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Old Thursday 26th June 2014, 10:24   #1
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Afocal digiscoping with DSLR - help me!!

I have the Vanguard Endeavor HD 82A spotting scope which has an eyepiece with 20-60x magnification. For afocal digiscoping with a DSLR, Vanguard has an adapter
My camera is the Nikon D800 which is a full frame camera but has an APS-C crop mode too. The thread in the Vanguard adapter is 52mm diameter so it fixes directly onto my 50mm f/1.4 lens.
I have found it virtually impossible to acquire sharp pictures with my camera/ lens/ scope setup - no matter the eyepiece magnification setting. I have focused the scope as effectively as possible. I have also taken manual control of the camera lens focusing and tried a variety of focusing points on it.
Being new to digiscoping, I'm not sure what I'm doing wrong. Is it a problem with the camera lens? Surely it can't be a quality issue - the scope/ camera/ lens are all great quality.
Any advice would be greatly appreciated!
Thanks in advance,
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Old Wednesday 9th July 2014, 10:28   #2
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What camera settings are you using -- use the widest aperture, set the shutterspeed to a minimum of 1/1000th sec to start with and bump up the ISO if you need to to give you the correct exposure.

A lot of the blur on digiscoped shots is down to camera shake... which is magnified astronomically by the scope setup -- and remember there's no VR /IS to compensate. Even pressing the shutter, or the movement of the camera mirror can cause blurring / softening of the resulting image.

Get the shutter speed as high as you possibly can, and where possible use a remote shutter release to avoid camera movement when triggering the shutter.
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Old Friday 11th July 2014, 15:12   #3
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Thanks for your reply Calvin, its appreciated.

To answer, I tried a few aperture settings all the while keeping the shutter speed to a minimum of 1/1000sec (or quicker depending on the focal length I was getting) by using auto ISO and setting the min shutter speed. I then trigger my camera using a cable release so no shake introduced there. I think I tick all the boxes when it comes to camera settings and taking the pictures, but still the images aren't great.

I've actually got better results handholding my compact camera (Sony RX100) to the scope's eyepiece than I have with my DSLR attached via the bracket. I'm wondering if the lens compatibility with the eyepiece is no good.

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Old Saturday 12th July 2014, 08:09   #4
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Even using the cable release to trigger the shutter, there may be some vibration from mirror slap. Have you tried it on mirror lock up and also use that with a short delay like a 5 second timer? Try it with and without vibration reduction on the lens as that can sometimes be a problem. On a tripod it's usually best to turn it off. Maybe try focusing in live view to get it spot on. If you still have problems after that then I don't know what else to try. Sometimes zoom eyepieces can be the root of the problem. A fixed eyepiece is usually better.

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Old Sunday 20th July 2014, 02:06   #5
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Agree w/ Paul. I've found mirror slap to be a huge problem w/ DSLR setups. Mirror lockup helps, and shooting Continuous will help.
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Old Monday 21st July 2014, 14:21   #6
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Thanks again for the feedback, I've enjoyed my experience of this forum!

I seem to remember half the time shooting with live view activated, firstly to get the focusing just right but also to shoot as it means the mirror is locked. I will try again using mirror lock mode and self timer mode in a couple of weeks when I have some holiday. The particular lens does not have VR (nor the camera) so no issues there.

The view through the eyepiece is sharp, the pictures are soft. The eyepiece is a bit softer over 40x magnification so I avoid setings between 40x - 60x.

My gut says the 50mm lens is unsuitable. I'll keep trying but may look at borrowing a different lens from a friend to see if I get different results.

Thanks again,

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