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Major Frustration

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Old Friday 9th March 2018, 15:12   #1
jfcmoore
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Major Frustration

Note: I am prepared to receive the inevitable condemnation directed at newbies on forums so fire away - and then maybe provide a little help if possible.

Although I have spent over 50 years as an avid photographer I have only recently entered the world of digiscoping. Like many others, I have searched a great deal for various adapters and have tried two options with only token success.

My setup is as follows:
Celestron Regal M2 80ED (came with a T-mount adapter)

Canon EOS 60D
Added a T-ring to be able to attach the Canon to the scope)

Samsung S8+
Added a Gosky universal cell phone adapter to attach my S8 to the scope)

Here is my dilemma:
While I am able to get decent photos with both setups and recognize the weight and size advantages of the cell phone arrangement, my preference by far is to attach my Canon DSLR to the scope. It is a much more stable setup and eliminates the fidgeting necessary to align the Gosky adapter and cell phone. Plus, my Canon is a vastly superior camera overall. Unfortunately, I actually get sharper images with the cell phone setup. I can't quite get the sharpness with the Canon which really surprises me. With the T-ring setup I have to remove the lens from the Canon so there is no focusing of the camera - the only focus is with the scope.

My questions:

1) Any ideas as to why I cannot sharpen the image with the Canon and T-ring setup?
2) Is there a better way to attach my Canon DSLR to the scope? I'm willing to buy what is necessary but I don't want to waste anymore money if possible.

I'm hoping there are others in this group that have a similar camera/scope setup that are willing to help out.

I apologize if I have posted this to the wrong forum. After the required chastising, if anyone can point me in the right direction it will be much appreciated.

Thanks
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Old Friday 9th March 2018, 15:57   #2
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I'm sorry to be of no actual help, but welcome to BirdForum! I'm sure no-one will chastise or condemn you in any way. BF is a welcoming place. Your post seems to be in exactly the right forum, but where necessary, moderators are very good in moving posts to the appropriate place.
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Old Monday 12th March 2018, 15:09   #3
jfcmoore
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Ok, at this point I will even accept the newbie criticisms - at least it would constitute a response to the question. Thanks to John - the only responder. I guess I need to find a more responsive forum/site.
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Old Monday 12th March 2018, 15:26   #4
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Hi,

Quote:
Originally Posted by jfcmoore View Post
Ok, at this point I will even accept the newbie criticisms
In that case ... :-) Personally, I find it challenging to manually focus to the same level of sharpness as achieved by the autofocus on my DSLR even with a standard lens.

You could test the accuracy of your focusing that by finding an object in the scope's field of view that's "bracketed" between other objects in terms of distance from your point of view, focusing on your object of choice, and see which objects actually come out sharpest.

If other objects are sharper than the one you focused at, that would indicate that manual focusing is in fact the problem.

If there are no really sharp objects in your pictures (and they are close enough to each other to ensure you should have captured them in the depth of field), you might have a different problem. Not sure show your camera operates, but I've heard that camera shake can be quite a problem when digiscoping, to name just one possiblity.

Regards,

Henning
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Old Tuesday 13th March 2018, 08:31   #5
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It's possible that your eyes are the problem. What looks sharp to you through the viewfinder of the camera ( do you use the viewfinder or the screen to focus? ) is not actually sharp to the camera sensor. Its like two people taking turns to look through a pair of Bins or a Scope. They usually have to refocus when they switch over. Try wearing a low power pair of reading glasses when focusing.
As Henning says in post #4 . Try focusing on something like the branches of a tree and see if a branch other than what you are focusing on is sharper.

Good luck
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Old Tuesday 13th March 2018, 10:45   #6
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What has been said so far makes perfect sense.

Back in the days of film with a totally manual camera, I had a choice of 13 different focussing screens I could use for my camera and I used several of them for this reason, no one screen was perfect for all uses and by changing screen my focus accuracy and speed of focussing went up noticeably. When stuck with a camera without this facility I bracketed on focus and crossed my fingers. Some people are naturally better at focussing on a plain screen than others, I was never particularly good and used a magnifier as well.

The vibration thing is another point, for certain rigs I had to use mirror lock up as the vibration from the mirror was detectable in the image, also, fairly obviously I always used a wire release, as pressing the shutter button caused with a finger caused vibration. In fact on one camera I stripped it down and rebuilt the shutter release so it only needed little more than breathing on.

Modern cameras don't usually give you all the tools we had then, but a good remote release and focus bracketing might help, it usually boils down to a process of elimination.

The camera phone is very light and vibration free, the weight of an slr rig can adversely affect the vibration characteristic of the tripod - scope combination meaning that the tripod isn't quite up to the job. This can even show itself insofar as you can touch the phone without shake, but the added distance of the slr shutter release from the tripod will magnify the same pressure significantly, hence the need for a remote release.

Even working in lab conditions you can be driven mad trying to resolve issues, and it often comes back to something that you thought was OK.

Good luck, there is always an answer, usually simple, but it often drives you mad finding it. Just don't spend money on too many possible solutions, that way you end up with a cupboard full of tripods!

