In this occasional series we’ll take a look at design concepts that have tried to revolutionize the way we take photos. The first in the series looks at digibinos. A hybrid product combining binoculars with a digital camera. Pentax came up with the innovation announcing their DB-100 model in March 2002.
Having a camera combined with binoculars wasn’t a new thing. Tasco produced a 110 film version back in the early 80s. It wasn’t a success, and neither was the Pentax .
What the Pentax had was interesting – a pair of 7x magnification binoculars and a digital camera with a focal length of 280mm (on a 35mm camera). What let it down was the low resolution of the camera at just 0.8Mp and the build quality. For £300 it felt like you were getting a cheap digital camera with a budget pair of binoculars that didn’t have the flexibility of normal compact binoculars. You could adjust the size for different width eyes by push pulling the case, but they didn’t feel as comfortable as ordinary binoculars.
The LCD viewing screen was also smaller than digital cameras at the time.
I was taking photos remotely the other day and used binoculars to view the distant scene. It made me think that having a camera built in would be a good thing…but I’d want the clarity and depth seen through the binoculars to be recorded by the camera. I still believe there’s a future for this kind of hybrid technology, but it has to be smarter than the previous attempt.