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Old 19-11-2006, 06:42   #1
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Image stabilized binoculars

I'm thinking seriously about buying. Looked at Fujinon 14x40 and Canon 15x50 and 18x50. would appreciate input and experiences. My 8x50 Tasco, while providing acceptable clarity leave much to be desired (for me).
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Old 20-11-2006, 11:52   #2
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They're great!

I bought a pair of these Nikons.
http://nikon.binoculars.com/products...ial-23748.html

They're the only stabilized binocs I've used so I have no comparison to other brands. BUT compared to regular binocs, it's night and day. I can now read buoys from a rocking boat! Nobody wants to use my Zeiss 7x50 after using these.
Only one problem, I'm totally hooked!

You won't regret buying a pair.

randy
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Old 20-11-2006, 11:59   #3
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fujinon, canon, nikon

Let's hear some specific comments regarding the attributes of each from those who have tried them.

I've tried only the canon and found them to be very easy to use. One test that I applied was to shift rapidly from one point to another in order to view the stability and speed in which the stabilizer locks in to a focused object. The capture (consisting of focusing and locking in) was very fast and I could observe only the slighest of overshoot as it quickly locked in. This makes for a very useable manner to have a 15X magnification on a moving platform. Did not try the 18X
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Old 21-11-2006, 00:11   #4
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My experience with the Fujinon was much like yours. There didn't seem to be a downside except perhaps burning through batteries every couple of days since everyone has to play with them all the time! Only type I have tried though so can't compare but I was using them offshore in the carribbean in moderate swells and they were excellent.
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Old 22-11-2006, 06:38   #5
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I have a pair of Fujinon “Techno-Stabli Jr.” 12x32’s.

They are wonderful. I bought them on Ebay for about ½ the retail – brand new, but no receipt or warranty card. My guess is they fell off the truck somewhere.

They have a vertical correction of about 4-5 degrees, compared to the Canons which are about 2-3 degrees. I also like the screw-down eyepieces compared to the typical fold-down eyepieces. However, I don’t like the attached battery pack – prefer the internal type like the Canons. The Fujinon’s look just like the Nikon’s; I heard that Fujinon makes both.

They are wonderful – when they are working!

About 2 years after I got them the stabilizer went out. The optics were fine, so you could still use them in un-stabilized mode – if your hands were steady. Not very good on a boat, though.

I sent them to Baker Marine, the authorized service center in CA. They sent them back, saying they were fine. When I got them, they still did not work and I returned them to Baker. They did not work for them the second time, fixed them (at no charge – it was something electronic) and returned them. They also told me that if I had a problem in the future, send them to Kamatech Corp. in CA, who are the Japanese company in the US who really services Fujinon binoculars.

A year or so later, they went out again and sent them to Kamatech. My contact there was Mr. Yuji Konishita. They were “fixed” (no charge) and returned. Worked perfectly. For about 6 months. I sent them again to Mr. Konishita and this time they were gone a couple of months. When they were returned (working perfectly – no charge), Mr. Konishita apologized for the repair time - he sent them to Japan for repair! On Labor Day this year, the stabilizer went out again and I sent them to Kamatech. They were sent to Japan again, but this time I was charged $160 (they did contact me first, advised me of the charge and asked for approval first). I got them 2 weeks ago and they work fine. The controls seem a bit “tighter”. Mr. Kinoshita did not receive a report of just what was the problem.

Great service from Mr. Kinoshita of Kamatech, but if they go out again, I will probably switch to Canons. By the way not all Canon’s are waterproof. Of the current models only the 18x50 IS and the 10x42 L IS are listed as waterproof on Canon website; the others are “water resistant”.
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Old 22-11-2006, 06:43   #6
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ps

ps.

December issue of Practical Sailor has a review of stablized binoculars. After I read it, I will post a summary of what they say.
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Old 22-11-2006, 07:01   #7
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I have Canon 18x50 IS and they are excellent. I use them on a bouncing boat (OK, catamaran) and can read names of ships that are miles away, beside seeing other things on a very dark beach ... I use high capacity rechargable batteries as ordinary alkalines don't last very long. I also bought front convers because for some reason mine did not come with ones. I believe you can get some rebate from Canon right now.
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Old 22-11-2006, 09:01   #8
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Practical Sailor report

Practical Sailor (Dec 2006) rates the Fujinon Techni Stabli 14x40, $1,000 as the best choice (best Image Stabilization system of all tested).

Bushnell 10x35 Stableview was budget buy ($509).

They also tested Canon 10x42 and Nikon 16x32. Unfortunately, they did not test other models by Fujinon, Nikon and Canon.

In previous post I said "By the way not all Canon’s are waterproof. Of the current models only the 18x50 IS and the 10x42 L IS are listed as waterproof on Canon website; the others are “water resistant”.

