Digiscoping: From Start to Print Has Been Revised! - 04 Aug 2023
First released in 2020 Digiscoping: From Start to Print has now been revised and updated. Digiscoping: From Start to Print (2023 Edition, eBook) is now available. This 211-page eBook is a valuable resource guide for new digiscopers, as well as those who are looking to improve their digiscoping success rate.
Digiscoping: From Start to Print (2023 Edition, eBook)
This is a comprehensive guide for beginning and intermediate photographers interested in the art and science of digiscoping. As a digiscoper since 2002 and a blogger since 2007 I’ve written many articles and reviews of equipment and shared my thoughts on technique and field experience. I have now compiled this information along with research of birding and digiscoping forums to create a 1-stop resource for the digiscoper.
I cover the history of digiscoping and answer the basic question of “why do we digiscope?”. We then get into equipment; here I cover spotting scopes and eyepieces and cover the critical factors that are necessary to evaluate when purchasing a scope that will be used for digiscoping. From there we cover tripod heads and tripods; did you know that the head should be the first thing to consider when buying a new tripod? I provide links to manufacturers and include reference articles and videos that discuss what to look for in scopes, tripods and heads.
I cover the history of digital photography and how it has evolved to give us classic digiscoping cameras. We discuss the pros and cons of P&S vs. M43 vs. APS-C vs. FF cameras and what are the advantages / disadvantages of each format. I also cover the critical elements that are needed for digiscoping. Lenses are the deal breaker for all digiscoping rigs, and I cover what to look for when selecting a lens for digiscoping. Also included are lists and links to lenses that are compatible with scopes and scope eyepieces.
Digiscoping adapters? Perhaps the lynchpin in the whole setup. I’ve gleaned the digiscoping forums for home-made DIY adapters and provide a history of adapters shared by fellow digiscopers all over the world (include one made from a used-but- clean urine bottle!. I’ve made several types of adapters over the year, and for pennies, so if spending $$ on a commercial adapter is not desired, then you can see many examples of DIY types. If you are looking for a commercial adapter, I’ve researched all of the manufacturers and provide links to their adapters, so you don’t have to waste time searching the internet.
There is also a section on Accessories (magnification aids, loupes, batteries, harnesses and vests). We then dive into Technique (what does it take to get a sharp image). Then camera settings; many digiscopers know the importance of shooting wide open using Aperture-Priority, but why? I cover this topic with examples and field tests to show the effects of aperture and metering on image quality and depth of field.
We will cover the post-processing of digiscoped images. What are the best commercial and free software options in 2023? I have lists and links to all of them. I will also walk through my post-processing workflow using Adobe Lightroom and Adobe Photoshop with references and links to individual processing steps like Histograms, Vibrance vs. Saturation, etc.. Noise reduction? We’ll talk noise reduction types and available software and how to properly use it (as well as sharpening masks). With the advent of artificial intelligence our noise reduction options are continually improving; this means being able to shoot at higher ISO's and shutter speeds!
Finally, I include useful links to digiscoping communities and acknowledge those who have influenced the art and sport of digiscoping.
This is a path-to-success guide. The goal is not to answer what scope or camera or adapter should I buy, but rather to provide a resource to help you answer those questions for yourself. Please know that I consider myself an ambassador to digiscoping. I have no ties to manufacturer or brand. Any recommendations made are based on personal experience and handling, so my objective was / is to remain as unbiased as possible.
I have also migrated my digiscoping blogs to my new website called alphadigiscoping.com. Why Alpha Digiscoping? Alpha is the line of Sony cameras that I have ultimately migrated to after almost 40 years of photographing with Nikon and Canon, so it is now the camera line I digiscope with. Alpha also means "first" so I'm hoping you'll consider making Digiscoping: From Start to Print (2023 Edition, eBook) your first destination in the wonderful art of digiscoping!
Wishing you good light and sharp exposures.