Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Canon Image Stabilized All Weather 18x50 Binoculars

From Alan in California:

Power to the Peeping
Rating: 5 (of 5)

OK, these Canon binoculars are NOT meant mainly for "peeping," though my wife finds these to be wonderful for people-watching from a big city hotel.

In fact, I bought my pair as a supplement to a 12.5" telescope. I have used them not just for astronomy, at which they excel, but also for birding in open-country where they are wonderful, and their 20-foot close focus limit is not a problem.

The apparent field of view of over 66 degrees is expansive and immersive, and surprisingly stable even without the stabilizer, due to the body design. Image stability is very adequate once the IS is clicked on. The focus works fairly well, though the wheel could be a bit larger. Eye relief listed at 15 mm seems accurate. I can see the entire field of view with my eyeglasses on.

Yes, these are HEAVY. A harness strap helps if you plan to ramble very far from your vehicle. Yes, they are somewhat expensive, though not the most expensive binoculars by far.

No, these are not for warblers in nearby bushes. For that I have ordered Swarovski binoculars, the 8 x 32 ELs. The 18 x 50 IS are a unique product, binoculars which totally supplant the need for a spotting scope. OK, so I have one of those also, but that's ANOTHER story, and another review.

Unless one's primary interest is astronomy, these should NOT be a first purchase. For someone who birds, who already has 8 x 32's, arguably the best size for general birding, or 8 x 42's, certainly these can be considered as the next purchase, in lieu of a spotting scope and tripod, or as a third purchase after that. These are great for birding festival trips, where it would be clumsy to maneuver a scope and tripod in and out of a van.

So, "power to the peeping," err, people, for astronomy and open terrain or seashore birding.

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