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Alyssa A.
Writer
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PRODUCT REVIEW

Canon 12 x 36 IS III Binoculars

The Canon 12×36 IS III will be a game-changer for some people. Image-stabilized binoculars (ISBs) offer a smoother glassing experience by ensuring stability without a tripod’s support.

They come in really handy, especially for birders, hikers, and even sports fans. With 12x magnification, stabilization assistance promises to cut down on shaky viewing.

Canon is recognized for pioneering IS technology in binoculars, changing the game forever. Over the years, it has introduced many ISBs, significantly improving them from time to time.

Let’s dive in and discover how it is an upgraded version of its predecessors!

Our Overall Review

We have thoroughly tested - and read reviews from other experts and users. In summary, this is what we think:

4.6

Reasons to buy

  • Advanced and intuitive IS function that engages almost instantaneously
  • User-friendly IS button
  • Impressive edge-to-edge clarity with doublet field-flattener lenses
  • Unobtrusive with anti-reflective exterior
  • Energy-efficient
  • Lightweight
  • Versatile and performs well enough for stargazing

Reasons NOT to buy

  • May not be suitable for eyeglass wearers
  • Not fogproof and waterproof
  • Produces minimal chromatic aberration

Overview

As the name implies, these binoculars are the third version of Canon’s 12×36 ISBs. Since the introduction of the first model, they have received major enhancements to produce accurate and clear images, and optimize their IS function.

Image-stabilization (IS) technology is engineered to compensate for the slightest movements. All you have to do is press a button on your binoculars and it activates almost instantaneously. With its capabilities, you can lock in your targets in the wild and follow your favorite athletes in an action-packed arena.

The Canon 12 x 36 IS III’s IS system is powered by two AA alkaline batteries. Roughly, these batteries can last for up to nine hours. Alternatively, you may also use two AA NiMh batteries if you prefer rechargeable options. You will find the IS button easy to use because it is quite huge and placed right in front of the focus wheel.

With a Porro II prism system, these binoculars have neither mirror nor phase-correction coatings. Adjusting the whole eyepiece will adjust the interpupillary distance. It offers minimal light loss and contributes to true color reproduction. They also have dependable edge-to-edge clarity, thanks to their doublet field-flattener lenses.

Perfect for prolonged hours of use, the Canon 12 x 36 IS III is lightweight and easy to carry. One-handed operation is even possible. With its chassis coated with rubber armor, it has a firm grip that gives you the confidence you need in any terrain.

As we dive in, we will learn more about these specs and what makes these binoculars an excellent choice for activities like hunting. Let’s begin!

See the complete list of the best Binoculars here!

Canon 12 x 36 IS III Binoculars Overview

Canon 12 x 36 IS III Binoculars: Key Specifications

  • Product Dimensions: 5” x 6.85” x 2.76”
  • Product Weight: 23.28 oz. (excluding batteries)
  • Power Source: 2 AA Alkaline Batteries or 2 AA NiMh Batteries
  • Angular Field of View (Real): 5 degrees
  • Angular Field of View (Apparent): 55.3 degrees
  • Exit Pupil Diameter: 3 mm
  • Eye Relief: 14.5 mm
  • Close Focus Distance: 19.69’
  • Porro II Prism
  • Manual Focus System
  • Vari-Angle Prisms (VAPs)

Where to Buy:

Image Quality

The Canon 12 x 36 IS III is known for offering a stable, high magnification view without any tripod support, thanks to Canon’s advanced IS technology. It is integrated with a superb microcomputer that uses cutting-edge algorithms that optimize IS performance. As a result, it delivers a stable and low-maintenance field of view, which comes in handy when hunting and watching sports events from a significant distance.

These binoculars’ IS technology is quite user-friendly, too. Thanks to VAPs, even the slightest movements are corrected quickly for smoother panning regardless of the speed. You can engage it almost instantly because the IS button is aptly large and conveniently placed on the barrel, right in front of the focus knob.

With a 12x magnification, it is easier to catch the tiniest details with the Canon 12 x 36 IS III. So great for spotting slow-moving, highly-camouflaged animals. Its exceptional optical system guarantees impeccable image quality in close-up views. Meanwhile, its objective lens diameter of 36 mm offers dependable brightness all day long.

