|Canon 10x42 L Image Stabilization Waterproof Binoculars
|List Price: $1599.99
Our Price: $1029.98
You Save: $570.01 (36%)
Do you want to move up to a 10x binocular but you are afraid your hands are too shaky to hold it steady? Then the Canon 10 x 42 L IS WP Binocular is for you. This is the first waterproof binocular with Canon's Image Stabilizer technology for steady, shake-free viewing. The high quality L series optics, featuring 2 Ultra-low Dispersion (UD) lens elements (on each side), deliver excellent correction for chromatic aberration. With a large lens diameter and a 4.2mm exit pupil diameter, this binocular provides an exceptionally bright view, even in low-light conditions. It offers excellent waterproof capabilities, making it ideal for a host of activities including marine use, stargazing and wildlife observation - just to name a few.
One touch IS usage. Body components feature metallic coating to prevent fogging. Distinctive, easy grip design. Type - Prism binoculars Magnification - 10x Objective Lens Effective Diameter - 42mm Filter Size - 52mm Real Field of View - 6.5¡ã Objective Lens Construction - 4 elements in 3 groups (including protective glass, UD Lens) Eyepiece Lens Construction - 7 elements in 5 groups Eye Relief - 16mm Prism Type - Porro II Eye Width adjustment - 57-75mm Focusing Method - Manual focusing by turning the focusing ring Dioptric Correction - +/- 3.0 diopters Closest Focusing Distance - 8.2 ft./2.5m Image Stabilizer - Vari-Angle Prism Correction angle - +/- 0.8¡ã Tripod Socket Provided Power Source - AA-size batteries (x2) Dimensions - 5.4 x 6.9 x 3.4 in./137 x 175.8 x 85.4mm Weight - 2.3 lbs./1030g
- Canon's first waterproof IS Binocular.
- High performance L Lens with 2 Ultra-low Dispersion (UD) elements on each side.
- Doublet Field Flattener Lenses for sharp, distortion-free images edge-to-edge.
- Bright field-of-view from a 4.2mm exit pupil diameter, the largest of any Canon IS Binocular.
- Wide angle rating from an apparent angle-of-view of 65¡ã
- Why pay this much $$ for binocs?
Seems very expensive for a pair of binocs, but the price is clearly justified as Canon has crammed in some amazing optical wizardry in a small compact package. I will outline what makes these particular binocs so unique....
1. TFOV - 6.5 Degrees. TFOV = True Field of View - in visual optics this defines how much of the scene (subject) is visible inside the image circles you view through the binocs. The greater the TFOV is, the easier to locate subjects you are seeking. (such as finding wildlife that appears in the periphery part of the image circle) To be specific, the 6.5 degrees means, if you stood in the middle of a circle, and pointed the binocs to the circles circumference, you could see a 6.5 deg. "slice of the pie". It doesn't seem like much, because we can see approx. 110 degrees with our two unaided eyes, but the binocs offer 10x magnification, which is why we see such a small piece of the pie. But on a relative basis, for binoculars of this magnification, the 10x42L's TFOV is exceptional, which also is what makes them very nice astro binocs for stargazing, as TFOV allows you to pack more stars inside the image circle.
Large TFOV requires relatively short fl's lenses which must be well corrected for abberations / distortion, and also must contain large field stops in the EP's, (Eye Pieces). Both of these optical characteristics are very difficult to design and build...this is true in all optics, not just binoculars. 6.5 deg. TFOV is one of the most generous TFOV's available in ANY binocs of this magnification, even those costing several thousand dollars. This is a very impressive feature. This is one of the features that differentiates lower priced binocs from higher priced binocs., as larger TFOV requires bigger (and heavier) glass.
2. AFOV - 65 Degrees. The "Apparent Field of View" is a clear and sharp 65 degrees. AFOV defines the size of the image circles you see when looking through the binocs. This means, at 65 degrees, your eye must swing 65 degrees, left to right (or up n down) to see the entire image circle. This has NOTHING to do with TFOV, which designates the how much of the subject (slice of the pie) you see in the AFOV image circles. AFOV and TFOV is what differentiates expensive optics from lower priced optics in the same class (such as 10x30, 10x40, etc) as large AFOV / TFOV requires very expensive and complex glass elements. The other major factor is image quality.
