Canon 10x30 IS II versus Canon 10x32 IS
Canon just launched three new IS models on the market: 10x32, 12x32 and 14x32. While I would not have much interest in the 12x and 14x models – with their exit pupil smaller than 3mm, which restricts their use in twilight or in dense forests quite a bit – I managed to get the 10x version for a weekend of review and testing.
A brief comparison of data (all specs according to Canon, except Near Focus and Weight, which I measured myself):
10x30 IS II:
RFOV 6 o = 105m/1000m
AFOV 55.3 o
Eye relief: 14.5mm
Near focus: 4.4m (measured)
Weight 673g (incl. bttr, eyepiece caps and strap)
Battery Life: 9 hours (25 degrees C)
Price range (Switzerland): CHF 427 – 625 (= € 367 – 537)
RFOV 6 o = 105m/1000m
AFOV 55.3 o
Eye relief: 14.5mm
Near focus: 1.75m (measured)
Weight 880g (incl. bttr, eyepiece caps and strap)
Battery Life: 10 hours (23 degrees C)
Price range (Switzerland): CHF 1'256 – 1'593 (= € 1'078 – 1'368)
The new 10x32 IS (also true for the 12x and 14x models, they all have the same dimensions and weight) is substantially larger and heavier than the previous 10x30 IS model. The design appears more „upmarket“, although both would not get an industrial design award from me. Still, the new model has „more power“ in my eyes, it looks more modern and „professional“. The build quality and finish are impeccable.
The material used on the 10x32 for most of the binocular body is different from the 10x30, it appears very slightly „rougher“, the grip is fine in dry condition and okay when humid. Maybe the new surface material will not „melt away“ after a few years of use, as seems to be the case on some older Canon models? :-)
The 10x32 is well balanced and is easy to hold and operate. It is definitely at least one size bigger and distinctly heavier than the 10x30, though.
The IS is now operated with 2 separate buttons (more on their function further down), these sit on top of the right objective tube and are easy to reach even for my relatively small hands, they sit right where my right index and middle finger are usually placed when holding the bino (they are in fact placed so „exactly at the right spot“ that I several times pressed the buttons inadvertently when picking up the bino; I personally therefore prefer the solution of the 10x42 where the button is placed in some sort of a small „depression“ on the bincular case and not as prominently on the top of the objective tube as on the 10x32).
Another novelty: the focusing mechanism still moves the objective tray as in the 10x30 version, but in the 10x32, the objectives are now placed behind a protective glass disk, similar to the 10x42 WP. But: Canon doesn’t say anything about it, so I think the 10x32 does NOT qualify as waterproof, as the 10x42. But the additional glass probably makes the 10x32 at least „splashproof“, which is a big progress against the 10x30 where it can happen that you „inhale“ humidity or even dust and other unwelcome particles into the objective tubes when focusing.
The new 10x32, like the 10x30, is not equipped with a screw hole to mount it on a tripod adapter, such as the 10x42 (I actually find that quite useful in the 10x42).
The 10x32 comes with a bag, a strap, eyepiece caps - all of which in very acceptable quality - and 2 AA batteries. Warranty in Europe is 2 years.
This is a Porro II glass, so there is now central hinge really, you adapt the IPD by moving the prism housings with the eyepieces, like in the 10x30. This works nicely and smoothly, the IPD range is 56-76mm (measured).
The rubber eyecaps fold down for use with glasses. However, for my relatively narrow IPD (61mm) they are way too large (outer diameter 49mm) and leave no place for my nose between them, so even when observing without glasses (which I normally do) I have to fold them down, and that works quite comfortably (see also below under „Optics“ re eye relief etc).
The focusing wheel turns smoothly, precisely and with no play, on the new 10x32 a bit stiffer than on my 10x30, but otherwise quite similar. Compared to other binoculars, the gear ratio of the focusing mechanism is slow, but similar to previous Canon models, one full 360 degree turn of the focusing wheel from 3m to infinity.
There is sufficient travel left beyond infinity (about 90 degrees rotation).
Diopter adjustment range is just slightly more than +/- 3 dpt (tested), which is not enormous and may not be sufficient for some, but it’s the same as on previous Canon models. It is operated at the right eyepiece, works precisely (the „0“ mark is really at zero dpt) and smoothly, cannot be fixed, but rotating is sufficently stiff to prevent accidental adjustment.
