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The Binocular Advisor

Binoculars of Note

Canon Image Stabilized 10x42
High-end Binocular Round-up, 2008

by Michael and Diane Porter

Canon Image Stabilized

Our survey of top binoculars (High-end Binoculars Round-up, Bird Watcher's Digest, September, 2008) included the Canon Image Stabilized 10x42 binocular.

Canon's IS L WP binocular deserves to be in a class by itself (and we've listed it that way on the Ratings Chart). Yes, it's heavy, at 36 ounces, and it is bigger than ordinary binoculars, but it can do something no ordinary binocular can do. Push a button on the top of the binocular, and the hand-held picture stabilizes as if it were mounted on a tripod.

Unlike other Canon IS binoculars, the 10x42 L WP model is waterproof. It has adequate eye relief (16mm) for glasses wearers. It focuses as close as 8.2 feet, so it works well for butterfly watching. It's the only binocular in our survey that is the Porro prism style.

Image stabilization is essential for a person who must use binoculars while riding in a car, boat, or airplane. Birders whose hands have developed a tremor can regain the experience of steady viewing. For anyone in such special circumstances, it's worth carrying the extra weight.

The image quality is excellent. Its scores don't fully reflect its special value, because it is penalized in categories such as fit and feel by comparison with binoculars that are nimbler but that don't share its magical powers.

It requires two AA batteries. The binocular is usable without batteries, but without the stabilizing power.

At present, the IS L WP comes only in 10x42. Other sizes are available, but only the 10x42 L WP is waterproof. Canon offers a three-year limited warranty on the binocular.

Bird Watcher's DigestCopyright 2008 by Michael and Diane Porter.

This article appears as part of the High-end Binoculars Round Up in the September, 2008, issue of Bird Watcher's Digest.



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