At 65 degrees, Canon is nearing the limits of AFOV, even in very high end astronomy gear.... and probably one of the largest AFOV's for any binocs I am aware of. But Canon maintained the sharpness in the entire AFOV, with virtually no distortion! (a remarkable accomplishment in optics in this price range) The larger the AFOV, the more life-like the view becomes as it fills your retina with imagery, ridding the "looking through a tunnel feeling" that smaller AFOV create. A single unaided human eye can see 90 degrees. So at 65 degrees, you are filling 2/3rds of your retina (where an image is formed in the back of your eye) compared to unaided vision. This produces a feeling of immersion (like Imax, vs. normal movie screen), and this really adds to the WOW factor. This is the largest AFOV I have ever seen in a pair of binocs at ANY magnification. This large AFOV is the first thing that will strike you when using these binocs. Unless you venture into high end astronomy gear (costing many times these binoculars) it's hard to find find good optics with a AFOV this wide, AND, with sharpness right to the edges AND virtually NO distortion.
3. L Glass.... very sharp glass, with no false color and pinpoint sharpness, nearing true APO chromatic lenses. This is very evident when viewing stars at night, the stars are pin point sharp, better than most astronomy binocs I have used.... and with the the wide TFOV and large AFOV, you feel like you are space walking into the stars while laying back on a lounge chair. Of course, with only 42mm objectives, it helps to be in a very dark site. If astro use is the primary intended use, then larger objective diameters are better suited. 50 - 70mm objectives are ideal, such as the 7x50's I mention below...or if you use a tripod, then max. objective diam becomes more desirable such as 15x80 or even 20x100. So, these binocs make good astronomy binocs, but not ideal...there is better options with bigger apertures for star gazzing... it's just a nice add-on feature if your intended use is mostly daytime viewing.
Those who use high end photographic lenses know how prized Canons "L" lenses are...hence why I was surprised to see "L" glass in these binocs.
4. IS - well, this has been beaten to death, but IS is the single biggest breakthrough since binocs were invented - assuming you want to hand-hold at high magnification. Otherwise, the IS feature is not as significant. The IS in these 10x42's are superb... the "push once" IS button is a nice feature, as you don't have to continuously hold down the button while viewing. The IS has a motion sensor which sense when viewing is finished, then shut down the IS, to save battery life - nice feature. But other Canon binocs have IS, so it's not what sets the 10x42's apart from the other Canon IS binocs... But if you hand-hold, and desire at least 10x or greater magnification, IS should be your single most desirable feature in binocs.
5. Aperture (Objective Diam.) - 42mm obj. diam. at 10x magnification provides very bright views, specially during mid day, and good (but not great) at twilight. They are also "just" large enough to use as astro binoculars...once you begin star gazing through these you will become interested in the night sky. Buy a good binocular astronomy book and you will be amazed. If they tried to go bigger, the weight of the binocs would become unruly, creating arm fatigue, so I feel Canon reached a good compromise at 42mm objectives. A pair of UV filters are a good idea to protect the objectives as the elements are not recessed back far enough behind the rubber front rims. (one of the few shortcomings I have found with these binocs) I have a pair of Fuji 10x70's, which the 70mm objectives, which allow almost 3x more light in....yet with the IS and pinpoint sharpness, I am quite amazed how these Canons perform considering their small objectives for astronomy binocs. I am pretty sure Canon did not design these for astro binocs. But night time viewing is very acceptable with the 42mm objectives, as they allow 2x the light vs. normal 30mm objectives, and the added light is very apparent in added sharpness and contrast.
6) Exit Pupil diam.... The exit pupil diam of any visual optic, is the diameter of the circle of light that exits the eyepiece and funnels into (or on) the eye. The diameter of the exit pupil is determined by objective lens diam. / magnification. 42/10 = 4.2mm wide. The significance of this value is how it relates to the diameter opening of your eye pupil. If the exit pupil diameter is larger than your eye pupil opening, it means several things....
a) some of the light is being wasted, as its overflowing the bounds of your eye pupil opening. This wasted light means, you are carrying heavier binocs than you need to, as the weight and size of binocs are a function of the objective lens diam. (front lenses), at a given magnification.
b) However, this extra light, provides a useful benefit, as it allows some eye placement leeway, so you don't need to be so precise in setting the binocs IPD (Inter Pupilary Distance setting) and keeping the binocs dead still. As when the exit pupil of light misses your eye pupil opening, you get that annoying "black-out" condition in that eye. This happens very often when the exit pupil of the binocs equals your eye pupil diam.
c) The larger exit pupil diam. also allows your eyes to swivel a bit inside the image circle without the black-out condition. With these 10x42's, at 4.2mm exit pupil diam., assuming you set-up the binocs precisely, you have very little leeway to swivel (rotate) your eye inside the exit pupil diam., so this forces you to keep your eyes looking at the center of the image circles, and constantly move the binocs to keep the subject of interest centered. This can be quite annoying when watching a flock of birds...vs. having a large 7mm exit pupil, where you eyes can swivel around without moving the binocs.... but, you must carry larger objective lens binocs to gain this benefit. IMO, this issues is often overlooked in selecting binocs, and if compared side by side, it is obvious how luxurious large exit pupil diameters are. Hence why it sometimes makes sense to go for a lower magnification binoc. to gain larger exit pupil diameters.
