Turn a great sighting into a fantastic photo – Gudrun Kaufmann introduces you to the world of digiscoping

May 21 2019

#Digiscoping #Wildlife watching #Binoculars

Turn a great sighting into a fantastic photo –  Gudrun Kaufmann introduces you to the world of digiscoping

Digiscoping is the word used to describe a photography or filming technique that involves connecting a digital camera (smartphone, SLR, or system camera) to a spotting scope or binoculars. Depending on the spotting scope used, you can achieve good or very good image quality by combining a high-grade optical instrument with a digital camera, such as a smartphone. With a little practice, it’s possible to produce and share amazing, fascinating impressions that truly deserve to be captured.


Digiscoping with a smartphone

Most modern smartphones are equipped with high-quality cameras. A smartphone is convenient, lightweight, and you normally have it to hand. With a suitable adapter you can simply connect it to your spotting scope and you’re all set to start digiscoping. Focal lengths far in excess of 800 mm (31 in) are possible, and it’s usually cheaper to buy a set of digiscoping equipment (spotting scope and adapter) than one of the commercially available telephoto lenses with a focal length of 500 mm (20 in) or more.



Use the VPA variable phone adapter to quickly connect your smartphone to binoculars or a spotting scope and capture those special moments. It is suitable for smartphones of various sizes and can be adjusted precisely to fit the cell phone camera. Using the different adapter rings, it can be coupled with all kinds of equipment, including binoculars, BTX, and spotting scopes. This makes it quick and easy to switch from observing to digiscoping.


8 useful tips for learning the art of digiscoping:

#1: If you want to achieve high-quality images, it’s important to avoid vibration. If you prefer not to be weighed down by a tripod, you can place the spotting scope on a bean bag, or even (with a little dexterity) on your backpack.


#2: If you’re using your smartphone, a remote shutter release can be a big help. You can often use your headphone cable to do this.


#3: Many photo and filming apps allow you to set the focus and exposure. This is particularly important for videos, because otherwise the focal plane and exposure will change constantly. BUT please note that the depth of field is very small with such a long focal length! It often helps to shoot a series of images with minimal refocusing, then choose the best result.


#4: When using a smartphone, it’s a good idea to carry a portable charger with you so that you can recharge the battery as needed – the display light uses a lot of energy!


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#5: Depending on the sensor size of your smartphone, you may suffer to a greater or lesser extent from vignetting (dark edges). This can be avoided by digitally zooming in before you take the picture, but this can involve a certain loss of quality. Alternatively, you can avoid zooming by using an app to crop the image afterward.


#6: Lighting is another important factor. In low light, you can quickly find yourself with “noise” in your image. This is less of a problem if you use a very powerful spotting scope such as the SWAROVSKI OPTIK ATX/STX 85.


#7: It’s worth practicing at first – try working with immovable objects such as flowers or building details under different lighting conditions.


#8: Along with your equipment, the right perspective is essential for creating good, interesting photos. Here too, practice can help you to develop a better feel for it.


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About the AUTHOR: Mag. Gudrun Kaufmann grew up in Austria and developed her enthusiasm for nature and its inhabitants very early on. She studied zoology and ecology in Vienna and Graz, was able to turn her enthusiasm for nature into a profession, and has been working as an independent zoologist since several years. For some time now, Gudrun Kaufmann has also been more intensively involved in digiscoping, being able to successfully place herself in international competitions several times.

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