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ZEISS DTI thermal imaging cameras. For more discoveries at night, and during the day.

Premium (Alpha) vs Image stabilized (1 Viewer)

re the perception of stereopsis - could the IS be moving the focal point back & forth quickly, faster than the eye/brain can perceive, creating some sort of pseudo depth of field enhancement? To do with Persistance Of Vision?
 
No doubt the ergonomics are horrendous. I generally didn't like it the minute I picked it up. When your use to conventional roof bins, that fit the hand like a glove the L is hard to like. But they balance very well and if you can get passed the lousy hand fit and plastic feel, they really grow on you, and the glass is very sweet.
That's what put me off from exploring the Canon IS binocular range. I just don't like the ergonomics from looking at them, on top of what reviews I've read and watched (yes, I've not held them in my hands as yet). The price of a new pair (8x42, 10x42) is outside my budget so I'd want to pick up a used pair if possible. But I dropped them from consideration.

All in all, I think it comes down a lot to intended usage. From what I gather, these are pretty much ideal for use on a boat or other moving vehicle. The primary intention is to see something distant clearly, for necessity of navigation or other imperative versus casual recreational viewing. I can't see using them for astronomy when a tripod mount will do.

One other thing I didn't see or may have missed: reliability. Because of this very complex mechanism that is powered, how well does it hold up over time? And if something does go wrong, how expensive is it to be repaired by Canon? That's something that has always concerned me about IS technology.
 
There is no Canon 8x42 IS binocular.

The Canon IS binoculars are ideal for astronomy.

They are also used at medium distances.

I think that rather few are used from small boats.

Personally, I wouldn't buy a used IS binocular unless the price is really low.

Reliability is reasonable, but they are more complex than non-IS binoculars.

Repair quality is mixed.

I have used various models for well over twenty years with few problems.

B.
 
There is no Canon 8x42 IS binocular.
The Canon IS binoculars are ideal for astronomy.
They are also used at medium distances.
I think that rather few are used from small boats.
Personally, I wouldn't buy a used IS binocular unless the price is really low.
Reliability is reasonable, but they are more complex than non-IS binoculars.
Repair quality is mixed.
I have used various models for well over twenty years with few problems.
Thank you for your response. Yes, you're right, there is a 10x42 but no 8x42 (seems they start at 10x and go up).
I can see if you don't have a rock-solid and steady tripod, or face windy conditions that the IS would work well for astronomy.
I mentioned boats and other moving vehicles as I'd seen testimony to that kind of use.
I presume that as long as the binoculars are not physically challenged at all, the mechanism should be fine. But it does make sense to avoid these on the used market unless guaranteed or from a very trusted source that verified function.
When you say repair quality is "mixed," can you elaborate? Thanks.
 
My experience has been good.

The two 8x25s needed the front optical windows stuck back as they came away when repeatedly in a bag with various other items.
The gripping surface is very small.
Canon UK were very good here.

A used old 10x30 had moisture deposit internally. I shouldn't have bought it or should have returned it but didn't. Other than this it works O.K.

The 10x42L IS bought new had initial problems with the stabiliser.
I think it was stored in the shop upright.
I left it on a table flat and pressed the IS button every five minutes for an hour. I moved it slightly every five minutes to give the stabiliser work to do.
Since then it works well.

When the batteries are nearly flat some of the ISs becomes erratic.

The 12x36 IS from 1999 cannot be repaired because of lack of parts. Mine is fine.

Another 10x42L IS had problems with repairs after years of use.
Mine is fine.

There are 8x25 and 8x20 Canon IS binoculars.

Perhaps only the 10x42L IS is waterproof enough for heavy marine use.
For boats the Fujinons are preferred.

Regards,
B.
 