The eyepieces and front lenses of these binoculars are made of convex-shaped glass, so they are engineered with Porro II prism. This prism system is necessary to reverse the inverted image that would normally appear, given the design of the eyepieces and front lenses. With this system, mirror and phase-correction coatings are unnecessary. As such, these binoculars provide reliable brightness and clarity, and as little light loss as possible.

Like many Canon ISBs, the Canon 12 x 36 IS III eyepieces come with doublet field-flattener lenses. These lenses correct field curvatures, addressing blurring around the edges. The result is a wide field of view with fine clarity and sharpness.

Canon 12 x 36 IS III Binoculars Image Quality

Construction Quality

All glass optical components of these binoculars are made of lead-free materials. They are environment-friendly, so you can confidently use them without worrying about posing a threat to the planet.

With an anti-reflective external design, the Canon 12 x 36 IS III can perform in any environment. This design helps in situations where you need to stay as inconspicuous as possible, especially when observing wildlife.

These binoculars’ IS system is significantly more energy-efficient than those of their predecessors. It is powered by either two AA alkaline batteries or two NiMh batteries, lasting up to nine hours before you need to replace or recharge them.

While not completely fogproof and waterproof, the Canon 12 x 36 IS III is resistant enough to moisture and water. It can serve you well in light rains without disrupting your viewing experience.

Canon 12 x 36 IS III Binoculars Construction Quality

Ergonomics and Comfort

The rubber armor on these binoculars’ chassis provides a secure grip. You can handle them confidently in any terrain, with little to no possibility of dropping them. More importantly, they are light for ISBs. Carrying them around for hours is less likely to cause any strain. Operating them using one hand is also possible.

The Canon 12 x 36 IS III has a pretty decent eye relief of 14.5 mm. It is relatively comfortable to use for hours, allowing you to see the entire field of view without obstructions.

Canon 12 x 36 IS III Binoculars Ergonomics

The Good

Of course, what we love the most about these binoculars is their advanced and intuitive IS system. They are perfect for activities in which subjects move fast, such as hunting and watching sports events. Thanks to this powerful IS system, you can enjoy a stable glassing experience with a low-maintenance field of view without using a tripod. The VAPs help correct the slightest movements smoothly and almost instantaneously.

This IS technology is useless without a user-friendly IS button. The good news is that the Canon 12 x 36 IS III has a huge IS button placed conveniently right in front of the focus wheel. While it takes a few seconds to engage the IS system, you would not have difficulties locating and pressing the button.

The combination of a 12x magnification and a 36-mm objective lens diameter delivers outstanding brightness and clarity. The naked eye may miss the tiniest details, but not when using these binoculars. Additionally, the Porro II prism system requires no coatings. It ensures minimal light loss, further optimizing image quality. With doublet field-flattener lenses, you would not encounter the typical issue of rendered images blurring around the edges. You can rely on these binoculars no matter the environmental and lighting challenges.

When hunting and observing wildlife, remaining stealth is crucial. The slightest movements and noises can drive your subjects away. With the Canon 12 x 36 IS III anti-reflective exterior, you can go about your day as inconspicuously as possible. On top of that, it is also lightweight. It is easy to handle, allowing you to move calmly and freely without being obtrusive. It is suitable for prolonged hours of use and less likely to cause strain.

The IS function of these binoculars is powered by either long-lasting AA alkaline batteries or rechargeable AA NiMh batteries. When used continuously, it can last for up to nine hours. This battery life is pretty decent enough for all-day glassing. In any case, it is wise to always bring a few extra batteries. Since these binoculars are lightweight, bringing extra batteries would not be any trouble.

Surprisingly, the Canon 12 x 36 IS III is an excellent companion during stargazing. The doublet field-flattener lenses and stabilization capabilities make it possible to see the night sky and observe the stars. If you are looking for budget-friendly optics with good magnification–for occasional stargazing, for example–it is definitely perfect for you.

What We Didn’t Like

Eyeglass wearers require at least 16 mm of eye relief to use binoculars comfortably, especially during prolonged hours. Unfortunately, these binoculars only have an eye relief of 14.5 mm. If you are wearing eyeglasses, you might have difficulties using these binoculars for prolonged periods of time and eventually find the need to take them off. It compromises the viewing experience, either way.

Unlike most binoculars today, the Canon 12 x 36 IS III is not purged with gases or sealed to become fogproof and waterproof. It can resist little moisture and water, but it requires extra care in extreme conditions.

