Like the sailboats they're used on, binoculars haven't changed much since their original inception. They've gotten lighter with better lenses, and antireflective coatings allow us to see with greater clarity. But the mechanics are the same. A factor limiting the use of high-powered binoculars aboard any small boat has been the difficulty of stabilizing the image, and for this reason, sailors seldom purchased units above 8x magnification. In the past decade, however, technology originally developed for the military has been used to create higher-powered stabilized binoculars. Early models used gyroscopes to stabilize not the image but the binoculars themselves. In 1996, Canon transferred the electronic image-stabilizing technology from its video cameras to its binoculars. The 10x30 IS was the revolutionary product that allowed, for the first time, the practical use of 10-power binoculars at sea. Since then, Canon has introduced the 12x36, the 15x45, the 15x50, and most recently, the 18x50. While an early deterrent for sailors (besides the price) was these binoculars' lack of watertightness, this has since been remedied, and for a while Canon enjoyed a virtually exclusive position in the stabilized-binocular market.