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Digiscoping please help

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Old Sunday 16th July 2006, 15:58   #1
Marcus Conway - ebirder
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Angry Digiscoping please help

I have been digiscoping now for 6 months with a mixture of satisfaction. However I have just returned from a 5 hours in the field in fustration. My images are just never sharp, I have concluded this may be for a number of reasons.
  1. I am rubbish
  2. my cp990 set up isn't right (I think it is though)
  3. My tripod can't support the wieght (15 year Slik D70)
  4. I expect too much


I am desperate to carry on, please let me know any suggestions!!
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Old Sunday 16th July 2006, 16:23   #2
Robert L Jarvis
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Jimmy, you dont say what scope you have, are you using an adapter or hand holding, do you use a remote shutter release, what settings are being used on your camera, without full information it is difficult for people to help you.
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Old Sunday 16th July 2006, 17:03   #3
Marcus Conway - ebirder
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert L Jarvis
Jimmy, you dont say what scope you have, are you using an adapter or hand holding, do you use a remote shutter release, what settings are being used on your camera, without full information it is difficult for people to help you.
Sure I have a kowa tsn 823, with a 28mm thread adapter, with the little screws that screw onto the eyepiece from LCExchange. I have attached some images below, which are typical. Don't have a remote shutter release - didn't know you could get on for the cp990...
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Old Sunday 16th July 2006, 17:26   #4
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I'd be pretty chuffed with those - fancy a sawp?
If there isn't a tailor-made release for your camera, it's easy enough to make one, albeit a little rudimentary.
Buy a strip of 30 mm wide x 2-3mm thick aluminium (about 3.00 from Homebase) and find a bolt with the same thread as the tripod attachment on the camera. drill a hole through the strip so that you can screw it to your camera ok (you may need a spacer on the nut so it's not loose). I also glued two pads of thin foam to the side touching the base of the camera. With the camera facing you (assuming a right-handed shutter button) and the stip still attached, mark a line 15 mm from the left hand side of the camera onto the strip. Remove the camera from the strip and bend at 90 degrees. Mark another line on the strip at 10 mm above the top of camera when it's attached and bend there also. Cut the strip so that it overshoots the shutter button by 10-15 mm. Mark a point over the shutter button and drill a hole large enough so that the thread of the shutter release cable fits through and on the underside (ie side nearest to the camera) superglue a small nut that the shutter release can thread into. Even though the shutter release cable has a tapering thread, the last three or four parts of the thread bite into the nut. Et voila, remote cable release for cameras that aren't fitted for one.
Picture here of my one, which seems to work a lot better since I put the cable nut on the underside of the strip (picture shows it on top)...
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Old Sunday 16th July 2006, 18:04   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jimmy2faces
my cp990 set up isn't right (I think it is though)
Have you seen this thread?
http://www.birdforum.net/showthread.php?t=3302

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Old Sunday 16th July 2006, 18:08   #6
Marcus Conway - ebirder
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jaff
Have you seen this thread?
http://www.birdforum.net/showthread.php?t=3302

Jaff
Thanks Jeff, I have used these settings. However, I have no idea how to chnage the apperture priority so it is always F4. This could be it! How do i reduce the post just says reduce it, but how?

when I am in mnaal mode pressing the butin under that doesn't change anyhting...

Thanks
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Old Sunday 16th July 2006, 18:09   #7
Marcus Conway - ebirder
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Quote:
Originally Posted by colonelboris
I'd be pretty chuffed with those - fancy a sawp?
If there isn't a tailor-made release for your camera, it's easy enough to make one, albeit a little rudimentary.
Buy a strip of 30 mm wide x 2-3mm thick aluminium (about 3.00 from Homebase) and find a bolt with the same thread as the tripod attachment on the camera. drill a hole through the strip so that you can screw it to your camera ok (you may need a spacer on the nut so it's not loose). I also glued two pads of thin foam to the side touching the base of the camera. With the camera facing you (assuming a right-handed shutter button) and the stip still attached, mark a line 15 mm from the left hand side of the camera onto the strip. Remove the camera from the strip and bend at 90 degrees. Mark another line on the strip at 10 mm above the top of camera when it's attached and bend there also. Cut the strip so that it overshoots the shutter button by 10-15 mm. Mark a point over the shutter button and drill a hole large enough so that the thread of the shutter release cable fits through and on the underside (ie side nearest to the camera) superglue a small nut that the shutter release can thread into. Even though the shutter release cable has a tapering thread, the last three or four parts of the thread bite into the nut. Et voila, remote cable release for cameras that aren't fitted for one.
Picture here of my one, which seems to work a lot better since I put the cable nut on the underside of the strip (picture shows it on top)...
Will give it a go cheers
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Old Tuesday 18th July 2006, 10:17   #8
Jaff
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jimmy2faces
Thanks Jaff, I have used these settings. However, I have no idea how to chnage the apperture priority so it is always F4. This could be it! How do i reduce the post just says reduce it, but how?

when I am in mnaal mode pressing the butin under that doesn't change anyhting...

