Binoculars with high magnification may have such good optics – if it wobbles when looking through it, not much can be seen. In addition to supporting or laying on, there is a third option for calm images – a built-in stabilizer.
Optics that you hold freely in your hands inevitably always wobble a bit. The ability to recognize details suffers as a result, and a second disadvantage is even more serious – the eyes become very fatigued with prolonged use.
Our brain can reassemble many individual images that are created by wobbling, but that is exhausting. Like a computer screen with too low a resolution – staring at it for a while inevitably makes you uncomfortable.
To see more and to observe without getting tired, it is necessary to switch off the wobbling. The classic method for this would be a tripod or support – only very seldom practicable in hunting.
Therefore, hunters usually prefer binoculars with not too high magnification (max. 8x) because there is less visible wobbling (hand restlessness). It is a great advantage when binoculars virtually “automatically” provide shake-free images – technically possible.
As early as 1990, Zeiss brought the 20 x 60 S with image stabilizer onto the market, a technical and optical masterpiece that delivers shake-free images even at 20x magnification. Norbert Klups tested the Fuji 12×28.
These top optics are still in production today, but they never became a bestseller – at a proud 1,660 g and an even more proud $ 6,000 …
The marvel works with a mechanical stabilizer, which is also very sensitive to shocks when switched on.
Based on photo lenses
It is now much cheaper, lighter, and best compact binoculars for birding, using technology from photo lenses, where stabilizers are the rule today. Almost every modern telephoto has built-in stabilizers for sharp images at high magnification.
All big players use this technology – from camera manufacturers who also have sports optics on offer, including in binoculars. The Jagdpraxis test glass came from Fujinon, where binoculars are also made for the maritime and military sectors; Canon and Nikon have similar products on offer.
The ST 12 x 28 was used for stalking, mountain hunting, and abroad; the Japanese also offer an (albeit quite voluminous) 14 x 40.
How stabilizers work
The Fuji works electronically, so it needs batteries. A CR 2 lithium cell provides juice for 12 hours, with an automatic switch-off after 10 minutes, ensuring that electricity is saved.
The electronics recognize and analyze the smallest shake and correct the angle of the incident light by shifting the lens immediately around this area so that a clear and calm view is guaranteed.
Vibrations of +/- 3 degrees are corrected. In addition to classic hand-wobbles, the stabilizer detects many other undesirable movements, such as those that occur when using vehicles or boats in motion – and even compensates for slow shaking through breathing alone!
Operation is very simple – to switch on the stabilizer, you just turn the lever from off to on before the focus is focused. A green control LED shows that it is working – if it does not light up, a new battery is due.
The diopter compensation is attached to the right eyepiece, the center drive is used to focus, and eyeglass wearers have the full field of view (at least 73 m) at their disposal thanks to the rotating eye-cups.
In terms of design, the Fuji deviates a bit from the usual appearance of binoculars – the electronics required just need space. The lenses protrude from the almost square centerpiece at the front and the individually swiveling eyepieces at the back.
The latter are connected, so you only have to move one eyepiece to adjust the interpupillary distance; the other follows automatically. But you get used to it quickly.
The low weight of only 420 g is impressive – an advantage that should not be underestimated, especially when hunting in the mountains. The fiberglass body has a very thin leather covering to make the glass non-slip than to absorb impacts.
The housing is splash-proof but by no means waterproof – the Fuji should also be treated as a camera.
optical area, the Fujinon is in the middle class; it delivers high-contrast, true-to-color images. There is a slight edge blurring. Due to the small lens diameter of 28 mm, it naturally quickly becomes dark with increasing dusk.
Such optics are pure daylight glass – and under these conditions, there is nothing to complain about in terms of image quality. The wow-effect inevitably comes when you turn the stabilizer lever while observing – suddenly, the picture seems frozen.
Nothing wobbles anymore, and you suddenly see details that were not visible before, such as the tiniest puddles and pearls on the horn of a buck …, and sometimes a narrow turn suddenly turns into a button buck – the effect is amazing that you think you are View photo.
Even one-handed observation is not a problem, and the stabilizer completely compensates for hand restlessness – very pleasant to observe with one hand from the slowly moving car during a small game drive through the district and to have a completely calm picture.
The power consumption is very low; the Jagdpraxis test glass was in continuous use for two months – and the batteries were still not empty.
Fuji’s stabilizer system works excellently and allows shake-free observation even at 12x magnification from a free hand. When stalking, hunting in the mountains, or on safari, image-stabilized binoculars are vastly superior to normal optics (even if they are five times more expensive!).
Fuji’s little technology marvel costs $790; if you are looking for something, you will find it for less than $ 700. The scope of delivery includes a shoulder strap and a soft storage bag.