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Canon 18x50 IS - just a few thoughts (1 Viewer)

Jonno52

John (a bad birdwatcher)
Supporter
United Kingdom
This isn't an expert's review. I might not respond to any comments very quickly: I have to ration screen time because of a dry eye condition, Meibomian gland dysfunction.

I'm housebound, except for visits 3 or 4 times a year to South Norwood Country Park with my able-bodied brother. It can produce good birds on occasion: years ago I got Great Grey Shrike and Marsh Warbler there. I now use a 4 wheeled walker to get around. Twitching days are over, no more round trips of 500 miles or more for rarities, no more regular local patch even. But life goes on! I can see birds from my 3rd storey flat, which has a view stretching to the distant horizon. Among the most impressive have been Common Buzzard and Red Kite (seen before this latest purchase, pics in Gallery).

Gave my old scope to friends, as lugging a heavy Manfrotto tripod while disabled was just not on and it's not usable at home. But some extra reach was tempting and I splashed out on the All Weather 18x50s.

Haven't had a chance to use them much yet, bought them only 3 weeks before I went into hospital for a month. But I'm impressed.

Heavy of course, 1.2kg, but how could it be otherwise?

The IS is remarkable. I get a steadier image than with any other bin, including my Conquest 8x32 HDs. Apparently earlier versions showed irritating artifacts in IS mode, but I can see none with these.

Mag of 18 doesn't compare with my old scope obviously, but the Canons have significantly more reach than 8x or 10x bins, and you can see more detail because of the steadiness of the image. I have the Swaro 10x42 SVs: nice to own! But now I just can't hold them still enough.

Focusing is very smooth, much better than the Swaros and maybe even a touch better than the Conquests. Which is good because depth of field is very shallow, and constant refocusing is necessary.

They're ugly to look at! A block which hardly resembles a binocular except for the eyepieces sticking out. Fingers don't go to the focusing wheel automatically, as with my other bins. But we're talking compromises.

Optically very good. With top quality bins, I can't say one is sharper than another. They all seem equally good at this level.

The very first thing I noticed looking through the Canons was colour fringing on a the edge of a distant backlight roof. If you look for it, there's a fair bit of CA. Mind you, when I picked up the Swaros and looked at the same roof, sure enough there was colour fringing, albeit less. I can even just about detect it with the 8x32s. Right now I forget CA when I look through the new bins and it's no problem. I suspect that increased CA is inevitable with bins of this spec.

Note: I'm using "colour fringing" and "CA" as if they were synonymous. I don't want to get into elaborate distinctions here.

Two lithium AA size batteries are giving prolonged usage at the moment, though they're expensive. After research, I bought a Maha Smart Pulse charger and Panasonic eneloop rechargeable AA batteries. When the lithiums give out, it'll be rechargeables.

My eyes do tire quickly when using these, though that will be largely down to my MGD eye problem.

With any device, it's moveable parts, including switches and buttons, which tend to pack up first. I hope the image stabilizer button on these bins will last many years and at age 69, maybe "see me out"!

All told, I agree with the excellent review by Scopeviews. Can't see the writer's name but I think it's Roger Vine. My review reads largely like his!

These bins are useful in special circumstances like mine. I doubt though that many people with good mobility will want to lug them about in the field. There's astronomy of course, and I did get some impressive views on the one occasion I tried them at night.

Cheers
 

Binastro

Well-known member
Thanks for the report John.

When Jupiter comes into view, the moons look good in the Canon 18x50 IS.

Also aircraft detail is good.

There is false colour, the Canon 15x50 IS should be better.

I wish there was a Canon 22x50 IS, but I make do with the old Canon 18x50 IS.

I have seen buzzards, I think, at night as ghostly objects. Also buzzards in the day are quite frequent.
I haven't yet seen a red kite.
 

Jonno52

John (a bad birdwatcher)
Supporter
United Kingdom
Thanks for the report John.

When Jupiter comes into view, the moons look good in the Canon 18x50 IS.

Also aircraft detail is good.

There is false colour, the Canon 15x50 IS should be better.

I wish there was a Canon 22x50 IS, but I make do with the old Canon 18x50 IS.

I have seen buzzards, I think, at night as ghostly objects. Also buzzards in the day are quite frequent.
I haven't yet seen a red kite.
Thank you Binastro. On reflection, I have in fact used them more than once to look at the night sky. But the first time made the most impact. I just thought how extraordinary it is. Hundreds upon hundreds of stars, the most phenomenal sight a human being will ever see. The enormity of the universe. Yet somehow the next busy day, the memory of it had faded into the background.

This is all perfectly obvious of course, yet most people hardly glance up and be amazed. Just as they walk down a high street oblivious to the architecture, be it ever so disorganised and without merit.

I will be looking to the heavens every night now. Why did I ever stop?.

A 22x would be quite something. I suspect the cost of maintaining the same quality at that magnification might be pushing things to the limit for IS bins.
 

Binoscoper

Also a spotting scoper
@ binastro.

If you want to see red kite, then you could go up to the chiltern hills. I have family up that way and whenever I go up there, i can't get away from the red kites!

If you're interested and would like to know the hotspots you could always pm me.
 

Patudo

Well-known member
Jonno... I am sorry to hear about your situation. But a flat that lets you see to the horizon is a treasure indeed in crowded London, and the 18x50 IS would be a fantastic tool to use that vantage point to the fullest. I tried the Canon IS binoculars at Birdfair last year and found the IS worked more or less "as advertised" - and if you can brace your elbows against something the view becomes steadier yet. With a viewpoint like that it should be quite possible to add peregrines to what you can observe, I would have thought. In the last week or so, after several slow weeks, my brother has seen the pairs he follows become more aerial; taking to the skies on territorial patrols and just yesterday a display flight (the first one we've seen this autumn).

I'm not familiar with the situation in your area compared to Central London, but high spots like the Croydon Transmitter would be a good place to keep your eye on as they are ideal hunting perches. If you fancy spending a bit of time looking out for them, please drop me a PM - would be delighted to help in any way I can.
 

Jonno52

John (a bad birdwatcher)
Supporter
United Kingdom
Jonno... I am sorry to hear about your situation. But a flat that lets you see to the horizon is a treasure indeed in crowded London, and the 18x50 IS would be a fantastic tool to use that vantage point to the fullest. I tried the Canon IS binoculars at Birdfair last year and found the IS worked more or less "as advertised" - and if you can brace your elbows against something the view becomes steadier yet. With a viewpoint like that it should be quite possible to add peregrines to what you can observe, I would have thought. In the last week or so, after several slow weeks, my brother has seen the pairs he follows become more aerial; taking to the skies on territorial patrols and just yesterday a display flight (the first one we've seen this autumn).

I'm not familiar with the situation in your area compared to Central London, but high spots like the Croydon Transmitter would be a good place to keep your eye on as they are ideal hunting perches. If you fancy spending a bit of time looking out for them, please drop me a PM - would be delighted to help in any way I can.
Thanks very much for those thoughts Patudo. I'm resting my eyes as much as poss at the moment (need to spend less time looking at this laptop screen!).

It should certainly be possible to see Peregrines from here. A slight problem is that the extensive view is to the south, while my windows face east! So a certain amount of leaning out and turning round is needed, so it's not quite as easy to get a decent view as I made it sound. But it's still doable up to a point and I'll make the most of it.

All the best
 
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