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Forum Home > Digiscoping Equipment > Putting it all tgether!

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I am completely new to digiscoping (and 'real' photography of any kind for that matter). Have only taken some poor tentative shots so far - and am in need of a load of advice please!

Have a Celestron ED80 Regal Scope with standard zoom 20-60x eyepiece which I have been using very happily since August for 'normal' birdwatching. Mentioned to family I was keen to digiscope and was lucky enough to have been given a Nikon D3100 DSLR which came with AF-S NIKKOR 18-55mm lens. Have taken the camera lens off and coupled scope/camera directly using camera T2 adapter ring and the ring Celstron provide with the scope. Took a few pictures in/close to the garden but they were rubbish - probably not unexpectedly as a 'first go'.There may have been stability and focussing issues though I was not aware of any shake. I will buy a remote shutter release anyway.

A few questions please:

Is the Celestron Regal ED80 and Nikon D3100 combination OK/good for digiscoping - both with and without 18-55mm lens.

I would be grateful for any tips on focussing in manual mode as the shots I have taken so far are blurry.

I would also like to use the lens of the D3100 and assuming this is OK, don't really want to hang the camera off the lens thread. Is there a platform or adapter I can buy to take care of this please?

Whatever I use presumably will also need to take account of the lens being 52mm female thread and the scope eyepiece 37mm male thread - presumably a stepping ring?

Any thoughts about a good tripod for the Celestron ED80 Regal (quite heavy at over 2kg) + camera please?

I have spent a good many hours on the internet looking for answers to my questions but this does seem to be quite a specialist area and my head is spinning! Even to get to this stage of incompetence has taken some effort! Sorry there are so many questions -  I would genuinely appreciate any kind of help.

I will post photos as soon as I am set up and able to do the kit and birds justice.

Thanks in advance for any replies.

January 6, 2013 at 5:08 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Dannys Digiscoping
Site Owner
Posts: 372

Hi Len,

Welcome to Dannys Digiscoping and thanks for your questions.

It sounds like you are already set up in terms of equipment, and really just need to practice your skills.

Learning to take a proper picture takes time, and its even more a learning process with digiscoping as you are using two pieces of equipment that were not meant to be used together!

Blurry pictures are totally normal when you are starting out, I've got hundreds of them! This is normally down to 2 things, slow shutter speeds and stabilty of your set up/subject. Never underestimate how much camera shake can ruin images.

The Nikon DSLR's really don't like not having a lens attached, but it is possible to digiscope without the lens, connected in the way that you are now, and get good results.

Its important to rememeber that you'll get very few satisfying shots for a while, so keep your expectations low for now until you have learned more.

Practicing in your garden is the best place to start. Focusing on static subjects whilst adjusting the shutter speed and ISO so you can start to learn how to control exposure with the Nikon connected in this way. Always try to keep the sun behind you if possible so that the side of the subject is always "lit up" nicely.

Tripod choice would be quite varied, but make sure you get a nice fluid head. The manfrotto 701 HDV or the bigger 501 HDV would be my first choices here. Then just get a tripod to fit the head. Prob best do that at a camera store as you'll be able to try more. Whatever happens tho, get a fluid filled tripod head for extra smoothness. Believe me it'll be worth its weight in gold!

I hope this helps a little, and key for you is to keep practising.

Also, check THIS website out. Barry is a close friend of mine and digiscopes with a directly connected Nikon (the same as you) and has been getting great results. He has worked very hard, and knows the Nikon equipment inside out. He can really help you.

Do email me some pics too. THey might be rubbish, but a pic can speak a thousand words, and both me and Barry will be able to see where you can improve from them :)

All the best,


January 6, 2013 at 5:41 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Posts: 2

Hi Danny

Many thanks for a quick and informative reply. I will sort myself out a tripod based on your recommendations and get practising some more. I have deleted efforts so far but will happily send others I take in due course. Your comments ref Barry being set up similarly noted, thanks. Had a look at his website (great pics as you say) and may get in contact if things do not improve when I apply myself more!

Thanks again.

January 6, 2013 at 4:46 PM Flag Quote & Reply

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