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Old Oct 18, 2002, 11:58 AM   #1
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Default Ideas for starting off in Digiscoping

Hi,

I've a Nikon 950 and was thinking about using it for digiscoping instead of dropping a big chunk of dough on a tele lens for my 35mm SLR.

Can somebody suggest a good telescope to start off with? And what I'd need for adapters...I've read here that the ETX-90 is good choice, but some other ideas would be appreciated.

I intend to shoot mostly wildlife - small animals & birds and such. The night sky is too bright where I live to do much in the way of astronomical photography.

I have a camera tripod - would that work for a telescope? or again are adapters needed.

thx in advance
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Old Oct 18, 2002, 2:50 PM   #2
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I've heard good things about the ETX-90. I use a LOMO Astele 95 which is similar in design. I have a LOMO Astele 70 on order which won't give me as much useful magnification, but I'm hoping its smaller size will make up for that. I got spoiled by the lightweight of my first 14x40 scope. I'm thinking the 70mm would make a very good beginning scope for digiscoping as well, but I haven't received it yet so I could be all wrong.

There are many roads to what to use for an adapter. If you go with a mirrored scope like the ETX-90 that has a long focal length (1200mm), then an eyepiece like the Maxview 40 which has a 28mm thread on it and will screw directly to your camera is a good way to go. I've made my own adapters out of PVC pipe and filter rings and have simply have epoxied a 37mm-28mm step down converter to an eyepiece as a means of adapting it. I think Scopetronix has a wide variety of adapters. There is no one best way.

My first scope was a LOMO Captain 14x40. I wrote up a page on how I adapted it and how it performed. I think its a good way to test your interest, but if you know you are going to end up digiscoping for a while, I'd save my money and spend it on a better, larger scope. Though I always carry my Captain in the field and use it much like others use binoculars.

http://www.jayandwanda.com/coolpix/captain/captain.html

A small scope like the Captain will probably work OK with your camera tripod (I'm assuming you have a mid-sized Velbon or similar typical camera tripod). But if you get a better, larger scope like the ETX-90, then you really should get a bigger/better tripod to go with it. High magnifications and relatively slow shutter speeds demand a stable scope. I have a Bogen/Manfrotto 3021N with a 3130 Microfluid Video Head. These cost over $200 and I understand a lot of digiscopers consider even this tripod and head to be inadequate.

Read everything at www.digibird.com if you want to understand more of the technical side.

Review past posts in the various forums.

Good luck,
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Old Oct 18, 2002, 11:57 PM   #3
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Quote:
I have a LOMO Astele 70 on order which won't give me as much useful magnification, but I'm hoping its smaller size will make up for that. I got spoiled by the lightweight of my first 14x40 scope. I'm thinking the 70mm would make a very good beginning scope for digiscoping as well, but I haven't received it yet so I could be all wrong.
Well the 70 arrived this afternoon. This scope is a LOT lighter and smaller than the 95. Of course, it loses about 30% of the 95's resolving power and probably a full stop of light. This scope could easily be left on the tripod while in the field though. I'll have pictures posted by Monday - I hope.
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