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Old Friday 24th July 2009, 21:13   #1
FrankD
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Digiscoping with the Celestron Regal F-ED

Some of you gentlemen may remember my first attempts at digiscoping 3 or 4 years ago. I thank you all for the help you gave me back then. It was much appreciated. Admittedly I became a little disenchanted with digiscoping as I just was not able to get the results I wanted to with the setup that I had at the time. I still have all that gear and eventually upgraded the eyepiece on my scope to something more conducive to better quality photos. Still though I just did not "get into it" as much as I once did.

Well, I have been tinkering with a new 80 mm scope that might interest you folks for digiscoping. It is the Celestron Regal F-ED 80 mm. There are two reasons why I think you folks might find the scope interesting. One, the objective lens is advertised as using Fluorite in the APO design. Now there has been some debate over in the spotting scope forum if it is true Fluorite or something similar that gives the same type of result. In reference to this topic the point is pretty much moot as long as one can get the results. The second reason you might find this scope interesting is the price. The average price for this scope is right at $600 US. That is about half the cost of the big Pentax.

Speaking of the Pentax, I have been doing some comparisons between the 65 mm versions of the Pentax and Celestron and actually find the image in the Celestron to have better contrast and an even more CA free image. I would not be surprised to find that the 80 mm comparison would be similar.

Anyway, I just pulled out the digiscoping gear and tinkered with the 80 mm briefly in the back yard. Here is a pic of some beautiful purple flowers at about 15 yards. The scope's zoom was set at 20x and the camera was set at 2x, ISO 200, F4.8, 1/125. I have not edited the photo except to convert it down to a size that will upload to this forum.
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Old Friday 24th July 2009, 21:54   #2
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I'd imagine being Celestron that they are using the FPL-53 that they use in their astro scopes and this will be virtually colour free. I have the Skywatcher 80ED which is made by same company that also make Celestron and Orion scopes. The FPL-53 I have in my scope is colour free. The Regal should be a good choice for anyone looking for a scope, especially as you can have a wide choice of astro eyepieces which are always great value for money. If I was to go back to digiscoping with a spotting scope then the Regal F-ED would very likely be my first choice. The Pentax is overpriced when you compare it to scopes like this.

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Old Friday 24th July 2009, 21:54   #3
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Wow! We have a winner here (Pentax now has competition).

Rmel66.
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Old Saturday 25th July 2009, 01:14   #4
FrankD
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Paul,

Your comments about FPL-53 are right in line with what Henry Link referenced in the other thread. I am genuinely impressed by its CA control. I have yet to actually find a situation where color fringing is present in the image. If we have a good overcast day I have a fool-proof test to show it. If it does not show then these scopes are truly astonishing for the price. I would love to compare to some other significantly higher priced benchmark such as the upper end Kowas, the Zeiss or the Swaros.

In truth I was surpised by the digiscoping versatility of the factory included zoom. I wonder if the zoom itself utilizes some type of similar glass as the objective. If it didn't then wouldn't I be seeing some "color" in the image.

Now the search will be on to find a 60-65 degree field fixed (20x or so) powered eyepiece to use in conjunction with the zoom. I have a Pentax XW 20 but, believe it or not it gives a different color bias (different type of ED/FL glass?) and is actually "too wide" in that part of the prism cuts off the light path.

I have a few I might consider but something from Celestron, if possible, would (I guess) be the best choice.

Well, it will be fun experimenting further with this setup!
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Old Saturday 25th July 2009, 08:31   #5
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Have a look at the Baader Hyperion eyepieces which give a 68 field of view. I use a 17mm one on a spotting scope and it gives lovely views. They are widely regarded as the best bang for buck eyepiece in astronomy circles. For digiscoping you can take the rubber eye cup off and there are two different sized threads for screwing on digiscoping adapters.

The Regal 80 F-ED is 480mm focal length so a 24mm eyepiece would give 20X. My 17mm one would give 28X.

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Old Saturday 25th July 2009, 13:16   #6
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Paul,

Thank you for the suggestions. I was considering the Baader Hyperions as well as the Orion "Edge On" Flat field eyepieces and the Meade 5000 series Plossl. I think any of them would probably work. I am concerned about all of them reaching focus at infinity with this scope...a problem I ran into with an inexpensive Meade 25 mm Plossl I have on hand.

I guess the smart route is to order all three and see which performs the best for this application.
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Old Sunday 26th July 2009, 13:44   #7
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Frank,

Thank you for posting your evaluation of the Celestron Regal F-ED.

I have already purchased the Regal F-ED 100 model, and have taken a few pictures with through the supplied zoom with my DSLR attached right at the eyepiece threads.

My results with this setup were poor to fair in quality, with CA appearing in many photos, and there were also focusing issues in most of the pictures.

