Friday, March 9, 2007

Radian Digiscoping Adapter 101

More and more, Eagle Optics staffers are fielding calls about digiscoping. If you are not familiar with the term "digiscoping", it is the ability to take pictures through a spotting scope with a point and shoot digital camera. Our Eagle Optics staff does a good job of helping customers through this rather confusing process and if you get someone who may not know the answer (like me), we do the legwork to find the correct response. If you have a spotting scope and a point and shoot digital camera ( with only 3-5 power optical zoom), digiscoping can be achieved by holding the camera to the eyepiece of scope and shooting the picture. You should have a pretty steady hand to do this. An alternative to just holding the camera is the Radian Universal Digiscoping Adapter . This platform style adapter fits many scope bodies and digital point and shoot cameras. It is also a great option for someone owning an older scope and eyepiece that will not fit with the new digiscoping adapters offered by that manufacturer. Best of all it is economical and pretty user friendly.

A lot of you know Ben from birding festivals attended by Eagle Optics. He asked me to write about the Radian Universal Digiscoping Adapter so you are hearing about it from a digiscoping novice-not one of our most experienced staff members who can whip this set-up on in a few seconds. I decided to approach this as if I was a customer receiving the adapter in an order-no help from my colleagues. I got a brand new one from the warehouse, opened the box and pulled out the directions. OK, the picture on the front does not look like any spotting scope I had ever seen. Since I like to put things together by studying the picture first and reading directions as a last resort, I resorted to reading the directions. The picture of the weird scope was bothering me-I couldn't focus on the directions. I broke down and asked Corey why the picture was not like any set-up I had observed in our showroom. He informed me the picture was an older astronomical style scope with a 90 degree angled eyepiece instead of the typical 45 degree angled eyepiece we sell. OK, now I can focus on the directions. This really is a universal adapter; directions come in 5 languages.

With the straight 15-45x65mm Stokes Sandpiper and the angled 20-60x80mm Vortex Skyline spotting scopes mounted on tripods, I easily mounted the adapter to the straight eyepiece as directed. Then I wanted to mount the camera to the platform. In the best interest of Kate's camera, I was given tip #1 by Corey and Kate. It is easier to attach the camera first to the adapter, then mount the adapter to the scope eyepiece. That was good advice as I was able to explore the practical design of the Radian with it still in my hand and not on the eyepiece. I easily figured out the camera fixing screw and camera mounting screw to attach the camera to the platform. After a little practice, it is simple to work with the platform, vertical, and horizontal knobs I eyeballed the adjustments, then easily mounted the adapter with camera on the scope eyepiece. After some additional fine-tuning, I discovered the need to add the height adapter in order to line-up this camera's lens with the eyepiece. Easy enough-

1. Take the adapter off the scope eyepiece

2. Unscrew the camera fixing (H) and mounting screws (G)

3. Screw the height adapter (K) to the bottom of the camera

4. Replace the camera with the height adapter (K) on top of the platform (I)

5. Reattach the fixing (H) and mounting screws (G) and tighten both screws

6. Replace the scope holding clamp (A) over the eyepiece and tighten-right?

Nope-Corey tip #2: turn the camera on so the point and shoot lens is extended before mounting the adapter to the scope eyepiece. Then you can adjust the camera right up to but not touching the eyepiece lens. It was good advice because I could easily align the camera lens and eyepiece with slight adjustments to the horizontal, platform, and vertical fine-tuning knobs. I actually had a picture in the LCD screen. It had the classic round black vignetting, but a quick zoom of the camera lens took care of that. I had a clear picture! I experimented with taking pictures and could sense why people are so excited about this. It was simple to move the Radian Digiscoping Adapter to the angled Vortex Skyline. A few minor adjustments and I was taking pictures again.

Once I got past the weird picture and followed the directions (which are really pretty good), I can honestly say I like this option for digiscoping: the price makes this an economical way to get started. Not all equipment will work with this adapter. Be sure to check the spotting scope lists on the small adapter and the large adapter to select the right size for your spotting scope. Understand too, that not all cameras will work with this, but the Radian Universal Adapter gives a lot of adjustment capabilities for success in maneuvering the camera into a workable position.

And by the way-you don't have to go it alone. I love the great teamwork (see tips 1 & 2) at Eagle Optics-call us at 1-800-289-1132! We will gladly talk you through any questions you might encounter.


Eagle Optics Staff

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