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Canon 8x20 IS: Initial impression (1 Viewer)

Canip

Well-known member
Many thanks, for your report, Kimmo, and I would like to return the compliment in your first paragraph as I have been enjoying reading your various posts over the years

I for sure look forward to further posts from you if you get your hands on a 8x20.

The distance comparison setup that you mention is actually nothing too complicated, and I may try that when I have a chance.

Canip
 

Hermann

Well-known member
I went to a camera store in downtown Helsinki today to take a first look at the Canon 8x20 myself. I only looked through them indoors, but the space is large, with mostly rather dim light. <snip>

These are really very nice. The optics were easy for me to look through, unproblematic to adjust for my eyes, and provided a sharp and relaxing view. Image stabilisation engages almost instantaneously and gives a very stable view. <snip>

I'm pretty sure I'll have a pair sooner rather than later, and if/when I do, I'll post more.

Thank you, Kimmo.

I think I'll get one as well - my first stabilised Canon o:D It's the first model that works with my eyes, and it doesn't have the annoying artifacts the very first Canon IS binoculars had, many years ago.

Two things I'm not yet sure about is whether I can live with the small exit pupil. I'm also not sure if the 8x20s are really tough enough in the field, especially on rainy days or in dusty environments. I don't think I'd risk taking them as my only binoculars on a long trip up North ...

Hermann
 

Patriot222

Well-known member
My first chance to try the 8x20 will likely be when I purchase one, since none of the local stores carry Canon IS binoculars with any regularity.

I currently own the 10x30IS II, 12x32 and 10x42WP and all are fantastic in their own ways.

I'm a wilderness hiker and like to get back to areas that are infrequently traveled. On a recent day hike, out here in the desert southwest, I covered 19 miles and 3800 feet of elevation gain, which means that I'm careful about the weight of my kit. A big part of the enjoyment for me, is the exploration, wildlife and scenery. It's because of this, I like to take binoculars. To me, they're usually worth the extra ounces because having them enriches the experience. Even though the terrain here is mountainous, the views are extraordinary and visibility often exceeds 50-70 miles.

For a long time I used a 8x32BN and still have them. They weren't light but they had an easy view and were reasonably compact compared to my larger models Swarovski and Zeiss 8x42FL at the time, which I used for hunting. One day I looked through the 8x32 Ultravid HD and between the wonderful image and weight savings I couldn't resist them. They were my hiking binocular for about 3-4 years and at the time there were no compact binoculars that impressed me enough that I cared to go smaller. Not long after the 8x25CL was introduced I was interested in them mainly to know if they could replace the 8x32UV as my hiking binocular, even if they weren't quite up to the optical standards of the Leica. After many visits at the store, while comparing them to the Ultravid HD, I did end up purchasing the 8x25CL, with the realization that the image quality, while behind the Ultravid was satisfactory and saved a good bit of weight. I eventually sold the Ultravid and kept the 8x32BN's because it was a sentimental thing. Also, I had more money tied up in the Ultravid, so it just made sense.

The 8x25CL has been a wonderful little hiking binocular, even if at times I feel the need to sit down and use a support or rest to gain a more steady view.

I have forgotten exactly when I purchased the 10x30IS II but it was the third and smallest Canon IS binocular I owned, 4th if I count owning the 10x42WP twice. I purchased it mainly as a sporting binocular for watching baseball, racing, or as a loaner binocular while bird watching with family or friends. The more I used the 10x30IS, the more I valued it's ability to give tremendously detailed, handheld images while being relatively compact and lightweight. One day I took it on a slightly longer hike and enjoyed the views so much, that I've carried its extra weight on just about every day hike since. The only times that I reverted to the 8x25CL for hiking were during a handful of high peaks over 12,600 feet in elevation. The 10x30IS has been a faithful friend and has performed far beyond it's price point. After all the switching around, wouldn't it be funny if the 8x20IS ended up replacing 10x30IS as my hiking binocular! I say it would be "funny" because I know that a traditional 8x20 couldn't replace my 10x30IS but I have a strong suspicion, that the Canon 8x20IS might be perfectly capable of of doing just that.

