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Old Jul 25, 2003, 12:53 PM   #11
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I really liked the form factor of the 4500. Good for all kinds of pockets.

I've got a friend who has the CP5000. I could probably borrow his and see how well it works. I doubt I could con him out of it, he loves it as a simple companion to his D100. I assume on cameras like that one you have to get an extention tube and screw that into the adapter?

I thought the Pentax 80mm had a larger eye piece (it was designed around their telescope eye pieces, if I recall correctly.) But that just didn't "Feel right" when I had a look through one once.

I've had trouble finding a 4500 at any place I'd really consider buying from. Sad, but true. I'm still holding out hope for my camera guy to come up with. You never know, he is good at what he does.

Thanks again for all the info. You've been very helpful!

Eric
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Old Jul 25, 2003, 1:51 PM   #12
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I think the Pentax PF80ED (and the newer 100ED) only take 1 1/4" eyepieces which are however in some cases flippin' huge. Good value over there (if you get a goodun) but heavy as a package.

I think that Walther Loff may be a retired machinist so machined an adaptor himself or got a contact to do it for him. His scope is a B&L Elite ED.

If you do go for the Swarovski and you want to give it a fair trial with the Nikon 5000 you might have to give some thought to choice of eyepiece. While the 20-60x Swarovski zoom gives good results with "those Coolpixes" (even if without easy access to zoom with some adaptors) it might well give vignetting with the CP5000. A low power, wide angle, fixed magnification eyepiece with good eye relief is presumably what you'd want to try. If Swarovski don't have a suitable candidate, Scopetronix may well.

Certainly sounds like you want a 4500. I sincerely hope your "scrounger" delivers the goods.
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Old Jul 25, 2003, 7:50 PM   #13
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I heard of quality control problems on the PF80ED as well. But I would have thought they'd be over that by now. Maybe not.

I seem to remember someone just recently produced an eye piece which was flatter that the usual eye piece. That made it better for cameras (as opposed to eyes.) Thanks for the warning about the 20-60x. I got the scope today (at cheaper than B&H prices, so I'm happy) and I got the standard 20-60x eye piece because the scope is going to do about 1/2 time as a standard bird spotting scope. I'll expect vignetting.

I assumed I'd have to get a better eye piece for digiscoping. Damn, between photography and bird watching (and now the intersection) this is an expensive hobby.

It really does seem that a CP4500 does what I want, but I'm not holding my breath (and I'm looking at the CP5000 and A3.)

Eric
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Old Jul 26, 2003, 4:22 AM   #14
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Hope you're right about Pentax quality control. Be interesting to see how the guy on BirdForum gets on with his new PF100ED. Good value for what it is but does his budget include treatment for a hernia I wonder.

I recall Andy Bright was doing some testing on a very low power eyepiece which gave a flat field presumably optimised to work with a flat CCD rather than a curved retina. Wonder if that was the one you mean (haven't looked at BirdForum for a few days now).

I guess your choice of eyepiece has now given added incentive to get one of "those Coolpixes" since getting one would mean you wouldn't need to consider getting another for your digiscoping. Seeing some of the pictures, at screen size, shot with the Swarovski/CP4500 combo, it's difficult to image how they could be better from a technical viewpoint.

So what's left to get? Perhaps a carbon fibre tripod upgrade? Maybe a new head, a ball and socket or how about a Wimberley?Coolpix 4500 plus memory cards? Battery backup? Swarovski adaptor? Special cable release? Xtend-a-View pro sunshade/magnifier?...

Come to think of it, you've probably already got most of the "biggies" apart from the camera. Good new is, your girlfriend would never be stuck for an idea for a present.
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Old Jul 26, 2003, 7:24 AM   #15
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Ahh, if she only had the money. She is not short of ideas, but photography is an expensive hobby (where have I heard this before?) and she doesn't have enough cash to feed my addicition... ah, hobby.

That is the eye piece I was thinking of. But I don't know how well it would work when trying to reframe the picture. Are you stuck using the camera because it won't work well with the eye?

I'm off to look at one of two tripods to do double duty with my camera. Either the Manfrotto Carbon One (3443D) or the Gitzo G2227.

The gizto is a very agile tripod ( put legs at any angle) but the legs have a tendancy to slide out 'cause they don't "lock" like the Manfrotto. It is a very good tripod for photography. Combining weird center coumn angles with the the leg agility and it should never be the limiting factor when taking a shot (or looking through a scope.) But does the off center colum cause problems with a scope?

On the other hand, the Carbon one is cheaper by $140USD. Hard to argue against that. A standard run-of-the-mill tripod configuration. Not as flexable for camera use (still good thought), but fits the bill very well for scope use.

I'd like to go with a ball head for photography reasons, but after the exchange on birdforum, it sounds like it would probably be better to go with a fluid head like the Manfroto 501. That should also work ok with 100-400 lens I've got. I'm expecting that I'll need a bigger pod and head when I finally break down and get the 500mm lens I'm craving. I can't get 1 tripod and head 'cause there will be occasions where I'll need both the camera (for me) and scope for girlfriend (and me.) That lets me pick gear suited more for its purpose, with the ability to do double duty.

