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Camera Recommendations

SWAROVSKI OPTIK has tested a number of cameras in terms of their functionality for digiscoping, and recommends the models featuring in this list (Cameras 2014) and this list (Cameras 2015).

DIFFERENT CAMERA TYPES


Compact cameras

Small and light compact cameras are simple and intuitive to use and offer a highly affordable option. One important factor with them is the quality of the sensor so that you can achieve suitably short shutter speeds and keep image noise to an absolute minimum. Compact cameras up to a max. optical 4x zoom or 5x zoom with a regressive lens are ideal for digiscoping. This is down to the focal length and optical structure of the cameras, which must be adapted for the spotting scope. The DCB II digital camera base is the right adapter. SWAROVSKI OPTIK provides this list (Cameras 2014) and this list (Cameras 2015). However, it cannot claim to be complete, given the wide variety of cameras available on the market.

When using compact cameras with the DCB II digital camera base, you will greatly benefit from the auto-focus available, which can help novice digiscopers in particular, when focusing.
Another vital feature is the crop factor, which is very high in most cases. It offers very large focal lengths (up to 3,000 mm), but also requires appropriate precautions to be taken in terms of avoiding blurred images and providing a stable set-up.
The ISO dynamic setting varies greatly among the relevant models. It can definitely also be used up to ISO 1000 or higher. But you are recommended to carry out a dry run to test noise and image quality so that you can achieve the picture results you want with the right settings when you actually come to use it in the field.



SLR cameras APS format

SLR cameras offer excellent sensor quality in most cases, permitting higher ISO values and, therefore, shorter exposure times. A rapid shutter speed is particularly important in order to avoid any vibration in the system. In this case, mirror bounce also causes vibrations. DSLR cameras offer professional settings, as well as remote timer options. But they are the largest, heaviest, and most expensive category of cameras. SLR cameras are connected to the TLS APO (30 mm fixed focal length lens) using a T2 adapter. The TLS APO is designed for sensors in APS format and smaller, which results in vignetting when using full-format cameras.

ISO: ~ 1000 – 3200
Crop factor: 1.5 – 2.0



System cameras

The benefit provided by system cameras is that they cover most of the criteria offered by an SLR camera, while combining this with the major asset of a compact camera. Thanks to their slightly larger sensor, they produce less image noise than compact cameras, while most models also have remote timer options. In some cases, they also have image stabilizers at sensor level.
One other key benefit is the mirrorless concept on which system cameras are based. This allows you to avoid the risk of distorted or blurred images due to mirror bounce, as is common with DSLR cameras.
As their lens is removable, system cameras can be used with the TLS APO. Their extremely compact design also allows them to be combined with the DCB II digital camera base (with a pancake lens ~ 20 mm).

ISO: ~ up to 1000
Crop factor: 1.6 – 2.7

  • Example: DSLR Canon EOS 7D (APS-C Sensor)
  • Example: DSLR Nikon with TLS APO and SWAROVSKI OPTIK ATX 85
  • Example: Compact camera Nikon
  • Example: Compact camera Nikon with DCB II Adapter and SWAROVSKI OPTIK ATX 85