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07-18-2011, 09:38 PM - 1 Like   #31
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Its a refractor scope. Skywatcher ST120

I got mine from Germany, and as its in the EU i didnt pay the rediculous legal robbery of UK VAT and Import duty, but you can get them in the US as something similar by the name of Orion.

In fact, you dont even need one as big as this Skywatcher ST 120mm. This one was cheap big time - GBP250 - but contains NO LD/ED glass for CA correction, hence the cheap price.

If you wanted to go up a notch, and i mean a big notch, look for Orion Telescopes in the US around the 80ED model, or 100ED. You'll be paying twice the price, but the IQ is worth it. Europeans get the Skywatcher, and the equivalent is the SW 80ED / 100ED

At this end of the price range, you'll be getting what they call an ED Air Spaced doublet. That means one of the 2 lens elements will be extremely good quality ED Glass, also known as FPL-53 ( Japanese - O'hara ) but there are variations. Also, the Orion and SW 80ED's aperture are round about F7 or F7.5 for 600mm FL. Dont worry about that too much, because they dont equate to the aperture of DSLR lenses

Much bigger money will be Triplet ED scopes, but these get expensive.

But as long as you are careful and research ( like you would for any other DSLR lens you would buy ) you can get great quality and little weight.

Find me a DSLR lens that can reach 600mm natively ( dont count crop factor - its not an FL multiplier ) at wide apertures of f5 like mine, or f6, f7.. that weigh 8.5 Lbs and under, for that sort of money ? Its impossible

07-19-2011, 04:49 AM   #32
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for those interested

Orion Telescopes: Search Results on 'orion optical tubes telescopes'

I thought it was worth a look.

note you will need to either pay for the mounting or work out your own, and also note that these telescopes are not listed necessairly by focal length,

the 120mm F5 is actually 120mm objective diameter (that's how scopes are defined) and to get focal length, just remember that F5 = FL/ diameter. therefore FL is 600mm
07-19-2011, 05:21 AM   #33
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Most scopes ( not all ) come with mount rings of some kind. The only thing required after that is something like a dovetail bar for connecting to a tripod head QR plate

Medium Skywatcher Telescope Dovetail Bar - 210mm | eBay

and a way of connecting camera to scope, like this MAXdslr for Pentax + Canikons. It has a bayonet mount one side, and 2" barrel on the other side which neatly fits inside the majority of Scope focusers, which are 2"

Astro Engineering Max DSLR 2 inch camera adaptor (for Canon, Nikon & Pentax)
07-19-2011, 09:17 PM   #34
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are there any issues with focusing on your DSLR, is it as simple as focusing a manual lens?

07-19-2011, 10:00 PM - 1 Like   #35
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I shoot with a scope all the time. No special problems with mounting just a 17 buck bogen rail which I would need no matter what lens I was using.

560mm APO Triplet perhaps the sharpest glass I have of any type...

Last edited by wildman; 08-01-2011 at 01:57 AM.
07-19-2011, 11:07 PM   #36
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Focal length (magnification) in neighborhood of 500mm to 600mm generally considered to be optimum for most birding.
Look at wildman's shot of cerulean warbler(magnificent!).One has maybe 2 weeks were that male is down from
the canopy,in full pigment,"Lookin for Love".Having the working buffer that longer focal lengths offer
increases the chance of bringing a shot like that home.Put that bird off with a noisy approach,or visual cue
that induces primordial flight from danger and odds are one will never have another chance at it.
Squire does some great stuff with his scope too,is a very economical means of producing quality birding
images,while keeping a "safe" working distance from subject.No doudt,scopes are capable of producing some
great images,economically.Quite a few of them have weather sealing that makes them all but impervious to
any climatic conditions one might encounter.Portability and realitivley fixed apeture might be biggest negative.
(How you scope folks deal with DOF?)

Just to throw something else into the 'scrap' Kowa produces a 500mm F/5.6 manual focus scope/lens for around $3500
adapters are available that gives either a 350mm F/4 or (I think) 800mm F/9.
More $'s than most scopes but far less than 500mm or 600mm conventional lens offerings.
Nikon,canons have no image stabilization with it,pentax on the other hand....
Can also be used as spotting scope.

PS @ Wildman,Killer Baltimore Oriole too,always be a St.Louis Brown in my heart
07-19-2011, 11:16 PM   #37
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OK Squier, you've got my attention.

Please help me out to see exactly what I would need to set this up. I am in the US and trying to duplicate what you are talking about.

First, is this the Orion scope you are talking about?

Orion Telescopes: Orion ED80 80mm f/7.5 Apochromatic Refractor Telescope

or this one

Orion Telescopes: Orion Deluxe 100mm f/6.0 Refractor Guide Scope

If so, can you take me to the next step?

This scope says it has a tripod mount - will I be able to mount on my tripod or would I need any kind of adapter?

And what about an adapter to the camera? I see your link to a shop in the UK for a Pentax adapter, but can't seem to find one at the site in the link above.

I want to price this all out complete to see if I can swing it.

Or maybe it would be easier if you could point me to a US site with some model numbers for me to go by - I'd like to do something at 600mm.

Thanks
07-20-2011, 02:46 AM   #38
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Using an optical telescope one could get a much better range.
From the Swarovski opticals website:

"Suitable for almost all digital compact cameras with threaded objective lens or threaded adapter and maximum 4x optical zoom in addition to digital SLR cameras in combination with a fixed 50 mm objective lens and a suitable intermediate ring if necessary. The telescope thus becomes a telephoto lens with a focal length ranging from 1,500 4,000 mm and supports all the advantages of an SLR camera".

Did you see that? 1500-4000mm!!! I wonder at what aperture.

