Binoculars, particularly those with greater magnification levels, may be weighty pieces of equipment.
A decent pair will typically weigh between 2 and 3 pounds. Even for relatively short periods of time, maintaining them stable enough for good sight may become a feat of physical endurance.
When combined with low light levels, wind, cold, and excitement, the combination of any or all of these elements may make precise observation almost difficult.
So, what’s the solution? One alternative is to mount the binoculars on a tripod. But what if the use of a tripod is not permitted? Furthermore, using binoculars on a tripod may be a genuine ‘pain in the neck’ in some situations, notably when attempting to observe the night sky at angles higher than 30 or 40 degrees above the horizon.
Observations from moving vehicles of any kind tend to rule out the use of a tripod for stabilisation. To some extent, all vehicles experience vibration. As a result, even with a tripod-type arrangement, any observation from such a platform would suffer from picture deterioration owing to vibration.
Image Stabilised Binoculars are the solution.
Initially developed for high-end video cameras, image stabilisation technology has evolved to encompass still photography, telescopes and binoculars, as well as more specialised sectors such as medical imaging.
It is now feasible to hand hold binoculars with magnification levels much above the previously acknowledged top limit of 10x magnification by using image stabilisation in binoculars.
This implies that binoculars with magnifications of up to 18x may now be handled in the hand without the picture quality loss that was previously encountered at magnifications of this scale.
Small piezoelectric motion detectors, also known as gyroscopic detectors, are widely used to stabilise the process. These detect motion in the horizontal and vertical planes and pass this information to small motors that shift the prisms in the light path to compensate. This system can account for angular displacement of up to 0.7 degree.
As a consequence, image stabilised binoculars are more costly than their non-stabilized equivalents. In my opinion, the better viewing experience is definitely worth the extra expense.
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