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Showing 1-10 of 162 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 199 reviews
on July 5, 2012
Most people who buy these binoculars seems to use them for birding or nature watching. I specifically bought them to use as astronomical binoculars while my wife will do the bird watching with them. I chose the 12X36 over the more powerful 15x50 or the larger exit pupil of the 10x42 for a number of reasons. Certainly first off, the difference between $660 and $1200 to $1400 played a major role in my choice. For serious deep sky viewing you need larger apertures of 70mm to 100mm both of which I own. Second, the wider field of view and brighter image of the 12x36 makes the view of objects such as the Milky Way or North American nebula truly spectacular. Third even with image stabilized binoculars there reaches a point where the weight becomes a factor in hand held units such as the Canon ones.
All this taken into account lead me to the 12x36 pair which I already cherish as one of my most valuble observing tools for astronomy. Just to reference, I have used the 15x50 a number of times both for terestial and astronomical targets and they certainly are very nice but I still prefer the lighter 12x36 which are only 3 power less in there ability to magnify.
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on April 30, 2015
I have had my 12x36 is2 binoculars for about 5 years. For the last year or so the outer coating has been turning sticky and soft to the point that my finger prints get imbedded in the coating every time I use them. I think they didn't test these in human hands and there is a reaction to the oils in in my hands and other people. I called to ask if they knew of the problem and they did. The answer they gave me was to send them back to them and I would get an estimate to repair them. I asked how much has that been in the past and was told 2 to $300. I think it is pretty sad that's the best they can do. I won't be buying canon products in the future. This to me is clearly an issue that I should never have had to worry about. Good binoculars but be warned over time your fingers will be sticking to them and you will need to wipe your fingers before touching anything else.
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on May 13, 2015
Awesome. Having never used image stabilized binoculars before these I picked them for a cruise to Alaska. I relied mainly on the thorough reviews on Amazon Prime to help me decide on these binoculars and I'm very glad that I did. After you push the IS button the shaky image becomes rock solid and if it is the first time you have used IS it will blow you away! I'd like to thank the other purchasers who took the time to write such detailed and technical reviews based on their experience. I read all these reviews, but after my own hands-on evaluation I really can't add anything that hasn't been already covered. If you are looking for the very best IS binoculars, these are the ones (unless Canon comes up with something revolutionary)!
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on September 21, 2014
After spending a long time thinking about getting a set of higher magnification Image Stabilization (IS) binoculars, I recently settled on a set of the Canon 12x36 Image Stabilization II Binoculars. My first impression of these is that some compromises have been made, but they are reasonable compromises and the resulting product is good for the price when used on stable ground.

I was happy with my other set of binoculars (Vanguard Endeavor ED Binocular 8x42), but even at a modest 8x magnification I could see some shaking in the image - not as bad for daytime viewing, but a problem for stargazing. The Canons have solved that problem; they work pretty much as expected and eliminate the small shakes, making them a good choice for stargazing.

Some pluses I have found so far:

- As noted, the IS eliminates the small shakes that usually make 12x binoculars difficult to use handheld.
- Very light, even with two AA batteries inserted. I'd have no issue bringing these along on a hike.

Now the compromises/issues I was talking about:

- Canon made the decision to keep the objective size rather modest (36mm), which means these are not going to be as bright as say the Canon 10x42 L IS Waterproof Binoculars. But the 10x42L binoculars are twice as expensive and almost twice as heavy.
- The 12x36 binoculars do not utilize ultra-low-dispersion (UD) glass like the 10x42L or the Canon 15x50 IS All Weather Binoculars, and have fewer glass elements. This may result in a slightly lower image quality in the 12x36s. But again you are paying a large premium in cost and weight for the slight improvement of the 10x42L or 15x50.
- The Canon IS compensates for movement up to 0.8 degrees, which is generally not enough for use on a moving car or boat. A set of Fuji Techno-Stabi High Power Image-Stabilized Binoculars I've tried in the past can correct for up to 5.0 degrees of movement - making them the choice for boating. Unfortunately (surprise) the Fujis are also larger, heavier and more expensive compared to the Canon 12x36s.
- Canon 12x36s are not water resistant / waterproof like higher end Canons. They are probably OK in humid / misty conditions, but I wouldn't want to chance using these in rain.
- No ability to lock the diopter adjustment in place, too easy to knock this adjustment out of whack. I may end up using a small piece of duct tape to keep the diopter adjustment in place.
- No front lens caps included - now this is one I can't figure out at all.