To further complicate this matter, our eye opening dilates based on the amount of light hitting the eye. For mid day viewing, most human eyes are dilated down to 2-3mm opening, regardless of age. However, as we age, our max. eye pupil opening becomes smaller....this is very significant when selecting visual optics. Next time you get an eye exam, ask what the diam. of your dark adjusted pupil is. When we are young, our eye pupil will dilate open VERY wide at night. But age is very unfriendly to the eye in this regard. Here is an approx. chart showing how our max. pupil size becomes smaller through time...
Age vs. Eye Pupil Diam. (Avg)
Age ... Day light pupil... Night light pupil (mm)
As an interesting side note.... this chart demonstrates how our night vision declines rapidly with age. The relative light that can enter our pupils is based on the area of the pupil, which is a function of the diameter, pi r^2. If you wonder why your night vision is so poor vs. your younger years, here is why.... vs. a 20 yr old, here is the light reduction we see at the same ages as above....
at 30 yrs of age, we see 33% less light than a 20 yr old.... at,
40 yrs, - 44% less light
50 yrs, - 61% less light
60 yrs, - 74% less light
70 yrs, - 84% less light
80 yrs, - 90% less light
Back to binoculars.....
The significance of this chart, is help determine how wide your eye pupils are, which helps you better select what size exit pupil diameter binocs are right for you, combined with whether you will use the binocs for day / night viewing. It's obvious from the chart, binocs are very age specific decision. Here is examples of two extremes....
If you are 30, and use binocs at night, you would benefit greatly by binocs that have exit pupil diameters to match your 7.0mm eye pupil opening. Such candidates are, 7x50's (7.1mm), 10x70 (7mm), etc. Unfortunately, no binocs are made to produce larger exit pupils, cause the market would be way to small, so you must keep your eyes centered, and move the binocs to keep the subject of interest centered to avoid black-out condition. Anyway, these are VERY heavy binocs, some weighing in the 6 lbs range, but the views are spectacular if your eye pupil opening can accept such a large exit pupil.
On the other extreme, you are 80 and need to only accommodate your 2.5mm eye pupil diam. for night time viewing. Now, a tiny pair of binocs, 10x30 (3mm), 7x20 (3mm) will provide your eyes as much light as they can possibly absorb. To gain a bit more eye placement leeway, it always makes sense to use slightly larger exit pupil diameter vs. your eye pupil diam, which means bigger objective lenses for a given magnification. But sometimes weight and size take precedent. This is where personal preference comes into play.
But even during mid day viewing, a person 20 years of age would benefit greatly with objective lenses 2x the diam. at a given magnification vs. a person 80. One of the reasons is, larger objects produce sharper images due to less aperture diffractions. If you double the objective diam, you double the sharpness with a given magnification. Hence the huge selection binocular magnification and objective lens sizes. In general, larger objective lenses have many advantages.... always being offset by there added size and weight.
Anyway, the Canon 10x42's at 4.2mm exit pupils are in a sweet spot for DAYTIME viewing, as they almost fully fill the eye pupil of the 20 year old, and provide some eye placement leeway for the older aged person - hence the 10x42's will have a large potential market.
7. Retractable eye cups. These assist in eye placement. As these binocs are a "one size fits all", they have good Eye Releif (ER) of 16mm. ER is the distance your eye (pupil) needs to be from the glass to see the entire image circle with no vignetting. At 16mm ER, it will allow some users to wear their Eye Glasses, (but, 16mm is on the low side of required ER for EG wearers) For non EG wearers, it is difficult keeping your pupils at exactly 16mm from the glass.... so Canon allows the eye cups to twist inward / outward to accommodate the depth of your eye sockets. When the rubber cups touch above your eyeball, (at about the eyelash) it provides a great reference point to hold your eyes at the exact ER position, and also keep the binocs still. Remember, you are trying to keep the small exit pupils of the binocs to remain affixed over your eye pupil opening, so keeping the binocs steady is important to prevent that awful "black-out" effect, when the exit pupil misses your eye pupil opening. For a "one size fits all" product, this is a very well designed system to overcome the difficulty of maintaining proper eye placement positioning while viewing.
