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Old Jun 8, 2002, 1:36 PM   #1
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Default Digiscoping with Olympus C-3020

Howdy!

I'm quite new to digital photography and already want to get closer to my subject than the 3x zoom on my Olympus will allow. I was looking into telephoto lenses then came across using a spotting scope instead. I've been researching digiscoping a bit and would like to buy a scope and get extreme closeups, but most of the cameras I see mentioned are small lens nikons. I recently bought and enjoy a C-3020 that I use with a Tiffen adapter tube and a polarizing or uv filter on the camera at all times for protection. The lens size is 43mm with the adapter, 41mm with out, I believe. Is this an acceptable camera to use for this purpose? How would I go about inexpensively adapting this to a scope?
I'm also looking at the plethora of scopes on the market and would like some feedback on a decent quality, low cost product ($150 or less) which would work with my camera. The Sakar brand seems the cheapest and at this time, that's the direction I'm leaning. It seems to me that an adjustable zoom, say 12x - 60x would be most useful and versitile. Is this true or is a fixed zoom just as good?
I would really appreciate any comments,suggestions, or explanations that you might have for me. Like I said, I am very new to digital photography and am thoroughly enjoying my new camera and learning more about the process. This forum has been extremely helpful in my research and exploration of a new passion. Thanks in advance for your imput.

Jason
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Old Jun 8, 2002, 3:04 PM   #2
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The 41 to 43mm lens diameter is larger than the ocular of most scopes (approx 37mm) and will cause vignetting of the image. Some scope makers may have a camera adapter for 35mm that may work.

You probably would do best getting a scope from ebay used for that price. I am not familiar with the Sakar brand

Check out my site on Digiscoping for more info http://www.closefocus.com. Start with the introduction.
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Old Jun 8, 2002, 4:25 PM   #3
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Default Some caution for Jason....

Hi jason,
If I'm not wrong, that Sakar isn't going to work. The problem has to do with a strong tint which is fine for viewing, but not for photography. About the least expensive good spotting scope you will find is a Meade ETX-90 at about $189. Unfortunately, your camera is not going to be a good candidate. Much better to save your money and buy a used Nikon CP950 or CP990 which will work very well. You will also need to spend a bit more to adapt it to the scope. A variety of adapters exist running from about $80 to $112. I think Thad makes one, Eagle Eye in the UK = http://www.eagleeyeuk.com = or London Camera Exchange in the U.K. (both sell to the U.S.) have them. I think you can buy the Eagle Eye digimount from PhotoSolve at = http://www.photosolve.com = as well. Also, I believe CKC Power is making them at = http://www.ckcpower.com =

In any event, buy the spotting scope first, then get a suitable camera, then buy the adapter...

Best regards,

Lin
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Old Jun 9, 2002, 11:11 AM   #4
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Default Digiscoping with Olympus c-3020

Thanks so much for your replies, I appreciate your time and thought on this matter.

Well, I'll look into the Meade scope, as it is close enough to my price range. I'll also start my search for a nikon, though after finally honining down my choices to the Olympus, and getting a screaming deal through price matching and coupons at Staples, this will take some time to save and research.

Thad, I have been looking over your site and have found much valuable information including the links to other sites and will continue to study all the info I can find. Thanks.

Lin, your posts have been helpful and informative as well as offering specific suggestions which help focus my attention and energies. Thanks.

Now, as for as the vignetting of the image with my larger lens, do you think enough, or any, of the image would be usable after cropping?

It's my understanding that one real problem with an oversize lens is that it lets light in around the ocular and that this may be mitigated by using a cover with a flange obscuring the edges of the lens, effectivly reducing the size of the lens. Do you think this might work in the short term?

I've also read that the closer to the ocular the lens is, the better the image quality will be. I think I could fabricate a mounting adapter that would accomplish this, including a tube to keep the light out of the sides. Does an attempt like this seem reasonable? I know it's probably not the best soulution, but I like to work with what I have and innovate.

Thanks for your time and imput. I'm glad I found this forum and look forward to participating and learning. Any suggestions or opinions would be welcome.


Jason
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Old Jun 10, 2002, 8:12 AM   #5
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Default Hi Jason

Yes, you can do exactly as you suggest, and there are specific solutions aimed at the cameras with larger lenses. Several eyepieces are now available which greatly improve your chances for success. I'll see If I can find some links for you and post them here so you can look for the best solution for your camera/telescope combination.

In the early days of digiscoping, all of us fabricated our own mounts because there was nothing available commercially. Many of the great mounts, eyepieces and systems available today are outgrowths of these early efforts to make it work!

I'll get back shortly with a couple links for you.

O.k., here's a possible solution for you:

It's the "WA-DCL-43" eyepiece by William Optics which adapts the Olympus 43mm sized lens to a celestial standard 1.25" 24mm eyepiece. You would, of course, need the Olympus CLA-1 adapter to provide clearance for the external telescoping lens to connect to the eyepiece. The William Optic eyepiece is superb quality - I use it both with my Meade and Swarovski...

here's a link to have a look. Go to accessories when you get the opening page .....

http://www.williamoptics.com/

Best regards,

Lin

[Edited on 6-10-2002 by Lin Evans]
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Old Jun 10, 2002, 9:55 PM   #6
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Default thanks for the suggestions and tips!

Thanks Lin for taking the time to awnser my questions and to find me the link to Williams Optic. This looks like what I need, but I'll probably experiment for a while and do some more fabrication and research before I invest... My girlfriend already thinks I'm a fiend with my new hobby.

I've been looking online for the Meade EXT-90 and the best price I found was $299. You mentioned it being available for about $190. Do you know where I might find this great telescope for this price?

Today I did some testing with an old pair of binoculars I have and my Oly and had some mild success in adapting the two. Lots of vignetting, but more distance than I've ever gotten out of my digital camera! Not great pictures yet, but a small taste of what could be.

Lin, the pictures you have posted are amazing! So much detail and crispness. Great work!

Thanks for the information and your time.


Jason
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Old Jun 10, 2002, 10:07 PM   #7
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Default Hi Jason,

The prices on the Meade vary widely - I don't have a present source, but several people have purchased this for $189. You might do a search using go.com and look for Meade ETX-90 and see what you come up with...

Best regards,

Lin
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