Digiscoping - Photography with Digital Still Camera through Spotting Scope

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Digiscoping - My experiences
At first I should explain, what the word digiscoping means. Digiscoping is a fairly new way of photographing birdsPicture Gallery with a digital camera combined to a spotting scope. So the scope in front of the camera works as a big teleconverter with a magnification of what the eyepiece magnifies.
So if you've got a scope with a 20x eyepiece, the focal length of the camera has to multiplied with 20, if you combine it to the scope.
So as you can see, the resulting focal length will be very huge. For example, if you've got a camera with a focal length of 100mm and you put a scope with 20x magnification in front of it, you'll get a resulting focal length of 2000mm.

The first time I heard about the digiscoping-technique was in spring 2002, when I was searching the web for information about my Coolpix 995More Info camera. Then explored several sites about this camera and came at least to Yves LeducsMore Info website Feathered memoriesMore Info, where I admired his digiscoped birds-photosMore Info and red about his photo-technique.


So I decided to see more websites about digiscoping and followed Yves links, which brought me to the BirdsPicture Gallery Of Manitoba website of Ann Cook. What I saw there was unbelievable for me. Crystal Clear and razor-sharp images of birdsPicture Gallery, taken throug Spotting Scope.
And I explored other digiscoping-websites, like Andy BrightsMore Info Digiscoped.comMore Info website, where I found all informations I missed at
other websites.

So my decision was clear, I wanted to go into digiscoping. So I decided to contactMore Info a digiscoper to have a look at original digiscoping pix directly from the camera -without any photoshop-work done to them.
Ann Cook was so kind and sent me a pic of a digiscoped bluebird. The quality of the picture was unbelievable. After Ann answered some of my basic questions about digiscoping and spotting scopes, I decided to buy a Spotting Scope. What a luck, that I already had a Coolpix 995More Info camera then. For both, camera and scope, I wouldn't have had enough money.
When my scope arrived the weatherPicture Gallery was very bad, and had to digiscope out of my window, cause of the heavy rain these days. And I had no adapter, so all of my first shots were handheld shots.
The results were a bit disappointing, ad not as sharp as Ann's pics were.

Digiscoping - The First PicMy first digiscoped birdPicture Gallery, as
you can see there are absolutely
no details in the feathers and
there is heavily ISO 400 noise in
the picture...

I made everything wrong. I digiscoped in a bad light situation with ISO400 and the birdPicture Gallery was about 50mtrs away from me, so I photographed with the scope eyepiece at 40x.
So I had to wait for better weatherPicture Gallery. Meanwhile I created a selfmade digiscoping-adapter and a selfmade cable release for the shutter-button. I made a counterbalance, so that the scope didn't move up or down anymore with the camera mounted in front. And then the weatherPicture Gallery became better and better.
And that days a common redstartPicture Gallery was breeding very close to our house, so that I were able to test my modified digiscoping-setup on it.

Digiscoping - Coolpix 995As you can see, there are much
more details in the feathers. And
of course I've learned a little
about photoshop during the bad
weatherPicture Gallery period.

The digiscoping results were much better with my selfmade digiscoping adapter and the cable-release. But I noticed, that there were too much vibration in the tripod, so sold my tripod and bought a better one. Again the digiscoping results got a little better. The resized and optimized pics were clear and sharp now. So the vibration has caused the soft images of my digiscoping equipment.
But the pics were not as sharp as the digiscoped pics of Ann Cook, Andy BrightMore Info and others. I noticed, that these guys used the Nikon Coolpix 990More Info with an optical 3x zoom instead of the Nikon Coolpix 995More Info with an optical 4x zoom as I did. So I decided to buy a refurbished Nikon Coolpix 990More Info for digiscoping. And the results were perfect. The sharpnes, clarity and the colours came out much better than the pics of my 995More Info.
But please don't think, that every digiscoping-shot is a hit. The results are dependent on so many things, that you can be very happy if 50% of the digiscoped shots are half decents shots. Only when the light is perfect, and the feathers of the birdPicture Gallery has got enough contrast and if the air is clean from dust or humidity and if there's no wind, you can hope for some great digiscoping shots.
For some more information about digiscoping, and for some information about the several cameras I've tested for digiscoping so far, please have a look at the grey box at the top of this page. There you'll find all the digiscoping-articles of this website.

Remark : This article is from 2002. There are much more cameras that are well in terms at digiscoping at the moment. Most of the cameras in the box at the right are quite old models and are discontinued. Please inform yoursel at other resources, too, if you wan't to get in digiscoping. Try birdforumMore Info or the digiscopingbirds groupMore Info at yahoo.groups.com !

If you want to buy scopes or camera (or just even other things), you can support me keeping this website online when you use this link to Amazon and then buy your camera or anything else there : Kowa TSN-884 Prominar 88mm Spotting Scope
Thank you for your help :-) !

Article from Somewhere in 2002


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