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Digital camera binoculars are a relatively new product to the market, especially when considering that traditional binoculars have been available for centuries. Sure, initial iterations were more limited than today, with those products usually found in combat, hunting, and navigation. However, they are now a popular consumer product due to their now smaller size and more affordable pricing.
Almost 300 years since the advent of the binoculars, we see digital technology begin to merge with what was otherwise a product that saw very few changes since its invention. Digital camera binoculars are essentially a way for the binocular user to capture the scene and take back home more than just the memories. This application is particularly well-suited to bird watching, hunting, wildlife safaris, and sports events – to name a few.
Rexing B1 Day/Night Digital Camera Binoculars
High-quality digital camera binoculars that operate in both day and night conditions
The Rexing B1 stands out from the competition with its excellent build quality, impressive tuning features, large screen, and some of the best customer service in this market.
Best Smart Binoculars
The ATN BinoX-HD isn’t the cheapest choice but offers so many features that are unique to the smart binocular market. You can sync these to your mobile device, use them during the day or night and even have a rangefinder included.
The Best Budget Choice
Adasion 12×42 Binoculars with Camera Adapter comes out on top with an excellent pair of budget binoculars. The smartphone adapter allows for high-quality images and video.
Best Digital Option With Fixed Zoom
The Ansee 5MP establishes itself as the best option on our list with its excellent battery performance, 12x magnification, and affordable price. The device features a sleek two-tone silver and black design.
Two main types of binoculars fit into the digital camera binocular market. There are those that come with a built-in camera or video function, and then there are those made to be used in conjunction with a mobile phone. We won’t say one is objectively better than the other; it all depends on what you’re looking to get out of your product.
If you’re looking for more detailed information on what differentiates these types of digital camera binoculars, or if you’re looking for additional details that will help you in the buying process, make sure to check out our buyers’ guide below.
Our Selection of the Best Digital Camera Binoculars
We’ve included both the traditional digital camera binoculars and binoculars with smartphone adapters. Each serves its own purpose, and if you’re unsure which is best for you – our buyer’s guide covers it all.
Now let’s get straight to it and take a look at a few of the best digital camera binoculars:
1. Rexing B1 Day/Night Digital Camera Binoculars
10x Optical / 4x Digital Magnification
The Rexing B1 is a powerful pair of day/night digital camera binoculars that brings with it some truly impressive abilities. What really stands out is the overall reliability and build quality. The digital camera binocular market is filled with sub-par products that while decent in their efforts, often fall short of providing a product with both the functionality and longevity needed in an optics product.
For a start, the Rexing B1 comes with both optical and digital zoom. You get an impressive 10x magnification out of the optical zoom and an additional 4x magnification from the digital zoom. Optical zoom can be thought of as a true zoom feature in that it uses optical design to bring an image forward (think large telephoto lenses or regular binoculars).
Digital zoom isn’t really a zoom at all, but rather an upscaling technique that increases the magnification with software. The downside to digital zoom is that you will lose quality the further you zoom. The B1’s 10x optical zoom puts it on par with a lot of regular binoculars in terms of magnification offered, without having to lose image quality to achieve it.
Next, when we look at the display provided it’s clear that this isn’t a cheap knockoff device. The build quality around the screen and how it works sets it apart from many others on the market. A 7″ viewing screen ensures that you’re getting the whole picture. There is also the added bonus of being able to playback or view your media through the device.
The resolution of the camera and video aren’t the highest we’ve seen, however, what we often see is that companies will focus more on resolution than they will on the actual quality. You’re far better off with a lower resolution on a device that functions optimally than you are with a high-resolution recording ability on a low-quality device.
Photographs are up to 1280×960 in resolution (1 Megapixel), so don’t expect to be making any large prints from your images. Video falls just short of full HD with a 960p resolution at 30fps. Media can be saved onto a Micro SD card up to 32Gb (not included).
When it comes to handling darker conditions, these really do come out ahead. They are expressly created with the purpose of serving as both a day and nighttime device. To achieve that an f/1.2 aperture allows for excellent light sensitivity, while several different IR modes allow you to fine-tune the device to your lighting situation.
The IP56 water resistance is also a nice touch, we’ve found that a number of similar devices on the market don’t actually offer much in terms of water protection, and while IP56 is far from the best water sealing you’ll find, it’s certainly worth having.
The real selling point with the Rexing B1 digital camera binoculars is the customer service and warranty offered. Unlike with other brands, you have minimal risk with Rexing’s US-based customer support and its very impressive warranty. There is a 30-day full refund policy, while the binoculars themselves have a warranty of 18 months.
