Sports-Auto-Focus Plus system, they have got around this by adding a focussing wheel which you only turn when you want to observe objects at a close range (from 2 to 20m) this makes these models far more useful in a wider variety of uses than traditional fixed focus bins and is an innovation that I really like.
Steiner also offer a 10 year warranty on the UltraSharp range.
So if you are looking for a very reasonably priced, but good quality pair of compact binoculars, you could do far worse than this Safari series from Steiner.
Binoculars in the Safari UltraSharp Series include:
The Safari UltraSharp range in price from about £90 - £200 depending on the model and where you buy them. In the US, look out for the Safari Pro Models which range in price from about $90 - $250:
Some of Steiner's cheapest binoculars are also some of their most popular, their Safari binoculars are compact, tough have quality Steiner BAK-4 optics all at a very reasonable price, making them in my opinion some of the best value for money binocular in their class.
Stein Safari binoculars have been specifically designed and developed for travel and any outdoor adventure activity. Well balanced binoculars with an ergonomic design makes them comfortable to hold. The feature quality workmanship and Steiner's Bak-4 optics all wrapped in a compact and tough body that make them ideal traveling companions. If you are looking for a reasonably priced, quality pair of compact binoculars, you could do far worse than the Safari Pro series from Steiner.
Read my blog post for more on Steiner Safari Pro Binoculars
Binoculars in the Safari Pro Series include:
Depending on the model, they have a list price of between $120 and $200, but I have often seen them listed on Amazon from as little as $85 for the 8x22 safari model.
Designed specifically with birders in mind, the range of Steiner Peregrine XP Binoculars are as far as I can tell marketed as Steiner Discovery Binoculars in the UK and Europe, but incase they are different, I will split them up below.
The Peregrine XP's use a die-cast Magnesium chassis for it's strength and lightweight properties. Like most other Steiner's these are completely waterproof and fully submersible.
The optics on these are said by the company to offer very high light transmission and give you images with a neutral, true color, but with high contrast.
This combined with with their "NANO-Protection", a water phobic coating that repels moisture away from the larger than usual 44mm objective lenses and oversized 30mm ocular lenses to ensure that the image produced is always clear even in very poor conditions.
Performance of the roof prism is improved by the use of a phase correction coating as well as a dielectric mirror coating that eliminates glare as well as stray light, improving the brightness and resolution of the image produced.
These coatings as well as the XP optical coating take the Steiner's XP's to new levels of performance and ranks them up there with the very best.
Binoculars in the Peregrine XP Series include:
Depending on the model, they have a list price of between $1599 and $1,629, but I have often seen them listed on Amazon at far cheaper prices.
The Discovery range of binoculars are built in Germany for discerning birders around the world and according to Steiner they set new standards for optical excellence. The Discovery´s ergonomic Soft grips are especially formed soft thumb cushions with a non-slip surface that make it unique in handling. With the extensive eye relief, you benefit from a maximum viewing comfort. High-Definition XP-Optics deliver a first-class light transmission, brightness and optimal contrast. A number of further innovations make our Discovery models unique and powerful. And all packed in the legendary Steiner ruggedness.
Binoculars in the Discovery Series include:
Depending on the model, they have a list price of between £1319 and £1375, but I have often seen them listed on Amazon between £990 and £1100.
Ideal birdwatchers binoculars, the new SkyHawk Pro binoculars will not only impress you with their outstanding handling and first-class performance but they are also doing their best to protect the environment: Steiner’s cooperation with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), the UNESCO project “Schutzstation Wattenmeer” in Northern Germany and a number of other global conservation projects have resulted in the use of exclusively "green" eco-glass for lenses and prisms and hypoallergenic chloride-free rubbers. Glass refining takes place without arsenic, antimony or other harmful heavy metals.
Steiner SkyHawk Pro’s optics now help you more than ever to find, watch and identify the birds you are looking for. They have a large field of view for quick locating and a really fast close focus system. Only high contrast optics, ECO-glass, multi-layered, high-tech coatings of high-grade metals and rare minerals are used in their production to deliver the highest optical performance and true-to-life colour rendition even in very poor lighting conditions.
As well as being tough, Steiner's nitrogen pressure system with its unique 2-way-valve technology prevents fogging on the inside of the binoculars while keeping them pressure tight under water to a depth of one meter.
