My interest in telephoto photography began in the early 1980's. I was using a Pentax K-1000 on a Swift Telemaster Spotting Scope. The spotting scope effectively became a 1000 to 4000mm camera lens. And for about $250.00, I was having a good time. Used as a telescope, I was able to see Saturn's rings and Jupiter's moons.
The camera only had a needle light meter; very simple. It is connected to the Telemaster with an adapter and a T-mount. All exposures were made by adjusting the shutter speed since the f/stop was essentially the exit pupil of the lens and was fixed by the magnification.
In 2001, I went digital using the same Swift Telemaster fitted with a Nikon Coolpix 990. I had to do some sawing of the adapter but it worked well. This setup is one of the first examples of what is now called "digiscoping."
I also used Nikon's fine 3x tele-converter giving me an effective focal length over 300mm.
Note the homemade "periscope" attachment to allow the use of the optical viewfinder.
Here is a gallery of photos taken with this Fieldscope/D80 setup.
Although the zoom eyepiece is removed for this camera mount and aperture is fixed at f/13, auto exposure will work very well by varying the shutter (auto-ISO also works):
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Here is an example of what the Moon and Saturn look like at 9000mm through this Fieldscope/Coolpix setup.
Here is the assembly made from a Nikon "T" mount, a "T" adapter glued into the cap from a small can of spray paint and a hose clamp.
The zoom ring is fully accessible and free to rotate:
Here it is with camera attached. The camera must be operated in M mode with exposure determined by manually changing the shutter speed and ISO only:
And some example photos- A bluejay at 25X and a grackle at 75X (full-frame images but scaled way down):
Here is a video taken with this setup:
I also very much like the 70-300mm VR (Vibration Reduction) lens which gives a 35mm equivalent focal length of 105-450mm. It focuses fast and compensates for movement which can cause image blur. Technology has definitely come a long way since 1980.
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