Like many of you, I continue to be amazed by the fact that such a small percentage of premium binocular users are actually aware of the massive benefits provided by IS and by Canon IS specifically. I think it's difficult for them to comprehend, that their 10x42SV comes in 2nd at resolving detail, even to a modestly priced model like the 10x30IS II, while viewing unsupported. From a tripod, it's a different story but how many of these premium users are doing that? Here in the states, about the only crowd that I know of, who regularly use a tripods with binoculars are Western hunters.


I've really enjoyed reading the thoughts and input about this new Canon, from Canip as well as other members. Thank you very much, for sharing!
 

etudiant

Registered User
Supporter
Like many of you, I continue to be amazed by the fact that such a small percentage of premium binocular users are actually aware of the massive benefits provided by IS and by Canon IS specifically. I think it's difficult for them to comprehend, that their 10x42SV comes in 2nd at resolving detail, even to a modestly priced model like the 10x30IS II, while viewing unsupported. From a tripod, it's a different story but how many of these premium users are doing that? Here in the states, about the only crowd that I know of, who regularly use a tripods with binoculars are Western hunters.


I've really enjoyed reading the thoughts and input about this new Canon, from Canip as well as other members. Thank you very much, for sharing!

Swaro and others are fully aware of the benefits of IS, even if the buyers remain obtuse.
The problem is that servicing an IS glass is much more involved. So Swaro and others are reluctant to add IS until there is a durable IS system. Thus far, that is still not available.
Imho, it is astonishing that the buyers remain hypnotized by trivial differences between brands in brightness or FoV, while ignoring the massive benefits IS confers. It is a modern day illustration that Andersen's 'The emperors new clothes' was well founded and based on keen understanding of public perception.
 

Patriot222

Well-known member
The problem is that servicing an IS glass is much more involved. So Swaro and others are reluctant to add IS until there is a durable IS system. Thus far, that is still not available.


Imho, it is astonishing that the buyers remain hypnotized by trivial differences between brands in brightness or FoV, while ignoring the massive benefits IS confers.

With regards to durability, this is an interesting point. I actually don't have any idea how much negative acceleration top tier binoculars are designed to withstand. It would make logical sense to assume non-IS bins are able to handle more abuse than IS bins. I've never dropped any of my IS binoculars but they have fallen over on a table or been plopped down while in a duffle bag. All of my IS bins have ridden in a backpack while running up and down a steep mountain, with my 10x30IS II having many hundreds of trail miles on them. From the standpoint of practical use, the Canon's do seem quite durable but again, when it comes to accidents or abuse, high quality roof prisms would almost certainly fare better.


It is indeed funny, to think that a 20ft larger FOV or a 3% brighter image is what makes headlines in optical marketing, when there's a much better way to achieve far more detailed views, at least from the standpoint of a handheld binocular. I can certainly appreciate the pro's and con's of both approaches and it really depends on what one needs the optics to do for them. If I'm trying to locate hidden deer and elk in open brush country at 1000m, I'm not going to stand on a ridge with my IS bins. I'm going to sit down with my 15X56SLC HD mounted on a tripod and start studying the terrain. I think the difference in mindset though, is that the majority of binocular users press a particular optic to cover a wide range of viewing scenarios and conditions. There may be some perfectly good reasons for doing this, including financial. Still, I think that if a bird enthusiast intends from the beginning, to acquire a binocular for the primary purpose of birding, while moving on trails or in the backcountry, I almost feel a bit sorry for the birder who hasn't tried or at least considered a Canon IS binocular. They have no idea of the details they've been missing, regardless of expense, although these Canon IS's typically cost far less than their prime glass.
 

42za

Well-known member
Hello All,

I don't think that anyone really disputes the advantages of image stabilized binoculars , I have an image stabilized Canon Camera and am well pleased with its performance , but I only use the camera in "safe" environments , In "hostile" environments I tend to rely on my fully mechanical film camera which has not failed me yet (knock on wood) 3:).

