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Old School Digiscoping with Nikon ED82 (1 Viewer)

Ivydwg

Well-known member
United Kingdom
Hello All

I have recently acquired an ED82 Fieldscope with the zoom EP and have the DS 30x EP on the way.

I picked up the FSA adaptor last year for £12, which of course works with the older point and shoot Coolpix cameras. I have seen on eBay the attachment rings for about £10 and cameras such as the 885 and 5000 for around £20-£30.

I really only want the Digiscoping for occasional use and recording, hence I don't want to spend much money. I will probably just view/show/share the photos on my phone.

Of the Coolpix cameras that work with the FSA attachment, 900, 885, 4500, 880, & 5000, can anyone provide advice/experiences on which will be the better choice? Or are they all about the same?

I fully understand that this is old technology and the results will be limited, however, my use of Digiscoping is also likely to be limited.

Thanks in advance.

Steven
 

mbb

Well-known member
Hello All

I have recently acquired an ED82 Fieldscope with the zoom EP and have the DS 30x EP on the way.

I picked up the FSA adaptor last year for £12, which of course works with the older point and shoot Coolpix cameras. I have seen on eBay the attachment rings for about £10 and cameras such as the 885 and 5000 for around £20-£30.

I really only want the Digiscoping for occasional use and recording, hence I don't want to spend much money. I will probably just view/show/share the photos on my phone.

Of the Coolpix cameras that work with the FSA attachment, 900, 885, 4500, 880, & 5000, can anyone provide advice/experiences on which will be the better choice? Or are they all about the same?

I fully understand that this is old technology and the results will be limited, however, my use of Digiscoping is also likely to be limited.

Thanks in advance.

Steven
Welcome on Birdforum!
I’m wondering, considering the age of the camera’s you are referring to and your aim, mainly showing the pictures on your smartphone, if you shouldn’t rather buy a smartphone adapter. Depending on your current smartphone, it might give you better results than with the old cameras with approximately the same cost (just another adapter) while having other advantages (one less device to carry, pictures being directly available on your smartphone etc.)
Thus spending those £ 10 + 20-30 on a smartphone holder/adapter instead.
You can find smartphone adapters tailored for your smartphone and eyepiece or eyepiece size from e.g. Phoneskope (not very cheap), or more complex and heavy universal ones like from Novagrade (expensive), or very cheap universal ones (often brandless, on e.g. Ebay, often clunky), or also make a tailored one yourself, e.g. gluing a cap of the correct diameter, in which you make a whole, to a spare or cheap smartphone protection case. You will find quite some examples in this forum.
I’m no expert at digiscoping at all and others will certainly be able to help you better! This is just based on myself having been surprised of the pictures coming out of my smartphone held against my scope compared to a regular though older camera. I have a drilled cap and spare smartphone case myself, waiting here for me to be glued together. I just need to free up some time :)
 

Ivydwg

Well-known member
United Kingdom
Welcome on Birdforum!
I’m wondering, considering the age of the camera’s you are referring to and your aim, mainly showing the pictures on your smartphone, if you shouldn’t rather buy a smartphone adapter. Depending on your current smartphone, it might give you better results than with the old cameras with approximately the same cost (just another adapter) while having other advantages (one less device to carry, pictures being directly available on your smartphone etc.)
Thus spending those £ 10 + 20-30 on a smartphone holder/adapter instead.
You can find smartphone adapters tailored for your smartphone and eyepiece or eyepiece size from e.g. Phoneskope (not very cheap), or more complex and heavy universal ones like from Novagrade (expensive), or very cheap universal ones (often brandless, on e.g. Ebay, often clunky), or also make a tailored one yourself, e.g. gluing a cap of the correct diameter, in which you make a whole, to a spare or cheap smartphone protection case. You will find quite some examples in this forum.
I’m no expert at digiscoping at all and others will certainly be able to help you better! This is just based on myself having been surprised of the pictures coming out of my smartphone held against my scope compared to a regular though older camera. I have a drilled cap and spare smartphone case myself, waiting here for me to be glued together. I just need to free up some time :)
Thanks for the reply.

I did look into the smart phone adaptor as you suggest, the concern I have is that my phone is one of those with x4 lenses, and I can't see that they can be individually turned off or if they can how that would affect photo quality.

The arrangement of the lenses is such that I cannot see how it would practicably be able to take photos through the adaptor and lens.

