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yeimaya
08-20-2004, 11:29 AM
i am studying Harbor Seals, using a 22X spotting scope to observe a group that haul out on a rock that is 1500 feet away. Does anyone have an opinion whether the Panasonic Lumix Dmc fz20 will do better than my scope and my trusty pencil drawings through the scope? Or does anyone have other suggestions? I can identify individuals by the markings on their bellies but would love to have good photographs rather than just drawings.

John_Reed
08-20-2004, 11:56 AM
i am studying Harbor Seals, using a 22X spotting scope to observe a group that haul out on a rock that is 1500 feet away. Does anyone have an opinion whether the Panasonic Lumix Dmc fz20 will do better than my scope and my trusty pencil drawings through the scope? Or does anyone have other suggestions? I can identify individuals by the markings on their bellies but would love to have good photographs rather than just drawings.500 yards is a long distance away! You're talking about the equivalent of 1100mm lens reach, which may be barely doable by the FZ20, which can reach out to ~950mm equivalent with something like a Raynox 2.2X telextender. I would think you'd be better off to find an adapter for your spotting scope that would allow you to attach a lower-mag digital camera. I've seen people using Nikon 4500s in this way; if you have that setup, your 22X scope can then be magnified by the optical zoom of the 4500, for example, which is another 4X, putting you far beyond the reach of the FZ20.

judge9847
08-20-2004, 03:24 PM
500 yards is a long distance away! You're talking about the equivalent of 1100mm lens reach, which may be barely doable by the FZ20, which can reach out to ~950mm equivalent with something like a Raynox 2.2X telextender. I would think you'd be better off to find an adapter for your spotting scope that would allow you to attach a lower-mag digital camera. I've seen people using Nikon 4500s in this way; if you have that setup, your 22X scope can then be magnified by the optical zoom of the 4500, for example, which is another 4X, putting you far beyond the reach of the FZ20.

Absolutely right. I've got the Raynox 2.2 and found that it's at its best at around the maximum optical zoom of the camera plus maybe a tiny bit of digital (to get round a slight vignetting problem.) So it's maybe 14x zoom by 2.2 = ~30x which is the ~950mm equivalent that's mentioned. Beyond that it's really a no-go for good images - mostly!

I've recently had the opportunity to take a close-ish look at what's called digiscoping and if you've got the right combination of equipment, i.e. scope and digital camera plus any other adapters and connectors that are needed. But not every scope is capable of being used for it and there are few really good suitable cameras. And beware of using zoom eyepieces - apparently they're not that good. Fixed seem to produce the best results.

If you want to see some sensational images that have been produced by digiscoping, go to the internationally respected Bird Forum (http://www.birdforum.net) and follow the links to the relevant part of the forum. If you're not seriously impressed by some of it, then I'll be very surprised!

John_Reed
08-20-2004, 03:42 PM
Absolutely right. I've got the Raynox 2.2 and found that it's at its best at around the maximum optical zoom of the camera plus maybe a tiny bit of digital (to get round a slight vignetting problem.) So it's maybe 14x zoom by 2.2 = ~30x which is the ~950mm equivalent that's mentioned. Beyond that it's really a no-go for good images - mostly!

I've recently had the opportunity to take a close-ish look at what's called digiscoping and if you've got the right combination of equipment, i.e. scope and digital camera plus any other adapters and connectors that are needed. But not every scope is capable of being used for it and there are few really good suitable cameras. And beware of using zoom eyepieces - apparently they're not that good. Fixed seem to produce the best results.

If you want to see some sensational images that have been produced by digiscoping, go to the internationally respected Bird Forum (http://www.birdforum.net) and follow the links to the relevant part of the forum. If you're not seriously impressed by some of it, then I'll be very surprised!Bob, I was basing my comparison assuming that the original poster meant "22 X normal size" with a 22X spotting scope. When you take a 12X Panasonic, for example, that isn't "12 X normal size," rather it's 12X the wide-angle focal length. Based on a 50mm "normal" focal length as 1X, the FZ20 would therefore have a lens capable of "8.64 X (432/50) normal size" at full extension. So at that, the Raynox would get it up to ~19X at best, a little less than the original spotting scope reach. Of course, you could push in some digital zoom, but optical results will yield sharper final results, if it's any good resolution you're looking for. Like I say, the combination of a 4500 mated to a spotting scope with the proper adapters would still win the day, in my opinion!

