The problem with human eyesight is that there’s only so far that you can see before you’ll need to find extra equipment to help you see further.
This is where standard binoculars come in, as they’ll help you to see even further than the human eye. But what if you want to be able to see extremely far away, further than a standard pair of binoculars can allow?
All binoculars are made differently, whether it comes down to performance, make and model, manufacturer, you name it. There are some binoculars, such as image stabilized binoculars, that provide the ability to get much better performance and be able to see even further away.
If you’re going sailing or stargazing, among other activities, image stabilized binoculars are ideal for seeing much further away than regular binoculars.
The image stabilization feature also helps the binoculars move less when you’re using them, and you can watch objects or creatures that are moving.
Finding these binoculars can be a challenge, but not to worry. We’ve detailed a few of our favorite image stabilized binoculars and a couple of things to look out for when selecting the perfect binoculars.
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Best Image Stabilized Binoculars - Comparison Table
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Best Image Stabilized Binoculars - Reviews
The Canon 10x30 Image Stabilization II Binoculars are a perfect blend of stellar image quality and a stable pair of binoculars that are sure to make their way into your list of favorite binoculars. To use the stabilization feature you simply have to hold down the button, and it will improve the image quality in mere seconds.
The battery life is quite good, lasting around 20 hours. They’re a little heavy owing to the fact that they are battery powered, but they’re roughly the same size and weight as other mid sized binoculars. They can be mounted on a tripod though which will help to solve this problem to a degree.
They feel great when you hold them and they’re very comfortable to keep in your hands. The eye cups are comfortable and they offer 14.5mm of eye relief which is adequate for people that wear glasses.
It’s easy enough to focus the binoculars, simply turn the wheel. There’s a diopter adjustment ring that’s placed on the right side of the barrel, and this will let you adjust each lense separately if you need the lenses to be different for the sake of your eyes.
They have a field of view of 314ft at 1000 yards, with an angle view of 6 degrees. It’s decent enough for binoculars with 10x magnification. They have a very good optical power, providing a good view that’s very clear.
Overall they’re a good choice for image stabilized binoculars and they're not super expensive either, and even perform well as regular binoculars.
Fujinon does a great job of giving a stable image even when you’re on the move. They’re ideal for tactical and emergency situations as the button on the binoculars that you press to stabilize the image doesn’t make any noise. They are a worthy rival for some of the best from Canon, their direct competitor.
The binos come with multi-coated lenses that will give you very clear views. They’re waterproof and fog proof, and they are very durable so won’t break easily. They’re even non slip so you don’t need to worry about dropping them.
They’re a fantastic choice for budding stargazers, and you could use them for a variety of activities including bird watching. The lenses are fully multi coated too. It’s a battery powered pair of binoculars and they’re easy to get installed too, with a battery life of up to 10 hours. You can easily adjust the eyecups if need be.
The binoculars don’t have a massive field of view. They do, however, have a fantastic 14x magnification power so you’ll be able to see a decent distance away. They can take a bit of getting used to, but once you’ve gotten used to them these binoculars will be a real asset to whatever activity you’re doing.
The Canon 0155002 10x42 L IS Waterproof Binoculars are fully waterproof and suitable for a large range of activities, from sightseeing, to hiking, to viewing wildlife and birding. They offer a fantastic field of view with an objective lens of 42mm, and they’re ideal for glasses wearers
The binoculars have a great image stabilizing feature that will keep the image steady even with shaky hands if you’re somewhere with a lot of motion like a boat or car.
In order to stabilize the image you will need to push the image stabilizer button, and for that reason you will need to use batteries with it.
The binoculars come with some gorgeous optical power, and provide a crystal clear image. It comes with anti-reflective coatings too which will help to minimize any glare and will help to still have a good quality image even in low light.
The binoculars are easy to grip and durable, but they are a little bit heavy and a little expensive. Otherwise they’re a good choice of binoculars that will work just fine for any activity.
Whatever your environment, the Canon 4625A002 15x50 Image Stabilized binocular will withstand it well. The binoculars have extra-low dispersion glass, and this minimizes how much the color fringes on the edge of the view. They also have anti-reflective coatings that are perfect for low light and dim lighting.
The binoculars come with an impressive 15x magnification with a fantastic stabilization system, so even though they’re a little larger you don’t need to worry so much about your hands shaking as the binoculars will stabilize the image for you. You can even use the binoculars in moving vehicles.
The binoculars come with a rather large field of view, so it’s easy to see everything that’s in your vision through the binoculars. This field of view is 236 feet at 1000 yards.
It’s easy enough to focus directly onto the target too if you use the central focusing wheel that’s big enough that you’re not likely to miss it. If you struggle with your eyesight, these binoculars also offer 15mm of eye relief.
Be warned that they’re not fully waterproof. Despite this, they are made of durable materialized and are rubberized to allow you to have a decent grip and to absorb shock in the event that you should drop them. They’re definitely worth the price for a reliable pair of image stabilized binoculars.
With a large object lens diameter of 60mm, the Zeiss Carl Optical 20x60 Image Stabilization Binoculars are catered to a high performance that withholds even in lower lighting. They provide a high quality image owing to the multi coated lenses and Zeiss’ own optical system.