2. Adasion 12×42 Binoculars with Camera Adapter
The first product on our list is the extremely popular Adasion 12×42 binoculars and camera adapter. While this may not be what you think of what consider buying a pair of digital camera binoculars, the truth is that the results from these combination products are almost always better than with the traditional digital camera binoculars.
We were extremely impressed by the results of these binoculars. The image quality is more likely to depend on your smartphone camera quality than the binoculars themselves, but we found that when paired with high-quality smartphone cameras the results exceeded our expectations. The results perhaps shed some light on why the traditional digital camera binocular market has seemingly been moving in the direction of smartphone adapters.
The binoculars themselves are lightweight, weighing in at just 1.25lbs. This makes them a breeze to handle, though the payoff is that you don’t have that same feeling in the hand that you get from high-end binoculars. This is of course to be expected with a price tag of under $100. And when we look at the value for money, there is no hesitation in recommending this set.
BAK4 prisms ensure superior visual quality with better contrast and brightness. These prisms coupled with the lens diameter ensures that these binoculars punch above their weight. We weren’t able to get an accurate eye relief measurement but adjustable eyecups ensure that those of us wearing glasses are catered to as well. When it comes to the field of view offered, you can expect 367ft/1000yds – which is rather impressive.
The clarity and contrast are most certainly better than the vast majority of products in this price range. Even if you’re not going to be using the smartphone adapter, these are a solid choice for a pair of budget binoculars in general.
The only area that really lacks when it comes to these more affordable binoculars is when it comes to fog proofing and weatherproofing. We were impressed by the fact that the Adasion 12×42 actually offers some form of waterproofing. One won’t be able to get the same level as more expensive products, and we’d recommend keeping these out of heavy rain – but otherwise, you do still get waterproofing against light rain.
According to the manufacturer, the smartphone adapter will work with the following devices: Suitable for iPhone X, 8P, 8, 7P, 7, 6, 6s, 6P, 5, 5s, Samsung GALAXY S8, S7, S6, S6 Edge, S5, Note, Huawei, LG, HTC, Sony, Etc.
What really stands out with these is actually the customer support, despite not being the largest brand out there, Adasion does a great job at keeping their customers happy.
3. ATN BinoX-HD Smart Binoculars
The ATN BinoX-HD is a product that sets itself apart from most others on the market with its successful implementation of a large list of smart features. While manufacturers have toyed with the concept of these smart binoculars, most attempts to execute the idea have come out less than ideally, and that’s not to say the ATN BinoX-HD doesn’t have its own flaws. Because so many features are packed into a single product, you often find that quality lacks in some of those functions or hardware.
When it comes to binoculars with cameras, the ATN BinoX-HD doesn’t just stop at the ability to film video. Instead, the device additionally features both day and night capabilities, a geotagging rangefinder, WiFi, E-Compass, Zoom features, Gyroscope, and mobile app integration. That’s a lot of features crammed into a pair of binoculars, a device that typically only has one job.
The ATN BinoX-HD has a variable zoom range of between 4 and 16 magnification. Unfortunately, this is a digital zoom, meaning that the more you zoom in, the lower your video resolution will be. Thankfully the video quality offered by the device is full HD, so the number of pixels that are present allow for less image degradation than if you were using a lower resolution device.
The day/night feature is handy for hunters or those looking to record videos of animal life at night. These digital camera binoculars use an IR illuminator to bring images to life in low light conditions. The range of the IR illuminator extends up to 300 yards.
The integration with smartphones is far different from the other devices we have discussed, which use a smartphone’s camera to view through the binocular lens. Instead, the ATN BinoX-HD uses a wireless connection to integrate the smart binoculars with your phone in such a way that it will allow you to use your mobile device as a viewfinder.
Now with all that said, there are some drawbacks to these smart binoculars. We’ve yet to come across any brand that truly nails the smart binocular approach, and while ATN gets very close to it with these, the decisions made about the battery type used are definitely a shortfall. These use 3x CR123A batteries which are not rechargeable and get drained rather quickly, especially if using the IR illuminator. We’d have preferred to see a large, rechargeable battery choice by the company. Something that could have gone a long way in addressing these issues.
We’d have also liked to have seen more with regards to image stabilization, as imagery can become blurry during lower light or at higher magnification where movement is amplified.
