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This may be a silly question but ... is there such a thing as a decent pair of binoculars that comes equipped with a built in camera?

I find it so frustrating when I'm looking at an unknown bird with the binos and then I try to switch to the camera to get a couple shots. Usually the bird has moved, or I can't find it on the camera's viewfinder, or my Nikon POS decides to focus on everything BUT the bird.

What I want is to be able to push a button on my binos that will just take a half-way decent picture of what I'm looking at, at the moment I'm looking at it. I don't need National Geographic quality photos, just photos good enough to look at later for identification purposes (and hopefully good enough to satisfy the Ebird Overloards).

It seems like that in this day and age, with optics and tiny cell phone cameras being what they are, there should be such a product.

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On 12/15/2019 at 8:43 AM, cvanbosk said:

This may be a silly question but ... is there such a thing as a decent pair of binoculars that comes equipped with a built in camera?

The question isn't silly; it's the word 'decent' that's the sticking point.  B&H is my go-to source for photography and binos, but even they don't have much of this category of equipment.  Of the four listed here, I wouldn't take them birding anywhere except an aviary, especially the three 10 x or 12 x 25 pairs.

https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/buy/Digital-Camera-Binoculars-Scopes/ci/5695/N/4294541831

It sounds like you use your camera the same way I do - to capture images for ID later, and artistic considerations are secondary.  People are getting great results with gizmos that attach a cell phone to a spotting scope, but that comes with all those limitations of a scope that keep it from being most birders' primary tool.

I feel your pain when switching devices.  A couple of suggestions, although you may already be doing these:

  • Look at the bird's immediate surroundings for things that can be used as reference points you can find when you're looking through the camera..  Unusually shaped branches, clumps of flowers, fence posts, something notable in the foreground or background.
  • I usually zoom most of the way out, find my reference, zoom about halfway in, check my reference again, and finish zooming.  After you get the shot, remember to zoom most of the way back out so you'll be ready for the next bird.  Obviously the camera's zoom and focus speed are big factors.  If you live in a city that still has brick-and-mortar camera stores with knowledgeable shutterbugs behind the counter, you can take a look at multiple models.
  • If your camera has autofocus, let it do most of the work.  I find it usually does a faster, more accurate job for ID photos than I can.  I can put my Panasonic Lumix in manual focus mode but the controls aren't designed for birders who need fast and easy.  The only occasions auto doesn't do well is when there's something between me and the bird - chain link fence, small twigs or vines, etc.  In those cases, I try to find something at the same range as the bird, let the camera focus on that, then shift to bird before clicking the shutter.

Like any other technology improvement, I'm sure better integrated bino / camera devices are coming but I don't expect to see ones acceptable for birding at affordable prices in this upcoming decade.

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On 12/15/2019 at 9:30 AM, Kevin said:

I sorted those by price, high to low.  There's one pair at $300, one at $200, and the rest are $175 or below (some are WAY below).

Most of them are less than the $100 - $150 I suggest a beginning birder spend on a starter pair of binos.  They're also less than the $200 or so I've seen for an entry-level 'bridge / superzoom' point and shoot.

I don't see how a combined device can be priced less than either of those devices individually and still meet even a beginning birder's needs for either binos or a camera.

Edited by Charlie Spencer
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I like to use cameras, but there are times when binoculars are easier and better to use. (Bird/wildlife watching, plane spotting, sports) Why aren't better quality binocular/camera combos available. There are decent, cheap cameras and decent, cheap binoculars, but even the expensive combos of the two are crappy. Stabilizing the picture can't be all the problem. You would have more room to put in stabilization mechanisms in binoculars than on digital phone cameras. What's the hold up for selling good versions of these?

 
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On 2/18/2020 at 9:04 PM, natelive said:

I like to use cameras, but there are times when binoculars are easier and better to use. (Bird/wildlife watching, plane spotting, sports) Why aren't better quality binocular/camera combos available. There are decent,  snaptube telegram web [vidmate][/color]cheap cameras and decent, cheap binoculars, but even the expensive combos of the two are crappy. Stabilizing the picture can't be all the problem. You would have more room to put in stabilization mechanisms in binoculars than on digital phone cameras. What's the hold up for selling good versions of these?

 

 

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