Canon 10x42 L IS and Canon 10x30 IS reviews


Last revision 8-1-2015

Canon has plenty of amazing cutting edge technology to offer - and these Image Stabilizer (IS) glasses have a unique user value. Plus, they are sold with a very small margin by most dealers and therefore offer a lot of value for money. The reason for that is that Canon pushes photo dealers to buy a certain amount of binoculars along with their photo stuff. As the bino market is much smaller than the photo market, most dealers get rid of the Canon binoculars at very low prices. For example the Canon 10x30 IS has a list price of 599.- and sells for 349.-. That is why specialized binocular dealers will not promote the Canon L and sell the highend glasses of L., S., Z. instead. And who would blame them.


Canon 10x30 IS - porroprism - 350.-

Together with the 8x25 IS it is the most affordable Canon IS bino. With IS I see no reason to stay with 8x magnification. I have used mine for about three years until it became hazy. Since, contrast is low and flare is high. It is a bulky, ugly binocular, but still small enough to be usable for hiking.


Pros: The IS works very well and in handheld use this glass will outresolve many much better binoculars. IS is great and low in power consumption. The optical system is" transparent" and well collimated. I have used it for many hours a day and long periods and never felt eyestrain. This is quite remarkable in this price class. And unlike many other porros diopter adjustment does not change with temperature. Edge performance is good. It does have a great porroprism 3D effect.

Cons: There is no way around it: this is a slow glass with only a 3mm exit pupil. The impression of sharpness results from high contrast at coarse edges. Microcontrast is not so good and therefore something is missing in the image for demanding users. It just does not have the punch and and does not give the emotional experience a better glass like the Habicht delivers. Field of view is definitely small like in most other middle class binos. Chromatic aberration is strong, and so is coma. Strong flaring from the front, and more flare from behind, as the eyepieces have very bad coatings. The biggest disadvantage is that the IS button does not lock. It has to be pushed permanently - this is impractical and bad ergonomics. Saves power, though.


Like with many Canon non-L optics, here we have a definitely bad mechanical performance. There is no sealing whatsoever. I had condensation under the oculars sometimes due to heating up in the morning sun after a cold night. The lens systems move with big tolerances and suck in air or push it out along the objectives. Once I had a small insect trapped inside.The focusing now makes a squeaking sound in warmer temperatures, and sometimes has a roughness that makes the whole image shake. The bino collected a lot of dust inside and then turned permanently hazy. Once I saw an airbubble drifting in the variangle IS system. A service would have cost me 240.- which practically makes the bino a throw away item.


Canon should implement their policy of environmentally friendly production by stopping to sell short lived items. As a prospective buyer you should be really aware that these binos are not a long term companion if often used in dusty and wet conditions. Repairs are prohibitively expensive.

For the sake of sustainability and longevity, Canon should provide:

- a properly sealed binocular. This one is almost a vacuum cleaner.

For better usability, I´d love to see:

- a wider field of view

- the IS switch should be as in the 10x42: press it once to activate IS. Keeping the button pressed is a royal pain...

This means a more expensive design.


Canon 10x42 L - porroprism - 1600.-

It is bulky, heavy, ugly - but once you use it you immediately wonder why you should be fooling around with any other binoculars EXCEPT FOR SIZE, WEIGHT AND PRIZE. Hands down nothing else will give you this resolution power handheld. Watch a heron from 80 meters distance and look right into its pupil. I used this glass for a couple of years, then it got stolen, but I´m seriously contemplating getting a new one.


Pros: The effect of the breathtaking image stabilizer make this bino a real favorite. Optical properties are top notch - great sharpness right to the edges with a very wide field of view, little chromatic aberration, little coma. Great natural colours and a superb 3D image.

Cons: The IS sometimes causes little artifacts, like slight focus shift. Nothing grave really. Guarantee time is very short, I´d buy an extra insurance to be on the safer side. I have met a user who had a 10 year old sample with perfect functionality, but generelly a repair after the warranty period may be extremely expensive. Canon should really give a 5 year warranty.


Pros: Very well built, waterproof. I like the rubber eyecups, because I could cut them into an asymmetric shape to improve performance.



The 10x42 L IS is a high end glass with great value and nothing really compares to it due to the image stabilizer. If the price were double, the design less ugly and had it a Zeiss/Leica/Swarovski label on it, it would probably sell better. The short warranty period does not help either. Moreover, Canon does not seem to put any effort in marketing its binoculars.


Wishlist to Canon

An 8x32 L IS wideangle with a weight of 800 gram maximum. I´d order one immediately.