Does your smartphone have one or a number of lenses?
 

mbb

Well-known member
My smartphone only has two cameras at the back, but no tele lens and I would actually think that having more, with one of them having a higher magnification lens could be an advantage, as selecting that camera would result in less vignetting.
I guess it depends if you can or cannot select the camera, explicitly or just by zooming in or out (like I can) making it switch camera, or if you cannot or if the smartphone always relies on a combination of more than one for some kind of postprocessing (which my smartphone doesn’t). I just tested it by blocking one camera with a finger, and than the opposite, to check.
If you can select the camera, either via the standard camera app or another camera app, you of course still have to make the smartphone-adapter align that camera to the eyepiece (probably having the other cameras blocked/hidden by the adapter, thus requiring to remove the smartphone from the adapter to use the other cameras for regular pictures). For a custom adapter that would mean being specifically aligned to that one. For an adjustable adapter you should be able to align any of the four camera’s you want, though I think that switching between them might not be done in a second (rather leaving the adapter set up for the camera that works best for digiscoping).
 

Ivydwg

Well-known member
United Kingdom
My smartphone only has two cameras at the back, but no tele lens and I would actually think that having more, with one of them having a higher magnification lens could be an advantage, as selecting that camera would result in less vignetting.
I guess it depends if you can or cannot select the camera, explicitly or just by zooming in or out (like I can) making it switch camera, or if you cannot or if the smartphone always relies on a combination of more than one for some kind of postprocessing (which my smartphone doesn’t). I just tested it by blocking one camera with a finger, and than the opposite, to check.
If you can select the camera, either via the standard camera app or another camera app, you of course still have to make the smartphone-adapter align that camera to the eyepiece (probably having the other cameras blocked/hidden by the adapter, thus requiring to remove the smartphone from the adapter to use the other cameras for regular pictures). For a custom adapter that would mean being specifically aligned to that one. For an adjustable adapter you should be able to align any of the four camera’s you want, though I think that switching between them might not be done in a second (rather leaving the adapter set up for the camera that works best for digiscoping).
Evening.

I found an app as you suggested, Open Camera, this automatically uses only the single central lens on my phone.

I think following your advice I would be better to look at phone scoping. I think £20-£30 for a 15 year old Nikon camera is actually rather expensive, so I might only go down that route if they were much cheaper or ideally free of charge!

Just need to find an adaptor. Looked at Novagrade which does good but as you say expensive. Both the Novagrade and Phonespoke appear to be hard to get hold of in the UK.

Thanks for your help and have a good Christmas.
 

mbb

Well-known member
Does OpenCamera let you choose which single/individual calera to use? It might be interesting to check which one would work better (e.g. a wide angle will probably give you (almost) the whole viewing circle of the scope but will thus also require more cropping, resulting in a loss of resolution, as opposed to a more telephoto lens/camera). You can easily test that already without adapter, yjust holding your phone flat pressed on the eye cup of your scope (of course watching not for the glass/lenses to touch).

The novagrade seems to be a good, precise and solid piece of equipment, but, besides being expensive, it is also quite heavy. Cheaper adaptable solutions often are more ‘plastic’, many of them also bulkier, but lighter and, I guess, less solid. (But I’m not sure. I have seen the Novagrade in a store, but didn’t test it.) I was looking for something smaller and lighter myself: using my smartphone is also because I want to save wait and bulk when walking. Thus I was looking for something more snuggly fitting my phone, eventhough that means I would have to find or make a new adapter when I’ll switch phone, some day... A PhoneSkope was an option, but indeed not easy to find here too. That is why I opted for just buying a second matching smartphone case to glue a plastic cap of the correct diameter on. Cheaper, lighter and smaller. (Still heaving to do the gluing though :) ) You might find some random plastic cap of the correct dimension, or otherwise buy some made specifically for phonescoping, with matching glue or 2-sided tape. I think the Dutch ornithology association sells such caps,and I thought PhoneSkope too, but I’m not sure.
 

Ivydwg

Well-known member
United Kingdom
Evening Mbb (don't know your name!)

So I bought the Celestron NeXYZ phone adaptor, arrived yesterday.

I have had limited success with my Nikon ED82 scope so far. Main issue is that with both my standard camera app and Open Camera, is that it appears impossible to centralise the camera lens with the eyepiece focal point, it is always off centre, additionally requiring too much digital zoom.

I can only think that both apps are using two or more lenses which is causing the off centre shot. Open Camera appears to only use one lens if I point my camera across a room, but when attached to the adaptor and to the scope the settings appear to change and I think two or more lenses are then automatically working. More annoyingly, the various scene settings keep automatically changing and there appears to be no way of turning all of these off and using full manual.

So I have now paid for Pro Camera X (Android), £4.49. This appears to provide more or less full manual control. I have tried this with the adaptor through my binoculars (pointing at the Xmas tree!), it appears to line up with the ocular lens focal point very well. The manual control also appears useful as the app is not trying to frequently change its scene settings.

It's dark and cloudy here now but I will try again with this new app, the Celestron NeXYZ and my scope over the next couple of days. I have got some wetland bird surveys to complete in southern England so a good opportunity, providing it doesn't rain too much!

