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Old Sep 16, 2005, 2:16 PM   #1
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I've got a Pentax 33L that I'm thinking about using for digiscoping. I was initially considering using my Panasonic FZ20, but I've learned through this forum and a reply in the Panasonic forum that the Fluzzi's lens is probably too large for digiscoping. I guess this is one area in which the lenses with smaller circumfrences can outperform the super-zooms. Anyway, the 33L has a nice sharp little lens, so if anyone has any suggestions about how to set it up for digiscoping, I'd love to hear from you.
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Old Sep 17, 2005, 9:48 AM   #2
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LadyhawkVA wrote:
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I've got a Pentax 33L that I'm thinking about using for digiscoping. I was initially considering using my Panasonic FZ20, but I've learned through this forum and a reply in the Panasonic forum that the Fluzzi's lens is probably too large for digiscoping. I guess this is one area in which the lenses with smaller circumfrences can outperform the super-zooms. Anyway, the 33L has a nice sharp little lens, so if anyone has any suggestions about how to set it up for digiscoping, I'd love to hear from you.
I'm under the impression that any lens with threads can be used for digiscoping, and for that matter no doubt people even have adapters for those without threads.

So I would think that other factors make a camera a good or poor choice.

Still, I'm NOT an authority on this. So, live and learn.

Dave
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Old Sep 17, 2005, 1:21 PM   #3
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LadyhawkVA wrote:
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I've got a Pentax 33L that I'm thinking about using for digiscoping. I was initially considering using my Panasonic FZ20, but I've learned through this forum and a reply in the Panasonic forum that the Fluzzi's lens is probably too large for digiscoping. I guess this is one area in which the lenses with smaller circumfrences can outperform the super-zooms. Anyway, the 33L has a nice sharp little lens, so if anyone has any suggestions about how to set it up for digiscoping, I'd love to hear from you.
The procedure for an unknown camera is fairly simple: First you need to determine which spotting scope you will be using. Next hold the camera up to the eyepiece of the scope which you have pre-focused on some interesting subject and take some shots at focal lengths ranging from full zoom to wide angle. Next, determine how well the combination performed by opening the images in an image editor and carefully examining what you have.

If you have a reasonably decent range of zoom without vignetting and the results are reasonably sharp and crisp, the next step is to find a way to mount the camera to the scope. Cameras with filter threads are easier to deal with, but there are alternatives for cameras which have no filter threads.

I've never tried to digiscope with the Pentax so can't comment on its suitability, but if you find that it's amenable then go to the following site and look for a mounting alternative.

http://www.eagleeyeuk.com

If you are serious about digiscoping you may, rather than spend the money to adapt the pentax to a scope, purcase a used Nikon CP990 or CP4500 which are known for their amenability to digiscoping. Another excellent known tool are the Contax/Keyocera mini-cameras.

If you don't already have a scope, you then want to decide how seriously you want to pursue this. The least expensive way to get superior results is with an older model astro-type (mirror) scope such as the Meade ETX-90 or one of several Celestron models. The older Meade's can often be found for under $200 on the web. It's very easy to remove the motorized tracking base (just a few screws) then mount the scope barrel on a tripod with the provided treaded mount affixed to the scope's barrel.

If you want a more rugged scope which can withstand field use in rain, dust and such, consider a Kowa, Pentax or Swarovski model. The Swarovski HD-80 models in either the 45 degree or straight through configurations are perhaps the best and most popular. The Kowa is the least expensive. The Pentax already has an astro-type eyepiece so specialized eyepieces such as the William Optics 24mm or one of several ScopeTronix models can be used without buying additional adapters. You can also shoot through the scope's original default eyepiece, but the specialized eyepieces have exit pupils designed for use with a camera. The cost of a Swarovski HD model runs around $1300 while the Pentax is about $1000. The Kowas vary in price.There may be other models of spotting scope amenable to this, but these are the one's proven to work well.

You are unlikely to get good results unless you either use timed release or have a camera amenable to cable (remote) release. The Nikons work great with the HarborTronics Digisnap 2000 remote release:

http://www.harbortronics.com

I doubt that the Pentax is amenable to aremote release, but if it is available with an IR remote, that "might" work, but not nearly as conveniently.

The important thing is to test the Pentax by hand holding it to the eyepiece of your chosen spotting scope. Pre focus the scope and let the auto-focus work for you on the camera. Hold it as close as possible and as still as possible to test it...

Best regards,

Lin
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Old Sep 17, 2005, 3:18 PM   #4
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Lin:

Thanks for your thorough response. I'm still considering my options and the procedure you've described will be useful if I decide to follow through with this. I appreciate the time you took to respond to my query.
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