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Old Sep 4, 2003, 8:18 AM   #1
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Default Digiscoping, birds and hides

Are you generally limited to the distance that you can travel on-foot, while carrying Digiscoping equipment? Taking a C750 on a hike around the Brecon Beacons Mountain range is one thing, but a telescope attachment (and a few other bits and pieces no doubt) on top is (I would imagine) a fair haul?

Photographing birds is something that I would like to look seriously at in the future. It would seem to me that the hides would be used more often than not, is that what most of you use for subjects like birds?

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Simon Stevens
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Old Sep 4, 2003, 9:51 AM   #2
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Right. Sometimes a telescope is appropriate. Other times a monocular, like EagleEye or CrystalVue might be a better choice. Or maybe just the Oly B-300. It all depends on the particular situation when it comes to birds or other wildlife.
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Old Sep 4, 2003, 10:33 AM   #3
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I can see the benifits of using one, I have seen some excellent shots taken while digiscoping..... I was just concerned about the weight of the equipment if I had to walk/hike a long distance.
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Old Sep 4, 2003, 10:42 PM   #4
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The weight is a problem. So is that you have to manual focus. And the loss of light usually requires a large aperture to get any reasonable shutter speed. This is exactly what you don't want, 'cause stopping down usually produces sharper pictures.

Also, the subject (basically) has to be stationary. This works for many birds, but no all by a long shot. You might get that heron, but not the turn diving into the tidal pool to get fish.

Digiscoping can produce good results. But for the majority of people it produces "ok" to "good enough" results.

I am a birdwatcher who picked up photography after seeing one to many thing which made me go "wow". A blind is appropriate in some situations, but in others is completely unnecessary. I go mostly to national parks and private conservation land (Nature Conservancy, Trusties of Reservations, Audubon, and others) that are in my area. In many of those, getting there at the right time of day is much more important than a blind.

But my experience might not be typical. I don't go on wild adventures and trips to get shots. I just go where I learn the birds are (from reports on the web) and then I try to get there and see what I can see. If you were going to go into Glacier NP or Yellow Stone then a blind might help.

Eric
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Old Sep 5, 2003, 2:57 AM   #5
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Thanks Eric. I have a while yet before I make any serious decisions about having a go at digiscoping..... I can now see that it's limited to still shots, that was something that I didn't consider. I also realise the importance of "knowing your subject" when it comes to bird photography, being in the right place at the right time can be vital. I suppose that making the difference between bad, average and great shots while digiscoping is in the same technique as normal photography...Practice, Practice and more practice.

Thanks again

Simon
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Old Sep 5, 2003, 1:47 PM   #6
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Default Not my experience at all....

Quote:
Digiscoping can produce good results. But for the majority of people it produces "ok" to "good enough" results.
Hi Eric,

Curious what makes you say this. Is this some result of a poll, a statistical analysis or are you simply guessing based on your own experience?

The reason I'm asking is that in my experience with digiscoping (which spans most of the history of the option), I've found that the "majority" of people who digiscope get far more than "good enough" results.

As you say, you won't get that diving Tern with digiscoping, but then the odds are you get that shot with anthing else as well. I shoot birds with the finest equipment available in both digiscoping (CP950, 990, 4500 - Swarovski ST-80 HD - Meade ETX-90, etc.) and conventional terms (EOS-1D, EOS-1DS, 10D, D30, DCS-760 with fast super high quality lenses) and I feel I get better results with digiscoping in general than I do otherwise. Primarily this is because I get more detail from the extreme closeups than with my conventional lenses.

Yes, digiscoping is limited to still subjects and reasonably good lighting, but if you take the time to search out the sites which many of us here (Andy Bright, myself, etc.,) have posted links to, you will find not only "good results," but outstanding results.

This is why I'm curious as to why you assume that "the majority" get "good enough" results...

Best regards,

Lin
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Old Sep 8, 2003, 8:58 AM   #7
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Lin, just curious of your opinion on my question?
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Old Sep 8, 2003, 9:58 AM   #8
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Hi Simon,

I actually did respond, but the "hacker" caused some responses to be lost including mine.

If you have something like a Swarovski ST-80 HD, Pentax 80, Leica 77 APO, etc., and a CP4500, DigiSnap 2000 & Xtend-a-View it's really not too much to carry. Today's better spotting scopes are quite light and portable but the BIG issue is the tripod.

To do digiscoping justice you absolutely do need a good rock-steady tripod. Carbon fiber is about the only thing strong enough and light enough to really backpack. Though the upper-end carbon fiber tripods are prohibitively expensive, you can find some for reasonable prices if you shop around. If you use a "rock bag" (simply a bag which you can fill with rocks for weight) to hang from the center of your tripod (see Andy Bright on this) you can get good stability from a light tripod. Also a carbon fiber head would be desirable.

Some digiscopers like to work from blinds (hide), but my experience is that birds are much "smarter" than we give them credit for being. If you simply sit quietly for a period of time, birds will quickly become accustomed to your presence and go about their business while you click away. Usually, at least in my experience, it's not necessary to try and conceal yourself to get good shots. After all that's why we use the high power optics :-)

Best regards,

Lin
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Old Sep 8, 2003, 10:42 AM   #9
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That's great, thanks Lin.

I will keep my eyes open for any "bargain" (and light) kit.

Thanks again

Simon
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Old Sep 11, 2003, 2:40 PM   #10
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Eric said,"And the loss of light usually requires a large aperture to get any reasonable shutter speed. This is exactly what you don't want, 'cause stopping down usually produces sharper pictures. "

This is absolutely incorrect in relation to modern digicams although it is somewhat true for cameras of larger formats like 35mm. Ther larger the format, the more likely this will be true. The issue at play is diffraction. With a 35mm, the "sweet spot" for image quality is usually between f5.6 and f11. This is the area where stopping down reduces optical anomolies but doesn't introduce significant diffraction problems. F16 and f22 on a 35mm camera are almost never the sharpest settings.

But on a digicam, there is only a very small "sweet spot". Because the sensor is so small, diffraction starts to become an issue at around f4 which is a pretty typical f-number when digiscoping. So on an f2.0 lens, the sweet spot is between f2.0 and f4.0 - which is exactly where we would like to be for digiscoping. This is one reason that most digicams do not offer an f-number beyond f-10 or so.

Furthermore, my F10 1000mm Rubinar lens (that I use as a scope for digiscoping) actually operates as an f4-f5.6 lens when afocally coupled. The afocal coupling actually serves to reduce the "scope's" focal length which results in a larger effective aperture.

I use a number of mirror type scopes and carry them attatched to a Manfrotto 3021N tripod with a 3130 Microfluid Video Head. I attached an old style 2" wide camera strap to the tripod and carry the whole thing under my arm with the strap over my shoulder.
http://www.jayandwanda.com/digiscope/carrystrap.jpg
I can hike quite a few miles this way.

I don't use blinds. That is one of the things that digiscoping helps with. You don't need to approach as close as you would with conventional equipment. Although getting closer almost always will yield better images.
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