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Old Wednesday 31st July 2013, 14:38   #51
MPeoples
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In Astronomy we can push focal Lenghts over 15,000mm for planets and luna imaging.

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Old Wednesday 31st July 2013, 16:42   #52
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I think 'extreme' also depends on the size of the object (bird) being digiscoped. A sparrow for instance, is 15 cm, a wood pigeon 40 and a grey heron 95 centimeters (all measured from point of beak to end of tail). So 150 meters for a grey heron is equally extreme as 63 meters for a pigeon and 24 meters for a sparrow. If my reasoning makes sence, the 150 meters for the Heron is not extreme, as compared to the pigeon I posted above, which was 120 meters away, almost twice as far as 63. Compared to the Osprey (57 cm) photographed by Neil, the heron should have been 333 meters away to be equally extreme. Maybe this reasoning is not correct, because with larger distance air turbulance and other disturbing factors become more important, so possible there should be a correction factor for that. Other idea's of what's extreme?

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Old Wednesday 31st July 2013, 17:45   #53
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tord View Post
A Grey Heron flying by at ~150 meters...

(Not sure if 150 meters qualifies for being "extreme" but it's probably beyond the range for what most telephoto lenses would capture).
Nicely done Tord !
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Old Wednesday 31st July 2013, 17:58   #54
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Quote:
Originally Posted by janvangastel View Post
I think 'extreme' also depends on the size of the object (bird) being digiscoped. A sparrow for instance, is 15 cm, a wood pigeon 40 and a grey heron 95 centimeters (all measured from point of beak to end of tail). So 150 meters for a grey heron is equally extreme as 63 meters for a pigeon and 24 meters for a sparrow. If my reasoning makes sence, the 150 meters for the Heron is not extreme, as compared to the pigeon I posted above, which was 120 meters away, almost twice as far as 63. Compared to the Osprey (57 cm) photographed by Neil, the heron should have been 333 meters away to be equally extreme. Maybe this reasoning is not correct, because with larger distance air turbulance and other disturbing factors become more important, so possible there should be a correction factor for that. Other idea's of what's extreme?
I think it is very important not to underestimate the effect of haze, air turbulence and even the curvature of the earth for very long distances. IMO, these are the major limits. I also think that differences in the size of the target has more to do with the resolution power of a system being the quality of the lens, the size of the sensor and the numeric noise.

Anyway, as far as I am concerned, exceeding 100 meters can be considered extreme. Good atmospheric conditions, a very stable camera and expertise in post-processing are needed to produce good results.

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Old Thursday 1st August 2013, 10:29   #55
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I think you are absolutely right about the importance of haze, air turbulence etc. for extreme digiscoping. I am not sure about the size of the bird. Of course the resolution power and other factors you mention are very important factors, but untill now I haven't been able to make a reasonable picture of a house sparrow further away then 75 meters (see photo), but maybe my maximum magnification (60 x) is too low for that. I would be very interested in seeing photograph's of birds of this size taken at a longer distance then around 75 meters.
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Old Thursday 1st August 2013, 12:35   #56
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I think there are two dimensions to consider.
1. The angle required to capture the subject (in order to preserve the relative size it occupies in the frame)
2. The distance to the subject

You provided three examples, all three would require an angle of view of around 0.37 degrees to fill the viewfinder so in that sense they are comparable. With the sensor size I am using (four-thirds) this would require a focal length of about 3500mm, which is not achievable practically using prime focusing. Anyway, 3500mm or 1200mm for that matter is quite respectable considering you shoot on dynamic subjects (birds tend to move around), long focal lengths require short shutter speeds, are prone to wind and all kind of unwanted vibrations etc.

However the distance to subject introduces an additional challenge - air. Depending on atmospheric conditions (haze/fog/heat distortion) the upper limit for the distance at which you can shoot without degradation of contrast/sharpness varies a lot.

In ideal conditions you can shoot through 10km air or even more without experiencing noticeable degradation of quality - see for instance the aircrafts earlier in this thread.

But shooting in intense sunlight through air with uneven density can cause pictures taken from as close as say 20 meters to be severely impacted. Focus is spot on, shutter time is short and yet the picture lacks details.

And to answr your question I personally have not managed to take any high quality/detailed pictures of such small subjects as a sparrow at distances exceeding 25-30 meters.
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Old Thursday 1st August 2013, 14:54   #57
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Yes, air condition is very important and can be very frustrating if bad. Yesterday I tried to photograph pigeons at about 60 meters, but none of the pictures was good enough. This morning, when I photographed the sparrow, atmospheric condition was much better. I have also tried airplanes, but non were nearly as good as yours. A couple of days ago I bought a 30 mm lens for my (4/3 Panasonic) camera (only had a 20 mm), which gives me a focal length of 3000 (calculated for 35 mm film). This was the fl. I shot the sparrows with.
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Old Thursday 1st August 2013, 15:25   #58
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I've been dealing with incessant morning overcast and humid air for almost 2 months during my morning photography outings, and ever since I bought my new C90 scope!

