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I've only been birding for about 6 months, and I've only had my spotting scope for about 3 months, so take what I say in that context. I bought a Bushnell spotting scope with a built-in 5 megapixel digital camera and an Opteka tripod all for just under $300, and I'm very happy with my purchase. Now the first thing I should say is that I know full well this is not a "high-end" setup, but it does pretty much everything I need it to do, and for the price, I don't think it can be beat for a beginner. The spotting scope has a 70mm objective and a magnification range of 15x to 45x. The built-in camera has a few drawbacks, the biggest of which is you can't focus the camera through the eyepiece. Also the camera has a fixed focal length and can only be used at about 22x magnification, and can only be focused by viewing the little LCD screen, not by looking through the eyepiece, which makes it cumbersome especially if your eyes are getting old, like mine, hehe... But with a little practice, you can get reasonably good pictures at a good distance for ID purposes, which is all I expect from it. On the other hand, if you're looking for a high-end setup to take National Geographic quality photos, keep looking! Here is a link to a photo that I took earlier today with this scope:
Keep in mind that this photo has been resized and "saved for web" using Photoshop Elements, the original photo is 2560x1920 pixels and is over 1.3 megabytes in file size. I'd estimate this picture was taken from between 60 and 80 feet, line of sight, which is probably about the ideal distance for this setup, but it works as close as 30 feet and out to 2 or 3 hundred feet depending on the size of your subject. I don't know if this is the setup that any of you are looking for, but it works for me, just thought I'd share!
EDIT: I should correct one thing. I said that the camera could be focused out to 2 or 3 hundred feet, that is not accurate. The camera can be focused to infinity. If you've been to my Flickr photostream, you may have seen some pictures of a pair of Bald Eagles. These photos were taken at OVER 400 yards, as measured on Google Earth. They are reasonably good photos considering that it was a windy day, and my tripod was being buffeted by the wind and also the trees where the birds were perched were also swaying in the wind. I'm very happy with this scope considering the price. It gives excellent bang for the buck, for a beginning birder.
Last edited by flybri (2010-07-07 17:29:21)
Thanks for your post.
What is the model numbers of the your Equipment - Bushnell spotting scope, digital camera, Opteka tripod .
I am a beginners to birding and photography of birds and nature , your photos look nice .
Where did you find your set up?
How big is the tripod?.
Dose the camera take good pictures at low lite?
CBW (Columbus Bird Watcher)