I have however had numerous electronic equipment failures over the years.

The problem arises with usage while out in the middle of "nowhere".

Batteries fail at the most inconvenient times and replacements are frequently not readily available , you also have to carry spares with you , (more items to worry about).

Electronics , likewise fail at the most inconvenient times , and for the most trivial reasons , good luck with getting these repaired at all.

Batteries can leak , particularly in hostile environments , this will destroy electronics very quickly.

Electronic spares are frequently not available because of rapid "advancement" in technology , older electronic spare parts are simply not made anymore.

There is much to be said for the K.I.S.S. principle (keep it simple stupid).

These thoughts are just to balance the general viewpoint in a world that has become much too dependent on electronics.

Cheers.
 

etudiant

Registered User
Supporter
Hello All,

I don't think that anyone really disputes the advantages of image stabilized binoculars , I have an image stabilized Canon Camera and am well pleased with its performance , but I only use the camera in "safe" environments , In "hostile" environments I tend to rely on my fully mechanical film camera which has not failed me yet (knock on wood) 3:).

I have however had numerous electronic equipment failures over the years.

The problem arises with usage while out in the middle of "nowhere".

Batteries fail at the most inconvenient times and replacements are frequently not readily available , you also have to carry spares with you , (more items to worry about).

Electronics , likewise fail at the most inconvenient times , and for the most trivial reasons , good luck with getting these repaired at all.

Batteries can leak , particularly in hostile environments , this will destroy electronics very quickly.

Electronic spares are frequently not available because of rapid "advancement" in technology , older electronic spare parts are simply not made anymore.

There is much to be said for the K.I.S.S. principle (keep it simple stupid).

These thoughts are just to balance the general viewpoint in a world that has become much too dependent on electronics.

Cheers.

As a counterpoint, mechanical weaknesses are the bane of regular binoculars as well, with poor hinge stability and bad focus action along with misalignement the leading causes of frustration. Also, the IS is just a feature, the glass does not become useless if the IS fails, which happened after a decade of hard use in my case.
Batteries are a pain, agreed, but I've found the switch to lithium batteries largely solves the problem. They offer a decade of shelf life and don't leak.
Nor do they fail at lower temperatures, plus they last far longer. A two week trip of intensive birding is easily handled on one set.
 

kabsetz

Well-known member
I second the recommendation for lithium batteries. That said, I nowadays almost exclusively use Eneloop X. They are heavier than lithiums, but for all other purposes just about as good. What I do now is not wait for them to run empty but recharge them prior to a known day in the field or at the sea, whereby I know for sure the IS will work for at least a week. But this is not strictly necessary as battery life on the 10x42 is good.

I do offshore racing on sailboats as one of my other hobbies, and for all of the longer races I take the Canon along. It is usually in its bag stuffed on a shelf in the main cabin of the boat, and gets shaken around a whole lot when there are high seas and strong winds. Thus far, it still works as well as new. Mind you, this is the only certified waterproof model in the Canon range.

K.I.S.S. is attractive as an idea, but I rather own and use a powered drill and a powered screwdriver when I can, even though they may run out of charge or break down. I do still own simple manual screwdrivers, but no longer a manual drill.

I also use a car once in a while although my bicycle is more reliable, let alone my two legs.

- Kimmo
 

etudiant

Registered User
Supporter
I second the recommendation for lithium batteries. That said, I nowadays almost exclusively use Eneloop X. They are heavier than lithiums, but for all other purposes just about as good. What I do now is not wait for them to run empty but recharge them prior to a known day in the field or at the sea, whereby I know for sure the IS will work for at least a week. But this is not strictly necessary as battery life on the 10x42 is good.

