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forester
7th February 2010, 05:24 PM
Has anyone had any experience of digiscoping with the E- 620 or E-30?
If so what kit do you recommend ?

PeterBirder
7th February 2010, 09:13 PM
Hi forester
I don't have an e620 or e30 but have tried digiscoping with both compacts and my e510. To be honest I haven't had a lot of success and have virtually given up in favour of my e510 + Sigma 50-500 but that may be just me :rolleyes:
Having said that I know a number of birders who get quite good results, particularly with compacts. The Opticron website ;
www.opticron.co.uk has usefull information which may be of help, particularly the current product guide pages 44/45 in the pdf downloads. I use an Opticron ES80 scope with SDL eyepiece and you will see that this gives ( at minimum magnification of 20X ) an equivalent focal length of 1370mm ( ie 2740mm on 4/3rds ) and f12.5! In order to take a shot you need to focus the scope by looking through the eyepiece in the normal way then fit the camera/adapter to the eyepiece, set the camera up in manual mode and if the bird hasn't moved, take the shot. No birds in flight then :( It's a bit easier with a compact as you still use the camera's own lens and autofocus. Given that my scope + eyepiece + DSLR adapter costs nearly as much as a 50-500, is bigger than a 50- 500 and probably weighs a bit more it seemed a no-contest to me.
Sorry if this sounds negative, others on here may have had better experiences or just be better at it than me. :D

regards

deckitout
8th February 2010, 01:38 AM
Peter

Where do you tend to go to shoot birds

Thanks

Hi forester
I don't have an e620 or e30 but have tried digiscoping with both compacts and my e510. To be honest I haven't had a lot of success and have virtually given up in favour of my e510 + Sigma 50-500 but that may be just me :rolleyes:
Having said that I know a number of birders who get quite good results, particularly with compacts. The Opticron website ;
www.opticron.co.uk has usefull information which may be of help, particularly the current product guide pages 44/45 in the pdf downloads. I use an Opticron ES80 scope with SDL eyepiece and you will see that this gives ( at minimum magnification of 20X ) an equivalent focal length of 1370mm ( ie 2740mm on 4/3rds ) and f12.5! In order to take a shot you need to focus the scope by looking through the eyepiece in the normal way then fit the camera/adapter to the eyepiece, set the camera up in manual mode and if the bird hasn't moved, take the shot. No birds in flight then :( It's a bit easier with a compact as you still use the camera's own lens and autofocus. Given that my scope + eyepiece + DSLR adapter costs nearly as much as a 50-500, is bigger than a 50- 500 and probably weighs a bit more it seemed a no-contest to me.
Sorry if this sounds negative, others on here may have had better experiences or just be better at it than me. :D

regards

PeterBirder
8th February 2010, 08:55 AM
Peter

Where do you tend to go to shoot birds

Thanks

Hi deckitout

At the moment I mainly shoot at Abberton reservoir near Colchester where I am a Volunteer at the Essex Wildlife Trust Visitor Centre. As well as the EWT Centre and nature reseve there are two causeways which cross the resevoir and you can get good shots from the roadside on them. This time of year is excellent as we get thousands of wintering wildfowl. At the moment we have quite a lot of goldeneye, a few smew, grey herons, occasional little egrets, an occasional bittern, lots of canada geese and greylags and all the usual ducks ( mallard, wigeon, teal etc ). I officially work on the fist and third saturday of each month but I am usually around most Saturdays and Wednesdays/tuesdays (semi retired :) ). Call in and see us sometime, you'll be very welcome. Another good spot is at Mistley on the river Stour when the tide is right you can get lots of close ups of black tailed godwits from the roadside.

regards

forester
8th February 2010, 09:49 AM
Hi forester
I don't have an e620 or e30 but have tried digiscoping with both compacts and my e510. To be honest I haven't had a lot of success and have virtually given up in favour of my e510 + Sigma 50-500 but that may be just me :rolleyes:
Having said that I know a number of birders who get quite good results, particularly with compacts. The Opticron website ;
www.opticron.co.uk has usefull information which may be of help, particularly the current product guide pages 44/45 in the pdf downloads. I use an Opticron ES80 scope with SDL eyepiece and you will see that this gives ( at minimum magnification of 20X ) an equivalent focal length of 1370mm ( ie 2740mm on 4/3rds ) and f12.5! In order to take a shot you need to focus the scope by looking through the eyepiece in the normal way then fit the camera/adapter to the eyepiece, set the camera up in manual mode and if the bird hasn't moved, take the shot. No birds in flight then :( It's a bit easier with a compact as you still use the camera's own lens and autofocus. Given that my scope + eyepiece + DSLR adapter costs nearly as much as a 50-500, is bigger than a 50- 500 and probably weighs a bit more it seemed a no-contest to me.
Sorry if this sounds negative, others on here may have had better experiences or just be better at it than me. :D

regards
Thanks Peter,
I did have a Sigma "Bigma" with my Canon kit, heavy or what?
but I suppose that is about the only way to do it, photographing birds that is.
I will just have to concentrate on macro and landscapes, or get very close to the birds.

