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The new crop of 30mm Image Stabilised binoculars

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Old Wednesday 13th November 2019, 21:28   #1
dipped
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The new crop of 30mm Image Stabilised binoculars

Along with Viking, Opticron, Vixen (another brand I can't remember), Kite have now entered the fray with a slightly tweaked and on first check more expensive model in 10 and 12x power. These are the Angle Power Control (APC) models.

These Kite models promise automatic detection and turning on in the horizontal position and off in the vertical position amongst other "refinements". They still have the main slider on/off switch. I've seen a price of £769 for the 10x model https://www.harrisoncameras.co.uk/pd...--615g_apc1030

I'd be interested to see one of these versions properly tested and opinions on their usefulness compared to the Canon IS binoculars.

For the moment I've had a look at the Viking Scout 12x30 IS and on my brief acquaintance to quote from a Housemartins CD "now that's what I call quite good".

Currently I think their main usefulness would be in open habitats but not for woodland and I think I'd struggle to use one as a main birding binocular.
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Old Thursday 14th November 2019, 09:29   #2
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Dipped,

I did see the Viking, Opticron and Kite versions on the same day at Birdfair in August, but to be honest I didn't do much more that check how stable they were and how the apparent sharpness compared at the two magnifications. I think they all share the same stabilisation technology, which seems to work better for me than the older Canons (I haven't seen them recently), though they all showed some strange oscillations on start up. None of them were what I would call sharp at 12x, but the 10s were OK though the image quality of the Opticrons and Kites were noticably better than the Vikings. The sleep function on the Kite seemed useful and it may have had different coatings to the Opticron, but I couldn't be sure without a direct comparison.

David

Last edited by typo : Thursday 14th November 2019 at 09:44.
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Old Thursday 14th November 2019, 19:32   #3
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I've tried the 12x Vikings and Opticrons. I preferred the Opticrons, but like David I just couldn't get them totally sharp. In a way I was quite pleased because I'm no longer tempted by them. I'd be interested to try the new Canon 32s at some point though as I've not heard complaints about sharpness.
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Old Friday 15th November 2019, 07:03   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by typo View Post
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None of them were what I would call sharp at 12x .....
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I fully concur, David.

Based on my looking at

Vixen Atera H 12x30
Fujinon Techno-Stabi 12x28
Kenko VcSmart 10x30
(I haven‘t seen the Kite nor the Opticron)

I would even expand your statement to „None of them are what I would call sharp - full stop.“

I was actually quite a bit disappointed, because I had hoped a very compact IS bino would be useful (I don‘t know why Canon makes theirs into such monsters in terms of ergonomics). Non of them provided a satisfactory image, stabilization was okay but not perfect.

The named three are all essentially the same instrument, with Kenko going for 10x only and using larger eyelenses with better eye relief. But none of them is anywhere close to any of the newer Canons both in terms of image quality and stabilization effectiveneness (I have not seen the new small x20 Canons yet, but expect them to again be better than Vixen/Fujinon/Kenko etc.)

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Old Monday 18th November 2019, 23:30   #5
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Why bother to stabilize an image that isn't actually sharp anyway?
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Old Tuesday 19th November 2019, 13:58   #6
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The Canon 10x42 IS-L is still the best IS binocular for a birder. There is nothing that really touches it's performance.
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Old Tuesday 19th November 2019, 17:21   #7
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The Canon 10x42 IS-L is still the best IS binocular for a birder. There is nothing that really touches it's performance.
True, but it‘s also the heaviest of all 10x42s I know (I do know a few), so holding 1’200g for extended periods can become tiring. Canon seems to be aware of that and equipped the 10x42 with a screw hole for mounting (which somehow defies the purpose of an IS binocular, doesn’t it?). And: ergonomics are not the strong side of the Canon binos. That‘s a real pity, given the quailty of the optics and IS system.

Last edited by Canip : Tuesday 19th November 2019 at 17:23.
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Old Wednesday 20th November 2019, 01:48   #8
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I don't know if anybody else including Swarovski could make an IS binocular like the 10x42 IS-L with better ergonomics and less weight. There is a LOT of technology packed into it and it's form follows function. You are never going to get a binocular with the weight and ergonomics of a 10x42 EL with IS. Not until technology improves.

Last edited by [email protected] : Wednesday 20th November 2019 at 01:51.
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Old Wednesday 20th November 2019, 02:22   #9
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True, but it‘s also the heaviest of all 10x42s I know (I do know a few), so holding 1’200g for extended periods can become tiring. Canon seems to be aware of that and equipped the 10x42 with a screw hole for mounting (which somehow defies the purpose of an IS binocular, doesn’t it?). And: ergonomics are not the strong side of the Canon binos. That‘s a real pity, given the quailty of the optics and IS system.
A Finn stick will help ease the Canon weight issue.
Use a QR plate on a ballhead with a folded monopod. It really works very well, the glass is supported by your body while the IS does its magic.
The Velbon Super 8 with a Kakafoto 25 ballhead makes an inexpensive but robust lightweight combo that works well for me.
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