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  1. #1
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    Have you used these: Binoculars with built in digital camera?

    Hi,

    I was wondering if any one has used these: http://www.bushnell.com/products/bin...cs/11-0832.cfm I can seem to find any reviews on the quality of the pictures. Its 2.1 Mega pixels so it doesn't sound to bad. ANY opinions/reviews would be great.

    Thanks
    Jeff
    Last edited by Xoopiter-Jeff; 04-25-2005 at 12:13 AM.
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  2. #2
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    I haven't tried one, but I don't think it would be such a great choice. You can get a digital camera whose long focal length would be the equivalent of the binocular magnification, and since your camera resolution would be higher than the binocularcamera's resolution you could add some digital zoom to get even higher magnification at equivalent resolution. Plus it will be a better camera at the shorter focal lengths that are generally more useful.

  3. #3
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    Jun 2004
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    Correction to above. There are cameras that will give almost as much optical magnification. A 10X optical zoom range is usually equivalent to 35-350mm. 350mm would be a 7X magnification. However, since those cameras usually have at least 4 MP, you could get 20X optical/digital zoom which would be equivalent to 14X magnification at 2 MP resolution.

  4. #4
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    Feb 2005
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    Or you could get a digital SLR and get a telephoto lens that took much better pics.
    Rich
    WebsiteMaven - Web Hosting Reviews, Guides, and Advice to Build and Promote your Web Site

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
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    Eaglehawk, Victoria,Australia
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    I haven't actually used one yet however I have done considerable study on the subject. Most manufactorure and vendors would have you believe that you are getting marvelous zoom, which of course is NOT the case. What they are is actually TWO items. You have an ordinary pair of Binoculars and you have a relatively cheap low end camers. Even though these two items are bolted together they work independently og each other.

    Now as for Digit zoom it isn't worth the paper it's written on. You can get a better result by taking the photo and then gropping and enlarging in photo shop. When considering digital camera's the main thing is OPTICAL zoom. Here is some infomation that may help explain it.

    Optical vs. Digital Zoom

    More and more camera manufacturers are choosing to label their digital cameras with the total (optical + digital) zoom. This is an unfortunate development and only serves to confuse consumers.
    Advertisement


    Most people who have used a 35mm camera or an APS camera are aware of only optical zoom. Optical zoom uses the optics (lens) of the camera to bring the subject closer. Digital zoom is an invention of digital video cameras. It is not uncommon to see digital videocams with 300x digital zoom.

    For our purpose, digital zoom is not really zoom, in the strictest definition of the term. What digital zoom does is enlarge a portion of the image, thus 'simulating' optical zoom. In other words, the camera crops a portion of the image and then enlarges it back to size. In so doing, you lose image quality. If you've been regularly using digital zoom and wondered why your pictures did not look that great, now you know.

    Is digital zoom therefore all bad? No, not at all. It's a feature that you might want in your digital camera (in fact, all digital cameras include some digital zoom, so you can't really avoid it), especially if you don't care about using (or don't know how to use) an image editing software. So, as far as digital zoom is concerned, you can do it in camera or you can do it afterwards in an image editing software. Any cropping and enlarging can be done in an image editing software, such as Photoshop.

    So, when a digital camera is advertised with 3x digital zoom, no big deal. You can achieve the same 3x (and in fact as much as you want) digital zoom effect in an image editing software. The advantage of doing it later is that you can then decide exactly which portion to crop and how much to enlarge (3x, 4x, ...). If you do it in camera, image quality is irreversibly lost.

    Someone in a digital camera forum once mentioned that he uses digital zoom because it might mean the difference between capturing a great shot or not at all. Umm, let's think about this a bit. True, if by zooming digitally in camera you get to see what your subject is doing and thus can capture the shot at the right moment. Not quite true, if it's something like a landscape shot, and the mountains ain't going nowhere fast, because you can achieve the same cropping and enlarging effect after the fact in your image editing software. So, it's really up to you, if you know what you're doing.

