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Old Jan 26, 2005, 1:22 PM   #1
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I'd like an analysis for utilizing digiscoping for capturing pics of surfers (of friends surfing). Since there will be movement involved (tracking the surfer) would a motorized/computer telescope be favored?

Would an expensive telephoto lens be an alternative? I have a Nikon Coolpix 4300 (CP4300) (with a tack-on TC-E3 3x telephoto lens). I'd like to consider higher zoom telephoto lenses (what brands/models and can they be adapted to the Nikon)?

Or would digiscopes fill this requirement with added value (more versatility: astronomy, etc).

I'd like to utilize my digicam (CP4300) and my Canon ZR-40 Video camera (both have threads on their lenses).
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Old Jan 27, 2005, 5:50 PM   #2
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Realistic - you won't be able to do this with your digicam. Buy even an inexpensive Canon 300D or Nikon D70 and see below:

In this case a good, high powered telephoto lens is your "only" solution. Digiscoping is only viable for static subjects. When trying to shoot at absurd focal lengths, even the slightest movement can spell disaster. I mean rock solid tripod, remote release and if using an SLR or dSLR even mirror lockup.

You simply can't shoot moving subjects because you won't have shutter speed. Even the super expensive and fast optics of a majorly expensive telescope pales by comparison with an excellent, fast telephoto lens.

Not knowing exactly what equipment you now have, I find it difficult to make a suggestion, but if you are looking for anything even remotely resembling digiscoping focal lengths, probably you will want to look at something like the Sigma 300-800 telephoto lens and perhaps used with a 1.4x teleconverter. Add this to the 1.3, 1.5, 1.6 or 1.7 focal length of a crop factor camera and you will have 1456mm to 1904mm (camera dependent). If you use a Canon or Kodak (1.3x) you will get 1456mm. If you use a Sigma SD10 you will get 1904mm. Nikon (1.5x), or Canon 1.6x will be in the middle somewhere.

The Sigma is sharp throughout the focal range and holds F5.6. Add the 1.4x and you are at F8. That's about as good as it gets. If you find you need less focal length, you could use a 500mm or 600mm F4 (Canon) or Nikon equivalent.

Lin

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Old Jan 28, 2005, 11:00 PM   #3
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I guess it depends where you will be as to how far away the subject will be. I took this one in Florida with a 70/200 lens zoomed out to 200 and a 2x teleconverter. I think the camera factor is 1.5 for a total of 600mm. I don't think that that focal length is really digiscoping territory. Maybe west coast beaches are a lot bigger - I've never been there. This photo was probably about a 1/3 crop out of the center. With a longer focal length you could frame tighter. However, my brief experience is that surfers make sudden and erratic movements and if you are framed in too tightly you will end up missing a lot of the action. Good luck.
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Old Jan 28, 2005, 11:51 PM   #4
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Thanks for the nice example.

Ok... digiscoping is a little too much focal length for this application. But what's a telephoto product that can give my Nikon Coolpix 4300 a little more zoom than my present 3x TC-E3 Teleconverter lens?

Is it hard to fit other (typically not used with the Coolpixs)Telephoto lenses onto the Coolpixs? Or is it just the matter of getting the right step up rings?

On some beaches the TC-E3 will be good enough (I agree some latter cropping helps to "fill up" the photo). But other beaches have waves that form alot further from shore and a more desireable focal length would help alot. I'd like to stay along the entry level lines to save some money.
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Old Jan 30, 2005, 5:52 PM   #5
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You may want to look at the EagleEye OpticZoom 5x which can be used in tandem with your TC-E3 to give you some pretty good images as long as you use either a tripod or a bean-bag type support.

The EagleEye is a high quality optic which I've used with my CP950, CP990 and CP4500 along with my TC-E2. See shots and samples on one of my sample sites at:

http://www.lin-evans.net

Click first on the "Nikon" link, then on the "Telephoto" link. The series of the first four images on the Nikon link show the range using the EagleEye and TC-E2 with the CP995 and the "Telephoto" link has a number of shots all done with the EagleEye, TC-E2 and combinations.

Here's a link to EagleEye - lots and lots of samples there:

http://www.eagleeyeuk.com

Also sold in the U.S. by PhotoSolve in Oklahoma at:

http://www.photosolve.com

Lin
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Old Jan 31, 2005, 1:02 PM   #6
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Yes OptiZoom is what Photsolve calls it. Very interesting. I'll be taking a closer look at this soon.

http://www.photosolve.com/main/produ...oom/index.html

Is there a recommended tripod feature to use once we start getting into these types of focal lengths?

I do have the remote cord attachment (for shake-less picture taking) but interested in any worthwhile tripod features that may help in slight tracking adjustments.

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Old Feb 1, 2005, 4:17 PM   #7
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Actually, no. Just about any reasonably steady tripod should easily keep your camera steady enough for this focal length. With a 4x CP4500 which goes to a native 35mm equivalency of 152mm at full zoom, you are looking at 152x5 (OpticZoom) x3 (TC-E3) or a total of 2280mm.We frequently shoot at 6000mm with aSwarovski spotting scope and our CP4500 or CP990 and use a fairly heavyMonfortto base and head, but the camerawith the OpticZoom and 3X mounted is pretty light so should work well onany fairly solid tripod, especially using your remote release. If you have problems, you can always hang a bag of rocks from the center post of the tripod (seriously - it works well).

Best regards,

Lin
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Old Feb 2, 2005, 8:39 AM   #8
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Yes I can see the utility in adding mass to the tripod (bag of rocks). Brilliant. That should help my lightweight tripod (Cullmann Magic 2) on a windy day.

Any tips on small adjustments (e.g. left-right) to track a subject that's moving?




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Old Feb 27, 2005, 6:23 PM   #9
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StanV wrote:
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...Maybe west coast beaches are a lot bigger - I've never been there.....
StanV thanks for the totally hip and pertinent pic. Many west coast beaches (southern cali) might be as you'd expect (i.e. wouldn't make youask about digiscoping). But I went to San Onofre (between Huntington Beach and San Diego) and I was really impressed by this beach. See http://ci.san-clemente.ca.us/sc/Rec/Surf/Tour/

The picture at the above site looks to be high tide but I got there at low tide (which exaggerates a bit what I point out below). To make a long story short, San Onofre gradually gets deep so the waves stay up for a very long time which makes it a great place for longboarding. But the surfers stay way more out than usual to catch the first wave breaks. This made my 3x Coolpix times 3x TC-E3 (= 9x) a joke. Alias, I wanted more zoom factor. I recently picked up the 5X OpticZoom and I'm hoping I can i can get more than 15x out of my3x Coolpix and OpticZoom combo. My hope is with integrating a TC-E2 or a TC-E3 with Coolpix plus 5x OpticZoom (yielding potentially 30x or 45x respectively).

Anyone have this setup (i.e. Coolpix > OpticZoom > TC-E2 or TC-E3)???? If so, any comments?? Where can I get a reasonable priced 37mm to 28mm "converter" ring (i.e. step down ring)????? Ref: http://www.photosolve.com/main/product/rings/ring_conv.html
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Old Feb 28, 2005, 9:12 PM   #10
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That's some beach! I see your point. My set-up would be totally inadequate out there. I hope you will post some results once you get going.
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