Although the Canon line of image-stabilized binoculars (reviewed here) is the most comprehensive, there are other manufacturers making similar products. The one that I most often get e-mail requests to evaluate are the Fujinon 14×40 Techno-Stabi binoculars. Little wonder — Fujinon is a highly regarded manufacturer popular with backyard astronomers.
Fujinon Techno-Stabi Binoculars
Aperture: 40 mm
True field of view: 4°
Typical price: $1,200
Adler Index rating: 88
I reviewed the Techno-Stabi binos for the July 2000 issue of S&T, along with several other stabilized binocular models. Here is a summary of how the Fujinons stacked up against the 15×50 Canons:
● Aiming the Fujinons proved more difficult owing to the large compensation angle of its stabilization system.
● The 2-button power switch is needlessly complicated.
● Star images at the edge of the field of view aren’t quite as good as in the Canons.
● The apparent field of the Fujinons was a relatively restrictive 56°, which meant the true field of view was roughly ½° less (20% less, by area) than in the 15× Canons.
● The Fujinons draw 310 mA of current — roughly 40% more than the Canons, which leads to reduced battery life.
● The image suffers from substantial glare when the Moon is within 30° of the field of view. This is potentially a significant problem if you observe near streetlights.
● The Fujinons weigh nearly ½ pound more than the Canon 15×50s.
The above summary might imply that my overall opinion of the Fujinons is quite negative, but that’s really not the case. These are well-made binoculars, however, for stargazing, they’re not as useful as the Canon equivalents. That said, the same features that might frustrate backyard stargazers, could actually prove beneficial for others. For example, boaters likely will find the greater stabilization-correction angle of the Fujinons helpful in rough seas.
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Finally, two caveats need to be included here. First, it’s possible that the Fujinons have changed since I evaluated them. I have not read anything that suggests a revision has occurred, but manufacturers tweak products all the time without making a big announcement about it. In any case, your best bet (as always) is to check out a pair in person. Second, my comments should not be extended to cover Nikon’s stabilized binoculars. Although they look superficially similar to the Fujinons and share many of the same specifications, I have not evaluated the Nikons and won’t be able to offer any opinions until I do.
On balance, the Fujinons are fine binoculars, but the Canon 15×50s are generally more suitable for stargazing.
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