Choose the pair of binoculars that best meets your individual needs from the five different SkyHawk Pro models.
Binoculars in the SkyHawk Pro Series include:
Depending on the model, they cost between £200 and £450:
These Steiner birdwatching binoculars which are marketed in the US and aimed at birders. As such they focus on giving you a nice wide field of view to make locating your target as quick as possible, something that is especially important for things like birds on the move.
The alloy body is nice and light and also ensures that the Steiner Merlin is tough, fully waterproofed for use on the rainiest of days.
The optics are made using high spec optical glass. Steiner have coated them with their own natural colored multi-coating . These anti-reflection coatings improve the amount of light that gets through the system and to your eyes, for a bright image even in poor ambient light.
Steiner have also added what they call their "Fast-Focus" system which is able to go from close focus to infinity with 2 complete turns of the focusing wheel.
Another example of the company's great attention to detail is the fact that these Merlin binoculars are coloured in a specific earth tone brown which Steiner have chosen with the collaboration of professional birders as the color that is least noticeable to birds.
Binoculars in the Merlin Series include:
Depending on the model, they cost between $450 and $850:
Designed specifically with hunters in mind, the main feature of Steiner Predator binoculars are the high contrast predator optics that are said to give wildlife no place to hide!
Steiner Optics add their own special color adjusted transmission coatings (CAT) on the lenses that help to block the colors of haze and foliage, whilst at the same time enhancing the visibility of browns, reds and other wildlife colors. The idea is that this will help you spot hidden wildlife in the bush by making it stand out more.
Whilst all are aimed at hunters, the different sized models within the series are designed for slightly different uses within hunting. For example the larger models with their large objective lenses can capture more light are better suited to those hunting in the thickest cover or in other low light conditions. Whilst the lighter smaller pairs will be better suited to those traversing larger distances over difficult or hilly country.
The 8x30 and 10x40 Steiner Predator Pro models feature Steiner's Sports Auto Focus feature and are basically focus free binoculars, which once they have been set for your eyes, require no further focus adjustment and so make for very fast target acquisition as well as offering incredible depth of field, for sharp images of everything from 20 yards to infinity.
Binoculars in the Predator Series include:
A wide variety of binoculars in this series mean a wide variety in prices ranging from under $200 for the Steiner 10x26 Predator Pro Binocular to over $1000 for the excellent Steiner 12x50 Predator Binoculars. The most popular models, the Predator 8x42 and 10x42 retail for around $400:
The Commander XP range are Steiner's top of the range marine binoculars and are available in two sizes, a 7x30 or a 7x0. Each size then comes with or without an illuminated and stabilized compass, giving a total of four different models:
Binoculars in the Commander Series include:
How Steiner Commander XP Binoculars are Made
A really interesting video produced by the Discovery Channel from the How It Is Made series that gives us a fantastic insight into the main steps in making a pair of Steiner Commander XP Marine binoculars. In this article, I take a look at the main steps in detail and expand on the information given.
Comment Posted To Me From A Reader:
I have owned and used a Steiner Marine now, for five years in Afghanistan. For a South African, its a lot of money to pay, but worth every cent of it. I've used mine working in the mountains, crossing rivers, in convoys in dust storms, with dust as fine as talcum powder (that has claimed many cellphones, cameras, laptops and satphones). in temperatures ranging from 50C to minus 27C. Image is crystal clear , even in low light. Its been dropped with my kit down mountainsides, thrown onto and out of trucks and choppers. and its still perfect like the day i bought it. Biggest plus is the no fog, no glare, compactness, clear view and for me the biggest plus is the reticule which I use to calculate size, distance and speed. It is an awesome all rounder tool. If taken proper care of (not letting someone liberate it from you), this binoculars will last you a lifetime. Jacques
At the time of writing, these top end marine binoculars range in price from about $550 / £500 to $1200 /£900 for the Steiner Commander 7X50 XP C Binoculars.
There are two ranges of Steiner marine binoculars, Steiner Commander and the value for money Navigator binoculars that come in both compass and without compass versions as well as slightly different models in the US compared to Europe. Not only are they extremely rugged, Navigator marine binoculars are guaranteed to be water-pressure proof down to a depth of 2 meters. They are the ideal companion for the water sports enthusiast or professional.