Don't get me started on the purchase choices. The logical set of equipment is:
Camera:
500mm -> Wimberle Side Kick (or maybe the big one, but doubtfull) big flash, better beamer, batter charger & lots of batteries, bean bag, hard disk for CF dumping.

Scope:
CP4500, another CF card, extra batteries, swarovski adapter, special remote release (wireless?), Xtend-a-View pro, hard disk for CF dumping. Flash and better beamer.

Well, off to get a tripod and then do some bird watching and photography. And the weather is beautiful....

Eric
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Old Jul 26, 2003, 3:26 PM   #16
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A day's shopping and birding, eh? Hope you had a good day, Eric. As you read this you may be glowing with the bloom of good health and youthfulness from your exertions of the day. On the other hand it's just possible you feel absolutely knackered.

Wonder which way you went with the tripod. Certainly digiscoping and conventional photography seem to have different requirements (though don't know whether the dragonfly digiscoping brigade find the need to contort themselves and tripod to get their shots).

I guess you're right that a simple, sturdy, centre-columnless design would be ideal for the (angled?) scope. Of course light weight might well be an issue if you want to be able to trek with it. Presumably in these enlightened days your girlfriend is allowed the privilege of carting the one she's using. I noticed Tannin suggested the 501 head was rather heavy; rather brave when other Aussies on the site might have called him something that might sound a bit rude to English speakers from elsewhere.

I'm sure the eyepiece you mention would work fine with the eye; I recall Andy saying the oddest sensation was from looking through the scope and finding such a wide field, low power view. I guess you might lose some quality at the outer edges of the FOV but wouldn't expect that to be much of an issue for terrestrial use. Actually, I do wonder whether it would have too much of an impact on the majority of digiscoped pictures I've seen with their centrally place subjects; unless of course these digiscopers are unfortunate enough to find that the intended subject has decided to pose in front of a lens testing chart. The low minimum power could be useful though if it is combined with allowing virtually full zoom with the CP4500. The only person I've heard claim full vignetting-free 4x zoom on the 4500 is Yossi by using that "adapted" Pentax XL eyepiece.

Hope you'll keep us posted on your quest for a CP4500.
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Old Jul 26, 2003, 7:18 PM   #17
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I'm washed out. I got back and slept for 2 or 3 hours... right on the sofa where I laid down.

I was a little scared of putting the scope on the Gitzo, so I went with the Carbon one. Very nice and light. I'm not as thrilled with the clip lock legs. I find it nicer to adjust the others 'cause you can grab them anywhere and turn. Faster, I think. But I did learn that you can adjust them if they start to wear out, just like the other type.

I still find the 501 a little stiff, but I eventually just didn't notice it. The weight wasn't bad, but maybe that is because:
1) I'm used to lugging around heavy photography equipment.
2) I got the ATS 80-HD, so itís ligher than the old model.
3) I got the carbon fiber tripod, so it was light as well.

I still find the concept of using a scope on a dragonfly kinda funny. I get good photos of them with my 100-400 lens (and even better ones if I had an extention tube, the close-focus distance isn't great on that lens.) Why digiscope them? Sounds like overkill (and complex.) But I haven't seen their results yet, so maybe I'd go "wow!"

My girlfriend is good about these things. Normally I consider this part of my exercise plan, so I carry most/all the stuff. But we swapped off with the scope/pod. She doesn't have a lot of upper body strength, but this should help!

I've used that eyepiece before, and it works wonderfully for me. I find the size of the image shrinks between about 35-50x, but then enlarges back out so that 20x & 60x are basically the same. Weird. But I bet that playing with eye distance could help that. It allowed me to see a Glossy Ibis, which was neat. Never would have seen it with binocs. At 60x, he was quite visible and fun to watch.

All my birds post in front of lens charts, don't yours? I've added a ruler to the side to I can gauge their size as well. Also, very helpful with identification.

From talking with Andy Bright, he pointed out something which I'm sure is true. So many digiscoped pictures are cropped (which works fine on the web) it can be a bit hard to really know what was going on. Was it center-glass only? How far were they zoomed in? Can't tell.

I'll let you know if I got a CP4500. I tried a little hand held with the 50mm f1.8. Not great (by a long shot) but a few weren't bad. I might touch one up and post it.

Gotta get to a late dinner. Thanks again for this chat, it's been fun.

Eric
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Old Jul 27, 2003, 4:46 AM   #18
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Excellent. Sounds like you had a great day, Eric.

On opening up the forum today I just noticed your earlier thread on the ATS-80HD. Maybe there's something about that thread that hits everyone's blind spot Sorry, I guess you'd already answered my question about straight or angled.