deckitout
8th February 2010, 12:11 PM
Many thanks

I know the area and travel through on my Motorcycle regularly, when the weather is warmer I'll pop in and say hello


Hi deckitout

At the moment I mainly shoot at Abberton reservoir near Colchester where I am a Volunteer at the Essex Wildlife Trust Visitor Centre. As well as the EWT Centre and nature reseve there are two causeways which cross the resevoir and you can get good shots from the roadside on them. This time of year is excellent as we get thousands of wintering wildfowl. At the moment we have quite a lot of goldeneye, a few smew, grey herons, occasional little egrets, an occasional bittern, lots of canada geese and greylags and all the usual ducks ( mallard, wigeon, teal etc ). I officially work on the fist and third saturday of each month but I am usually around most Saturdays and Wednesdays/tuesdays (semi retired :) ). Call in and see us sometime, you'll be very welcome. Another good spot is at Mistley on the river Stour when the tide is right you can get lots of close ups of black tailed godwits from the roadside.

regards

sclifton
8th February 2010, 08:22 PM
I've done a fair amount of digiscoping over the last 3-4 years with my Swarovski Scope. I've had no luck using my E-510 with the scope. Not the camera's fault, but in my view the Olympus lenses don't work well with my scope's eyepiece.

I've had far more success using my Fuji F31fd as it works better with the eyepiece of the scope. I have tried the Olympus kit lenses, and the 35mm macro but without success.

The current Panasonic G-1 (soon to be superseded?) works well as its kit lens seems well suited and screws directly to Swarovski's DCA adapter (Digital camera adapter).

There is a very long-running thread on this camera for digiscoping here:

http://www.birdforum.net/forumdisplay.php?f=305&order=desc&page=2

Lots of other useful information too on scopes, suitable cameras etc.

Cheers,

Steve



Has anyone had any experience of digiscoping with the E- 620 or E-30?
If so what kit do you recommend ?

forester
8th February 2010, 08:29 PM
I've done a fair amount of digiscoping over the last 3-4 years with my Swarovski Scope. I've had no luck using my E-510 with the scope. Not the camera's fault, but in my view the Olympus lenses don't work well with my scope's eyepiece.

I've had far more success using my Fuji F31fd as it works better with the eyepiece of the scope. I have tried the Olympus kit lenses, and the 35mm macro but without success.

The current Panasonic G-1 (soon to be superseded?) works well as its kit lens seems well suited and screws directly to Swarovski's DCA adapter (Digital camera adapter).

There is a very long-running thread on this camera for digiscoping here:

http://www.birdforum.net/forumdisplay.php?f=305&order=desc&page=2

Lots of other useful information too on scopes, suitable cameras etc.

Cheers,

Steve

Hi, And thanks for the info, looks like i will be nicking my wife’s Fuji to give it a go, I believe there is a “scope centre” at Slimbridge so net time I go I will have a look.

sclifton
8th February 2010, 08:53 PM
Hi, And thanks for the info, looks like i will be nicking my wife’s Fuji to give it a go, I believe there is a “scope centre” at Slimbridge so net time I go I will have a look.

Do you already have a scope? If not have you set yourself a budget?

By all means ask at Slimbridge about digiscoping, but you are likely to get equally good or better advice about particular combinations on Birdforum.

The problem with digiscoping is that there is no right or wrong way to do it. But it helps and saves a lot of time if you know what other people have found that works for them with each scope/camera combination.

Best of luck,

Steve

PeterBirder
8th February 2010, 11:26 PM
I've done a fair amount of digiscoping over the last 3-4 years with my Swarovski Scope. I've had no luck using my E-510 with the scope. Not the camera's fault, but in my view the Olympus lenses don't work well with my scope's eyepiece.

I've had far more success using my Fuji F31fd as it works better with the eyepiece of the scope. I have tried the Olympus kit lenses, and the 35mm macro but without success.

The current Panasonic G-1 (soon to be superseded?) works well as its kit lens seems well suited and screws directly to Swarovski's DCA adapter (Digital camera adapter).