I've caught a Song Sparrow at 60m (image here) when the overcast thinned (no direct sunlight, but higher ambient light). And reaching out to 100m has been "okay" (attached).

But although I can see the birds out at 230m or more, the low light (not a plus with my camera) and moist, hazy air are frustrating me (image here). And moving subjects in low light, forget about it--my camera isn't good at that either. I envy folks catching those shots.

Regarding size. I've attempted a few shots of smaller birds on the same perch as the Kite in the 230m shot, and they come out as nothing but a silhouette. So I think subject size, color, and relative activity level do all come into play at as the distance grows (in addition to atmospheric issues).

I try not to complain, these cool/cold mornings this late into Summer have been a blessing to my electric bill. But I can't wait to see what I can do at longer ranges once the lighting improves. :)

And for those of you taking shots measure in kilometers or reasonable fractions thereof--WOW. That is "extreme digiscoping"--and impressive.
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Old Thursday 1st August 2013, 17:38   #59
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tord View Post
While waiting for some action that never took place I took these shots the past winter during those many cold days days that offered clear visibility.

Shot with Olympus E620 through the SW 600mm scope and cropped for 1:1 rendering, so it is not "extreme" disgiscoping in the true sense.

The Emirates flight is taken at approximately 60 degree angle, meaning around 20 km distance, Japan Arlines flight is shot at a more square angle, distance something like 13 km.

Some air is visible, but the result is quite OK I think. I suppose it would have been possible to use 2xTC with even better results in those light conditions.
Nice Really Big Bird images!!!!!!

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Old Thursday 1st August 2013, 18:13   #60
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Calvin, the song sparrow has much detail, especially given this very large distance. I also like the 230 meter kite with the mouse.
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Old Friday 2nd August 2013, 08:48   #61
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I agree with Jules that 100 meters is a good rule of thumb for serious digiscoping. But I like to include extreme close-ups, very small birds at closer distances or difficult to photograph subjects eg hummingbirds in flight.
I'm not looking forward to our winter light here in Hong Kong which is grey,gloomy,hazy.
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Old Friday 2nd August 2013, 09:36   #62
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Quote:
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...
But I like to include extreme close-ups
...
Neil.
Talking about close-ups...

Attached are some close ups of digiscoped insects. (Reposted for convenience, already uploaded in thread elsewhere so you may have seen them already.)

The mating Red-Eyed Damselflies are at virtually point blank, ~6 meters. Relatively easy subject since they are still.

The Downy Emerald is at ~10-11 meters, more difficult subject to capture since always on the move.

Demonstrating the setup is useful for subjects as small as 5cm.

With even longer extension tubes the 600mm scope could theroretically be used for even more close-ups to photograph smaller insects at long range but I don't want to exercise to much torque/stress on the focuser and the DOF at F/7.5 is quite narrow.
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Old Friday 2nd August 2013, 10:41   #63
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Very nice pictures Tord. How do you focus on a flying damselfly, manually or automatically? They don't follow a straight line of flight, so it seems extremely difficult to me.
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Old Friday 2nd August 2013, 11:02   #64
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Very nice pictures Tord. How do you focus on a flying damselfly, manually or automatically? They don't follow a straight line of flight, so it seems extremely difficult to me.
Thanks Jan,

I focus manually.

You need to pan and re-focus continuously, with the long focal length and narrow depth of field it takes some luck. With a clear background such as water it's easier.
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Old Friday 2nd August 2013, 16:45   #65
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Calvin, the song sparrow has much detail, especially given this very large distance. I also like the 230 meter kite with the mouse.
Thank you!

To be honest, I just use settings for my camera I found online (Coolpix 4500). I wish I could say I had a firm handle on ISO, f-stops, etc. like most of you do, but it always makes my head implode. I'm rather thankful the 4500 was such a popular digiscoping camera and was "all figured out" before I got started.

I do alot of "shotgun" photography: I have the camera set so if I hold the remote release down I can catch 4-5 shots as fast as the camera can manage before the buffer fills and I have to wait an eternity for them to save. I average 150 shots during my 1.5-2.0 hour Saturday morning outings, and on a good day I get 1-5 "decent" shots. Shots like the sparrow are 1-per-2000 shots or worse.