Have a look here:
Telescopes - SWAROVSKI OPTIK - Binoculars, Rifle Scopes, Hunting, Birdwatching, Travel & Leisure, Digiscoping
with an adapter like this:
Camera adapters - SWAROVSKI OPTIK - Binoculars, Telescopes, Rifle Scopes, Hunting, Birdwatching, Travel & Leisure, Digiscoping

Or something like this:

Vortex Optics - Razor HD 20-60x85 Angled
with a camera adapter like this:
Vortex Optics - Razor HD Digital Camera Adapter

Anybody ever tried such a combination?

- Bert

07-20-2011, 04:50 AM   #39
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Just to bring people back to reality a little, and I have to compliment all those posting shots using telescopes that they aregood shots, BUT remember 2 things.

even a shot like wildman's baltimore oreole, require you getting close and being patient. assuming a full frame, the shot of the oreole needs to be taken from 2-3 meters away.

That is not a "stalked photo, but one where you set up and wait, either close to the nest, which you have identified, or close to the food, which may or may not be a feeder.

the one benefit I have seen with many optical telescopes is that they allow for closer focus than many old legacy primes in the same price category. what you give up is aperture control,

Last edited by Lowell Goudge; 07-20-2011 at 04:58 AM.
07-20-2011, 05:44 AM - 1 Like   #40
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The 80ED is good enough to take very good bird shots for $500. If you can afford an extra $250, go for the 80ED T CF triplet for $750. Its an allround better scope for not much more money. You dont need anything more expensive.

AS for the 100mm f6, yes it will do the job, its similar to mine in that its an Achromatic scope rather than an Apochromatic, which means it doesnt have the Low Dispersion glass ( ED ) that the other ED scopes have. You will suffer from poorer quailty photos, unelss you are pretty good with PP work. You'd need to shoot RAW to make sure you can extract as much detail as possible, because there is more more work to be done in PP than with the better built scopes.

If you're pretty good with Adobe CS or PS or whatever, and have to buy cheap, then the 100 f6, yes. If you can afford $750, get the 80 ED T CF.

Make sure you get the just the scope. You dont need Eyepieces, or the angled viewer/ diagonal. The angled viewer just changes the orientation of what you see.... the view is upside down and back to front without those viewers. Your camera already has a prism to put the viewed object and right way up and correct the left to right problem. They may not sell you the scope without the viewer, as it maybe part of a package deal, but just sell it on if thats the case.

You will need an adapter to connect to the camera. If you cant find a MAX dslr for Pentax in the US, then look for a T Thread mount for Pentax. Most of the Scope websites should sell them.

If the Scope has mount rings, then you need a Dovetail bar for mounting to the rings and then tripod. They're pretty cheap After that you will need 80mm of extension tubes. Get them in Pentax mount obviously. Because you wont be using the Diagonal/Viewer, to achieve proper focus to infinity this 80mm extension tube is necessary.

And thats it. Go reasearch

Last edited by Squier; 07-20-2011 at 06:06 AM.
07-20-2011, 05:50 AM   #41
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Thank you very much Squier - off to do my research.
07-20-2011, 06:03 AM   #42
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If you have any questions, post here dude !!

Wildman i'm sure, and myself, would be happy to help you and put you on the right tracks
07-20-2011, 06:12 AM   #43
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QuoteOriginally posted by Lowell Goudge Quote
Just to bring people back to reality a little, and I have to compliment all those posting shots using telescopes that they aregood shots, BUT remember 2 things.

even a shot like wildman's baltimore oreole, require you getting close and being patient. assuming a full frame, the shot of the oreole needs to be taken from 2-3 meters away.

That is not a "stalked photo, but one where you set up and wait, either close to the nest, which you have identified, or close to the food, which may or may not be a feeder.

the one benefit I have seen with many optical telescopes is that they allow for closer focus than many old legacy primes in the same price category. what you give up is aperture control,
Some of what you say is true - but you wont get any bird shots at 2-3 metres with a 600mm astro scope.

Also you dont entirely give up aperture control. Restrictors can be fitted directly over the dew shield. Its not precise engineering like an iris, but it certainly works.
07-20-2011, 08:05 AM   #44
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To give credit to what i say about MFD, i use around 60mm of extension tube in normal practice. To gain closer focusing, i doubled that with some spare ext. tubes i had lying around.

So with 120mm of ext. tubes, i can focus down to 4.5 metres. But infinty focus was limited to about 8 metres. This in reality is a bit of a waste of time. Carrying that much weight, allowing for weight of scope, extension tubes / camera adapter, camera + tripod to only be able to shoot birds at a max of 8 metres.. may as well use a 200 primes DSLR lens and forget even having to take a tripod - and a tripod is a must. You cant hand hold a scope, and focus with the same hand, and have the other hand on the button, ready, due to the balance point of the scope in the left hand vs. the location of the focusing wheel.


Another thing with adding too much length with ext. tubes is the weight / leverage of all that tubing + camera hanging on the focusing tube. This probably isnt so much of a problem with something like Wildmans Astro-Tech scope, which is way out of the league of my SW and that Orion mentioned, is that the tubing and camera can end up distorting the focuser tube downwards. I've seen it happen

Last edited by Squier; 07-20-2011 at 01:21 PM.
07-20-2011, 11:53 AM   #45
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QuoteOriginally posted by wildman Quote
I shoot with a scope all the time. No special problems with mounting just a 17 buck bogen rail which I would need no matter what lens I was using.

560mm APO Triplet perhaps the sharpest glass I have of any type...
Wildman, in your set up, the stuff between the camera body and the scope itself is extension tubes to improve your minimum focus distance? Am I understanding that correctly?

If I were to just use the adapter "Squier" linked what would the minimum focus be?
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