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Canon 10x30 IS Review

Canon 10x30 IS
Photo: Canon
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Price:  $550 List
Pros:  Image Stabilization feature, crisp clear image, easy to focus
Cons:  Expensive, needs batteries, does not fit different face sizes comfortably
Manufacturer:   Canon
By Stephanie Bennett ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Jun 2, 2015
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  • Magnification - 20% 9
  • Clarity - 50% 9
  • Ease of Adjustment - 10% 9
  • Durability - 10% 5
  • Portability - 10% 6

Our Verdict

The second I hit the image-stabilization button, the shakiness of the bird I was following disappeared and I was able to follow the loon as it flew above the surface of the water for over 100 feet. The Image-stabilization feature is a great way to address the issue of shakiness from hand tremors that often appears in binoculars with a magnification power of 10. Images in the Canon IS of objects nearly a mile away are incredibly crisp and clear, and direct sunlight does not negatively impact viewing at all.

There were a few issues that did arise while testing. It took quite a bit of time and care to adjust the binoculars to fit comfortably to various testers' faces. Another issue related to comfort is that the eye pieces are quite large and uncomfortable to look through. As great as the image-stabilization feature is on the Canon IS Ultra Compact, it does add a significant cost to the product as well, to the tune of $549.99. We are also incredibly wary of products that require batteries to work, while any comparable model performs just as well without them.

Our Analysis and Test Results

A high magnification binocular with an additional image stabilization feature, the Canon IS provides exceptionally clear vision for a unit with a magnification power of 10, and functions well in direct sunlight. However, it is expensive and requires batteries to operate.

Performance Comparison

Able to work in even the brightest conditions, the Canon IS Ultra...
Able to work in even the brightest conditions, the Canon IS Ultra Compact helps the editor focus in on a Common Loon as it flies by.
Photo: Stephanie Bennett


As mentioned above, the Image-Stabilization feature (IS), is a powerful component of this binocular, dampening any shakiness that may typically arise in a binocular of this power. The Canon IS performs great in all lighting conditions, and the IS function is also an amazing asset while viewing the Milky Way at night.


With a magnification power of 10, the Canon IS is a powerful binocular. The Image Stabilization (IS) feature, allows the Canon IS to perform better than other 10x binoculars tested since the shakiness can be muted with the simple push of a button.

Ease of Adjustment

The Canon IS is one of the easiest binoculars to focus, and does not suffer from sticky focus knob syndrome like the some of the Bushnell models. However, when trying to adjust to different face sizes, some testers found it difficult and even uncomfortable. The most common complaint was pertaining to the size of the eye cups, which are quite large, and also that the plastic material was uncomfortable when brought up to the eyes for viewing.


Activating the image stabilization function of the Canon IS, which...
Activating the image stabilization function of the Canon IS, which reduces shakiness from hand movement that is seen in binoculars with high magnifying power. The downside to this performance enhancing feature is that it needs batteries for this to work.
Photo: Stephanie Bennett
When an item requires batteries, we sub-consciously award it a higher-level of care then items that traditionally do not. For example, while out birding, we would throw the Nikon Prostaff 7 10x42 into our bag without a second thought. When taking the Canon IS out for the day, we took great care to ensure that it was placed in a safe space in my pack, wouldn't be crushed by other items, and wasn't located on the bottom of the pack. Nowhere in any of the literature provided by Canon does it state "fragile," but the addition of the Image Stabilization technology and a few simple batteries resulted in more concern and care on our behalf. Additionally, a user must remember to bring extra batteries along with them if going on a full day excursion.

The Canon IS is listed as being waterproof, though we did not see any additional material or gaskets around the battery case to make us feel comfortable that the Canon IS could survive an accident including water.


The Canon IS is, in fact, compact. However, it is a few ounces heavier then some of the other comparable models tested, such as the Editors' Choice winning Nikon Monarch 3 8x42 ATB and Nikon Prostaff 7.

Best Application

The Canon IS can be used in multiple lighting settings and for all sorts of activities, including: wildlife viewing, birding, hunting, and star gazing. However, make sure you always have an extra battery on hand in case you find the Image Stabilization function suffering.


At $549.99, this is a high price to pay for a binocular with a magnification power of 10. The Olympus Trooper 10x50 DPS has a larger optical lens, is slightly heavier, but performs just as well as the Canon IS while costing over $400 less. We can see the value in the Image Stabilization technology, as it does reduce the shakiness found when it is not turned on. However, there are multiple binoculars on the market that perform just as well, if not better, and do not require a battery.

Stephanie Bennett