D70FAN
08-20-2004, 04:19 PM
Absolutely right. I've got the Raynox 2.2 and found that it's at its best at around the maximum optical zoom of the camera plus maybe a tiny bit of digital (to get round a slight vignetting problem.) So it's maybe 14x zoom by 2.2 = ~30x which is the ~950mm equivalent that's mentioned. Beyond that it's really a no-go for good images - mostly!

I've recently had the opportunity to take a close-ish look at what's called digiscoping and if you've got the right combination of equipment, i.e. scope and digital camera plus any other adapters and connectors that are needed. But not every scope is capable of being used for it and there are few really good suitable cameras. And beware of using zoom eyepieces - apparently they're not that good. Fixed seem to produce the best results.

If you want to see some sensational images that have been produced by digiscoping, go to the internationally respected Bird Forum (http://www.birdforum.net) and follow the links to the relevant part of the forum. If you're not seriously impressed by some of it, then I'll be very surprised!

Actually, John has posted some great bird shots using just the FZ's, handheld. Guess he knows how to sneak up on em'.

John_Reed
08-20-2004, 04:46 PM
Actually, John has posted some great bird shots using just the FZ's, handheld. Guess he knows how to sneak up on em'.Thanks, George, but they weren't 500 yards away! That may even involve the curvature of the Earth! ;)

judge9847
08-20-2004, 07:08 PM
Hi John - firstly, do I take it from George's reply that you've got a gallery at BirdForum? If so, is it under a different name? I'd love to have a look.


Like I say, the combination of a 4500 mated to a spotting scope with the proper adapters would still win the day, in my opinion

Yep, sorry, I didn't make myself at all clear. The power of the scope plus the optical zoom on the camera will be far, far more successful than the FZ plus the extender, image quality-wise and just about everything else as well.

One thing I'm confused about though (One thing? Just about everything confuses me it seems :) ) and I'd really appreciate an explanation if you can. The spec for the FZ10 appears to say that the normal focal is 35mm so using your formula that gives a multiplier of 12.34: take the converter at 2.2 gets to ~27x at full optical zoom. If a tiny amount of digital zoom is used with the converter, as far as I can see it anyway, that does take it towards the 30x zoom I mentioned.

So what am I not getting? As I say I'd appreciate the heads-up if you've got the time.

yeimaya
08-20-2004, 07:29 PM
I appreciate all the thought you have given folks! I could follow most of it though I am by nature more of a point and shoot kind of photographer (getting more elaborate out of necessity). O.K here is what I have and maybe you could help me piece it all together. I have a Bushnell spotting scope (sorry don't remember the model but was pretty mid range price wise) and a 22X wide angle non-zoom lense. The only camera I have is a point and shoot so it is not appropriate.

What kind of digital camera would work best with the scope, since that will be something I have to get anyway. It was suggested that I get a digiscope (adaptor?) I checked it didn't seem that Bushnell scopes could actually use them.

John_Reed
08-20-2004, 08:41 PM
Hi John - firstly, do I take it from George's reply that you've got a gallery at BirdForum? If so, is it under a different name? I'd love to have a look.



Yep, sorry, I didn't make myself at all clear. The power of the scope plus the optical zoom on the camera will be far, far more successful than the FZ plus the extender, image quality-wise and just about everything else as well.

One thing I'm confused about though (One thing? Just about everything confuses me it seems :) ) and I'd really appreciate an explanation if you can. The spec for the FZ10 appears to say that the normal focal is 35mm so using your formula that gives a multiplier of 12.34: take the converter at 2.2 gets to ~27x at full optical zoom. If a tiny amount of digital zoom is used with the converter, as far as I can see it anyway, that does take it towards the 30x zoom I mentioned.

