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Old January 9, 2009, 07:46 AM   #1
sneaky pete
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Why not digital Hi magnafication rifle scopes

old Sneaky here: I was looking for a Hi optical mag. camera for a birthday present for my wife and saw that there are 20x optical mag digital cameras avlb in the $350 range with a focal range from 5mm>560mm on a camera that weighs 1.5lbs. SO I was thinking-- When are the rifle scope manufaturing companies going to get off their butts and get with new technology. It seems that the Old glass lense technology could go the way of the DoDo. Appreciate any commnt +/-. THANX--SNEAKY
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Old January 9, 2009, 09:26 AM   #2
Jim Watson
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Sorry it is not as cheap as a mass produced camera, but if you don't buy one, they will not be able to build up the market and get the price down.
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Old January 9, 2009, 09:38 AM   #3
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1) Still requires good glass (in fact better glass than some "analog" scopes).
2) Many components to fail or be knocked out of allignment under recoil.
3) Extremely vulnerable to weather conditions
4) Power requirements (batteries)
5) Bulk/weight
6) Price

and the one that's hardest to overcome in the gun culture...tradition.

I have no doubt that someday all of these factors will be overcome and probably at a "decent" price, but I do have to wonder what guns will be like by the time that comes to pass.

EDIT: Also, mounting your video camera on the gun is LAME. All you get is a picture that jumps up and away with the recoil right when you most wanted to see what is going on. On body might work but on gun isn't going to create a very useful recording.

Last edited by ZeSpectre; January 9, 2009 at 11:24 AM.
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Old January 9, 2009, 09:58 AM   #4
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I have had the elements kill 2 digital cameras EXTREMELY prematurely and would just be livid to have that happen with a rifle scope. Digital cameras do not like wet or cold so hunting on only beautiful days would have to be the criteria here. No Thanks !!!
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Old January 9, 2009, 10:50 AM   #5
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Any electronic device can be sealed against moisture, just like an optical scope is. There are underwater digital cameras. Your consumer grade digital cameras that failed due to environmental conditions simply were not designed to withstand them! As for recoil, it's an issue but not one that can't be overcome. There are cannon rounds with imaging hardware in the nose, after all.

The advantages are obvious.. built in rangefinding, automatic and completely customizable bullet drop compensation, automatic windage correction (assuming you know the wind speed), built in IR sensitivity, customizable data and reticle display, and with the right electronics you could actually keep the image stable under recoil. The shooter might not be able to see the scope image immediately after the shot due to the scope moving around, but he could replay the video captured in the seconds after to see the hit.

These are all features many of us would like to see, but not many of use would pay the price it is going to take to make them a reality (at least in the civilian market). I suspect we'll see this in military applications first, and the price tag will be pretty impressive. As was previously noted, there will still be quality optics involved, but the electronics can make up for some of the optical requirements.

In short -- I'm sure we'll see these become fairly common during my lifetime. Just not in the next few years.
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Old January 9, 2009, 10:54 AM   #6
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Being a tech-geek, the first thing that comes to mind is that optical (lens-based) zoom is far superior to digital zoom. To verify that, imagine looking through your scope at a jpg image that has been zoomed WAY in on your pc. That's right, grainy. No thanks.

EDIT: Oh, nevermind. I see what the OP is saying. I was thinking that we were talking about scopes with digital zoom vs. optical zoom.
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Old January 9, 2009, 10:58 AM   #7
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I have had the elements kill 2 digital cameras EXTREMELY prematurely and would just be livid to have that happen with a rifle scope. Digital cameras do not like wet or cold so hunting on only beautiful days would have to be the criteria here. No Thanks !!!
That's probably a non-issue. Cheap digital cameras simply aren't designed to take the elements. A scope will be.
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Old January 9, 2009, 11:54 AM   #8
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As Jim stated above, there are already digital electronic riflescopes out there. One problem with them that was not mentioned is the fact that they are not real-time, i.e. there is a small time lag between what happens in front of the scope and when you see it behind the scope, which could cause a miss or wounded animal. In the test I read on the Elcan, there was also a freeze-up/lock-up involving the processor. A quick reboot and they're back in service, but it's one more headache.
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Old January 9, 2009, 12:42 PM   #9
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There's no reason delays can't be made shorter than the eye can perceive, which is about 15 milliseconds. Displays are almost four times faster than that now. Image processing speed is just a matter of how much you chose to do, but will ultimately become no barrier as the low-power microprocessors keep getting faster. I'm sure the military gear doesn't accept any significant level of it.

As to ruggedness, the optics should be the limiting factor, same as in a conventional scope. Solid state electronics can withstand a lot more g-force punishment than a scope sees, and much wider temperature ranges than humans are comfortable in. Electronics components are commonly made available in versions that are specified for -55°C (-67°F) to 125°C (257°F) operating temperatures. You just have to let the designer know you need that and can pay ten times the cost of the least expensive commercial version, which is typically for 0°C(32°F) to 70°C(158°F) operation. There is usually also an automotive version that is not expensive and works form -40°C(-40°F) to 85°C(185°F), though their specs aren't usually looser than standard.

Recoil starts disturbing sight alignment before the bullet arrives on target. How much you can see through recoil depends on how much recoil you have?
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Old January 9, 2009, 10:59 PM   #10
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It's about resolution. Digitally magnifying an image does nothing to resolve targets better. As you increase image magnification you lose image resolution. The human eye is incredibly sensitive and can resolve images better than most imaging sensors.
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Old January 9, 2009, 11:50 PM   #11
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With all the hoop-la about programmable reticles, blah, blah, blah, the Elcan rep at the SHOT Show looked at me like I was crazy when I suggested that the next model might include a laser rangefinder and software for the elevation to adjust automatically according to the appropriate trajectory model.
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Old January 10, 2009, 10:24 AM   #12
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Then either they completely lack imagination, or he was wondering how you figured out what they were doing in the super-secret lab. Or they sent the office dipstick to the trade show to keep him out of people's way for a week. That happens too.
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Old January 10, 2009, 10:47 AM   #13
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I think we are still a few years away from the technology being small enough to make a device like this practical for a rifle scope. If you look at the smallest digital cameras with 20x zoom they are still larger than you would want to mount on your rifle. They also are not water and shock proof. When shopping for a new digital camera I looked at the Olympus line of shock, water, and freeze proof digital cameras. They are nice and compact but they weigh as much as a brick.

The Cornershot gun does use a forward mounted camera with a rear LCD display. However it's designed for accuracy at short distances. Making a setup like this accurate at 100, 200, 500 yards would be orders of magnitude more difficult.

The lowest item attached under the barrel is the camera lens.

What you suggest is coming but it won't be here at a price mere mortals can afford for a while yet.
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Old January 10, 2009, 10:55 AM   #14
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When they can bluetooth the image to a headsup LCD spectacles then they will have my attention. Even then, it would only appeal to me on a home defense level and the price would need to meet that of current technology using those same devices (~$200 - $300). I don't see that happening in the next 10 years.
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