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Old Monday 1st September 2003, 11:34   #1
Tony Knight
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beginner with brand new toys needing advice !!

Just joined the forum and have a couple of "technique" questions. I have only just taken delivery of a Nikon 4500 plus kowa 824 20-60 (straight but 2nd hand so cheapish) , velbon sherpa 450 tripod and eagle-eye adaptor (yes costly but given I could never make anything on Blue Peter ..........). Must add the advice on this forum has been absolutely brilliant, until I first saw the site (thanks Richard) I had no clue what to look for. My queries;

I used to wander around with a 35m Canon c/w 300m lens and 2x converter ,no tripod, giving flexibility, approx 12x and reasonable pictures as long as the weather was brightish. I'm concerned that I may not now have the response time to snap the birds that appear for 10-15 secs as I walk along even once the new kit becomes a slick operation. How do you experts cope ? Do you ignore the "now you see them now you don't" shots, walk round with tripod already extended primed and ready, use a separate 3x or 5x converter for walking and swap to the scope and tripod when you are going to be stationary for 5+ minutes ?? I have tried walking with the tripod almost fully extended and know it wont be long before I trip over and drop the scope !!
A comment was made about the damage the sun can cause to the camera. Is it safe to leave scope and camera in the boot of a car for long periods so they are always with me ? They are carefully padded and out of the sun but it gets pretty hot in a boot that's permanently in the sun at the office car-park.
Any advice on a good quality but not too expensive printer ? is it better to get one that is primarily for printing photos ? Presume they have the best definition.

Much appreciate any advice. Tony
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Old Monday 1st September 2003, 12:11   #2
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Good luck with your new equipment, Tony!

I totally understand your first question. I have the same problem. I carry my Minolta Dimage 7hi (7x zoom w/1.5 converter) around my neck and keep my Nikon CP 995 on the scope. You may decide to still carry your Canon as well as your digiscoping gear. A backpack-style camera/gear bag helps a lot.

I usually carry my camera attached to my scope, with tripod legs extended. Depends on what and where, of course, but I have gotten pretty good at not falling down. I even occassionally get brave enough to wade across the shallow river (slippery rocks!) behind my house with all the gear.

Don't have an answer for the heat question. I don't think I would leave the camera if it is really hot, but I don't think it would hurt the scope.

Again - good luck. Hope you will be posting some of your efforts soon.

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Old Monday 1st September 2003, 12:24   #3
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I wear a plastic helmet with a bird seeking digital camera mounted on the front, so whatever I see it records...wait, that would be 20 years from now.
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Old Monday 1st September 2003, 15:32   #4
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Hi Tony,

On behalf of Admin and the Moderators, welcome to Bird Forum

A couple of good questions there as I'm sure that many of us have the same difficulties. BTW you picked a great camera/scope combo - very similar to mine

I'm only a novice at this too but Pre-digiscope days I used an Olympus C2100UZ with a lovely image stabilised 10x optical zoom to which I have 1.45x ad 1.7x teleconverters attached. I find it's good for shots up to around 30 yards, though the 2.1 MP is a bit restricting. The new C750 although without the IS looks a much better propostion. With it's autofocus it's an instant camera to use so if you spot something you can be pretty quick on the draw. I still carry the equipment around now, though I seem to be using it far less as I generally find birds are that little bit further away and far easier to digiscope from a distance than having to creep too near. Essentailly I use it in the same fashion as you use your 35mm gear. For me digiscoping is an additional technique rather than a replacement. For those more active closer subjects you can't beat the old gear, except maybe with a DSLR and nice long lens - I wish!

Both sets of equipment have their place.

I tend to carry the scope and tripod connected up but not with the camera attached as I find it far quicker to line up the subject and then just slip the camera over the eyepiece. I think the worry about the sun stems in the main from direct sun onto the LCD inparticular if you have a magnifier attached. Another reason for keeping the camera separate from the scope.

Personally I don't like the idea of leaving the camera and scope in the car. I'd rather have it somewhere a bit more secure - after suffering one theft from the vehicle earlier this year. A point to bear in mind is that your car insurance probably won't cover the cost of replacement equipment unless you have taken out a separate optics insurance policy - most only cover up to around 150 for personal items left in vehicles - fortunately I had a travel insurance policy!
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Old Monday 1st September 2003, 15:34   #5
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I leave everything attached and carry it over my shoulder. (Swarovsi angled scope & CP4500). When I see a bird I want to photograph, I open up the tripod legs, whip the camera off, aquire the bird, focus, reattact the camera, frame and shoot.

5 seconds - no hope. 10 seconds - maybe if I am very lucky and get everything right first time. (Don't hold your breath.) 15 seconds: I should be able to get half-decent shots with 15 seconds preparation by now. (All these times guessed at - I should get someone to time me to see how long it really takes.)

