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Nikon P300 for Digiscoping

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Old Sunday 27th March 2011, 02:38   #1
Neil
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Nikon P300 for Digiscoping

As it's my lot in life to have to buy every decent camera that Nikon makes ( and some that aren't so decent eg P5000 ) I picked up the P300 yesterday and did some quick testing in my apartment to check vignetting.
With the Swarovski 30x eyepiece ( 20 mm of ER ) vignetting disappeared at 40 mm which was nice as I prefer to keep the camera below half zoom.
With the Swarovski 25 - 50 zoom at 20x vignetting disappeared at 50 mm and at 60x at 35 mm.
With the Kowa 25x at 62 mm and with the 20 - 60 zoom at 20x vignetting disappeared at 62 mm and at 60x at 45 mm.
With a fast frame rate of 7fps (due to CMOS sensor ) and HD video this camera has potential. No Raw though unfortunately.
The first image shows vignetting with the Swarovski 30x eyepiece (20 mm ER ) and the second shows full zoom with the Canon SD4000IS (Ixus 300) and Nikon P300.
Neil

ps the testing was done with a universal adapter to minimise lens/eyepiece distance ( Swarovski UCA )

Hong Kong,
China.
March 2011
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Old Monday 28th March 2011, 23:03   #2
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Out in the field yesterday shooting with the Canon 4000 IS (Ixus 300) , Nikon P6000 and the new Nikon P300.
Here is one from the P300.
Neil

Nikon P300 and Kowa lens/scope Prominar with Kowa 20-60zoom (60x) and Swarovski UCA adapter

Hong Kong,
China.
March 2011
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Old Tuesday 29th March 2011, 12:01   #3
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Very nice photo, Neil. The P300 seems like a good compact for occasional digiscoping. I need a small p&s and had my sights on the S95. Maybe this would suit me better.
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Old Tuesday 29th March 2011, 21:02   #4
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Nice as usual Neil !

Waiting for your comparison between P7000 and P300 hehehe
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Old Tuesday 29th March 2011, 23:06   #5
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The P300 is nice to use on the scope with it's bright/sharp screen ( Nikon do screens better than most ) and it's fast frame rate. It's lens is not on a par with the P6000 and P7000 though so don't expect better quality than those two but you'll get more keepers as it's so fast.
It goes in the pocket nicely too.
I'll post some other photos in the Nikon Forum.
http://www.birdforum.net/showthread....04#post2101504
Neil

Nikon P300 and Kowa lens/scope Prominar and Kowa 20-60x zoom eyepiece and Swarovski UCA adapter.

Hong Kong,
China.
Mar 2011
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Last edited by Neil : Tuesday 29th March 2011 at 23:21.
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Old Wednesday 30th March 2011, 04:26   #6
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Originally Posted by Wachtel View Post
Very nice photo, Neil. The P300 seems like a good compact for occasional digiscoping. I need a small p&s and had my sights on the S95. Maybe this would suit me better.
Pro's and Con's between these two. The P300 is much faster and has much better screen, but the S95 has Raw and Continuos Jpeg shooting which I would like.
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Old Wednesday 30th March 2011, 11:19   #7
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Sounds like the P300 should suit me fine
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Old Thursday 31st March 2011, 04:14   #8
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Does the Coolpix P300 have a preset zoom upon start-up like the S95 is capable of? What is the diameter of the threads surrounding the lens? Is it the same as the P6000?
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Old Thursday 31st March 2011, 23:19   #9
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Old Saturday 2nd April 2011, 14:31   #10
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The P300 came into it's own out on the mudflats yesterday as its 7 fps did a great job of keeping up with waders feeding ahead of the rising tide. The P7000 and P6000 did poorly in handling the fast action.
Neil

Nikon P300 and Kowa lens/scope Prominar and Kowa 20-60zoom (60x) eyepiece and Swarovski UCA adapter

Mai Po Nature Reserve,
Hong Kong,
China.
April 2011
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Old Wednesday 27th April 2011, 03:35   #11
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p300 with leica tv 77

Looks like the P300 works with Leica Televid 77 APO, 32mm WW fixed eyepiece. Took this in 5 minutes of playing around at the office feeders after having the camera for about 20 minutes without really understanding what I was doing. Kind of idiot proof, it seems.

cheers,
randall
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Old Wednesday 27th April 2011, 20:54   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by moorerp View Post
Looks like the P300 works with Leica Televid 77 APO, 32mm WW fixed eyepiece. Took this in 5 minutes of playing around at the office feeders after having the camera for about 20 minutes without really understanding what I was doing. Kind of idiot proof, it seems.

cheers,
randall
Hi Randall, what kind of adapter did you use?

