Is IS for the birds? (2 Viewers)

[email protected]

Well-known member
With some manufacturers coming out with new IS binoculars do you feel that there is a place for IS in birding? I find the only binoculars that give me something more than my NL 8x42 is an IS and that is detail. My $300 Canon 8x20 IS allows me to see more detail than my $3K Swarovski NL 8x42 and sometimes I really like having that tripod like view when I am examine something closely. I have also added the Canon 12x36 IS III and the Canon 18x50 IS for long distance Pelagic birding, astronomy and observation because I get a rock steady view without setting up a tripod. I also have the new Nikon 10x25 IS because I find it less fiddly than most compacts even though it doesn't have alpha optics. It is the only compact I have ever been able to use comfortably. I ordered a Fujinon TechnoStabi TS 14x40 to see what they are like. I have heard they have a greater degree of stabilization than the Canons at almost 5 degrees as does the Nikon StabiEyes VR 12x32 and 14x40. What do you think of the newer Canons compared to some of these other IS binoculars like the Fujinon and Nikon and would you ever buy an IS binocular for birding or is a battery not in your birding future.
 

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Chosun Juan

Given to Fly
Australia - Aboriginal
I think there is potential, but I'm undecided still based on current offerings - ergonomics are a nightmare for me. It's very much a case of YMMV - so if they work for someone - then great.

I also don't really like the jittery view though I acknowledge that you can see more detail - needs more sophistication. The other thing I'm not impressed with is the limited AFov's - get back to me when 65° becomes a minimum and gets better from there.

With the Canon's there is a very nice 'clarity' offered by the Porro II prisms. Unfortunately this let's you clearly see the CA in non-L glass models. The fields are also super super flat - unnaturally so I find.

These are only matters of strategic marketing and engineering to solve, so there is definitely a place for them in future - they have to dot all those usability 'i's' and cross those ergonomic and performance 't's' to become useful birding tools.







Chosun :gh:
 
I don't like the idea of batteries, but I have to say the Nikon looks like a traditional binocular compared to the others in your photo group. If, in the future, all IS bins have a look and feel more like traditional binos then I could be interested someday as long as ER is enough and weight isn't too much. It looks like it's evolving in the right direction with the newer Nikon.
 

etudiant

Well-known member
With some manufacturers coming out with new IS binoculars do you feel that there is a place for IS in birding? I find the only binoculars that give me something more than my NL 8x42 is an IS and that is detail. My $300 Canon 8x20 IS allows me to see more detail than my $3K Swarovski NL 8x42 and sometimes I really like having that tripod like view when I am examine something closely. I have also added the Canon 12x36 IS III and the Canon 18x50 IS for long distance Pelagic birding, astronomy and observation because I get a rock steady view without setting up a tripod. I also have the new Nikon 10x25 IS because I find it less fiddly than most compacts even though it doesn't have alpha optics. It is the only compact I have ever been able to use comfortably. I ordered a Fujinon TechnoStabi TS 14x40 to see what they are like. I have heard they have a greater degree of stabilization than the Canons at almost 5 degrees as does the Nikon StabiEyes VR 12x32 and 14x40. What do you think of the newer Canons compared to some of these other IS binoculars like the Fujinon and Nikon and would you ever buy an IS binocular for birding or is a battery not in your birding future.

Hi Denco,
The stabilization differs between the Canon and the Fuji, with the Canon targeting high frequency jitter of less than I degree, while the Fujis filter the slower long term 5 degree excursions.
So for birding while walking about, the Canons are best, but if you're on a boat, the Fujis shine.
I've no boat, so a Canon user, hoping to hear from wealthy boat owning birders.
 

[email protected]

Well-known member
I think there is potential, but I'm undecided still based on current offerings - ergonomics are a nightmare for me. It's very much a case of YMMV - so if they work for someone - then great.

I also don't really like the jittery view though I acknowledge that you can see more detail - needs more sophistication. The other thing I'm not impressed with is the limited AFov's - get back to me when 65° becomes a minimum and gets better from there.