So if I even THINK the subject is going to move, I push, hold, and pray. That song sparrow was as much luck as "skill." I think the only real skill involved is manually focusing the C90 (quickly!) and trying to second-guess the behavior of my subject to capture a shot (to maximize focusing time). That sparrow is my best photo to date...luck, skill, or otherwise.

Yeah, the kite shot isn't world-class quality, but catching him with prey was pretty cool. I tried to take shots of him actually eating it, but they were too blurry. Was interesting, in a gruesome sort of way, to just watch.

Thanks again, you're too kind!
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Old Sunday 4th August 2013, 19:37   #66
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This morning I tried to digiscope a pigeon at about 75 meters distance. When I looked through my viewfinder I could clearly see the heat vibrations going up from the roof of the building. The attached photo also shows (the effect of) the heat vibrations, especially in the background. And also the sharpness of the image is affected. I posted this image in the gallery this morning, but I thought it would be usefull to post it here as well, because of the above discussion.
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Old Thursday 8th August 2013, 20:07   #67
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Depending on the type of scope you have, those "heat waves" may just be a side-effect of the scope.

I get "circular blur" or maybe more accurately "circular highlights" on some of my photos and some reading online lead me to believe that it was a side-effect of using a Maksutov based lens system (which my C90 scope uses). Something to do with the secondary spot mirror's affect combined with the extremely short depth of field (don't recall the technical specifics).

I've attached a sample of what I mean (not retouched).

The effect seems alot like a really horrid use of a Photoshop filter, but it is generated by the scope. So far I've only seen them when photographing at what is almost too-short range for the scope (< 50m). Longer distances simply blur-out the out-of-field portions completely (for a much nicer effect).

The biggest villain in my photography lately isn't temperature, it's humidity. Or more to the point, "environmental moisture"...very light fog. Not enough to ruin my own vision but shows-up really badly when trying to photograph at long ranges.
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Old Sunday 11th August 2013, 02:38   #68
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Back out to the Purple Heron chicks with the new Sony RX 100 11.
I was very impressed with the results in the early part of the day before the heat haze.
This was at 200 meters again.
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China.
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Old Sunday 11th August 2013, 07:02   #69
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At 200 meters...that's very good. How much is the total magnification you used on this one, or the 35 mm equivalent telelens length?
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Old Sunday 11th August 2013, 08:39   #70
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At 200 meters...that's very good. How much is the total magnification you used on this one, or the 35 mm equivalent telelens length?
It's a small Crop on the image and about 50x on the scope. So about 3,300 mm
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Old Sunday 11th August 2013, 13:15   #71
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Neil,
I looked into the exif to understand the calculation. According to the exif data a NIKON Coolpix 330 was used for this picture, with a crop factor of 4.6. With that, I also arrive at around 3300 Fl for 35 mm equivalence. The Sony has a crop factor of 2.7. Do I understand something wrong?
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Old Sunday 11th August 2013, 14:13   #72
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[quote=janvangastel;2796392]Neil,
I looked into the exif to understand the calculation. According to the exif data a NIKON Coolpix 330 was used for this picture, with a crop factor of 4.6. With that, I also arrive at around 3300 Fl for 35 mm equivalence. The Sony has a crop factor of 2.7. Do I understand something wrong?[/QUOTE

The lens was at equivalent of 60 mm and the scope eyepiece was around 50x = 3,000 mm. I added another 10% for the slight crop I did on the image.
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Old Sunday 11th August 2013, 14:43   #73
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I thought I would share the setup I'm using for recording the growth of the Purple Heron chicks.
I have two cameras recording video . The Sony DSC HX 200v at around 800 mm and the Sony DSC HX 9v at 300 mm. I have the Canon G1 X shooting time-lapse. On the scope I have the Sony RX 100M2 and the Nikon Coolpix P330 shooting stills and video.
After a morning session I end up with about 80 - 100 gigs and I go through about 8 batteries.
Neil
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Old Sunday 11th August 2013, 14:50   #74
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The lens was at equivalent of 60 mm and the scope eyepiece was around 50x = 3,000 mm. I added another 10% for the slight crop I did on the image.
Neil.
OK, thanks for the clarification Neil.

Quote:
I thought I would share the setup I'm using for recording the growth of the Purple Heron chicks.
Very nice setup! Is this your private cabin or is a public?
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Old Sunday 11th August 2013, 16:19   #75
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I also tried a larger distance this morning, on a Collared Dove: 180 meters. I used my Swarovski ATM 80HD and Panasonic DMC G3 with a 30 mm Sigma lens. Total 35 mm equivalent 3000 mm. Including some cropping I also arrive at around 3300 mm. Not bad, but not nearly as sharp as Neil's purple heron.
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