So what am I not getting? As I say I'd appreciate the heads-up if you've got the time.Bob, the small difference may come from the FZ20's zoom range of 36-432mm, equivalent. And all I was saying was that the "12X" of the FZ20 isn't an appropriate multiplier to compare to the telescope's "22X," since we're talking about "X" in the way it's used in telescopes, that is, magnifying power. "1X" for a telescope would be no magnification, but (assuming "normal" focal length is 50mm for any 35mm equivalent lens) "1X" for the 36-432mm FZ20 lens would be (50/36) X its base focal length, or 1.39X of the FZ20's "X" factor is "used up" just to get to the "normal" 50mm starting point for a telescope or binocular, leaving "8.64X" as its true "magnification" factor. Whew! Now is it as clear as mud? ;-)

judge9847
08-21-2004, 03:02 AM
John, yes indeed, thanks for that. I actually do see what you're saying so the mud's quite clear!

What I don't think I realised was that the "X" factor on scopes was a different issue to that on camera lenses - talking strictly about optics that is. What I thought I understood was that the light was collected by the scope's glass and all the magnifying/zooming was done by the eyepiece alone. I didn't think that, acting as a lens, the eyepiece would behave in a different way to that of a camera lens. Just didn't imagine it.

But that's the issue isn't it? The camera lens is working as both collector and zoom whilst the scope breaks it down into two separate stages. I suppose! Or am I still talking b*!!&cks ??? :)

yeimaya
08-21-2004, 04:31 AM
I have managed to hang in there in a skeletal sort of way through this discussion. But my problem now is that my scope doesn't seem to be adaptable to a digital camera attachment (Bushnell, spacemaster) and I only have a point and shoot digital camera. So $wise this is getting pretty out of range? What digital camera would be the best for distance shots (whale watching for instance) and to hook up to the scope?

I have a good picture of the study site taken with a regular camera perhaps zoomed to 80mm but I am not sure since I didn't take it. Can I post that picture somehow?

yeimaya
08-21-2004, 04:35 AM
actually here is a link to that picture in fotolog
http://www.fotolog.net/yeimaya/

John_Reed
08-21-2004, 07:03 AM
I have managed to hang in there in a skeletal sort of way through this discussion. But my problem now is that my scope doesn't seem to be adaptable to a digital camera attachment (Bushnell, spacemaster) and I only have a point and shoot digital camera. So $wise this is getting pretty out of range? What digital camera would be the best for distance shots (whale watching for instance) and to hook up to the scope?

I have a good picture of the study site taken with a regular camera perhaps zoomed to 80mm but I am not sure since I didn't take it. Can I post that picture somehow?I'm impressed that from those little dots you could actually make a sketch of a Seal!
I'm sorry the discussion got so technical, and strayed away from your issue. Those seals really are distant, though. The issue is, as I understand it, you can see the seals closely enough with your Bushnell 22X Spacemaster, and would like to have a camera setup to be able to snap photographs? Well why didn't you say so? ;) I'm working on a Google search re: your setup. You don't have a Nikon CoolPix; the advantage of these cameras is that they have a small filter diameter (28mm) which makes it fairly easy to mate to a telescope objective, and good close-focusing ability. If you chose to do that with, say, an FZ20, you'd have to be stepping down from 55mm to make the coupling work, and you'd have some real vignetting issues, I think. I'll report more as the information evolves; right now I'm awaiting permission to post on Bird Forum. Stay tuned.

yeimaya
08-21-2004, 07:28 AM
Is this what you mean by vignetting?
http://www.fotolog.net/yeimaya/?photo_id=7630577 (the spots on the seal have been "fixed" with photo shop)

This was taken through my spotting scope with an old cannon (film camera) and an adaptor. WAY BACK WHEN.... I was studying a group much closer (100-200 feet). (We have moved since then). Even at this "close" range it was hard to get a good picture because that rig could only shoot at f16. I guess that is one of the reasons I am not super eager to jump back into the scope as lense routine but I bet a lot has changed?

judge9847
08-21-2004, 10:00 AM
You'll no doubt get the idea - quite rightly! - that having read this thread I am NOT an expert and certainly not on digiscoping which is what the method of coupling a digital camera to a scope is called!

But I have seen Bushnells described as being used so I think you're one step in the right direction at least.

As for cameras, I believe that's an entirely different issue. Basically, there are a number in the Nikon Coolpix series that are very easy to use simply because the lens does not extend beyond the body of the camera. So, when it's connected to the eyepiece of the scope (more of that in a sec) there's no physical contact. I believe that the camera has to be set to it's longest optical zoom and in macro mood to get the very best pictures. But even then, there are some problems with vignetting but they aren't significant.