I do offshore racing on sailboats as one of my other hobbies, and for all of the longer races I take the Canon along. It is usually in its bag stuffed on a shelf in the main cabin of the boat, and gets shaken around a whole lot when there are high seas and strong winds. Thus far, it still works as well as new. Mind you, this is the only certified waterproof model in the Canon range.

K.I.S.S. is attractive as an idea, but I rather own and use a powered drill and a powered screwdriver when I can, even though they may run out of charge or break down. I do still own simple manual screwdrivers, but no longer a manual drill.

I also use a car once in a while although my bicycle is more reliable, let alone my two legs.

- Kimmo

The Eneloops were very attractive to me as well, but I did not have the disciplined recharging schedule Kimmo developed. That may have cost me.
I suspect my IS died because my Eneloops were running low and the sustained low voltage made the IS gag.
Lithiums die quite abruptly, so they work or they don't. Imho they are a viable solution for casual users, run them till they drop and replace before any trips.
 

42za

Well-known member
Hello All,

I do not want to be confrontational , please understand this.

Conditions are not the same in all parts of the world.

I have never seen Eneloop batteries for sale in my country , Lithium batteries are likewise unavailable , although I have SOMETIMES seen these for sale in the larger cities of my country.

Many people living in the U.S.A. and the European countries do not realise this , and take many things for granted.

I stand by my post (No. 27).

o:D o:D

Cheers.

Ps. And by the way my country was not always a lost backward African country.
 
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etudiant

Registered User
Supporter
Hello All,

I do not want to be confrontational , please understand this.

Conditions are not the same in all parts of the world.

I have never seen Eneloop batteries for sale in my country , Lithium batteries are likewise unavailable , although I have SOMETIMES seen these for sale in the larger cities of my country.

Many people living in the U.S.A. and the European countries do not realise this , and take many things for granted.

I stand by my post (No. 27).

o:D o:D

Cheers.

Ps. And by the way my country was not always a lost backward African country.

Apologies for failing to recognize the different circumstances.
We do take the Amazon cornucopia for granted, but most of us have unhappy memories of gear ruined by leaking batteries. So your choice to stay purely mechanical is totally rational.
 

Binastro

Well-known member
The Canadian Mounties, I think, still use Nikon FM2ns.
Reliable film cameras.

However, I had Kodak film break hopelessly at minus 34C.
Konica film was fine.

The camera case was so brittle, I had to abandon it. Same with the camera strap.

An independent make fisheye lens cracked at minus 29C overnight in the car boot (trunk).

So even mechanical devices can fail.

My very strong Austin 1800 was so stuck in a melted car park I was pulled out by an ancient Skoda!

I spent a whole winter pulling cars out of snow with an old SWB Land Rover, with a very low gear option.

I use both IS binoculars and standard binoculars.

B.
 

henry link

Well-known member
"In rare cases, some AA-size lithium batteries will reach extremely high
temperatures. For your safety, please refrain from using AA-size lithium batteries."

That's from the owner's manual for the 10/12/14x32mm IS Canons. Anybody ever heard of that actually happening?
 

Stanbo

Well-known member
For the last 5 years l have used Panasonic Eneloop rechargable batteries in all my Canon is binoculars without any problem. Panasonic say they aren't lithium.
There are 2 sizes that fit different models and l will post a list of the appropriate fittings later.
Stan
 

etudiant

Registered User
Supporter
The Canadian Mounties, I think, still use Nikon FM2ns.
Reliable film cameras.

However, I had Kodak film break hopelessly at minus 34C.
Konica film was fine.

The camera case was so brittle, I had to abandon it. Same with the camera strap.

An independent make fisheye lens cracked at minus 29C overnight in the car boot (trunk).

So even mechanical devices can fail.

My very strong Austin 1800 was so stuck in a melted car park I was pulled out by an ancient Skoda!

I spent a whole winter pulling cars out of snow with an old SWB Land Rover, with a very low gear option.

I use both IS binoculars and standard binoculars.

B.

Where did you find -34C filming opportunities? Were you doing a Ben Nevis in winter shoot?
 

