By Andrew Liszewski
If you don’t have the budget for a DSLR with a nice telephoto lens but are still interested in some long distance digital photography this spotting scope could be an affordable alternative.
The scope has fully-coated refracting optics, including a 70mm objective lens that provides 14X magnification, and a field of view of 210′ at 1,000 yards, and can focus on objects as near as 5′ without blurring. The integrated 3.1 megapixel camera has 32MB of built-in memory that can store up to 38 high-resolution images or 30 seconds of continuous VGA video, and accepts up to 2GB of additional memory using SD cards (not included). The camera has 7x and 24x magnification, and 6x digital zoom settings.
It also has a pop-up 2 inch LCD screen for image previews and uses a USB port to download photos or videos to a computer. Now keep in mind the built-in digital camera is not going to produce results comparable to a Nikon or Canon DSLR and probably only saves the images as JPEGs instead of RAW files which limits how much Photoshopping you can do. And I guarantee there’s no image stabilization built into the lens or sensor so you’ll want to use a tripod for any long distance shots.
It’s currently available from Hammacher Schlemmer for $499.95. At that price though I’d just hold off and save a bit more towards a low-end DSLR instead.