If you have a camera where the lens extends out of the body of the camera when it's activated - when it's not it in use, it's contained inside the body - you need to make compensation for that. So adapters of some sort have to be bought or made that will connect to the eyepiece of the scope and have the capacity to accommodate the lens so that in turn, it can get as close to the eyepiece as well.

There are lots and lots of cameras that just aren't suitable for digiscoping but I don't know about yours. There are several digiscoping sites around and it might be worth you asking the question at one or more of them to get the definitive answer.

What I would say is that it's almost certain that something like the FZ series with their 12x zoom lens, are not going to be good for digiscoping. It would take one heck of a connector system to keep the camera and the lens working in harmony and quite how the lens of the camera could get close enough to the eyepiece of a scope to be of any use, I can't imagine. But if nothing else, the advent of my middle age has taught me that nothing's impossible!!

If your camera is suitable then almost certainly you will need an adapter to connect it to the scope and that might involve some sort of step-up or step down ring as well because it's likely that the lens diameters won't match.

But if you do all that, the results can be truly amazing, staggering, wondrous - you get the idea :) The techique has brought the ability to take stunning wildlife shots that film never could - unless you were prepared to spend thousands and thousands on some very sophisticated equipment. And for not much of an outlay.

Of course, there's nothing to stop you just putting your camera lens up against the eyepiece of the scope, holding it there yourself and watching the results on the LCD. If you do that, don't forget to put the camera into macro mode and use the longest possible optical zoom. Apparently, that's a good combination that produces the better images. I often see images that are taken like that and they are very good indeed, though not as good as having the camera fixed to the scope in some way.

Hope that helps a bit more.

John_Reed
08-21-2004, 10:16 AM
Is this what you mean by vignetting?
http://www.fotolog.net/yeimaya/?photo_id=7630577 (the spots on the seal have been "fixed" with photo shop)

This was taken through my spotting scope with an old cannon (film camera) and an adaptor. WAY BACK WHEN.... I was studying a group much closer (100-200 feet). (We have moved since then). Even at this "close" range it was hard to get a good picture because that rig could only shoot at f16. I guess that is one of the reasons I am not super eager to jump back into the scope as lense routine but I bet a lot has changed?Yes, that's vignetting in the extreme. Usually it means a little darkening in the 4 corners of the image. I thought you might get a kick out of some frisky seals I shot (with 35mm) down on South Georgia Island a few years back:
http://homepage.mac.com/jareed/.Pictures/Antarctica/DSCN4138.jpg
These seals were so rambunctious that it wasn't easy to walk down the shore without getting nipped at or chased. They move pretty fast!

yeimaya
08-21-2004, 07:17 PM
Let's see if I am getting this straight... it has been really helpful in sorting out what I am trying to achieve. Thanks a lot!

1) to get good photographs of the seal ledges at 500 yards without spending an arm and a leg, I should center my efforts on my spotting scope. This means I need to find out if a Bushnell spacemaster will adapt to a digital camera and if a digiscope adaptor would improve things? right so far?

2) I need a digital camera (with a small lense rather than the big honking one on the panasonic?) that will blend gracefully with the scope. All I have is a little point and shoot.

3) but the more I read about the panasonic the more I want it!!! the stabilizer and huge zoom yummmmmy. A local tour boat naturalist is interested in catalogueing seals in the neighboring bay and is willing to have me aboard anytime so that particular camera seems ideal for lumpy seas and seals we can get closer to, maybe 80'. Also I work on and off on a whale watch boat and want to take Humpback fluke shots for identification.

So .... is there anyway I can use the panasonic for both purposes? If not what would be the best camera .... bare bones, no super this or that just dedicated to getting the best out of the scope set up (which doesn't change)

And should I broaden out my search by starting a more general nature photography thread or is there already one?

yeimaya
08-21-2004, 07:19 PM
I can almost hear them and smell them... lucky you

John_Reed
08-21-2004, 11:20 PM
Let's see if I am getting this straight... it has been really helpful in sorting out what I am trying to achieve. Thanks a lot!

1) to get good photographs of the seal ledges at 500 yards without spending an arm and a leg, I should center my efforts on my spotting scope. This means I need to find out if a Bushnell spacemaster will adapt to a digital camera and if a digiscope adaptor would improve things? right so far?

