Nikon 14x40 and 12x36 StabilEyes (1 Viewer)

hinnark

Well-known member
Hi everbody,

in the internet one can find a lot of information about binoculars with image stabilisation technology like Canon IS or Fujinon Techno-Stabi. But I can´t find something worthy about the two models of Nikon.
The Nikon 14x40 and 12x32 StabilEyes uses the same cabinetts as the Fujinon Techno-Stabis. In May I could try both models of Nikon. Unfortunatly the 14x40 was defect. There was a some kind of pulsation of the image. I was also surprised to read "Made in China" on the 12x32 model which costs here about 1000 Euro.
I asked the representatives of Nikon on a birding fair if Nikon StabilEyes binoculars are also use the same optics than the one of Fujinon. They said that this is not true. Nikon use their own optical construction sharing only the housing with Fujinon. Although I couldn´t compare the Nikons and the Fujinons side by side I have some doubts if the Nikon statement about the optics is right.
The special feature of the 14x40 StabilEyes which make this model interesting to me is the 2-way of stabilsation modus. They have a land modus which works fast as the Canon IS but also like them with a lower stabilisation grade. The second modus called sea modus works slower but much more effective in stabilisation like the Fujinon so that you can use them even on the sea when the weather is bad. So the Nikon StabilEyes combined the advantages of the Canons and the Fujinons and it is real waterproof unlike the Canons.

Is here somebody who knows something more about the question of optics in Nikon´s StabilEyes or just tried them?

Regards

Steve
 
Last edited:

kabsetz

Well-known member
Hi Steve,

This is not going to be the reply you want, but hopefully better than nothing. I have also occasionally browsed the net for info on these binoculars, with equally poor success. I suppose if one were fluent in Japanese, there would be more out there.

Anyway, I have had a brief encounter with StabilEyes 14x40 recently, and have plenty of experience with the Canon 15x50 IS UD, which I have owned for some four years now. I tried the StabE for only some fifteen minutes, in and out of a store that had it, and did not do any serious testing. I was quite disappointed with what I saw, both through the binocular and in what it was as a tool. The image was pretty dim and not particularly sharp, and I had a hard time finding a suitable diopter adjustment. I was left with the impression that I needed different adjustment for close range and farther out, but am not sure if this was the case. While the Canons give a very good image without the stabilization, these Nikons left a lot to be desired with respect to apparent resolution and contrast. The IS mechanism was noisy, and contrary to my expectations, the image with stabilization engaged was much more jittery than with the Canons. This was especially prominent in the land mode, while the sea mode made me seasick with the image continuing to move in direction x long after I had turned the binocular towards direction z. It is quite possible that this was a faulty specimen also, but as it is the only one I have ever laid my hands on, it had the effect of making me lose interest in this particluar application of image stabilization technology. I have generally liked Nikon's top-of-the-line optics very much, and was quite surprised to see a product which gave such a poor first impression.

Handling was way worse than in the Canons also. The latter is pretty easy to hold and has a perfectly placed tripod thread under the body which allows me to use a short Finnstick monopod with a handle at the bottom for relaxed viewing. The Nikon is large and clumsy, has a worse focus wheel and tired my hands quite a lot faster than the Canon does. It also needs more batteries. I did not try to find out wether or not it works with NiMH rechargeables as the Canon does. The only obviously better feature of the Nikon was the eyecups, which in the Canon are pretty awfull (I keep them permanently downturned even though I don't wear glasses, and just lean the upper edges of the eyepieces against my brow), and the waterproofing. However, in his test report of the Fujinon Techno-Stabi, which also is waterproof, Jan Meijerink of Twentse vogelverkgroep stated that in his "freezer test" the Fujis fogged up badly, suggesting poor nitrogen purging (possibly a faulty unit, though). The Canons are not nitrogen purged, although I have had mine purged by a local optical technician. Since they are not sealed, though, the procedure will need to be repeated at some point.

So, although I'm convinced that eventually image stabilization will render all conventional binoculars obsolete, the Nikons are not the model, and perhaps not even the technology, to do it. Too bad.

Kimmo
 

hinnark

Well-known member
Thank you Kimmo for your reply!

One thing that let me hesitate to buy an image stabilized binocular is the awaiting of further engineering progress (es. in weight and energy consumption but also in optics). I hoped the Nikon with it twisting eyecups, waterproofness and 2 modus stabilisation would be a step further to the Canons. But I had similar impressions than you. BTW do you know something about the connections between Nikon and Fujinon as they seem to use the same housing in this case?

Regards

Steve
 

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