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Legacy Lenses Discuss the use of older lenses, using adapters, from the Olympus OM system, Leica M and R-series, and the millions of others too.

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Old 5th August 2011
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Using "astro photography" scopes as lens?

Hi,

The other day I came across a thread on another forum discussing the use of apochromatic refraction scopes as high quality long telephoto lenses. There exists several makes (Celestron, Orion, Sky Watcher to mention the most popular) and the consensus seemed that an 80 mm diameter lens with 600 mm F/7.5 is adequate. (There exists longer scopes but from a practical point view not that easy to handle).

To mount the lens on the body, you simply need an extension tube and an adapter that fits the 4/3 socket. The length of the extension tube needs to be adapted to the application area, tradeoff beteen closest and longest focus distance. Consensus seems to be that 50 mm extension still allows focusing at infinity, 80 mm might be the most useful length, sacrificing infinity focus but allowing closer range shots.

Samples of pictures I looked at were really good; sharp, no CA to speak of. Setups varied, some looked more clumsy but some looked promising.

Anyone on this forum has experience or opinion on this kind of setup?

/Tord
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Old 9th August 2011
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Re: Using "astro photography" scopes as lens?

Hi,

Bumping up this thead, asking this friendly community before looking for second opinion elsewhere.

/Tord
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Old 9th August 2011
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Re: Using "astro photography" scopes as lens?

I have not used the refractors but have used Newts and Cats (!)...it boils down to having a good tripod and being able to critically focus...not too difficult on stars but can be difficult on terrestrial objects.
Depends on what you want to do
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Old 9th August 2011
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Re: Using "astro photography" scopes as lens?

Hi,

The intended application area is bird photography (wildlife), and for that reason I believe that catadioptric lenses are less suitable - at least so I have been told. I am much aware of the focusing challenge and the need for tripod.

Thanks anyway,
Tord
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Old 10th August 2011
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Re: Using "astro photography" scopes as lens?

Hi Tord, PM sent.
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Old 10th August 2011
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Re: Using "astro photography" scopes as lens?

I think legacy camera lenses are probably a better option for bird photography. Easier to adapt and you don't have to sacrifice infinity focus.

There's a couple of lenses that come to mind depending on your budget.

The screw mount EBC Fujinon 600mm f5.6 is a rare but good lens. It's external focus so a bit of a pain to use compared to an internal focus lens but the sample I had was sharp although had some CA at times. I think I paid £300 for it.

Then there's the more exotic but (strangely) much more common MF Nikkor 600mm f5.6 IFED. Good close focussing, sharp and being internal focus easier to use. There was a few of these converted to OM mount for photographers who used the OM system and needed a good long lens.

Having listed the above, the lens I'd look for to use on a 4/3 body if the MF Nikkor 400mm f3.5. I never used one in my film shooting days but it was reported to be sharper than the 600mm and it's a stop and a third faster.
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Old 18th November 2011
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Re: Using "astro photography" scopes as lens?

Hi,

Here is an update on this thread. I am now coming closer to understanding what setup is needed.

To give you an idea of the results that seem possible to achieve, here is a gallery with pictures with what I believe have truly exceptional quality taken by a fellow photographer that is known for his skills. He has been using a TS TL 804 apochromatic refractor (FL 480 mm, F/6) with 1.5 TC and a consumer DSLR (Nikon D90), supposedly I should be able to produce equally good results with my E-620 which also has the benefit of built-in IS.

I have been recommended to look at 600 mm scopes. Here would be a possible setup:
+ adding some metal parts to construct a reliable dovetail attachment to secure the scope to the tripod gimbal head.

Total ballpark figure for above is 550€, with an optical performance equalling top of the line lenses (e.g. 300 F2.8) but at at 1/10 of the cost. The drawback is the absence of AF, this is where the AF confirm chip comes in.

I will let you know if I make my mind and venture into this...

/Tord
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Old 18th November 2011
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Re: Using "astro photography" scopes as lens?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tordan58 View Post
Holly s**t! What WORLDCLASS photos!
Tord, you left I am thinking of deleting all my crapp from the HDD, right now - and start all over

... and I was so proud of myself, that I got - for example - a Wryneck at all!
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Old 18th November 2011
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Re: Using "astro photography" scopes as lens?

Nice...and then you could adapt to other OTAs pretty easily...
So a 600mm ==1200mm FOV f7->8 and a smooth crayford focuser
Be looking for your images when you get them up
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Old 18th November 2011
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Re: Using "astro photography" scopes as lens?

Tord, Have you come across This Review of the William Optics 66mm as a birding scope?
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Old 18th November 2011
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Re: Using "astro photography" scopes as lens?

Quote:
Originally Posted by peak4 View Post
Tord, Have you come across This Review of the William Optics 66mm as a birding scope?
Hi,

Thanks for the pointer, will have a deeper look.

Actually I already have very nice scope (Nikon ED82A) that I have been using not only for bird watching but also for digiscoping, and I plan to keep using it.

What I am looking for is optics for photography, a high performance super telephot.

/Tord
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Old 18th November 2011
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Re: Using "astro photography" scopes as lens?

I appreciate that, but this one is an astro scope not a birding one, so I was wondering abouts its digiscoping suitability, particularly as the author compares it favourably with the ED82.
The do of course make bigger scopes APO too.
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Old 18th November 2011
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Re: Using "astro photography" scopes as lens?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Falk View Post
Holly s**t! What WORLDCLASS photos!
I fully agree. His gallery displays some the finest publically available bird pictures I have seen to date. I don't knowabout the "keeper rate" but the setup seems even possible to use even on objects in motion, although I suppose it takes some practice. I suppose this is where the AF confirm chip comes in.

All that have even the slightest interest in bird phootography ought tohavea look.

/Tord
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Re: Using "astro photography" scopes as lens?

Having looked at that gallery Im truely awestruck at the quality of the images and the skill of the photographer. I look forward to your future posts Tord. Hope one day I might get close to that quality.
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Re: Using "astro photography" scopes as lens?

So what type of tripod head will you be using?
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