Going On Safari? Then You’ll Need A Pair Of Binoculars.
Short On Time?
Our Recommended Best Binoculars For Safari Is The Steiner “Commander” 7×50!
- HIGH-DEFINITION-OPTICS - For clear, razor sharp images in full contrast with maximum resolution right to the edge.
- XL-FIELD OF VIEW - With 145 m/1000m for the utmost overview in every situation. Rounding out the optical performance of the Commander with the best possible overview in any situation.
- SPORTS-AUTO-FOCUS - Perfect attunement for on-water use by Sports-Auto-Focus system that lets you focus each eyepiece to your vision once, then keeps razor sharp from 20 m to infinity, no more chasing focus on moving targets, 3D-images and the specification 7x magnification.
- NITROGEN-PRESSURE-SYSTEM - Fogging up or the formation of condensation inside the binoculars is totally prevented by this high-tech proprietary solution. Even temperature variations between -40 °C to +80 °C do not affect the functionality of STEINER nitrogen-filled binoculars.
- LEGENDARY RUGEDNESS - With durable polycarbonate Makrolon housing that withstands 11G of impact, Floating Prism System that uses flexible silicon to absorb severe shock, impact and abuse without damage, Water Pressure Proofness to 10 m, Nitrogen-Pressure-Filling into the optic against fogging up inside at temperature range between -40°C to +80°C and the protective, hydrophobic STEINER Nano-Protection.
- NANO-PROTECTION - Always a clear view by the protective, hydrophobic coating on the lenses that makes water sheeting off and dirt, dust, snow are repellent for easy cleaning and clear view.
- COMFORT-BALANCE-SYSTEM - With NBR-Long Life rubber armouring, STEINER ComfortGrip thumb rests, versatile ErgoFlex Eyecups and the Memory-Ocular saving personal diopter settings.
- ERGOFLEX EYECUPS - eyecups protect you from lateral light and wind, allowing you to take advantage
- HIGH-END ACCESSORIES - With hardcase, comfortably padded, 3M-ClicLoc floating strap, ClicLoc neoprene-carrying strap for instant, push-button ease, rain protection cap and objective covers.
- German (Publication Language)
Safari is the Swahili word meaning journey, nothing more. In western terms it means going and seeing animals in their natural habitat.
Whether it’s the pure luxury of Botswana’s Okovango Delta, the “raw” Makgadigadi Pans, or dolphin spotting off Gibraltar, one thing is a certainty , the wildlife must be looked for, its not waiting for tourists to come along.
The best times to view wildlife is either just before dawn, or as the long hot dusty day starts cooling at night. Yes, african safari operators do offer night and dawn game drives.
With lighting so low, a good light gathering pair of binoculars are essential to spot some, if not all the “Big Five”. Without binoculars, animals can often be impossible to see (even though you can smell them!).
To choose safari binoculars is a bewildering task. This review has taken the five most popular models to see which are the ideal binoculars for safari.
The Steiner “Commander” 7×50 Marine Binoculars.
If ever there were binoculars that mean business, the Steiner “Commander” are them. Rugged design and able to be used in the harshest conditions, these 7×50 binoculars are for the real game viewing enthusiast.
Looking a little old fashioned, the “Commander” binoculars use the more efficient “Porro” prism configuration, set in place with “floating silicon technology”.
With a tough polycarbonate body, pressure filled nitrogen sealed interior and clad in a thick rubber armour this pair of binoculars will quite literally survive the full charge of a rhino, as it’s able to withstand an impact of 11G.
With an objective lens diameter of 50mm, the “Commander” binoculars are excellent to use in the very low light conditions of the night or dawn game drives.
The 7x magnification, although not high magnification, reduces internal light loss, producing image quality that is crystal clear and at just the right magnification.
Steiner recently increased the “Commander’s ” wide field of view by 12% making it a huge 145m at 1000m, ensuring a large scanning area in one go.
With HD stabilized index matched optical glass and Steiner’s “Diamond-Marine” coating (all rights reserved) these 7×50 safari binoculars have optimal nightlight gathering ability and is capable of preventing flare, glare and chromatic aberration during the harsh sunlight of an african day.
Steiner have also coated each of the objective lenses of the binoculars with its patented hydrophobic nano protection coating ( all rights reserved), repelling rain, dust and even snow from the lens surface ensuring a crystal clear image.
“Commander” binoculars also includes “sports autofocus” where the image is focused on once and the binoculars will automatically “follow focus” the image, ideal for those who see a hunt in progress.
