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Digiscoping nightmare (1 Viewer)

Snatch

New member
South Africa
Gee Guys - how difficult is it to set up a digiscope arrangement ?

Newly enjoying some birding and wanting to up my game, I purchased a Pentax PF65 spotting scope, largely due to the fact that it has a standard 1.25" eyepiece fitting. I have done some astrophotography with a Celestron telescope using my Nikon DLSR on a T adapter, quite successfully I might add, and I hoped to share the eyepieces and use the same DLSR setup. However, much to my disappointment, I cannot use my Nikon T adapter as the resulting focal plane is nowhere near the camera's. The telescope is certainly not ideal to lug around for birding. I also have a Fujifilm X20 and could possibly adapt it to the scope 43mm eyepiece with a step-up ring, but my preference would be to connect directly to the scope with the camera body as I do with my telescope, no eyepiece involved (too much glass). One possibility is to use the Pentax CA-35 adapter and acquire a Pentax K camera body. But the former seems to be no longer produced and unavailable.

Any suggestions - or an offer to sell the Pentax adapter - would be greatly appreciated?
 
I had a Pentax, among others (Swaro 80mm HD, Opticron 66...) and found the Pentax to be really nice and I think I used their astro-eyepieces. I was looking for a small "digiscoping / scope only" outfit which I would almost car scope at, if that makes sense. Many times I will just sit in the car as I am driving and pull over and poke the scope out the window as it rests on the window/door. Drive-by's more or less :) I found the Pentax to be super with that in mind. If I digiscope or not, that is immaterial when I do this.

But for regular digiscoping, I think the Pentax is too small being only 65mm and I can get better views from a 80mm, especially if I want to attach a camera to it. And I see you suggested attaching a Pentax K camera. Wow...pretty large and bulky for that small scope. I would look at something somewhat small like perhaps the OM systems TG-7. The Pentax K is too large and the photos that you think you could benefit from while using that camera will not play out as the scope itself is just not large enough (65mm) to allow much light in.

In regards to the camera....I am thinking that OM Systems (old Olympus) might do the trick. Small...lightweight, have video and a quick shutter. OM Systems now regards themselves as tailoring their products to the out door type, and I feel that particular camera would be my prime one now if I had to pick all over from scratch. (https://explore.omsystem.com/us/en/tg-7)

In terms of adapters...well....when you get beyond the big guys (Swaro, Zeiss etc) .... you have to do more improvisation when it comes to the adapter. I can't tell you which one works or not as I don't have the Pentax now. Play with it. That is the beauty behind digiscoping is that you get away from the materialism of pre-made products and you adapt it to fit your needs. IE, many times I would just a piece of white PVC pipe and if need be, have one slip into another PFC to fit the scope eyepiece. So not high tech, real cheap.... and fun, since you are creating this yourself.

When you state this 'The telescope is certainly not ideal to lug around for birding.".... right... Digiscoping is not intended (in my opinion) to be lugged around like you do with binoculars. In 'all cases' I would bird from not too far a distance from the car. I would have the scope attached to the legs and then just pull from the car boot and set it up.... Take a look at what I see, do some digiscoping and then move on to next spot. But never did I lug it around.
My advice..... If interested...here is some information I wrote on digiscoping that might or might not apply. Digiscoping
 
Hi Snatch and a warm welcome to you from all the Staff and Moderators. I've moved your post to the Digiscoping forum, where others with the right expertise are more likely to see it.

I'm sure you will enjoy it here and I look forward to hearing your news and will hopefully be able to see some of your pictures in the Gallery too.
 
I had a Pentax, among others (Swaro 80mm HD, Opticron 66...) and found the Pentax to be really nice and I think I used their astro-eyepieces. I was looking for a small "digiscoping / scope only" outfit which I would almost car scope at, if that makes sense. Many times I will just sit in the car as I am driving and pull over and poke the scope out the window as it rests on the window/door. Drive-by's more or less :) I found the Pentax to be super with that in mind. If I digiscope or not, that is immaterial when I do this.

But for regular digiscoping, I think the Pentax is too small being only 65mm and I can get better views from a 80mm, especially if I want to attach a camera to it. And I see you suggested attaching a Pentax K camera. Wow...pretty large and bulky for that small scope. I would look at something somewhat small like perhaps the OM systems TG-7. The Pentax K is too large and the photos that you think you could benefit from while using that camera will not play out as the scope itself is just not large enough (65mm) to allow much light in.

