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which IS bino would you recommend?

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#1 Sean Puett

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 10:08 AM

Don't say Zeiss or fujinon. I am asking about canon IS binos but, if you made a good case for Nikon, I would entertain the thought. My requirements are: less than $1200 new or used, as light as possible, they will mostly be used at night but, I want them for daylight uses as well. Right now I am leaning toward the 12x36 but, the 15&18x50 and the 10x42 are on my mind as well.

I don't want to wish I had bought the other pair. I am leaning away from the 10x42 because they are lower mag and are bulky. One person said it was like holding a brick. Has anyone used both the 12x36 and the 15x50 side by side?
How do stars look in these binos? Nice points or bloated seagulls? If yours were stolen, would you buy the same pair?

#2 GaryS

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 11:24 AM

If you haven't already, check out my review of the entire Canon image-stabilized binocular line on my web site. (I also have a review of the Fujinons there as well.)

Short answer: for lightweight, go with the 10x30s or 12x36s, for maximum detail, the 15x50s or 18x50s, for great "all 'rounders" the 10x42s. Hmmm. Probably that doesn't help. Better just read the review.

Regards,
Gary

#3 edwincjones

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 11:33 AM


Short answer: for lightweight, go with the 10x30s or 12x36s, for maximum detail, the 15x50s or 18x50s, for great "all 'rounders" the 10x42s. Hmmm. Probably that doesn't help. Better just read the review.

Regards,
Gary


Doesn't help :question:

that pretty much says it all

edj

#4 Binojunky

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 12:01 PM

+1 for the Canon IS 10x30, I had a older pair, sold them to fund another buy, them replaced them with a new one the following year,over the years Canon has improved the IS system and brought the cost down, they are just so conveniant to use and show a lot,DA. :waytogo:

#5 SMark

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 12:13 PM

I have the 10x42, 15x50 and 18x50. All three of these have field correctors in the optical path so you do get nice wide, flat fields. I use them mostly for astronomy, but they are excellent for daytime use as well. Overall, I think my favorite is the 15x50. Sure, at over 41 ounces it can be a bit heavy, but the more I use it the more that issue becomes less important to me, just because the views are so good. If you are critical about your star images being precise points of light, then the 10x42 will be the best. Though the 15x50 is still excellent in that regard. The 18x50 will give you highest detail and also the narrowest field. Though my direct comparing of the 15x50 and the 18x50 leaves favoring the 15x50. Partly because the 0.8° difference in FOV is worth more to me than the 3x difference in magnification, and also because the 18x tends to push the limits of the IS. The 10x42 does give you a much brighter view and the 6.5° FOV is quite impressive, so there is a lot favoring it as well. At almost 37 ounces I wouldn't exactly call it "a brick" either. Again, the quality of the image makes the extra weight nearly a non-issue for me.

I can't give you an opinion of the 12x36 unfortunately. And now that I already have the 10x42 and the 15x50, and don't consider the weight issue all that important, I'm not likely to ever get one. But if the weight issue is important to you, then it should be a consideration because @ just over 23 ounces, the 12x36 is significantly lighter than the other three. With non-IS binoculars, weight is important to me because I have naturally shaky arms and hands. But the IS takes care of that issue for me, so the extra weight just isn't a big deal.

One point I should also make, even though many seem to think this is sort of strange... If you do plan to have a long observing session and think that your arms & shoulders won't be up to it, don't hesitate using a monopod with these IS binoculars. Even on the monopod the IS function is of great benefit and it goes even further towards giving you a rock-solid image to view for an extended period of time.

With regard to cost, I have purchased all of mine (including 2 of the 18x50) used on eBay at total costs ranging from $625 to $800.

#6 Sean Puett

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 02:57 PM

I did read your article and it put more questions on my initial decision for the 12x36. I was 100% sold on those until I found the 15x50 and 18x50 cheaper than the canon usa website by $500 or so. Your review of the 12x36 left me thinking that I may want to spend the extra because of the off axis stars. I believe seagulls were even mentioned. So, I need more opinions and info. I hate the, "I wish I had got the other ... Instead" experience. I went through it a bit with telescopes until I found what I like but, the larger IS binos cost the same as my 4" apo with feathertouch or more in the case of the 10x42l.

#7 GaryS

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 07:56 PM

I did read your article and it put more questions on my initial decision for the 12x36. I was 100% sold on those until I found the 15x50 and 18x50 cheaper than the canon usa website by $500 or so. Your review of the 12x36 left me thinking that I may want to spend the extra because of the off axis stars. I believe seagulls were even mentioned. So, I need more opinions and info. I hate the, "I wish I had got the other ... Instead" experience. I went through it a bit with telescopes until I found what I like but, the larger IS binos cost the same as my 4" apo with feathertouch or more in the case of the 10x42l.


Re-read what I wrote about the 12x36s just to put the optical part in context. Even if they're not quite as good as the best in the Canon line, the key thing is that they're still very, very good. If they fit the bill in every other way, I wouldn't think twice about getting them. I don't know anyone who was disappointed by the optics in the 12x36s.

Good luck!
Gary

#8 kenrenard

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 08:02 PM

Gary,
After reading your book and reviews on your website I am saving for the 10 x 30's. with two young kids to feed they are my gateway to IS binoculars without spending a fortune.

I just don't like binoculars on tripods just too restrictive.

