Home   >   Our Products   >   Digiscoping Guide

    Digiscoping Guide

    The information below is intended to help you understand some of the basics of using our equipment for telephotography or so-called digiscoping or, more recently, phonescoping.

    Telephotography with SLR, D-SLR and Compact System Cameras

    Overview

    Telephotography ChartTelephotography is easier than ever to enjoy using Opticron spottingscopes in combination with either SLR cameras (digital or film), or compact system cameras (CSC’s). In these systems the fieldscope substitutes for the camera lens and is coupled to the camera body using either a telephotoadapter or an eyepiece & photoadapter combination. T-mounts, available for most makes of SLR and CSC’s are needed to connect the assembly to the camera body.

    While it is possible to capture high magnification photographs and video of wildlife in a wide range of environments using a telescope as a telephoto lens, the relatively small apertures, fields of view and depth of focus limit image quality and your ability to frame shots at close range.

    The chart opposite shows the current range of telephotoadapters and photoadapters available to enable you to convert your Opticron spottingscope into a long focal length telephoto lens.

    Other things to know

    Focusing is facilitated on the fieldscope. Your camera may need to be operated in manual mode with shutter locks disengaged. The high magnification to aperture ratios result in slower shutter speeds compared with conventional telephoto lenses so choose an ISO setting of 400. For 35mm SLRs 400 ASA film is recommended. If possible use a cable release or remote control to reduce camera shake when operating the shutter.

     

    Digiscoping with Compact Digital Cameras, Camcorders and Smartphones

    Compact Digital Cameras & Camcorders

    A popular option when suitable cameras were readily available to buy and build mounts for, compact cameras are a more flexible alternative to DSLRs or CSCs in that the user can vary the magnification to better frame the shot. In these systems a suitable device is coupled to the fieldscope eyepiece using a photoadapter or hand held up against the viewing eyepiece. The best cameras have a zoom of 5x or less and a lens diameter of 20mm or under.

    Universal Smartphone Mount USM-2

    The USM-2 is a simple and flexible way to connect your smartphone to selected Opticron SDL, HDF and HR spottingscope eyepieces and take high magnification photos and video. The mount comprises a plate with adjustable clamps to hold your smartphone securely and a push fit adapter to connect your eyepiece.

    Things to Know

    Fieldscopes are designed for use with viewing eyepieces ranging from 12x-60x magnification. Using a fieldscope fitted with a 20x eyepiece and a device with an optical zoom of 0.6x-5x, you can photograph or video at magnifications between 12x-100x.

    These high magnifications are great for getting close up images or video at distance, but the amount of light entering the device combined with the narrow field of view and relatively shallow depth of focus will affect image quality as well as your ability to successfully frame a shot or sequence. In addition and depending on the device, it is sometimes difficult for the eyepiece to project a large enough diameter path of light into the image sensor. This condition, a circular image within the rectangular image frame is called vignetting and is reduced by increasing the zoom setting on the device.

    Which Eyepieces?

    Choose a wide angle or zoom eyepiece set at minimum magnification. The following eyepieces provide the best overall images with a wide range of different devices - 40810 HDF T, 40936 SDLv2 zoom or 40862 HDF T zoom.