2) I need a digital camera (with a small lense rather than the big honking one on the panasonic?) that will blend gracefully with the scope. All I have is a little point and shoot.

3) but the more I read about the panasonic the more I want it!!! the stabilizer and huge zoom yummmmmy. A local tour boat naturalist is interested in catalogueing seals in the neighboring bay and is willing to have me aboard anytime so that particular camera seems ideal for lumpy seas and seals we can get closer to, maybe 80'. Also I work on and off on a whale watch boat and want to take Humpback fluke shots for identification.

So .... is there anyway I can use the panasonic for both purposes? If not what would be the best camera .... bare bones, no super this or that just dedicated to getting the best out of the scope set up (which doesn't change)

And should I broaden out my search by starting a more general nature photography thread or is there already one?I was wrong, it seems. It looks like you may be able to interface an FZ20 to your spotting scope. Go to this (http://www.scopetronix.com/wizard/intro.htm) page, and take the Wizard through the steps of fitting a Bushnell Spotting Scope with a Panasonic FZ10, which should interface the same as the FZ20. It looks like a doable interface, and with that, you could have the FZ10 alone, or mated with the Bushnell scope to be able to count the hairs on the Seal's left ear.

judge9847
08-22-2004, 04:31 AM
Originally Posted by yeimaya
Let's see if I am getting this straight... it has been really helpful in sorting out what I am trying to achieve. Thanks a lot!

1) to get good photographs of the seal ledges at 500 yards without spending an arm and a leg, I should center my efforts on my spotting scope. This means I need to find out if a Bushnell spacemaster will adapt to a digital camera and if a digiscope adaptor would improve things? right so far?

2) I need a digital camera (with a small lense rather than the big honking one on the panasonic?) that will blend gracefully with the scope. All I have is a little point and shoot.

For me, 1), the answer would be "yes", the spotting scope/camera combo would improve things greatly for you.

Try the point and shoot camera you have, hand held with your scope. You never know what results it might bring and it might save you some money!!

As for 2), if the Panasonic is what you want then go for it - there are loads of us who know you won't be disappointed.


Originally posted by John_Reed
I was wrong, it seems. It looks like you may be able to interface an FZ20 to your spotting scope. Go to this page, and take the Wizard through the steps of fitting a Bushnell Spotting Scope with a Panasonic FZ10, which should interface the same as the FZ20. It looks like a doable interface, and with that, you could have the FZ10 alone, or mated with the Bushnell scope to be able to count the hairs on the Seal's left ear.

I really don't want to turn this into a dampner of any sort because believe me, if I knew the FZ10 would connect to a scope with successful output I'd be very, very interested indeed! But even with an adapter, I would think that there'd have to be some sort of additional help to hold the camera in place: it's not the lightest of cameras and I can imagine some there being some real tugs and pulls and stresses on it with attendant problems about keeping the whole shebang steady enough for photography. But I don't know but I can easily imagine it would be an issue.

So before I committed myself to any sort of adapter like the one that the Wizard suggests, I'd really want to see some output from the combination.

I say that because I've read in different places that large lenses suffer from an inability to line up correctly with the eyepiece of a scope and that when that problem's out of the way, there is serious vignetting to worry about. Once again, I don't know for certain if that's true because the reality is that I've not seen any examples at all of what's being talked about, either from a successful or unsuccessful point of view. For any large diameter lenses, especially the FZ range, I'd really like to see that sort of proof.

One thing I would say though is that if it's possible, I would think that using the full optical zoom of the camera - recommended for digiscoping - would need some very gentle touches when taking the photos. There'd have to be either a cable release or use of the FZ10's timer simply to stop what I'm guessing would be massive shake when done by hand.

Once again, personally speaking, I think the FZ10 with a converter lens is a better bet than attaching it to a scope, especially when you say you've got the chance to get physically closer to your subjects. There are loads of examples of the success of that type of combination. And if you're that close to your subjects, the converter lens (telextender) might not be necessary but you'd have to be the judge of that.

So if anyone's got any examples of FZ10 being used as a digiscoping camera, I'd really, really be pleased to see them, good and bad.

And yeimaya, I've got to say you've started a really interesting and informative thread!

