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Under Water, Over Land
Tools & Techniques for Nature, Outdoors, Wildlife & Underwater Videography.


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Old February 3rd, 2007, 11:30 AM   #1
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recycling old equipment

I have a few old things lying around from 35mm film days and from some digiscoping equipment I've used for bird photography. I've already posted one video from the Meade ETX-90 mak/cass spotting scope. I worked on that a little since the contest and have eliminated some problems. Here is a very short clip of a beautiful male Northern Cardinal taken a few days ago with the ETX-90 coupled via an 18mm Scopetronix eyepiece (about 60x power,also used with nikon coolpix 995 for digiscoping) and a Canon Optura 200mc minidv camcorder. I know many of you are using much higher-end equipment but considering, what do you think of this combination. Bird was at around 30 feet on a bright-cloudy day. Flipped with no processing other than compression and size reduction. Best to right-click and download before viewing I think.

http://webpages.charter.net/mtnsunfi...cardinal01.wmv (3.41 mb)

Also, and even more interesting, a 500mm Soligor Mirror lens I bought about 20 years ago coupled via a piece of PVC pipe to the same eyepiece (around 28x power) and the Optura 200mc. Here is a nice female Cooper's Hawk I took in the same place where the above Cardinal was found. Distance around 70 feet. Hope the Coop doesn't get that male!

http://webpages.charter.net/mtnsunfi...gorcoopers.wmv (5.54 mb)

These are just for fun. I'm strictly a hobbiest interested in getting some nice video of local birds with the equipment I own now and having fun doing it!

Rick
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Old February 9th, 2007, 08:18 PM   #2
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Do you have any pictures of your set up? I am interested in how it looks and the possiblities of using something like that with my camera.

Thanks!
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Old February 10th, 2007, 06:29 AM   #3
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I'll get a photo sometime this weekend. It's really about as simple as it gets and works pretty well within it's limitations.

Rick
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Old February 10th, 2007, 11:39 AM   #4
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Thanks Rick,

I look forward to it. Wildlife filming is new to me. Just learning some of the tricks.

Bryan
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Old February 11th, 2007, 10:24 AM   #5
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Bryan,

I've posted a couple of photos of the Meade ETX90 spotting scope and Canon Oputra 200MC camcorder combo at this link:

http://s7.photobucket.com/albums/y26.../videoscoping/

It is a simple setup. I simply screwed a short piece of PVC pipe onto the back opening of the scope to use as a holder for the eyepiece. I shoot straight thru the scope and although this gives an inverted image that has to be corrected in post, it gives me the most stability. The Scopetronix STWA18 18mm eyepiece is threaded 28mm (originally for the Nikon Coolpix 900, 995 digital cameras) and I couple it to the camcorder with a step ring. The scope is bolted to the wooden plank and then I attach a quick-release plate for my tripod to the plank. The camcorder and eyepiece just slide into the PVC holder and is held tight with a little sliding wood brace in back of the camcorder. I do all this before I go in the field except putting the rig on the tripod. Takes about 2 minutes to rig up. With this scope and eyepiece it yields around 60X. I might try a 40mm eyepiece if I were buying everything from scratch, but the 60X is good for reaching out long range to raptors without disturbing them.

Here is another link to a short clip of a local Merlin I took a few days ago.

http://webpages.charter.net/mtnsunfi...o/merlin02.wmv

Lots of limitations on this rig, but thrown together with old equipment I already had at a total cost of less than $500 it ain't bad.

Rick
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Old February 11th, 2007, 02:31 PM   #6
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Lovely front plumage pattern captured, Rick
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Old February 11th, 2007, 03:14 PM   #7
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Rick,

Thanks a lot. You should be able to take any spoting scope and connect it to your camera and use it as a fixed zoom.

Bryan
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Old February 11th, 2007, 05:52 PM   #8
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Thanks Brendan. This guy is so easy to work with. He comes in to roost in a cemetery 10 minutes from my house every afternoon just before sunset. Too bad he will be moving on north in a few weeks!

Rick
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Old March 4th, 2007, 11:55 AM   #9
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Rick,

I am starting to work on this project of getting a scope attached to my camera. Could you give me some advice. My camera is 72mm and I am using an Alpine scope 15-30x (http://www.opticsale.com/alpenspottingscopes730.html)

Do you use a macro lens attached to the step up ring?

Thanks,

Bryan
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Old March 5th, 2007, 06:46 AM   #10
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Bryan,

Not quite sure how you're going to accomplish this. For my setup I'm using a standard 1.25" telescopic eyepiece made by Scopetronix and threaded specifically to screw right into the camera filter threads (actually the eyepiece is threaded 28mm and I use a stepup ring to attach to my 34mm Optura 200mc). This is why I use a small diameter lens minidv camcorder. It's diameter is close to that of the scope eyepiece. Also, this helps to avoid vinetting which you are probably going to get if the camera lens diameter is much larger than the scope eyepiece diameter.

I also use a mak/cass mirror scope as the use of mirrors instead of glass to accomplish the magnification results in practically zero chromatic abberation. You can also accomplish this with a very expensive refracting scope with ED glass. I'm afraid the scope your thinking about using would give quite severe color fringing when coupled with a camcorder at anything except lower magnifications, and if you're going to be in the 15-20X range you might as well use a teleconverter.

You can check out the videoscoping forum at http://www.birdforum.net/forumdisplay.php?f=319 and http://kaisoon.surfhere.net for more information.

Rick
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Old March 5th, 2007, 08:55 AM   #11
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Rick,

Thanks for the information and the links. I will look into my options and see what I can come up with.

Bryan
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