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Elkoholic307
08-01-2011, 07:44 PM
First of all, the camera I am thinking of getting for digiscoping is the Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS8. I thought it would be a good choice since it has 14.1 megapixel and 16x optical zoom, but it has a 24mm lens.

The two spotting scopes I'm considering are the Leupold Golden Ring HD and the Vortex Razor HD. Now, the closest plate for the Leupold adapter is 28mm and the same goes for Vortex, as far as I can tell. Will this be an issue?

Bitterroot Bulls
08-01-2011, 10:08 PM
I digiscope with the Vortex Razor HD spotter, and it is well suited to the task. The Leupold is nice for digiscoping with its outstanding eye relief, but the optics are not up to par with the Razor.

The camera you mentioned will not work well for digiscoping. Compact cameras with a MAXIMUM zoom of 3x to 5x will give you a nice image with less vignetting. A 16x will vignette through a spotting scope through the entire zoom range. Vignetting is what you call the black field around the circular image.

I would recommend any of the Canon ELPH series, Panazonic compacts, and Sony WX series, as long as the max magnification is in that 3x to 5x range.

Check out Tines Up for the handiest digiscoping adapter out there. You can use their video Scopecams with your own camera choice, or just buy their point-and-shoot setup that includes a nice Canon compact camera:

http://www.tinesup.com/scopecam_point__shoot.html



There is more information on digiscoping and my setup at this thread:

http://www.eastmans.com/forum/showthread.php/598-Minox-DCM-5.0-or-tines-up-scope-cam

Elkoholic307
08-02-2011, 01:02 PM
Thanks for the warning on the camera and the heads up about other thread. It's probably pretty obvious, but I'm clueless on digiscoping. Until recently, I thought you had to have one of those huge fancy shmancy cameras. I've been really interested in getting into it, so I decided I was ready to take the plunge once I found out all you need is a more 'simple' camera.

I read a magazine article a couple weeks ago that endorsed the Cabela's and Tines Up adapter but didn't give much info on them. I really appreciate your first-hand experience as I now have a starting point. I'll probably end up getting that Scopecam point and shoot kit. But before I do that, I better figure out which spotter I want!

How do you think the Razor and Gold Ring compare? Since this thread is a specific topic, we can limit the comparison only to digiscoping. Maybe I'll make another one to include all aspects.

fatrooster
08-02-2011, 10:05 PM
Great advice from Bitterroot Bulls. I wouldn't even consider the Cabela's adapter. Tines Up has the best set up out there at this time. fatrooster.

Bitterroot Bulls
08-02-2011, 10:25 PM
How do you think the Razor and Gold Ring compare? Since this thread is a specific topic, we can limit the comparison only to digiscoping. Maybe I'll make another one to include all aspects.

I went through a pretty thorough search when picking out my spotter. I had been using a Zeiss Diascope 65FL. That is a fine spotter indeed, but I felt like I wanted a larger objective spotter for digiscoping. The reason is that a bigger objective brings more light through the spotter and to the camera's sensor. So you get brighter, sharper video, and higher shutter speeds for still photos. This is very important for digiscoping. My search led me to bigger spotters, and i thought I made up my mind on the Swaro 80HD, that is until I put it side by side with the Razor HD. They are absolute optical equals. I put them side by side in a variety of lighting situations. They are equals in resolution, CA control, field flatness, field of view everything. I decided to save some money for other gear and get the Razor HD. I have never regretted it. that's right, I upgraded from the Zeiss to the Vortex.

My hunting partner has the Leupold 12-40X60HD. Because of this we have had both spotters side by side over and over again. And over and over, my partner comes over to the Razor when he wants the best view. So much so he is currently selling his Leupy and buying the Razor HD, only the straight version.

The angled version is much better for digiscoping, because it holds the camera better than the straight eyepiece.

There is one spotter that had a noticeably better view than all others, including the Razor and Swaro HD. That is the Kowa 883 Prominar. That scope is truly remarkable. Part of the reason is the Kowa's huge 88mm objective is made out of pure crystal flourite, not just flourite containing glass like FL, HD, ED, APO glass. The problem for hunters is flourite crystal is brittle compared to optical glass, and has a risk of breaking or chipping in the field. Oh, and the 883 costs about $3000 with eyepiece.