Last edited by iveljay : Tuesday 13th March 2018 at 11:05.
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Old Tuesday 13th March 2018, 13:04   #7
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Thanks very much for the suggestions. I will try them all. I have been trying to achieve sharpness by using the live view on the Canon (which, as I understand it, eliminates the mirror vibration issue), using my reading glasses to view the cameras lcd screen, and trying to focus on a license plate (flat, 2d object) to try to eliminate the depth of field issues. I also use the cameras shutter release timer (2 seconds) to keep my hands away from the camera. But, I will continue to try new things.
Thanks again for the suggestions.
Jim
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Old Wednesday 14th March 2018, 00:27   #8
jfcmoore
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Further efforts to no avail:

Asked my 30 year old son (with great eyes) to try to get a sharper image and he was unable to as well.
Also used his new Canon DSLR in place of my 60D. We attached his camera to the Celestron scope using the T-Ring and lens adapter in the same manner that my 60D was attached.
Also increased the shutter release timer to 10 seconds in case there was some "leftover" vibration from pressing the shutter button.
I'm on a very heavy, solid tripod which is placed on a concrete surface in a wind-free environment.

Same issue - just cannot achieve a sharp focus. Scope focus is outstanding without the cameras so I don't see how it could be the scope. And, as I said earlier, I can get good sharpness with the Galaxy S8 and the Gosky Universal Smartphone adapter but it is a pain in the butt to get centered - particularly at higher magnification. I have ordered the Phone Skope combo specifically for the Galaxy S8+ and Celestron M2-80 in the hope that a custom fit will at least make the smartphone easier to use until I can figure out why I cannot use the DSLR properly. As mentioned earlier, I really want to be able to use the DSLR given it's greater flexibility in camera settings and overall superior photo quality (compared to the smartphone).

I hope there is someone out there who has successfully attached a Canon DSLR to a Celestron scope that will help me out.

Thanks again.

Last edited by jfcmoore : Wednesday 14th March 2018 at 00:33.
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Old Wednesday 14th March 2018, 19:51   #9
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Try an adapter so you can fit your camera plus a 50mm lens to the eyepiece of the scope. As it is your scope is just a fixed mag lens.
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Old Thursday 15th March 2018, 10:06   #10
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Might it be that DSLRs just aren't very good for digiscoping? A great camera is not necessarily a great digiscoping camera.

David

Last edited by davpen : Thursday 15th March 2018 at 10:09.
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Old Thursday 15th March 2018, 12:20   #11
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There are a fair number of articles on the net showing dslrs successfully digiscoping with results - just to frustrate you.

Swarovski do a series of Youtube clips on dslr digiscoping, obviously featuring their scopes.
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Old Thursday 15th March 2018, 13:16   #12
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Canon with a Celestron scope

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=26QxGYpx8CI

There is a lot on the Internet on dslr digiscoping, somewhere may be your answer.

Typical UK digiscoping kit:

https://www.srb-photographic.co.uk/c...kit-9543-p.asp

Last edited by iveljay : Thursday 15th March 2018 at 14:19.
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Old Wednesday 21st March 2018, 17:44   #13
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JFCMoore,I'd like to add my three cents in, if I may.

This is all just off the top of my head, but my feel is that it is unlikely to be your eyes. I need to ask a few details about your setup. Of course it would be of great benefit if you could attach a few sample images of your results as well as the exif, and also a phone snap of your setup.

I asume since you are birding that you are focused at or near infinity. One possible problem could be that if the adapter is not set at the proper distance it is possible that you are not going to be able to achieve infinity focus. Does the problem stay the same ten feet, twenty feet and at infinity? Compare also the scope's minimum focus distance as stated in the manual to where you are able to get minimum focus which appears to be sharp. If it is off then I think you have an unsuitable adapter.

Is the photo of a flat subject such as a brick wall also out of focus, and if so is it out of focus on one side versus the other to different degrees?

How are you focusing, is it in the viewfinder or does your camera have live view that you could try and to compare results to?

an easy way to check front/back focus errors is to take a one meter or one yard ruler or a level with markings on the side, put it on a 45 degree angle near minimum focus, focus in the middle and see if that is the area of minimum focus.

The Canon 60D is a 1.6 crop sensor of 18 megapixels. Your Celestron has an 80mm objective and a focal length of 480mm. So you are shooting with a effective focal length of just under 800mm and that is asking for really good technique off of a solid tripod and a shutter or at least 1/1000th of a second at the minimum. have you done tests with a good tripod on a solid locked down head or a well adjusted gimbal with the mirror locked up to see if you are not suffering from vibrations rather than poor focus? even shutter slap could mess up fine focus with your setup. It's a small light scope with a relatively heavy camera weighing down the back end, which will tend to magnify any imperfections.

I'd do some test shots at varying distances all off a stable tight platform to eliminate variables that could be turning your shots to mush, one by one. You have an F stop of F 6 (If I did the math right) and so diffraction isn't it.

I hope you get this problem worked out and keep us posted on your progress. I presently considering digi-scoping but am leaning towards a telescope such as the Williams Optics Gran Tourismo 81. It's partly for the triplet, partly for the weight (heavier and more dense is good) but mostly for the better much smoother two stage focus mechanism. They also sell specific digiscoping adapters with high quality mirrors so I don't have to worry as much about something in the imaging chain making me scratch my head, as unfortunately you have to now. I currently own Nikons, Fuji's and Olympus cameras and am going to go with mirror-less. The live view is really a nice thing for knowing if the sensor sees the image as in focus.

Good luck. :)
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