Patriot222

Well-known member
"In rare cases, some AA-size lithium batteries will reach extremely high
temperatures. For your safety, please refrain from using AA-size lithium batteries."

That's from the owner's manual for the 10/12/14x32mm IS Canons. Anybody ever heard of that actually happening?


Never, but perhaps there's something unique about the 32's that Canon has identified and issue. I have used L91 lithium batteries since in various electronic devices ever since they hit the market and I've never had a situation like they're describing.
 

Patriot222

Well-known member
For the last 5 years l have used Panasonic Eneloop rechargable batteries in all my Canon is binoculars without any problem. Panasonic say they aren't lithium.
There are 2 sizes that fit different models and l will post a list of the appropriate fittings later.
Stan

I've used Lithium batteries (what they call E2's) as well as Eneloop and Eneloop Pro's in all of my Canon IS binoculars and you're correct, they're not lithium chemistry. The Eneloop is rechargeable NiMH chemistry with a low self discharge rate. Lithium chemistry are disposable and not rechargeable, unlike lithium ion, which are rechargeable but they possess completely different voltage parameters and definitely can not be used in Canon IS binoculars.
 

Patriot222

Well-known member
Hello All,

I don't think that anyone really disputes the advantages of image stabilized binoculars , I have an image stabilized Canon Camera and am well pleased with its performance , but I only use the camera in "safe" environments , In "hostile" environments I tend to rely on my fully mechanical film camera which has not failed me yet (knock on wood) 3:).

I have however had numerous electronic equipment failures over the years.

The problem arises with usage while out in the middle of "nowhere".

Batteries fail at the most inconvenient times and replacements are frequently not readily available , you also have to carry spares with you , (more items to worry about).

Electronics , likewise fail at the most inconvenient times , and for the most trivial reasons , good luck with getting these repaired at all.

Batteries can leak , particularly in hostile environments , this will destroy electronics very quickly.

Electronic spares are frequently not available because of rapid "advancement" in technology , older electronic spare parts are simply not made anymore.

There is much to be said for the K.I.S.S. principle (keep it simple stupid).

These thoughts are just to balance the general viewpoint in a world that has become much too dependent on electronics.

Cheers.

Certainly some valuable points 42za, a few of them arguable but I definitely respect your point of view. You might be in the 1% of all binocular users however, due to limited resources and geographic location. Also, I don't think that any of us are speaking specifically to your situation but binocular users at large.

In any case, to put things in theoretical perspective, if I was to suddenly ship you a Canon 10x42IS WP, along with a four-pack of lithium batteries, I have little doubt that you could use it daily for a month, as you would any other binocular and the only difference would be that you'd see everything with fantastically more detail and viewing pleasure. Additionally, if I sent 4 pack of Eneloop's and a solar charger, I have little doubt that you'd get years worth of continuous service without concern. If it's a power delivery issue to the device itself, there are plenty of low hassle, reliable products and methods. With regards to durability, these are quite reliable devices, with a great track record, as long as you're not dropping them on the concrete. With that stated, the last two conventional binoculars I dropped onto a hard surface both needed servicing. :eek!:

Now, I've given the example of Canon's water-proof model but the point is, that they make a model to satisfy the demands of just about any user. So, if you live day to day without any electronics, I'm certainly not going to suggest you change your way of living, but if you use some electronics, a phone, laptop, a GPS, a flashlight, then using a Canon IS binocular is no more a reliability burden than any of these examples. :t:
 

42za

Well-known member
The Canadian Mounties, I think, still use Nikon FM2ns.
Reliable film cameras.

-----rest of quote snipped---------------

B.

OH--BOY , Then I am in very good company , I still use my FM2n regularly.

3:)3:)3:)3:)3:)3:)

And of course mechanicals also break and fail , but MOSTLY they can be fixed again.

o:D o:D

Keep Well.

Cheers.

ps. I once had the pleasure of listening to a very good violin player who was using a hundreds of year old Guarneri Violin------BLISS.
 
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