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Zoom Spotting Scope...recommendations please guys!

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Old Thursday 25th September 2003, 17:37   #1
viperastro
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Zoom Spotting Scope...recommendations please guys!

Hi there everyone

This is a great site, thank you for making me feel welcome.

I have been photographing nature shots and birds on the farm where I live for a while now with my Fuji finepix S602 Pro digi cam and my automatic SLR Pentax MZ-50 (35mm fossil age photography).

Anyway, I feel the need to get some rather nice close up shots without the birds I want to image flying away and the zoom lenses on both cameras aren't up to the job (400 mm zoom on my SLR) ....thats where a spotting scope comes in!

My hubby and I are also interested in astronomy and were wondering whether any of you have used any scopes to image for instance the moon (should any of you have interest in that field) ....do they gather enough light, we can track long exposure with both cameras piggy backed onto telescope.

I am looking for an objective lens of no less than 60mm and my price tag for the scope with zoom eyepiece is around 500

Not sure if my digi cam is up to the job of using as we suffer with vignetting when attaching it to the telescope as the lens extends a long way passed camera body.

My birds await their 15 mins of fame close up!!

Regards

Clare
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Old Thursday 25th September 2003, 17:43   #2
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Hi Clare and welcome to the best site on the web.
I won't be able to help you with your query personnally, but I'm sure there's plent of people here who can. There have been several similar enquiries recently about 'scopes of that budget, have a look at this and see if it helps:

http://www.birdforum.net/forums/show...&threadid=7650
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Old Thursday 25th September 2003, 19:20   #3
alan_rymer
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Opticron ES80 and 20-60 Zoom
I think this was close to 60x
No zoom on the camera!.
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Old Thursday 25th September 2003, 19:21   #4
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Nice shot Alan - not sure we should be mooning at new members though
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Old Thursday 25th September 2003, 20:11   #5
viperastro
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Thanks for your pic Alan, rather impressive.

What's the near focus on that scope? Some of the 100mm ones have a near focus as long as 20ft but where I "hide" for garden visitors is about 15ft. Obviously when I am trapsing round the farm the near focus isn't so relevant but if I want to get pictures of my fave Nuthatch and Great Spotted Woodpeckers then near focus is an issue.

What camera do you use and how easy it to attach to the scope. The lens on mine is very large and when I couple it to the telescope with my digi-T adapter I find that I suffer with tunnel vision vignetting with anything other than the 40mm plossl. (not sure how the magnification works on spottng scopes, all new!)

Regards

Clare

ps) I don't mind you mooning at me when it's such a pretty sight!!!


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Old Thursday 25th September 2003, 20:45   #6
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Clare - According to Opticron the close focus is 6m about 20ft.

nice to shot Alan, what a gent showing a lady the moon.
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Old Thursday 25th September 2003, 21:02   #7
alan_rymer
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Quote:
Originally posted by viperastro
What's the near focus on that scope? Some of the 100mm ones have a near focus as long as 20ft but where I "hide" for garden visitors is about 15ft. I want to get pictures of my fave Nuthatch and Great Spotted Woodpeckers then near focus is an issue.

What camera do you use and how easy it to attach to the scope. The lens on mine is very large and when I couple it to the telescope with my digi-T adapter I find that I suffer with tunnel vision vignetting


Pete
Don't let my better half hear what else you said !.

Thanks for looking up the close focus distance CJW.
I think in practice it may be less, close focus that is!. I will measure tomorrow a.m. as I am "working" at home!.
My camera is an oldy digital and is not mounted. Any photo's I take are hand held against the lens with auto exposure ( there are no exposure contols, nor speed etc, its suck it and see!. I get am awful lot of out of focus or shots suffering from shake
( caused mainly by F Grouse ).
Be back tomorrow with more info!.