    What, therefore is the rule of thumb, when it comes to using zoom? Here it is: Always use optical zoom. When buying a camera, choose one that warns you that you are about to use digital zoom or that allows you to disable digital zoom (most do). If you do use digital zoom, use it only if it does not appreciably impact your image quality. If you rarely print past 4x6 in. photos, digital zoom may not adversely affect you.

    When comparing cameras, you should always use optical zoom. There is no point in comparing digital zoom with digital zoom or optical zoom with total zoom. Always compare optical zoom with optical zoom.

    Optical Zoom vs. Resolution

    What about optical zoom vs. resolution? Sigh! Now y'all know that we cannot and should not be comparing apples 'n oranges, but we still try. The question I often read about goes something like this: "Which is better: 2 megapixels resolution with 3x optical zoom or 3 megapixels resolution with 2x optical zoom?"

    The megapixels resolution of a digital camera can be thought of as the number of pixels available to capture an image. With a 2 megapixels camera, you have 2 million pixels to record an image. With a 3 megapixels camera, you have 1 million extra pixels to record the same image -- in other words, you are able to capture the image in more detail.

    Whether you zoom or not does not affect how many pixels are used to capture the image. So, zoomed at its maximum, a 2 megapixels 3x optical zoom digital camera will still have captured a 2 million pixels image. Likewise, a 3 megapixels 2x optical zoom digital camera will always capture a 3 million pixels image.

    The real question behind the question is, "So now if I use digital zoom to zoom in with the 3 megapixels camera and simulate a total zoom of 3x, will the resultant image quality be less, the same, or still better than the one I captured with the 2 megapixels 3x optical zoom camera?" You follow so far?

    With a 2 megapixels digital camera, you can make good 4x6 in. prints, and maybe even 5x7 in. prints. With a 3 megapixels digital camera, you can make good 8x10 in. prints. So, as far as image quality is concerned, the 3 megapixels camera is better. Unless you are always going to take pictures at max. zoom, the 3MP camera is better because at 2x optical zoom and less, it is always capturing images with more detail than the 2MP camera.

    What we are really trying to say is this: do not compare. You've got to decide what is more important to you: resolution or optical zoom? If the answer is both, then find a digital camera that has both. It's that simple. If it's outside your pocketbook range, then choose a digital camera for what is more important to you.

    We usually recommend buying a digital camera with at least 3 megapixels resolution because of the better image quality. A 2x optical zoom is disappointing, but not necessarily a show-stopper. A 3x optical zoom is standard with most consumer digital cameras. Some ultra-compact digital cameras may be able to provide only 2x optical zoom. We never bother to check how much digital zoom a camera provides, and ignore the marketing hype surrounding it. We always disable digital zoom in camera, choosing to do our own cropping and enlarging in an image editing software.

    Optical vs. digital zoom? There is no contest. Only optical zoom matters when selecting a digital camera.

    Added September 16, 2004:

    Smart Zoom

    Recently, a new type of digital zoom has appeared on the market, pioneered by Sony, called "Smart Zoom." Smart Zoom can be viewed as an "ethical" digital zoom which avoids interpolating the image and so avoid degrading image quality. Smart Zoom works only if you select an image size smaller than the full available image size. So, for example, if your digital camera is capable of producing a 5MP image, Smart Zoom is available only if you select to save your images as 4MP or less.

    Say, your digital camera is 5MP and you select to save your images as 3MP. So, in effect, you are forfeiting 2MP of image data (extracted from all over the image area) that the digital camera's sensor has captured and now has to throw away [you hope the camera makes the right decision and does not throw away important image data]. Enter Smart Zoom that says, "Hey, instead of throwing away 2MP of good data from all over the image area, why don't I crop out all the pixels starting from the outside perimeter? When I've cropped out 2MP of image data all around, I have 3MP left over and that's what you want, right?" Notice, the 3MP image does not have to be interpolated and enlarged back to 5MP as traditional digital zoom does (because you elected to save it as 3MP, remember?). So, in effect, you've basically more or less retained the same image quality but you have to save your resulting simulated zoomed image in a smaller image size. Of course, if now you turn around and enlarge it in post-processing, you will be limited to what a 3MP image can be enlarged up to without image degradation.