The binoculars come with a massive 20x magnification, which in itself make them a binocular not to be trifled with. They’re made with a sleek black design and shape. They’re incredibly durable and even shock proof if you drop them.
The binoculars are also waterproof, just don’t drop them into the ocean or something as they’ll be hard to get back!
The binoculars come with a field of view of 52m at 1000m range and weigh relatively little for a pair of binoculars of this magnification and lens diameter. The binoculars also come with a carrying case to keep it safe.
The binoculars, as with the rest on this list, come with an image stabilization feature. They’re very pricey binoculars but they’re worth the cost despite this.
Best Image Stabilized Binoculars - Buyers Guide
Image stabilized binoculars have a lot of handy functions to give you a top quality viewing experience. One reason to get a pair though is that they come with an image stabilization feature. This helps to steady the image while you’re in motion.
You can also see objects from an insane distance quite comfortably. So what makes a good pair of image stabilized binoculars?
Types of Image Stabilized Binoculars
First off, an image stabilized binocular is classified into one of two categories. It’s either an active system or a passive system.
When your binoculars have an active system, this means that the image automatically adjusts through the use of an electric sensor. The sensor will notice any altitude changes and then accordingly change the lens and prism to ensure the image is still stable. This obviously doesn’t apply say if you fall over, but it can remedy shaking hands well.
Binoculars with a passive system don’t come with the electronic sensors that active systems do. Instead, you need to manually adjust the image using something such as a gyroscope or freeing the prism inside the binoculars from out of its covering. These are usually used for seeing moving objects such as boats, and they work well along with camera lenses and video.
When deciding what pair of binoculars to buy, you should take into consideration whether you want a passive or active system pair of binoculars. They both have their own unique features and both work well for looking at moving objects. The one big difference is that with active ones you’ll need to push a button down constantly to focus the view, whereas you don’t need to do that with passive ones.
Other Important Considerations
As with any binoculars, there are a few things that you should always keep in mind when buying a pair.
Weight and Size
Usually image stabilized binoculars come with a built in Porro-prism design, and this as a result makes them much larger than a lot of binoculars. Thankfully though, they are usually designed for activities that don’t require holding them for long periods of time so this shouldn’t be too much of an issue.
Field of View
Field of view basically translates to how much you can see out of the binoculars without needing to move your head. For activities such as wildlife viewing, birding, hunting and star gazing this is a factor that needs to be prioritised. The more field of view that the binoculars have, the more you can see without moving your head.
Usually, field of view is measured in feet per 1000 yards. Generally the binoculars with a larger field of view are also the more expensive ones and have a lot more optical power. If you’re on a budget this may not be ideal, but you’ll need to weigh up what’s important to you.
This is perhaps the most important factor to consider when buying a pair of binoculars. Magnification is how much your binoculars can make objects bigger on top of the normal distance you can see with the naked eye. So for an example, if you have a pair of binoculars that are 10x50. The first number here represents the magnification. As this number is 10 it means that you can see up to 10 times further away than you could see with just the naked eye. The more magnification you have, the further away that you can see.
Because the magnification is bigger, the binoculars are also going to be bigger. Thankfully this isn’t too much of an issue with image stabilized binoculars as you don’t need to carry them around on things like hikes.
The other factor that comes with this is the lens. That’s where the second number comes in. The lens diameter is the second number, and the larger this diameter is the more light that the binoculars are able to let into the binoculars. This means that binoculars with a larger lens diameter will have a much brighter and clearer image.
The quality of the binoculars is a combination between both of these factors. The higher both of these numbers are, the more quality you will get. Sometimes you can also get binoculars that can zoom, which means the distance you can see in them can vary depending on the zoom level. The further in that you zoom with these the blurrier the image will be.
When you’re using glasses you’ll usually need to put your eye up right next to the eyepiece. This can be a little problematic if you wear glasses as you’ll have your glasses lens pressed up against the eyepiece which will limit your eye relief. Some binoculars do come with long eye relief though which will allow you to be at a little bit more of a distance away from the binoculars in order to see out of them. You should ideally look for binoculars that have a minimum longer eye relief of 11mm. Also, a lot of binoculars come with adjustable eye cups, so if you do wear glasses this is also something worth looking out for.
If you’re in an area where it rains a lot of if you’re using your binoculars out at sea, you should consider a pair of binoculars that come with waterproofing. A lot of binoculars come with an O-ring that will help to protect from any rain, debris or dirt that may interfere with the device.
You should also try to select binoculars that are fog proof. Usually a manufacturer puts nitrogen in the chassis so that they become fog proof.
You don’t want to spend copious amounts of cash on a pair of binoculars that will completely shatter if they so much as hit the ground. With that in mind, you should try to ensure that the binoculars are made from durable materials and are shock proof so you can avoid the feeling of annoyance from dropping your binoculars.
As they come with extra mechanisms and technology, image stabilized binoculars can be a little more expensive than normal binoculars. You can find some worth a couple of thousand dollars, but you can also find some that are easily under one thousand dollars. It’s important to compare the pricing to ensure that you remain in the budget that you’ve set yourself. Check what you can afford and the things that are important to you when buying the binoculars to ensure that you’re getting what you need without it costing a bomb.
Double check how long the warranty is on your binoculars, just in case they’re faulty. This depends on what you want and how much peace of mind you need, and double check what the warranty says so that you know what’s covered.