Hold steady: the virtues of image stabilising binoculars

Modern binoculars are benefitting more and more from image stabilisation technology. S

08 - binos

Traditionally binoculars are the first recommendation to anyone beginning their journey in astronomy and today it is still true; they make for a great start.

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However, even the humble binoculars have undergone redesigns as technology continues to evolve, and today you don’t just have porro prism or roof prism designs, but also image stabilisation (IS) for that crisper view.

In the past such IS binoculars were quite bulky, and it is impressive how much they have evolved over recent years and become much lighter with even better image stabilisation.

But why would you want IS binoculars?

Well, it does away with the need to mount the binoculars on a tripod, so means one less item to carry with you.

The reason for using a tripod is that if you can hold the binoculars very steady then you gain up to at least one magnitude of star faintness extra, so if you can do that without a tripod so much the better.

Canon have introduced a new version of their popular Canon 12×36 IS II binoculars, suitably named Canon 12×36 IS III, so we gave bino expert and guru Stephen Tonkin a chance to check them over in his review in the June issue.

Also this month, I had the pleasure of checking out Orion Telescopes and Binoculars’ latest StarSeeker IV 6-inch Go-To Maksutov-Cassegrain during the few clear periods of night sky we had.

Meanwhile, Steve Richards explored the merits of the Altair Kitakaru eyepiece range.


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Read all our reviews and the latest astronomy news and features in the next issue of BBC Sky at Night Magazine, out 19 May.