Thanks.
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Old Monday 2nd May 2011, 00:59   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by moorerp View Post
Looks like the P300 works with Leica Televid 77 APO, 32mm WW fixed eyepiece. Took this in 5 minutes of playing around at the office feeders after having the camera for about 20 minutes without really understanding what I was doing. Kind of idiot proof, it seems.

cheers,
randall
Nice Randall. Now image how good they'll be after an hour of practice.
Neil

ps like your a.k.a.s
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Old Friday 6th May 2011, 02:00   #14
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OK, seems I spoke too soon- my images are getting worse with practice instead of better. A bit of beginner's luck perhaps- or getting my comeuppance for being cocky.

Neil, did you do any post-processing with those nice sharp wader images you shot with your p300?
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Old Friday 6th May 2011, 05:03   #15
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Originally Posted by moorerp View Post
OK, seems I spoke too soon- my images are getting worse with practice instead of better. A bit of beginner's luck perhaps- or getting my comeuppance for being cocky.

Neil, did you do any post-processing with those nice sharp wader images you shot with your p300?
Randall,

Your images looked fine
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Old Sunday 8th May 2011, 15:11   #16
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OK, seems I spoke too soon- my images are getting worse with practice instead of better. A bit of beginner's luck perhaps- or getting my comeuppance for being cocky.

Neil, did you do any post-processing with those nice sharp wader images you shot with your p300?
Randall,
I do post processing in CS5 on all my photos although the waders shots didn't need much as the light was good here for a change.
Neil
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Old Sunday 8th May 2011, 15:12   #17
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OK, seems I spoke too soon- my images are getting worse with practice instead of better. A bit of beginner's luck perhaps- or getting my comeuppance for being cocky.

Neil, did you do any post-processing with those nice sharp wader images you shot with your p300?
These photos look ok for just starting out so don't start worrying yet. A lot depends on the quality of light , the distance and the movement of the subject.
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Old Monday 23rd May 2011, 10:32   #18
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I have the demo unit P300 and FSB-8 Adapter for testing. Will report the result on 25LER eyepiece soon :)
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Old Monday 23rd May 2011, 21:58   #19
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Hi All,

a couple of weeks ago I bought a P300 for use with my Swarovski AT80HD that I use with the new-style 20-60 zoom. My existing digiscoping camera is a Fuji f31fd that I have had for nearly 4 years.

I made an adaptor from plastic and rubber in order to test it the P300, which worked pretty well for my tests. Here are some observations from a couple of days' usage:

Pros:

1. Large bright screen is great and a huge improvement on my fuji

2. 1080p video is great

Cons:

1. Vignetting was apparent until the camera was almost fully zoomed in.

2. The camera will only go to ISO160. I like to shoot at low iso with low shutter speeds on a stable platform, so min ISO of 160 was a disappointment.

3. Disappointingly the burst mode cannot be used with self-timer. If you want multiple shots you either need a device to hold a cable release, or put up with vibrations from your fingers. For me this negates a potential advantage of the camera.

4. To get self-timer you have to use the toggle a few buttons to get 2s. I found this a bit fiddly, but maybe it would just be a case of getting used to it.

5. Focus does not seem as rapid or reliable as I would have expected. I used macro mode to help as others have suggested (and it did help) but this was never required for my old Fuji.

6. Picture quality good, but the images were not as clean as I had hoped / expected.

In the end I decided to return the camera because although I loved the 1080p video the other aspects of it did not fulfil my expectations for 250.

Cheers, Ian
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Old Tuesday 24th May 2011, 01:41   #20
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Hi All,

a couple of weeks ago I bought a P300 for use with my Swarovski AT80HD that I use with the new-style 20-60 zoom. My existing digiscoping camera is a Fuji f31fd that I have had for nearly 4 years.

I made an adaptor from plastic and rubber in order to test it the P300, which worked pretty well for my tests. Here are some observations from a couple of days' usage:

Pros:

1. Large bright screen is great and a huge improvement on my fuji

2. 1080p video is great

Cons:

1. Vignetting was apparent until the camera was almost fully zoomed in.

2. The camera will only go to ISO160. I like to shoot at low iso with low shutter speeds on a stable platform, so min ISO of 160 was a disappointment.

3. Disappointingly the burst mode cannot be used with self-timer. If you want multiple shots you either need a device to hold a cable release, or put up with vibrations from your fingers. For me this negates a potential advantage of the camera.

