A SYNERGY OF TECHNOLOGIES THAT PROVIDE A USEFUL TOOLKIT FOR THE OUTDOORSMAN, PREPPER AND HOME DEFENDER
American Technologies Network Corporation (ATN) has been making scopes and binoculars with video and night vision features for over two decades. One of its latest innovations, the ATN BinoX HD binocular, is an effective blend of technologies that combines the capabilities of a pair of zoom binoculars with a GPS, a 1080p video camera and the night observation devices used by Navy SEALs and Army Special Forces. While all these features would usually cost well into four figures, ATN did it at the very reasonable three-figure retail price of $479.
When you open the box, you will see that you don’t have a typical binocular. Inside, you will find the binocular and a set of three CR123 batteries. At the bottom of the box is a protective carrying case, a strap for the case and lens covers for the binocular.
The binocular, itself, is composed of two barrels with a control pad between them for operating the various functions. The right-hand barrel houses a 1080p high-definition video camera that projects an image onto a display panel located in each eyepiece. The left-hand barrel contains the infrared (IR) illuminator used in night vision mode.
The eyepieces on each barrel move left and right so you can center them on your eyes. Each eyepiece is also adjustable for focus so you can clearly see the display on each barrel. To focus the camera, you rotate the front end of the right barrel. Rotate the front end of the left barrel to adjust the width of the IR illuminator beam.
At the heart of the BinoX HD is ATN’s Obsidian Core processor, a custom-designed microprocessor that runs the binocular’s sensors and mechanics. Operating at more than a billion cycles per second, it processes the command and video data to run the BinoX HD’s menus and produce its images. You select the commands you want in the menu via the control pad located between the two barrels of the binocular.
The many features found in the BinoX HD fall into four main categories: observation, image capture, navigation and peripheral devices.
Observation: The high-resolution video camera, combined with the infrared illuminator, gives you the ability to see in daylight and at night. In night vision mode, because it uses an IR light source instead of light amplification, you can see in total darkness when there is an absolute minimum of ambient light. You can also zoom in and out between 4X and 14X by using the control pad on the top of the binocular.
Image Capture: The digital video camera has two daylight recording modes: standard full HD video mode of 1080p at 30 frames per second and the lower mode of 720p at 60 frames per second. It also features image stabilization to help ensure clear images and video. An integral microphone lets you record what you hear and also provide commentary. In night mode, there are two additional options: 1080p low-light amplification and 1080p high-light amplification. To take a picture, you press the left key on the control pad found on the top of the BinoX HD. To start taking video, press the right key.
Navigation: With all the capabilities of a GPS receiver built into it, the BinoX HD lets you see where you are on the ground; records where you have been for later display on an interactive map; how fast you are moving; and your altitude. Its geo-tagging capability lets you mark the pictures you take with location information for later reference. It even has a built-in electronic compass that displays at the top of the viewfinder.
Peripheral Devices: The BinoX HD also has a wireless connection built into it. This allows you to connect to it with your iPhone or Android smartphone. It also has ports for micro-HDMI and micro-USB cables you can use to display stored video or pictures on your computer or television. You can display the live feed from the BinoX HD, as well.
KEEPING UP WITH THE LATEST INNOVATIONS
One of my favorite features of the BinoX HD is its ability to update the firmware that provides its powerful features. The value of this feature, and the importance ATN places on it, is shown in its online owner’s manual, which states that updating to the latest version is the first thing you should do when you get your BinoX HD.
To update the firmware, you go to the firmware update page on the website (www.ATMCorp.com), download the latest version of the firmware, transfer it to the microSD card in the BinoX HD and then restart the BinoX HD to upload the new firmware.
SO MANY WAYS TO USE IT
The innovative blend of technologies in the BinoX HD makes it a versatile piece of gear— so versatile, in fact, that the ways you can use it are really limited only by your imagination. You can use it as a conventional 4-16X zoom binocular and scout for game during daylight or low-light conditions. You can mount it on a tripod and use it as a spotting scope and film sporting events or the elk on the other side of a basin. The BinoX HD’s night vision capability allows you to do all these things at night, too.
And, speaking of night, you can watch for people intruding on your property or catch the little critter that is tearing into your trashcan. It will also show you what or who made the bump in the night that woke you up.
You can use the GPS and navigation features to track your time afield and capture waypoints of things you don’t want to forget about. The altimeter and compass will allow you to solve one of the most challenging things in land navigation—knowing precisely where you are on the side of a long ridgeline. The electronic compass will give you bearings so you can transfer directions you gather in the field onto a map for later use.
Its geo-tagging capability makes the BinoX HD great for geo-caching games. It is also good for capturing where game animals are bedding down or the old cabin you found deep in the backwoods of your bugout property.
ADD THIS ONE TO YOUR GIFT LIST
My overall impression of the BinoX HD? I like it—a lot. Its blend of features provides me with resources I can, and do, use at work, home and at play. More importantly, its night vision capability fills in the missing piece in my home security puzzle. And the price point isn’t bad either.
If you like things plain and simple, a better choice for you might be to hang a regular glass lens binocular around your neck and remember to keep your smartphone in your pocket. However, if you appreciate the value of a single device that takes pictures and video, serves as a digital binocular—both day and night—and helps you know where you are in the back-country, the BinoX HD binocular from ATN Corporation will be a good addition to your standard loadout.
Like all of its products, ATN provides an online manual for the BinoX HD that shows you how to use the mechanical parts of the device, as well as its function menu. You can access the manual through the ATN website or go directly to http://manual.ATNCorp.com/binox.
Editors Note: A version of this article first appeared in the March 2016 print issue of American Survival Guide.
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