"Check out what this guy does with his Coolpix 990."
I stumble upon this guy's website with photos of what he does with his coolpix 990 and a telescope .it's pretty impressive and they call it "Digiscoping".Probably will be of interest to bird photography enthusiasts on a budget and may be an alternative to getting a 400mm f2.8/600mm f4 lens for the time being.
#2. "RE: Check out what this guy does with his Coolpix 990." In response to Reply # 0
Salt Lake City, US
LAST EDITED ON May-24-01 AT 11:01 PM (GMT)
It may be a fun and useful approach to telephoto photography, but it's not an alternative to a fast tele lens. Not even close.
The effective speed of a 78mm Nikon Fieldscope III using the Nikon accessory F-mount adapter is f/12.5. The Leica would be almost exactly as slow, but in addition you're shooting through both the 990's own lens - plus the eyepiece optics of the spotting scope and that will make the effective aperture even slower. The higher the magnification on the zoom eyepiece, the lower the effective aperture to the camera.
Aside from the benefits of quick deletion of unusable images, you'd be better off shooting with Nikon SLR body (using the F mount adapter) on film and then cropping to get the same "multiplier" effect that is created by the 990's small imaging chip. To use the CoolPix 990 with such a slow lens, you'll either need bright sunlight and a passive subject, or you'll have to use its very noisy higher ISO settings (a major weak point for the CP990). Note that there isn't a low light shot in the bunch.
Note also that there isn't an active bird shot in the lot. I realize the milk carton mount this fellow uses won't allow him to follow action with the camera attached, but even with the camera rigged to the optic it would be difficult to impossible to follow action using the LCD panel on the back of the CoolPix (and I'm sure the shutter speeds are too slow as well). That's where fast film and a fast lens will far outperform this kind of rig.
It certainly looks like fun to experiment with, especially if you have a spotting scope and a digital camera already. We have a 60mm Nikon Fieldscope III ED, which is a superb spotting scope and I have a CoolPix 990. I'll have to see if I can make the two mate using the jury-rigged approach shown on the "digiscope" page. If I can make it work, I'll report back.
I considered getting the $150 F mount adapter to use the Fieldscope with my SLRs, but it really doesn't offer much value considering it creates an 800mm f/13.3 fixed aperture lens. I can do better adding a teleconverter to my 80-400 VR zoom.
It may also interest some folks that Nikon makes a digital imaging system for the Fieldscopes that provides video output for either a field LCD monitor or you can patch it directly into a camcorder. With the monitor, several people can observe simultaneously with one spotting scope and you can do extreme telephoto videography as well.
I did a quick test and my CP990 will indeed take images through the eyepiece of our 60mm Fieldscope. The first shots were frankly pretty bad. In bright daylight with the fieldscope on a tripod, I found it impossible to take a shot without causing enough vibration to make each image quite blurry. I'll have to jury rig an adapter and use my remote release to take a decent shot. Also, as is typical with the LCD on the 990, it's just about worthless if you don't have some effective sunshade when used outdoors in daylight. Of course the optical finder doesn't work at all for composing an image.