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Digiscoping?

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niknak
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Digiscoping?

Unread postby niknak » Mon Oct 02, 2006 8:33 pm

I have been reading a fair bit about digiscoping. Do any of our experts use this method of getting in close? To be honest I see most of those using a spotting scope with digital camera seem to specialize in bird photography. Do these methods work in the bush when photographing general game?

A link that gives a bit more information.
http://www.shortcourses.com/how/digiscoping/digiscoping.htm

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richardharris
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Unread postby richardharris » Tue Oct 03, 2006 12:02 am

I tried this a couple of years ago with a Kowa scope and a relatively primitive Sony digital camera - with rather poor results!

Recently I have tried my FD82 Nikon scope and a Canon SLR (yes - Nikon do make an adaptor!) but this is less useful; the combination only gives the equivalent of an 800mm lens. I have not tried it with a small digital camera but this would be the way to do it. Need to choose the camera with great care to avoid vignetting. The tiny Nikons have a good name for this.

Quality will never be as good as the best primes lenses - but may be the only way of getting a photo of that tiny bird. You can end up with a 3000mm lens or more!

I suspect that this would be of little value for photographing larger animals. They would have to be so far away that heat haze and dust would almost certainly spoil the photo.

Richard

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Digiscoping

Unread postby Johan van Rensburg » Thu Nov 30, 2006 1:00 pm

I am currently doing a bit of research into the "art" of digiscoping as a "spin-off" from just wanting to make an "informed" purchase of a spotting scope. Not having found anything resembling my search topic on the forum, I thought to start it as a new thread.

Digiscoping means taking photographs with a digital (compact) camera through the eyepiece of a telescope. This method of photography was discovered accidentally by nature observers. The development of high-quality compact digital cameras (HCDCs) since the late 90s makes it possible to take great pix through high-end telescopes using quite a simple technique. Thanks to high magnification factors in the spotting scopes it is possible to photograph sensitive species from a great distance without disturbing them (Birds!). With of practice, exceptionally sharp images in a quality which comes close to images taken with expensive professional photography equipment (SLR cameras with tele-converters) becomes a reality. The digiscoping set-up is cumbersome and not nearly as elegant as having the set-up (camera and lense) designed specifically for the purpose of capturing distant images, but this "artform" does come at a much reduced price AND as a side-benefit of a spotting scope one primarily purchases for another reason altogether!

I am sure there must be some forumites that have dabbled with digiscoping. Love to hear from u

post merged by gwen
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Unread postby DuQues » Thu Nov 30, 2006 1:17 pm

Not having scoped myself I do want to point out a few troubles with it.

You focus using the screen of the camera. This means the screen needs to be very good, as the focus is extremely easily put in front or behind the bird. You cannot (as far as I know) use DSLR's for scoping.
A tripod is an absolute must! You are photographing over extreme distances, which means that any little movement of the scope will show in the photo.

And unfortunately the glass is not as good as with normal lenses, so do expect lesser quality photo´s. However, it´s often the only way to photograph the rare birds. And fun.
Not posting much here anymore, but the photo's you can follow here There is plenty there.

Feel free to use any of these additional letters to correct the spelling of words found in the above post: a-e-t-n-d-i-o-s-m-l-u-y-h-c

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Unread postby bert » Thu Nov 30, 2006 2:17 pm

And dont forget a external shutter release.

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Unread postby francoisd » Thu Nov 30, 2006 2:20 pm

As DQ said there is a number of points to keep in mind when Digiscoping. That said, digiscoping is fast becoming a hobby for many birders as this allows them to capture images of birds for later identification. I have also seen some awesome bird photos taken using the digiscoping technique.

Nothing will however replace a good DSLR and good quality glass IMHO.

Below are a couple of photos I took in 2004. On this Kruger trip we borrowed by father-in-law’s small Fuji Finepix digital camera with 3X optical zoom. Fine for taking happy snaps but no good for birds. I then remember that a couple of years before at Lake Panic I took a photo of a little frog by using the Macro function on my film camera (not SLR) and holding it against the eyepiece of my binoculars.

I did the same using my Bushnell 10x50 binos and the little Fuji camera and the result is the photos below. I did do a 3:2 crop on them to get rid of the “frame” of the binos. All this was done hand held and sometimes in peculiar postures to get everything in line for the photo. Hand held with a scope will however not be possible

Image Image Image

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Unread postby bucky » Thu Nov 30, 2006 5:18 pm

Very interesting , I just read an article in Africa birds and birding about this .

The only thing is , it does not quite explain on how to use the feature , although it does mention it being used with a dslr .

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Unread postby Johan van Rensburg » Thu Nov 30, 2006 8:47 pm

I have come to the conclusion that the CAMERA is the secret to successful digiscoping and that it can be done with most spotting scopes, if not all. I have located a very good (used) Swavorski 80mm scope with angled body. The deal includes some extras, including a camera adapter. Once the scope arives I will check out it in combination with my Fuji FinePix 9500 that, by all accounts, won't work. If "all accounts" turn out to be correct, digiscoping will have to wait 'til NEXT Christmas! That will give me more than enough time to research to a standstill the issue of "which camera?".