Don't just take my word on the Razor HD. Talk to the scope's owners. Read the reviews. Birdwatching magazine tested all of the top scopes and put the Razor HD as the equal to the Swaro, Leica, and Kowa 77. They also noted the superiority of the Kowa 88. Cabelas has a pretty detailed Razor HD review where the buyer went from a Leica to the Razor. Vortex has the best warranty in the business ... the best.

Consistently, people love their Razor HD spotters ... me included. Also take a look at Tines Up's videos and see what spotter they are using.;)

Bitterroot Bulls
08-02-2011, 10:28 PM
Great advice from Bitterroot Bulls. I wouldn't even consider the Cabela's adapter. Tines Up has the best set up out there at this time. fatrooster.

That Cabelas adapter is just a rebranded chinese adapter that comes in many different brand names. It sucks to use in the field ... bad. I have one of the Scopetronix branded versions. Get the Tines Up.

fatrooster
08-03-2011, 08:09 PM
Bitterroot Bulls, did the larger objective make a lot of difference in your digiscoping? I haven't digiscoped enough to know a lot about it. fatrooster.

Bitterroot Bulls
08-03-2011, 10:22 PM
Bitterroot Bulls, did the larger objective make a lot of difference in your digiscoping? I haven't digiscoped enough to know a lot about it. fatrooster.

Absolutely. It gave me the shutter speeds I needed to get good low-blur stills. Video was good through the Zeiss, but the video through the Razor is brighter and sharper.

fatrooster
08-04-2011, 05:37 AM
Well I just got the 65 objective so I'm gonna have to try her out for at least one year. Thanks for the reply. fatrooster.

Bitterroot Bulls
08-04-2011, 07:21 AM
fatrooster,

A top-quality 65 will do fine in most situations. It is in challenging light or when you are trying to get the sharpest pic possible that the 80-85s advantages will become most apparent.

Big Sky
08-04-2011, 02:10 PM
I was thinking about getting the panisonic zs10 camera for digiscoping and general use and thought that the 16x zoom would be nice. Why cant you zoom the camera all the way out while digiscoping?

Elkoholic307
08-04-2011, 03:42 PM
Compact cameras with a MAXIMUM zoom of 3x to 5x will give you a nice image with less vignetting. A 16x will vignette through a spotting scope through the entire zoom range. Vignetting is what you call the black field around the circular image.[/URL]

Big Sky - I thought the same way you do now, until Bitterroot told me this ^

Do you understand what he's talking about? If not, I'm sure someone can post a pic for an example.

Elkoholic307
08-04-2011, 03:52 PM
This may not be a great example, but this is how I interpret vignetting.

By the way, this is not my picture. I stole it from a friend.

http://i157.photobucket.com/albums/t70/tj_vanderploeg/bear.jpg

Big Sky
08-04-2011, 06:12 PM
I understand what the problem is but I dont know why you cant zoom the camera all the way out?

Bitterroot Bulls
08-04-2011, 07:01 PM
I understand what the problem is but I dont know why you cant zoom the camera all the way out?

If you zoom all the way to 16x on the camera you might get rid of vignetting, but your total focal length is going to be VERY long. The focal length of your scope is going to be multiplied by the focal length of the camera. This will provide an extremely dim image, lots and lots of shake, and slow shutter speeds. So, you end up with dim and blurry pics and video.

Elkoholic's pic above shows vignetting, and also shows significant Chromatic Aberration (CA). The CA is the blue and pink color fringing at high contrast areas in the pic. It is more than likely that the spotter was not a HD/ED/APO/FL scope.

Big Sky
08-04-2011, 07:25 PM
Thanks Bitterrot I have been wondering that for a while and that cleared it up.

fatrooster
08-04-2011, 08:08 PM
Another example of vignetting.
http://i918.photobucket.com/albums/ad21/fatrooster/ArchandVonshunt018.jpg
fatrooster.

BigSurArcher
08-04-2011, 09:32 PM
And here are a couple more examples from just the other day when I visited NV.