Regrettably, chromatic aberration is not totally eliminated in these binoculars. Since they are relatively cheaper models, they suffer from minimal fringing around the edges, especially when the subjects have high contrast. The chromatic aberrations become a bit worse when the IS function is active.

About the Company

Canon pioneered IS technology in binoculars, but its feats go beyond the sports optics industry. Since its establishment in 1955, it has always been committed to product development in imaging technology. It is famous for Kyosei, its guiding corporate philosophy that centers on social responsibility.

Over the years, Canon has won many awards for its significant contributions to the industry. In 2020, it received the Partner of the Year – Sustained Excellence Award from the US Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) 2020 ENERGY STAR. FORTUNE named it one of the World’s Most Admired Companies in 2019, while Ethisphere named it one of the World’s Most Ethical Companies in 2018. These are just some recognitions that reiterate the company’s prowess and leadership.

While it is renowned for its binoculars and cameras, Canon has many businesses. Product categories include calculators, digital radiography, eye care, fax machines, printers, projectors, scanners, among others.

Canon 12 x 36 IS III Binoculars Lens and Accessories

Summary

Generally, the predecessors of the Canon 12 x 36 IS III were noisy and slow. These issues have been addressed, with it offering a subtle yet reliable IS function and having an anti-reflective exterior. Its IS system activates almost instantaneously, making it suitable for hunting and watching sports events.

In terms of image quality, it produces bright and clear images. The chromatic aberration is minimal and hardly noticeable. It may not be suitable for bird watching, but it is an excellent stargazing companion for beginners who have no access to telescopes. Just be cautious if you are wearing eyeglasses because you may not be comfortable using it for a long period.

Spotting game in dense forest or birds in thick canopy at a distance is surprisingly easier with this set over a pair of binoculars with lower magnification. Perhaps with a tripod the Monarch 5 12×42 would give these a run for their money. Perhaps not.

See the complete list of the best Binoculars here!

What We Like

  • Advanced and intuitive IS function that engages almost instantaneously
  • User-friendly IS button
  • Impressive edge-to-edge clarity with doublet field-flattener lenses
  • Unobtrusive with anti-reflective exterior
  • Energy-efficient
  • Lightweight
  • Versatile and performs well enough for stargazing

What We Don’t Like

  • May not be suitable for eyeglass wearers
  • Not fogproof and waterproof
  • Produces minimal chromatic aberration

Where to Buy:

Where to Buy:

FAQ – Frequently asked questions about Canon 12 x 36 IS III Binoculars

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    What is the best pair of Canon image-stabilized binoculars (ISBs) for hunting?

    As one of the industry leaders at the forefront of the development of ISBs, Canon constantly innovates and improves its image stabilization (IS) technology. One of its latest models is the Canon 12 x 36 IS III, which is ideal for hunting and even entry-level stargazing. You can learn more about it in this in-depth review.

    These binoculars are not suitable for bird watching since they produce minimal chromatic aberrations. You may want to try Canon 10 x 30 IS II if you need exceptionally, precisely detailed images. Find out more about it in this comprehensive guide.

  • image/svg+xmlimage/svg+xml
    How do ISBs work?

    It is normal for binoculars to suffer from movements and shakes, especially when they have higher magnifications. The problem gets worse if you have been using them for hours and your hands begin to shake. Moreover, it does not help when your subjects move at a fast pace that it becomes impossible to track them and maintain image stability.

    It has been a persistent issue until the introduction of ISBs, which have movement-correcting sensors to provide a stable glassing experience no matter the challenges. IS technology has essentially eliminated the need for tripods. No matter the terrain or activity, ISBs can serve your needs. Check out different binoculars for different applications in this guide to learn more.

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    How do Vari-Angle prisms (VAPs) work in binoculars?

    Canon ISBs are integrated with VAPs, which detect motions and send signals to microprocessors that compensate for these movements to stabilize the rendered images. Different types of IS mechanisms are available, but VAPs are advantageous because they are lighter and activate faster. As such, many Canon ISBs are known for being compact and lightweight. One example is the Canon 10 x 30 IS II. Learn more about this pair here.

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    What is a Porro II prism system?

    In binoculars, a Porro II prism system is applied when the optics are made of convex-shaped glass to rectify the inverted images. There are certain advantages of using this prism system. For one it has completely reflective surfaces, ensuring no light loss and requiring no surface coatings.

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