Should Your Binoculars Have an Image Stabilizer?

As the magnification of binoculars increases (especially at 12x and beyond), so, too, does the user’s ability to hold them steady. Binocular shake results in a blurred view and missed bird sightings, hunting targets and so on.

With an image stabilizer, you can potentially hand-hold binoculars up to 20x magnification without having to use a tripod.

There are down sides to image stabilizers. Most significantly, the image stabilization feature hikes up the price of binoculars. Binoculars with image stabilization are also larger and heavier than those without, and they not be up to par when it comes to brightness (drawing in light) as well.

Most experts agree that binoculars of 8x magnification or lower do not benefit much from image stabilization.

However, if you have a health condition that causes your hands to shake, you may want to invest in binoculars with an image stabilizer.

If you want to find out, once and for all, how much “shake” you’re bringing to an image, put your binocular on a tripod and compare the experience to hand-holding.

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