Digiscoping with the Zeiss
Quick Camera Adapter
When the Quick Camera Adapter arrived I was instantly surprised by the weight of the box, and thought it to be quite heavy. Other compact adapters that I had used previously had felt quite light in comparison.
The adapter itself is quite large. Looking at the adapter, it was clear to see that this was a well made piece of equipment.
One difference that struck me was that where most optic manufacturers design their compact adapters to affix to the eyepiece in some way, Zeiss have actually designed this adapter to affix underneath the scope body.
I could see 4 main reasons for designing the adapter this way.
1) The adapter doubles as a support rail for the scope.
2) The eyepiece zoom can be used easily without an adapter in the way.
3) The camera can be swung easily out of the way for observation purposes.
4) The adapter is compatible with both the straight & angled scope bodies.
The whole adapter is very well made, and apart from my initial weight fears I was able to see the practical reasons for that extra weight.
It began to dawn on me that perhaps other digiscoping adapters had missed the point a bit as the Zeiss adapter felt really good once it was on the scope. It also looked pretty mean too!!
Also, unlike the DSLR set up where the adapter replaces the eyepiece, you will need an eyepiece on your scope to be able to digiscope with when using a compact camera. I was loaned a zoom eyepiece for this, but I'd be fairly sure that any compatible eyepiece will be fine to use.
Below is a short film showing the main features of the Zeiss Quick Camera Adapter.
Hopefully it will show you all that you need to know about using this adapter, but should you need any questions answering then please email me for more help :)
I really liked the way the adapter connected to scope & camera. Everything felt really safe and secure which is always a good thing! No one wants to experience their scope or camera falling off!
Zeiss get a thumbs up for build quality & ease of connectability here!
Compact Field Test
For the field test I had a fairly cloudy day, which was a shame as I'm sure this equipment would work really well in good sunlight.
I was also using a Canon Powershot S100 along with the 85mm Zeiss DiaScope that I used for the DSLR review.
I had the digiscoping set up mounted on my fluid filled tripod head and it all felt very good and stable. The only issue (as with all compact set ups) was front heaviness. Its solveable with a balance rail, but its always there a bit as the objective lens of the scope is much heavier than the rear of the scope even with a camera on it!
I found it easy to align the camera, and, with this camera I was able to get an aperture of f4, which I was very pleased with.
I used the zoom eyepiece on its lowest setting (20x through the 85mm scope) to help keep this aperture as wide as possible. It should be said that the eyepiece is of excellent quality, and its nice and big too, so its easy to adjust quickly. Having quite large hands I like the extra size a lot.
I use a 3rd party cable release on my S100, and sometimes there isn't enough room on adapters for this extra part to fit, but there was plenty of room for adjustment on the Zeiss quick adapter so this wasn't an issue.
From the start it seemed like light was going to be the main issue during this test. It didn't hinder me, but it didn't help either. Luckily, modern cameras are very good at working in low light.
I assume that Zeiss named it the "Quick" adapter as reference to the quick adjustment proceedure from digiscoping to observation? I must be honest and say that I've never really been a fan of "swing away" style adapters as I've sometimes questioned how well they re-align. Perhaps I shouldn't be so sceptical as the quick adapter moves out of the way of the eyepiece with a simple adjustment and then moves back into a digiscoping position just as easily. Its fair to say that the camera alignment wasn't impaired after I had performed the operation which is what's important and also shows the signs of a very well made adapter.
So...how did I feel after having digiscoped with this adapter and set up?
Results and Conclusion
On the whole I was very impressed with the Quick camera adapter. It is well made and more well thought out than I initially thought!
Precision machining is the name of the game with this adapter. It fits the scope like a snug shoe, and operates with a silky smooth action.
Initial thoughts of bulkiness and unnecessary largeness were soon disbanded as I began to realise the way that the adapter had been designed was very clever and practical.
Price wise it costs more than some rival brands, and at nearly £400 each they would be considered expensive by anyone thinking of buying digiscoping kit. But, as always it seems, the overall quality of Zeiss maufacturing make it worth the money. I guess that whilst sitting here and writing this I can see that I didn't have any issues digiscoping with this equipment.
There would of course still be the outlay for an 85mm scope body (£1800) and eyepiece (£500) to be taken into consideration, as well as a compact camera, but it is good money spent on good equipment.
It helped that I knew my compact well. This is something that you need to have a basic understanding of to be able to digiscope successfully, regardless of how much you've spent on other equipment. Be under no illusion, good equipment doesn't equal good results straight away.
Being able to observe through the scope in moments will really appeal to more seasoned birders, but as a digiscoping first, birding second kinda guy I found that being able to use the scope as a scope when I needed to was excellent, and didn't leave me searching for my binoculars all the time!!
The Robin in the picture to the left was taken at a distance of around 10 metres.
The bird was in a bush, so I had no real backlight.
The colour saturation is excellent using the Zeiss/Canon combination and I was really pleased with the detail achieved.
Alignment felt good with very little blur outside of the main focus area.
The Hedge Sparrow in the picture on the right was in the same bush as the Robin.
I was at the same distance, using ISO 500, aperture of f4 and 1/250th sec shutter speed.
The colours shone through again and I was very happy with the detail.
The subject turned into the light slightly which really helped this image to stand out.
Still these pictures show that decent equipment coupled with practise can help to produce the kind of results that we are all looking for!
My thanks go to Carl Zeiss U.K for their kind loan of such excellent equipment for me to try.
Hopefully my reviews will convince a few of you to buy it too!
If anyone has any questions regarding this equipment then please get in touch with me for more!
Zeiss DSLR set up review HERE!!