Clare
There are other users on this site who digiscope using this scope, but tend to a use smaller x eypiece and rely on the zoom of the camera!. Hopefully one of them will add a comment!.
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Old Friday 26th September 2003, 07:06   #8
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Clare - the HR66 is cheaper (but smaller lens) but focuses to 4.5m (approx 15ft). And I only have this info to hand because I've just bought a scope so was doing the research., I'm not that sad normally - honest!!

Quote:
Originally posted by alan_rymer
Pete
Don't let my better half hear what else you said !.

Thanks for looking up the close focus distance CJW.
Oy I was the one who looked up the Opticron website. Just because CJW is a moderator now. I don't know some people always sucking up to the authority figures mutter mutter

Seriously Alan, there seem to be alot of people buying ES80s lately (Are you & Diane on a percentage from Opticron?) When I bought mine I was the third that day!!
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Old Friday 26th September 2003, 08:08   #9
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Quote:
Originally posted by pduxon
Oy I was the one who looked up the Opticron website. Just because CJW is a moderator now. I don't know some people always sucking up to the authority figures mutter mutter

Seriously Alan, there seem to be alot of people buying ES80s lately (Are you & Diane on a percentage from Opticron?) When I bought mine I was the third that day!!
Pite

Sorry, Hangs head in shame

Regarding the commision from Opticron, I wish!. Its just that I think its the best scope for the price. I had an MM2 before and spent a long time looking at scope before choosing the ES80 both before and after!. Still got the MM2 and occaisionally just stick it in my pocket when going for a walk.
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Old Friday 26th September 2003, 08:42   #10
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love the emoticon

Yup I've still got my little MM2. Like you I intend to use it for the days I'm not sure if I need a scope with me.
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Old Friday 26th September 2003, 15:36   #11
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Clare

The info that Pete or "Pite" gave is just about correct.
Found a robin perched on a brach about 30' away. Set the scope up on tripod and set scope focus to minimum. Walked slowley forward until the Robin was in perfect focus!. Took out the tape measure I had brought with me and gave the Robin one end, but unfortunatley it kept pulling him off the perch, anyway, eventually got is measured down to 19'. To me it looks much closer than 19!.

Suggest you measure out the actual distance Clare
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Old Tuesday 30th September 2003, 17:38   #12
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Thanks everyone for your replies.....sorry I haven't been online the last few days but I have been in mouring as a damn blasted cat was seen with a nuthatch in its mouth!!!! ( I duly wacked said cat with a plank of wood after teasing it with a piece of ham...it limped away hopefully having learnt it's lesson)

Anyway, all was not lost as my nuthatch appeared on the feeding table only minutes after the near fatal blow to the cat! Cat not forgiven as a nuthatch had still been killed, but not mine, I thought my eyes were imagining it at first. The Nuthatch is fairly tame and I can go out to the table and fill the sunflower seeds up without it flying away. I talk to it but I'm not sure it appreciates that!!

Anyway.....I measured the distance from my hide to the table and it is 15 and 1/2 ft. I can't really move the hide away much further or I will be in the field with the cows!!! So I really need a scope that can handle short near focus.

I have been checking out some really great pictures on this site and other sites including astronomy shots with a spotting scope.

I spoke to the guys at Stockport Binocular and Telescope Centre the other day and they think that the main reason I suffer vignetting with out telescope is the distance of the focusser racked out, plus eyepiece and then plus camera lense is just too great causing such a long tunnel that the camera just can't escape even zoomed.

Hopefully with a spotting scope I can alleviate some of the distance and not suffer as great....have to wait and see. I really prefer my digital shots as I have bracketing with a 35mm camera just in the hope (rather vain hope some times when talking about astrophotography) of one in focus perfectly exposured shot!!!

I have checked out prices of the ES80 and that's well within my price range and I will want the complete package with camera adapter. I definately want it attaching to camera properly as I need to assure steady shots.....I get cold and suffer shakes and teeth chatter as we are in open here!!!

Thanks again for your help, especially Pete.

