The Canon 18×50 IS all weather binoculars are one of the highest quality set of binoculars that you can get from Canon that comes with the case, neck strap and batteries. Canon has been making image stabilizing binoculars for a long time, and generally they have all been very high quality. So how does this one stack up? Well find out in this Canon 18×50 IS review.
- Built in, battery powered image stabilization
- Multi coated lenses for brighter, sharper images
- Resistant to both shock and water damage
- Maximum magnification of 18x
- A tripod hold for easy mounting of the binoculars
- 15mm eye relief
- Field flattener lenses for sharper images
How good is the IS on this Canon 18×50 binoculars?
The image stabilization is absolutely great (as always with Canon IS binoculars). Anyone who has used high magnification binoculars before can tell you how frustrating it is to have images shake at high magnification distances; not only is it really annoying, it can hurt your eyes. Thankfully, that is not an issue with these binoculars.
The image stabilization on these binoculars works by combining a motion sensor with a special variable angle prism (also called VAPs). When you have the image stabilization engaged, then any movement horizontally or vertically will be detected by the motion sensor; then the incoming light will be corrected by the prism, which prevents the image from shaking. This process happens so fast you will not even notice it is happening. The mechanization is powered by two AA batteries, and can last for around 9 hours of continuous use before needing to be replaced.
The battery operated stabilization system is far superior to the mechanically operated system used in other binocular brands. Trust me, it is very helpful. If you have ever done bird watching or gone to look at the stars with your binoculars, then you know how frustrating image shaking can be, image stabilization is, in my opinion, a must for any set of binoculars.
How well do the optics perform on this Canon All Weather binoculars?
The optics on the Canon 18×50 IS binoculars are also great, as you would expect from such a well-known company as Canon. The optics are made of ultra-low dispersion glass and are coated with Canon’s signature Super Spectra Coating; additionally, the objective lenses are an impressive 50mm.
The image quality was almost always great when using these binoculars. Because of the coated optics and large objective lenses the images were always very clear and detailed, even on very sunny days. And of course, the magnification is useful. I usually use binoculars that only have a maximum magnification of 10x or 12x, so having the extra magnification that these binoculars provide was a nice upgrade.
Cost is another thing to consider when looking at these binoculars. While the price seems steep, when you consider the quality optics, and the superior image stabilization mechanism, the price of these binoculars is actually quite good. They are much cheaper than similar brands of image stabilizing binoculars (such as Zeiss).
How is the design of this binocular?
Finally, I want to mention how well made and sturdy these binoculars are. They are water resistant and weatherproof; the rubber is well made and allows you to get a real good grip on the binoculars, even in the rain. The lenses are fog proof, so you can use these binoculars even in the rain; which is a great bonus for people like me, who enjoy nature watching while it is raining. It is also nice knowing that these binoculars are sturdy enough to sustain a drop or two, since accidents do happen.
What are the drawbacks of this binocular?
There are a couple drawbacks that should be mentioned in any Canon 18×50 IS review.
First off, I need to mention the weight. These binoculars weigh a full 4 pounds, which is quite heavy as far as binoculars go. There is a carrying case, but those are pretty annoying to take everywhere, especially if you are going hiking. And while there is a neck strap, unless you want to get some serious neck pain, you will not want to use it for more than short periods of time.
Overall, the best solution is just to carry it by hand; which is obviously a bit of an inconvenience. The weight can be dealt with, and given how sturdy and well made the binoculars are, it is understandable that they would be heavier than your average set of binoculars, but it is still something prospective buyers should be aware of.
There are some issues with the field of view and depth of field. The binoculars have a great magnification range, but a very small field of view. Say you want to quickly get a glimpse of a moving object, you will need to quickly swing the binoculars up to your eyes and lock onto the object; this is much harder to do with a small field of view. Ideally, you want a larger field of view, so you are not having to quickly snap onto objects.
The other issue is the depth of field. This only kicks in at higher magnification ranges. You will have to really work with the focus knob at longer magnifications because the depth of field is really shallow. If you are looking at objects at high magnification, then you better become well acquainted with the focus knob, because you will be using it a lot.
Another issue with the Canon 18×50 IS All Weather Binoculars are that they do not completely remove chromatic aberration. The ultra-low dispersion glass that is used to make the optics reduces the instances of chromatic aberration, but it still appears from time to time in my experience.
Now this is an issue for most binoculars, only binoculars made of ED (extra low dispersion glass) will be completely free of chromatic aberration, but most binocular manufactures are only now starting to use ED glass, so ED binoculars are still pretty expensive.
The Canon 18×50 Image Stabilization All-Weather Binoculars are great binoculars, and a worthy addition to the Canon family. While it has some faults, overall the binoculars are still top notch and a good purchase. If the positives in this Canon 18×50 IS review appealed to you, then I recommend you go purchase a pair of these binoculars immediately; you will not regret it.