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Newbie questions (1 Viewer)

BobM

Member
Hi all,

I'm considering scoping and have seen some comments here which suggest that there is a learning curve involved. What is it that makes scoping a challenge? It occurs to me that a sharp focus may be difficult, since you have to deal with the scope's focus and that of the camera. Is that true? Do you have to focus the scope before you attach the camera? Can (does) attaching the camera often throw the scope's focus off? If so, do you then have to take the camera off the scope and re-focus the scope? What issues are there?

I do not have a scope. My camera is a Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ10, which has a 12x optically stabilized zoom, equivalent to 420mm in a film camera and the ability to shoot at f2.8 throughout the zoom range. I'm considering getting another camera to supplement the FZ10, so I can take longer exposure shots (the longest on the FZ10 is 8 sec.) and one that has a faster burst mode. The Coolpix 4500 looks interesting in both regards. Wish it had an AF assist lamp. I'm actually more interested in shooting large mammals at distances greater than 200 yards (183 metres), than shooting birds.

Thanks for your input.
Bob
 

IanF

Moderator
Hi Bob,

You are right about the CP4500 being more suitable for digiscoping than the FZ-10. The lens on the FZ-10 is just a bit too wide for most spotting scope eyepieces.

To my mind digiscoping is just another technique to learn. All of the information you need can be found in the forum pages and any queries are usually soon answered by our members. The focusing is certainly one of the issues to master, though stability of the set up to avoid camera shake is just as important.

The scope focus with the eye is often different to what the camera perceives and so the focus often has to be adjusted once the camera has been fitted. Focus is achieved through using the LCD monitor on the rear of the camera. There are various techniques, but basically you line the scope up without camera attached, attach the camera and sometimes you can use the cameras autofocus to lock on the subject. Sometimes you need to set the camera focus to manual mode and then simply focus with the scope for a sharp image using the LCD screen. A halfway measure is to use the camera autofocus, half depress the shutter button which locks focus and exposure setting and then achieve critical focus using the scope focus adjustment.

As regards the learning curve, it really is a technique that requires practice and a reasonable understanding of the camera operation and photographic principles. It certainly isn't a point and shoot technique, at least not until you are well practiced and familiar with the equipment. I'd imagine shooting larger animals would be easier to get a focus on. Large subjects though bring their own problems. Depth of field in digiscoping is often just a few mm even at maximum f-stop. Long distances from the subject then bring in issues of atmospheric pollution and heat haze. Even on cooler days when viewing over 80-100 yards atmospheric movement due to heat haze affects your viewing through a scope and leads to soft focus if not blurred images. As in all photography, getting closer to the subject means better quality of photos - assuming the subject will let you. I find 60-80 yards away is the maximum distance for reasonable results in most conditions.
 
Last edited:

alan_rymer

Well-known member
United Kingdom
BobM said:
Hi all,

I'm considering scoping and have seen some comments here which suggest that there is a learning curve involved. What is it that makes scoping a challenge? It occurs to me that a sharp focus may be difficult, since you have to deal with the scope's focus and that of the camera. Is that true? Do you have to focus the scope before you attach the camera? Can (does) attaching the camera often throw the scope's focus off? If so, do you then have to take the camera off the scope and re-focus the scope? What issues are there?

I'm actually more interested in shooting large mammals at distances greater than 200 yards (183 metres), than shooting birds.

Thanks for your input.
Bob
Mmmm, Where to start!.
I focus the scope and then handhold the camera to the eyepiece most of the time and tend to rely on the camera's autofocus. Often the pictures arn't bad!. Pictures tend to be much better when the subject is close ( less than 50 foot ), over that images look softer!. Using the camera at high zoom makes pictures look softer too!.

Other people leave the camera attached and use the LCD to find and focus on the subject, I cannot, my LCD is tiny ( Canon Powershot A80 ) and my eyes are not as young as they once were.
When using a scope, the depth of field is low!. Very easy to be out of focus.
Long distance shots have to cope with heat haze, and air pollution amonst other things.

But its grat when thing turn out well!.
 

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