Digiscoping With a Digital SLR Camera

Willet. Photo courtesy of Ben Lizdas.

There is no better way to relive an awesome birding experience than with a photograph. Those rewarding photos can be achieved by using a digital SLR (DSLR) camera with your spotting scope. Selecting the right camera can be daunting at first, but following this information will get you started in the right direction.

Two Options for Using a DSLR

  1. Telephotography

    Two methods exist for taking pictures through a spotting scope with a DSLR camera. Telephotography means the spotting scope becomes the camera lens. You will need to remove the camera lens and the scope eyepiece. The equipment is connected with a photo adapter specific to the brand of spotting scope and a T-ring specific to the camera. Companies that make adapters for their scopes and are meant to work with almost any DSLR are:

    This style of photography offers a simple configuration with most DSLR cameras. However, it does take more time to switch the equipment from taking pictures to observation.
     

  2. Digiscoping

    Digiscoping requires a DSLR camera with a 40mm to 50mm lens which is threaded to a digital camera adapter via an adapter ring, and connected to the scope's eyepiece. A step up/down ring may be required for this connection. The image is composed by viewing through the camera's viewfinder and focused via the spotting scope.

    Currently, the Kowa TSN-DA10, Kowa DA-1 DCA, Swarovski DCA for zoom eyepiece, Vortex Razor DCA and the Vortex Viper DCA will allow this type of connection.

    The advantages to using this set up are the ability to easily and quickly switch from taking photos to observation, the small size and light weight of the digital camera adapter, and the easy alignment of the camera to the spotting scope.

There are innumerable options for choosing a DSLR camera and Eagle Optics is always happy to help. Call us at 1-800-289-1132 or email info@eagleoptics.com for advice.

Photo of Willet contributed by Ben Lizdas.