Digiscoping With LE-Adaptor
Seen any camera stores in the mall that carry telescopic lenses for digital cameras? We thought not. Yet, that's what's needed to deliver quality pictures from a great distance. "Digiscoping", based on methods of marrying your digital camera to a conventional optical device, is an off-the-shelf solution for TreeHugger closeups of birds, concerts, and sporting events. CAUTION: before you read on, promise us you won't try it around commercial buildings, large industries, or with a transportation hub or major corridor in the background. The Homeland Security types have engendred a putative mindset that may result in equipment confiscation or threat of legal charges. Hopefully shots of birds in the woods are no problem. There: now, with that out of the way, we may proceed. A detailed definition and explanation digiscoping is found here . Includes links to great examples.
There is an established market for bioculars with built in digital cameras; but, our cursory evaluation suggests these are destined for the closet-fill corners of gadget history. The only thing worse than wasted "stuff" is stuff that's fluff, and therefore wasted.
The better way is to adapt a decent digital camera, which you may already have and spent a lot of time learning to link to your computer, to fit with a decent spotting scope. For a good sampling of spotting scopes, try this link to Cabella's catalog, which is huge. If you buy something from them, by the way, you'll get amazing catalogs for years.
The "adapting" part is where things might bet get tricky without some help. The LE-Adaptor company offers the cleanest solutions we've seen to bridge a digital camera to a scope. TreeHugger suggests you keep the production of more stuff down by going for a used spotting scope that fits a known LE-Adaptor or similar product. A quick look on Ebay verified that there are plenty of used scopes available.
If you're afraid of becoming a Crowned Geek of Digiscopy (a species that Audubon and Agassiz both missed), by indicating your interest in this, it may of some relief to know that you are in good company. A 2001 report released by the Department of Interior's U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service found that "66 million Americans spent more than $38 billion in 2001 observing, feeding, or photographing wildlife". The report, called the 2001 National and State Economic Impacts of Wildlife Watching Addendum relied on data collected in the Service's 2001 National Survey of Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife-Associated Recreation.
It's fine to admit you like birds. Photographing them won't detract from your status as a full-fledged TreeHugger. We promise.