Thanks
With the 4500 you just move the command dial when in aperture priority mode and you should see the fvalue change, same with shutter priority mode. Or if in full manual press the mode button to switch between aperture and shutter speed. I'm assuming it's the same for the 990 but don't quote me as I've no idea what one looks like. It should all be in your manual somewhere though.

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Old Tuesday 18th July 2006, 11:03   #9
Lawts
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jimmy2faces
I have been digiscoping now for 6 months with a mixture of satisfaction. However I have just returned from a 5 hours in the field in fustration. My images are just never sharp, I have concluded this may be for a number of reasons.
  1. I am rubbish
  2. my cp990 set up isn't right (I think it is though)
  3. My tripod can't support the wieght (15 year Slik D70)
  4. I expect too much


I am desperate to carry on, please let me know any suggestions!!
Jimmy, I am exactly at the same stage as you. I am getting frustrated with some of my attempts, (although yours are good). It may sound a bit obvious but are you taking enough shots? I can sometimes take circa 200, and discard all but a few.

I have a small group of belting shots that I have taken, (with my Coolpix 885 before I got the 4500) and it's useful to have these to remind you that it can all come together, (wicket taking ball) and this at least tells you there is nothing wrong with the kit (when you keep bowling down leg).

No two times in the field are the same, light, wind, the speed the bird is moving etc.

I have concluded that where you and I are struggling and what will make the difference is the shutter speed and the f. reading. In truth the first hurdle is truly understanding what all this means, (I have never previously used a 35mm slr). I agree though that when people say adjust these in manual, you need to know how/why. I am going to try Auto with mine but with the camera manually adjusting shutter and f.

I think the other thing is we do need to be realistic. It is easy to get frustrated looking at the images appearing on Birdguides. However, more and more people are using digital slr and paying serious dosh to get the images you see. For a start off, we can forget flight shots, (I think).

The last point to make is we are birders first, photographers second. Ten years ago I'd have killed for a blurry record shot of some major rarities where all I have is poorly documented notes. Any shot will recapture the scene and in years to come will still be great to look back on.

Keep going as will I!

p.s. I'll get those details of the gravel pit grid ref. in Wetherby when I can establish more.

Regards.

Steve.
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Old Tuesday 18th July 2006, 12:43   #10
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Originally Posted by Lawts
Jimmy, I am exactly at the same stage as you. I am getting frustrated with some of my attempts, (although yours are good). It may sound a bit obvious but are you taking enough shots? I can sometimes take circa 200, and discard all but a few.

I have a small group of belting shots that I have taken, (with my Coolpix 885 before I got the 4500) and it's useful to have these to remind you that it can all come together, (wicket taking ball) and this at least tells you there is nothing wrong with the kit (when you keep bowling down leg).

No two times in the field are the same, light, wind, the speed the bird is moving etc.

I have concluded that where you and I are struggling and what will make the difference is the shutter speed and the f. reading. In truth the first hurdle is truly understanding what all this means, (I have never previously used a 35mm slr). I agree though that when people say adjust these in manual, you need to know how/why. I am going to try Auto with mine but with the camera manually adjusting shutter and f.

I think the other thing is we do need to be realistic. It is easy to get frustrated looking at the images appearing on Birdguides. However, more and more people are using digital slr and paying serious dosh to get the images you see. For a start off, we can forget flight shots, (I think).

The last point to make is we are birders first, photographers second. Ten years ago I'd have killed for a blurry record shot of some major rarities where all I have is poorly documented notes. Any shot will recapture the scene and in years to come will still be great to look back on.

Keep going as will I!

p.s. I'll get those details of the gravel pit grid ref. in Wetherby when I can establish more.

Regards.

Steve.

Steve, you're a legend mate have a on me.