However, if you are forced to wear corrective EG's due to astigmatisms (the binocs will correct for mismatched refractive errors with a diopter corrector on the right eye piece), AND you wear thick glasses AND have deep set eyes, then the 16mm Eye Releif will fall very short, as a result, the view will be vignetted and you will no longer be seeing all the image circle. If this is the case for you, see below for other sweet spot binocs.
8. Diopter adjustment - to accommodate different refractive errors of the eyes, allowing many EG wearers to view without their EG's assuming they do NOT have astigmatisms which the user often will be forced to wear their corrective EG's. You use the focus adjustment for one eye, then correct for the other eye with diopter adjustments. The diopters are marked for easy re call when others use the binocs.
9. Rugged and waterproof. The build quality seems superb.... binocs are very sensitive instruments, and the more expensive the binocs, the better the optics and mechanicals need to be protected against hard hits, otherwise, they can loose their collimation. Canon did a great job projecting these binocs, as well as making them water proof, another expensive feature in binocs. The binocs also do not fog internally as their barrels must be sealed. Of course the external glass is always subject to fogging when the temp of the glass is below the dew point temp. of the area the binocs will be used. So beware of letting the binocs get cold, then bringing them into a warm humid environment. (this applies to all camera lenses and binocs, not unique to these 10x42's)
10. Excellent collimation. These binocs are very well collimated, which adds to the beauty of the view. Each eye sees the same subjects within the image circle and requires no divergence or convergence at infinity. This is a very labor intensive process to provide such accurate collimation, something not often found in lower priced binocs., and the difference can mean WOW type viewing, vs. "these binocs give me a headache" viewing. My binocs were very well collimated, but since I never saw others, not sure if mine were the lucky ones...so your mileage may vary...
If you buy these binocs, or any expensive binocs, first thing to confirm when you open the box, confirm the two sides are well collimated, if not, send them back, as its very difficult to collimate binocs and they will provide you with years of headaches / light headiness, dizziness, etc.! A simple test to determine collimation, focus on single subject at infinity... preferably something that fills the center of the image circle only (such as a street light lamp many miles away)....then blink your eyes simultaneously, so you see right view / left view / right view, etc..... If the binocs are not well collimated, you will see the subject jumping between views, as the brain holds the previous image long enough to notice the difference in placement between the two eyes. While perfect collimation is not required as the eyes can converge (move together in cross eyed mode) with no problems, the eyes have very little tolerance for divergence (i.e. move apart, or the opposite of cross-eyed, like a lizard can do) AND the eyes have virtually NO tolerance for vertical divergence, (one eye up, the other eye down) which is what must occur if one side shows the subject higher / lower vs. the other other side. Any of these collimation issues become very apparent when doing the blink test. If any new binocs are out-of collimation on horizontal divergence OR Vertical divergence, they should be returned immediately, as this creates large amounts of visual and mental stress, making the viewing process very annoying, leading to headaches, light headiness, disorientation, etc. With lower priced binocs, it pays to go to a store and test this out, so you can pick the sweetest pair in inventory, although the store manager may kick you out :-) Yet if a small bit of convergence exist, meaning the two subjects overlap a bit, this is not so bad, as it adds a slight depth feeling for infinity subjects and rarely if ever provides any visual stress... cause its natural to cross our eyes a small bit when viewing close subjects, (assuming its not extreme convergence which would be very noticeable with the blink test) Remember, mental stress caused by collimation issues are a function of "how long" the optics are used, combined with, how poor the collimation is and your tolerance of this oddity. If you use binocs for a long time, such as birders do, proper collimation is critical.
11. Matched fl's. Canon seemed to pay a lot of attention to assuring the fl's of each optical train, for each eye, are matched in magnification... .this is another very high-end feature which is often not a concern in lower priced binocs, sometimes creating mis matched magnification in each eye, creating a condition called retinal rivalry, i.e. the brain is battling two different sized images, which creates mental stress. Often these subtle differences create eye strain as well. If the problem is extreme, you can see this in the blink test....not likely noticeable in binocs of the 10x42's quality.
These issues all add up to great binocular vision. Binocular vision is hard to simulate at magnification as a result of many of the issues I pointed out above.... the more variables that go wrong, the worst the experience. Clearly these 10x42 binocs have very good QA. Now keep in mind, I may have luckily received a good sample... unless I tested many of them, I would not know for sure how good the QA is.
So overall, these binocs are superb. And if a company other than Canon attempted to make such a fine optical instrument, they would probably cost 2x or 3x the price Canon is selling them for. Yep, this is Canons "claim to fame" making high end optical products affordable... I am not saying $1k binocs are affordable to everyone...but I am saying, it took a company like Canon to cram all these features in binocs at this price...so Kudos to Canon...
Now, there is a few areas I would like to see improved...
