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Are Digital Camera Binoculars Just For Gadget Freaks?

Sep 17, 2008
Digital camera binoculars are a cool item to buy as a gift for the gadget freak who has everything. But are the just for people who have to leap on the latest technology, whatever it happens to be, or could they serve some purpose for the rest of us? First, what are they? Simply, they are binoculars with a digital camera built in.

So why would you want them? Well, binoculars in themselves have come very much into the mainstream. A quick search online will turn up dozens of retailers selling vast range of them from manufacturers you will have heard of and probably some that you haven't. Somebody must be buying them and how many technology geeks can there be?

Binoculars do have many uses in the real world. You may find pleasure in sailing, hiking, camping, hunting, fishing, bird watching, astronomy, or watching sports or other outdoor events. A pair of binoculars can add a new dimension to any of these pastimes. If it's good to be in the great outdoors or at a great event, isn't it better to be able to see it up close and personal. To zoom right in and see details that are normally unavailable to you.

Camera binoculars can to take it a stage further. If you do happen to get a breathtaking view in your lenses, a magical wildlife moment or a climactic point in a sporting event, now you can preserve the memory forever. Imagine catching a killer whale momentarily breeching the waves. Instead of telling your friends about it, you would be able to show them.

What are these camera binoculars all about? Most people are familiar with the general principle of binoculars if not the details. They enable you to bring distant objects up close and into focus. And digital cameras are insanely cheap these days, to the point where you can pick up a pretty good one from the supermarket while you shop for your groceries. There must be few people who don't own them or haven't used them.

What do you get when you put them together and how much does it cost? Binoculars themselves come in many varieties and from cheap to frighteningly expensive. Camera binoculars, surprisingly, tend to come in at the cheaper end of the market. One reason for this is that the binocular technology is usually not at the cutting edge. The magnification is in the low to medium range, not the sort of thing that the dedicated bird watcher is likely to buy.

Similarly, while digital cameras with 10 megapixel resolution are now becoming very affordable, the best you are likely to find in a camera binocular is half of that. And many come with much lower resolution, probably less than you would have in your camera phone. So why does that matter? A 4 megapixel camera will produce very high quality images. It depends what you want to do with them.

If you want to print your images, low resolution will limit the quality and the size of the images you are able to produce. Personally, I believe that the main advantage of digital images is that you don't have to print them. I have seen far more of my images on a computer screen than I ever did when they were printed and stuck away in a cupboard somewhere.

Let's look at a practical example. This is not intended as a product review, just an indication of what is available. I have chosen the Bushnell Imageview 8x30 with 5MP camera to take a look at. For those not familiar with binoculars, Bushnell is a respected manufacturer. The 8 in the title refers to 8 times magnification. In other words an object would appear 8 times closer than if seen with the naked eye. The 30 refers to the diameter in millimetres of the front lenses which influences the amount of light that enters.

The camera is 5 megapixel and has a 1.5 inch pop up screen. It has 16mb of flash memory built in and this can be expanded with an SD card up to 2 GB. The camera also has 8 times magnification. I would regard a 5MP camera as perfectly acceptable but I have read reviews claiming it to be woefully inadequate. That's gadget freaks for you.

In a nutshell, for what is regarded as a compact, pocket sized binocular, this unit will perform pretty well, producing good, crisp images. At the time of writing, this model is on sale for just under $175. Not outrageously expensive, I'm sure you'll agree.

So do digital camera binoculars have applications for those of us who are not busy chasing the latest techie trends? I think that they could enhance a lot of outdoor activities, adding to the fun and preserving the memories.
About the Author
If you would like to know more about digital camera binoculars or binoculars in general, visit http://bynocular.com . Find the best binoculars for your needs and the best prices.
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