I am going to have to play with my shutter speed I think as every shot I have ever taken is higher than F4, will look on Nokia website and see if I can download a manual.


Will see if I can sort the remote thingy too. I think I got to a stage where I expected too much. The other problem I have is I sometimes get excited when I see something and the it is impossible! My fustration came when I was trying to capture a ruddy duck and all 50 picture were just not worth keeping. Have attached some of my favourite pics and hopefully these will keep me going!
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Old Tuesday 18th July 2006, 15:46   #11
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Jimmy,
Don't give up just yet as I'm about to give you the secrets of successful digiscoping.
1) get closer - your posted photos are taken at too long a distance and you won't get good detail (6 - 10 meters is the best distance, up to 100 meters only if the bird is large and the light is very good - not over water due to atmospherics)
2) the light is too high and in the wrong direction in most of the posted photos. You want the sun low and behind you. Stay away from midday sun in summer.
3) don't waste time on moving birds , it's too difficult. Wait for them to stop or turn. They all stop sooner or later.
4) Take 10 times more photos than you think are necessary. If you have a pigeon sitting on a fence in good light take 50 shots of it - zoomed ,wide,horizontal,vertical.
5) Get out at sunrise at least once in a while and stay out until sunset often.
It's take practice,practice,practice but results will come. Don't worry about the remote until you have followed the points above.Good luck, Neil.
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Old Tuesday 18th July 2006, 15:49   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Neil
Jimmy,
Don't give up just yet as I'm about to give you the secrets of successful digiscoping.
1) get closer - your posted photos are taken at too long a distance and you won't get good detail (6 - 10 meters is the best distance, up to 100 meters only if the bird is large and the light is very good - not over water due to atmospherics)
2) the light is too high and in the wrong direction in most of the posted photos. You want the sun low and behind you. Stay away from midday sun in summer.
3) don't waste time on moving birds , it's too difficult. Wait for them to stop or turn. They all stop sooner or later.
4) Take 10 times more photos than you think are necessary. If you have a pigeon sitting on a fence in good light take 50 shots of it - zoomed ,wide,horizontal,vertical.
5) Get out at sunrise at least once in a while and stay out until sunset often.
It's take practice,practice,practice but results will come. Don't worry about the remote until you have followed the points above.Good luck, Neil.
Thanks Neil. all these tips are great! I reckon a lot of people are at the same -sort of stage as me so I hope others find this thread handy.

Will post some newer results soon!
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Old Tuesday 18th July 2006, 19:45   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jimmy2faces
I have been digiscoping now for 6 months with a mixture of satisfaction. However I have just returned from a 5 hours in the field in fustration. My images are just never sharp, I have concluded this may be for a number of reasons.
  1. I am rubbish
  2. my cp990 set up isn't right (I think it is though)
  3. My tripod can't support the wieght (15 year Slik D70)
  4. I expect too much


I am desperate to carry on, please let me know any suggestions!!
Just hang in there Marcus,I wish my first photos were as good as yours,just get down to Rodley and fill up a couple of 512mb cards,best of luck keep them coming.
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Old Tuesday 18th July 2006, 19:46   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jimmy2faces
Thanks Neil. all these tips are great! I reckon a lot of people are at the same -sort of stage as me so I hope others find this thread handy.

Will post some newer results soon!
Jimmy another good tip is to use the timer. Mine gives me a ten or three second delay. This is a good alternative to a release cord. This avoids you moving the camera as you push the shutter release down. It also gives you time to press down on the tripod to avoid any wind shake.

Under no circumstances use the digital zoom, (although I don't think you are doing) and don't necessarily use the full optical. I prefer sharper shots of a smaller image than blurred shots of a larger image.

Also, make sure you are getting the key part of the bird, (i.e. the head) in the small box after choosing spot or centre weighted. Your first set of posted shots appear sharper in the wrong places, and not the head.

Sounds like I know what Im doing - blind leading the blind more like it!
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Old Wednesday 19th July 2006, 09:40   #15
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Hi Jimmy,

Also in the same boat, going majorca friday for 2 weeks and only had the camera a week [only used disposables before], if they come out like yours i will be well chuffed.

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Old Wednesday 19th July 2006, 10:04   #16
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Thanks guys can't wait for Saturday morning now! Gonna get some practive in my garden tonight, so if I manage to not get arrested for being a suspected pervert I'll be down at Rodley first light!

