Image Stabilising Binoculars Are Amazing!

Stabilising binoculars like the Fujinon TECHNO-STABI range use a combination of electronic gyros and internal mirrors that swivel to correct for hand movements, shakes or other vibrations.

If you’ve ever used high-powered binoculars, you’ll know how it’s often hard to keep them steady, especially when following moving objects like birds. The image jumps around and appears to shake. Viewing on a moving boat or from a bus or train makes it even harder to keep your viewing still.

The Fujicon TECHNO-STABI range at BINTEL

Why the highest magnification isn’t always the best option.

One of the main reasons for using a pair of binoculars is to magnify what you’re looking at or “get in close”. If that’s the case, wouldn’t the highest possible magnification always be the best option? It might sound counterintuitive, but it’s often best *not* to use the highest magnifying power.  There are some good reasons for this.

First of all, higher magnifications might mean a narrower field of view. (The field of view is how side to side you can see through the binoculars.) If you’re trying to spot or locate something rather than looking at something specific you know the exact location of, having a wider field of view makes this easier. An example is trying to find birds in among bush or scrub.

Higher magnifications also magnify any movements of the binoculars when holding them.

At BINTEL we normally suggest that for most people, 8- or 10-times magnification is fine for general nature or sports viewing. Much beyond this, when using say 12 or even 16-times magnification, it becomes harder to hold binoculars steady for long periods or when moving them quickly to follow what you’re looking at. One obvious solution is to mount binoculars on a tripod, and this is certainly we encourage folks to do using a gizmo like this and any standard photographic tripod:

Hand holding binoculars with 12 times or more magnification isn’t something you can’t do. It’s just that many people will have to concentrate on holding the binoculars steady when watching moving birds or sports etc.

I need higher magnifications and I can’t use a tripod – what’s a good option?

There are times when you really need to use higher magnification and you can’t use a tripod. Viewing birds at a distance when out hiking or whale watching from a boat are good examples.  In these situations, binoculars that have built-in image stabilisation would be ideal.

Did you ever have a spinning top?

A spinning top is a kind of gyroscope. It resists vibrations or movements to keep spinning in the same direction. This is something we’re all familiar with. Image stabilising binoculars use a small electronic gyroscope that vibrates and gives feedback to internal optics to counter any movements it senses. It responds quickly too. Fujinon image stabilising binoculars use an electronic gyroscope to adjust their optics for movements.

This means that if during a shake of your hand you point the binoculars slightly up, it will adjust the optics to point slightly up by the same amount and so on.  What you’ll see through the binoculars is a steady view with no movements. It can respond to slow movements too, such as the rocking of a boat’s deck beneath your feet.  The system will also smooth out any bumps and shakes as you follow the path of a moving object such as a bird in flight.

Not always on. Image stabilising binoculars still work if batteries go flat. 

There’s probably many times where you don’t need to image stabilising features for these sorts of binoculars. You can easily turn stabilisation off via a switch on the binoculars. If the batteries go flat, then the image stabilisation system will stop working. You’ll still be able to use the binoculars.

Let us know if there’s any other situations you might want to use image stabilising binoculars.


Earl White





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