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Stabilizer binocs Do They really work?

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#1 Mike28

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Posted 13 May 2004 - 04:48 PM

Anyone own a pair of one of those stabilizer binoculars and are they good for star viewing?

#2 jrcrilly

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Posted 13 May 2004 - 06:27 PM

The Canon 10X30 IS do a great job for me. I've never been able to comfortably use standard binoculars due to unsteady hands but the Canons do a great job. I use the 10X30 to keep the exit pupil small; over 3mm brings out my astigmastism in a big way.

#3 AJTony

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Posted 15 May 2004 - 03:07 PM

I own a pair of Canon 15 X 50 IS binoculars, and to me, they are the best binoculars I have ever used. Actually, they brought me back to my earlier interest in astronomy. They are great for travel. Give me a dark sky site and my IS binos, and I have a great evening.

Astronomy observations: Jupiter a beautiful disk, Saturn has "ears", Albireo, great color, good M42 nebulosity, can spot M57 with ease. I have logged over 70 Messier objects, many from my light polluted Jersey suburbs. Only downside; pricey. I personally feel that if you go for it, the 15X is the best choice. I can hold a 10X steady enough, so I would not have the need to invest in IS binos at that power.The 18X really push up the price, and of course have a smaller pupil exit size; however, I have not viewed through the 18X.

I am personally amazed that I don't hear more raves about Canon IS binos in magazines, and in forums.

Note, one well known bino astronomer/author appears not to like them. To the best of my recollection, he has stated in print that if you swing the binos from one object to another when the IS is engaged, the image lags behind and catches up. This is 100% untrue. I believe he also stated that they tend to shift in and out of focus when locked on an object. I have noticed this happen, but it is very slight, and has never been a bother to the viewing enjoyment.

Final comments: As always, if you are considering them, it would be great if you could track down someone with a pair at a star party, and check them out before you buy.

Also, a friend of mine wants to buy a pair, so we have been value shopping on the Net. It appears that the best deal is about $700-$800 range from a place a called Abes of Maine. Also, look for rebates, usually $100. Be wary as the price drops below $700 because you may be buying a grey market item. Unless you like to gamble, make sure the seller states USA warrantee.

AJ

#4 Mike28

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Posted 15 May 2004 - 03:31 PM

Sounds promising. I too have a somewhat shakey hand so they would be ideal for me. I think I will try them out at a nearby store I know. The price is kinda steep. I Can buy another good scope for that price. Maybe two! ;)

#5 Silvio

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Posted 15 May 2004 - 04:09 PM

Hi Mike,
I have a pair of the 15x50's. The images are very clear and very bright - excellent optical quality. The one downside for me is that I get occasional blurring (or is it defocussing)- I suspect that this is caused by the IS mechanism fighting my hand shakes and not getting things quite syncronized (I don't know; I'm guessing here). On a tripod, the blurring is much less noticeable and it goes away completely with the IS mechanism switched off - which totally defeats the point of buying IS binoculars in the first place!!!!!! I also note slight flaring of bright star images, but this is probably just my eyes and not the binoculars.

My primary interest is double stars, so this blurring and the flaring renders the Canons not very suitable for my narrow purposes. I recently acquired a TAK 22x60, Bogen, Stedi Vue set up used for $900 and the improvement in splitting double stars is incredible. I have split magnitude 6 stars with 7 arc second separations with this set up. And the Moon looks just incredible. I do tend to get some astigmatism on really bright objects (eg Jupiter) but again I suspect that it is my eyes that cause this.

Finally, having said all of this, the Canons are world class quality optics - it's just that the 22x of the mounted Taks suit my narrow purposes better than the 15x Canons can deliver using the IS.

My personal experiences only ........

Best regards and clear skies,
Silvio.

