Anyone who has used binoculars before, or is into a hobby that requires the use of binoculars, can tell you that binoculars that have high magnification options, or ones that have larger apertures can be difficult to keep steady.
For these types of binoculars you will need a tripod or some sort of binocular mount; otherwise you will find it near impossible to keep the binoculars steady. And let’s be honest, no one wants to carry a tripod around when using binoculars; could you imagine trying to use a tripod at a baseball game? Or while bird watching? Of course not. But if you want to use binoculars with a high magnification, then you either need to get a tripod or just deal with the shaky view. Well that is where image stabilization binoculars come in.
Image stabilizing binoculars let you observe things at high magnification, while also allowing you to stop shaking with the press of a button. That’s right, a button removes the need to use a tripod or stand. The stabilization mechanism on the Canon 12×36 IS II Binoculars, and other image stabilization binoculars like it, is powered by batteries.
The stabilization mechanism works through a combination of motion sensors and a special prism, known as a “variable-angle prism.” Within milliseconds of the binoculars detecting movement, the image stabilization swings into effect and corrects the incoming light so that the image does not shake.
In this review I will be looking at the Canon 12×36 Image Stabilization II Binoculars that comes with the Case, Neck Strap & Batteries, and will help you determine whether these binoculars are worth your money or not.
What are the features of this Canon Binocular?
- 12x magnification
- Battery powered image stabilizer ability, battery powers lasts for up to 4 hours
- Compact and light
- Eye relief of 14.5mm
- Lead free glass lenses
- Easy grip surfaces
How does the Canon IS II differ from previous Canon binoculars?
Canon has been releasing image stabilizing binoculars for a few years now, so how does this model compare to earlier binoculars released by Canon? The Canon 12×36 IS II Binoculars are much lighter when compared to their predecessors. The new designed used for these binoculars is both lighter and easier to grip. There has also been some upgrades to the optical coatings, meaning the II model provides a slightly clearer, and sharper image than earlier Canon binoculars.
What to like in this binocular.
The first major positive about this set of binoculars that I would mention is the great field of view. The Canon 12×36 IS II Binoculars boast a 60 degree field of view. This large field of view, along with the 12 magnification means that the binoculars are great for stargazing, bird watching, etc., basically anything that requires you to see a large amount of space, with good magnification. The lenses used in the binoculars are double field flattener lenses; meaning the images you see flat and free of any distortion.
Of course, I also need to mention the image stabilization mechanism. It works great, and it is absolutely essential for looking at things far away. If you want to look at stars, or birds, or anything that tends to be very far away, then the image stabilization mechanism is going to be great.
The optics of the Canon binoculars in general are very good, as you would expect from such a household name as Canon. The images are sharp, clear, have good contrast, and are free from most issues like flares, or chromatic aberration.
The battery life is also worth mentioning. Assuming you use a quality pair of batteries, you will get a lot of use out the binoculars before you need to replace the batteries. An avid bird watcher, stargazer will probably get around 6 to 8 hours of use before the batteries need to be replaced. If you are only an occasional user, you can get potentially upwards of a year of use out of the binoculars before the batteries need to be replaced.
You also get a nice quality case and neck strap, for transporting the binoculars around. The case and neck strap are not revolutionary, but they are a nice bonus, especially for those who plan on taking their binoculars into remote places to look at the stars or wildlife.
What’s not to like.
The Canon 12×36 IS II Binoculars are overall great binoculars. If you want image stabilizing binoculars, then you absolutely will not regret purchasing these binoculars. But there are some negatives that need to be mentioned.
First off, the binoculars are not waterproof. Given how well suited they are to being used outside, it is a bit disappointing that they are not waterproof. You can of course put them in the case when the rain starts, but of course that means you cannot use them. The rubber coating makes the binoculars water resistant, so you can probably get away with using them in light rain conditions, but I would not risk using the binoculars in any sort of rain. But it is still a bit disappointing, given the price point, that they are not waterproof.
If you have used other Canon image stabilization binoculars, then you know that certain models had the ability to lock the image stabilizer in place. This was a great feature since it meant that you could just press the button once, and the image stabilizer would work automatically for around 5 minutes before unlocking.
With this model you have to hold the button for the image stabilizer to work. It is a minor inconvenience, but your hand can get tired after long periods of holding the button, and the ability to lock the image stabilization mechanism in place would have been a nice feature.
Another major annoyance is that the Canon binoculars do not come with any sort of lens caps; the issue is made more annoying by the fact that it is a bit difficult to actually find any good fitting lens caps for the binoculars.
Should you buy the Canon 12×36 IS ii?
Overall, the Canon 12×36 Image Stabilization II Binoculars w/Case, Neck Strap & Batteries are a great option for people looking for a new set of binoculars; while some of the negatives are a bit annoying, the positives of these binoculars more than make up for any shortcomings.