Digiscoping is the art of taking photographs using a ‘scope’ — typically a birdwatchers’ field telescope. This is something that I have also been interested, admittedly less because of birds, than for the affordable option for super-tele-objectives that are required if one aims to capture far-away or small details in landscapes. Yesterday I got my “fat pipe”, model Yukon 6-100×100 Variable Power Spotting Scope (pictured; a budget deal from the local Kodin Ykkönen warehouse). It came with a camera attachment that fits with most models, so I fitted the scope with my EOS 350D (external battery back removed, to spare in weight). The first photo trip experiences were somewhat mixed: on the other hand the scope is rather light and relatively easy to handle, on the other, it became soon clear that you need a really sunny day to shoot comfortably far-away objects. Adjusting my old tripod was not so quick (mental note, get a video top for my Manfrotto), so birds were mostly already somewhere else by the time I had got the tripod, the scope and the camera all set up — with a couple of readjustments in angle, zoom and auxiliary objective. The purple distortion is also rather bad; these budget lenses are not built with achromatic materials and lens compounds. Luckily, you can do many things with software tools to correct such aberrations, but — after all things said — putting ten or twenty thousand dollars/euros to a real superobjective will provide different kind of ease of use, reliability and quality for a photographer. Now, the question only is whether one is willing to invest…


Really good (and much more expensive) digiscoping telescopes are manufactured by e.g. Meade (http://www.meade.com), and Swarovski (http://www.swarovskioptik.at/). This Yukon (http://www.yukonopticsglobal.com/) thing is ok in its price range as far as you take its colour issues into consideration. Couple of test shots (the distance to Messukylä Church was probably a bit over one kilometer from this spot):

Author: frans

Professor of Information Studies and Interactive Media, esp. Digital Culture and Game Studies in the Tampere University, Finland. Occasional photographer and gardener.

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