I also borrowed a pair of Fujinon 14x40s to do a comparison test (on land). It was clear that the Fujinon IS worked better if I purposely moved the binoculars around a bit, but for typical hand shake the IS performance of the two was comparable. In addition I found the Canon optics to be a bit sharper and more contrasty than the Fuji optics. For stargazing the Fujis worked a bit better when looking straight up since it was harder for me to hold any binoculars steady at this extreme angle. Otherwise the IS was similar, and again I slightly preferred the clarity and contrast of the Canons. (BTW the Fujis were rather old; perhaps dust/oil on the glass might explain my preference for the Canons.)

In the end the combination of price / magnification / size / weight / optical performance swayed me to the Canon 12x36 binoculars. I would still suggest looking at the Fujis if you plan to use these while boating or if holding binoculars steady is difficult, but otherwise the Canon 12x36 IS II binoculars are a fine choice.

*Update November 2014: After some deliberation I've switched to a refurbished set of Nikon Stabileyes 14x40 w/Image Stabilizer Binoculars. These are almost identical to the Fujis noted above. In time I realized that my hands are shaky enough that even on land I can take advantage of the greater correction capability of the Nikons. This doesn't change the good things I wrote about the Canons, but demonstrates that for some the Nikon / Fujinon could be a better choice.
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on September 19, 2013
These are a bit odd looking but feel great in my hands and performed well overall. Even with the added bulk of the Image Stabilization (IS) mechanism, this is surprisingly light.

Some negatives so far: people have mentioned the funky, very long eye relief rubber eyecups; they really fold completely down, leaving a small raised rubber rim to cushion your glasses. And the super cheap eye lens caps are almost a joke (at least they are small and pocketable). But the omission of the objective caps really is a head-scratcher, given the fairly large part of these binos is these lenses.

They are not even listed at water resistant in the rather underwhelming user's manual ("avoid rain and water spray"). But I think unless you are taking this to known wet conditions, these will probably do well. I'll update this review if it ever happens that they get really wet.

The Field Of View is narrower than I'd like but the quality of the image is very good: nice contrast, neutral colors, not much Chromatic Aberration at all for me, and a fairly flat field.

The IPD is just about adequate for my widely spaced eyes--the spacing is pretty much at the stops for me, but it works and I have a good view at that point--no blackouts or problems with the rather small (<4mm) exit pupil.

So about the IS (the real reason I got these). Let me say that I've a new appreciation for how much my eyes and brain had been compensating for the jitter that even my higher-powered 10X binos had.

The effect of pressing that little magic IS button immediately relaxes my eyes and makes observing much (MUCH) more enjoyable. The detail that is filtered out by all the jitter (like a tiny droplet of fog on the window) is all of a sudden noticeable. So you can actually concentrate on all the lost detail. Sweet!

More observations as I continue to use this. But I'm pretty happy with it so far and I'm really looking forward to taking these on a cruise to start looking for pelagic birds and whales.
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on September 9, 2008
While attending an astronomy club's night out, one of the members offered to show me a globular cluster using his image stabilized binoculars (brand unknown). As I brought the portion of sky into focus, I pressed the button and -- WOW! I could clearly see the cluster, not because it was highly magnified, but because my eyes had a chance to focus and process the image. Thoroughly impressed, I walked over to my wife and told her of the experience. A few weeks later, we had a pair of 12x36 Canons, and were counting the moons of Jupiter. My wife wanted her own pair so we would not have to readjust them when sharing. She complained about having to hold down the button all the time, something that I don't mind doing as I have long fingers. She also wanted a pair that would focus closer.

SOLUTIONS: We bought her a pair of 10x30's, and to hold the button down, we simply wrapped a strong rubber band, compliments of our postal letter carrier, around them and stuck a short piece of 1/2" dowel rod between the rubber band and the button. The dowel rod is connected to the focus knob by a piece of thread so that, when we do not want the button pushed, the dowel rod does not become lost. We have opted to use lithium cells, rather than alkaline, as they are lighter and last longer, and using our rubber band system will likely mean using the IS much more.

Some reviewers complain that the image still moves as you move. Yes it does, gracefully. What the Canons do well is take out that itty bitty shake that makes things difficult to concentrate on well enough to observe details. Now I can aprreciate eagles as I smoothly track them in flight, or follow the antics of a chipmunk, or count some of Jupiter's 63 moons.

Some complain about the small size of the "exit pupil." Being that my wife and I are in our 60's, a 3mm exit pupil is just about all our eyes can accomodate. They do not seem to be difficult to hold in such a way as to see the whole image. Both of us can leave off our glasses (she is near sighted and I am farsighted), which makes the image even more pristine.

Thanks to one report of the storage case strap breaking, we have opted to use the strap directly connected to the binocs while they are in the case. We simply zip up the case with the straps coming out the top and have had no problem with that system as of yet.