    I call Smart Zoom "ethical digital zoom" because it is not made available at full image size -- this would cause image degradation. The smaller you elect to save your image, the more smart zoom power you have available (folks, you're basically just cropping the image without re-enlarging, which you can also do at any time in post-processing). I would personally not recommend cropping down below 3MP, which means that Smart Zoom is useful only in digital cameras with 4MP and above.

    So, our recommendation still holds. If you want zoom power, only optical zoom matters! Smart Zoom is the better form of digital zoom, but what you gain in simulated zoom power (again, you're just cropping), you lose in image size. There's no free lunch.

    Again, don't buy a digital camera based on digital (traditional or smart) zoom. Always compare optical zoom with optical zoom. If you are comparing 2 digital cameras with the same optical zoom, but one has smart digital zoom and the other has traditional digital zoom, then the smart zoom has a slight advantage. But personally, I wouldn't even look at that because there are a lot more important features to differentiate the cameras.

    If this article has been helpful to you, why don't you send it to a friend? Please give us your feedback on how we can make it better, or what articles you would like to read next.

    Doc
    www.doctorhill.com.au
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    If ignorance is bliss, why aren't more people happy ?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    Location
    Eaglehawk, Victoria,Australia
    Posts
    5,023
    I haven't actually used one yet however I have done considerable study on the subject. Most manufacturers and vendors would have you believe that you are getting marvelous zoom, which of course is NOT the case. What they are is actually TWO items. You get an ordinary pair of Binoculars and you get a relatively cheap low end camera. Even though these two items are bolted together they work independently of each other.

    Now as for Digit zoom it isn't worth the paper it's written on. You can get a better result by taking the photo and then gropping and enlarging in photo shop. When considering digital camera's the main thing is OPTICAL zoom. Here is some infomation that may help explain it.

    Optical vs. Digital Zoom

    More and more camera manufacturers are choosing to label their digital cameras with the total (optical + digital) zoom. This is an unfortunate development and only serves to confuse consumers.
    Advertisement


    Most people who have used a 35mm camera or an APS camera are aware of only optical zoom. Optical zoom uses the optics (lens) of the camera to bring the subject closer. Digital zoom is an invention of digital video cameras. It is not uncommon to see digital videocams with 300x digital zoom.

    For our purpose, digital zoom is not really zoom, in the strictest definition of the term. What digital zoom does is enlarge a portion of the image, thus 'simulating' optical zoom. In other words, the camera crops a portion of the image and then enlarges it back to size. In so doing, you lose image quality. If you've been regularly using digital zoom and wondered why your pictures did not look that great, now you know.

    Is digital zoom therefore all bad? No, not at all. It's a feature that you might want in your digital camera (in fact, all digital cameras include some digital zoom, so you can't really avoid it), especially if you don't care about using (or don't know how to use) an image editing software. So, as far as digital zoom is concerned, you can do it in camera or you can do it afterwards in an image editing software. Any cropping and enlarging can be done in an image editing software, such as Photoshop.

    So, when a digital camera is advertised with 3x digital zoom, no big deal. You can achieve the same 3x (and in fact as much as you want) digital zoom effect in an image editing software. The advantage of doing it later is that you can then decide exactly which portion to crop and how much to enlarge (3x, 4x, ...). If you do it in camera, image quality is irreversibly lost.

    Someone in a digital camera forum once mentioned that he uses digital zoom because it might mean the difference between capturing a great shot or not at all. Umm, let's think about this a bit. True, if by zooming digitally in camera you get to see what your subject is doing and thus can capture the shot at the right moment. Not quite true, if it's something like a landscape shot, and the mountains ain't going nowhere fast, because you can achieve the same cropping and enlarging effect after the fact in your image editing software. So, it's really up to you, if you know what you're doing.

    What, therefore is the rule of thumb, when it comes to using zoom? Here it is: Always use optical zoom. When buying a camera, choose one that warns you that you are about to use digital zoom or that allows you to disable digital zoom (most do). If you do use digital zoom, use it only if it does not appreciably impact your image quality. If you rarely print past 4x6 in. photos, digital zoom may not adversely affect you.