I'm a bit of a pied piper for Canon IS binoculars. I have two of them: the 10x42 (the best one) and the 10x32 (lighter, for the wife on walks, bike rides).
I tried all of the Alphas, they are amazing. The 10x42 is close, certainly way better than my $1,000 Zeiss Conquests I had. Compared to the $3k+ alphas, they don't quite have the same ultra brightness and field of view. But...
For me the IS is simply a major game changer: you can study every detail of the bird for as long as you want. I can fine tune the focus from the tail to the beak, it's just amazing. I'm 53 and healthy, and I suspect my hands may be more jittery than average, as I find regular bins to be barely useable after getting used to the IS.
They are expensive, bulky and heavy. I use a Marsupial brand "hunter" type harness to carry them and it works great. Before you spend $3k on an Alpha try the 10x42s at half the price - I did, and midway through my tests I didn't even want to keep trying the Swarovski, Leica, and Zeiss bins I had, the Canons were so much better and more enjoyable. They have really added so much to my passion for birding. If you prefer the others, that's fine, I just want to encourage folks to try them so they can see what they are missing.
I've had mine for a few years, no problems. The batteries last a very long time. I bird 3-5 days a week and change them every few months. Even if I had to replace them every few years, it would be worth it to me, but I don't think I will.
Note: the 10x42's are, in my opinion, way better than all of the others, it's their premium glass, and the stability is just amazing. On the others, I can detect just a bit of movement, and the resolution isn't quite as good. Again, my 10x32s were better than my mid range Zeiss ones though, optical quality is very good. But the 10x42s are just amazing, so rich, with a wonderful depth of field. My dad uses the cheap ones, 10x30's, and they are quite nice, and really light. They are around $600 I think, and well worth a try if the budget is limited.
Do what I did - get a $15k order of bins from B&H or wherever and compare. It's a lot of fun, and let us know what you think.
 
Note: the 10x42's are, in my opinion, way better than all of the others, it's their premium glass, and the stability is just amazing.
Hi,

yes, the 10x42 have a very nice optic, but other Alphas are still bought much more frequently.

Canon needs to do a few things to make the binoculars more attractive, the 10x42 is big, heavy and a bit cumbersome, the warranty on the electronics is only 2 years and the Canon isn't very good to use for quite a few glasses wearers, especially those with a slightly longer eye relief require.

I could live with point one, but the other two points are a clear no-go for me and the Canon service doesn't exactly shine with customer friendliness either.

For Canon, the IS binoculars are just a by-product, so there are no major improvements to be made.

Andreas
 
Hi,

yes, the 10x42 have a very nice optic, but other Alphas are still bought much more frequently.

Canon needs to do a few things to make the binoculars more attractive, the 10x42 is big, heavy and a bit cumbersome, the warranty on the electronics is only 2 years and the Canon isn't very good to use for quite a few glasses wearers, especially those with a slightly longer eye relief require.

I could live with point one, but the other two points are a clear no-go for me and the Canon service doesn't exactly shine with customer friendliness either.

For Canon, the IS binoculars are just a by-product, so there are no major improvements to be made.

Andreas
Yes, the eye relief isn't great, it's the one big downside for me, I should have mentioned it. It's ok, but I wish it were better for sure. But... the ability to lock on and really study the bird trumps the rest. I think I like to really look at birds in detail more than most, not just glance at them, and for that the Canons are just so much better. My wife doesn't notice as much of a difference as I do, so again there may be a difference in natural hand jitteryness, perhaps I'm on the higher jittery end of the spectrum than most, I don't know. My father certainly feels the same way about his as I do, it's what got him into birding. My main point is people should try them and see, don't just read reviews. No review I've ever read captured the amazing difference between them and regular bins.
 
I thought the newer Canon 14x were excellent, they have an added power mode that gives even better stability and I was rather impressed, the 18x was also a lot of fun during the day and night.
In my experience and I have owned mostly all of the Canons there is a trade off between them and a high end glass such as an NL Pure.
You choose what works for you and your area of observing, but there is no comparison in glass between the two.
I have had far more magical moments with an NL Pure than with any Canon, let's not talk ergonomics either.
There is no getting away from the fact that stabilisation is a marvel, happy to have experienced such a device.
 
I thought the newer Canon 14x were excellent, they have an added power mode that gives even better stability and I was rather impressed, the 18x was also a lot of fun during the day and night.
In my experience and I have owned mostly all of the Canons there is a trade off between them and a high end glass such as an NL Pure.
You choose what works for you and your area of observing, but there is no comparison in glass between the two.
I have had far more magical moments with an NL Pure than with any Canon, let's not talk ergonomics either.
There is no getting away from the fact that stabilisation is a marvel, happy to have experienced such a device.
I agree. Even the Canon 10x42 IS-L though optically excellent is no match for an NL pure optically or ergonomically. IS is wonderful, and you will see more detail with it, but there are too many downsides for the average birder.
 
........................................ I like to really look at birds in detail more than most, not just glance at them, and for that the Canons are just so much better. My wife doesn't notice as much of a difference as I do, so again there may be a difference in natural hand jitteryness, perhaps I'm on the higher jittery end of the spectrum than most, I don't know. ..........................................
I'm also one who loves to really enjoy the view and to look at the details. That's why I mostly carry a scope along (with tripod, of course). So the scope is my IS device, in a way. Less convenient, but I often want a closer look anyway.
 