Regards

Clare

ps) The cat I whacked was mine not someone elses!!!!
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Old Saturday 4th October 2003, 19:17   #13
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Clare, Good look with your photography. However, please post regular updates re the cat and nuthatch.

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Old Saturday 4th October 2003, 19:28   #14
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Yeah perhaps you've seriously injured some kids pet cat - only doing what its nature tells it too, honing its hunting skills; encouraged by your feeding of the birds?!
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Old Monday 6th October 2003, 15:58   #15
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Hi all

Smallblueplanet......regarding the cat I whacked.....I did say it was my own cat. Humbug is his name and he is fine and well and not a bit put off at honing his hunting skills!!!

In fact, my bird table looks very bizarre at present as we have new "cat defences". It's a series of dowelling weaved with wire (like barbed wire but without the barbs) Looks like a cross between a rotary dryer and a spiders web. So far so good though as no more visits by cats. Of course they come and look but they can't get on the table now! (Hasn't stopped the squirrel, but I quite like the odd squirrel!)

I love the birds we get here but I am increasingly narked by the RSPB, may have to write to them. They keep saying bird decline is all down to the nasty farmers......living on a farm and being the farmers wife, that kinda gets my goat, so to speak. Apparently we aren't supposed to make silage anymore and leave all fields to seed their grass for the birds......very good but what about winter food for our cows? And when we hedge cut we are destroying buries and we shouldn't cut hedges every year.....very good but we get a notification threatening legal action from local council if they aren't done every autumn cuz the hedges are considered an obstruction to the roads and a visibility hazard.....we can't win!!!

Anyway, enough of my moaning....thanks for your messages guys. I have been taking pictures but none worth submitting....Still awaiting my scope, hubby says I have to have it for a birthday pressie now...(30th this month) It's either I agree to that or I end up with a new electric fencer and fencing stakes.....what a romantic!!!

Regards

Clare
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Old Monday 6th October 2003, 16:14   #16
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Hi Clare

Glad to hear that you have a scoe in the way, I'm sure you'll love it.

Re. your comment about the RSPB always blaming farmers for bird decline...
I worked for the RSPB for a while and we often had farmers phoning up about such matters, often the problem was the way that the media had reported on a story rather than the original statement made by the RSPB. My advice to you would be to get the number for your regional office (you can find it on the RSBP website) and give them a ring, there should be someone within the regional office who will be able to answer questions and also listen to your point of view. It may be that the official RSPB view is different to you think, if not at least you'll be able to get your side of things across. I can assure you that all such feedback will eb well received and will be passed on to the relevant people at the top of the tree.

Anyway - I hope the defences manage to keep the cats away and that you get some interesting stuff on the table over the winter.
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Old Monday 6th October 2003, 16:24   #17
viperastro
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Postcardcv

Thanks for your reply... my gripe with the RSPB was after reading Summer 2003 newsletter (I continue to be a a member).

I used to live in a town where we thought we were lucky to see a Blue Tit or a Robin. I didn't realise there were so many garden visitors to enjoy.

Most days it's all Great Tits, Blue Tits, Dunnocks, House Sparrows and Chaffinch's...not to mention the pesky Starlings and the Magpie that loves to sit on the table!! But then there are the more interesting days.....Nuthatch (my second fave) Great Spotted Woodpecker (Third fave) Goldfinches (All time fave, from December to April they come in droves) and my Song Thrush (who has a wreckless sense of fearlessness when it comes to the wild farm cats) I get siskins and Fieldfares, Yellow Hammers and Greenfinches too.

I think of them all as "free" pets and I bake plain scones for them twice a week. Three a day they get through. They love them. I feed all year long and it's great to see them return with their young.

I get alot of enjoyment out of them and I can't wait to get my new scope and get some great close up shots of them.

Anyone know what trees the Woodpeckers and Nuthatches prefer to live in. We have lots of Poplar, Ash and Oak and I would love to get some shots of them in their native habitat.

Regards

Clare
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