This problem would have been solved if I just zoomed the camera in a little but I was in a hurry to get the shots. I wish I focused the scope a little better and zoomed the camera for the second pic because its a pretty good one.

http://i208.photobucket.com/albums/bb207/tharney/IMG_0960.jpg

http://i208.photobucket.com/albums/bb207/tharney/IMG_0961.jpg

fatrooster
08-04-2011, 11:32 PM
BigSurArcher, great pictures. Sorry, I didn't see the private message you had sent me until your trip was over. When you come back I'd be glad to buy you a beer or soda and talk hunting. Hope you and your girlfriend had a good time in Nevada. fatrooster.

fatrooster
08-04-2011, 11:36 PM
And yet another example. There is a buck in this picture. A friend of mine took this pic.
http://i918.photobucket.com/albums/ad21/fatrooster/Drews2007DeerHunt012.jpg
fatrooster.

Elkoholic307
08-05-2011, 08:39 AM
Are you guys taking pics with the spotter on the lowest power?.. Then use the camera's optical zoom to get in close, or a combination of the two?

Elkoholic307
08-05-2011, 09:05 AM
that's right, I upgraded from the Zeiss to the Vortex.

My hunting partner has the Leupold 12-40X60HD. Because of this we have had both spotters side by side over and over again. And over and over, my partner comes over to the Razor when he wants the best view. So much so he is currently selling his Leupy and buying the Razor HD, only the straight version.

Don't just take my word on the Razor HD. Talk to the scope's owners. Read the reviews. Birdwatching magazine tested all of the top scopes and put the Razor HD as the equal to the Swaro, Leica, and Kowa 77. They also noted the superiority of the Kowa 88. Cabelas has a pretty detailed Razor HD review where the buyer went from a Leica to the Razor. Vortex has the best warranty in the business ... the best.

Consistently, people love their Razor HD spotters ... me included. Also take a look at Tines Up's videos and see what spotter they are using.;)

Backtracking a little bit...

I saw that you said you upgraded on a different thread and meant to ask you about it. It floored me! That statement pretty much says everything, but like you said I'm not taking your word for it. I've been reading reviews and everything I possibly can on the Razor and have not come across anything negative about the scope. The one and only bad thing I have read is the cover for it is flimsy. But, I noticed Tines Up had a King's Desert Shadow cover on theirs, just like King's sells but only for Swaro scopes.

I'm glad you mentioned the Gold Ring; it reinforced my thinking. I currently have the non-HD version and have been pretty pleased with it. After reading up on digiscoping I learned that I will definitely need some sort of HD glass. So, I was either thinking Gold Ring HD or Razor HD. 40x isn't quite enough for me but it works very well for it's weight and size; which is why I liked it. I have been teeter-totting between the two but have always been leaning toward the Razor. I think I just need to man up and start packing the bigger and better Razor, haha.

Bitterroot Bulls
08-05-2011, 11:13 AM
I try to use as low of a magnification as I can with the spotter, then zoom the camera up to 5x. The best quality pics and video I get are at the lowest magnification on the spotter eyepiece, and the camera zoomed just enough to remove vignetting. If you need more magnification, and are out of camera zoom, you can always turn up your scope a little bit.

It is all about getting as much light as you can to the camera sensor.

GrantMan
08-11-2011, 03:28 PM
I got the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FH2 to digiscope with my Razor spotting scope. I am more than impressed with this set up. Amazon.com has good prices for Lumix cameras.

Bitterroot Bulls
08-11-2011, 05:44 PM
That camera looks like a great digiscoping value, Grantman! The 4x max zoom is just about right.

GrantMan
08-12-2011, 01:08 PM
Yes it is a good value.

One thing I will add to this thread is to get a camera with a good view finder. The Panasonic has a nice view finder, before I got that camera I was using an older Kodak camera with a small view finder and the image would get washed out in the sunlight which made it very difficult to focus on the subject.

GrantMan
08-16-2011, 05:10 PM
I got some video this last weekend using the Panasonic camera and Vortex Razor spotting scope.

Here is the link

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=08oKOGQAjqI

It was taken about 500 yards out with 20x on the scope and the camera has no zoom for the video.

