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Old Jul 10, 2012, 9:09 AM   #1
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Default Digiscoping Help Needed

I am a somewhat serious wildlife photographer and would like to expand into digiscoping. I am very interested in getting a spotting scope, separate digital camera, tripod and any necessary adapters for hooking all up. I do have a limited budget however. Can anyone offer advice as to the equipment I should get?

Thanks in advance!!!
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Old Jul 11, 2012, 3:59 PM   #2
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If your buget is limited, you would be best off buying one of those mirror scopes made by Meade or Celestron. They are more delicate than spotting scopes, but have better optics than all but the best spoting scope. If, you're planning to get an SLR, then these scopes have optional camera adapters, if not, you can use an adapter to hook them up to a digicam. You WILL need a good tripod with a digicam...

Here's a link to give you an idea about adapters...
DIGISCOPING.co.uk - Sponsored by London Camera Exchange

B&H and others, sell any possible adapter that you would want.

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Old Jul 17, 2012, 8:21 PM   #3
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If you are a serious wildlife photographer, digiscoping may not be your best option. A decent DSLR and a zoom lens with a minimum 300mm top end is a good start. Prime telephoto lenses in the 400 to 600mm range are ideal. Used with teleconverters allow even more power. One bad thing about digiscoping is the light loss, however, if you can find a P&S camera that will produce little noise at high ISO's, it will alleviate that problem. Digiscoping is best done with motionless subjects. There is alot to learn and much to be found on the internet regarding this subject. I will always be happy to answer your questions if I can.
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Old Jul 18, 2012, 2:59 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Streets View Post
If you are a serious wildlife photographer, digiscoping may not be your best option. A decent DSLR and a zoom lens with a minimum 300mm top end is a good start. Prime telephoto lenses in the 400 to 600mm range are ideal. Used with teleconverters allow even more power. One bad thing about digiscoping is the light loss, however, if you can find a P&S camera that will produce little noise at high ISO's, it will alleviate that problem. Digiscoping is best done with motionless subjects. There is alot to learn and much to be found on the internet regarding this subject. I will always be happy to answer your questions if I can.
Well, he has a "limited budget."

A good long lens costs more than a 'Scope, and even the usual spotting scopes cost a bundle.

Still, Meade and Celestron do make cheap, mirror scopes with excellent optics...

Dave
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Old Jul 20, 2012, 8:03 PM   #5
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Dave, what if his budget is limited and he doesn't want to spend more than $2000.00? I had no way of knowing what Don considered his limitations to be. By the way, I use a cheap Russian mirror lens that outperforms most refractive lenses when properly employed. I paid $125.00 for it. I would imagine that using it with one of the newer DSLR's that have little noise at ISO settings of 3200 and even higher would be ideal for wildlife photography. Using it as a prime lens gives me 30X (35mm equiv.) and 42X when using a 1.4X teleconverter. Digiscoping with it will up the magnification factor to ridiculous numbers. All of this performance from a lens that is eight and a half inches long and five inches in diameter. The LZOS lenses come from the optical works that was given all of the technical data created by the Zeiss Works as part of Germany's reperations to Russia at the end of WW2.
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Old Jul 21, 2012, 9:37 AM   #6
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Just to chime in and keep things stirred up I have found that a good spotting scope ( and remember the OP specified 'wildlife photography') which is bright enough to keep shutter speeds reasonable, is going to cost as much, or more, than SLR lenses with similar abilities. At least here, in my neck of the woods, wildlife is mostly not seen in broad daylight and open terrain, and doesn't hold still for portraits.

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Old Jul 24, 2012, 3:58 PM   #7
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I dunno, I interpret "limited budget" as meaning he doesn't have a lot of dough....

And yes, I agree, the 'scopes made by Meade or Celestron are quite good optically - You just have to handle them with more, ahh, "delicasy." I wont say a bad word about them...

VT - no offense, but have you ever priced a long lens? 6k is not exorbitant. I know a good spotting scope ain't cheap...

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Old Jul 25, 2012, 1:49 PM   #8
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Dave, I was out this morning at around 9:30 experimenting with my Sony A200 pushed to ISO 1600. I was using Equipment that I paid about $800.00 for. The shot of a taxiing ERJ was made 150-175 yards from subject. Basic exposure data: 420mm (630mm equiv.), f13, 1/4000. I was seeing what this setup would be like for wildlife work as discussed by the author of this thread. Seemed to be adequate to me. By the way, what happened to the guy that started this thread? We've been doing a lot of guessing on his behalf.
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Old Jul 27, 2012, 11:31 AM   #9
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Dave, I was out this morning at around 9:30 experimenting with my Sony A200 pushed to ISO 1600. I was using Equipment that I paid about $800.00 for. The shot of a taxiing ERJ was made 150-175 yards from subject. Basic exposure data: 420mm (630mm equiv.), f13, 1/4000. I was seeing what this setup would be like for wildlife work as discussed by the author of this thread. Seemed to be adequate to me. By the way, what happened to the guy that started this thread? We've been doing a lot of guessing on his behalf.
The point of my post was to present an alternative, and cheaper method for digiscoping then mine. A Swarovski now runs close to 3K, and its competitiors are about the same. Rather then settling for a cheap spotting scope, I recomended either Celsetron or Meade with their mirrored Scopes. Both can be gotten for $400 bucks or so. I also gave the caveat, that they are more delicate then spotting scopes...

And like good spotting scopes, they can be hooked up to either a digicam or an SLR.

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Old Aug 30, 2012, 9:40 AM   #10
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Have not visited this forum for nearly 2 years. Thanks Streets and Chato for responding.
Would like to know from Streets how his setup worked for him for wildlife photography, especially as regards the avian one?
If the focal length is around 600mm, I am afraid it doesn't help much for avian photography.
I have the experience of using the Nikon 1000mm reflex lens for avian photography. It works but I eventually traded off the lens for two reasons: firstly, not that pleased with bokehs with lots of donut-shaped circles in them; and secondly, the subtle details in the highlight and shadow areas are not that promising compared to the ones regenerated from glass.
Will visit this forum again and post some shots from the digiscoping setup I am currently using.
Here is a shot I took lately of a red-whiskered bulbul. The gear used are: Swarovski 80 HD STM, 30x-eyepiece, Nikon V1 and 10-30mm Nikkor.
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