4. Ansee 5MP Digital Camera Binoculars
The first product on our list is the Ansee 5MP Digital Camera Binoculars. These camera binoculars offer a 5-megapixel resolution, which falls short of modern smartphone cameras but does a good enough job at providing imagery to take home to show your friends and family. The reality is that you’re not going to be able to make large prints from the images of any of these camera binoculars, but 5 megapixels will be enough to allow you to print up to 8×6″ flawlessly, or upscale it slightly to an A4 print without losing much quality.
There are several shooting options available. You can use the single-shot for regular usage, or if you ever need to, you could choose one of the 3 timed settings (2sec, 5sec, 10sec). It also includes the ability to mount to a tripod.
The most important part of binoculars is the optics, no matter how good the camera is if your image quality isn’t good the images won’t be either. With this product, we find that the optics are impressive for its price point, using BAK-4 prism technology. You’re not going to be finding the same glare reduction, contrast, and brightness that you would out of a pair of quality binoculars; however, these also tend to be quite a bit cheaper. At its price point, we really couldn’t complain.
These camera binoculars have 12x magnification, which should be more than enough to get you right up close with your target. Do note though, that a steady hand can be important at these kinds of magnification, however, this is often something that improves the more you practice.
An objective lens diameter of 32mm is a little on the smaller side, and so we wouldn’t recommend expecting too much low-light performance out of these. They are going to perform best in clear daylight, and your images will reflect as such.
A minimum focusing distance of 8 meters is a little on the high side, but in all practical uses, it’s unlikely that this will hinder you in any way.
Ansee includes an 8GB TF card with your purchase, although the device does support up to 32GB SD cards as well. We do, however, and quite unfortunately, note that there are some limitations with regards to the storage and video capabilities. While the Ansee 5MP Digital Camera Binoculars do cater to video recording at a resolution of 1280 x 1080, this video function is only available on TF cards that are no more than Class 4. We would suggest ideally having a 32G SD card for your images and then a separate TF card for your video recording.
Videos are stored in AVI format, while images are stored in JPEG.
It features the common silver and black shell with a popup LCD screen that you’ll recognize instantly if you browse through any selection of binoculars with cameras built-in online. This design is a generic one in which multiple brands purchase and rebrand with their own company information. We’ve chosen to review the Ansee version because there are a lot of valuable questions and answers already provided from customers online, which may be able to further assist you in making your decision. Ansee is also applauded for their quick processing and delivery times when shipping your product.
All brands using this design have the same features and functionality, though you will notice some offer different storage sizes. The only difference between these devices is the size of the memory card that the brand bundles with it. We find that the included cards are often not of the best quality, and we recommend upgrading to a better, larger memory card, especially for images only.
This product makes use of a rechargeable Lithium-ion battery.
5. Gosky 10×42 Roof Prism Binoculars
The Gosky is another popular binocular product that attaches to a smartphone.
The adapter firmly latches onto your binoculars and then provides a safe place to insert your smartphone. Now your phone has an enhanced zoom function so you can take epic photos from afar. The unique approach to having binoculars with camera features carries several benefits.
This is an affordable device and is usually available for under $100. In the box, you will find the binoculars, the smartphone attachment, and other accessories, including neck strap, carry bag, cleaning cloth, and eyepiece and lens covers.
The binoculars feature a 1/4″-20 screw-in hole on the base that allows this device to be attached to a tripod, making it easier to get quality stable images from it.
Depending on the smartphone you use, the adapter may end up covering some of the buttons. This means you may not be able to turn off the screen between shots which can lead to a quick battery drain – though this is phone specific and the manufacturer states this device supports Smartphone 11, 11 Pro, Xs, X, 8p, 8, 7p, 7, 6, 6p, Samsung S10/S10p, S9/S9p, S8/S8 Edge, S6/S6 Edge, Note, LG, HTC, Sony, and more.
It is important to note that, like with binoculars in the beginning stages of using them, you will need to get used to the different nature of tracking when using a smartphone in conjunction with binoculars.
6. Craig CAC378 Binoculars with Digital Camera
The Craig CAC378 digital camera binoculars is a brand new product on the market and stand out from many others on the market with their unique design. While there are similarities to the Ansee, these have different designs and offer different functionality. Less magnification makes them a more versatile choice, but that’s not to say there aren’t concerns as well. The image resolution offered on these is substantially lower than the other products.
The maximum resolution on the CA378 is 0.9 megapixels, which falls short of the 5MP resolution we’ve come to expect from most other digital camera binoculars on the market.
The binoculars offer very good quality for the extremely affordable price range, using the trusted BAK4 prism technology. A magnification of 10x means you’re more easily able to retain focus on the subject without camera-shake occurring. Again, you’ll need to set your expectations for what you’re buying here, as these are far from being premium optics. However, they are more than suitable for use in several situations.