I expect these to require far more protective treatment than our backpacking binocs, and I am quite pleased that they come with a 3-year warranty. I noticed how carefully the astronomy club members treated their equipment and, given how wonderful these Canons are, we will do the same with them. The bottom of their case is padded but, knowing that we will more often than not set them down on that padded end, I have installed a piece of very stiff fiberboard (like the cover of a 3-ring binder) in the bottom of the case to resist anything that might try to poke its way into their objective lenses.

No matter how good the manufacturing, optics are always a compromise and, because of that, someone who does not know any better will always have a critical comment. You simply cannot have it all, at any price. I have been an amateur photographer for over 50 years and consider the optical quality of these to be superb. There is little if any distortion or light loss for nearly 85% of the field of view. Only as the viewed object approaches the last 15% of the field (near the edge) does distortion become noticeable, certainly not objectionable. And why would I focus my eyes on something near the edge when I can move the binocs to bring the object into the center? The nice thing about these, in that regard, is that the distortion is so slight as to not bring attention to itself when viewing a central object.

I should add, at this point, that my first pair of 12x36s did have a defect in the left ocular. Amazon swapped them out so quickly that the binocs practically passed each other in shipping. Good price, good service, and good viewing.
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VINE VOICEon October 28, 2011
My dad is in his late sixties and he and my mother live in Florida with a large backyard that borders on a large pond with a small island. They have a regular series of visitors throughout the year; an alligator who lays eggs on the island every year, some otters who spend time each spring and of course Herons, Anhingas, Ibis, Ducks and a host of other water birds from time to time.

He has become quite the birdwatching enthusiast as a result of all this and he had been using a pair of 1970's era Sears binoculars. I surprised him with these at Christmas and I don't think he fully understood what they were. He just thanked me for the new binoculars and set them aside.

Later, when we finally made it outside to do some viewing, I explained about the Image Stabilization and showed him how to use it. But trust me, it didn't take the Image Stabilization to "Wow" him (or me! The optics of these binoculars are astonishing to begin with, even without using the IS. The are just amazing to look through, and then on top of that, you press the IS button and all the shake goes away. It is truly incredible.

As you can imagine, he has been thrilled with the binoculars and uses them regularly. With his age, his eyes aren't what they used to be and his grip isn't as steady as it once was - but he doesn't miss a thing with these binoculars. They aren't cheap, but if you have the money to spend these are amazing binoculars. Highly recommended and no regrets at all with these!
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on November 7, 2014
I have used similar (10x30, 12x36) Canon image-stabilized binoculars for over ten years. These work OK. The image stabilization is good. The image is generally sharp and clear except for noticeable violet color fringing in the outer 5% to 10% of the field of view.
One problem: the nearest focus distance is not the 19.7 feet in the specifications but rather 25 feet (tested in three samples, all identical within about 1 foot), which is pretty far.
The unit is quite compact and not very heavy, a significant improvement over the original 12x36. Overall I recommend them although if you are a fanatic about sharpness and chromatic correction you might be unhappy.
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on December 9, 2014
I cannot imagine using binoculars without stabilization unless you carry a tripod with you. The stabilization feature doubles the magnification effectiveness. It allows your eyes to relax and totally take in what you are watching. Yes, stabilization is expensive but it is a worthwhile if you really plan on using the binoculars. The 12X magnification is a good choice in my opinion for general purpose use. 12X might be too much if you don’t have stabilization. For binoculars without stabilization I would choose 8x magnification. Anything beyond 12X would be more for special situations. The weight of the binoculars is OK but I would not want to go hiking with anything heavier. These binoculars are a good starting choice for your first image stabilized binoculars.
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on March 25, 2015
I'll classify myself as a techie guy with a lot of optical experience, but by no means a binocular expert. I really struggled choosing between the various Image Stabilized Canon Binoculars for my general purpose usage. Being unsure what to do, I went with the 12x36's because I thought it was a good middle ground of magnification and an affordable pricepoint to try Image Stabilization for the first time.

WOW. The other binoculars may have various pluses and minuses, but these 12x36 IS IIs are a pure pleasure. Naturally they are shaky with stabilization turned off, but locked in smooth with it turned on. What a difference. 12X is plenty of magnification for most jobs but would be far too unsteady without the stabilization. If cost were a crucial item, I could imagine dropping down to the 10X and being happy, but I am pleased with the 12X. For my general purpose daylight usage I don't think I needed the higher end $1000+ versions at all.

The one noticeably weak spec is that they won't focus below 20ft, which may hurt in a few situations. Frankly 20 feet is too close for me to seeing a bird or animal because they run away. Maybe I'll miss out on a butterfly sometime or have to take a few steps backwards to see it clearly? I suppose if your usage is watching birds at your backyard feeder then do a quick check on the distance from your comfy chair to the feeder to double check that your 20+feet away.
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