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Scams & Myths

Is image stabilization a scam?
No, image stabilization uses a complicated optical process to remove the shakiness of your hands and the small bumps in the road. For example, Canon calls their technology "Vari-Angle Prism image-stabilizer (VAP-IS)." Cameras and camcorders have had this feature for years, but now the technology has finally been passed down to binoculars.

Is ruby coating night vision a scam?
Mostly yes. All the ruby coatings do is filter out a spectrum of light and by doing this, it gives the image a slight greenish color. Since many true night-vision optics have a greenish glow, some manufacturers try to make this claim. Mostly, the ruby coatings are used to mask the use of inferior optics. To slightly improve low-light viewing without buying expensive night-vision optics, use larger front objectives since they have a greater light-gathering ability.

If ruby coatings are so bad, are other coatings a scam?
No. Coatings are very useful and help improve contrast and clarity. See the FAQ for more details.

Are zoom binoculars a scam?
No, zoom binoculars have around for a long time. They may not be best for birding because the images tend to be a little fuzzy when zooming and because the FOV is smaller than fixed-power binoculars. However, some feel that the ability to scan for something and then zoom in to observe close-up detail outweighs these drawbacks. We suggest trying out zooms in a store or borrowing a friends pair before purchasing these from a catalog or the Internet.

Is night vision a scam?
No. The military has used "real" night-vision for years. This technology has given the U.S. military an edge during the last three wars it has fought. Now, expensive military night vision technology has trickled down to consumer level optics. Of course, the consumer versions are not quite as powerful, but they are still very impressive. The numerous details of night-vision optics are beyond the scope of this page. We suggest you thoroughly search the Internet for more information if you're interested.

Are camera binoculars a scam?
No, currently these are more of a novelty item than a scam. They can be fun to play with, but in most cases, the image quality will not be sufficient for most birders. Obviously, these will not come close to the quality of a high-resolution, digital SLR with appropriate lenses.

Do inexpensive autofocus binoculars really adjust focus automatically?
No, what you are seeing are probably just fixed-focus binoculars. These have their focus set at the factory and cannot be changed by the user. They usually have a wide D.O.V. and low magnification since they are focused to view from 30 feet to infinity.

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