I should also get my DS x30 eyepiece this week, with the wider FOV I might also have better success.

I will let you know how I get on.

Thanks

Steven
 

horukuru

Here I Come !
The DS30x eyepiece is the better for digiscoping than the zoom eyepiece of your scope and I took this pic with my smartphone that has 4 lenses too. Only 1 lens were operating as usual for normal shooting mode. See the level of vignetting on the 1st pic and I zoomed to 1.6x on the 2nd pic.
 

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horukuru

Here I Come !
I took this pic with 48mp smartphone on my friend's Nikon ED82 hand held on the DS30x eyepiece. The level of vignetting is great too
 

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Ivydwg

Well-known member
United Kingdom
I took this pic with 48mp smartphone on my friend's Nikon ED82 hand held on the DS30x eyepiece. The level of vignetting is great too
Thanks. I have had better success with the DS x30 eyepiece and more so by modifying the Celestron NeYXZ adaptor. Used about 1.3x digital zoom without vignetting.

Need to find a bit more time to have a practice.
 

mbb

Well-known member
Evening Mbb (don't know your name!)

So I bought the Celestron NeXYZ phone adaptor, arrived yesterday.

I have had limited success with my Nikon ED82 scope so far. Main issue is that with both my standard camera app and Open Camera, is that it appears impossible to centralise the camera lens with the eyepiece focal point, it is always off centre, additionally requiring too much digital zoom.

I can only think that both apps are using two or more lenses which is causing the off centre shot. Open Camera appears to only use one lens if I point my camera across a room, but when attached to the adaptor and to the scope the settings appear to change and I think two or more lenses are then automatically working. More annoyingly, the various scene settings keep automatically changing and there appears to be no way of turning all of these off and using full manual.

So I have now paid for Pro Camera X (Android), £4.49. This appears to provide more or less full manual control. I have tried this with the adaptor through my binoculars (pointing at the Xmas tree!), it appears to line up with the ocular lens focal point very well. The manual control also appears useful as the app is not trying to frequently change its scene settings.

It's dark and cloudy here now but I will try again with this new app, the Celestron NeXYZ and my scope over the next couple of days. I have got some wetland bird surveys to complete in southern England so a good opportunity, providing it doesn't rain too much!

I should also get my DS x30 eyepiece this week, with the wider FOV I might also have better success.

I will let you know how I get on.

Thanks

Steven
Thank you for the info about the apps!
 

Ruff-Leg

Member
No matter your set-up, digiscoping with a smartphone, adapter, and spotting scope will generally produce some vignetting. Square peg (camera's view) into a round hole (eyepiece image.) The solution is post-processing.

Here are two recent photos taken sequentially with an Android phone, PhoneSkope adapter, mounted on a Nikon 82mm ED scope with a 38xWF EP. THe edited photo removes the vignetting, and is still very useable.

All the best!
 

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Ivydwg

Well-known member
United Kingdom
No matter your set-up, digiscoping with a smartphone, adapter, and spotting scope will generally produce some vignetting. Square peg (camera's view) into a round hole (eyepiece image.) The solution is post-processing.

Here are two recent photos taken sequentially with an Android phone, PhoneSkope adapter, mounted on a Nikon 82mm ED scope with a 38xWF EP. THe edited photo removes the vignetting, and is still very useable.

All the best!
Do you use digital zoom or crop the photo after?
 

Ruff-Leg

Member
It was cropped afterwards.
I guess that's too glib an answer, because I don't think it's an issue. Here's my non-technical reasoning:

Let's say your phone takes a 12mp photo. As I understand it, digital zooming just gives you an image that is a subset of the original 12mp view. I guess that means that cropped or zoomed to the same size factor, you results will yield an image with equivalent number of pixels.

If I'm wrong there, I'd welcome a correction! My experience hasn't shown any noticeable difference between cropped or zoomed.
 

Torchepot

Well-known member
United Kingdom
Sorry I should have rotated the image before I posted it - here's another the right way round. The eyepiece is the 38wide and the adapter is home made just an aerosol lid with a hole in it glued to a cheap phone case. To avoid vignetting just a touch of zoom before taking the shot and to prevent camera shake the phone is on voice command for shutter - just say "shoot" or "cheese" and it takes a shot. I bought a very cheap S6 Active from eBay and dedicated it just to the scope.
 

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lmans66

Out Birding....
Supporter
United States
Results will be limited but that is okay, for digiscoping is unique, ...it slows the process down. While a good camera is part of it, an adapter is more important. The best camera in the world will not get a nice shot without some adapter in my thinking and I have been digiscoping before it became popular . I currently use a Nikon Coolpix P310 but I have a Swaro 80ATS and not a Nikon..... see a page I created for an Audubon site explaining this...
 

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