While these Steiner binoculars come with hypoallegenic silicon “ergoflex” eyecups for less distracting viewing, they can be fully rolled back to reduce vignetting. For perfect focusing the “Commander” uses a memory dioptre which means a very clever set and forget focusing system.
Ideal for navigation when on “raw” safari, The Steiner “Commander” has an integral compass with ranging reticle, an absolute necessity when there are no tarred roads, sign posts or humanity for miles around.
For added comfort the “Commander’s” body is non slip and has moulded thumb rests, which is aimed for steady viewing with minimal shake.
The Steiner “Commander” binoculars are just at home on the water as they would be in the Kalahari. So, if on a marine safari , be it whale watching, shark spotting or deep sea fishing on the rough atlantic waters off Cape town, these binoculars are completely waterproof to a depth of 10m.
The supplied neck strap is also designed as a high visibility floatation buoy, so if these binoculars do go overboard they are spottable, waterproof and will not be lost forever.
The “Commander” 7×50 is supplied with lens caps, eye piece cover and a hard carry case.
As with all Steiner optical products, the “Commander” 7×50 are covered by a lifetime warranty.
As mentioned before these binoculars are for the true wildlife enthusiast or those who making a living in the wild be it on land or sea.
As such these highly durable safari binoculars are certainly not cheap. They are by far and away the most expensive binoculars under test, but such quality and durability does not come cheaply.
To be so strong, lightness is a victim with the Steiner “Commander”. These are a very heavy pair of binoculars, weighing in at an eye watering 1.2kg. Shake will set in very quickly unless there is a stable platform to set them on.
Should they be found in the January or Summer binocular sales, be sure to grab a pair! These really are one of the best safari binoculars.
- Can withstand the heaviest of impacts.
- Extremely wide field of view.
- Excellent image quality, in all light conditions.
- Large 50mm objective lens diameter, superb light gathering capability.
- “Sport auto focus” feature allowing follow focus of action or animal.
- Completeley waterproof to a depth of 10m, as well as dust proof.
- Internally pressured with nitrogen to be mold and fog proof.
- Lifetime warranty.
- The price. By far and away the most expensive binoculars in this review.
- The weight. Incredibly heavy, but for such robustness weight will be the casuality.
The Steiner “Blue Horizons” 10×26 Binoculars.
The “2020 Best Compact Binoculars Award” winner , the Steiner ” Blue Horizons” 10×26 binoculars are a slimline 10x magnification safari binoculars that can easily fit in a jacket pocket.
Modelled around the “Porro prism” configuration these safari binoculars are surprisingly compact.
With relative “Grey card” reading of 16.17%, images are both clear and sharp, thanks to full multi layer coating of the lenses.
Hours of strain and “hand shake” free viewing due to the “Blue horzons” 10×26 only weighing a mere 310g, makes these safari binoculars ideal for bird watching.
Eye fatigue from the glare of the african sun is reduced by Steiner’s innovative “autobright” technology, which basically acts as a polariser to make the lenses, cut reflections and glare, making images easier to view without the eye strain.
With such a high magnification factor, these Steiner 10×26 binoculars have a wide field of view of 98m at 1000m. With such a rating it offers a high chance of catching “that cheetah” hiding in the veld.
These “Blue Horizons” compact binoculars are encased in a rubber armour making them resistant to minor knocks, while also being resistant to the weather, oil, and acid.
For viewing comfort the “Blue Horizons” 10×26 have generous hypoallergenic long life silicon eye cups which peel down to reduce vignetting for spectacle wearers. Dioptre adjustments are on the right hand eyepiece.
When not in use the Steiner “Blue Horizons” 10×26 and neck strap slide comfortabley into their protective neoprene hip carry case, for storage and added protection.
As with all Steiner binoculars, the “Blue Horizons” come with a lifetime warranty.
Steiner have produced a stylish and yet well performing pair of compact binoculars in the shape of the “Blue Horizons” 10×26, but there are some disappointments in the features and performance in these binoculars.
Surprisingly, the african summer doubles as the rainy season, with real down pours known as ” veld storms”. It is vital that equipment like binoculars are either kept dry or are waterproof.
The Steiner “Blue Horizons” are only water resistant, and if caught in a ” veld storm” could suffer damage to to its internal lenses.
Steiner have forgotten about the first line of defence: lens caps! These are essential given the dust and rain that can be expected during “safari”.
While having a rubberised covering, these binoculars’ have a plastic body as opposed to being made of stronger polycarbonate.
Although lightweight and compact, these “binoculars for safari” will need some extra care if they are to survive the whole trip.