The Navigator 7x50 K is fitted with the largest available stabilized HD compass ever to be fitted into binoculars. The larger compass means more accurate bearings making it possible to calculate size or distance with precision giving you just that little bit of extra safety on the high seas. On top of this fluid damping and illumination make it possible to fix your position under any extreme condition imaginable.
The Navigator 7x30 is the world’s first compact compass binocular and comes with a LX Precision Compass that is very well stabilized by a fluid dampening system.
Binoculars in the Navigator Series include:
A wide variety of binoculars in this series mean a wide variety in prices ranging from about $200 / £220 to over $450 /£400 for the Steiner Navigator 7X50 Compass Binoculars.
Below are some of the Steiner Binoculars that I have reviewed: View All Steiner Reviews
View >> All Steiner Binoculars that I have reviewed.
Which are the Best Compact Steiner Binoculars for Walking Safaris?
In this article I answer the question from someone who wants to know what are the best compact Steiner binoculars for a walking safari holiday in the Kruger, National Park, South Africa.
How Steiner Commander XP Binoculars are Made
A¬†really interesting video produced by the Discovery Channel that goes through the main steps in making a pair of Steiner Commander XP Marine binoculars.
Which Steiner Binoculars for Safaris?
Advice to a person going on safari in Rwanda and Uganda and is looking for some safari binoculars, but can't decide between the Steiner Wildlife Pro 10.5x28 binoculars and the Steiner Wildlife Pro CF 8x30's
Best Compact Pocket Binoculars
An article that covers the different compact designs in detail and shows just how not all of them are created equal.
The Steiner Time Line
1967: Steiner was the first company to optimize (in conjunction with Bayer) and use high tech material Makrolon (fibre-reinforced non corroding polycarbonate which is practically indestructible) in binocular housings.
1973: Steiner Invented the first binocular with Nitrogen
1978: Steiner invented the first Compass Binoculars
1985: Steiner introduced a 2 valve system for the Nitrogen-pressure-system
1989: The First colour-coated binocular invented
1990: Introduction of ultra-violet colour coating
1998: High Contrast Optics introduced
1999: The Steiner Wildlife range introduced in cooperation with Reinhold Messner and the World Wildlife Fund
2001: Steiner Nighthunter - night binocular range introduced
2003: Steiner Nighthunter XP range introduced
Steiner Navigator PRO series introduced
Steiner Safari Models first introduced
2004: Steiner Wildlife Pro & Steiner Wildlife models introduced
2005: Steiner Skyhawk series introduced
2006: The Steiner Marine Binoculars, the Commander XP and Skipper 7x30 models introduced plus improved design of the Skipper 7x50 models
2007 Steiner introduce the Discovery range - their professional birdwatching binoculars
Steiner recommend that if you are having any problems with your Steiner binocular or accessory, the first thing to do would be to refer to your "manual for helpful tips and information", they also remind you that exterior parts which show wear from usage, are not covered under the Steiner warranty. The next
But if you are looking for binocular repairs, the next step would be to get in touch with your local authorized Steiner dealer as they are often able to carry out basic repairs at their location under Steiner warranty guidelines.
Failing that, the next step would be to send the binocular by prepaid postage or freight to the address below, but before sending the binoculars for repair they suggest that you first contact them: steinerrepairs[@]burrisoptics.com or CALL 888-228-7747. They will then instruct you to fill out a returns form before sending your optics.
Steiner Binocular Repair USA
Steiner Service Center
Burris Company Inc.
331 East 8th Street Greeley,
Steiner will let you know in advance of any repair charges for the service being performed that is not covered under warranty or you may pre-authorize us to do non-warranty repairs up to a pre-set limit. If the charges are higher, you will be notified. Again, please fill out the Return form completely. They also advise that there is about a 2 to 3 weeks turnaround time for processing and repairs, but do go on to say that if you require any rush service, let them know and they will do our best to accommodate your needs.
For more information on repairing binoculars in general and where you can get your optics repaired, take a look at my section on Binocular Repairs.
97 Foster Road Suite5
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Phone: (800) 257-7742
Fax: (856) 866-8615