Wednesday, January 13, 2010

First attempt at digiscoping

Adam, M6RDP caught my interest the other day when he wrote about a digital camera adapter that lets you take photos through the eyepiece of binoculars or a telescope. There have been many times I wished I could take a picture of what I could see through the spotting scope when watching birds. I decided to investigate and ended up at the same site where Adam bought his binoculars. The adapter pictured on his blog was on sale for under £30. That is a lot less than other similar products so I decided to get one now rather than regret not getting it later.

The gadget came this morning. First attempts to use it were a little disappointing. It wasn't really designed for my camera which has the lens very close to the bottom of the body. With the camera platform as high as it would go the camera still could not see into the eyepiece properly. In the end, I cut a strip from a cork drinks coaster (sorry, Olga) to go between the camera and the platform and raise it by an extra few millimetres which was just enough to get the image centered.

The next problem I found is that operating the shutter moved the camera / telescope giving a blurred image. Eventually I hit on the idea of using the shutter delay so that everything had stopped shaking by the time the picture was taken. This is not ideal for taking pictures of birds which are guaranteed not to stay in the same position for several seconds! Nevertheless I did manage to take one good picture of a robin on the bird feeder, which I think is not bad for a first attempt at digiscoping on a grey day, taken through a double-glazed window from inside the conservatory.


S.o.a.I said...

One way to get around the movement when taking pictures is to put the camera in burst mode. If you fire off 3 or 4 pictures I've found that the first 2 might be blurred from pushing the trigger. But the ones after that things have stabilized a bit.

Also if they make a remote for your camera that's the hot setup. But give burst a try if your camera has that option.


Adam said...

Julian, The first thing I said when your page loaded up with the Robin photo was "wow, that's beautiful!" I too wondered about how you would press the shutter and not induce shaking. The delay option is a fine idea, as is Jay's idea of bursting shots, which I have never tried before. I wonder if my camera can be adapted for remote shutter operation? Probably not.

However I think that your first photo is really fantastic. If I could get something even remotely similar for my first attempt I would be thrilled.

Bye for now, Adam

Steve GW7AAV said...

Great first attempt. Adam has started something here. I have been looking at what I need for my digital SLR (Canon 400D) after reading Adam's blog. I will probably order the bits this weekend so they arrive when I am off work.