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Digiscoping 101

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is a combination of the words digi and scoping wherein digi comes from digital cameras and scoping comes from spotting scopes.

Have you ever tried taking a picture by placing a digital camera in front of the spotting scope eyepiece?

Not yet? Try it! It has a great advantage over the normal bird spotting scope.

Let me explain me how it works.

A good spotting scope can produce excellent images at a magnification of 30x. The latest digital cameras have a 3x or a higher optical zoom. The combination of a 3x optical zoom with a 30x spotting scope can produce brilliant images with a magnification of 90x. This is almost equivalent to a picture captured by using a 35mm camera.

Isn’t that wonderful?

Digital cameras have many advantages over the spotting scope and hence their combination produces excellent images. In a digital camera, one can immediately get a look at the quality of the image captured. It also facilitates easy removal of the bad images, thereby saving memory. The exposure levels can also be adjusted when a photo is being shot. Moreover, it is cost effective as there is no film involved in capturing images and pictures can be easily transferred to the computer.

You might wonder how to differentiate between 3x of a digital camera and 3x of a spotting scope. In a scope, X refers to the normal size. Therefore, 3x actually means three times the normal size. While in digital cameras, X refers to the shortest focal length, thus 3x is actually three times of the shortest focal length.

Digiscoping began in the year 1999 when Laurence Poh of Malaysia, took his first ‘digiscoped’ photograph with the help of his Nikon CoolPix 950 camera along with his birding spotting scope. Earlier a bottle or milk carton caps were used to form the separation between the lens of the camera and the spotting scope. With the advance in technology and increasing popularity, many more mounting devices have been developed. However, still the bottle cap serves as the most common separator for a digiscoping.

Digiscoping is regarded as an effective tool for capturing the most unusual bird sightings. You can capture beautiful digiscoped pictures with the help of a digital camera and spotting scope. So, if you own a bird spotting scope and are planning to buy a digital camera, you are on your way to capture some best “digiscoped” photographs.

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