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Forum Home > Digiscoping Equipment > How helpful is IBIS?

Rob Beynon
Member
Posts: 3

Not just for shooting Ibises!

I am referring to 'in body image stabilisation'

I have a Sony Alpha 99 full frame SLT with IBIS and a TLS APO

My wife has a Swarovski ATX95mm (amazing scope!)

So, the plan is to put these together and do better with bird images. 

For control, I have a remote IR shutter release.

My question: This far, I'd say results are mediocre, but fully accept that this is 100% me. I might blame a few percent on the low light. I hand't appreciate how badly the scope attenuates light, and I hate high ISO noise. Since most experts here don't have IBIS, can I assume that all of the best shots are taken either with a lot of light, or with a very good high ISO camera?

Anyway, thanks for this site. It is going to be very useful as I haul this stuff around. I also expect ym fitness level to increase radically!

July 8, 2013 at 7:31 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Dannys Digiscoping
Site Owner
Posts: 372

Hi Rob,

Thanks for your post.

I don't use any IS on my cameras. My DSLR doesn't have any and my compact does, but its not switched on! I always thought the rule with IS is that it's not really needed if you are using a tripod. IS is more for hand holding and maybe flight shots for conventional photographers.

It sounds like you are getting beginner style results, this is normal, and I'm sure there are more that you want to throw away than keep?

Dont give up, it sounds like you are doing fine. Camera shake ruins pictures, and you have your shutter release, this will aid you tonnes. Just keep at it, ensure good lighting, low wind, good balance of your set up and then work out how to control exposure. Keep ISO as low as possible always, but sometimes push it up, it's ok to do this.

I process my images in photoshop like most photographers do, just to sharpen a little. 

Learn to control exposure and you'll slowly start to succeed!

Good luck,

Regards,

Danny

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July 8, 2013 at 11:11 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Rob Beynon
Member
Posts: 3

Dannys Digiscoping at July 8, 2013 at 11:11 AM

Hi Rob,

Thanks for your post.

I don't use any IS on my cameras. My DSLR doesn't have any and my compact does, but its not switched on! I always thought the rule with IS is that it's not really needed if you are using a tripod. IS is more for hand holding and maybe flight shots for conventional photographers.

It sounds like you are getting beginner style results, this is normal, and I'm sure there are more that you want to throw away than keep?

Dont give up, it sounds like you are doing fine. Camera shake ruins pictures, and you have your shutter release, this will aid you tonnes. Just keep at it, ensure good lighting, low wind, good balance of your set up and then work out how to control exposure. Keep ISO as low as possible always, but sometimes push it up, it's ok to do this.

I process my images in photoshop like most photographers do, just to sharpen a little. 

Learn to control exposure and you'll slowly start to succeed!

Good luck,

Regards,

Danny

Thanks Danny,

As to IBIS, I do think there is modest vibration looking down the scope, even in IBIS mode. However, I know what people say about the IBIS/tripod issue. I'll try this both ways at the weekend.

I do understand that there is a long, steep learning curve here. To your list -  of light (lots of), wind (none), stability (OK), ISO ( as low as possible and as high as needed!) can I add one more thing - WILL THOSE D**N REED WARBLERS SIT STILL!! The Alpha 99 has reasonable noise at 800ISO, but a lot of this can be eliminated with the post-processing sequence enhance, noise, sharpen. I always shoot raw.

All my processing is in LR5, which makes tagging the 'dumped' images very easy - score them all a 1 and select all '1's and trash them. I have set myself a goal - to come away from a few hours birding with ONE decent shot. That strikes me as a reasonable starting position.

Actually, I get compeltely distracted watching the birds through the scope - the ATX95mm is stunning! A small brown smudge on the horizon becomes a fully coloured goldfinch! It's an incredible piece of glass. 

July 9, 2013 at 4:29 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Dannys Digiscoping
Site Owner
Posts: 372

Moving Reed warblers, never....! Welcome to the world of photography!