    When comparing cameras, you should always use optical zoom. There is no point in comparing digital zoom with digital zoom or optical zoom with total zoom. Always compare optical zoom with optical zoom.

    Optical Zoom vs. Resolution

    What about optical zoom vs. resolution? Sigh! Now y'all know that we cannot and should not be comparing apples 'n oranges, but we still try. The question I often read about goes something like this: "Which is better: 2 megapixels resolution with 3x optical zoom or 3 megapixels resolution with 2x optical zoom?"

    The megapixels resolution of a digital camera can be thought of as the number of pixels available to capture an image. With a 2 megapixels camera, you have 2 million pixels to record an image. With a 3 megapixels camera, you have 1 million extra pixels to record the same image -- in other words, you are able to capture the image in more detail.

    Whether you zoom or not does not affect how many pixels are used to capture the image. So, zoomed at its maximum, a 2 megapixels 3x optical zoom digital camera will still have captured a 2 million pixels image. Likewise, a 3 megapixels 2x optical zoom digital camera will always capture a 3 million pixels image.

    The real question behind the question is, "So now if I use digital zoom to zoom in with the 3 megapixels camera and simulate a total zoom of 3x, will the resultant image quality be less, the same, or still better than the one I captured with the 2 megapixels 3x optical zoom camera?" You follow so far?

    With a 2 megapixels digital camera, you can make good 4x6 in. prints, and maybe even 5x7 in. prints. With a 3 megapixels digital camera, you can make good 8x10 in. prints. So, as far as image quality is concerned, the 3 megapixels camera is better. Unless you are always going to take pictures at max. zoom, the 3MP camera is better because at 2x optical zoom and less, it is always capturing images with more detail than the 2MP camera.

    What we are really trying to say is this: do not compare. You've got to decide what is more important to you: resolution or optical zoom? If the answer is both, then find a digital camera that has both. It's that simple. If it's outside your pocketbook range, then choose a digital camera for what is more important to you.

    We usually recommend buying a digital camera with at least 3 megapixels resolution because of the better image quality. A 2x optical zoom is disappointing, but not necessarily a show-stopper. A 3x optical zoom is standard with most consumer digital cameras. Some ultra-compact digital cameras may be able to provide only 2x optical zoom. We never bother to check how much digital zoom a camera provides, and ignore the marketing hype surrounding it. We always disable digital zoom in camera, choosing to do our own cropping and enlarging in an image editing software.

    Optical vs. digital zoom? There is no contest. Only optical zoom matters when selecting a digital camera.

    Added September 16, 2004:

    Smart Zoom

    Recently, a new type of digital zoom has appeared on the market, pioneered by Sony, called "Smart Zoom." Smart Zoom can be viewed as an "ethical" digital zoom which avoids interpolating the image and so avoid degrading image quality. Smart Zoom works only if you select an image size smaller than the full available image size. So, for example, if your digital camera is capable of producing a 5MP image, Smart Zoom is available only if you select to save your images as 4MP or less.

    Say, your digital camera is 5MP and you select to save your images as 3MP. So, in effect, you are forfeiting 2MP of image data (extracted from all over the image area) that the digital camera's sensor has captured and now has to throw away [you hope the camera makes the right decision and does not throw away important image data]. Enter Smart Zoom that says, "Hey, instead of throwing away 2MP of good data from all over the image area, why don't I crop out all the pixels starting from the outside perimeter? When I've cropped out 2MP of image data all around, I have 3MP left over and that's what you want, right?" Notice, the 3MP image does not have to be interpolated and enlarged back to 5MP as traditional digital zoom does (because you elected to save it as 3MP, remember?). So, in effect, you've basically more or less retained the same image quality but you have to save your resulting simulated zoomed image in a smaller image size. Of course, if now you turn around and enlarge it in post-processing, you will be limited to what a 3MP image can be enlarged up to without image degradation.