Digiscoping is HUGE in places like Britain and the USA, but so new that the suppliers of cameras have not yet built a camera to suit the special demands of digiscoping. So, every digiscoper is a researcher, fiddling with all kinds on designs to secure the camera to the scope, set it off remotely, prevent any form of camera shake, etc. Some of the results are astounding - people claim optical zoom factors X80!
676 Latest lifers: Short-clawed lark, Caspian plover, Western marsh harrier, Rüppell's vulture, Spotted crake

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Unread postby richardharris » Thu Nov 30, 2006 10:51 pm

Posted in a previous thread on this topic:

I tried this a couple of years ago with a Kowa scope and a relatively primitive Sony digital camera - with rather poor results!

Recently I have tried my FD82 Nikon scope and a Canon SLR (yes - Nikon do make an adaptor!) but this is less useful; the combination only gives the equivalent of an 800mm lens. I have not tried it with a small digital camera but this would be the way to do it. Need to choose the camera with great care to avoid vignetting. The tiny Nikons have a good name for this.

Quality will never be as good as the best primes lenses - but may be the only way of getting a photo of that tiny bird. You can end up with a 3000mm lens or more!

I suspect that this would be of little value for photographing larger animals. They would have to be so far away that heat haze and dust would almost certainly spoil the photo.

Richard

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Unread postby Johan van Rensburg » Sun Dec 03, 2006 7:07 pm

I had a quick peek into a fancy camera shop in Gauteng this weekend with the idea of having a look at spotting scope prices. What a surprise when I found two scope/camera combinations, one from Celestron (8 grand) and one from Kowa (14 grand). Nowhere on any digiscoping forum have I heard of such combos being available commercially. Does anybody know of these products? Have seen any reviews?
676 Latest lifers: Short-clawed lark, Caspian plover, Western marsh harrier, Rüppell's vulture, Spotted crake

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Unread postby DuQues » Sun Dec 03, 2006 9:44 pm

Maybe a link to read?
Not posting much here anymore, but the photo's you can follow here There is plenty there.

Feel free to use any of these additional letters to correct the spelling of words found in the above post: a-e-t-n-d-i-o-s-m-l-u-y-h-c

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Unread postby Johan van Rensburg » Tue Dec 05, 2006 8:48 am

As indicated in my previous post, a new dawn for digiscoping has arrived with products from Kowa and Celestron. They anounced the fusion of a Spotting Scope and a Digital Camera; in my opinion Kowa has the best offering: a straight viewing 55mm Spotting Scope with 10-30x Zoom Eyepiece and Integrated 3.1 MP Digital Camera.

See http://www.opticsplanet.net/kowa-td1-digital-camera-spotting-scope.html

I am sure the spotting scope manufacturers will follow with even better offerings now that the ice has been broken. Expect to see 6 MP cameras on scopes with 20 - 60x zoom eye pieces and 80 mm objective lenses!
676 Latest lifers: Short-clawed lark, Caspian plover, Western marsh harrier, Rüppell's vulture, Spotted crake

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Unread postby Johan van Rensburg » Tue Dec 05, 2006 9:34 am

I've just completed posting the previous post when I came accross a new product on the Zeiss website... looks very interesting. It's a combined eyepeice and 4MP camera for use with a Diascope, gives 40x on an 85FL and 30x on a 65FL. It comes complete with a cordless shutter release and looks like it could be very user friendly. The unit is fully waterproof and takes SD cards.

According to the website there will be a limited production of only 1000 units, I guess they're testing the market with it. No price yet, but launch is expected in January next year (2007). Assuming it works well it could be a great bit of kit. Should be very easy to take shots without disturbing viewing, looks like digiscoped flight shots would be much easier... It will be interesting to see what the shutter lag and fps rates are, as these could make or break it. It is not and integrated camera/scope as with Celestron and Kowa. You will be able to swap the camera with any of the Zeiss eye pieces in the same way as eye pieces are currently changed. From that point of view this new development is the more flexible product.

Check the Zeiss website for more info and some pictures...
676 Latest lifers: Short-clawed lark, Caspian plover, Western marsh harrier, Rüppell's vulture, Spotted crake

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Unread postby Boulder » Tue Dec 05, 2006 7:55 pm

Johan the Zeiss Diascopes are the best in the world even better than the Swarovski HD Glass scopes and the 85FL uses the same quality glass as their world leading Victory FL binos. I dont know about this thing you are talking about but the scope comes complete with Eyepiece and a medium grade tripod as a kit from New York at $ 1750.00 and R 20 000 plus in SA!!! To do digiscoping properly this scope with the Zeiss attachment and an 8MP coolpix Nikon would be the way to go or if quality is key then a proper Nikkor Type lens on a DSLR of 8 plus Mp is the better option of even the Zeiss Digiscoping option.
Dawn greeting of the francolin

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Unread postby Boulder » Tue Dec 05, 2006 8:03 pm

My Apologies Johan I have just looked at the Zeiss web site and this device sure looks like a winner. I will check the new york shop website and let you know the price. Its Zeiss leading the way again. My Dad Passed Away last year and I am going to get a Green coloured Zeiss 85 T* FL Scope in his memory to compliment my 8 x T* FL binos. That would certainly make sense getting the adaptor as well saving lugging another Tripod plus the Nikkor 200-400 around as well. In my youth I could have but the muscle tone is going so this is a great way to record what I'm looking at when I'm not actually doing dedicated photography.
Dawn greeting of the francolin


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