Binography on safari

Sabi Sand | May 2020

Photography can be an intimidating and rather expensive field to get into especially with all the latest DSLR camera bodies and telephoto/zoom lenses that are on offer. Don’t get me wrong, once you’ve mastered the basics, photography is a fun hobby to take up and is extremely rewarding when you nail that perfect shot. However, for first time safari goers or those that are just not into all the intricacies of DSLR photography (such as working your way around a camera and of course the very important post processing) then it just isn’t worth the expenditure.

The latest mobile phone cameras are incredible and some spectacular photos and videos can be captured; this explains why we’re seeing a growing trend of ‘phone photography’. There are limitations to phone photography and one of the major ones is that of image quality produced while zooming. Usually when zooming in on a phone, even just a bit, quality is drastically reduced and photos become heavily pixilated. There is however, a way of working around this through coupling your phone with a good set of binoculars to form a type of photography loosely termed ‘binography’.

‘Binography’ is the use of your phone camera with a pair of binoculars to zoom in on your subject. By placing your phones camera lens up to the eyepiece of a pair of binoculars you can take a picture like you would take with a zoom lens on a regular camera. Mastering this technique does take some work and it certainly helps to have a camera support/bean bag to steady the binoculars, leaving you free to line up the phone and then shoot away. One thing to remember though, it helps to zoom slightly on your phones camera to avoid getting a circular border from your bino’s within your picture. On new iPhone models, it’s just a simple tap of the 1x zoom and changing it to the 2x zoom option. Ensure the binocular eye piece and lenses are free of dust and you should capture clear images of your subject. This is something I’ve practiced a fair amount as I often leave my camera behind and the results of such are shown within this article. While they aren’t DSLR quality, they are moments captured that wouldn’t have been possible without using this technique. A moment captured in time holds many memories and sometimes that 8-megapixel camera and pair of binoculars is all that you need.