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For Bird Watcher's Digest, September 2011

by Michael and Diane Porter

Michael and Diane Porter wrote the following review, which appeared in the September, 2011, Bird Watcher's Digest. It discusses the necessary design principles of a binocular-camera. It also gives an in-depth look at the Bushnell Image-View SyncFocus binocular-camera.

The camera part of the binocular-camera

The camera image area matches well with what you see though the 8-power binoculars. The magnification roughly equals that of a 400mm lens on a full-frame 35mm camera. The camera has an f/4.3 aperture. Exposure is automatic, but you can set it to under-or-over expose for unusual lighting conditions.

SyncFocusTo take a picture, you flip up the display and press the On/Off button. The camera electronics take about five seconds to boot up and the 1½-inch LCD display to show what the sensor is seeing. Now you can press the “Snap” button to take a picture. If you press the center control button, you can review your pictures, but the LCD display is too small to see much in the way of details. At least you can tell if you got a picture.

Once the camera is on, you don’t have to keep the display open to take pictures. You can close it to conserve batteries. There’s also an Auto-Off setting that shuts down the camera if you don’t press any buttons. You can set the Auto-Off interval to 60 or 120 seconds. When we left the camera on continuously with the display shut, a new pair of lithium AAA batteries lasted about 2¾ hours.

You can take both stills and video. The maximum resolution of the electronic sensor is 2660 x 1920 pixels (4.9 MP) for stills and 640 x 480 pixels at 30 frames per second for video. You can set the video to continuously record in 8, 15, 30, or 60-second intervals. After the loop period, the current video is erased and another interval recorded. Bushnell calls this their Instant Replay feature. You can, of course, also set the video to simply start and stop when you press the “Snap” button.

You can also use the display to set other camera features such as white balance, exposure meter pattern, under/over exposure adjustment, image resolution, file compression quality, 3-shot burst mode, and self-timer.

NEXT: How good are the pictures?

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