John_Reed
08-22-2004, 05:41 AM
I agree with you Bob. The Wizard I cited indicated that one could technically make the adaptation between the FZxx and the Bushnell scope, but you're right, there is the attendant torque on the coupling accompanying the extra weight of the larger camera, and also the threat of gross vignetting. As you say, the FZ20 with some kind of telephoto extender would be a nice adjunct to, but still wouldn't have the reach of, the Bushnell + an attached camera. But, in cases where the subjects are less than 500 yards away, she can still have a heck of a lot of fun with the FZ20, I'm sure.

yeimaya
08-22-2004, 08:35 AM
Looks like I might be able to have my cake and eat it too?

The main questions seem to be the weight of the FZ22 and the size of its lense. And whether there will be jiggle, slump and vignetting problems even though scoptronics has an adaptor. Is that right?

Ok... the FZ22 (and 10) have stabilizers in the lense (magic? gyroscopic stuff?) would that help eliminate or lessen the jiggle problem? And, many years ago in the other study site (I think I linked to pictures from that set up: fotoblog) I had a rig for my old cannon, a weighty beast for sure maybe heavier than the fz22, and slumping didn't seem to be a problem.... now vignetting and the need for absolutely PERFECT conditions AND a sort of chronic fuzzy blurriness were definitely part of the deal.

as an aside: how does one properly diferentiate between "lense size" and the diameter of the lense? Oh also what is the difference between digiscoping and using a camera and spotting scope?

Now if I could "count the hairs on the seals left ear" I would be SO happy but Harbor seals don't have ears (at least external ones), so I guess I don't have to be frustrated by that challenge!!! hahaha

Bob and John you have been really great.... I haven't been able to get this kind of information anywhere til now. I really appreciate how you have made resources so available and taken this on!!

judge9847
08-22-2004, 02:05 PM
Originally posted by yeimaya


Looks like I might be able to have my cake and eat it too?

The main questions seem to be the weight of the FZ22 and the size of its lense. And whether there will be jiggle, slump and vignetting problems even though scoptronics has an adaptor. Is that right?

Ok... the FZ22 (and 10) have stabilizers in the lense (magic? gyroscopic stuff?) would that help eliminate or lessen the jiggle problem? And, many years ago in the other study site (I think I linked to pictures from that set up: fotoblog) I had a rig for my old cannon, a weighty beast for sure maybe heavier than the fz22, and slumping didn't seem to be a problem.... now vignetting and the need for absolutely PERFECT conditions AND a sort of chronic fuzzy blurriness were definitely part of the deal.

as an aside: how does one properly diferentiate between "lense size" and the diameter of the lense? Oh also what is the difference between digiscoping and using a camera and spotting scope?

Now if I could "count the hairs on the seals left ear" I would be SO happy but Harbor seals don't have ears (at least external ones), so I guess I don't have to be frustrated by that challenge!!! hahaha

Bob and John you have been really great.... I haven't been able to get this kind of information anywhere til now. I really appreciate how you have made resources so available and taken this on!!

Yes, I'd think you could have your cake and eat it too!

The FZ20 (it's not the 22 - yet!) or any with the same lens system that are around now or in the near future would I feel almost certainly cause you other problems if it were to be connected to a scope. Mind you, if it could be done successfully, I'm sure the results would be staggering. But as I say, I can't remember seeing a single image taken with a large lens attached to a scope - they may exist but until I can see one I'm going to believe a lot of what I've read in different places and that is they're not suitable.

But the bottom line is that the lower zoom cameras, with smaller optical zooms of 3x or 4x, seem to make for perfect digiscoping - and there are 10s of 1,000s of images around to prove it. I suppose that's because the workhorse is the scope, not the camera.

The FZ20 and FZ10 and the others have an optical image stabilizing system that is staggeringly effective. I've taken hand-held images at the full zoom that are really, really sharp. And you can turn it off if you want which is also good.

Using the camera on it's own, in any way that you like, will not produce vignetting at all. That will happen though when you attach a telextender (converter) lens - at least it does with my Raynox 2.2 - but it's not a major issue. The recommendation is that you use the converter on top of the full zoom of the lens - and that is logical really. After all, why use a converter to do something that the camera on it's own could do?

The term "digiscoping" is used to describe the action of attaching a digital camera to a scope so they are the same thing.