There are discontinued models, with very good prices on the web including some Canons listed as "Weatherproof". Check out www.binoculars.com They have BambooSailor's Canon 18x50 IS Weatherproof for $1259.
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Old 22-11-2006, 09:30   #9
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What is "vertical correction"?
Thanks
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Old 22-11-2006, 10:48   #10
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vertical correction

I once found a website that explained it and compared various brands of image stabilized binoculars. It listed Vertical correction as the amount of up/down movement from the horizontal that the IS system can correct. Fujinon's (at the time) corrected for the greatest degree, about 4-5 degrees.

That is how I remember the explanation, however, reading the PS article, correction angle is both horizontal and vertical.

The PS article notes that all the IS binoculars have sensors that detect horizontal and vertical motion and correct for it.

The Bushnell's (10x35) have a normal and fine mode and have maximum correction angles (both vertical and horizontal) of 3 degrees and 1 degree respectively.

Fujinon's (14x40) have a maximum correction angle of 5 degrees.

Canon (10x42) have a maximum correction angle of only 1 degree.

Nikon (16x32) have a maximum correction angle of 3 degrees.

The PS article goes on to imply there is a relationship between the correction angle and the power of the binocluars, saying that the Nikon's 3 degrees does not seem to be enough for 16x power.

The West Marine catalog (the paper one,not the online one) does list what they call the "stabilization factor". They list my 12x32 Fujinon's as 3 degrees and the 14x model as 5 degrees. They show 3 Nikon models from 12x to 16x , but only one stabilization factor listing as 3- 5 degrees.

I will do a little more research and see what I can find. I remember some web page that compared various models.
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Old 22-11-2006, 11:31   #11
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In comparing the Canon with the Techni-Stabli (egad, where was the marketing department on that one?), one has to keep in mind that these really don't have the same type of stabilization systems. The Canons are designed to just remove jitter and do so by "floating" the lens through a small degree when the body moves. I have a camera that uses the same type of system (not a Canon). This is why the vertical correction is small - it isn't designed for large movement. These binocs respond in every way like normal ones when scanning the horizon, etc. I have a pair and find that for boat use, my body compensates for the larger, more regular movement of the boat, and the binoculars compensate for the smaller, irregular movement of my hands. The result is an image stabilized sufficiently to read numbers and names off of distant objects while sailing.

In contrast, the TS's strive to provide a high degree of stabilization, as evident in their larger vertical compensation. These binocs truly do correct for large movement and "lock" onto an object. I have used this type and find the amount of stabilization amazing, but find them very disturbing to use on a boat. The problem for me is that they don't behave like regular binoculars when scanning the horizon. Instead, there is a large lag time between when you move the binoculars and when the image changes. It's as if the binocs lock down and you are always coaxing them to give up the image and find a new one. Again, this is a personal dislike - the amount of stabilization is wonderful and many people like them. If you were pitching around violently and needed to see small detail, these are the binocs for you.

So in short, you can't compare the stabilization performance between these two because they are designed toward different goals. I think it is more about choosing horses for courses. To compare: Canons are smaller, lighter, less expensive and only compensate for small movement. TS's are larger, heavier, more expensive and can compensate for large movement.

That's the comparison.

The only other thing I can add is once you use stabilized binocs, you will have a difficult time using regular ones again. We have a newer pair of Fujinon non-stabilized binocs also that have much better optical qualities than the Canons, but they get chosen only when someone else is using the Canons. Everyone goes for the image stabilization first over the optical clarity and brightness.

Mark
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Old 22-11-2006, 11:59   #12
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Thanks for clarification

Colemj,

Thanks for the clarification. I do agree it is somewhat a matter of personal preference. Some people really like my Fujinon's while others prefer the Canons, but everyone does like image stabilized binoculars over the standard 7x50's. However, if the electronics (in my case) or batteries die, you do need the 7x50's as backup.

It may be just a matter of time before they make them with compasses.

I do think it best to try them on a boat, rather than in the store.
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Old 28-11-2006, 12:17   #13
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An issue with stabilized binocs

Not long ago I spent some time at my local West Marine trying stabilized vs non-stabilized binoculars. Clearly stabilized will offer an advantage from a moving deck. However, as far as I could tell there was not a brand of stabilized that also allowed for individual eye focus. This is pretty important for the many of us with one eye considerably different than the other. In the end I could not decide. Has anyone seen a stabiled binocular with individual eye focus?
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Old 28-11-2006, 12:29   #14
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Canon 18x50 IS allow you to adjust right eye separately from main focus. You first look and focus using left eye, than without changing main focus, compensate right eye for perfect focus.
And $1259 is too much. You should be able to get ones for under $1000 (with rebate).
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Old 29-11-2006, 10:03   #15
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I have the Canon 15x 50 and they are amazing as binoculars, without activating the IS. For astronomical work they have amazing light gathering power, resolution and edge to edge focus. The IS is great for steading hand shake. They are not design to overcome large boat movements, but they are effective on board, never the less.
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