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Old Apr 8, 2005, 9:29 AM   #1
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I think I may be expecting too much from my equipment. I have just entered the world of digiscoping and am wondering what the maximum distance is for capturing clear photos of birds.

Using a Canon Digital Rebel 300D on a Denali 60mm 15x45scope (using the adapter and t-ring which connect nicely) on a tripod -how far away can a bird be, say a duck for instance,where I can get a clear picture?

Alot of my digiscoping pictures look good through the camera/scope, but are too dark and grainy on the computer to do anything with; I can lighten up some of the closer picturesusing Photoshop Elements that came with the camera, but most distance shots seem to turn out terrible. These dark/grainy pictures seem to be with birds that are 500' - 1000' away in daylight. I usually have the ISO set @ 400 and the WB set on either sunny or cloudy - matching the daylight.

Am I asking too much from my basic entry level equipment? Thank you.
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Old Apr 9, 2005, 9:28 AM   #2
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"Dark and grainy" are a problem with your settings. As far as this goes, if you can see clearly the object to be photographed, and it doesn't come out, the problem or limitations are not with the scope but the camera.

When you say dark and grainy, you are saying "not enough light."

Now, I've noted that with my D1x, often a distant bird will look clear, but when processed, there are simply not enough sensors with my five meg camera to resolve the detail that I can see with my eye - I then declare in a loud voice, that this is a landscape picture. But in the case I'm describing, there is no grain, nor is it dark.

So boast your ISO, or slow down the speed that you're using and most of all remember that your light meter IS NOT working with a manual "lens" like a scope...

So you have to learn what the right amounts of speed and ISO to use.

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Old Apr 13, 2005, 10:48 AM   #3
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It sounds like you may have two issues. First, 500 to 1000 feet distance is pretty unrealistic because of several reasons. With your scope and only a 45 mm objective you don't have a great deal of light to work with and the subject can't occupy a large portion of the frame at that distance.

The beauty of digiscoping is to get really great closeups of birds or subject at reasonable distances. I rarely shoot at much over 100 feet and that includes using an 80 or 90 mm objective. Every foot of atmosphere between the lens and subject when digiscoping creates additional issues. Atmospheric haze, thermals and such are greatly amplified. Our brains have a large tolerance in dealing with this live, but the camera is much more demanding.

You would be better off shooting at ISO 800 under these conditions. If you are not getting sufficient light (and that sounds like the major part of the issue) to properly expose the image you will have excessive noise and using levels in software to pull up the shadow detail only exacerbates the problem...

Best regards,

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Old Apr 13, 2005, 12:44 PM   #4
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Thank you Dave and Lin for explaining this.

(So much better than another forum elsewhere on the internetwhere some guy talked way over my head and in a very condescending manner.)

I appreciate your efforts and explanations. They certainly put things in perspective for me. I'll cut down on distance and boost the ISO. Hopefully I will see the light at the end of the tunnel (pun intended).

I've much to learn in this area and am looking forward to it all. Thanks again so very much.

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