Monday, February 19, 2018
A very German case...
We've been looking for stabilized binoculars with high magnification and big objectives, to give our ancient eyeballs the best wildlife viewing we possibly could. We already own a pair of stabilized Canon 18x50s – great magnification, fairly bright, so-so optics, so-so stabilization. We also have a pair of stabilized Fujinon 14x40s – so-so magnification, so-so brightness, very good optics, fantastic stabilization.
I finally located something that promised to be a combination of the features we prized the most: these stabilized Zeiss 20x60s. We've only had them out on one outing so far, but our impression so far is that we have a winner. The magnification beats the Canon by a little. The objectives collect 44% more light than the Canon; they are super-bright. The optics are simply magnificent; the best I've ever looked through. The stabilization is great, but very, very different than our other stabilized binoculars. For starters, the Zeiss stabilizer is totally mechanical – no electronics, no battery, and (we quickly noticed) totally silent. Unlike the electronic stabilizers, the Zeiss stabilizer doesn't seem to interact with panning or tilting the binoculars at all. In that sense, they act just like unstabilized binoculars. On the other hand, for the small tremors and vibrations that plague us when using unstabilized binoculars, the Zeiss stabilizer works perfectly. On the other other than, for large perturbations, the Fujinon's stabilizer works better – which makes perfectly good sense for their target market: mariners. On the whole I find the Zeiss stabilizer perfectly adequate for our needs – and I really like the absence of batteries and noise. Zeiss' target market (for these binoculars) seems to be hunters and military, and those with deep pockets – these are damned expensive binoculars. We had to think long and hard before plunking down our cash, and what tilted us toward it was that wildlife and bird watching is such a big part of our enjoyment of Utah.