Image Stabilized Binoculars for Boating

IS binocular

Image Stabilized Binoculars for Boating. Maybe you are like me and have a hard time reading an image through regular marine boating binoculars. Even using 7 X 50 binoculars I have always had a hard time seeing the image clearly, unless they were a very expensive pair with great optics and coatings.

If this is the case marine Image Stabilized binoculars are a great solution for boaters and boats. The first time I tried Image Stabilized binoculars it was like, OK these work. For the first time I could see at a distance a channel marker and read the number, great for navigating. Pressing the button gave a picture image of the channel marker with great clarity.

Image Stabilized Binoculars

There are 3 types of Image stabilized IS binoculars

  • Gyro,
  • Vary Angle
  • Cardanic Suspension.


This explanation of the various types is courtesy of Associated Content

Gyro IS Binoculars

examples include; Nikon 14 X 40, Fujinon 14 X 40, & Bushnell

One of the first types of image stabilized binoculars is the gyro design. These binoculars have a gyroscope built into them that is driven by a high speed motor. Although they will give you a steady image, these image stabilized binoculars require power in order to operate. You will have to provide them with batteries or some other type of external power source. Another disadvantage of these image stabilized binoculars is that they aren’t as compact as some other designs and are also heavier.

Vary Angle IS Binoculars

Canon range including 15 x 50 & 10 X 30

The next type is the vary angle prismatic stabilizer design. These image stabilized binoculars have microprocessors that control the prism. They are capable of instantly stabilizing images. These binocular sense any change in latitude and will correct it accordingly. They will either change the angle of the prism or shift the lens group.

These image stabilized binoculars will provide greater magnification than gyroscope-based designs. They are also lighter than the other types and provide more fluid movements. However, one disadvantage of the vary angle design is that they also require power like the gyroscope variety. So you will need to have spare batteries on hand or some other type of external power source.

Cardanic Suspension IS Binoculars

Examples include the ZEISS 20 x 60 IS

One of the final types of image stabilized binoculars is the cardanic suspension variety. They have a prism that is mechanically suspended. These image stabilized binoculars will give you perfect. One advantage of this design is that it doesn’t require battery power like the other designs. Cardanic suspension binoculars will also weigh approximately the same as vary-angle binoculars. Binoculars with a cardanic suspension design won’t require batteries and will also weigh approximately the same as vary angle designs.


Image Stabilized Binoculars Review

Canon 10 x 30 & 15 x 50

Canon’s image-stabilized binoculars offer outstanding optics, along with excellent digital “shake suppression,” so the image in your binoculars always looks steady to the eye, making them perfect for boating use and navigation

IS binocular
Canon 10 x 30 & 15 x 50

At the Stabilizer’s heart are vertical and horizontal gyros that detect motion in any direction. The amount of shake is instantly calculated by a microcomputer, and the movement is optimally counteracted, either by a set of vari-angle prisms or a tilt mechanism. In effect, the light refraction is altered so the image always is viewable.

Advanced Features

The lightweight IS binoculars are nicely contoured to fit perfectly in your hands. A textured-rubber coating provides a non-slip grip and protection from the elements, as well, and the center-mounted focus adjuster and image stabilizer controls are easily accessible with either hand.

Canon 10 x 30 review at including video

Costs; The Canon 15 x 50 are priced from around $850 – $1200. For cheaper IS binoculars try the Canon 10 x 30, which are smaller & lighter and cost around $350.


Rockwell review of the Fujinon 14 X 40

Fujinon 14 x 40 Image Stabilized Binoculars

Fujinon was the first to come out with image stabilized binoculars. They are the most sophisticated and use two sets of gyro stabilizers, seen in the image below. One push of the power button powers the system and a second activates the IS when required. The second switch powers down. Fujinons manual claim up to 5 degrees of motion will be corrected.

Prices vary from $999. They come with a custom Pelican waterproof hard case.

These are high-powered, waterproof, center-focus, close-focusing binoculars with image stabilization. They give a stable image even if you’re in motion. They get rid of the constant jiggling of other binoculars. They look tough, but they aren’t for night vision (Fujinon makes those, too). I love these. I can see things I can’t see otherwise. I can read local street-corner name signs (4″ (10cm) tall letters) a half-mile away, and the names of the big over-the-intersection signs a mile or two away. Navigating onboard, these binoculars will make channel marker spotting easy.


Nikon 14 X 40 Image Stabilized Binoculars

Nikon 14 x 40 StabilEyes VR, Water Proof Porro Prism Binocular with 4.0 Degree Angle of View

This 14 power binocular is optimized for use on boats, in moving vehicles, or in aircraft.

Nikon’s StabilEyes 14×40 is a professional grade roof prism image stabilized marine binocular that not only offers vibration reduction both for shake and roll, but that is also fully waterproof and fogproof. By simply using the LAND mode, a user can have a marine binocular that is optimized for hand held use in fairly stable conditions, such as on dry land. Switch to ONBOARD mode for a binocular that is stabilized for use from a boat, airplane, helicopter, train or automobile.

The heart of Nikon’s StabilEyes is a battery powered system of gimbaled digital servos that are actuated when the mode, (ON BOARD or LAND) is selected.

Nikon uses a servo control system with the prisms supported by gimbals utilizing +/- 3-degree angle of compensation to provide a view that is unaffected by either shake or vibration.

* Exclusive dual mode – ONBOARD/LAND (14×40) * Excusive Pan and Tilt Feature * Eliminates movement from waves and vibration from hand shake, etc. * Waterproof / Fog proof * 25-Year Limited Warranty * Includes: Soft Case. Hand Strap, Floatation Strap, 2 AA Batteries


Zeiss 20x60S Image Stabilization Binoculars:

These Zeiss Binoculars feature a mechanical image stabilization that permits a steady image by compensating shakes / tremors of the binocular caused by the hands. This image stabilizer by Zeiss is easily activated with a press of a button, and works noiselessly and without batteries. These are expensive but they do not require batteries plus they are less prone to damage and can take more punishment than the gyro types.

Powerful optical design permits high resolution and image quality. Eyepieces for full field of view – without or with eyeglasses. Dioptre adjustment with right eyepiece. Porro prisms erecting system. Robust and rugged metal housing with black rubber armoring. Rubber eyecups for observation with or without eyeglasses.

Temperature range -20 ° to +40 ° C. Unique purely mechanical image stabilization by means of gimbaled mounted erecting systems. Press a button – and the binocular permits a steady image by compensating the hand tremor. Noiselessly. Without batteries

Handy focusing wheel for comfortable use also with gloves. Water resistant.


Costs; The Zeiss 10 x 60 are expensive but rugged around $2,990


Bushnell Image Stabilized Binocular

Bushnell 10 x 35 stableview

The on-board Stable View Image Stabilizing technology neutralizes hand movements and offers two modes to choose from. Normal mode compensates for three degrees of motion ? ideal for use in a moving boat or car. Fine mode dampens up to one degree of movement ? significantly reducing hand tremors and the ‘shake’ typical at higher magnification.

Product Features 10 x 35mm Image stabilizer neutralizes hand tremors, vibrations & other movements Stabilizes up to 3° of movement

Costs; from around $500