Added DSLR pictures to ST80 and Comet Catcher.

Several years ago I purchased a Casio QV-8000SX digital camera. It was a good camera for the time. On a lark one day I took it to the beach. I decided to take advantage of the 8X zoom lense and shoot some pictures of the sea birds. Well birds (even these that are around people all the time) tend to be a bit camera shy. I soon discovered that I did not have enough "reach" with the little Casio. Now I am not really into birdwatching, but I am a bit pigheaded (aka stuborn as an Arkansas mule).

On returning home I started looking at accesories for the Casio. I ordered a 2X telephoto adapter for the Casio. It worked but not all that well and only at full zoom. Then I heard of something called "Digiscoping". This is a relatively new form of photography where one takes a picture by placing a digital camera behind the eyepiece of a telescope. H'mmm .... that sounds like it might work.

That is how it all started. What we have here is my long and sometimes misdirected efforts at DIGISCOPING.


These are a couple of examples of what can be done with digiscoping.

The last picture illustrates one of the problems: Depth of field. Notice the grass in the foreground and the background is out of focus while the feathers on the neck of the bird are in focus.

The first picture is "normal" shot taken with the Casio camera. The second picture was taken with casio at 8X zoom thru a Williams Optics 40mm eyepiece and a Celestrom 500mm Comet Catcher Telescope. The vigeting around the outside is an artifact from the mismatched optics. Notice the dark shadow circle in the middle. That is not a shadow but another artifact of the mirrored scope. Strangly enough this photo has the best center detail. The third photo is a simple crop of the second. These photos were enhanced with Paint Shop Pro.

Little Mak mounted on Nikon 995
Nikon 995 on a 500mm Mirror Lens (SLR)
Nikon 995 on Meade ETX60
Nikon 995 on Celestron Wideview 80mm (SLR) (ist)
Nikon 995 on Celestron Comet Catcher (SLR) (ist)

1) The subject matter in the comparison photos is a bit boring. It is a transformer on a telephone pole in my back yard. It does have one outstanding advantage ... it does not move and FPL is not likely to replace it if they can possibly avoid it (they would have to take down some trees and a fence to get to it).

2) Unless otherwise noted the camera used for all the comparison photos is a Nikon CP-995. I use it with a Nikon remote shutter release, a Scopetronics 18mm WideView Eyepiece and a Photosolve "extend-a-view".

3) Unless otherwise noted the telescope is mounted on a Bogen 3233 tripod with 3275 gear head.

4) Unless otherwise noted the photos have not been processed except for JPG compression in Paint Shop Pro (version 7). I have not tried to sharpen, despeckle, color balance the comparison photos. What you see is what came out of the camera.

5) The links below with "(SLR)" at the end, also have comparison photos taken with a 35mm SLR camera at prime focus.

Defacto Standard Digital Camera:
Nikon has discontinued the Coolpix 9XX/4500 line of digital cameras. This has been the defacto standard for digiscoping. With its internally zooming lens, small filter thread (28mm) and short pupil distance it came closer to matching the human eye than any other camera line. Many 3rd party products were created and marketed for this line of cameras.

I wonder what camera line will replace the CP9XX/CP4500 series as the defacto standard for digiscoping. I think the Kyocera SL300R/SL400R series might have a chance. It has the advantage of using the same 28mm filter thread. It also has a swivel body design. However there is no remote control but one might easly fabricate a cable shutter release (several were produced for the Nikons). This camera is also the extremely light so as not wieght down the back of a telescope. I think that there might be some potential here .......
Steve's Digicam: Press Release, Kyocera Finecam SL400R
Steve's Digicam: Finecam SL300R user review
ZD NET: Finecam SL300R review
Digital Camera Resource Page: Finecam SL300R review
Popular Photography: Finecam SL300R review
Kyocera: Finecam SL300R T* Press Release

Digiscoping Links:
Digibird is a gallery of high-magnification digital bird photography and a digiscoping resource for bird photographers. Good primer on Digiscoping.
Andy Bright's digiscope web site.
Jay and Wanda's Home Page
Jay Turberville has some excellent articles on digiscoping including Understanding Vignetting while Digiscoping.

Digital Camera Links:
Steve's Digicams
Digital Photography Review
The Digital Camera Resource Page
If you interest is in digital photography then you will want to visit these sites.

Telescope Links:
If you interest is in Telescopes then you will want to visit this site.

Engineering is the art of planning and forethought.