There is a very long-running thread on this camera for digiscoping here:

http://www.birdforum.net/forumdisplay.php?f=305&order=desc&page=2

Lots of other useful information too on scopes, suitable cameras etc.

Cheers,

Steve

An SLR will never work well for digiscoping with its own lenses as the objective ( front ) lens diameter is too great. A scope eyepiece is designed to project an image that matches the pupil of the eye which is only a few mm in diameter. This is why compact cameras work much better as they have quite tiny lenses and mobile phone cameras can work even better I understand. The Panasonic G1 can work better than an SLR because it's Micro 4/3rds and therefore has smaller diameter lenses. The Opticron setup that I used with my e510 uses a T mount which converts from the Olympus camera mount to an M42 screw fitting on the eyepiece adapter. Thus the image produced by the eyepiece is projected directly on to the camera sensor and no camera lens is involved. It has to be remembered that digiscoping was not arrived at by design or scientifically. One day someone thought " I wonder what would happen if I held my (compact) camera in front of the eyepiece ", tried it and it worked. It's very much a matter of trial and error to find combinations of scope/eyepiece/camera that work well.
The Swarovski range of scopes is fantastic and I wish I could afford one but at £1.3k to £2k for a body without eyepiece for the HD (read ED ) version which you need to avoid colour fringeing I will have to wait till i win the lottery!
Sorry if this seems to have turned into lecture, just trying to be helpfull.

regards

Ian
9th February 2010, 09:06 AM
An SLR will never work well for digiscoping with its own lenses as the objective ( front ) lens diameter is too great. A scope eyepiece is designed to project an image that matches the pupil of the eye which is only a few mm in diameter. This is why compact cameras work much better as they have quite tiny lenses and mobile phone cameras can work even better I understand. The Panasonic G1 can work better than an SLR because it's Micro 4/3rds and therefore has smaller diameter lenses. The Opticron setup that I used with my e510 uses a T mount which converts from the Olympus camera mount to an M42 screw fitting on the eyepiece adapter. Thus the image produced by the eyepiece is projected directly on to the camera sensor and no camera lens is involved. It has to be remembered that digiscoping was not arrived at by design or scientifically. One day someone thought " I wonder what would happen if I held my (compact) camera in front of the eyepiece ", tried it and it worked. It's very much a matter of trial and error to find combinations of scope/eyepiece/camera that work well.
The Swarovski range of scopes is fantastic and I wish I could afford one but at £1.3k to £2k for a body without eyepiece for the HD (read ED ) version which you need to avoid colour fringeing I will have to wait till i win the lottery!
Sorry if this seems to have turned into lecture, just trying to be helpfull.

regards

I found this rather interesting - thanks for posting.

Do you think Micro Four Thirds, with the shorter flange back distance would be beneficial?

Ian

Adagio
9th February 2010, 04:39 PM
Here are a couple of sites you might find helpful:=

http://www.digiscoping.lynandmalc.co.uk/

http://www.bird-watching.co.uk/myequipment.htm

PeterBirder
9th February 2010, 10:12 PM
I found this rather interesting - thanks for posting.

Do you think Micro Four Thirds, with the shorter flange back distance would be beneficial?

Ian

Thanks for your positive response Ian, I was afraid that as a newbie to the group I had gone a bit OTT.:eek:

I believe that MFT's shorter flange back distance should help if you use the camera body without lens as per the Opticron setup I quoted. The critical factor is the eyerelief characteristic of the eyepiece ( the distance from the scope eyepiece over which the image can be viewed ). This varies quite a lot between different eyepieces and some are marketed as Long Eye Relief for spectacle users whose pupils are further from the eyepiece lens. The eyepiece I use has an eyerelief which varies from 22-27mm over the zoom range. Since the eyepiece projects a circular image this affects the degree of vignetting. Of course the SSWF dust buster pioneered by Olly is important when using the camera without a "proper" lens.*clap

regards

Tordan58
3rd August 2011, 10:43 AM
Hi,

I saw this thread (quite old by now) and would like to share my experience. There are two branches within what is referred to as "digiscoping". I will quickly walkthrough and describe the methods used. Some of the discussion is related to the E-system, some not but I thought it could be of interest.

Compact camera
The branch followed by most people is a setup with a compact camera attached to the eyepiece on the scope by the means of bracket. The camera is positioned so that the picture as seen through the eyepiece is projected on the camera sensor through the camera lens.

