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25 Jul

Digiscoping today

Posted by Optics Blog Experts on

I’ve been taking pictures with spotting scopes for more years than I like to admit. Let’s just say I was doing it long before there was such a thing as a digital camera. In the “good” old days, your only serious option was to attach an SLR camera body to a spotting scope, which, in effect, turned your spotting scope into a super telephoto lens. Took some great pics this way, but focusing through an SLR focusing screen at high magnifications was always a pain (images never perfectly sharpened and were typically dark) and, inevitably, there would be times when even the spotting scope didn’t offer the desired magnification.

Guess that’s why I digiscope exclusively these days. After the spotting scope is focused, I just hit the focus button on my Pentax Optio A10 till I get the green light to go and fire away. When I need more magnification, I can either add some optical zoom to the camera or change out eyepieces on my Kowa 663 spotting scope. This has allowed me to take some at magnifications that we never believed possible in the old SLR days.

By the way, it’s also nice not to have to deal with a heavy SLR out in the field. My little digital camera is about the same size as one of my spotting scope eyepieces. Can’t beat that for portability.

(The pic of Hooded Merganser chicks was taken at 40x on the zoom eyepiece and the camera set at 2x optical on a day of exceptional atmospheric conditions. The miracle, though, was that all the chicks held still long enough to get the pic.)

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