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Binocular Cameras for wife's trip

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Binocular Cameras for wife's trip

Postby Guest on Wed Apr 27, 2005 6:20 pm

My wife has her heart set on a binocular camera for a trip to the Grand Canyon. Price is not a huge issue but I would like both the camera and the binoculars to work well. Water resistance is probably a good idea, but it seems like you have to trade off the low light for this feature (42 objective size).

I have looked at:

Bushnell ImageView 8x30 2.1MP
Meade Capture View 8x42
Meade Capture View 8x30 Water Resitant
Celestron 72215 3.0 MP
MagPix SX3

I have read reviews on all of these bino-cameras and it seems like most of the binos are fine and the camera's are NOT (for all the products). The reviews all read pretty much the same.

Are there any products that are a step up in quality? Short of this it seems like the Meade CaptureView 8x30 (water resistant) might be the best for my application? Do you agree??

THANKS!! David

Postby on Thu Apr 28, 2005 8:12 am

Hi David

When looking at digital binoculars, the word to remember is "compromise". In essence, you are taking an inexpensive binocular and putting an inexpensive digital camera on top of it. Performance for both the binocular and the camera will reflect this. The only real advantage of a digital bino is the convenience of carrying a digital camera and binocular in one unit.

I always recommend to my customers that if picture quality is important to them, then their money is better spent on a good digital point and shoot with a 4x or more OPTICAL zoom (the only zoom that counts for quality). There is simply no substitute for a quality lens and it is no accident that digital binos rarely even mention the specs on their lenses.

Some cameras, such as the Canon S1 IS even have a 10x optical zoom, but even a good 3x or 4x optical zoom on a quality point and shoot will take better pictures than an 8x digital bino, especially when you begin to enlarge the pics. In short, a good digital point and shoot with a 3x or 4x optical zoom will do anything a digital bino will do and do it better, once you get the pic downloaded into your photo program.

Lastly, a good digital point and shoot camera will offer many other features not found on a digital bino such as multiple exposure, focus, shooting and white balance controls, not to mention advanced flash and printer connection capabilities.

As far as digital binoculars go, it is impossible, at these prices anyway, to make the SD slot in a digital binocular fully waterproof. This is not a huge disadvantage, though, since most applications don't require a fully waterproof unit.

You might also want to consider the Bushnell Instant Replay, the only digital binocular that takes pics through the lens of the binocular. I'm not going to claim that image quality will rival a good digital point and shoot camera, but it is a step in the right direction, considering the anemic camera lenses usually found of digital binos.
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To bino or not to bino

Postby Guest on Thu Apr 28, 2005 9:31 am

Thanks Jne for the thoughful reply. I was afraid you were going to say that... my wife always says she want X and I end up giving her Y... and she says WHY :-( I think she has an idea that she will use the binos for general observation and then think ... that would be a great picture... snap. You don't really want to spend too much time looking through most point and shoot camera's and most LCDs are not visible in bright sun.

I'd spend twice as much as these products in a heart beat... for something that was put together a little better. I hear about battery covers coming off and needing to be held on with rubber bands, etc. etc. Those were the positive reviews.

I will check out the Bushnell Instant Replay... for some reason I discounted it based on its look. But I like the idea that the picture is through the BINO lens rather than separate and was unaware of this. THANKS!!


Instant Replay

Postby Guest on Thu Apr 28, 2005 11:09 am

Well I looked into Bushnell's Instant Replay camera and it does seem to be a step up from the others. There are still grumpy reviews out there... but not so many and the New York Times called it the best of breed in a recent technology review article (3/24/05).

Question: How is it to hold as a simple pair of binoculars? The eyepieces do not look so comfortable... but that could just be that I don't really understand what I'm seeing in the pictures? No one complained about this!

It also has some of the little details that are important (tripod screw mount, can use rechargeable batteries).

I'm almost sold on this and I will buy here!

Thanks, David