I've never doubted most digiscoped pictures are cropped; and level adjusted, sharpened etc. etc. I guess it's true then that my observation about centrally placed birds in what is presented on screen is therefore, to a large extent, a comment on people's post processing. However, on the issue of centre and edge glass, I'd still say that the difficulties in digiscoping tends to mean that some of the niceties of composition (exactly how the rectangle is filled) are given lesser priority at picture taking stage; the first one being to "get the bird". I accept better tools which give confidence in the user that pictures will be free of vignetting and sharp edge to edge could help. As well as this confidence, increasing skill levels may make this an issue, and perhaps something of a shift of emphasis in digiscoper and audience towards judging results as photographs rather than representations of objects. Things are moving fast. I guess in the early days of digiscoping it was enough to see a sharp frame-filling picture of a wild bird that would have probably required the use of a hide and maybe days of waiting for a conventional 35mm photographer (given the magnification levels realistically available to him/her).

You've got some exciting challenges ahead, for sure. If you start posting pictures on BirdForum it might even be enough to persuade me to go back there for a look. BTW, don't get me wrong, I didn't get in a row or anything there; I think the administrators are really too on top of things there to let anything like that happen. It's just for some time I realised I had stopped taking sufficent time over my posts to feel confident what I'd posted wouldn't annoy someone or perhaps give the impression that I was annoyed. Perhaps this is a well known and documented "poster's mid-life crisis". BirdForum is great fun and, if anything, a little too addictive.
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Old Jul 27, 2003, 10:56 AM   #19
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I did have a good day. I've got some annoying virus that is lingering and driving me nuts... so I still feel like I could sleep for a couple of days.

A few people had read it, but I'm not sure it needed a response. I'm still amazed at how light and small that scope is. And the view through it is amazingly bright and crisp. I saw a Nikon 80mm or 100mm scope while I was out. My first thought was "wow that is big" but it was quickly followed up by "I'm glad I don't carry that thing around!"

I assume that the curved eyepiece will distort the picture some. How can it not? But maybe it won't be very noticeable, or be taken away with cropping. When I messed around with hand-held digiscoping, I found a few pictures with weird rainbow distortions when the sun wasn't near the view... I'm guessing it was a combination of my bad handholding and the curvature bending the light in weird ways. But it could also have been that the camera wasnít flush with the scope.

I hadn't thought about the evolution of digiscoping, but I bet that is exactly what is/will happen. As the equipment and skill gets better, standards will rise. What is now considered "good" will become "common place" and the bar will be raised. Interesting. It almost makes me wonder if you could analyze what produces where available when, then trace it back to a specific product which made the largest difference (some combination of price and largest benefit, like a really good mount.)

Yesterday, my 400mm just didn't seem that long once I started to seriously look through the scope at the Ibis. Even with the crop factor and my 1.4TC, 896mm was short. I didn't take as many shots using the real lens because... well, the animals seemed so far away. Itís a pity, because I missed some shots I could have cropped and still used. I expect I'll not fall into that trap now that I have understood it (until I get a good mounting system for another camera and the quality goes up.)

The problem I have with birdforum is that the forums are laid out badly. Maybe it's just that I'm used to the simplicity of here. Here things are only one level deep, forums are grouped fairly simply and itís easy to understand. I have a simple pattern of what to read and I'm done in about 10-15 minutes (if I don't post/reply). There, I have to remember where I posted to, and how to get back there. I end up going multiple levels deep to check out stuff that in the end hasnít been replied to. I really find it annoying. Oh, and there is no symbol which says that a forum has a new post since last I was there. I find that invaluable here.

But is sure is addictive. I find that you learn who knows what they are talking about and write well. You start to look for their posts and you want to read them Ďcause youíll learn something. I used to be a PC game addict. Mostly games which use my brains, not my reflexes (which do have their place.) But I havenít been playing much recently. Iím just having been having fun with the forums and taking pictures.

I expect Iíll fix up my best digiscoped picture and post it. It isnít that good, but compared to the rest of what I did (and itís hand held and my first time doing it) Iím fairly happy. I have very high standards, so I have to make sure Iím not unduly critical on myself.

Unfortunately, I have to get some work done. Big push to get the product finished by the end of next month. But I hope to get some time to work on the pictures. Iíll post something when I put the picture up.

Eric
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Old Jul 27, 2003, 2:26 PM   #20
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I always just thought BirdForum was big, but I guess you're right that the attempts to organise has created loads of similar looking cul de sacs. As an example of the result of this, I found that info on teleconvertors for "those Coolpixes" was dotted around all over the place.

I guess you're right, it's time to put this thread to rest Must say, I enjoyed this leisurely chat very much

Hope you can beat that virus quickly now and still keep up the workrate you need. As a tease I would have liked to sign off here with a picture of a Coolpix 4500 draped with scantily clad females (something I suppose one could do on BirdForum). Instead I'll just give the link to the sexy picture of the Coolpix 4500 I probably would have used as a starting point :

http://www.nikon.co.jp/main/jpn/d-ar...00_green_i.jpg
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