With the Canon's there is a very nice 'clarity' offered by the Porro II prisms. Unfortunately this let's you clearly see the CA in non-L glass models. The fields are also super super flat - unnaturally so I find.

These are only matters of strategic marketing and engineering to solve, so there is definitely a place for them in future - they have to dot all those usability 'i's' and cross those ergonomic and performance 't's' to become useful birding tools.







Chosun :gh:
I know what you mean about the ergonomics. Even though the Canon 10x42 IS-Ls are excellent optically I just can't tolerate the brick like shape and weight and the hard eye cups. If they were just a little more comfortable they could be a usable birding binocular. I believe the Canon 10x42 IS-L does have a 65 degree AFOV so it is comparable to many normal binoculars in that area and with the ED glass the CA is well controlled. Your correct in that a lot of the other Canons show quite a bit of CA.
 

[email protected]

Well-known member
I don't like the idea of batteries, but I have to say the Nikon looks like a traditional binocular compared to the others in your photo group. If, in the future, all IS bins have a look and feel more like traditional binos then I could be interested someday as long as ER is enough and weight isn't too much. It looks like it's evolving in the right direction with the newer Nikon.
Beth. Have you ever tried any of the IS binoculars? The Nikon 10x25 IS might suit you. Probably not quite the optics or FOV of your Nikon HG 8x30 but the IS helps with the shakes.
 

[email protected]

Well-known member
Hi Denco,
The stabilization differs between the Canon and the Fuji, with the Canon targeting high frequency jitter of less than I degree, while the Fujis filter the slower long term 5 degree excursions.
So for birding while walking about, the Canons are best, but if you're on a boat, the Fujis shine.
I've no boat, so a Canon user, hoping to hear from wealthy boat owning birders.
I am getting a Fujinon TechnoStabi TS 14x40 tomorrow and I will compare it with my Canon 18x50 IS. I have never tried the bigger Fujinon IS binoculars, so I am curious how well they operate. The reviews on Amazon.com are pretty good, but they could be boaters.
 

pbjosh

missing the neotropics
Argentina
I have a Canon 12x32 IS III. The eye relief is poor and the eye cups are a joke. Other than that, I don't find the ergonomics, weight, FOV, CA, or any other aspect to be particularly poor. Actually I think they're fantastic. Sharp to the edge, good AFOV, good contrast and color, comfortable enough. Sure I wish they weighed less, wish they had better eye cups, and perhaps had better glass. I'd be very interested in a newer more modern alpha IS bin. The 12x32's absolutely kill my 10x42 alphas for resolution / ID at long distance.

I too am curious about the Fuji / Nikon 5 degree of stabilization bins.
 

[email protected]

Well-known member
I have a Canon 12x32 IS III. The eye relief is poor and the eye cups are a joke. Other than that, I don't find the ergonomics, weight, FOV, CA, or any other aspect to be particularly poor. Actually I think they're fantastic. Sharp to the edge, good AFOV, good contrast and color, comfortable enough. Sure I wish they weighed less, wish they had better eye cups, and perhaps had better glass. I'd be very interested in a newer more modern alpha IS bin. The 12x32's absolutely kill my 10x42 alphas for resolution / ID at long distance.

I too am curious about the Fuji / Nikon 5 degree of stabilization bins.
I will let you know what I think of the Fujinon TechnoStabi TS 14x40 compared to my Canon 12x36 IS IIIs. I like the Canons 12x36 IS III also and the eye relief and eye cups work ok for me being more comfortable than the Canon 10x42 IS-Ls eye cups. I just bought a Canon 8x20 IS and it surprised me how good it is for the price I paid on sale for $375. It only weighs 14 oz. and it is quite small.
 

wdc

Well-known member
I only have an old Canon IS 15 x 50, which I've used for astronomy for well over a decade. For birding, that is NOT the bin for me. Close focus is a joke, IPD is not narrow enough, eye relief is poor, etc. Optics are excellent, though. And for astronomy, especially with others, I've handed folks the Canon, then used a laser pointer to target a Messier object, and they can find it real quick, and actually see some hint of the character of an extended object, even at that magnification. So, IS and magnification above 10X makes a lot of sense.