4. To get self-timer you have to use the toggle a few buttons to get 2s. I found this a bit fiddly, but maybe it would just be a case of getting used to it.

5. Focus does not seem as rapid or reliable as I would have expected. I used macro mode to help as others have suggested (and it did help) but this was never required for my old Fuji.

6. Picture quality good, but the images were not as clean as I had hoped / expected.

In the end I decided to return the camera because although I loved the 1080p video the other aspects of it did not fulfil my expectations for 250.

Cheers, Ian
Ian,
Sorry you were disappointed with the P300.
I was surprised to hear that you had to use the camera at full zoom to eliminate vignetting. This would be the main reason that images would appear to be "not as clean as I had hoped ". The lens is not Nikon ED glass so suffers over about half zoom. The camera is certainly not as "eyepiece friendly" as the F31 which was one of the best ever for minimizing vignetting.
I don't have a Swarovski 20-60 zoom on hand but I just ran the camera on the Kowa 20-60x zoom using the Swarovski UCA. The best case is about 50 % zoom at 60x which drops back to 80% zoom at 20x. I would suspect the Swarovski would be similar if not slightly better. I use the zoom mostly at 60x as I want lot's of magnification with digicams.
There are lot's of good cameras out there these days and most can be "made" to digiscope so I will be interested to hear what you find.
The Nikon P6000 will give better results than the P300 but is much slower and doesn't have Continuous Self-timer either. No Nikons do unfortunately but Canon's do.
Neil.
ps could you post the best you got with the camera.
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Old Tuesday 24th May 2011, 01:54   #21
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Neil, I was playing with the P300 on a new Nikon FS8 adapter attached to a Kowa 774 and 30x Wide eyepiece at Hobby's World shop last week. I did not notice any abnormal camera zoom beyond what I assume was the typical equivalent 50mm focal length (~3 steps?) was required to eliminate vignetting.
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Old Tuesday 24th May 2011, 13:13   #22
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Rick,

What do you think of the FSB-8 ?
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Old Wednesday 25th May 2011, 08:21   #23
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Minimalist simple. All an adapter should be. Didn't really spend much time studying it though. More concerned with trying to figure out the P300's Continuous shooting speed function.
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Old Wednesday 25th May 2011, 21:00   #24
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Ian,
Sorry you were disappointed with the P300.
I was surprised to hear that you had to use the camera at full zoom to eliminate vignetting. This would be the main reason that images would appear to be "not as clean as I had hoped ". The lens is not Nikon ED glass so suffers over about half zoom. The camera is certainly not as "eyepiece friendly" as the F31 which was one of the best ever for minimizing vignetting.
I don't have a Swarovski 20-60 zoom on hand but I just ran the camera on the Kowa 20-60x zoom using the Swarovski UCA. The best case is about 50 % zoom at 60x which drops back to 80% zoom at 20x. I would suspect the Swarovski would be similar if not slightly better. I use the zoom mostly at 60x as I want lot's of magnification with digicams.
There are lot's of good cameras out there these days and most can be "made" to digiscope so I will be interested to hear what you find.
The Nikon P6000 will give better results than the P300 but is much slower and doesn't have Continuous Self-timer either. No Nikons do unfortunately but Canon's do.
Neil.
ps could you post the best you got with the camera.
Thanks for your comments Neil,

Here are some pictures and some further observations. You will see that the pictures are not too bad, and I was in retrospect being overly picky.

The main reason I returned was that I was hoping for a camera that gave me features that addressed shortcomings of my aging Fuji. Ultimately the improvement relative to my existing equipment didn't seem to justify the price tag. I think what I really want is a Canon S95 with full HD video, and maybe such a camera will arrive soon :-).

I was also disappointed with the ratio of crap pics to keepers which seemed higher than with my existing equipment. Admittedly I was using the P300 for the first time.

I used my scope primarily at 20x.

All P300 pics are at ISO160. Other than scaling down from 4000x3000 to 640x480, or cropped directly from the full image to 640x480, I have done no postprocessing.

DSCN0054: Speed 1/250,Aperture 3.7, Focal length 11.1mm
DSCN0073: 1/125, 5.5, 17.9mm
DSCN0078: 1/640, 4.9, 17.9mm
DSCN0090: 1/320, 4.0, 12.5mm

Looking at the exif data it seems my impressions of having to be completely zoomed in were false.

Cheers, Ian
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Old Wednesday 25th May 2011, 21:02   #25
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Further pics
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