1. front objectives dangerously exposed....I would have liked to have seen an extra 10mm of recess. (see below for a fix)
2. Eye cups are a bit hard... a softer rubber would be nice
3. Lens caps poorly designed on front lenses and poor fit on the EP's.... surprising for Canon, but all things considered, you will probably over look this.
4. IS button hard to find, hard to push. It would be nice to hear a slight beep when they turn on/off.
5. The inter papillary adjust is very stiff and cumbersome to grasp.
6. Focus could be a bit finer.... a bit coarse for high end optics - but sufficient.
7. Weight is heavy, but that is the price you pay for such superb optics and and large AFOV...there is a lot of glass in these binocs. Reducing weight, would either reduce the optical quality or the housings ability to secure the collimation.
The one issue you should first decide when buying binocs is magnification requirements. IMO, I feel 10x is a sweet spot in binocs....but often 8x is enough, and if the binoc are used in daylight, and you are not so keen on the best optics, a pair of the or 8x IS binocs could very well suit your needs, and you might appreciate their smaller size and weight. Not everyone can hold heavy binocs. On the other end of the scale, the 15 and 18x binocs are quite a jump in magnification for hand held optics. Be sure you need that extra magnification to justify the added weight and inherent less stable images....its much harder for the IS to hold 18x image still vs. a 10x image. But if you view things from a great distance, this may be very important. At 15x +, I would consider a small 80mm or 90mm fast f ratio telescope with a Bino Viewer and tripod as a more suitable alternative.
During day time viewing, often, the limiting factor how far one can see with any optical instrument is atmospheric conditions, NOT magnification...hence again, why 10x is a sweet spot for binocs. The exception is birding, where the subjects are relatively close. Remember, at 10x, viewing a person at 100 yards (football field) will provide the same view as if you saw that person standing on the on the 10 yd line with your un aided vision. That is a lot of magnification! When adding additional magnification, some of the features of the 10x42's would begin to fall-off... such as the TFOV is reduced to 3.7 degrees, (about half), and the image will loose about 1/3 of the brightness level. The point is, first assess your needs, then find the binocs that best fit your needs....
One final subject I would like to mention regarding binocs in general. The beauty of these binocs are their compact size, relatively large objectives, Canons "L" glass and of course IS. If the price of these binocs are not in your budget... one can easily attain a very good pair of binocs for much less money, excluding IS, but yet still have great optics and big (even bigger objectives) If your intended use can tolerate either a tripod or monopod to support the binocs. You can save a lot of money and get a very nice pair of 10x - 15x binocs with even better stabilization via tri / mono pod. Nothing holds optics more still than a tripod, and in most cases, even a monopod can match or beat "IS" performance. Also if you use a monopod or tripod, you can also tolerate more weight and therefore gain bigger objective lenses.... a much desirable feature as it allows for larger exit pupils (see above) which makes binoculars much easier to use as you experience much less, or no black-out (vignetting) conditions when the exit pupil from the binoculars becomes mis aligned with your eye pupil. Oberwerk has a lot of good wide objective binocs that offer great views for the dollars. Garrett Optical also has wonderful large apt. binocs. For wide exit pupil binocs, the Fuji 10x70 are my favorite, producing massive 7mm exit pupils, but NO IS, and not L glass, so view is good, but not as crisp as the L glass...and of course, only 50 deg AFOV, so much less immersive feeling. Of course, if the tripod / monopod doesn't fit your using style, than nothing beats the "IS" feature when hand-holding binocs of 10x or greater magnification.
11/5/06 - I have added two images above. See Customer images below the pix on this page. I have shown the binocs with added UV filters and lens hoods. Considering how expensive these binocs are, and how exposed those front objectives are, I consider these 52mm threaded UV filters and 52mm threaded lens hood mandatory. With this added protection, I don't have the need to use the poorly designed front lens caps anymore as now the objective lenses are fully protected. Worst case scenario, I replace the UV filter if damage occurs, which is not a bad tradeoff vs. constantly taking the objective lens caps on/off. Both the UV filters and the lens hoods I used are from B+W, but there is many less expensive brands to choose from. The lens hoods also do a good job of reducing lens glare, as the objective lenses are very vulnerable to stray light as they are not sufficiently recessed. This is the one shortcoming I was disappointed with, but it was easily correctable, albeit and extra $50 - $150 dollars based on the quality of the UV filters and lens hoods you select. Considering these binocs are selling for 1/2 what they are really worth, this does not bother me. But it does add to the overall cost of the binocs.
