Most reviews of Bushnell Instant Replay camera binoculars cover similar but earlier models, because interest in digital camera binoculars was highest when they were first introduced. We found the best comparison tests in a 2005 review at The New York Times -- but like most reviews, it covers an earlier model with lower camera resolution. Other reviews cover the 8x32 Instant Replay model (now discontinued), whose 32mm objective lens gathered more light. Optics Planet publishes the only owner-written review we found that covers the newer 5-megapixel model, but the review is so vague that it lacks credibility. The owner-written reviews at Epinions.com cover an earlier model.
While reviews say photo quality on digital camera binoculars can't match that of a separate digital camera or camcorder, this 5-megapixel Bushnell Instant Replay model can take 30 frames-per-second movies as well as bursts of three still photos. An "instant replay" feature lets you save only the video clips you want. Both camera and binoculars have 8x magnification, and the camera adds 6x digital zoom. Sharp photos depend partly on remembering that the camera focuses only as close as 30 feet, while the binoculars can focus as close as 13. A monopod or tripod also helps prevent blur. If lower resolution, smaller video and no instant replay are acceptable to you, and you don't want to spend so much, consider the Bushnell 10x25 ImageView VGA 11-1026 (*est. $80).
1. The New York Times
This rather outdated comparison review covers an earlier 3-megapixel version of the Bushnell Compact Instant Replay camera binoculars, ranking them highest of four models because of the best balance of features and price. This model also ranks high for image quality, sharing top ranking with a Meade CaptureView model.
Review: Sizing Up a New Species: Camera-Binoculars, David Pogue, Mar. 24, 2005
2. Consumers Digest
This binocular review recommends the now-discontinued 3.2-megapixel Bushnell 8x32 Instant Replay. It praises "wow-factor pictures" and an ability to focus as close as 11 feet. The current Instant Replay model has higher resolution but focuses only as close as 30 feet, and the 30mm objective lens makes for a dimmer binocular view.
Review: High-Performance Binoculars, Len McDougall, Jan. 2005
3. The Wall Street Journal
Walter Mossberg, technology expert for The Wall Street Journal, tests three earlier digital camera binoculars from Bushnell, Pentax and Meade, concluding that "all did a passable job" though image quality isn't as good as that from an average digital camera.
Review: New Tool for Birders: Camera Binoculars, Walter S. Mossberg, July 16, 2003
This review of an earlier Bushnell Instant Replay digital camera binocular is based on personal field testing, reporting that even without a manual, "we were up and filming in ten minutes." The review focuses on features rather than on the quality of the digital images.
Review: Instant Replay, Editors of Forbes, Apr. 2005
The 5-megapixel Bushnell 8x30 11-8325 model isn't an Editor's Pick model here, but the sole owner-written review at Optics Planet gives it a perfect five-star rating. However, the review gives so little detail that it's not very credible.
Review: Bushnell 8x30 Digital Binoculars with 5MP Camera, Editors and contributors to OpticsPlanet.com
The three owner-written reviews here cover an earlier Bushnell Instant Replay model, offering very divergent opinions. One owner reports unfair warranty service from Bushnell, another complains about image quality, and the third is very satisfied -- praising the video quality and LCD.
Review: Bushnell Instant Replay 11-8323 Binocular, Contributors to Epinion.com.com
This brief review recommends an earlier version of the Bushnell Instant Replay camera binoculars but gives no evidence of testing or use. (Note: ConsumerSearch is owned by About.com, but the two don't share an editorial affiliation.)
Review: Top 5 Digital Camera Binoculars, Michael Carr, Nov. 2004