I agree. Even the Canon 10x42 IS-L though optically excellent is no match for an NL pure optically or ergonomically. IS is wonderful, and you will see more detail with it, but there are too many downsides for the average birder.
Agree that the weight and bulk are the major negatives for the Canon 10x42.
The optics are fine, certainly my aging eyes would be hard pressed to discern a big improvement there.
Against that, the ability to stabilize the view makes all the difference when trying to follow a small bird flitting high in the trees.
Taking out the normal hand held instability hugely improves the ability to observe under such circumstances. It is a better tool for the task, imho.
 
Agree that the weight and bulk are the major negatives for the Canon 10x42.
The optics are fine, certainly my aging eyes would be hard pressed to discern a big improvement there.
Against that, the ability to stabilize the view makes all the difference when trying to follow a small bird flitting high in the trees.
Taking out the normal hand held instability hugely improves the ability to observe under such circumstances. It is a better tool for the task, imho.
I don’t know how old you are but I’m in my mid 60s and I can tell the qualitative difference the minute I put these two binoculars up to my eyes. Are you able to see the image shift and focus delay when panning following an object with Canon IS?
 
I'm also one who loves to really enjoy the view and to look at the details. That's why I mostly carry a scope along (with tripod, of course). So the scope is my IS device, in a way. Less convenient, but I often want a closer look anyway.
You can't beat a scope on a tripod, especially for longer distances. there is no comparison between a good spotter and binoculars. You will see stuff with a scope that you could never see with binoculars.
 
I don’t know how old you are but I’m in my mid 60s and I can tell the qualitative difference the minute I put these two binoculars up to my eyes. Are you able to see the image shift and focus delay when panning following an object with Canon IS?
Exactly. As much as I like the idea of IS, the image shift and focus delay are what put's me off, especially when panning and then there are still artifacts as the IS system focuses and refocuses. If you can hold the NL fairly steady and the head rest greatly helps, there is no comparison between a Canon 10x42 IS-L and the NL. The NL clearly outclasses it optically, especially in transparency and FOV. The Canon 10x42 IS-L was pretty close to the older alphas, but Canon has never made any improvements in the optics, so the newer alphas are light years ahead of it now.
 
I’ve added another dimension to my observing gear setup. I’ve been using high quality vintage wide field 7x35 binoculars with over 10°FOV as my scanning optic , with well over 500ft at a 1000yds, nothing compares on the current market. Then I use my IS binoculars which are my Swarovski 12x50EL on a manfrotto tripod with a video head to get in closer and I still have 300 feet at 1000 yards of field of view.

Great combination.
 
I don’t know how old you are but I’m in my mid 60s and I can tell the qualitative difference the minute I put these two binoculars up to my eyes. Are you able to see the image shift and focus delay when panning following an object with Canon IS?
Oh, I can tell the difference no trouble, but the Canon is good enough optically plus has the IS, which transforms the experience imho.
I've not been bothered by the focus delay or the image shift aspects, they are momentary and I fiddle with the focus constantly in any case, something that the Canon's very slow (3 3/4 turns lock to lock) focus encourages.
If Swaro or Zeiss were to offer an NL or an SF with IS, I'd be the first to buy that, but they don't. I don't know why, they certainly both have the needed technical chops. I assume the issue is system longevity and perhaps packaging. .
Meanwhile, IS remains a massive enhancement for birding and Canon's 10x42ISL is the best IS glass I've been able to find.
 
I’ve added another dimension to my observing gear setup. I’ve been using high quality vintage wide field 7x35 binoculars with over 10°FOV as my scanning optic , with well over 500ft at a 1000yds, nothing compares on the current market. Then I use my IS binoculars which are my Swarovski 12x50EL on a manfrotto tripod with a video head to get in closer and I still have 300 feet at 1000 yards of field of view.

Great combination.
Everybody in Yellowstone National Park uses Swarovski Spotters on a tripod to look across the huge expanses of the Lamar Valley. A lot of people rent them at the local hardware store. They will sit by their RV in a lawn chair from early morning till evening, spotting wolves and eagles. It is amazing what you can see in a good spotter compared to binoculars. I could barely make out the tree some Bald Eagles were in miles away and through the spotter I could see the baby eagles in their nests.
 

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