The narrow objective lens diameter means you’re also going to want to be ensuring that there is sufficient light available when using them.
The Craig CAC378 uses a Micro SD card slot, which can be expanded to 32GB. Included by the brand is an 8GB card to get started. These camera binoculars do not include the ability to record video, so you’re not going to require as much storage as those that do. However, we recommend that you upgrade your memory card to ensure you don’t miss any special moments when they occur.
Powered by a Lithium Polymer battery, the Craig CAC378 features a primarily silver body with black handgrips on either side. A 1.5 TFT LCD screen pops up towards the front of the binoculars, where you can view your images. The build itself is not unfamiliar, and if you’ve used any other digital camera binoculars in the past, you shouldn’t have problems with these.
Unfortunately, the biggest concern with these binoculars is the image quality. That’s not to say they don’t have a place in the market, though; the image quality may not be of the utmost importance for some. If you’re looking to identify features of a specific bird out in the field, these may be able to suit your needs.
So you’re looking to buy a pair of digital camera binoculars, but you’re not exactly sure what to look out for. Don’t worry, we’ve got you! Below are some tips and tricks for picking out the best digital camera binoculars for your use.
Setting Your Expectations
Firstly, you may have noticed a distinct lack of traditional optics brands on our list. That’s because the companies who create the typical high-end binoculars (Swarovski, Nikon, Zeiss, etc.) don’t make digital camera binoculars at all, at least not yet. Digital camera binoculars are instead dominated by mostly smaller companies out of China, who have found a way to incorporate the binocular experience with photography in an affordable manner.
You may even notice that different brands use the same white-label product design as others. In some cases, these manufacturers may make minor tweaks to their products to differentiate them from the competition. The only difference you may find with others is that the brand name used on the product varies.
Due to the large production scale often found in Chinese manufacturing, there is often a cognitive association between the fact that it was made in China and the quality provided. This isn’t always a real correlation, and in many cases, we come across products that truly surprise us with how well they are manufactured and perform.
You aren’t going to be finding the most groundbreaking optic quality when using digital camera binoculars of any sort, and the price points are typically an indication of this on their own. High-quality binoculars can cost thousands of dollars, and digital camera binoculars usually range from around $50 to $200. This price point falls below that of even middle-of-the-market traditional binoculars.
Don’t let this discourage you; there are most certainly still reasons to purchase a pair of binoculars with a camera. The reality is that if you’re in the market for a pair of high-end binoculars, you’ve already got your eyes set on a few brands that can match your expectations. With digital camera binoculars, it’s not so much about achieving perfect reductions in chromatic aberrations or the patented lens coatings. Instead, it’s about being able to capture a moment in time and take that memory back with you, even if the binoculars themselves aren’t world-class in their optics performance.
So how exactly does one then decide on a quality product? That’s why we are here. We have crafted our list above based on the hardware, the build quality, and how effective customers found the product.
Build quality is of huge importance when working with any device that includes optics or electronics, these digital camera binoculars have both. Make sure that any pair of binoculars with a camera built-in has a design that protects the electronic and glass elements of your device. In our experience with digital camera binoculars, we’ve found that there is little diversity in the structural design and most seem to use the same shell as other brands, as mentioned above.
Thankfully, in most cases, the build quality we’ve come to see hasn’t been too bad. It’s not going to scream German engineering to you, but it is usually enough to ensure that your product will hold up under general transportation and usage. Likewise, with the options for binoculars with smartphone attachments, while some brands offer cheaper plastic phone holders, we’ve found a number of products are of good quality.
The Types of Binoculars With Cameras
When it comes to digital camera binoculars, can be separated into three distinct categories.
The first type is the most high-end of the three and is typically considered ‘smart binoculars’. These binoculars often also double as infrared nighttime binoculars and often come with a bunch of extra functions that you won’t find in the cheaper generic digital camera binoculars. Features like GPS, Infrared, Wifi; some even have their own mobile applications you can use with them. The price point on these is going to be higher, but if you’re looking to get the most out of the product then this is the way to go. You’re almost always going to find better quality across your range of functionality and image quality using this type.
The second is the traditional budget digital camera binocular which has a built-in camera or video system, as well as an LCD display. These are products that are intended for daytime use only.
A newer iteration has started to gain popularity. This more recent iteration isn’t technically a digital camera binocular. Instead, it relies on a traditional binocular design with an added accessory that allows you to attach your smartphone to the binoculars. The accessory allows you to align your smartphone with the eyepiece in a way that lets you both take pictures and record video directly to your phone.