- Extremely lightweight. Easily stored in a coat pocket or day knapsack.
- High magnification with minimal loss of luminosity.
- Field of view width of 98m at 1000m. Good scanning ability to spot animals.
- Autobright polarising system to reduce eye strain caused by glare and reflection.
- Lifetime warranty.
- Complete lack of lens caps or rain guard.
- Only water resistant, will not be suitable for african summer downpours, which can be torrential.
- Plastic body instead of the much tougher polycarbonate which is usually used.
The Ever Reliable Nikon “Prostaff” 3S 8×42 Binoculars.
Nikon, one of the iconic names in the optical world has a comprehensive range of quality binoculars, among them the “Prostaff” 3S 8×42.
These Nikon binoculars are Nikon’s tried and tested eco glass roof prism design with full multi layer coating on each of the lenses, and an additional specific silver alloy coating on the prisms, internal reflection has been greatly reduced.
The effect of which has greatly enhanced the binoculars’ performance in the low light levels of an african morning or the onset of darkness short lived african dusk.
As a result, Nikon is able to use a lens size of 42mm as opposed to 50mm, cutting weight down and thereby reducing the curse of ” hand shake”.
This pair of safari binoculars has a magnification of 8, enough to see wildlife and also to be able to scan for other game, due to a “real” field of view of 7.2°, similar to that of the Nikon “monarch 5” 8×42 but wihout the added weight of ED glass.
The Nikon “Prostaff” 3S has the standard tough polycarbonate body which is nitrogen filled and “O” ring sealed to prevent the formation of mold and fog in the interior.
Completely encased in a durable weatherproof rubber armour housing this pair of safari binoculars are waterproof to a depth of 1m as well as dust proof.
Being made lighter than the “monarch 5” as well as the standard “Prostaff” 3, the Nikon “Prostaff ” 3S are ideal for bird watching as well as extended game viewing, with less chance of “hand shake”.
For viewing comfort the Nikon “Prostaff” 3S has eye cups that twist and slide to the desired eye relief as well as full retraction to reduce vignetting for spectacle wearers.
For full proper focusing the dioptre adjustment is situated on the right hand eyepiece.
As with every pair of Nikon binoculars, the “Prostaff” 3S is covered by a lifetime warranty.
The “Prostaff” 3S 8×42 has a soft carry pouch, lens caps, eyepiece rain guard as well as a neck strap.
Nikon’s “Prostaff” 3S 8×42 are one of the best binoculars for safaris, but they do have one or two drawbacks.
Though lighter than the “monarch 5” and regular “Prostaff” 3, the “Prostaff” 3S weighs in at 565g and can still cause ” hand shake”
On the whole though The Nikon “Prostaff” 3S are one of the best binoculars to actually take on an african safari.
- The price. Nikon have made the “Prostaff” 3S very resonably priced.
- Excellent light gathering and low light capabilities due to new coating and eco-glass technology for lenses.
- A “real” field of view of 7.2°. Ideal for scanning for game.
- Waterproof. Will survive an african “veld” storm and the dust.
- Rubber armour and polycarbonate construction. Able to take knocks.
- The “Prostaff” 3S is lighter than either the “monarch” 5 or regular “Prostaff”3, good for extended game viewing.
- Carries a lifetime warranty.
- While made lighter, weighing in at 565g, it is still able to cause “hand shake” after a while.
The Steiner ” Safari” 10×26 Binoculars.
The steiner ” Safari” 10×26 are a fully foldable pair of binoculars that will literally fit in a coat pocket with ease.
With an objective lens size of just 26mm the image quality at 10x magnification is surprisingly high.
Using dach process roof prisms the overall weight of these binoculars is lower than any corresponding model, with a weight of just 297g.
Weighing so little makes these Steiner “Safari” binoculars superb for really extended wildlife viewing without fatigue and the dreaded “hand shake” which can be annoying.
All the lenses in these binoculars are multi layer coated and phase corrected as standard. So viewing is glare, flare and chromatic aberration free.
The field of view for the Steiner “Safari” binoculars is an impressive 101m at 1000m, ensuring a good viewing vista as well as the ability to see game in good detail.
Steiner have made the “Safari” 10×26 with a polycarbonate body, which surprisingly for a binocular this size has been nitrogen purged and “O” ring sealed to prevent internal mold and fog formation; to make them waterproof.
With a durable but lightweight rubber armour housing, these truly portable compact binoculars would very probably be able to survive a “trip into the bush”and all that goes with it!