Often, while focussing I zoom up to 40 or 50X because that cuts the depth of field and lets you get the focus exactly right - when you take it back out to 20X you have the bird in the exact centre of the focus zone and if it moves a little bit you are still ok. In fact, I think that is often the fastest way to get a good, sharp focus. BTW, don't try to fovus on the bid itself unless it is sitting perfectly still for you. Better to focus on something solid that is the same distance away (such as the branch it is perching on, or the grass next to it) as you are less distracted by small movements this way. But you know all this already, I'm sure, from your 35mm experience.

I almost always shoot at 20X on the scope and use the camera zoom to frame the shot. Sometimes, not very often, I'll take it up to 30X or so, If the shot needs more than that, I'm too far away. Camera movement and lack of light make the whole thing problematic. Maybe when the summer light arrives it will be a little different.
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Old Monday 1st September 2003, 15:50   #6
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Hi Tony,

We have a Lexmark Z65 printer which will do up to 2880 dpi (I think - it's good anyway). The Lexmark inks are expensive but well worth it. We also have an Epson (much cheaper on the ink) but it is 1440 dpi and you can really tell the difference between the two. Whatever printer you go for, just aim for one with a high dpi - this will give you the better quality prints. Just be aware of the after costs of the print cartridges.
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Old Monday 1st September 2003, 16:04   #7
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Thanks for the advice one and all
I should point out that I part exchanged my Canon SLR kit to part-fund (a pitifully small part too) this excursion into the new digital technology. I'm sure I will miss the old kit in the short term while i get to grips with the scope/tripos/coolpix but I missed out on the long range stuff before and both are too heavy to carry both kits. Is it worth looking at one of these 5x eagle eye converters ? do they let in enough light when used with the 4500 at 4x zoom ??
I will insure specifically to carry in the car (as I did with my golf clubs !) just to make sure I have everything with me in case something interesting pops up on the internet for a quick detour on the drive home from work or at lunch.
Interesting that some of you focus by scope and then add the camera while the initial notes by Andy suggest focusing using the cameras screen. I guess its whatever it easist for the particular equipment you have.
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Old Sunday 29th August 2004, 23:37   #8
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Thumbs up have a walk...

The best thing i can advise (if i may be so pedantic) is to forget about all the tech equations about you gear .... even walk without it in a place you want to shoot a day later. the secret with photography is feeling. you should wait and watch and listen and then take your shots im sure this little piece of advice will have a benefit, let me know how you get on.
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Old Monday 30th August 2004, 08:28   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tony Knight
Thanks for the advice one and all
I should point out that I part exchanged my Canon SLR kit to part-fund (a pitifully small part too) this excursion into the new digital technology. I'm sure I will miss the old kit in the short term while i get to grips with the scope/tripos/coolpix but I missed out on the long range stuff before and both are too heavy to carry both kits. Is it worth looking at one of these 5x eagle eye converters ? do they let in enough light when used with the 4500 at 4x zoom ??
Hi Tony,
The EagleEye is a very good light gatherer, making little difference in shutter-speeds with it on... but remember that some form of support will be needed for sharp shots unless shutter-speeds are very fast (even then, support will be a help).

I wouldn't worry about heat damage in a car boot, it's direct sunlight that lcd monitors don't like (and that's long time exposure), and of course direct sunlight coming up the lens is to be avoided for even a short duration. I'd avoid having this sort of equipment on a dashboard behind glass with strong sunshine, these temps can be extremely high... but someone would've nicked it before the damage was done anyway

A few focus the scope onto the bird and then put the camera up to the eyepiece to take the shot, the AF can rectify to a small degree... unfortunately cameras have a habit of not seeing the world as the human eye does, so getting a sharp image on the camera monitor often proves a bit more reliable... still, it's all down to what you are comfortable with.

regards,
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Old Monday 30th August 2004, 14:46   #10
wilder
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Re: Printer... I have just bought a Canon i250 and it seems very good. Got it from eBuyer, and they have customer reviews on their site www.ebuyer.com (I think). Canon also do slightly more expensive models (mine was REALLY cheap) and the ink cartridges are very reasonable too.

Chris

PS I use the 5x from eagleeye and it is very good as long as you can stabilise it a bit.
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Old Tuesday 31st August 2004, 12:47   #11
Tony Knight
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A few focus the scope onto the bird and then put the camera up to the eyepiece to take the shot, the AF can rectify to a small degree... unfortunately cameras have a habit of not seeing the world as the human eye does, so getting a sharp image on the camera monitor often proves a bit more reliable... still, it's all down to what you are comfortable with.

regards,
Andy[/quote]
================================================== ===

Andy

I have been doing this about a year now and focus the scope and then hand-hold the camera. I find the "expand a view" helps but even with that attached I don't feel I can focus the scope sharply enough without looking through the scope. So i lose a little in sharpness by hand holding but am prepared to sacrifice that. I would lose so many photos if I tried to screw on the adapter and use a shutter release unless on the rare occasions I am photographing waders.

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