Saturday, April 12, 2008

New digiscoping adaptor for Coolpix P5000 / Zeiss 20-60X Zoom eyepiece - 12 Apr 2008

Inspired by my friend Pat's digiscoping adaptor (PVC reducer pipe that fits Nikon ED50 scope eyepiece to Fuji F50) I decided to upgrade my current adaptor to make a more convenient setup with my Nikon Coolpix P5000.

My current adaptor is a pesto jar lid and nylon hose clamp rig similar to this one for the Fuji F30. It does a wonderful job aligning the camera and makes for a hands-free setup, but suffers from one drawback. The adaptor has to be pressed onto the eyepiece of the scope before the camera can be inserted to take an image. Its a fast operation, but with the adaptor on the scope eye relief is lost, and its almost impossible to see a moving bird in the scope w/o removing the adaptor. My ideal setup is an adaptor that can be attached to the camera so that the unit can be simply placed over the zoom eyepiece for a snug fit and proper alignment. And I think I've found it!

My new adaptor makes use of a simple PTFE Thread Seal tape dispenser cap and a Canon LA-DC58F lens adapter. The LA-DC58F was an ideal digiscoping adaptor for my Powershot A620 because it attached directly to the camera and it fit over the 20-60X Zoom eyepiece. Unfortunately, the camera suffered from some vignetting at all magnifications, and was thus somewhat limiting for digiscoping. The LA-DC58F unfortunately is also a little too large to connect to the Nikon Coolpix P5000, and I'm not about to superglue it to the front of the camera. Here's where the pipe thread cap comes in. It 'snaps' snugly over the threaded lens cover on the front of the camera, and its outside diameter is the same as that of the LA-DC58F. With a bit of force the Canon adaptor can be pressed inside the teflon cap and the unit can then be snapped onto the front of the camera. The unit is snug enough to support the weight of the camera, and can easily be pulled off. Applying a layer of male velcro tape to the inside rim of the LA-DC58F the unit will fit tightly over the Zeiss 20-60X zoom eyepiece.

The beauty of the unit is that the camera can be easily rotated, zoomed and operated hands-free, and can be easily attached and removed w/o the need for clamps or screws.

Warning! Do not carry the scope w/ the camera attached as it WILL fall off. The unit is stable for hands-free digiscoping (timer mode or taking videos), however! Cost? $0.97 for the teflon thread seal tape. I already had the the LA-DC58F, but it may(?) still be available online for about $20.

Attached to the scope vignetting is visible at the lowest zoom setting, but is easily removed with a few clicks of the zoom. There is the slightest amount of CA along the edges of the vignette circle, which tells me that I don't have the ideal eyepiece / camera lens spacing, but it doesn't appear to affect image quality. Here's a pic of my Asia at 20X and no zoom on the P5000. Here's a 100% crop showing the detail that still present in her fur. A House Sparrow in the background made for a quick capture, as did this Crocus.

For those of you w/ Coolpix P5100's the teflon cap snaps on just the same as w/ the P5000.

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