Retailers can decide which products should be taken out for these "test drives" depending on the client's purpose. Olympus' Barnett, advises retailers to ask their clients what they intend to use the binocular and/or spotting scopes for. "If they want to use it on land (not marine use), [and] plan on remaining relatively stationary (not hiking), and require the additional magnification, a spotting scope may be the better choice. Otherwise, binoculars are likely to be the more suitable option," he explains.
The best way to match a client with the perfect binocular or spotting scope: make it a community affair. Canon's Weber advises retailers to get out into the community and sponsor a nature or birding event—allowing attendees to use the different technologies, then decide for themselves which is the better fit. "You need to cultivate your particular market, and the bird market is big now, so you need to get in on that action," he suggests.
Whether its binoculars or spotting scopes—nature lovers, hunters, sports enthusiasts, mariners, or curious youngsters—retailers can profit from the growing number of products in this ever-expanding market. Imaging professionals are no longer limited to one market and one customer. So maybe there is an upside to digital technology for the photo retailer, maybe there really is light at the end of the tunnel, and maybe binoculars and spotting scopes might help to find it.