Digital Camera Patent Abstract
Binoculars having a digital camera are provided. The digital camera
is able to capture an image of an object which is observed through
the optical systems of the binoculars. The digital-camera-provide
binoculars further comprise a microphone. The microphone is provided
on the bottom face of the binoculars.
Digital Camera Patent Claims
The invention claimed is:
1. Digital-camera-provided binoculars, comprising: a digital camera
that is able to capture an image of an object which is observed
through optical systems of said binoculars; and a microphone; wherein
said microphone is provided on a bottom face of said binoculars,
and wherein said digital camera and said microphone are mounted
on different surfaces of said binoculars.
2. Binoculars according to claim 1, wherein said bottom face comprises
a tripod attaching section to which a tripod is attached.
3. Binoculars according to claim 1, wherein sound information collected
by said microphone is recorded in association with an image captured
by said digital camera.
4. Binoculars according to claim 1, wherein recording using said
microphone is carried out just after an image capturing operation
of said digital camera.
5. Binoculars according to claim 1, wherein said microphone is
positioned on said bottom face and in the vicinity of a rear face
where ocular lenses of said binoculars are provided.
6. Binoculars according to claim 1, wherein said microphone is
positioned on said bottom face and between a pair of said optical
systems of said binoculars.
Digital Camera Patent Description
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
1. Field of the Invention
The present invention relates to binoculars provided with a digital
2. Description of the Related Art
Conventionally, digital-camera-provided binoculars into which the
functions of a digital camera and binoculars are integrated, are
known. For the digital-camera-provided binoculars, an image similar
to that observed trough a pair of ocular lens systems can be displayed
on an LCD monitor and stored in a recording medium as a digital
On the other hand, some digital cameras are provided with a microphone
for recording sound for a digital image captured by and stored in
the camera. Recording may be carried out immediately after capturing
the image, before a predetermined time has elapsed, or some time
after the image capturing operation, by selecting an image and post
recording. The immediate recording may be carried out to produce
a feeling of presence at the location where the image was captured,
by recording the surrounding sound, or to record voice that describes
the situation, as a memorandum. Further, the post recording may
be carried out by indicating an image on the display monitor and
recording certain suitable sound data. However, a conventional digital
camera is a device for capturing images, so that voice or sound
recording operations while looking into a viewfinder is not presumed.
Therefore, the microphone of the conventional digital camera is
disposed on the front side (lens provided side) of the camera body,
beside the finder, or on the top surface of the camera body, which
is not suitable for recording the voice of a user when the user
is looking into the viewfinder.
On the other hand, telescopic observation through the binoculars
is the main use for the digital-camera-provided binoculars, so that
an image capturing operation is generally carried out while observing
objects through the binoculars.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
Therefore, an object of the present invention is to provide a digital-camera-provided
binoculars that can easily perform fine voice recording while carrying
out telescopic binocular observations.
According to the present invention, digital-camera-provided binoculars
are provided that comprise a digital camera and a microphone. The
digital camera is able to capture an image of an object which is
observed through the optical systems of the binoculars. The microphone
is provided on the bottom face of the binoculars.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
The objects and advantages of the present invention will be better
understood from the following description, with reference to the
accompanying drawings in which:
FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a digital-camera-provided binoculars
of the present embodiment, which shows the entire appearance of
the binoculars from the backside;
FIG. 2 is a front view of the digital-camera-provided binoculars
shown in FIG. 1;
FIG. 3 is a fragmental front view of the digital-camera-provided
FIG. 4 is a bottom view of the digital-camera-provided binoculars;
FIG. 5 is a fragmental front view of the digital-camera-provided
binoculars of the alternate embodiment; and
FIG. 6 is a bottom view of the alternate embodiment shown in FIG.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS
The present invention is described below with reference to the
embodiment shown in the drawings.
FIG. 1 is a perspective view of the binoculars provided with a
digital camera of the present embodiment, which shows the entire
appearance of the binoculars from the backside. The backside being
the ocular lens side. FIG. 2 is a front view (viewed from the objective
lens side) of the digital-camera-provided binoculars shown in FIG.
