Saturday, 10 May 2014

Phonescoping Photography

It's always nice to take a few snapshots of what you happen to have your spotting scope trained on. I really enjoy this practice, termed digiscoping, and have messed about with it for a while now. I have used compact cameras, but without consistent results. However, I soon discovered that most smartphones have a decent camera capable of producing decent record shots with consistently acceptable record shot results.

It was nice today to have other birders comment that they were impressed with some of the pictures on this blog taken with my phone through my spotting scope.

I tend to hand hold my smartphone, currently an iPhone 4S, to the eyepiece of my scope. It takes a little practice, but after a while is becomes pretty quick to line up your lens with the light exiting the scopes eyepiece. Once the scope is focused, activate your camera app, look at your eyepiece through the camera, and carefully follow that visible circle of light you can see on your phones screen until you have achieved perfect alignment of phone and eyepiece.

The main limiting factor in all digiscoping is available light transmission through the scope to the cameras sensor. Smartphones seem to do a very good job of producing acceptable results in less that ideal lighting conditions.

Here are a few shots I took today at RSPB Middleton, hand holding phone to eyepiece.

This Wood Sandpiper was about 50 yards away, light values had dropped as a short heavy storm arrived at the reserve.

Wood Sand, Dunlin landing
Not great pics, but a record in poor conditions.


Improved light conditions and a Redshank.

I'm a bird watcher that just likes taking a few record shots. Without carrying loads of extra equipment "Phonescoping" allows me to enjoy capturing a few images of a days birding.

I have heard some very good reports of a universal phonescoping adapter called the Novagrade. It attaches any phone to any eyepiece and allows for perfect alignment of phone camera and eyepiece. I hope to be in possession of one very soon. I will report back on how I get on with it.



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