OPTICS / INITIAL IMPRESSIONS (daylight mostly, but also some night sky)
Inspecting the eyepieces, everything looks very promising. Nice, dark area around the exit pupil of the 10x32, even slightly darker than in the 10x30. There is virtually no vignetting.
The objective side looks equally well finished, all visible glass surfaces appear clean and the interior of the tubes well blackened.
„Ease of view“ (in German the so-called „Einblickverhalten“, describing the ease with which you obtain a comfortable viewing position for your eyes behind the eypieces, allowing to see the entire field of view without any problem – I am still searching for the term in English):
Here, the new 10x32 did not thrill me. First, as described above, I had to fold down the eyecups to be able to place the bino before my eyes. Maybe people with wide IPD would not have that issue, but with an IPD in the low 60s, the large eyecups shaped like saucers prevent you (or at least me) from seeing the full FOV. With the eyecups folded down, things are much better, but now light from the side gets into your eyes, so a sort of winged eyecup might be useful to prevent this. Still, even if not perfect, I find the viewing position on the new 10x32 (with folded eyecups) more comfortable than the one of my 10x30, where the choice is between the unfolded small-diameter eyecups placed directly around my eyes – not very comfortable – and folded eyecups which lead to direct contact between my eyelids and the eyepiece lenses. So the 10x32 is not perfect, but better than the 10x30. The 10x42 with its screw-in / screw-out eyecups is even better and more comfortable for me.
Canon lists the eye relief at 14.5 mm on both the 10x30 and the 10x32 (the same also for the 12x32 and 14x32). With glasses pressed against the folded eyecups, I can just, just oversee almost all of the FOV in the 10x32. Again, not perfect, but acceptable.
Otherwise, the optics make a very good impression overall. As expected, collimation was impeccable. The nearest focus distance on the 10x32 was measured at 1.75m (Canon promises 2m), which is a net improvement against the 10x30 (4.4m measured).
The field of view is not huge, unchanged from the 10x30 version, so fans of the Nikon WX type bino may not find much happiness in the 105m (6 degrees RFOV, 53.5 AFOV)) of the 10x32. On the other hand, central sharpness is excellent, the off-axis sharpness is good in most of the image except the very edge, distortion is low, and there is very little globe effect, all in all the characteristics of the image are very similar to the 10x30 model and very satisfactory overall.
Color fidelity is also very good; the paper test reveals that the new 10x32 has a very slightly – and I repeat „very slightly“ - warmer color tone than the older 10x30, which is almost perfectly neutral for my eyes (comparison with the 10x42: see below).
In both models, there is a bit of CA, even in the center of the field of view, not much though; it increases , the further off-axis you go, but I consider it very acceptable. Again, I could not say which of the two „wins“, the 10x32 and the 10x30 are very similar.
A distinct difference, however, becomes apparent when observing under difficult light situations where the 10x32 reveals a much improved straylight suppression against the 10x30. Some glare and various reflections are visible in the 10x30 when observing e.g. against a low sun. The new 10x32 exhibits almost none of this in the same situation, so Canon must have applied quite some useful improvements.
Other sorts of reflections e.g. on strong light sources (LED) or at night on the moon are minimal in my experience, and the same is true for ghosting, the impression of the new 10x32 is excellent in all these respects. A nice full moon could be observed on and off between cloudy periods this Sat and the 10x32 showed a crisp, sharp image, with virtually no CA, and not much less bright than the 10x42 IS (which of course has a wider FOV so there is more dark sky around the bright moon, making the image bit more impressive).
Kimmo (post # 44) and CAAD9 (post # 45): I find the image characteristics of the 10x32 quite similar to those oft he 10x42 L IS. But the wider FOV and greater brightness are a net advantage of the 10x42; the difference is substantial in my eyes, and I clearly prefer the 10x42, despite the bigger size and higher weight. Moreover, it could be that the 10x42 when in IS operating mode seems even slightly more stable in my hands, maybe also thanks to its higher weight (?).
Another small remark: in the direct side by side comparison on the paper test, my eyes seem to recognize a very slight nuance of more red tone in the image of the 10x32; side by side, the 10x42 appears very slightly more yellowish. But we are talking about nuances here, not big differences (plus everybody’s eyes see color variations differently)!!
The new Canon 10x32, 12x32 and 14x32 models are equipped with two separate buttons: „regular“ IS, and Powered IS. Both buttons can be used in two ways: press them shortly and they will turn on the IS until a button is pressed again or 5 minutes have lapsed, whichever comes first. This is a big improvement over the mechanism of the 10x30, which requires you to constantly press the IS button.