Don't want to spend this much, on Binocs, and still want to hand-hold?
then, another GREAT binoc size to consider is 7x50.... As mentioned, 10x42 is a real sweet spot for binocular optics. However, this assumes mostly day time use when our eye pupils are dilated down to a very small diameter, usually 3 - 4mm, which sizes well the 4.2mm exit pupil diam. circle of light coming from the eye lens of 10x42 binocs. AND, it also assumes your binocs have IS, or use a tripod / monopod or some means to hold the binocs still, because at 10x magnification, its very hard to keep the subject still, which can make the binoc. experience very annoying.
The other great sweet spot of binoculars, IMO, if you want to hand-hold, and don't want the weight / cost of a good IS feature..... is 7x50. Below is a Pro / Con list of 7x50 binocs vs. these Canon 10x42L's.... some people may find the 7x50's a better choice for several reasons....
7x50's Pros (Non IS)
1. Much less expensive, even for the best 7x50's (excluding Leica and Zeiss)
2. Lighter weight, due to no IS, and often shorter overall focal length. Overall, a bit smaller in size.
3. At 7x, if you have relatively sturdy hands, the view is acceptable without IS! (Although, not quite as still as these 10x42L's with IS, but close enough) For those who shake a bit, IS or a tripod is critical, even with 7x power.
4. 7mm exit pupil Diam. Although during daylight hours, much of this exit pupil is wasted, so the binocs appear no brighter than the 10x42's. However, when the light level becomes low, the difference in apparent brightness is HUGE. (assuming your eye pupils can dilate open wide enough to benefit from this, see chart above) This is also called the twilight factor. However, even during daytime use, these large exit pupils do not got to waste, as they provide tremendous "ease" of viewing as the circle of light bathing your small eye pupil allows you more "eye placement leeway" AND, it also allows your eyes to swivel inside this large exit pupil diam., which is a very natural feeling. With the Canon 10x42's, you must keep your eyes centered, and move the binocs to keep the subject of interest in the center of the image circle, to avoid the annoying black-out condition, caused by the exit pupil from the eye lens missing your eye pupil opening. This is a VERY underestimated value of large exit pupil binocs. (again, exit pupil is objective diam., / magnification, so 50/7 = 7mm.) This issue is somewhat age related, see exit pupil Diameter discussion above.
5. Eye Relief. Most 7x50 binocs have longer ER, which maybe very desirable for those who wear corrective eyeglasses. The Canons are a bit short in this area at 16mm, whereas many good 7x50's are in the 22mm range, specially the higher priced ones. Those with astigmatisms would benefit greatly by using their corrective eyeglasses when using binocs. As most binocs with diopter correction can correct for refractive differences between the eyes, but no visual optics can compensate for astigmatism, except your custom made corrective eyeglasses. Of course, if you wear contacts, you eliminate these problems.
6. Astronomy use - 7x50's see a wide field of view, a bit more than the Canons 6.8 deg. (it varies based on fl) However, for astronomy use, the large exit pupil of the 7x50's is immediately apparent with producing very bright stars, and the ability to hand-hold, WITHOUT so much shake, the stars appear like bouncing specs of lights. The difference between 7x and 10x is huge in this regard. At 8x, I still find it hard to handhold for astronomy. Hence the value of 7x. It's best to "try" these variables out with the proposed binocs in your hands, because not only does everyone have different "hand stillness", we also have different tolerance levels for shaky images.
1) Less magnification - 7x vs. 10x. This means, if you stand at the goal line on a 100 yd football field, and your friend stands at the other goal line...when using the 10x bincos, your friend would appear in the binocs, the same size as if you viewed him with the naked eye 10 yards from him. If you use the 7x binocs at the goal line, your friend will appear in the binocs, the same size as if you viewed him from 14 yards away. Punch line here = 7x is still a LOT of magnification.
2) Less AFOV vs. the Canon 10x42Ls' - so less WOW factor - a huge selling point of the Canon 10x42's, with 65 deg AFOV. Most of the 7x50's will have only 50 - 55 deg. AFOV. So you will notice a bit more tunnel vision in the 7x50's.
3) As for image quality, you can buy 7x50s' with very poor image quality for < $75, or get image quality as good as these Canons, in the $600 - $700 price range. So this is a function of $$$ ...
Bottom line.... if I had to choose ONE pair of binocs for hand-holding, it would be a toss up between the Canon 10x42's and a good pair of 7x50's, such as the Steiner 7x50 Commander V (which I also own, and are SUPERB). It comes down to the application.... for daylight use only, the Canons win for their larger AFOV (assuming you can afford the extra $ and can handle the weight), for mixed use (bright day and twilight) the 7x50's Steiners would win, and if it was for mid day and / or twilight use, combined with star gazing, the 7x50's would SURELY win.