My fustration came from the fact that to get these two reed bunting pics took over three hours and 80 pics. From what people are saying this is the norm, with the tips above hopefully I can improve the quality and then get myself a
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Old Wednesday 19th July 2006, 11:48   #17
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Hi Marcus

I'm at exactly this stage too, and am finding all of this very helpful.

The bit I don't understand is the "get closer" - if I use sufficient zoom to lose the vignetting then a bird of say sandpiper size has to be at least 30m away for me to be able to capture it's entire body.
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Old Wednesday 19th July 2006, 12:02   #18
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Maybe your adapter is holding the camera lens too far from the scope lens, or maybe a less-highly powered scope would do it.

I know what you mean about the 'suspected pervert' bit, there's always something slightly furtive about setting up the scope outside of a reserve...
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Old Wednesday 19th July 2006, 12:12   #19
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Originally Posted by SiG
Hi Marcus

I'm at exactly this stage too, and am finding all of this very helpful.

The bit I don't understand is the "get closer" - if I use sufficient zoom to lose the vignetting then a bird of say sandpiper size has to be at least 30m away for me to be able to capture it's entire body.
Unless you are using a fixed eyepiece it doesn't really apply. If your using a zoom lens it simply means instead of zooming in with it leave it at 20x, 30x would be the max, unless you've got a really good one like the Zeiss. If you find yourself digiscoping over 40x then less light will reach the camera, camera shake will increase dramatically and it can ruin your photos, hence if possible get closer or digiscope a different bird.

Hope this helps.
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Old Wednesday 19th July 2006, 13:01   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jimmy2faces
Thanks guys can't wait for Saturday morning now! Gonna get some practive in my garden tonight, so if I manage to not get arrested for being a suspected pervert I'll be down at Rodley first light!

My fustration came from the fact that to get these two reed bunting pics took over three hours and 80 pics. From what people are saying this is the norm, with the tips above hopefully I can improve the quality and then get myself a
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Old Thursday 20th July 2006, 10:26   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jimmy2faces
I have been digiscoping now for 6 months with a mixture of satisfaction. However I have just returned from a 5 hours in the field in fustration. My images are just never sharp, I have concluded this may be for a number of reasons.
  1. I am rubbish
  2. my cp990 set up isn't right (I think it is though)
  3. My tripod can't support the wieght (15 year Slik D70)
  4. I expect too much


I am desperate to carry on, please let me know any suggestions!!
Ha ha, found the images that led to my fustration it took 57 shots to get this.

In hindsight if I had taken this 3 months ago I would have been pleased - with the new tips I can't wait to get cracking on this weekend . sussed the ISO settings and apperture prioirty - if anyone needs help with this please let me know!

Also got this littlge grebe on the same day. Think the light was the major problem especially with my previous settings.
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Old Thursday 20th July 2006, 10:40   #22
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Those pictures look pretty good to me, so I don't think you are rubbish!!

I think maybe if you are using the Andy Bright settings you may find that he says somewhere that they may provide slightly unsharp pictures. He says he prefers to increase the sharpening on the computer in photoshop or similar than to have pictures that are oversharpened and cannot be rectified.

Maybe this is the answer??????
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Old Thursday 20th July 2006, 16:10   #23
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The other trick I've tried is to tape a piece of paper with an arrow onto the body of the scope and another long strip with numbers onto the focussing ring. I then try to gauge the numbers where it starts to go out of focus at either end of the focus point. I then started at one end and moved the ring in small increments until I got to the other end. However, even though on the LCD screen I'd seen the image go in, then out, of focus, the actual captured images were still on their way to meeting the focus point, let alone going through it. I guess in my case it means that the camera is not taking the same shot as you see on the screen, but in fact is in focus when the screen is slightly out on the long-distance side.
I'll get to see if this is a repeatable thing next week...
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Old Thursday 20th July 2006, 20:16   #24
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If the subject isn't very mobile I'll take some pictures of it then unfocus the scope and refocus it and take some more pictures, doing this several times increases the chances greatly of coming away with some nice sharp photos.
Like I say though, it only really works when the subject is static in the one place but this is the usual case for the kind of birds that are regularly digiscoped.

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Old Thursday 20th July 2006, 21:45   #25
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On a similar note to the focus-refocus, I found occasionally that moving birds gave some of the clearest shots. You'd get roughly the right focus, and providing the bird wasn't walking in a perfect arc around you, it would at some point walk into the point of focus. The only trick was tracking it and getting enough shots off.
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