Bushnell is a household name when it comes to optics. The brand has been around for years, and they have some of the best binoculars, monoculars, and rangefinders in the industry. Their name is synonymous with quality, and every product they come out with has quite the reputation to live up to.
Some of their best products are their compact binoculars, and they have quite a few of them. What we’ll be discussing today is one of their higher-tech compact binoculars – the Bushnell Imageview binoculars with a built-in camera.
Before we dive into the review, there’s one thing that should be mentioned. This is an extremely budget-oriented model by Bushnell. As such, you should set your expectations accordingly, and not expect miracles out of it. If you’re getting it as a pair of compact binoculars you can carry around, and take a picture or two with them when necessary, this should be right up your alley. If you’re looking at something more, be prepared to pay more, and we mean a lot more.
Starting things off on the outside
As we mentioned, this is a compact pair of binoculars. They come in at 7.8 x 2.28 x 7 inches, making them great for carrying around in a larger pocket or a backpack. The weight is a mere 0.63 pounds, so you won’t even feel them in your bag.
The build quality is, honestly, nothing to write home about. But at this price, we shouldn’t be complaining. The material of choice is plastic, with a rubberized contact surface to add a bit of grip and shock resistance.
You’re getting two buttons and a small LCD display on the top, as well as a central focus knob. The focus knob, even though not very impressive, is smooth and accurate. You can easily make precise adjustments with it and nail focus at any distance.
Another thing that’s somewhat lacking with the Imageview is any kind of weather or water resistance. There’s no IP rating or even a mention of weatherproofing. This is something that’s common at devices meant for outdoor use. However, as with a lot of other things, we feel like we shouldn’t be complaining considering the price tag.
Last but not least, you’ll find a USB port on the outside. This allows you to connect the Imageview to a PC and transfer your images and videos. There’s also a tripod mount at the bottom. Even though this is a very lightweight pair of binoculars, you can still put them on a tripod if you so wish.
Moving on to the numbers and optics
As the name suggests, this is a 10×25 pair of binoculars. As with any other pair, the first number indicates the magnification factor, in this case, 10 times magnification. While this lets you get fairly close to your subject, that’s not all. Bushnell has also included an additional 8x digital zoom. Note, however, that using the digital zoom will severely impact the image quality as you continue to get closer. If this isn’t an issue, you can get really close.
The second number here is the objective lens diameter. On binoculars this small, a 25mm objective lens diameter is as good as it gets. With the intended use cases, a lens that big will let in more than enough light inside. You will get a clear and sharp image with plenty of brightness, nothing less than we’d expect from Bushnell.
There are a few more numbers that you should know. For starters, this combination of magnification and objective lens diameter will give you a field of view of 290 feet at 1000 yards. This is fairly wide for general use. You’ll also be getting 10mm of eye relief. This isn’t too much, especially if you’re wearing glasses, but it should get the job done. The exit pupil diameter is 2.5mm, which again, isn’t impressive, but gets the job done.
When it comes to the optics, we didn’t expect any kind of coating on them. Even though they don’t have coatings, they actually have a decent amount of glare resistance and still let in plenty of light. In terms of the prism, you’ll get a BK-7 roof prism. A Bak-4 prism would’ve been nicer, but the image quality is quite respectable.
Let’s discuss the camera
The camera that’s included in the Bushnell Imageview is an interesting addition. But in terms of image quality, it’s nothing special. It’s a VGA camera with a resolution of 640 x 480 pixels and can capture either photos or videos. If you’re a sports fan or a bird watcher, it will absolutely get the job done.
Even though the VGA camera’s files are fairly small in size, the included 8MB of memory is not really sufficient. Bushnell themselves agree with this, and that’s why you’ll be able to add a memory card to it. The maximum supported size is 1GB, which should store plenty of files.
To round out the “digital” aspect of the Bushnell Imageview, you have the USB port we mentioned for transferring the data to a PC, as well as a remote shutter cable. If you were to put the binoculars on a tripod, you could easily capture images without needing to touch the binoculars themselves. This helps prevent any shake which results in a blurry image.
Wrapping things up
The Bushnell Imageview is a product that serves a niche market. People who want a small, compact binocular, seldom want to spend this much on one. However, what you’re getting is both a Bushnell product which lives up to the brand’s reputation and one that has a few features you won’t find anywhere else.
Whether you’re a bird watcher, a sports fan, or an adventure traveler, the Imageview is a great way to capture some of the adventures you’re getting into. The best part? It won’t cost you a lot, too.