Originally Posted by Hermann
The Canon IS binoculars work for some and don't work for others because of the funny artifacts of the IS. Please also note Canon never put any real effort into developing their IS any further. They basically left things as they were when the IS bins were introduced.
Well, actually the IS system has been developed since its introduction, and the present models work significantly better than the first 12x36 and 15x45 units. Artifacts are also reduced.
I am currently comparing a new 10x42 IS L to my old one from 2007, and the new one has IS that engages faster and remains centered on the target better than the one in the old one, essentially introducing fewer artifacts. The new one also has noticeably better transmission and more accurate and vibrant colors.
As it happens, just before borrowing this Canon for a trial I tested an SLC 10x56, which was as expected an excellent binocular indeed. However, in tripod-mounted resolution testing, the Canon exceeded the results I got with the SLC. In handheld or finnstick-held viewing, there is simply no comparison. The IS technology simply opens up a whole other world to see.
IS aside, the best current binoculars are better than the best available 10-15 years or more ago, but Omid's 10x50 Trinovid is one of the very best if not the best binoculars of the pre-FL/HD era, and compared with that, the differences are not dramatic.
The quote about the best porros having reached transmission levels of 95% already perhaps reflects somewhat dated information, since I believe those figures from Fujinon and Nikon SE have since been shown to have been a bit optimistic. It can be said generally that the total transmission in most top-level binoculars has gone from an average of 80-85% ten to fifteen years ago to 90-95% today, meaning that there is now less room for improvement left than was the improvement in the past fifteen years. I do expect that in the near future we will have binoculars with almost perfectly black interior surfaces, though, and that will give a readily noticeable improvement.
Furthermore, it is to be hoped at least that more precise and automated production processes will further reduce production tolerances, and that would open the possibility for having more consistently low total aberration levels in the final products without increasing costs. That would also offer readily noticeable visual benefits.