If you’re not sure which is the best type for you, let us break down some of the benefits you may wish to consider.
Smart Binoculars Pros & Cons
Digital Camera Binoculars Pros & Cons
Binoculars with Smartphone Attachment Pros & Cons
Overall, when deciding between a pair of the best digital camera binoculars or a pair of the best binoculars with a smartphone adapter, your choice should depend on the type of environment they are going to be used in and their purpose. Let’s suppose you’re going to need to track moving objects. In that case, the digital camera binoculars will likely be the better choice, particularly if you’re going to be looking at wildlife, where spontaneous sightings may occur. When using the smartphone adapter, you may find that by the time you’ve set it up for your shot, the opportunity has already passed by.
However, if you’re primarily going to be using them for still objects, for instance, for astronomy, then a pair of binoculars with a smartphone adapter may suit you perfectly. In the end, if you’re choosing to use your smartphone, the quality you receive will depend entirely on your smartphone’s capabilities. Digital camera binoculars will offer a better resolution than some older cameras, while modern smartphone cameras are likely to offer you a better general resolution. That’s not to say the clarity itself will be better, as there are several factors at play. But from a resolution perspective, modern smartphones can offer more than 40 megapixels.
Another critical point to consider when purchasing a pair of binoculars with a camera built-in is the magnification offered. Binocular magnification range typically from around 8x to 12x. Knowing this, one may immediately think that more is better, but trade-offs must be considered. While a higher magnification can theoretically give you better views of your subject, if you don’t have a steady hand, the increase in magnification may make your visual experience worse. The same goes for binoculars with cameras; if you are prone to shaky hands, the extra magnification may make your image quality worse instead of better.
Objective Lens Diameter
The objective lens diameter is the diameter of the front lens of the binoculars; this influences how much light is let into the binoculars and, in turn, affects the brightness, which is essential in low-light conditions. When you look at the digital camera binoculars on the market, you’ll notice that objective lens diameters are not as impressive as most traditional binoculars, especially at the magnification that they offer. This is primarily unavoidable – but certainly, something to consider, as this will heavily impact the ability to take photographs in lower light conditions.
Factors To Consider
Camera Resolution: Not to be confused with the screen resolution, camera resolution is the number of pixels captured in an image file. This is sometimes referred to as megapixels in DSLR cameras, the megapixel number equating to a camera resolution.
When it comes to the quality of your images, the resolution is one of the most important factors, in combination with the quality of the sensor and dynamic range. Unfortunately, the resolution often suffers from these devices, so it is worth making a pick that doesn’t lack too greatly in this area.
Screen Resolution: The screen resolution is different from the camera resolution and only pertains to the quality shown on the mounted screen of the camera binoculars. Though having a decent screen resolution is still important, particularly if you are using the screen to preview your images in the field.
Binocular Magnification: You will see two sets of numbers (e.g., 12×40). The first number is the magnification (how much zoom it has), while the second number indicates the lens diameter. The lens diameter is equated to the amount of light that gets let into the binoculars. While it may be tempting to go for the highest magnification possible, some challenges come with higher magnification, mostly related to stability. The longer the magnification, the more accentuated each movement/shake is.
Camera Zoom: It’s easy to assume that binoculars with cameras work by capturing the binoculars’ image; however, as touched on above, this is often not the case. Instead, the camera will often operate independently of the binoculars. This makes it important to understand how much zoom is offered by the product’s camera. Some cameras may have a fixed zoom, while others may require you to adjust the zoom manually.
Storage Abilities: Of less importance but still integral in using your device is the storage capabilities or storage cards used by the device. The most common storage systems are onboard, SD cards, or a combination of both. SD cards are becoming the preferred method of storage and are now extremely affordable. We recommend taking a close look at the maximum capacity of the SD card, which is supported by each device, to ensure you purchase the correct card type.
Compatibility: Be sure to check the compatibility of any included software with your devices. For example, make sure that your operating system is supported by the device you’re looking for.
Choosing the best digital camera binoculars can be a challenge. It’s a market that hasn’t yet fully blossomed, and while we do expect to see new iterations of this technology in the future, perhaps even from some high-end end brands, at this point, it remains a niche product, but not one that is without merit.
The concept of binoculars with cameras built-in just feels like a natural progression of optics and technology. We’ve had binoculars available for centuries, yet little adoption of modern technology has been made to bring them into the digital era.
Rexing B1 Day/Night Digital Camera Binoculars
High-quality digital camera binoculars that operate in both day and night conditions
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