Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Another stab at digiscoping

After watching bird guides in Ecuador using compact digital cameras to great effect, I decided to try again the mystic art of digiscoping.

My previous efforts have been with traditional Nikon Coolpix housebricks and the sort of adaptor that requires a degree in geometry and more fingers than is fashionable. I also did a bit of hand held stuff but we don't talk about that. The new rig should have been pretty easy to set up as Nikon had deigned to develope an adaptor specific to their cameras and scopes, the bad news is that they only seem to have made one of each and the cameras they were made for, although launched in 2006, are available nowhere.

Having worn out a key board trying to find the digiscope adaptor, really its easier to find a holy grail, I decided to mackle something up, as we ex-mechanics say.

The main use for the rig is on vacations, in jungle and with birds that only blink once every three minutes, trogons and the like. The rest of this is going to sound a bit like Blue Peter (just Google it if you are not English) but so be it.

Take a spice jar lid, plastic, any flavour, only birds with the olefactory abilities of vultures can tell the difference. Cut a 7/8ths hole in it, from the centre (sorry, may contain peanuts mentality kicking in here), then use fine sandpaper to smooth out the hole, regularly checking it for interferance fit on the camera lens, that means tightish. Er, that is it really. To make the lid stay on the eyepiece I used broad, short elastic bands. Technical details below.

This scope is a Nikon 50mm travel scope with an up to 75x (on a big scope) zoom. They also do a small mag lens just for digiscoping which I am prepared to accept as a gift from Nikon for this advert for their excellent products.

The camera is a Nikon (that word again) Coolpix S210, very important because the camera is diddy and the lens central. It just pushes into the Special Particular Instrument Calibration Equipment (SPICE) cap, clever eh? It sits there nicely and you can use the two second delay shutter release to stop wobble.

See below for the camera, $170 from Best Buy.

These phalarope shots were taken at 15 feet range through the 50mm Nikon and zoom lens.

The Wilson's Snipe was taken using the 85mm Nikon, it was rather front on which is why it looks so well fed.
The Yellow-bellied Flycatcher was in deep dark woods where the Wolves roam (just setting the scene) on two second time release through the 50mm scope.

No comments: