A couple of weeks ago I posted some details about the new digiscoping rig that I have invested in ready for retirement when I could have the the potential of seven day a week birding and wildlifing (it isn’t going to happen – I do have other things in my life) … since when, it has been way too hot and humid to go out and do much at all.  That’s not a problem, plenty of bird-filled days lie ahead.  The original post was at : https://sparroworks.ca/?p=4663 should anyone be interested.

Anyway – happy as I am with the original set-up using the big Canon DSLR camera, it is all quite bulky. I am very keen on travelling light, or as light as I can, and preferably using the scope + camera combination with my light-weight carbon fibre tripod. In fact, lightness is a major reason for the choice of equipment.  I found that the Canon adds a bit too much heaviness to one end of the system and so it is quite hard to keep the scope and camera locked onto the object I want to photograph without the weight of the camera gently and slowly pulling the objective of the scope skywards.  I can fairly easily solve that by using a video rail on the tripod to move the centre of gravity but then everything gets way too bulky with extra bits to worry about.

So – I also have a Sony-Nex 7 mirrorless interchangeable lens camera (a MILC) and wondered if that could be used.  Swarovski don’t sell a lens mount for this camera but some diligent googleing found a Chinese company who make a T2 adapter for it – I haven’t found a photo store anywhere in North America who stock one but the lads in Hong Kong were more than happy to ship me one, and for a very small price and no charge for shipping.  Problem solved, everything is now balanced, light and portable – plus the unique electronic viewfinder on the Nex-7 makes focusing a breeze.  The sensor on this MILC camera is “full size” and easily the equal of the Canon, if not slightly sharper – this is not a point-and-shoot camera. There are still some things to solve such as minimising vibration at the more extreme magnifications, but I feel we might be ready to go out soon once the shorebirds star returning in decent numbers.  I also plan to use this for HD video recording.

Now some pictures – just garden snaps really, taken while putting this rig together. The two wildlife pictures were taken with the scope zoomed to about 30x which is the equivalent magnification of a 1000mm camera lens, were such a thing to exist.  Fully zoomed I could get something like a 1900mm lens equivalent but the chances of taking a vibration-free picture are about zero – that’s something for extreme cases only!

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This is the Swarovski scope with the relatively heavy Canon DSLR mounted – all the weight at the back. It’s a terrific camera but will probably now be used for landscapes and macro photography, flowers etc rather than distant birds and bears. It excels at those – always use the best tool for the job.


Scope with the much smaller and lighter Sony camera attached.

Scope with the much smaller and lighter Sony camera attached; as can bee seen it is altogether more balanced.


The business end

The business end, ready to get that picture of a lifetime.

Mourning Dove

Mourning Dove looking coy

... not only birds.

… not only birds can benefit form digiscoping.