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Author Topic: Who is using a telescope for wildlife?  (Read 9517 times)

Fine_Art

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Who is using a telescope for wildlife?
« on: January 15, 2012, 11:28:01 pm »

There are some good quality shots with telescopes + DSLRs
eg.

from:
http://www.birdforum.net/showthread.php?t=194789&page=6

The crispness of some of the images is like top prime teles.

Who is using this method? What is a good attachment for the telescope to DSLR? Its not clear which shots are made through the telescope eyepiece and which are other methods. If you need reach why would you go for a $6000 lens at 600mm or 800mm focal over a <$2000 digiscope setup with 400-3000mm? Other than the obvious autofocus...

Having a cheap, high quality 800 or 1000mm setup is very tempting.
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ErikKaffehr

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Re: Who is using a telescope for wildlife?
« Reply #1 on: January 16, 2012, 12:53:45 am »

Hi,

I bought a Celestron Maksutov Cassegrain telescope to take picture of birds. I found it to be of little use. Incrediby hard to focus and the images were pretty low contrast, but foremost, the assembly was simply not practical.

On the other hand, I have a 400/4.5 APO (from Minolta) which I use with 1.4X and 2X converters. 1.4X works with AF, but 2X does not.

Focusing manually with 2X is very difficult, partly because the focusing ring is not intended for exact manual focus. Live View (at 14x magnification) is certainly helpful.

My recent thinking is that I just put an order on a Sony Alpha 77 SLT. It's an APS-C camera with 24 MP sensor. My guess is that I won't use the 2X with that camera, because to much resolution is lost.

So to sum up: using a telescope is not without perils. Telescopes are of varying quality of course. Focusing is critical and in my view problematic.

Finding the subject and composing can be a real challenge. A geared head is probably most helpful.

Best regards
Erik

 


There are some good quality shots with telescopes + DSLRs
eg.

from:
http://www.birdforum.net/showthread.php?t=194789&page=6

The crispness of some of the images is like top prime teles.

Who is using this method? What is a good attachment for the telescope to DSLR? Its not clear which shots are made through the telescope eyepiece and which are other methods. If you need reach why would you go for a $6000 lens at 600mm or 800mm focal over a <$2000 digiscope setup with 400-3000mm? Other than the obvious autofocus...

Having a cheap, high quality 800 or 1000mm setup is very tempting.
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Erik Kaffehr
 

marcmccalmont

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Re: Who is using a telescope for wildlife?
« Reply #2 on: January 16, 2012, 02:31:55 am »

I have a 6" Russian Maksutov Cassegrain thought it would be a good poor mans 1000mm to capture the whales breaching here in Hawaii  It is too hard to focus and IQ is not up to photographic standards (fine for stars and the moon though). I would try a second party (or used) stabilized lens. Perhaps DxOmark has ranked some of the longer lenses from Sigma or others? I ended up with a Canon 400mm 5.6 as an affordable alternative and a 1.4x converter. I've also used a Nikkor 1000mm f8 but again it is too hard to focus if your subject is moving.
Marc
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Marc McCalmont

Fine_Art

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Re: Who is using a telescope for wildlife?
« Reply #3 on: January 16, 2012, 03:55:34 am »

I have a good prime 300 with 1.4 and 2x teles. I also have a basic 100mm spotting scope. The magnification on that is good. The contrast is not. It also shows strong aberration around the edges. Now that I have spent time with it I think the magnification is right for long wildlife shots in parks. For example I could not get close to pronghorns in the Tetons or mountain goats in Zion. I did not want to get closer to the grizzlies in Yellowstone! Other animals were agitated by my approach for the good shot. 25x to 50x feels right for the animals. Unfortunately the scope I got was not up to the quality required for 16MP cameras. I don't want to spend $1500-2K on a top ED glass doublet spotting scope when I can get a full APO ED triplet telescope for much less.

With a reflector you probably had low contrast just like the mirror camera lenses. Does this help with ETTR followed by contrast stretching in conversion? Surely the resolution was there even with low contrast. Many telescopes are diffraction limited.

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