Extreme digiscoping

Jan van Gastel's Birding and Digiscoping Site


Long distance digiscoping

Because of the very long tele length it is possible to make photographs over very long distances, compared to normal telelens photography. An interesting discussion about 'extreme digiscoping', can be found on the digiscope forum.


What's extreme?

In any case, digiscoping over a 100 meters distance or more is considered extreme, but I think for smaller birds like tits and sparrows, shorter distances can also be called extreme. For instance 60-70 meters for a bird the size of a blue tit.


The Barnacle Geese (with Starlings in the background) - bottom-right of this page - however, are photographed at about 500 meters distance. It doesn't show much detail, but the it's clear that most are Barnacle Geese and to the left the Greater Whitefronted Goose is recognizable as well.

The image of the Short-toed Eagle below was taken from 640 meters distance. Like the Barnacle geese, it doesn't show much detail but I think for that distance it is not bad at all.


More 'extreme digiscoped' images are in my album 'Birds at 100 meters or more distance', under the 'Albums' button in the menu. An album with photographs taken at 70-100 meters is here.



Click on the photographs for a larger image.


Another meaning of extreme digiscoping, is digiscoping very small animals, for instance insects, especially moving insects. Some examples are on the digiscope forum mentioned above.


Photographing conditions

To take good and sharp images over long distances, the air has to be clear. Even relatively thin fogginess can destroy the picure, because the moisture gets compressed when magnifying 60x. The air should also be stable. 'Good seeing' in astronomical terms, is absolutely necessary. The air becomes less stable the higher the sun climbs, so early morning is best, if not foggy and not too dark. And there shouldn't be much wind either.


Good optics

And of course it is necessary to use good optics. Especially with high magnifications the detrimental effect of less good or bad optics becomes very well noticable.


Burst mode

It is best to use the camera in 'burst mode', to take several pictures per second. More pictures means 'more pictures to throw away, but also a better change there are one or more good ones.




Click on the photographs for a larger image.

Barnacle Geese with Starlings in the background