But the 10x32 also has a second operating feature: pressing and holding a button will keep the IS turned on until you release the button.
Another nice feature: when you carry the 10x32 with the strap around your neck and release it so that it hangs vertically in front of your breast, the IS will turn off in 10 seconds. The same happens when you place the 10x32 in a vertical position e.g. on a table.
You can start IS by pressing either button first and then press the other button to switch modes, e.g. from regular mode to Powered mode, or vice versa.
Canon states in the manual that regular IS mode is ideal for observations which include some panning, whereas Powered mode is better when observing one fixed object over an extended period. In Powered mode, panning the binoculars may result in bigger „jumps“ of the IS system to follow your movement, but in my brief experience, this happened not always, only sometimes.
To be honest: the two-button system hasn’t fully grown on me in the short time during which I used the 10x32. It may have to do with the way I use my binos, or some other personal factor may have prevented my from fully grasping the concept.
When I panned with the regular IS on, and then fixed my view on an object identified while panning, the IS worked very well, and when I then switched to Powered IS mode, most of the time nothing at all seemed to change; only occasionally the Powered mode seemed to provide a slightly improved stability over the already very good regular IS mode.
When pressing the Powered IS button during panning e.g. a landscape, sometimes the image followed in „jumps“, but sometimes it behaved like in regular mode.
Things appeared a bit different when I simulated being on a boat, swaying left and right with larger movements. In this case, the Powered IS button (again, most of the time but not always) provided more stability than regular IS, but when the movements became too big, the image would also make bigger „jumps“with Powered IS on than with regular IS.
However, with me standing firmly with both legs on the ground, I didn’t see much advantage of the Powered IS over the regular mode.
Switching between the two was really easy, because both buttons were placed directly under my right index and middle finger, respectively.
Having had only one sample 10x32 available, I could of course not check whether another sample might behave differently.
All of this being said, I am nevertheless impressed by the level of image stabilization which Canon has now reached with its IS binocular series. Comparing it with the first generation 10x30, the difference is huge. Against the second gen. 10x30 II, the difference is a bit less obvious, for me, much of the improvement in the IS function seems to stem from the more comfortable button position, the operation without having to press a button all the time and the overall better build of the new 10x32. The IS on the new 10x32 seems quite similar tot he one of the 10x42, there ist he same „click“ when the system engages and the same tiny delay after pressing the button, shorter than on the 10x30.
There have been discussions over the years about problems with the IS in a number of Canon models, esp. the 15x and 18x ones., but also the 12x and 10x. The issue was mainly described as „instability“ in the image sharpness while IS is turned on, i.e. the image would get less sharp from time to time and in varying intervals, than without IS. Some people found the effect unbearable, others maintained that they didn’t feel much of it.
I have myself experienced this effect in at least two of my Canons which I owned over time, including my 10x30 II, but never in the latest 12x36 (12x36 III) nor the 10x42 IS. If my short experience with the new 10x32 is any indication, the effect is non-existent in the new models.
I hope the above also answers Thomas M.’s questions (post # 43) about the stability of the IS system in the new Canon models.
Very nice optics, an impressive stabilization feature, a much improved and upgraded design – the new Canon 10x32 IS looks like a winner. It has all the properties which Canon owners appreciate, and it doesn’t exhibit any major flaws, as far as I can tell.
The only thing I slightly wonder about is Canon’s price strategy: In many photo or optics shops here, you can get the fabulous 10x42 IS (waterproof) now for almost the same price as the new 10x32, or for only marginally more money.
With prices not much different, if I had to choose between the 10x32 and the 10x42, it would clearly be the 10x42. And if my budget would not allow that, I would go for the older 10x30 IS II at less than half the price, which isn’t fully splashproof, but has almost as good optics as the 10x32 and and a well proven IS function.
It would be interesting to hear the opinion of other forum members, who perhaps find more advantage than me in the two IS modes (regular and Powered).
And one last observation: I have not been able to figure out yet for which applications Canon has brought out its three new 32mm models. While the 10x is a very decent general purpose daylight binocular, the 12x and even more the 14x with their small exit pupils – 2.3mm on the 14x – do not really seem to fit the needs of either birders, hunters or astronomers. Or am I missing something ?
Edited by Pinac, 05 November 2017 - 04:22 PM.