1. FIG. 3 is a fragmental front view of the digital-camera-provided
binoculars. Further, FIG. 4 is a bottom view of the digital-camera-provided
binoculars. Herein, the digital-camera-provided binoculars of the
present embodiment will be described with reference to FIG. 1 through
The digital-camera-provided binoculars 10 are comprised of a main
body 10A and a movable body 10B. The movable body 10B is a component
that can be slidably moved in a lateral direction (as shown by an
arrow `A`) relative to the main body 10A for adjusting interpupillary
distance of the binoculars. FIG. 1 shows the retracted position
of the binoculars, in which interpupillary distance is made minimum.
FIGS. 2, 3, and 4 are depicted at a position which the interpupillary
distance is set at a certain width greater than the width at the
retracted position. As shown in FIGS. 2 through 4, a casing of the
main body 10A comprises an insertion section 10a that can be slidably
fitted into an opening 10b of a casing of the movable body 10B.
Since the insertion section is inserted inside the movable body
10B, the dimensions of the insertion section 10a are slightly smaller
than the dimensions of the main section of the main body 10A, so
that the insertion section 10a and the main section of the main
body 10A are connected at the boundary which appears as a step 10c.
When the binoculars are not used, the main body 10A and the movable
body 10B are kept in the retracted position in which the interpupillary
distance is minimized (the position depicted in FIG. 1), so that
all of the insertion section 10a is fitted inside the movable body
10B and the edge of the opening 10b formed on the movable body 10B
contacts with the step 10c of the main body 10A.
Note that, when the binoculars are being used, the main body 10A
is held between the thumb bearing upon the bottom face and the other
fingers bearing upon the top face. The top and bottom sides of the
binoculars 10 are defined with the pair of optical axes of the binoculars
10 being held coplanar with a horizontal plane. Namely, the top
and bottom or the upper and lower directions correspond to the directions
perpendicular to the arrow directions `A`, in FIG. 2.
The main body 10A is provided with a telescopic observation optical
system for a right eye and a photographing optical system for the
digital camera. Namely, on the front face of the main body 10A,
an objective lens 11R for the right lens system and an objective
lens 12 for the digital camera are provided, and on the rear face,
an ocular lens 12R (see FIG. 3) associated with the objective lens
11R, is provided. On the other hand, on the front face of the movable
body 10B, an objective lens 11L for the left lens system is provided,
and on the rear face, an ocular lens 12L associated with the objective
lens 11L is provided. Note that, the objective lens 13 for the digital
camera is disposed between the objective lenses 11L and 11R, and
the objective lens 13 is covered with a lens barrier when the digital
camera is not in use. Open and close operations of the lens barrier
are carried out by using a slide lever provided on the front face
of the main body 10A.
On the top face of the casing of the main body 10A, an image-indicating
device 14 with a screen 14D (see FIG. 1), including an LCD, is provided.
A focusing drive 15 is located on the top face of the casing, closer
to the rear side than the image-indicating device 14 and is associated
with the optical systems of the binoculars and the digital camera
for adjusting focus of each optical system. The image-indicating
device 14 is formed as a folding type panel and is rotatably fixed
to an axis parallel to the ridgeline formed by the top face and
the front face (refer to arrow `B` in FIG. 1). Namely, when the
image-indicating device 14 is opened, the image-indicating device
14 is substantially erected with its screen (LCD 14D) facing the
rear side (the ocular lens side). Further, when the image-indicating
device is closed or folded, the image-indicating device 14 is laid
down upon the top face of the casing, whereby the screen 14D faces
the top face. Note that, captured images or live movie from the
digital camera can be displayed on the screen 14D.
As shown in FIG. 1, a release switch 16 is provided on the right
side of the main body 10A. On the top face of the main body 10A
and in front of the release switch 16 (closer to the front side
than the release switch 16), a menu key 17, a recording key 18,
four cursor keys 19U, 19D, 19L, and 19R, which correspond to respective
up, down, left, and right directions, and an OK key 20 surrounded
by the for cursor keys are provided. Namely, when a user holds the
main body 10A with his or her right hand to use the digital-camera-provided
binoculars 10, the forefinger of the right hand is positioned at
an area where the forefinger can operate the switches 16 to 20,
so that the user can depress the release switch 16 with the forefinger
while viewing through the binoculars.
