The last word in rugged and judder-free binoculars are pricey but scream quality
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Weighing just a few kilos and easy enough to slip into your hand baggage, these binoculars from Canon will massively improve your next safari and your next stargazing session. Cheap they are not, but Canon’s image stabilization system – which had been around for a few years – gets rid of blur at the touch of a button.
Our review sample was rated 10×42; 10x is the magnification, and 42mm is the aperture. This makes them great for stunning close-ups of wildlife while being perfect for astronomy, too; the Pleiades, the Double Cluster in Perseus, and the double stars in the Plough all looked fabulously clear, precise … and still. So still. None of that wobble, and the uncertainty that brings. As if they needed it, the Canon 10x42L IS WP also have a screw to attach to a tripod. The pull-out 16mm Long Eye Relief eyepieces are great for blocking our ambient light sources, too.
They use unique Vari-Angle Prism (VAP) image stabilization sensors that successfully get rid of any judder in the image that comes from hand-holding. Depress the IS button (an electronic system that requires 2xAA batteries, and disengages after about a minute to save power) and although there is a tiny touch of blur around individual stars while using these binoculars, it’s virtually unnoticeable. Even just trying out a pair and comparing them to a ‘normal pair of binoculars will make you realize how unsteady you are!
There are only three downsides to this clever system; it’s battery-driven, which makes the binoculars heavier than most, they cost an awful lot of money, and the eyecups are poor given the price (they keep falling off!). However, if money is no issue, I would recommend them because as well as being fabulous, they’re also easy to travel with. I took them to icy Finland and the wet Faroe Islands – for a solar eclipse, no less – without any problems. The soft case – which comes with a comfy, padded neck strap – is excellent, too.
Bigger models in the range include 18×50 IS (£1,630) and 15×50 IS (£1,389), while models smaller – and, therefore, guaranteed travel-friendly, than our review sample comprise the 12×36 IS II (£899), 10×30 IS (£525) and 8×25 IS (£399).