Ken

#9 Sean Puett

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Posted 30 January 2013 - 10:14 AM

I am with you Ken. I use binos for a nice easy relaxing session. If I was going to set up a tripod or other contraption to hold binos, I might as well set up my beloved refractor and get get crazy wide fields and higher mag.
I really started to appreciate binos last year when working too much -70-80hours a week- and was too lazy,or tired, to setup my scopes. A nice session in a zero gravity lounge chair is just what the doctor ordered in that kind of work schedule. Plus, the same setup at star parties when you are 1 hour or so from sunrise is a great way to finish up a long session.

So, I think I have narrowed down to just the 12x36 and the 15x50 and I am waiting for a response from a trusted advisor in my local group who has the 12x36s and has a good eye for quality in my opinion. My instinct is to go with the 15x50 if the price is right. We'll see though.

More opinions would be great. Speak up and help me out. :)

#10 kenrenard

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Posted 30 January 2013 - 10:29 AM

Sean,
I have to look into a zero gravity chair. I use an observing chair now but I think the lawn chair is the way to go. I think if I had the money I would go with the 15 X 50's.



Ken

#11 Jarrod

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Posted 30 January 2013 - 11:18 AM

Why did I have to learn about these? This free forum is getting expensive... :grin:

I have a Canon L-series lens with the gen 3 IS and it is amazing... I didn't know they put it in a binocular!

#12 Sean Puett

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Posted 30 January 2013 - 12:01 PM

The 10x42l is supposed to be on par with the l lens. Most reviews say it is the best of the bunch.

The zero gravity lounge chair is an essential star party tool that comes with me every time. I don't know how I ever enjoyed binoculars before :-). To me, it is the best binocular accessory for under $75. For most people they are around $50. I bought the fat guy model for $70.

#13 edwincjones

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Posted 31 January 2013 - 07:07 AM

............................ A nice session in a zero gravity lounge chair is just what the doctor ordered ....... to finish up a long session.......

More opinions would be great. ........... :)



:waytogo: :waytogo:

#14 Paul G

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Posted 31 January 2013 - 08:44 AM

I have the 10x42's, very pleased with them for both astro and birding. I have a half dozen Zeiss/Leica alpha binos but the Canon shows more detail due to the IS. I'd buy them again in a heartbeat. My wife has small hands and has no trouble holding them.

#15 Aleko

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Posted 31 January 2013 - 07:10 PM

I was a bit worried when I bought the 12x36, thinking that there would not be enough light grasp for astronomy, but I was wrong. Because of the extra magnification, I can go deeper with the 12x36 than with my regular 7x50. I do not see seagulls except when I bring the binocs to the beach. :-)

I was very surprised at just how light the 12x36 is. It's barely noticeable carrying around on long hikes. A friend took his on daylong hikes every day when he was in the Alps.

Though I would love to look through a 15x50, the 12x36 is a wonderful all-round binoc that is great for astronomy.

-Alex

#16 Sean Puett

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Posted 31 January 2013 - 11:06 PM

I am just about sold on the 12x36. Maybe in the future I'll buy some bigger guys.

#17 Stacy

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Posted 31 January 2013 - 11:45 PM

,Hey Sean,

Of course you remember I tried the 15x50's but sold them right away because, well, while the views were fantastic, I had a hard time justifying the expense, and I got mine for $750 (and sold them for that as well).

However, a couple of things you should know. The 15x50's are big and heavy. I know you are looking at the smaller ones, but I was actually thinking about putting them on a mount, and that of course would negate the whole IS concept. Therefore would be a waste of money.

NO reason to not consider used. I put up an ad and got response within a day or so with a pair at about half of retail. A great seller who didn't even consider moving the $ out of PayPal untill he knew I was completely satisfied, which took about a week or so because of the curse of course. Another advantage of used is that you are buying a known good sample.

Also, be aware of IS artifacts. They bug some people more than others, and I didn't notice it at first myself. But it's there. YMMV.

One thing I don't see mentioned too often is sacrifical lens. Mine were threaded for filters so putting a clear or anti-something filter on the objectives does a great job of protecting the lens and removing some of the worry.

Also, if I had that coin, I'd buy another pair of the Oberwerk 100-45. Those were amazing, No, you can't zero=grav with them, but WOW! Anyway. :)

Can't wait to see whatever you get at Goldendale! :)

#18 CuriousOne

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Posted 01 February 2013 - 12:30 PM

And why they put in IS into 7x-10x etc, low powered binoculars? I believe, IS in 40x100 will be much more usable and required.

#19 Tony Flanders

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Posted 01 February 2013 - 12:54 PM

And why they put in IS into 7x-10x etc, low powered binoculars?


8x, not 7x. Anyway, the answer is ... try them and you will find out. Even at 10x, IS makes a huge difference.

I believe, IS in 40x100 will be much more usable and required.


Not really. The whole point of IS is to allow hand-holding the binoculars. 100x binoculars are too heavy to hand-hold. And even if they were, at 40X, you wouldn't be able to locate anything. Finding things without some kind of viewfinder is already somewhat challenging at 15X, and it gets rapidly harder as the magnification increases. High-powered binoculars really need to be on solid supports.

#20 Sean Puett

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Posted 01 February 2013 - 02:06 PM

Goldendale is every year for the foreseeable future because it is the perfect star party for me. Dark skies and just enough people to make it fun.
I guess we'll have plenty of 12x36IS binos for people to try:-)

I have decided to buy them new so I can have the warranty in case I have a collimation or IS issue. I am a proponent of buying used normally but in this case, I would rather pay a bit more for the peace odd mind. There is a lot that can go wrong with these binos and normal bino collimation is beyond me.
One review I read said that he was very unhappy with the performance but, decided to send them in and he was very happy with their performance when they returned.






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