Digital SLR (single lens reflex) cameras have many advantages over traditional point-and-shoot digital cameras, many of which carry over into the realm of digiscoping. The biggest advantage is the SLR’s ability to shoot numerous shots in succession with nearly no lag time. Not only that, but you have virtually complete control over every aspect of the shot: manual focus, aperture, exposure, shutter speed, etc. Of course, learning the right settings takes time and we are at the early stages of this process.
Swarovski makes a wonderful digital camera adapter (DCA) for digiscoping. The adapter has two pieces: one attaches to the scope’s eye piece and the other threads to the digital SLR’s lens. We use the Canon EF 50mm f1.4 USM lens with our current camera, the Canon EOS Rebel XTi.
The adapter fits snugly over the eyepiece, eliminating any vignetting and allowing for quick removal when done digiscoping. There is a tightening knob on the adapter so you can lock the camera in place while digiscoping. When not locked, you can still zoom in and out with the scope’s eyepiece.
It is important to leave the camera in manual focus at infinity and perform all the focusing with the spotting scope. Set your aperture down to as low as it goes and have at it.
Keep in mind that digiscoping isn’t easy but it is fun. Our setup weighs in at a bit over 11 pounds, which gets heavy when lugging it around for extended periods of time. But if you are into photographing birds, we would definitely recommend trying out digiscoping. And if you already own a great scope, you might as well give it a shot (pun intended).
We’ll have many more posts about digiscoping in the upcoming weeks and months. You can view many of our digiscoped shots at our brand new digiscoped lifelist page.