Image Stabilized Binoculars Comparison

Image Stabilized Binoculars Comparison

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Binocular Comparison

Image stabilized Binoculars

Maybe you are like me and have a hard time reading an image through regular binoculars on the water. Even using 7 X 50 binoculars I have always had a hard time seeing the image clearly, unless they were a very expensive pair with great optics and coatings.

If this is the case Image Stabilized binoculars are a great solution. The first time I tried IS binoculars on a boat it was like, OK these work. For the first time I could see and read a distant channel mark number. Pressing the button gave a picture image of the channel marker with great clarity. High-power image stabilized binoculars lock onto objects giving steady images, perfect for a moving boat.

To lean about Features of Image stabilized Binoculars Click here

For this comparison we are looking here at two sets of image stabilized binoculars each having their own strengths and weaknesses. One cheap or relatively cheap and small, while the other are large powerful and expensive binoculars.

Fujinon tecno stabi 14 x 40

Image stabilized Binoculars

These Fujinon 14 x 40 image stabilized binoculars are twice the magnification (14x) of most standard marine binoculars (7x), and offer great images at long distances on the water. However, they are expensive at around $1,200

Specifications; Fully-coated optics, waterproof, Includes neck strap, adjustable left handstrap. Operates on 4 AA batteries (included) or a 12 to 28V DC external power source (sold separately). Size 7.0"L x 5.1"W x 3.5"H. The Binoculars come with a big yellow protective case, lens cloth and thick neck strap. The binoculars are rubber coated offering some degree of protection, but you should treat them with care. The field of view is excellent and covers up to 287 feet at 1,000 yards.

How they work; Dual piezo-vibration sensors ( horizontal and vertical) to sense motion and gyro position sensor, (again vertical and horizontal) to sense direction. Input from the sensors feeds a microprocessor linked to direct drive motor, helps you lock on to subjects

Operation On the top left of the binoculars are two buttons. Button 1 is the Power off button. The second button is used to operate the image stabilizing, press once and the orange light indicates standby. Press this button again and the green status light indicate IS (image stabilized) is on. You also know the IS is on by the sound of the motors turning. The binoculars automatically Power off after a few minutes which helps save batteries. The LED status light is conveniently located between the eye cups.

The top right focus wheel is easy to operate with right forefinger. The image stabilize button is easy to reach with the left forefinger.

To use the binoculars point them in the direction of the target. Press power on and then the second button once. Use the focus wheel to get the best focus on the target. Then press the second button again (green light on) and you will see the image slow down and come into sharp focus. Without IS the image jumps around making it difficult to read a sign or channel marker. With IS on the images become easy to read as they do not jump around.

Performance ; Standing at a point on land we were able to easily read a channel marker 1,000 yards away with the stabilizer on in fact we could read markers another 200 yards away. Without the stabilizer the number on the channel marker was impossible to read. We tried to read closer channel markers without the stabilizer. At 700 yards the number could be read without the stabilizer.

The conclusion is without the stabilizer we are reading channel markers up to 700 yards. With the stabilizer we can read them well over 1,000 yards. This is a relative comparison but shows the IS greatly improves range.

Canon 10 x 30

Image Stabilization Binoculars

These 10 X 30 image stabilized binoculars from Canon are Vary Angle IS Binoculars. Magnification is 10X and the objective lens is 30mm diameter. These are relatively cheap and small binoculars which can greatly enhance navigation. Being able to pick out and identify a channel marker at a greater distance than regular Binoculars is a safety feature as well as a comfort.

How they work; At the heart of the Binoculars are vertical and horizontal gyroscopes that detect motion. The amount of motion is instantly calculated by a microcomputer, and the movement is optimally counteracted. In effect, the image always is clear and crisp, even on a boat.

Specifications; Canons spectra multi-coating provides a clear image, and the water-resistant rubber coating provides secure holding. The field of view is excellent and covers up to 320 feet at 1,000 yards, and it also has an eye relief of 14.5 millimeters suitable for people with eyeglasses.

Operation is simple. The central button on top activates the image stabilizer. Use the binoculars normally as you scan the horizon or intended target. When you want to see more detail simply push the button. Almost immediately you will see the image become crisper. Focusing is with the central wheel between the eye pieces. The small binoculars are easy to use and get used to, with both the focus wheel and IS button centrally mounted.

Performance ;For a comparative test we tried the binoculars from land to a channel marker at distances of 500, 700, 900 & 1000 yards. At 500 the marker could be read clearly in normal mode and in image stabilized mode (IS). At 700 yards the marker number became difficult to read in normal mode, but with IS on it was clear. At 900 the image could not be read in normal mode, but was clear in IS mode. At 1000 yards the image could lust be read in IS mode.

This test shows the IS gains another 300 yards in range with the use of the image stabilizer. Results will vary with the size of the number and lighting, but it is a relative comparison.

Lightweight and powerful, the 10x30 IS delivers the benefits of Canons active Image Stabilization. Comes with a handy Case, Neck Strap and a set of batteries. Cost around $430

Shop Amazon Binoculars


Fujinon Techno stabi 14 x 40 binoculars

Canon 10 x 30 IS binoculars


Great range

Handy pocket sized


Stable image




Simple to use


Clear vision of channel markers

Relatively cheap


Alternative AC power

Batteries should last up to 20hrs


Large waterproof case

Diopter control


Tripod mount



Thin neck strap


Relatively heavy

Only water resistant



Soft bag


Hard on batteries



There are a wide variety of image stabilized binoculars. These two models are very different and come from the ends of the spectrum. The light handy Canons and the much larger powerful Fujinons. There is no perfect model and you should think about how and when you will use these very useful binoculars before making a decision. It is always best to try them if at all possible.

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