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Old Jun 25, 2002, 11:11 PM   #1
Lin Evans's Avatar
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Default A Look at Digiscoping Tools....

I thought it might be interesting to see what people are using for digiscoping - all forum participants who do digiscoping are invited to post a shot of what they use so we might all learn about new and different equipment and techniques... I'll start with a brief description of my own equipment and a couple pictures.

I use two spotting scopes: first, a converted (tube removed from yoke and motor driven tracking mechanism) Meade ETX-90 astro-telescope. It's a reflecting type mirror. I use a 45 degree erecting prism to invert the images to their normal appearance. This is not a necessity because it's very easy to do in software later, but it's a little easier for me to frame and compose that way. With the Meade, I use a William Optics DCL-28 - 24mm 1.25" celestial type eyepiece. With the 1250mm fixed focal length of the ETX-90, I get a little over 52x with this eyepiece. This results in a maximum of 5989mm focal length with my CP990 and CP950 cameras. With the new CP4500 or CP995 the focal length is extended a great deal...

The advantage of the mirror type scopes is that there is no chromatic aberration.

My second rig, which I use for field use is a Swarovski ST-80HD spotting scope with a Swarovski astro-eyepiece adapter mated to the same William Optics DCL-28 -24mm eyepiece. Both systems work very well - but it takes a 4x zoom such as a CP995 (or the new CP4500) to get a bit over 2926mm and I only get about 2200mm on this combination with the CP990. I'm looking forward to getting a CP4500 to get the additional focal length with the DCL-28. I also use one of several mechanical adapters with my Swarovski 20-60x zoom eyepiece....

Here's a shot of the two different combinations I use...


[Edited on 8-22-2002 by Lin Evans]

Last edited by Lin Evans; Feb 1, 2015 at 4:49 PM.
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Old Jul 1, 2002, 10:53 AM   #2
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Hi Lin --

I think your idea of exchanging equipment ideas -- what each of use -- is great; a good opportunity to learn.

My current #1 digi cam is a Nikon CoolPix 995 (purposely purchased for astrophotography). My two scope mainstays are shown below:

1. Celestron 8 Deluxe Telescope. I'm into astrophotography, so this is my #1 digi scope. The 8 Deluxe is motorized, but pre-"Go To" technology. Having started using it with a Nikon F3, I've got one heck of an array of accessories: Complete selection of filters for planetary viewing, polarizing and moon filters, solar (mylar) filter, reducer/corrector, off-axis guider with illuminated eyepiece, motorized focus drive, piggy-back camera mounting for wide field photography, etc. I connect to it with an Orion tele extender (adjustable) and all photography is "afocal." (I'm still making the astropohotography transition from the 35mm world on this and I have to admit I still frequently "think" 35mm, so I have to remind myself of the digi world differences.) The biggest drawback to the Celestron is weight and size -- it's fairly large and all told is over 50 pounds. If you disassemble it for transport, then add in time to get set up (e.g., reinstalling and aligning the guide scope). Most of the time I use it in my back yard, which gives far suburb/semi-rural skies -- reasonable, but not truly dark skies!

2. Bausch & Lomb Discoverer 15-60X60 Zoom Spotting Scope, with which I use a B&L brand telephoto adapter. The B&L performs fairly well but is not "world class" for digi cam use. I actually had it for other use and pulled it into the digi cam world. It's light, rugged, fairly easy to use and a reasonably good buy. It's OK for wild life, etc. and actually does a very good job on moonscapes.

In addition to what's shown in the photos, I also have (and rely heavily on) an Xtend-a-View Pro.

For a while I've been doing "due diligence" on a Dobsonian 10" telescope -- I haven't reached a conclusion on its digi photo support capabilities, but the additional light gathering will take viewing a big next step foward.

(PS - Photos taken with my "old" Kodak DC260, which has been a work horse for years!)

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Old Jul 3, 2002, 12:44 AM   #3
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Default Nice equipment!

Hi Bill,
It looks like you have a couple nice setup's to work with.

Since you are coming at this from the film world, I'm not sure whether or not you are yet familiar with some of the available tools for the digital world to "compensate" for the inability to get longer exposures.

There is some great software for celestial use which you may want to look at which helps a great deal to lower noise and increase available light and resolution without resorting to longer exposures. This works by "stacking" multiple images of the same subject in software and "averaging" the best from each to combine multiple exposures into a single image. The software can actually align at the sub-pixel level and works quite well. It's called ImagesPlus, and if you are not familiar with it, I urge you to follow the link below and have a look - definitely worth considering.... Click on the first moon image you see when you get to the site for a nice surprise...


Best regards,

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Old Jul 13, 2002, 4:32 AM   #4
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A few shots of some digiscoping items to lighten your wallet :-) and possibly help you in times of need.
Cameras are Nikon cp990 & cp4500. Scope is the Swaro' AT80HD + 20-60X zoom (note the rubber band on the e.p. Lin, though zoom slippage is even less likely with the smaller & lighter cp4500).
Luxury items include A dual force pro battery pack on the underside of the scope (velcro + rubber band for extra security), powers a cp995 for 4-5 hours. Jessops cable release bracket and 20inch lockable cable. Also Eagle-eye's Image Location device.....really does help. Haven't got a pic of the xtend-a-view on here, but it's vital for 990/995 ...doesn't fit on the cp4500, but the monitor is pretty good in strong light anyway.
More detailed reviews on my website.
Andy B,

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Old Jul 14, 2002, 10:13 AM   #5
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Hi Andy,
Wow, that's a great little combo! I didn't realize how small the CP4500 actually was, but it looks like a great fit with Swaro.

The LCD does look tiny - it will require a totally different design on the Xtend-a-View. I haven't talked to Phil Williams, so I don't know if he is planning a change to accommodate it or not, but hopfully he will, or maybe Carlo will. Thanks for the post - it's sure nice to see how this one goes together on the scope.

Best regards,

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