    I call Smart Zoom "ethical digital zoom" because it is not made available at full image size -- this would cause image degradation. The smaller you elect to save your image, the more smart zoom power you have available (folks, you're basically just cropping the image without re-enlarging, which you can also do at any time in post-processing). I would personally not recommend cropping down below 3MP, which means that Smart Zoom is useful only in digital cameras with 4MP and above.

    So, our recommendation still holds. If you want zoom power, only optical zoom matters! Smart Zoom is the better form of digital zoom, but what you gain in simulated zoom power (again, you're just cropping), you lose in image size. There's no free lunch.

    Again, don't buy a digital camera based on digital (traditional or smart) zoom. Always compare optical zoom with optical zoom. If you are comparing 2 digital cameras with the same optical zoom, but one has smart digital zoom and the other has traditional digital zoom, then the smart zoom has a slight advantage. But personally, I wouldn't even look at that because there are a lot more important features to differentiate the cameras.

    Doc
    www.doctorhill.com.au
    Need help? just ask The Doctor
    House calls a specialty
    If ignorance is bliss, why aren't more people happy ?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    Location
    Eaglehawk, Victoria,Australia
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    5,023
    When You Shop: Look Out!
    When purchasing a digital camera, there are several things you should keep in mind to avoid buying a camera that won't meet your needs. Here are some of the most common things to think about:

    Make sure the camera has the right resolution for your needs.
    If you are going to take snapshots and e-mail them to friends, then you don't need anything more than 640x480 pixel resolution. Buying the resolution that you need lets you save money (and hard disk space). On the other hand, if you want to print enlarged versions of your photos, you'll need a 2-megapixel or 3-megapixel camera.

    Make sure the camera has enough memory.
    There is nothing more frustrating that "running out of film" when there is a great picture sitting in your viewfinder! The "film" for a digital camera is Flash memory, floppy disks, small hard disks, etc. Most cameras let you download pictures from the camera so that you can take more, but if you go on a week-long vacation you will be away from your computer and won't be able to download. So make sure you pick up enough extra memory when you buy your camera so you won't run out when you need it. CompactFlash cards now come with up to 1 GB of space, so it's definitely possible to get all the memory you'll need for a long trip.

    Make sure the lens will handle the pictures you plan to take.
    If you don't have the right lens, it can be hard to take the best pictures. For example, if your camera does not have a macro setting, you won't be able to take close-ups. If very crisp detail is important in your pictures, you'll probably want a high optical zoom number. Be sure to try out the lens system on a camera before you purchase it. Digital cameras come with a huge variety of lenses, so be sure to shop around.

    Do not confuse digital zoom with optical zoom.
    Many cameras advertise things like "100X zoom," but that is often misleading because only part of it is in the lens. The only part of a zoom lens that really matters is the "optical" part -- the part made out of glass lenses. This is the "zoom" that will increase the quality of the image. Any form of "digital zoom" is something you can do yourself outside of the camera. If you use your camera's software to crop out a small inner portion of a picture and blow it up, you are doing the same thing a digital zoom is doing. In most cases, the digital zoom simply makes the image fuzzy.

    Do not confuse actual resolution with interpolated resolution.
    Many cameras advertise that they have, for example, 1000x600 pixel resolution and 1200x800 interpolated resolution. Like digital zoom, interpolated resolution is an illusion. You can do the same thing yourself with the camera's software, and all it really does is make the image larger and slightly fuzzy.

    See how long the batteries will last.
    Many digital cameras eat batteries because they have to power an image sensor, an LCD panel and a microprocessor all at the same time, and sometimes there's a flash as well! See how long the batteries will really last in your camera. See if the camera will accept normal alkaline batteries in a pinch. If you plan on using your camera for long periods of time, think about purchasing an extra battery for it -- and be sure to check prices ahead of time. Some manufacturers charge an arm and a leg for their batteries, and if this is the case, you may want to consider a different manufacturer.


    Doc
    www.doctorhill.com.au
    Need help? just ask The Doctor
    House calls a specialty
    If ignorance is bliss, why aren't more people happy ?

  8. #8
    My uncle has a pair of those, and they don't work that well. So go with DevilDog's suggestion and get a telephoto lens.

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