I really like your target. Its very realistic to start off like this. I always say to keep expectation low at the beginning. If you can do this as well as practise then you will succeed.

I too love the ATX, it is stunning, and you couldnt be using better equipment.

Do keep me up to date with your progress. You sound like a top fella, with a good sense of humour (you'll need it learning this hobby!!)

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July 9, 2013 at 3:59 PM Flag Quote & Reply

muleyman
Moderator
Posts: 103

I am surprised! 

I was told the TLS APO would not cover a full frame sensor!

I have put off buying a 6D because of it. I may have to look into this further!

Its hard to say what your standard of acceptable is. 

I have found that an ISO of 400 is about all you really need. ISO 100 works out fine if you have good light.

I have shot several images in low light,  in the last few weeks. I have not needed to go over 400. 


I think most of your problems are going to be in the TLS APO. In the beginning, its hard to treat it as a digiscoping adapter.

Its a camera lens that you attach to scope right?

I just put it on and the magic happens! Right?

Nope.


I have found that you need to be shooting far left on the histogram with the TLS APO.

Your expirience may be different than mine, but I might be able to help by sharing some of my expiriences.

Keep in mind, Danny is the master. I have only been digiscoping since March of this year.


Focusing tips.

Focus the scope while looking through it.  Slip the TLS APO over the scope. 

The image on my LCD screen is NEVER in focus.

Turn your ISO to the range you want to try. Say 400 to start with.  Now adjust your shutter speed until you get a clear enough view to get a sharp focus.

Once you have a clear view of the subject, zoom in the camera display so that you get a fine view of the detail.

At this point, re-focus the scope. 

Zoom back out to full view. 

Now your scope should be in focus to the cameras lens.


This is when you want to play with your ISO and shutter speed. 

Leave it on ISO 400.

Adjust the shutter speed until the histogram is on the far left. Dont worry if the LCD screen goes dark. Just get that histogram over on the left side.

Take a picture. 

Review the picture on the LCD screen and then turn the ISO down, adjust the shutter speed to get the histogram far left again. 

Take another picture.

This is a method that I used to determine how the TLS APO handles shutter speed and ISO.


Its a starting point that may help you understand what the TLS APO needs to get the result you want.


Hang around. Let us know what happens. You and I are using the same scope and digiscoping adapter so we can learn a ton from each other.


I am concerned about one thing that you said. 

You are getting a fair bit of vibration just looking through the scope? 

I assume that since you are running an expensive camera body, a super expensive spotting scope, and the TLS APO, that you didnt skimp on the tripod. 

So, if you have a solid tripod, I wonder why you have vibration. Should be solid unless you are handling it. 

Try some of the stuff I suggested and let me know how it went. I will be curious to see if the Sony has the same quirks as the Canon when digiscoping with the TLS APO.

July 9, 2013 at 8:11 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Rob Beynon
Member
Posts: 3

Thanks both,

A few further musings:

Indeed, the A99 vignettes. It is rare for a bird to fill the frame, so yes, I use less pixels at the centre. Also, I can put my A99 into APS-C mode, which uses the centre of the sensor, but gives smaller file sizes - given the number I am taking to be trashed, no bad thing! I still have the low light performance of the A99 on my side.

The TLS-APO is a strange beast. It's a tiny bit of glass, and really steals light. 

Thanks for those tips Muleyman, I will try this weekend (the UK might have an above average number of photons too!).

Shake: Mmm. Possibly blur because of IBIS on tripod? Also, I only recently got the IR remote, so it could have been the shutter press too. More experimentation. Tripod is a Velbon Camargue carbon fibre - very stable and light - head is a Manfrotto 410 video head. Should be stable enough. 

Focusing is fun! At least the A99 has a nice EVF to assist. Focussiing on an LCD screen in bright light - not good.

July 10, 2013 at 4:02 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Dannys Digiscoping
Site Owner
Posts: 372

Keep practising and experimenting Rob, its the best way to learn and progress :)

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July 10, 2013 at 4:42 PM Flag Quote & Reply

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