Steiner always use hypoallegenic silicon for their eye cups so that their retraction is just a simple peeling action, and this also is the case with the “Safari” 10×26.
With full retraction and an eye relief of 2.2mm spectacle wearers will experience minimal vignetting but an enhanced game viewing image as well.
Steiner also offer the “Safari” 10×26 in a choice of colours, which is puzzling, as the best ways to scare away wildlife is to be loud and to be brightly coloured.
The steiner “Safari” 10×26 comes with a lifetime warranty as do all Steiner optical products.
The Steiner “Safari” comes with neck strap, cleaning cloth and belt fitted canvas style material carrying case.
There are a couple of downsides to the Steiner “Safari” 10×26, while some may be small, others seem to be fundamental.
While glare and flare have been reduced, these particular Steiner binoculars are somewhat prone to image washout and excessive flare, especially if the sun is at about 45° and perpendicular to the line of view.
Game viewing is made close to impossible in this situation.
With its state of the art lens coating and glass technology, the Steiner “Safari” is not supplied with any lens caps or eyepiece rain guard, making the binoculars susceptable to scratches and potential water damage and external facing lens damage.
The Steiner “Safari” 10×26 binocular is possibly one of the best compact binoculars for sale at the moment, but given its lack of rudimentary lens protection, the “Safari” 10×24 are not the best safari binoculars, despite their name.
- Extremely lightweight and compact. Weighing just 297g allows extended viewing time
- Very good field of view of 101m at 1000m.
- Enhanced image quality due to new style dach prism design.
- Polycarbonate body and rubber armour, making the “Safari” 10×26 knock proof.
- Waterproof to 1m. Internal nitrogen purging and sealing making these binoculars resistant to mold and fog.
- Lifetime warranty.
- Offered in a range of colours. This not real safari mentality. Pure gimmick.
- When the line of view is at a certain angle to the sun complete image washout and excessive flare occures. Game viewing is impossible in this situation.
- Complete absence of lens caps or rear rain giuard for eyepieces. The “Safari” 10×26 has no lens protection from scratches or the african elements.
BNISE 10×42 Binoculars.
Unashamedley aimed at the social media generation, BNISE have produced the 10×42 at possibley the lowest price of any binocular for sale in its class.
These BaK4 class optical glass binoculars have a lens size of 42mm which yields a viewing area of 100.6m at 1000m. Which is excellent for budget binoculars such as these, and provides a good viewing vista allowing scanning for game.
All lenses of the BNISE 10×42 are fully multi layer coated, thereby reducing flare, glare and chromatic aberration to a minimum. As a result the image is crisp and colour saturation is perfect.
The binocular body of the BNISE 10×42 is made from robust polycarbonate and housed in rubber armour coating, making these binoculars knock resistant.
While being protected against knocks and drops the BNISE 10×42 are not internally sealed and as a result are water resistant as opposed to being waterproof.
Focusing is by a dampened central dial with a dioptre adjustment on the right hand eyepiece, for fine tuning.
The eyepieces have an eye relief of 4.2mm with a twist down mechanism for eyecup retraction. These binoculars have full eyecup retraction, reducing vignetting for those who have to wear glasses.
Uniquely amongst the binoculars in this review, the BNISE 10×42 are the only pair to include are smartphone adapter.
Extremely easy to install the smartphone adapter allows sharing of “eyepiece view” photos with others.
These BNISE binoculars come with lens caps, eyepiece rain guard, neck strap and soft material carry case with a shoulder strap
The BNISE 10×42 binocular comes with a lifetime guarantee.
The weight of these binoculars is an extremely hefty 960g. Unless monopod or tripod mounted the 10 x magnification and the sheer weight of these binoculars will cause “hand shake” in little to no time at all.
As a budget pair of binoculars there is very little to fault the BNISE 10×42. However, their sheer weight and magnifying power is unsuitable for sustained game viewing, while their water resistance and lack of internal sealing will not do them any good in the “veld”and are not a pair of binoculars for safari
- The Price. Extremely good balue for a budget pair of binoculars.
- High image quality with good colour saturation.
- A smartphone adapter included, to share scenes with others.
- Lifetime guarantee.
- The weight. High magnification and the weight of 960g will cause “hand shake” very quickly.
- No internal sealing , making the BNISE 10×42 water resistant and not waterproof.
Which Are The Best Safari Binoculars?
While all the binoculars under review are very popular as well as excellent in their own right, and probably the best binoculars in other fields, the best binoculars for safari are:
The Steiner ” Commander” 7×50 Marine Binoculars With Compass.