See More Afield With the Kite Optics APC 50 Stabilized

by Tommy Grant

If you have hunted where conditions demand a lot of glassing, the dance between spotting scope with binocular is known.  Each have their pros/cons. The ability to dial up the high magnification of the spotting scope, some 60x+, allows you to determine prey quality, terrain in between you and quarry, and thus worth making the effort or not. Binoculars are so convenient hanging from your neck, easy to deploy as you move about.  Spotting scopes not so much, considering a solid tripod needed to make the most out of the higher magnification.  Binoculars offer large fields of view thanks to lower magnification, typically 7-10x, with ability to spot movement so that a spotting scope can then be deployed.  

Kite Optics APC 50

Higher magnification binos are not limited by technology, but rather importance of stability as magnification increases. A 15x means nothing if your natural hand/body movement distorts quality of view. Yes, high-power binos exist. But you better have them secured to a tripod to maximize performance. What if there was a way to combine binocular convenience with spotting scope magnification? There is…. thanks to Kite Optics.  

Technology 

Kite Optics is a family-run business from Belgium. Starting in 1992, Kite Optics began providing optics—binoculars, spotting scopes, rifle scopes, etc. In 2019, after a decade of research, Kite Optics introduced KDGS–Kite Dynamic Gimbal System. This enabled effective use of porro prism lenses with stabilized image technology. In 2024, Kite Optics upgraded KDGS again. Kite Optics’ APC 50 Stabilized 18X50ED Li-Ion binocular is no bigger than a typical bino thanks to upgraded KDGS-2 system/porro prism lenses, while still providing image-stabilized 18x viewing. The roof prism method also provides for more rugged durability.   

The KDGS-2 innovation is maximized with Kite Optics’ K3 intelligent software, embedded with a proprietary Kite Optics algorithm, to analyze an array of accelerometers, correcting every moving and non-moving component continuously. Kite Optics’ KT 3.0 software is designed to mirror the cognitive and visual patterns of the mind. What does this translate into for the layman using the APC 50 Stabilized 18×50? Kite Optics’ technology gives the ability to pan rapidly across terrain until something is spotted, then hold steady on a stationary object. Some image-stabilized binos provide wavy image quality and a ‘seasickness’ sensation in this scenario. The Kite Optics APC 50 Stabilized 18x50ED binocular eliminates/minimizes these glitches.  

Real World Use

The Kite Optics APC 50 Stabilized 18x50mm binoculars do not need to be coddled. Kite Optics wants you out and about enjoying the benefits of their product. The APC 50 Stabilized 18x50mm comes with an IPX 7 rating withstanding submersion up to 3-feet deep of water. Lens quality is not skimped on with all the other technology found in the APC Stabilized 18x50s. ED glass with Kite Optics’ coatings offers 86% light transmission giving distortion free viewing. Even at 18x, the APC 18×50 bino still offers 61° field of view. This qualifies under ISO standards as being a wide-angle view…. even with18x.  

Kite Optics’ APC takes energy efficiency to the next level. The “APC” terminology indicates Automatic Power Control. Sensors on the prism detect when you have the binocular around your neck, not actively observing based on the angle at which the instrument is positioned. At this point, the electronics automatically enter sleep mode, ceasing power consumption. No buttons need pushed as the Kite Optics bino does it all on its own. The rechargeable Li-Ion battery’s 30 hours of run time is stretched out significantly thanks to this. 

Improved technology incorporated by Kite Optics.

Built to Spot & Stalk

While trying to give you a grounding in the technology behind the Kite Optics APC 50 Stabilized 18×50, the best way to appreciate is use. Here is a simple exercise to illustrate my point. Walk out on your house and start observing without turning on the stabilization of the APC 18×50 binos. Yes, you can see license plates or birds at a distance, but accurately determining the actual letters/numbers or species only a block or so away is problematic. Now turn on the Kite Optics stabilization…. voila, everything calms down and the license plates are easy to read and birds easy to identify. It is really impressive.  

What said it all for me was when one of my Texas guides complimented the stabilized-optic bino while standing next to his several thousand dollar spotting scope/tripod rig. So many hunts start with you and/or your guide posting up on a prominent point to glass looking for your animal. Having a binocular that behaves like a spotting scope hanging on your neck is hard to beat with spot-and-stalk hunting.   

Yes, Kite Optics’ APC Stabilized 18×50 does not come with inconsequential price. Retail is about $2,000. Most spotting scope-tripod combos cost multiples of this! I’m not saying spotting scopes are of no use. However, its hard for me to imagine not wanting the Kite Optics APC 50 Stabilized 18x50mm conveniently on my person, especially if out west in big sky country. 

Glassing wide open country during a hunt out west.

Multi-Use

Though this article skimmed over technology and focused (pun intended) on hunting applications, the Kite Optics APC 50 Stabilized 18x50mm has far more utility than this. Tactically, it’s hard to imagine downside of observing through such a potent low-profile optic from a hiding spot. Last trip to Wyoming, my wife and I argued who got to use the Kite Optics bino—me hunting or her for hiking adventuring, spotting wildlife around Jackson Hole and the Grand Tetons.   

More mundane tasks include me taking the Kite Optics APC 50 Stabilized 18x50s with me anytime I go to the range, supplanting my usual multi-piece spotting scope setup. The stabilized 18x made determining impacts on paper at distance simple. Along these same lines, I make sure the Kite Optics bino is with me during any long-range shooting or rifle matches. Stabilization wizardry simplifies spotting impacts or determining what corrections to offer to shooter.  

The shrinkage of electronic components continues to impact us in ways not foreseen. Certainly, I cannot argue with the success of red dots on handguns. On another front, the abilities of laser range finders in dedicated handheld units, as well as built into riflescopes, has taken off. Along these same lines is the rise in image-stabilized binoculars. Kite Optics is leading the way and worth a look (another pun intended).  

For more info, visit kiteoptics.com.

Using the Kite APC 50 afield.

SPECIFICATIONS: Kite Optics APC 50 Stabilized 18x50ED Li-Ion

Magnification 18x
Objective lens 50mm
Glass Quality ED
Weight 2.2 pounds
Waterproof Rating IPX7
Light Transmission 86%
Battery Life 30 hours per charge
MSRP: $1,999

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