Shaking Binoculars? Here's what to do...

Shaking Binoculars? Here’s what to do…

If you’re experiencing shaking binoculars, and it’s beginning to ruin your viewing pleasure, read on to find out why it happens and a few solutions to fix this annoying problem. The problem is, it’s not your binoculars that are shaking, it’s your arms. That’s because you’re human, and it’s all part of the normal physiology of the human being to experience a shaking when holding something in your hands for prolonged periods.

Even holding a sheet of paper at arms length will cause a slight shake in the arm before too long. The medical term for this is “a fine postural or kinetic tremor”  and it’s considered to be quite normal. So holding even the smallest pair of binoculars for any length of time will cause them to shake. 

Of course with low magnification binoculars it’s not a problem, but with any magnification above 10x, say 12x and upwards, that slight shake is magnified 12 times (or more). That’s when it becomes a problem, and why we recommend using a tripod if you are using binoculars with a magnification greater than 10x.

Binocular Tripods Provide A Stabilised Image

If you need high magnification binoculars for a specific purpose like stargazing/astronomy, or fixed viewing platforms for seaside homes etc. Then a tripod could be the perfect solution, most binoculars have an attachment point for tripods and if not there are plenty of tripod mounts and adapters currently available for just such a purpose. For comfort we would suggest investing in a table top tripod as you can then sit in a comfortable chair whilst looking through your high magnification binoculars.

Other Solutions For Shaking Binoculars

Even at lower magnifications, the shaking phenomenon can still be an issue, it’s all to do with the time your arms are under tension. Here are 9 solutions for curing shaky images.

  1. Support Yourself On Something Strong
    Try leaning against a tree, fence, car or a wall, or anything that will support your weight while looking through your binoculars.
  2. Use A Reclining Chair
    It’s possible to get recliners that lay almost flat, using this method when stargazing will mean all of the binoculars’ weight will be resting on your eyes. Which allows your arms to just support them without having to exert any pressure.
  3. Cut The Magnification
    The shake will be less visible if you use lower magnification binoculars. A large objective lens diameter means the weight is right at your strongest support point.
  4. Learn To Elbow Tuck
    If you practise tucking your elbows in against your ribs the weight is more evenly distributed making it less of a strain on just your arms. This works well in conjunction with our first suggestion (#1).
  5. Wrap The Strap
    If you wrap the strap of the binoculars tightly around your arms, they will be held tightly in your hands. This will help to ease the shake slightly.
  6. Cradle-Hold The Binoculars
    By using both hands to hold the right hand objective lens case, allows the left objective lens case to rest on the back of your left arm. This gives one arm a break and they can be swapped over to give the tired one some relief.
  7. Take The Weight Off Your Feet
    Believe it or not, the act of simply sitting down can ease the hand shakes. This is because it takes more physical energy to stand up than it does to sit down. Which in turn, allows more energy to be used by your arms.
  8. Ease The Grip
    Instead of using the entire hand to hold the binoculars try holding the lens with just your thumb and index fingers. Let the rest of your fingers just wrap around the binoculars without exerting any pressure. This might feel like the bins will fall but after some practise you’ll soon get the hang of it, resulting in less tension in your arms and less shaking.
  9. Rest The Binoculars To Support Them
    Find a fence, large rock, or a tree stump, anything that will allow you to rest the binoculars on while you either kneel, sit, or crouch to get the best view.

Are There Any Binoculars with Anti Shake?

There is another alternative to shaky images through the binocular lenses, they’re called Image Stabilised binoculars. Using technology that’s crossed over from the camcorder industry, image stabilised binoculars detect any slight (or not so slight) movement and compensate for it to make the image you see shake free. As these use such advanced technology they tend to be considerably more expensive than regular binoculars.

But if extra magnification is what you need and you want the clearest images, there’s no price that can be put on that. Imagine having the ability to see extremely shy wildlife over huge distances in their own environment without causing them any disturbance at all. Some of the most powerful binoculars available with this added stabilising technology have a magnification value of  20x with an objective lens diameter of 60mm.

How Do Image Stabilised Binoculars Work?

They work by the use of internal gyroscopes connected to electronic sensors and microprocessors that continuously adjust the image to keep it stable. Some need no batteries to operate the gyroscopic systems but the majority do.  As an interesting side note, these image stabilised binoculars work like conventional binoculars until the IS feature is activated.

To view the images through these extremely powerful, high performance optics needs to be experienced to be believed.

 The ultimate in image stabilised binoculars are the Zeiss 20×60 T* S Image Stabilised Binoculars.  The Zeiss 20 × 60 T* S have even been used on missions on the International Space Station (ISS). They operate with no noise, no battery power and at the touch of a button. The T* coating guarantees brilliant high-contrast images at any time of the day (even twilight).

Since their humble beginnings, Zeiss[1] have always been at the very limit of optical excellence and they have developed “into a large research-oriented enterprise that distributes a host of optical products across the world”.  Their latest in a long line of precision optics employs all of their technical and optical skills to produce the Zeiss 20×60 T* S Image Stabilised Binoculars.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why do my binoculars shake?

The main reason binoculars shake is because as humans we all shake when holding any object for prolonged periods. The reason it’s noticeable is due to too high magnification. Any shake is magnified by as much as the magnification value is. 

How do stabilized binoculars work?

Image stabilised binoculars work by constantly compensating any slight movement using internal gyroscopic mechanisms.