When looking through the zoom eyepiece, at wide angle the image is focused at the center-of-field, but is distorted at the edges. I can compensate for this by adjusting the zoom to a higher magnification, but of course there is a always a loss in image brightness when doing this.

I have been wondering what type of camera you are using in your setup?

You did say that you are using a digiscoping adapter.... is the camera directly connected to the eyepiece using the supplied T-2 thread adapter?

Personally, I have wondered whether my poor results in photography were caused as much by the zoom eyepiece, and connecting the camera directly to it through a T-adapter. I have been considering purchasing a different eyepiece, but I am unsure whether this will improve the situation at all.

I hope that you will continue to post additional information on this thread, and I look forward to your observations.

Regards, Steve.
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Old Sunday 26th July 2009, 14:49   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by S_McNeil View Post
Frank,

Thank you for posting your evaluation of the Celestron Regal F-ED.

I have already purchased the Regal F-ED 100 model, and have taken a few pictures with through the supplied zoom with my DSLR attached right at the eyepiece threads.

My results with this setup were poor to fair in quality, with CA appearing in many photos, and there were also focusing issues in most of the pictures.

When looking through the zoom eyepiece, at wide angle the image is focused at the center-of-field, but is distorted at the edges. I can compensate for this by adjusting the zoom to a higher magnification, but of course there is a always a loss in image brightness when doing this.

I have been wondering what type of camera you are using in your setup?

You did say that you are using a digiscoping adapter.... is the camera directly connected to the eyepiece using the supplied T-2 thread adapter?

Personally, I have wondered whether my poor results in photography were caused as much by the zoom eyepiece, and connecting the camera directly to it through a T-adapter. I have been considering purchasing a different eyepiece, but I am unsure whether this will improve the situation at all.

I hope that you will continue to post additional information on this thread, and I look forward to your observations.

Regards, Steve.
Do you have a lens on the camera or are you just projecting the image onto the cameras ccd with the eyepiece? If you are doing the eyepiece projection method then it is usually the worst form of digiscoping in terms of image quality. Better to use a lens on the camera where possible and photograph through an eyepiece.

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Old Sunday 26th July 2009, 19:14   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul Corfield View Post
Do you have a lens on the camera or are you just projecting the image onto the cameras ccd with the eyepiece? If you are doing the eyepiece projection method then it is usually the worst form of digiscoping in terms of image quality. Better to use a lens on the camera where possible and photograph through an eyepiece.

Paul.
So far, I have only tried projecting the image from the eyepiece to the CCD of the camera, with the camera directly connected to the eyepiece by means of the T-thread adapter that was included with the spotting scope. Connection to the camera is through a Canon EOS T-ring adapter, with the camera set in fully manual shooting mode.

At present, I do not own a digiscoping camera support, which would allow me to photograph through a lens connected to the camera, and then capture the image through the spotting scope eyepiece. Perhaps, this is something that I will have to consider purchasing to improve the quality of my photos.

I did click on your link to your digiscoping gallery. It appears that your camera, which is a similar type of Canon EOS camera, is connected directly to the eyepiece of your scope via a T-adapter. Are you suggesting that I should be connecting my camera to the scope in a different manner?

Thanks for your help, Steve.
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Old Sunday 26th July 2009, 21:13   #10
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The Skywatcher 80ED scope I use is a refractor that's normally used for astronomy. I don't use an eyepiece, the scope is just mounted to the camera via the t-mount and the scope performs like a simple prime lens. Extra magnification is gained by using a 1.4X or 2X teleconverter on the camera. It's a simple effective setup and the image is kept pure by having the minimum of glass between the camera and the subject.

For your scope a small point and shoot camera would probably be the way to go. SLR's tend to be better suited to astro scopes than spotting scopes because they are so much easier to set up that way.

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Old Saturday 1st August 2009, 18:28   #11
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Guys,

Sorry for not posting more sooner but I was out on a camping this entire past week.

The camera setup I am using is fairly simple. I have a Casio Exilim EX Z1000 point and shoot digital camera connected to the Celestron via a Zhumell Universal digiscoping adaptor.

There is noticeable field curvature in the outer portion of the image...and the amount varies depending on what setting the zoom is positioned at. I have not had any problems just utilizing the camera's "auto focus" though I will probably tinker with both the macro and infinity settings eventually.

I posted this over in the spotting scope forum as well but thought I would post it here too. I took the Celestron ED 65 with me on the camping excursion and took some shots from a wildlife blind set up on the edge of one of the lakes. The Bald Eagle picture is not anything worth bragging about but consider the bird was over 350 yards away and it was a bit windy out. The camera was at its maximum optical zoom of 3x and the spotting scope was set at its maximum magnification (48x).

The Great Blue Heron pictures were taken from about 60 yards away with the camera at 2x and the scope at 20x
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Old Saturday 1st August 2009, 18:29   #12
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Old Saturday 1st August 2009, 18:32   #13
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