As any binocular enthusiast knows, there are all kinds of binoculars to fit just about every need out there. There are waterproof binoculars for aquatic sports and hobbies, night vision binoculars for hunting or observing nocturnal wildlife, compact binoculars for travel, and tons of other types in between. One of the newest types of binoculars available are camera binoculars.
Digital camera binoculars are a fairly new addition to the binocular market, but are gaining in popularity. They combine the ability to see objects at a distance with the ability to capture them digitally, so you can capture exciting moments and share them with friends and family via e-mail or photo sharing sites like Flickr, or include them on your own Web site.
Camera binoculars work much the same way regular digital cameras do. Depending on the model you choose, camera binoculars can offer from one to four megapixels. The more megapixels, the better the photo resolution. Like digital cameras, some camera binoculars have liquid crystal display (LCD) screens, so you don't have to actually look through the binoculars to see what you're photographing. The LCD screen allows you to easily focus and center the image you want to photograph.
Most camera binoculars have a magnification of 7x to 10x, which is good for general viewing. Some even offer the ability to record video in addition to still photos. Whether they're set up for photos or video or both, camera binoculars will come with a cable that allows you to connect the optics to your computer to retrieve all the images you record with them.
Some camera binocular models have a slot for a memory card, making the transfer of data even easier and more convenient. Most also include about 16MB of internal memory, so if you forget the memory card, you can still get a few photos if the need arises. As with a digital camera, it's a good idea to carry extra memory cards with you. When you're out on the trail, or at a concert or other event, you want to make sure you have enough space to store all the photos you want. The worst thing is to have to delete photos to make room for new ones. Don't get caught in that situation. Memory cards aren't that expensive, and you can store them in the binocular case.
Speaking of cases, it's a good idea to have one for any pair of binoculars, but especially for camera binoculars. They have more electronics and mechanisms than standard binoculars, which could be damaged if the binoculars fall or are bumped with other objects when they're stored. Binocular cases will protect your investment, and ensure your optics last for many years to come.
If you really want to go all out and combine binoculars with digital camera technology, there are some high end models out there that offer the best of both worlds. Some camera binocular models offer a keypad specifically for controlling the camera. It gives you more control over the photos you take, and the quality of the images. They may also include auto focus, which is great for wildlife viewing and photographing. When an animal appears in your view, you may not have time to focus and get everything just right to snap the picture before the animal disappears again. Depending on how you intend to use your camera binoculars, it may be worth paying a little more for more features and easier use.
Derek Robinson is a keen outdoorsman who contributes regularly for many websites including The Binocular Site which is the premier consumer site about binoculars, monoculars, spotting scopes and much more at http://www.thebinocularsite.com