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Old Mar 29, 2003, 5:19 PM   #1
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Default Focus Adjustment w/ CoolPix 4500 & Leica APO Televid 77

Greetings - The weather is staying pretty chilly but I have gotten out some to take a few shots as interesting birds are arriving in the area. I am using the aforementioned equipment and interfacing with an EagleEye adaptor attached to a Leica 20X WW eyepiece. I am using a Manfrotto (by Bogen) tripod with pistol-grip head.

The challange I am having is I can be viewing subjects directly through the scope - less camera - with stunning 'crispness'. (I am very pleased with this scope!!) At that point, I will attach the camera and - after focusing on the lens image - I find the scope to be 'out of focus'. I have taken pictures 'as-is' and have also taken pictures after re-focusing the scope. The re-focused picutres are consistently sharper than those taken with the original focusing but none of the images are as crisp as are the images viewed directly through the scope.

I suspect the camera is not properly focusing on the scope image for some reason. (The camera produces incredible sharpness when used 'stand alone'.)

As a focusing aid, I am using a 5X magnifier to assist with focusing via the camera viewing screen.

I am curious as to what settings (auto, manual, macro, etc.) people are using? Also, does anybody have any suggestions regarding equipment use or methods that would help me? Should I get a Williams adaptor?

I have been taking shots in macro with a shutter speed of 1/250 second and avoid taking the telephoto mode of the camera into the digital range. BTW, I also have a 20-60X eyepiece and it yields similar results regarding focus.

I notice quite a bit of discussion regarding the use of Williams Optics adaptors. Is this a better way to go than the non-optical EagleEye? My understanding was the Williams adaptor introduced another optical element and I was hesitant to do so as I thought this might further restrict light and possibly introduce some aberration.

I'm as green as grass with digiscoping but have become very motivated to take pictures that might someday approach the quality of those fellow forum members have shared. My hat is off to each of you - you are a fine bunch of people. Any advice would be most appreciated!

Many thanks,
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Old Mar 30, 2003, 8:54 AM   #2
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So far my best results come from the macro setting of my 990. Your eyes deceive you, focus of the scope seems to be much more critical when not in macro mode, i too see the image as infocus yet the camera does not, this i believe is due to the small depth of field, keep trying. Also are you using any type of remote release? With the camera attached to the scope camera/scope shake is going to be a problem if your using your finger to press the shutter button, i'd image even at 1/1000th of a second shaking the camera at that mag will produce some blur. Try hand hold the camera up to the eyepiece without touching the scope, you maybe surprised with the results
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Old Mar 30, 2003, 5:25 PM   #3
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Don't have any experience with Leica scopes but I offer the following for your info.

I am having very good results with a 990 and AT-80 scope using the camera in auto-focus mode as follows:

1. Scope zoom eyepiece usually at 20X and camera zoom usually at 3X.
2. Camera in manual mode, auto-focus, shutter priority set at 1/125 or faster, ISO at 100 if enough light, center area for exposure and focus.
3. Sight subject in scope and focus by eye.
4. Hand hold camera to adapter ring and slew scope so that subject is in center rectangle on camera display. Press release button half-way to allow camera to auto-focus and set exposure, then gently press the release button further down to take the photo.

I have also tried the 4500 with my AT-80 scope and got very good results with the above method. And a club member is using the same method with a 4500 and and the new ATS-80 scope with good results. And the method also works well with the 990 and Kowa scopes with zoom eyepieces.

However, we have noticed the problem you mention with some other scope and camera combinations. And what seemed to work best for these particular cases was to set the camera focus to infinity then focus the scope using the camera display. For one scope and camera combination, no matter what we tried, we could not get a good focus, even though the subject looked to be in focus to the eye and on the camera display. Also, one club member had focus problems with a 990 and Kowa scope with 32X fixed power eyepiece.

It seems that no one method of focusing is best for all scope and camera combinations. You have to experiment to find what works best for a given combo.

It would ge interesting to see someone develop a table of different scope and camera combinations and what focus methods are being used for each.

Hope this helps more than confuses.

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Old Mar 31, 2003, 5:40 PM   #4
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Default My thanks to Mick and PaulyO!

This is VERY helpful information. I thank you for your time and insights.

My observation is experimentation (trial & error) is in order.

On my last outing I tried both attaching and hand-holding the camera with a little more distance between the eyepiece and camera lens. This did produce additional vignetting but I also captured sharper images. Up to this point I had always fit the camera to the scope as close as possible with the adaptor ring.

For whatever reason there are times when the camera seems to 'struggle' with finding focus. (I can hear the lens work through the entire focusing range and back again before it locks on to 'focus'.)

I am not presently using a shutter release and I suspect that factor alone is introducing much vibration. I had previously received some information on several shutter release options in an earlier post. I will re-visit that thread and take appropriate action.

If anyone else has suggestions, please chime in. I am going to try the settings Mick suggested next.

One other thing that puzzles me is I can have my subject centered with the scope only to find I have to re-center after attaching the camera.

Thanks again!
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Old Mar 31, 2003, 9:30 PM   #5
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Jon, like i said you'll benefit from a shutter release cable or electronic remote if you have the camera attached to the scope, i'm assuming you have a sturdy tripod, you pushing the button will cause much vibration. My washing machine on the other side of my house vibrates my back porch, i had no idea untill looking at the lcd of the camera. I think the focus issue was explained well in this post.


Lawrie hodges post made a lot of sense to me
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Old Apr 4, 2003, 7:09 AM   #6
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As a fellow APO Televid and 4500 user I've found the following set-up works (most of the time) for me. This is with a 32WW eyepiece and is clearly only realy suitable for static / semi-static subjects. Waders usualy get nervous and fly away during field step 4 !

First of all, at home -

1) Remove the rubber eye-cup from the eyepiece of the scope.
2) Ensure that the eye-cup support is fully retracted.
3) Ensure that the camera is in macro mode with no optical zoom.
4) Ensure that the eyepiece to camera adaptor screws are evenly tightened and that the adaptor will just slip over the eyepiece (watch out for contraction on cold days).

Then in the field -

1) Lock on the subject (x and y axis with the tripod)
2) Focus on the subject through the scope. The 32WW has good eye relief so that I can place my eye where the camera will be.
3) Un-lock the y axis of the tripod and swing the scope so that the eyepiece is upermost.
4) Fit the adaptor and camera. The fact that the eyepiece is upper-most at this point will help employ the slight weight of the camera to make sure the fitting is snug. With the 32WW and the eye-cup removed I can actualy hear the inside of the EagleEye adaptor click against the lens (4b Watch the wader fly off....).
5) Power-on.
6) Re-align the y axis and lock.
7) Optical zoom as appropriate.
8) Check exposure.
9) Start shooting.

My best results have been using this approach. I've had very limited success focusing the scope through the camera as I don't have a focus loup.

As PaulyOly says a remote release is essential.
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