So as you can see, binocs are highly personalized visual instruments. It's important to understand the variables so you can choose the right binocular size first, i.e. magnification and objective size, then choose the quality of the binocs. within this size. The old adage, Horses for Courses, certainly applies in binoc selection :-)
Hope this helps with your buying decision....
- Better for astronomy than other IS offerings by Canon
What I liked:
1. Waterproof design
2. 6.5 degrees field of view
3. Superior workmanship. (I bought and returned the 18x50 from B&H after using it for a day)
4. UD glass
5. Hand holdable even without IS
6. Size and weight compared to 18x50 and 15x50
What I didn't like:
1. IS isn't perfect, small amounts of shakiness trickles through
2. Objective elements are...well, in harm's way. I bought two of Schneider-Kreuznach's clear MRC filters immediately. [..]
3. Eyecap and [lens|objective] cap design can be improved. The booklet instructs you to attach both to the neck strap but the eyecap is so loose that minor movements can make it come off
4. Frequent blackouts even with the large exit pupil, so scanning the skies isn't too easy
5. Grinding feeling when rotating the eyepiece for adjustment.
This is a good general purpose binocular because it seems durable and is waterproof, optics are usable for astronomy....more info
- Eye Candy
I've only owned a couple of pairs of binoculars so don't have a ton of experience with different models. But I can't imagine it getting much better than these for general use. First off, they are very clear and bright and deliver a very crisp image, even with IS turned off. But at 10x there is noticeable shaking in the image. But then... turn on the IS and it just dampens everything beautifully. Even more detail is revealed and it kind of takes my breath away every time I use them. While this initial "wow" factor will dissipate over time, I can't imagine I'll regret purchasing these ever. They are that good.
I agree with others that have complained about the lens caps. But the caps actually work pretty well now that I've installed some 52mm B+W UV filters. The caps fit pretty snuggly onto the filters. Also, the filters haven't hindered the viewing IMHO....more info
- Cano 10x42L Simply the best binoculars ever
I have several different binoculars from small hand held to a large pair of Nikon's I use for wildlife spotting. I have never had anything that performs nearly as well as these do.
I am a serious nature and wildlife photographer that has used high end Canon photography equipment for years. When I saw a Image Stabilized binocular was available with "L" glass, (This is the symbol that Canon uses to identify their finest optics in camera lenses), I bought them immediately.
These binoculars are a little bit heavier than a non stabilized pair, but the weight is easily compensated by the stabilizer. Once you press the stabilizer button, the scene will lock, and the effect is amazing. I tested them by looking at a sign about 100 yards away. With my normal hand shake I could not read the sign at that distance. As soon I engaged the stabilizer, the image locked into place and never once moved. It performs as well as my camera lenses.
As far as the optics, they are, in my opinion second to none in the world. The image is significantly brighter than any other set I have, and the calrity and sharpness is incredible. The night viewing capabilities are incredible.
Finally, a huge plus is that these binoculars are completely fog and weather sealed. Change amibient temps, use them in the rain, and the will not allow condensation to get into the unit. A wonderful feature for those of us that use our equipment in other than nice weather.
Things to be aware of include:
These are relatively large, which suit a medium to large hand size. If you have very small hands, your may not like the feel of the unit in your hands.
Second, the lens caps do not perform well. They simple do not stay on the unit. Although for me this is not a serious issue, it is the one area that Canon could have done a much better job. You can get around this issue by attaching a good uv filter to the lenses. (You should probably do this anyway to protect the glass)
Finally, the strap the the carry case comes with is poor. It is too thin to be comfortably worn for extended use. I would recommend you find a really comfortable aftermarket camera strap to use with these.
Outstanding performance and quality. A little larger fell in your hands than some people may like, but once you learn to use them, I do not believe any serious birdwatcher or sports fan would ever let them go! I give the Canon L binoculars a 5 Star rating.
- Not as good as the 12x for birders
Most of the reviews I see for IS binoculars are by and for plane spotters and other non-birders, so I wanted to add the wildlife viewing perspective to the mix.
I have owned 2 different pairs of the 12x Cannon IS Binoculars, one pair of the 15x Cannon IS binos and I have tested the 10x42 L series (high-end, geared towards birders). I will cross-post these comments for all three. For any of you birders out there trying to decide which is the right choice for you, here are my observations.
First, general comments that apply to all three:
1) Image stabilization is great! There is nothing not to love about it. Why all birders on earth don't use these things is a mystery to me. For the money, I would prefer to spend an extra $200 on image stabilization vs spending an extra $1000 for a comparable improvement in optics quality.