It turned out much better than I anticipated. I also got a bunch of pictures of antelope about 1300 yards but the mirage and wind blowing vibrating the tri-pod degraded the quality a bunch but I was still able to zoom in enough on the computer after downloading to confirm my field scoring.

Drhorsepower
11-05-2011, 12:02 AM
Sorry about bringing an old topic up but this is a great place to ask opinion.

I have a leupold gr 12x40. Non hd.

Camera set up Nikon dslr with 18-55 lens and 70-300 lens.

I am interested in digiscoping. I am wondering if buying the adapter for my cameras small lens would be worth it or should I spend the money on a teleconverter. I do not know what will produce a better photo considering i do not have the hd version of spotter. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks.

An no I'm not going to buy a razor hd as much as I would like to :)

Bitterroot Bulls
11-06-2011, 06:51 AM
I don't think that setup is going to work too well with a big camera/lens and a small spotter. I know Leupold makes an adapter for point and shoot cameras and the 12-40. I think going the point and shoot route would be better.

Teleconverters are generally awefull.

I also see Tines Up is making one for Leupold Gold Ring spotters:

http://www.tinesup.com/catalog/item/7381735/7696183.htm

Elkoholic307
11-06-2011, 10:02 AM
An no I'm not going to buy a razor hd as much as I would like to :)

C'mon, everybody's doing it... :cool:

Drhorsepower
11-06-2011, 11:21 AM
C'mon, everybody's doing it... :cool:

What is your setup elkaholic? What did you end up going with?

Maybe one day I'll fork out the cash


Bitterroot. As far as lens choice for digiscoping, I would use the smaller lens. I dot know if i made it clear. This whole thing was brought on by googling 18-55 digiscoping. Alot of people said it was a great way and produces a better photo then point and shoot but you have to manually set aperture and such. Also the leupold adapter kit comes with a 52 mm screw on adapter for that lens. I looked at the tines up product you mentioned and it would be a great product if I had a point and shoot. That is the downside. I would be all over it if I did but do not wan to buy another camera. I appreciate your advice and am seeking further guidance.

I guess my ? Is the standard gr spotter adequate for taking a decent photo? Here are my two options basically

Digiscoping with standard golden ring, with 18-55 lens.

Or

70-300 lens with teleconverter 1.5 or 2x?

What do you think would produce a better photo?

Next time I go to town I am going to go by the photo shop and talk to them about it. I am sure they have stuff I can look at.

Bitterroot Bulls
11-06-2011, 11:33 AM
I tried the teleconverter with a similar lens (canon). Simply awefull.

Many accomplished digiscopers use a compact point and shoot. You could get the video scope cam adapter in 58mm, a 52mm to 58mm step ring, and thread the setup to your 18-55 lens.

My concern is your heavy camera setup is going to be hanging out unsupported, putting its full weight on the eyepiece.

I have used a dslr for digiscoping, but I used a big tripod, big spotter, and sturdy adapter.

If I was using the Leupy, I wouldn't even consider a dslr.

The Leupy should do OK for digiscoping, but remember you are starting with a small aperture (60mm), and the key to digiscoping is getting the most amount of light you can to the camera's sensor.

Elkoholic307
11-06-2011, 03:10 PM
What is your setup elkaholic? What did you end up going with?

I sold the Gold Ring and followed Bitterroot's advice and got the Razor and the Tines Up adapter.

The two are not even in the same league. I have been using the Razor nearly every evening and am still blown away every time I look through it. It's amazing. I don't get to use it much when my wife is with me though. She doesn't even use her Nikon binos any more; she's glued to the spotter.

Drhorsepower
11-06-2011, 08:16 PM
Thanks bitterroot. That's sheds a little more light on the subject.

Hey elkoholic, was your Leupold an hd? How much did you sell it for? And how did you sell it?

Elkoholic307
11-07-2011, 06:42 AM
No, it wasn't. I actually sold it to my dad for about half the price of a new Razor.

You can move one of those spotters fairly easily. I see them sell all the time in various classifieds. A lot of die hard Leup. fans out there.