image stabilizers, optics

Kevin Li kdli at
Sun Feb 24 12:26:44 PST 2002

A year and a half ago I went to the Cape May Bird Observatory and asked their optical expert about his thoughts on the Canon image stabilized binoculars. He had nothing good to say about them, and was highly critical of the ergonomic design and the optical image.
"I wouldn't use them for a door stop", he said.

Six months later I actually tried some 10X30s, and have gotten hooked on them for many situations. I love them for boating, driving, cold windy days, and even just days when my
hands are shaky. The image stabilization makes the difference, allowing me to track birds while other people have given up because bumpy conditions make it impossible. While I am now using some small Leicas as my all-around binocular, I still keep the Canons within easy reach. On cold blustery days I leave the Leicas at home.

The Canons are not waterproof, need batteries, and are initially a bit clumsy to handle. 10X can be a bit much for woodland birding, and they don't come in a lesser power, but for raptors and waterbirds, they're ideal. They may be a bit of a luxury, but since I'm on the water so much I managed to justify them for myself. And by the way, I would never use them for a door stop.

Has anyone had a chance to demo the new Zeiss spotting scope? Anyone know of a local dealer?

Kevin Li
Ballard, USA
kdli at

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