2) These binoculars are heavy and bulky. The grip, the feel and the ease of use are different than those of "normal" high-end binoculars. The human factors of the engineering range from acceptable (12x) to incomprehensibly bad (10x). I suspect that experienced birders may pick them up for the first time and not like them because they "don't feel right." Here's my thought: it is worth the 1-2 hours it takes to get used to them, because it will change the way you bird. For example: YOU DO NOT NEED TO CARRY A SCOPE in many circumstances, which is huge. They may be slightly heavy for binos, but they are much lighter than binos plus a scope and tripod!
3) it is easy to underestimate the benefit and power of IS until you have used it for a while in the field. For example, when you are looking for a bird that is mostly hidden in leaves, and occassionally pops into view, these guys are great. The slight vibration in your hand means that you need to see an image longer for the brain to decipher the image. When it is stabilized, you can see it in a flash. You will be able to scan a flock of shorebirds at distance in a fraction of the time it takes someone with a scope. You can see details on a bird moving 100ft above in the canopy that are utterly impossible with normal binoculars.
4) THink of them as ELECTRONICS, not optics. These will not be passed on to your grandchildren. They will last 3-5 years depending on how hard you use them. Don't bother trying to get them fixed because it is uneconomical outside of the warranty period. Don't buy them if you are uncomfortable with the cost because you may need to replace them in the not-to-distant future. That said, reliability has been okay for mine. I have dropped them, gotten them throughly wet for hours, taken them to high altitudes, and exposed them to a wide range of temperatures without any issues. One 12x pair developed a rattle and subsequently a hiccup in the IS. When I openned them up (not recommended) I found that a couple of screws fell out. I don't know where the screws came from and don't really care because now they work fine again.
Here is a comparison of the various models:
12x: the normal "rule of thumb" for birders with conventional binoculars is that 8-10x is about right in terms of image stability, weight, field of view and magnification. With IS binoculars, the equation is a little different. You can have image stability at any magnification, so it comes down to weight, field of view and magnification. For me, the winner is the 12x. You will have a little extra trouble finding a fast-moving bird, especially at close range due to the smaller field of view vs typical 10x. However, it is strong enough to allow me to leave my scope at home for most purposes -- it is equivalent to about a 15-18x conventional scope. The eyepieces are comfortable and the field of view is acceptable. My primary compaint is that the close limit of focus is too far for comfortable use in close quarters like dense rainforest. These binos seem rugged and reliable.
15x: optimal for pelagic birding, gulls and shorebirding, but the field of view and range of focus don't work well for normal birding. On a boat, nobody else will be able to see the stuff you see, period. It is like having a scope when everyone else is using 8x bins. In these circumstances the relatively limited field of view is not an issue and the extra magnification is great. These are much larger and heavier than the 12x and you wouldn't want to carry these on a 10 mile hike (although it would beat hiking 10 miles with a scope!). My main complaint -- and it is a big one -- is that the eyepieces are attrociously uncomfortable for my eyes. Presumably they must be comfortable for someone, like the engineer who designed them, but not for me. I had to replace them with eyepieces of my own because they are intollerable.
10x: These are fantastic. Pros: smaller, lighter than the 12x. Wider field of view and better close focus. Cons: 1) very expensive; 2) eyepieces that are as bad or worse than those on the 15x, which is why I don't own a pair. I think perhaps Cannon made these because they found in their market surveys that birders want 10x binos. I suspect they haven't sold many at the $1,100 price point given the Human factors issues. I personally would advise birds to not buy these unless they are willing to replace the eyepieces -- and better yet just get the 12x. Hopefully the next version will address these issues, because the IS technology and the optics are great....more info
- Great view - but at a price.
I tried the binoculars and sent them back. The optical quality and IS are excellent but at a distinct cost. The binoculars are simply bulkier and much heavier than other 10X42s and I really felt that price did not justify the improved performance. In addition, why pay the price for expensive optics and then have no good way to protect the lenses - the primary lens covers are terribly designed and can't stay on the lenses. ...more info
- Excellent product
After reading all the other reviews when looking for IS binoculars I decided on these because of the glass, the weight and the field of view. Having now bought a pair I can say they are excellent. Easy to handle, superb optics and the IS function works extremely well. Hand held images look as though I have the binoculars on a tripod - very stable indeed. I would however echo some other comments on the downside - the lens caps at both ends don't fit well at all. The eye piece caps fall off when turned upside down, and the objective lens caps whilst they do stay in place, just, are very fiddly to fit on correctly. I'm buying some skylight filters to protect the lens just in case. That said, an excellent product, and if Canon can solve the lens cap issue for future releases then I'd say these are flawless....more info