Useful Accessories

There are a number of accessories available to the digiscoper to enhance your pictures and digiscoping experiences, some are convenient whilst others in my opinion are a vital.

Below is a brief overview of the main accessories I use:

Shutter release cable / bracket
In my opinion a shutter release cable is an essential bit of equipment that any digiscoper should not be without. Due to the high magnifications involved when digiscoping any slight movement will be greatly magnified and result in a blurred image which can not be rectified on the PC afterwards. Pressing the shutter button on your camera by hand will vastly increase the risk of camera shake, so it's worth investing in a remote shutter release system that fits your camera.

Some digital cameras have electronic remote shutter cables which plug in to the camera, often allowing other features like zoom and focus lock. Some also can be operated by remote control, so that there is no physical contact at all.

If an electronic shutter is not available, then a mechanical device is just as effective. There are a range of shutter release cables on the market. Some universal, that will fit the majority of cameras, others custom made to suit individual models. Search the internet to find a suitable cable release to fit your model of camera.

Battery External PowerPack
Digiscoping is heavily reliant on the use of your digital camera's LCD screen, The screen is switched on and is used to find the subject, you also use the LCD screen to judge if your scope is in focus. This can quickly drain your batteries. As well as carrying spare batteries, I have also invested in a External battery pack.

The Contax SL300T* is a great camera for digiscoping, but it's battery life is short. I have solved this problem by buying a Contax P8 external battery pack. The pack takes 4x rechargeable batteries 1.2v - total 4.8v output which matches the contax power input perfectly. (Normal batteries 1.5v are not suitable for this camera). The power pack will power the Contax all day with no problems. It simply plugs into the charging socket on the side of the camera, and the long cable means the pack can be attached to the tripod leg or other suitable location.

Spotting scope carrying system
My Olivon T90 scope and Olivon TR189 Tripod can be a bulky weight to carry around. If like me you enjoy walking as well as digiscoping, then a way of carrying your gear easily is a great help. I use a Scopac tripod carrying system. The Scopac converts your tripod into a backpack, so that you can carry your tripod and scope assembled on your back. There is a useful, large zipped pocket for carrying digiscoping gear, also available is an add-on digipac to carry bigger equipment. It is very well made and the well thought out design allows for the backpack to remain on the tripod even when extended and in use, therefore you do not have to keep attaching/dettaching it to the tripod between locations.

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I use a electronic remote with the Nikon Coolpix 4500, allowing me to focus lock, shutter release and zoom all remotely.

The Contax SL300 uses a mechanical shutter release bracket that slides over the shutter button and fits snugley around the slim body. Available from www.pennineonline.com

Example of a Universal
shutter release bracket.

The Contax P8 External Power Pack
powers my Contax SL300T* all day.
Available from www.eagleeyeuk.com

The Scopac makes light work of lugging round your heavy digiscoping gear.
Available from www.scopac.co.uk