In regards to the camera....I am thinking that OM Systems (old Olympus) might do the trick. Small...lightweight, have video and a quick shutter. OM Systems now regards themselves as tailoring their products to the out door type, and I feel that particular camera would be my prime one now if I had to pick all over from scratch. (https://explore.omsystem.com/us/en/tg-7)

In terms of adapters...well....when you get beyond the big guys (Swaro, Zeiss etc) .... you have to do more improvisation when it comes to the adapter. I can't tell you which one works or not as I don't have the Pentax now. Play with it. That is the beauty behind digiscoping is that you get away from the materialism of pre-made products and you adapt it to fit your needs. IE, many times I would just a piece of white PVC pipe and if need be, have one slip into another PFC to fit the scope eyepiece. So not high tech, real cheap.... and fun, since you are creating this yourself.

When you state this 'The telescope is certainly not ideal to lug around for birding.".... right... Digiscoping is not intended (in my opinion) to be lugged around like you do with binoculars. In 'all cases' I would bird from not too far a distance from the car. I would have the scope attached to the legs and then just pull from the car boot and set it up.... Take a look at what I see, do some digiscoping and then move on to next spot. But never did I lug it around.
My advice..... If interested...here is some information I wrote on digiscoping that might or might not apply. Digiscoping
Thank you so much for the response and advice Imans66. I have done a lot of fiddling around with my Fujifilm X20 and the best that I can get is a circular image on a black background wich has to cropped significantly for a mediocre result. I read up on the Digiadapter and I would expect similar results as the adapter can do no more than I did handholding the camera up to the eyepiece. However I obtained reasonable results with my Celestron telescope and Nikon DLSR with a T-piece adapter (see attached). I've dropped the idea of a Pentax K as the Pentax adapter is discontinued and flipping expensive if you can find one - I could get a secondhand Nikon 150 ~ 600 prime lens for similar money - and as you say, it would be unbalanced on the spotting scope. So my current conclusion is that the spotting scope will be just that and I'll need to lug the Celestron setup around till I can afford a long prime lens. I would think that the luxury of autofocus makes this the best option. See How to Digiscope with a DSLR for Amazing Bird Photography Images. Happy snapping.
 

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Thank you so much for the response and advice Imans66. I have done a lot of fiddling around with my Fujifilm X20 and the best that I can get is a circular image on a black background wich has to cropped significantly for a mediocre result. I read up on the Digiadapter and I would expect similar results as the adapter can do no more than I did handholding the camera up to the eyepiece. However I obtained reasonable results with my Celestron telescope and Nikon DLSR with a T-piece adapter (see attached). I've dropped the idea of a Pentax K as the Pentax adapter is discontinued and flipping expensive if you can find one - I could get a secondhand Nikon 150 ~ 600 prime lens for similar money - and as you say, it would be unbalanced on the spotting scope. So my current conclusion is that the spotting scope will be just that and I'll need to lug the Celestron setup around till I can afford a long prime lens. I would think that the luxury of autofocus makes this the best option. See How to Digiscope with a DSLR for Amazing Bird Photography Images. Happy snapping.
If your goal is to get 'prime lens-like images" from your digiscoping camera/set-up...and especially with a 65mm scope, than forget it. Embellish the Pentax 65 for what it is and if you take images, accept what you get. No, they will not be prime lens type images in just about any digiscoping set up and frankly that was never the point of digiscoping.

When Digiscoping first came into being, there were no 600-800 lens etc.... no cameras that had AI etc.... The technology has changed quite a bit since and how one approaches birding using a modern camera/long reach lens just doesn't use the same skill set as one used with pure digiscoping. Two approaches here.....

(a) buy a 600-800 lens and camera and take all the images you want while eating a sandwich meters/yards away.... no true skill needed as technology has made bird photography a walk in the park (in my humble opinion coming from years of creating images by old fashioned digiscoping methods).

OR
(b) people need to relearn how to 'bird'.... how to slowly approach a bird, creep up on it....no sounds as you walk...slowly get within range etc...Take your time and it might be 5-10 minutes of this approaching before you even get ready to take a shot or raise your glass.s Most people have forgotten or have no idea on how to do this lost art/skill. A shame, for that is what is fun about birding. Now, people just grab option A with the lens and camera and call themselves wildlife photographers and yet lack the skill to be one:)

Oh...on your 'circular images on a black background' implies you are using the Fuji x20 wrong. Yes, there could always be some slight vignetting but if you have to stay at 20-25mm zoom on the spotting scope eyepiece (no more) and then use your camera to to zoom in to have the image essentially blown up with just slight vignetting, you will be okay. Most likely around 800-1200mm equivalent DSLR camera range. But with a 65mm scope, the image will also end up pretty dark as you don't have enough light coming into the scope as 65mm is not 80mm, which is needed for good digiscoping. Jim
 

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