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Canon IS vs. scope on tripod (1 Viewer)

I've been birding with tiny Nikon 10x25 binocs and a Zeiss Diascope 65mm (15x-45x) on a very light tripodfor ~10 years. I'm looking to upgrade and am wondering whether Canon IS binos have a use... I kind'a like the minimal 10x25 small and light binos and then just reach to the scope to get a good view. But lugging a tripod is no fun when walking some distance. I'm wondering how some good 8x32 binos plus a 14x32 IS would compare. Obviously the 14x32 doesn't have the magnification of the scope but it doesn't require a tripod either... But maybe having two binocs hanging around my neck is a worse experience? After all, it's easy to set the tripod down, look through the binocs and then point the scope when appropriate. Also, it's nice to share the set-up scope with someone else (I'm almost always birding with my wife). Has anyone compared the above type of set-ups?


Well-known member
Hi Scopesurfr and welcome.

I have used Canon IS binoculars for over twenty years.
12x36 Mk I, 10x30 Mk I, 18x50 etc.
Also some non Canon stabilized binoculars.

If I don't need high resolution I use non IS binoculars.

Although the resolution hand held is much better than normal binoculars, they do not equal a scope on a tripod.
The nearest to a tripod mounted scope that I have is the 10x30 Mk 2, but the magnification is low.
I don't have the 32mm versions.

Even the Canon 18x50 IS is not as good as a scope on a tripod at 18x.
However, it is much more versatile for astronomy or at difficult angles.

The Zeiss 20x60S is as good as a tripod mounted 20x scope, but it is bulky, heavy and not user friendly.

If two people are bird watching I think a scope on a tripod and a binocular, either standard or IS is best.

The Canon 14x32 IS may be useful with or without a tripod scope companion.



Registered User
I'm on my second Canon 10x42ISL and will happily buy a third if this one goes wonky as well, but it does not come close to replacing a scope.
I dream of a multi power version of this glass, low power for wide angle viewing, high power for detail observation, but it is unlikely to happen.
Canon has other priorities and Nikon, whose EDG VR scopes were a step in the right direction, is too short of funds to compete here.
Stabilizing any hand held higher power optics is really difficult, Canon takes out the jitter, but for higher power, that is not enough, the target just swims more smoothly out of the field of view.
Fuji's Stabiscopes have much higher (5 degrees vs 0.8 degrees in the Canons) vibration correction, so perhaps they could be stretched to work in a scope, even if a monopod would still be needed to limit the excursions. Sadly I'm not sure Fuji cares.
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