On the other hand, as shown in FIG. 4, a tripod attaching section
21 and a microphone 22 are provided on the bottom face of the main
body 10A. Further, on the tripod attaching section 21, a tripod
screw hole 21a, is formed. Namely, the binoculars 10 can be fixed
to a tripod head (not shown) through the tripod attaching section
21. Note that, the main body 10A is provided with a USB/video output
terminal 30 at the side end thereof, and the USB/video output terminal,
in general, is covered with a terminal cover 30C. Furthermore, a
battery chamber 31 (see FIG. 5) is provided on the side of the movable
body 10B and covered with a battery cover 31C (see FIGS. 1 and 4).
The microphone 22 is mounted on a circuit board 23 that is arranged
inside the casing of the main body, parallel with the bottom face
of the casing. On the bottom wall of the casing for the main body
10A, a hole having substantially the same dimension as the diameter
of the microphone, which connects the inside and outside of the
casing, is formed at a position corresponding to the position where
the microphone 22 is mounted. Namely, the microphone corrects sound
through the hole provided on the bottom face of the main body 10A.
In the present embodiment, the microphone 22 is disposed under the
optical system of the right lens system (between the objective lens
11R and the ocular lens 12R), and substantially at the center in
the back and forth direction.
By using digital-camera-provided binoculars 10 of the present embodiment,
an image substantially equal to an image observed through the objective
lens systems 11L and 11R of the binoculars can be captured through
the objective lens 13 of the photographing optical system. Namely,
an imaging device, not shown, is mounted inside the main body 10A,
so that when the release switch 16 is fully depressed, an image
produced through the objective lens 13 can be captured by the imaging
device as a digital image by using an electronic shutter operation
or the like. Further, when the recording key 18 is depressed within
a predetermined time after an image capturing operation, the sound
surrounding the binoculars is recorded as sound data through the
microphone 22 for a predetermined time and stored in a memory as
sound data corresponding to the captured digital image.
As described above, according to the present embodiment, since
the microphone 10 is provided on the bottom face of the binoculars
10, sound information including the voice of a user, which relates
to situations when capturing an object image, can be easily and
clearly recorded even when the telescopic observation is being carried
With reference to FIG. 5 and FIG. 6, an alternative to the present
embodiment will be explained. In the alternative embodiment, the
position of the microphone on the bottom face is the only structure
that is dissimilar to the former embodiment, so that descriptions
will be made only for a position relating to the microphone. Note
that, the binoculars 10 shown in FIGS. 5 and 6 are at the retracted
position in which the interpupillary distance is minimum. Further,
in FIG. 6, the most of the ocular lenses 12R and 12L are retracted
inside the casing, by rotating the focusing drive.
FIG. 5 is a fragmental front view of the digital-camera-provided
binoculars of the alternative embodiment, and FIG. 6 is a bottom
view thereof. In the alternate embodiment, the microphone 22 is
disposed on the bottom face of the main body 10A in the vicinity
of the rear face to which the ocular lenses 12R and 12L are provided,
and further, at a position close to the step 10c. Namely, the microphone
22 is arranged at the position which is close to the ocular lens
side and between the ocular lenses 12L and 12R.
As described above, according to the alternate embodiment, the
same effect as that in the former embodiment can be achieved. Further,
in the alternate embodiment, the microphone is located much closer
to the mouth of a user when the telescopic binoculars observation
is carried out, so that voice of the user can be collected more
clearly compared to the former embodiment.
Although the embodiments of the present invention have been described
herein with reference to the accompanying drawings, obviously many
modifications and changes may be made by those skilled in this art
without departing from the scope of the invention.
The present disclosure relates to subject matter contained in Japanese
Patent Application No. 2002-330729 (filed on Nov. 14, 2002) which
is expressly incorporated herein, by reference, in its entirety.