If you'd like to have a look at some samples of digiscoping click here. (http://digiscopingukbirds.homestead.com/) It's birds but you'll get a very good idea of what can be achieved with the right set up. From my own experience, it's not possible to get the general quality of those images from the FZ10 even with the convertor attached. I'd have to get quite a lot closer to do it than the guys who digiscope.

Well, if there's no ears to see, I'm sure the hairs on an anagram of "ears" would be quite easy to count if you digiscope your seals ;)

It's a pleasure to be of some help. It's exactly what forums like these are for and I know I've learnt a great deal from reading a lot of the posts here already.

yeimaya
08-23-2004, 07:31 AM
thanks to your inspiration, I just loaded up my trusty little Olympus D490 point and shoot and trundled off to do an observation. I stuck it up against my spotting scope with a 22x lense and voila!! tons of vignetting (boy do I feel like a pro with terms like this to throw around) but, if you look at the next picture, nothing a little photoshopping wouldn't fix.

http://www.fotolog.net/yeimaya/?pid=7676463

Just imagine what a Fz20 could do!! Thanks again

John_Reed
08-23-2004, 09:14 AM
thanks to your inspiration, I just loaded up my trusty little Olympus D490 point and shoot and trundled off to do an observation. I stuck it up against my spotting scope with a 22x lense and voila!! tons of vignetting (boy do I feel like a pro with terms like this to throw around) but, if you look at the next picture, nothing a little photoshopping wouldn't fix.

http://www.fotolog.net/yeimaya/?pid=7676463

Just imagine what a Fz20 could do!! Thanks againLooking good! Did your Olympus add any magnification to the shots? I was having trouble seeing the ear hair (on a seal with no ears! ;) ). Your experiment proves the point, though. You'll definitely need the spotting scope or its equivalent in the optical path to be able to get close to those seals - Good work!

judge9847
08-23-2004, 11:23 AM
Bearing in mind that it's a relatively crude way of doing things, that's some result!! Many congratulations.

If you've already done it then forget what I'm going to say now but don't forget to put the camera into it's maximum OPTICAL (not digital) zoom and if it's got a macro setting, use that. Even if it's only an experiment. Apparently the macro setting gets the best out of the images that are coming out of the eyepiece on the scope, which would actually make sense. If you haven't already done so, give it a try - you never know, the clarity of the image might just be improved.

And if it isn't, well, nothing's lost.

Now I can tell everyone that I've seen a seal's penis at 22x magnification ;)

Great stuff, and a real result.

yeimaya
08-24-2004, 12:04 PM
I realize this aspect of the conversation is moving out of the purely panasonic range... should I keep on asking questions here or move them elsewhere?

Anyway ... I know I did try zooming in my Olympus and it looks like the picture with the "vignetting" around it is a bit further away thant the one without so I think I was able to get some of the zoom power from the Olympus as well as the spotting scope.... so my Olympus says it has 3x optical and 2.5x digital... how much have I upped the zoomability of the scope? (maybe you saw more than you thought ;) and how do I know if I am getting the digital or optical zoom.

Trying to sound like I know what I am talking about, but I am desparately trying to gather bits from here and there and thanks to you both I am gathering a lot very fast.

judge9847
08-24-2004, 12:47 PM
I realize this aspect of the conversation is moving out of the purely panasonic range... should I keep on asking questions here or move them elsewhere?

Anyway ... I know I did try zooming in my Olympus and it looks like the picture with the "vignetting" around it is a bit further away thant the one without so I think I was able to get some of the zoom power from the Olympus as well as the spotting scope.... so my Olympus says it has 3x optical and 2.5x digital... how much have I upped the zoomability of the scope? (maybe you saw more than you thought ;) and how do I know if I am getting the digital or optical zoom.

Trying to sound like I know what I am talking about, but I am desparately trying to gather bits from here and there and thanks to you both I am gathering a lot very fast.

The theme of this thread is nature photography so I reckon it's OK to post here !

Yes, the idea is that you add the zoom power to that of the scope. In effect, if the image is 22x and your camera is set to 3x, you are at 66x zoom - or getting on that way.. From what John had to say earlier in this thread, there's some maths to do to work it out exactly but nonetheless, you should be getting the idea of what's happening and why it's such a fascinating and cheap way of getting some very high quality images! Imagine having to pay for a camera lens that could do that ... thousands if not tens of thousands!