What camera to use?
There are many cameras around and to guide in what camera to use the general consensus is that cameras with moderate zoom (3X) are best suited for digiscoping. Also the camera lens and aperture need to be small enough to avoid vignetting. The cameras regarded as particularly well suited for this application are as of today (July 2011) include the Canon S95, Nikon P7000, Panasonic Lumix G1. All of these cameras have good performance and high quality optics. I am unfortunately not updated regarding what Olympus compact camera is best suited.

Eyepiece
To ease digiscoping, most scope manufacturers include so called "digiscoping eypieces" in their product portfolio. Such eyepieces have a wider pupil to help avoid vignetting and have moderate magnification (~30X) which is sufficient for most situations.

The camera zoom will help in achieving an even higher degree of magnification. With a 3X zoom your setup could deliver 90X magnification at most. However sharpness will decline as zoom increases and as a rule of thumb magnifications above more than half zoom will result in softer pictures.

To give an idea I have translated magnification level to corresponding focal length on 4/3 lenses
30X: ~650 mm
60X: ~1200 mm
90X: ~2000 mm

Bracket
There exists several approaches. Slide-on brackets and swinging brackets are the most common. There exists home made brackets, generic from third party, customized/fitting one scope only... My experience is that a swinging bracket is best suited since it allows to smoothly alternate application areas between the primary (watching) and secondary (photography). I use the Baaded Microstage II bracket and can recommend it.

Techniques
Composition and focusing is done through the eyepiece. Next, the camera is deployed into shooting position (a swinging bracket helps as you may understand) and lastly the picture is taken. A remote control or timer helps in eliminating shake blur. Some people would use live view (magnified) useful to help focusing, I personnally don't think it helps. Any exposure mode could be used as long as you have control of exposure speed and can control exposure compensation you are OK.

Pros
Scope can still be used for its primary purpose - watching
Easy to focus through eyepiece
Bright image, fast setup
Little extra weight

Cons
Drives costs (high quality compact camera, DS eyepiece). Bracket can be kept cheap, though.
Bokeh not great, impossible to achieve beautifully blurred backgrounds

DSLR
This is the other branch, where a DSLR body is mounted on the spotting scope and a specially designed DSLR adapter replaces the eyepiece. The adapter projects the image onto the DSLR sensor. Since the sensor is larger the drawback is that the image is darker. The spotting scope is in principle used as a super telephoto lens. The focal length and F-number varies between models, expect something in the magnitude 1200 mm and F-number 12.

Eyepiece
The eyepiece is replaced by the adapter, watching needs to be done through the DSLR viewfinder.

Bracket
No need for extra bracket, the setup is self-contained

Camera
Any DSLR will work, provided you find an adapter ring allowing that connects the body to the DSLR adapter. I have been using the E620 and E520 with excellent results. A lightweight DSLR body will help in keeping the setup balanced, the Olympus bodies I have been using are nice in this aspect.

Techniques
Composition and focusing need to be done through the viewfinder. At F/12, focusing can be a real challenge in particular if light is poor and/or subject has no contrasting features to focus on. The DOF is so shallow that the keeper rate will be low until you have gained experience and dexterity. Remote control or timer can help in eliminating shake blur. Some people advocate using mirror lock, I have not experienced issues with mirror shake myself. AV and manual exposure modes are the only modes you can use. I personnally use AV mode and also play with ISO settings to keep shutter speed short enough.

Pros

Capable of producing superb, pin sharp results when focus is right
Nice bokeh
No need for extra camera


Cons

Fixed focal length (maybe not a real issue)
DSLR adapter drives costs
Dark viewfinder, hard to focus
Scope no longer useful for watching

Prerequisites, general

A prerequisite for achieving good results is a scope with high quality optics, ED glass. An entry level scope will produce disappointing results.
Most spotting scopes are intentionally angled to provide relief when watching. This is however a disadvantage when digiscoping since finding the subject before it is gone is more difficult due to need to compensate from angle, you learn with time but still it takes some skills.
A sturdy heavy duty tripod is a must, can be replaced by a bean bag for shooting from ground level or when a tripod cannot be deployed. I use a regular tripod head but I guess a gimbal head and custom made plate would be even better to achieve perfect balance.


Samples
Below are links to samples of pictures taken with DSLR that I have previously shared on this forum

Pied Avocet, also showing the scope + DSLR setup (http://e-group.uk.net/forum/showthread.php?t=15932&highlight=avocet)

Great Crested Grebe (http://e-group.uk.net/forum/showthread.php?t=16194)

Hope some of you find this information useful, and sorry for bothering with long post.
Tord