Subject: Digibino's
From: richard baxter <>
Date: Thu, 3 Jul 2003 22:30:45 -0700 (PDT)
Greetings all,
                   After reading so many negative comments Re: Digibino's, I'll put forward a few positives.  I bought my Digibino's early in 2002, after reading about them on the Pentax website.  After their world wide release date I immeadiately ordered a pair and no doubt had the first pair in Australia. Since then, they have travelled on many birding trips around Australia with me and I have taken over 2000 bird pics with them.  The main reason I jumped at buying a pair was to take them on pelagic trips. 
Of the 2000 pics I've taken, 98% have been seabirds.
The appeal is simple: size, portability and digital.  No matter where you go you can carry them in your pocket, bumbag etc   In the Torres Strait in Sept 2002 we did many rough and wet landings to get onto different islands, often having to wade through knee deep water and mud.  When the other expensive cameras were left on the boat, the digibinos could be put in a zip tight sandwich bag and carried ashore in my pocket.
The Digibinos have spent about 20 days at sea since I bought them and it is here they are at there best.  When it gets rough and spray starts to cover the boat all the expensive cameras are put to bed.  The digibinos keep on working, I tuck them in my jacket or put them in my pocket and they can't get smashed into sections of the boat, as long lenses often do on rough pelagic trips.  It is also very tiring holding a SLR camera with long lense around your neck all day on a boat.
The example David Geering gave was on our Newcastle Pelagic in Oct 2002. It was late in the afternoon and all the expensive cameras had been put away as we were just about to head for home. A Pycroft's Petrel flew past the boat quite close, it banked and did a return run and headed south and out of sight.  In the few seconds it was with us I took 13 photos, no one else on boat had any chance of taking any photos.
They are the equivalent of a 280mm lense on a 35mm camera which is great for seabirds and with 1/8000th sec shutter speed and 160pics it is hard to fault on the boat.  Another  feature I like to use is Continuous Mode.  ( 10 pics in 2sec.) The first time I took them on a pelagic trip a White-headed Petrel decided to do several very close laps of the boat, I set the Digibinos on continuous mode and ended up with 100 White-headed Petrel Pics. I know this is a bit extreme, but I did get some great pics.
The only real negative I have is the in-built memory. Although you don't have to make the additional purchase of a memory stick, you are restricted to either 99,160 or 300 pics in a day, before downloading.  The quality when using Basic Mode (300pics) is not good, so you either get 99 or 160 pics before you have to download.  This is great for a day at sea as I rarely take over 160pics on a single boat trip.  The problem I have is on longer trips.  The Torres Strait cruise last year was 9 days and 160 pics is simply not enough.  I will have the same problem on the Ashmore Reef trip in Sept 2003 which is 7 days.  The only way to get around it is to buy myself another pair. 
There are now about 6 brands of digital camera binoculars from manufacturers such as Zeiss and Meade but the Pentax Digibinos are still the best of these.
Richard Baxter

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