Normally, when you start getting into the digital zoom range, there'll be an indicator on the LCD of the camera - but I cheat a bit! The lens will always make a noise when it's zooming in it's optical range. You can hear it very clearly! Once that noise stops and the image keeps on zooming in, then you're in the digital range. Most people will tell you that you should get out of it if you want to maintain the quality of the image and that is very true. I've taken to switching mine off because the temptation to zoom in and zoom in is too much and generally speaking, the results are almost always quite poor. Optical is the best - no electronic shenanigans!

You certainly should avoid it when using your scope: at that level of zoom, the quality of the image will deteriorate very quickly indeed once you start into the digital side.

And you've asked a very reasonable question and one that's quite valid in this context. I'd say you know what you're talking about :) ;)

yeimaya
06-15-2005, 11:34 AM
I have just been reading back through this thread. I was given some very fine help and advice here thanks Bob and John particularly!

The Panasonic fz20 is wonderful... but my harbor seal subjects are about 1000 feet away and it is a lot to ask of it. I tried the digiscoping options and it seemed unworkable because the 22x lens on my scope was too long to fit inside the housing that connected to the camera... anyway I sent it back and got a raynox doubler instead and am in business. I have taken some pretty impressive pictures.... they are not impressive in quality yet, but in the amount of detail I can get (the amount I can zoom). I had a couple of images to insert but not sure how so I will give you a link to the my flickr site.
My best effort so far is this one:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/yeimaya/17705314/in/set-224029/

But I am more likely to get a sort of painterly Manetlike impressionistic photolike this:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/yeimaya/16427115/in/set-224029/

I don't have a direct question right now but wanted to let you know how I have progressed and that I know I will have a whole bunch of questions as the summer continues. If any suggestions jump out at you from looking at these photos... please feel free! I am most interested in getting shots that help me identify individuals, National Geo quality is not necessary.

astro
06-15-2005, 07:45 PM
For the perfect scope, I'd go with a catadiopedric scope, like a mak cassegrain scope :)
Then you can hook an SLR on there.
http://www.telescope.com/shopping/product/detailmain.jsp?itemID=367&itemType=PRODUCT&iMainCat=4&iSubCat=11&iProductID=367

Get a cheap film SLR that costs around $150 on ebay, plus a $100 scanner :)

You'll be getting national geographic quality pictures for around $500!

JTL
03-29-2008, 03:38 PM
Nick...thanks again for this idea. It inspired me to dig up the old stuff. It's always good to see where you've been.

Now...because this thread got started because Seafood's comments to me in a different thread, I just have to say, that I'll take Seafood's money now.

There was NEVER a time when I didn't have a purpose when shooting and wasn't absolutely sure of my ability to execute. I know it's hard for someone such as Seafood to comprehend that but many photo artists and pros will tell you the same thing. Everybody improves. But every photographer and artist (and writer and any other creative TRULY creative person that I know was ALWAYS good at what they did. They didn't suddenly, magically become good. I know it's heresy in the new "feel good" society to expose the truth that everyone is NOT equal and some people are just simply more talented than others. Not everyone can sing or dance or write or act or paint.
Any form of artistic expression takes three things to be meaningful in any significant way:

1. Intent/Planning
2. Skill/Ability to Execute
3. Talent/Creativity

No one of these traits by themselves is enough to separate expression form the pack. I may "intend" to build a house, but if don't have the skill, it will probably be unsafe. If I have have the "skill" to build a house, no intent...no plan...well need I go on? Now, what keeps my house from looking like a boring box? Creativity and talent applied to the design. I'm sorry for the rant, but Seafood's comment really pissed me off (can you tell? :D:D:D)

Now to the work...

Taken 22 years ago. Shot with Fuji ASA 100 (maybe Velvia?) and a Rolleiflex SL35. They were scanned using an Epson 4990 with SilverFast SE.


Zeiss 50mm f/1.4 Planar
http://JTL.smugmug.com/photos/271980811_zWaxg-L.jpg

toriaj
03-29-2008, 11:06 PM
Um JTL, looks like your post copied itself into this thread as well as the one you intended it for? lol Good way to bring attention to an OLD thread, though :D

dev
03-30-2008, 02:19 AM
Taken 22 years ago.


About the same time this thread was originally posted....;)