Digiscoping – Using a Spotting Scope or Binoculars for Photography 4

[ Skip the details and just show me the best digiscoping equipment ]

Want to take fun, exciting pictures simple and easily? Do you have certain hobbies that you love, like bird watching, whale/ship watching, star gazing, hunting or other activities, and would love to take photos? If you answered yes to either of these questions, you may want to know more about digiscoping. Here, we will take a look at everything you need to know about this practice in a simple-to-use guide to get you started.

Digiscoping

 

What is Digiscoping?

Digiscoping is the practice of connecting your digital camera or mobile phone to a spotting scope to help you get better pictures in a variety of situations. This practice makes it much easier for many photographers to capture better images of birds, nature, and much more. Traditionally, this practice has been used the most by birdwatchers, however, there are plenty of other potential uses for this technology. Anytime you are looking to get breathtaking pictures of wildlife, nature, sports, and more with your camera, and just a bit more equipment, you can turn to digiscoping for some great results.

A Short History

Laurence Poh, a Malaysian bird watcher, discovered the practice of digiscoping almost 15 years ago. At that time, Poh simply held up his digital camera to the eyepiece of his spotting scope in order to get better photos of birds in the wild. It is not entirely clear as to whether he actually invented this technique, or if he just brought it to the public attention through his interactions online. No matter his ultimate contribution, many do agree that he helped to put this technique on the map for photographers. Photographers of all skill levels can use this simple technique.

What Equipment Do I Need?

Spotting scopes that have an angled eyepiece are the easiest to use this approach with. You may purchase a commercial adapter, which helps you to more easily align the scope and your camera more quickly. Refer to the end of this guide for our specific equipment recommendations.

How Do I Connect My Camera to the Spotting Scope?

Depending upon what method and equipment you choose, you may need to take more care and time to connect your camera correctly. For the most part, connecting your camera is surprisingly simple. All you need is a spotting scope and a digital camera or mobile phone of your choice. Line up the eyepiece of you spotting scope with the lens of the camera. Check your angle, and be sure that the two are very close. If you have trouble, you may want to consider purchasing a special adapter. Take a few snaps, then adjust any desired camera settings in order to get a great picture.

Digiscoping

Why Might You Want to Use Digiscoping?

Digiscoping is useful in a variety of ways. You can use it to take nature shots of faraway things. It is perfect for photographing things from far away that you simply cannot get close to. Examples include whales, ships, animals, birds or even things happening overhead in the sky. For birding, digiscoping can help you to easily share gorgeous photos of your finds with others.

What are The Best Practices for Digiscoping?
  • Don’t worry too much about taking the perfect photo: you can crop it later using software. (Photoshop or other)
  • Remember other important equipment, like memory cards and batteries when taking lots of pictures. This is especially important when out in the field.
  • Study the habit of the birds you are photographing. This can help you to decide if something like a built-in timer might be right for you.
  • Get a stable tripod. If the tripod, spotting scope or camera still seem unbalanced after setting them up, you may want to experiment with adding weights.
  • Let more light in my switching your aperture priority mode.
  • Take time to focus, even if what you are capturing seems to be moving quickly.
  • Do everything you would do for a regular photograph: consider colour, light, and even air quality, which can effect images.
  • Choose your ISO carefully. A higher one can help you to take more pictures, faster, even if it does sacrifice quality a bit.
  • Take LOTS of pictures. You can delete any bad ones later.


 

Avalon Digiscoping Adapters

The digiscoping adapters from Avalon Optics provide an easy solution to taking photos using nearly any spotting scope or binocular on the market. These quality camera adapters were specially designed to fit eye-piece diameters of 39-60mm. This means they will nicely fit onto any of the spotting scopes available here on Procular as well as any standard to full sized binoculars. There are 3 available Avalon adapters to match Nikon DSLR cameras, Canon DSLR cameras and smartphone cameras (iPhone, Samasung etc.) as below:

Avalon Digiscoping Adapter for Nikon DSLR Cameras

Avalon Digiscoping Adapter for Nikon DSLR Cameras

 

Avalon Digiscoping Adapter for Canon DSLR Cameras

Avalon Digiscoping Adapter for Canon DSLR Cameras

 

Avalon Digiscoping Adapter for Camera Phones

Avalon Digiscoping Adapter for Camera Phones

 

4 Comments

  1. Is there a good adaptor to use for Pentax DSLRs?
    I have a K50

    1. Hi Tewary,

      Sorry, we only know of Nikon, Canon and mobile phone adapters.

      Adam Murray, Procular
  2. I have recently purchased a “snap zoom” adapter for connecting my binoculars to my iPhone for zoom shots. It has not been very successful. I want to try using a spotting scope mounted on my Tripod.
    Can you suggest a medium cost scope and has anybody had similar issues with snap zoom ?

    1. Hi Peter,

      Digiscoping using binoculars without a tripod is already an extremely difficult task. It can be very awkward holding the binoculars and trying to fit your iPhone or camera onto one lens while aiming at a subject. And having a shaky adapter doesn’t really help either. Using a spotting scope and tripod is a completely different story. Significantly easier and with much better results. You can do this by using binoculars and a tripod too. We have quite a few good medium-priced scopes but it’s really the adapter that makes the difference. We have had good feedback on the Avalon adapter. It is not cheap but it is the only one that really does the job and produces good quality photos. Here’s the model for iPhone:

      https://procular.com.au/avalon-digiscoping-adapter-for-camera-phones/

      It can be used with any spotting scope or binoculars. Medium cost scope, we can recommend the Meade 20-60×80 WP. It is both strong, has a nice image and is easy to use for digiscoping with an iPhone (using the adapter). Details of this spotting scope below:

      https://procular.com.au/meade-20-60×80-wp-spotting-scope/

      We hope this helps.

      Adam Murray, Procular

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