#6 Dave LoPresti

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Posted 15 May 2004 - 04:39 PM

Mike, they work for me. I have the Canon 18x50's and are not disappointed by them at all. Being a java junkie I have less than stable hands. Just the other night I followed the ISS from one horizon to the other without a worry the thing would go outside the FOV. A real fun thing for me with them is following the flight of bats at dusk when they are out there mosquito hunting across the field from my house. Man those things are quirky..
Some folks with more experience may see faults in them (optic or otherwise) but I do not with the exception they are priced too high for many other folks to enjoy.. I have no other binos but have three scopes. My main purpose for purchase is to have the best daytime/nightime package I can fit in my bookbag that I take everywhere with me (digital camera too) to view birds or the moon. When I get my solar filters for them I will post a mini review on them.
But the answer to "Do they really work" is yes. :ubetcha:

#7 AJTony

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Posted 16 May 2004 - 01:34 PM

Quick note: You mentioned that there was a store nearby where you could check out the IS binos. I did the same, and personally, I was not overly impressed by the the view, versus the price of the binos. It wasn't until I saw them perform on the night sky that I was Wowed.


AJ

#8 KennyJ

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Posted 16 May 2004 - 03:00 PM

Mike,

I wrote this almost 3 days ago , but the forum was down so could not post it until now ( been away )

At the time there were no replies -- so for what it's worth:

I don't own any myself , but I like the Canon 10 x 30 IS for terrestrial use.

I haven't used any Image Stabilised binos for astronomy , but there must be MANY owners of them who are delighted with them , as I'm sure you would find out if you read many reviews.

According to many reviewers , the "edge performance" with these IS binos is superior to that of ANY other binoculars.

The smaller exit -pupil should certainly help reduce affects of astigmatism , and also enhance contrast.

I tried the 18 x 50s for terrestrial use and was not particularly impressed.

Another thing to consider is that the 50mm versions are quite HEAVY -- perhaps too heavy for extended periods of use for SOME people , which of course raises the question as to whether or not one might be better spending the money on larger binoculars , with a decent tripod and mount, as some seem to prefer.

The Canon IS binos also "eat batteries" and only come with a one year guarantee , which would worry me slightly , although I've not heard of too many QC problems or posr -warranty period breakdowns.

But the basic answer must be YES -- they WORK --and to my mind Image Stabilisation was a wonderful invention.

Kind regards , Kenny.

#9 Guest_**DONOTDELETE**_*

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Posted 22 May 2004 - 11:33 PM

I just purchased a pair of 18x50 IS Cannons today. The warranty has been increased to 3 years, and they are running a $100 rebate promo right now. Yes, they really work, and make hand held binocular viewing MUCH more pleasurable. See more of my comments in the beginners forum under the thread "My Answer to Telescope Purchase Paralysis."
Andy

#10 Guest_**DONOTDELETE**_*

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Posted 25 May 2004 - 05:04 PM

I'll chip in here. I have owned a pair of the 10 x 30 IS since August 2000 and since then the only problem with them I have had is that the battery compartment door is broken.

My solution is simple and elegant: an elastic band around the body to stop the door opening and the batteries dropping out onto the ground.

I concur with everyone else who has responded to your message: Canon IS works. Try a pair.

Best wishes

#11 lighttrap

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Posted 25 May 2004 - 05:59 PM

I'm going to offer up a voice of reasoned dissent. I realize that there are legions of folks who think the Canon IS bins are the greatest thing out there. I should be one of them. Seeing as how I like higher power viewing, and really hate having to carry a tripod, I really should be pretty much in the target market for a set of the 18x50s. However, having seen a couple sets of them in the field, I've got to say that I was very disappointed in their optical performance. I had really expected lots better optics considering the rave reviews these things get. I would not trade my Nikon SE 12x50s for a set of the Canon IS 18x50s and I mean that in the most literal sense. Literally, when offered the chance, I declined, despite the monetary difference.

Lots of folks that I have a good deal of respect for, think the Canon IS binoculars are just the absolute best thing for them. I agree, that for them, maybe that's the case. But, in my case, there's almost no way to express my almost visceral distaste for them. So, it really pays to try out a set or six and just see what you, personally, think of these.

The IS system works, if what you want is a rather flat image without much punch to it.If you only ever want to use them for astro, some of my objections to them might not be relevant. I know of other folks that didn't really like them for daytime use, but like them enough for astronomy to keep them around. But, do try them out prior to purchase, and do purchase from a really reputable place that has gracious return priveledges. You may find, that they're just exactly what you'd hoped they'd be. I don't want to totally scare you away from them. Just judge for yourself.

Mike Swaim

#12 Guest_**DONOTDELETE**_*

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Posted 25 May 2004 - 11:30 PM

Hi,

I have owned both the 15x50's and 18x50's...The 15x50's In my opinion are at the limit for image stabilization. They are a very nice pair of bino's and clearly a very useful astronomical binocular. The 18x50's in my opinion are to powerful a magnification to utilize the IS system effectively. I could never get the images still long enough to benefit from the increase magnification and experienced considerable star flair. Therefore while I give high praise to the 15x50's I was very disappointed in the 18x50's. I currently own the 12x36 IS II which have become my favorite due to its size and weight and magnification..JIM

#13 Guest_**DONOTDELETE**_*

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Posted 26 May 2004 - 02:14 PM

Mike

You make some good points. Not everyone will like Canon IS binoculars. The only way to see is to try them out yourself. That would be my advice for any binocular by any manufacturer, as I discovered recently when I tried out some different makes of binoculars at a camera shop. I tried a couple of pairs of Leicas with high hopes but was disappointed. When I tried some Swarovskis which I hadn't considered before, I was much more impressed.

Best wishes

Bruce

#14 lighttrap

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Posted 26 May 2004 - 05:55 PM

I think it's interesting that most of the negative comments revolve around the 18x50s. I wonder if that size is just not Canon's best model.

Mike Swaim

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Posted 27 May 2004 - 04:57 AM

I have tried the 18 x 50s outside a camera shop but they were not as sharp as the others in the range, and were the heaviest. 18x is probably pushing the limits of the variable-prism technology. If I were in the market for a pair of the larger Canons, I would choose the 15x model, and I am surprised that the 18 x 50 model has not been discontinued. I have seen several reports of problems with this model.

Best wishes

Bruce

#16 Guest_**DONOTDELETE**_*

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Posted 30 May 2004 - 04:11 PM

Mike:
My wife and I have owned the 10x30IS for over a year now. Sold my Pentax 10x50 and mount because my wife liked the views and portability of "her" 10x30IS. These small wonders are almost equal to the pentax 10x50's in night sky viewing. Day time they were dead equal. They are bright and sharp and steady. Viewed the Orion Nebula; 7 sisters; Beehive cluster and a few other deep sky objects without much of a problem. Moon looks great too. They are great for grab and go and take-along on trips to dark sky sites. Bring plenty of AA batteries, though. IS is always hungry for power and eats alkaline like candy. Never tried the larger aperture IS, but why bother when these light, great versatile binos are out there? I own Tak 22x60's and Burgess Astro 20/40 x 100mm's and with a steady mount you can't beat the extended views of deep sky with them. I would rather own the 45 degree Burgess (with case and tripod) for $900 dollars than those 18x50 IS (heavy) binos. It can't be comfortable holding 18x50's for extended periods of time, so why bother paying more than the Tak/Astro price for "not really hand hold" binos? Just my opinion. Stick with the 'cheap' 10x30's for day and night use. Clear skies. :question:

George
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#17 Fiske

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Posted 01 June 2004 - 09:19 AM

Although I don't own a pair of the 18x50s, I had the opportunity to field-test a pair during several nights of observing from some very dark and fine skies in the Ozarks and have to report that they were delightful.

I noticed none of the image stabilization or focus issues that others have reported. And the 18x50s had absolutely the best edge performance I've seen in any binocular.

That said, a number of experienced observers have seen problems with the 18x50s, so it seems likely that something is going on with them.

They are quite heavy -- around 44 ounces. Ergonomically, they aren't as comfortable as some other pairs. And though they are said to have a field of view of 3.7 degrees, it seemed more narrow than that to me. And I confess I don't see the point of tripod mounting these binos. As much as they cost, if you're going to tripod mount them why not get the Fujinon 16x70s or a good pair of 20x80s? Either costs less and easily outperforms the 18x50s.

But despite these issues, the Backyard Astronomy guys love the IS binoculars and it's not hard to see why. My experience with them echos the comments they make. The IS technology works like a dream. I mean, you can easily split doubles like Cor Caroli with the 18x50s. Try doing that with another pair of hand-held binoculars.

Having recently purchased a pair of Nikon Venturer LX 8x42mm binos, I won't be in the market for another pair of high end binos for a while. When I am, however, the 18x50 IS will be in the running. :)


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