I've been a Nikon DSLR guy since the very first rig I got for digital bird photography (a D100 with 80-400mm f/5.6 VR.) I'm now shooting mainly a D300 with a 200-400mm f/4 VR lens, a rig that feels like a natural extension of my eye (both in physical and creative aspects.) The same legendary extra-low dispersion (ED) glass found in Nikon lenses is now at the center of their EDG line of sport optics. I've been using the EDG 8x42 binocular and the 65mm EDG Fieldscope for a few weeks now, and I'm blown away by the vivid, crisp images these optics produce. I've got to say it is exciting to be birding at a time when glass this sharp, bright, and comfortable is available!
click photos to enlarge +
I've been playing around with digiscoping using my new EDG Fieldscope, recently having the chance to test the EDG 20/25 X Long Eye Relief eyepiece (LERs are well-known for vignette-free digiscoping) along with Nikon’s FSB-U1 universal digiscoping adapter paired with a Coolpix P6000 (see pics above.) It is a potent combo, allowing for precise positioning of about any point & shoot with up to 4X optical zoom (more leads to severe vignetting.) Once set, the adapter quickly attaches to Nikon’s digiscoping eyepieces and has a swing-out feature that allows scope viewing without removing the camera. It also has an integrated shutter release bracket, which I consider to be an indispensible part of a digiscoping adapter. I'm also still using my Panasonic DMC-G1 (a mirror-less DSLR that I've previously discussed on my blog), slamming stuff by hand-holding the G1 to the Fieldscope's zoom using an improvised but effective centering guide made from a surplus adapter ring that I scavenged from an another digiscoping adapter. I back the scope zoom off to pretty wide (approx. 25X) and zoom in to about 30mm on the G1 kit lens, at the camera's medium-sized file setting (6 megapixels.) I use aperture priority, wide open (typically f/5 or so depending on the zoom setting), commonly at ISO 200 or 400 to maintain good shutter speed. At these settings I get vignette-free images that are sharp edge-to-edge (or should I say EDG to EDG??) The combo is amazingly fast, acquiring and shooting about as fast as my DSLR once scope focus is reasonably close (the camera can then make up the difference even if a bird moves in and out a bit.) All of the shots that follow were digiscoped using my angled 65mm EDG and copyright Bill Schmoker.