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DSLR + Spotter (1 Viewer)

tucansam

Active member
I've had great success attaching my DSLR to various telescopes. I've had none with spotting scopes, however.

I've got a couple of cheap, and one VERY expensive, cell-phone adapters that mate to bino, telescope, and spotting scope eye pieces. However the images I get are terrible compared to a DSLR with a proper lens or telescope attached.

I've tried to attach my DSLR to my spotting scopes, and cannot focus. Even with no EP and no lens on the DSLR, when placing the mirror as close to the scope body as possible (where the EP would go), I cannot focus. I need to push the camera "more into" the spotting scope to attain focus, which of course is physically impossible.

I am not smart on the science of the optics chain, but I know this is an equipment limitation.

So I am stuck with a more sophisticated way to get a DSLR attached to a spotter, via its EP.

Various adapters for this method exist, some cheap, some not. I've seen some spotters with EPs that have threaded mounts for attaching directly to a DSLR. Not sure if I have spotters with that capability or not. I own:

  • Zen Ray spotter, a clone of the Gen 1 Vortex Razor HD
  • Pentax PF EDs in the 65 and 80mm variety

Can anyone offer advice on how to get a DSLR properly attached to a spotter, and in such a way that the image is as clear as possible? I'll never get an image through a spotter EP that is as perfect as a DSLR directly attached to a telescope, will I?

Thanks.
 

Binastro

Well-known member
Firstly, telescopes are simpler and usually better quality than spotting scopes.
They often have a much bigger range of focus, at least to shorten the optical path.

Spotting scopes have a limited prism size and possible eyepiece diameter.
To maintain waterproofness they may also have optical windows.

If you have a telescope and good lens, why try to use a spotting scope?

Eyepiece projection is a well known method, usually for high magnification photos.

I used this for planetary photography.
The telescope was normally f/14 but with eyepiece projection I used f/72 for planets.

Where the front lens assembly of a spotting scope, such as some Swarovski modules, then one can do away with the rear prism assembly, and directly couple the DSLR to the front module.
It may be that a mirrorless camera is needed if the mirror makes focus impossible.

It may be that a mirrorless camera will work with normal spotting scopes where a DSLR doesn't.

This is also the case with trying to use fine lenses designed for aerial photography, where no mirror was used, so only a mirrorless consumer camera will reach focus, not a DSLR.

Regards,
B.
 
Last edited:

BKoh

Well-known member
Singapore
Can anyone offer advice on how to get a DSLR properly attached to a spotter, and in such a way that the image is as clear as possible? I'll never get an image through a spotter EP that is as perfect as a DSLR directly attached to a telescope, will I?

Thanks.
This article could be helpful:

 

pete_gamby

Birds? What Birds?!
Pentax used to supply a DSLR camera adapter but it shows as discontinued now and it was for K-series cameras only:


As you can see that has a substantial length to it and includes 5 glass elements - that is what would bring the image to focus at the right point for the camera body (as does the eyepiece for your eye).

Given that the PF series can accept 1.25" push-fit eyepieces, you might find that you can use some sort of Barlow or other "simple" optical extender to provide the required back focus. I've no experience of that so can't give you any more of a clue.

Novagrade have universal push fit adapters for use with the eyepiece but I suspect you'll not get any better image than you have with the smartphone mount:


HTH

Cheers, Pete
 

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