One can obviously find a lot of situations besides astronomy where IS will improve the viewing.

Its the ergos, the weight, eye relief, close focus, IPD, FOV, etc. All the things we discuss eternally on Birdforum that we'd like to see in non-IS bins, that don't require batteries.

Here's the thing: IS is NOT going away, but should only get more functional, but, so far most IS technology is driven by photographic, or perhaps military spec needs. When someone starts with a fresh sheet of paper to match state of the art accommodation of a good birding bin, THEN incorporate IS functionality, we'll be on the right track. Otherwise it remains a 'special use/purpose built' type of product. It will work for some, but not for many.

I can see its value, but, as I work in a digital world much of the time, it is a relief, frankly, to use tools that don't require batteries to function extremely well. I really don't want to see excellent optics without power/digital enhancement to go away.

-Bill
 
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Alexis Powell

Natural history enthusiast.
United States
Alexis - That 2.5mm EP is not going to work for me with my glasses - I don't think I'd like to drop below ~3.2 and even that is finnicky ....Chosun :gh:

I like big exit pupils, which is why I usually use full-sized bins, and I don't know your individual situation, but I find the Nikon comfortable with my glasses (enough eye-relief) and don't have issues finding the view.

--AP
 

Chosun Juan

Given to Fly
Australia - Aboriginal
I like big exit pupils, which is why I usually use full-sized bins, and I don't know your individual situation, but I find the Nikon comfortable with my glasses (enough eye-relief) and don't have issues finding the view.

--AP

I need around 17-18mm ER with my glasses (short sighted). I guess a bigger EP is just a personal preference - it helps in offhand off-axis snap viewing ...... maybe one day when I am very old and grey :-O






Chosun :gh:
 

Alexis Powell

Natural history enthusiast.
United States
I need around 17-18mm ER with my glasses (short sighted). I guess a bigger EP is just a personal preference - it helps in offhand off-axis snap viewing ...... maybe one day when I am very old and grey :-O
Chosun :gh:

My favorite full-sized (Swarovski 8.5x42 EL SV) have about 20 mm and I usually use them with the eyecups all the way down, but I can get away with as little as 17 mm. For bins with small ocular assemblies, I am comfortable with as little as 13 or 14 mm eye-relief. I am myopic and wear modified aviator style glasses adjusted to fit as close as possible.

--AP
 

Chosun Juan

Given to Fly
Australia - Aboriginal
My favorite full-sized (Swarovski 8.5x42 EL SV) have about 20 mm and I usually use them with the eyecups all the way down, but I can get away with as little as 17 mm. For bins with small ocular assemblies, I am comfortable with as little as 13 or 14 mm eye-relief. I am myopic and wear modified aviator style glasses adjusted to fit as close as possible.

--AP
With all the Swaro's, Zeiss HT, and SF etc - I seem to back the eyecups out about ~2mm, which is a little odd because they all list differently - very convenient for me though !

My Zens have 16.8mm and I have to push my glasses all the way back, and put the bins resting on them to get the full Fov. The Canon 12x36 IS III have too little ER though even going to that extent. More bins used to be problematic, but manufacturers seem to have made us more a part of the team over the last decade. :t:




Chosun :gh:
 

peter.jones

Well-known member
I think the quality of top range bins, with the option of turning on IS, no one would complain.
But a battery operated binocular is not what's needed. In addition to the obvious problem of running out of batteries in the middle of nowhere, people's binocular use would be influenced by the battery life.. you'd become a less diligent birder.
 

Andrew Whitehouse

Professor of Listening
Staff member
Scotland
I think the quality of top range bins, with the option of turning on IS, no one would complain.
But a battery operated binocular is not what's needed. In addition to the obvious problem of running out of batteries in the middle of nowhere, people's binocular use would be influenced by the battery life.. you'd become a less diligent birder.

I use the Canon 10x42 pretty much all the time and this is not my experience at all. It's extremely easy to carry around two AA batteries. I change batteries probably every 3-4 days of birding. Even if the battery does run out and I have no spares on me, I still have an excellent (if heavy) pair of 10x42s. The binoculars are not 'battery-operated'. The IS is.
 

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