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Is there a way to translate camera zoom to binocular or scope power?

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Old Sunday 4th March 2018, 17:30   #1
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Cool Is there a way to translate camera zoom to binocular or scope power?

I have a Nikon B700 60X Superzoom camera.

Get closer to what matters
60x optical zoom, 120x Dynamic Fine Zoom
Few shots are too far away for the COOLPIX B700's NIKKOR Super ED glass lens. 60x optical zoom gives you super telephoto power, then Dynamic Fine Zoom, an enhanced digital zoom, effectively doubles that reach for a whopping 120x zoom. Dual Detect Vibration Reduction (VR) counteracts camera shake to keep your shots steady, and a 20-megapixel backside illuminated CMOS sensor captures every detail, even in low light.

Per the manual:

4.3 to 258 mm - angle of view equivalent to 23 to 1440 mm lens in 35 mm format.

Is there a way to translate the optical zoom (not digital) of the camera to the power of binoculars or a spotting scope?

I have tried to estimate it visually. Looks like about 10X but I don't have a wide range of binoculars or a spotting scope to compare it to.
Ed from NY - Started Jan 2016 - Long Island, East of NYC, USA - Having fun spending quality time with my Wife, and the birds. Opticron Oregon 8X32, Garret Optical 10X50, Celestron 7-21X40 zoom. Smartphone Apps: eBird, Merlin, Audubon
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Old Sunday 4th March 2018, 18:03   #2
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Afaik, the 35mm equivalent should be divided by 50 to get approximate magnification.
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Old Sunday 4th March 2018, 19:43   #3
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That was the way we used to do it, so .5x to 29x magnification, the angle of view taken in a camera is the diagonal across the frame, so doesn't directly correspond to the angle of view of a scope.

50mm was taken as 1x as in the days of 35mm film as an optical viewfinder corresponding to a 50mm lens could be used with both eyes open, i.e one looking through the viewfinder, the other looking at the real world with both looking much the same. Something that worked better with Leicas than slrs. I have a vague memory that the actual 1x focal length was slightly less than 50mm , but it wasn't significant.

Don't forget that the x ratio in a zoom lens is the ratio between the shortest and the longest focal length and not directly related to magification, my latest camera zoom is a 2x, but in binocular terms is a mere 0.15x to 0.3x. i.e. it makes things smaller.

Over the years I also seem to remember articles disputing this approach, but as I tended to concentrate on what results I was getting it didn't really matter enough for me to read them.

Last edited by iveljay : Sunday 4th March 2018 at 20:00.
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Old Tuesday 6th March 2018, 09:56   #4
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Clearly trying to equate the view through the viewfinder of a B700 gives a figure of something between 105 to 125mm as 1:1 with the eye as opposed to the 50mm for the recorded image - so comparing the eyepiece image to a scope would give get a result much nearer the 10x you were estimating.

In practice you can perform the same calculations to the digital zoom

Unfortunately, not only is the viewfinder of the B700 low magnification, but also fairly low resolution.

The lcd is better, but in terms of equivalence with a scope that calculation it depends on how far you hold the camera from your face, though in terms of relative perspective the 50mm equivalent to 35mm full frame still applies.

So, you could probably sum it up by saying that the B700 is much better as a camera than a scope.

To be fair to the camera it was never designed to be a digital scope so any figures are of fairly academic interest and if it works as a 10x scope for you, thats all you really need to know.

Last edited by iveljay : Tuesday 6th March 2018 at 09:59.
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