Tips and Tricks: brackets and adaptors
by Rich Diebold, H. J. (Hud) Huddleston, John Idzikowski, Tetsu Sato, 
Cheang Kum Seng and Stéphane Moniotte

More and more people tend to firmly fix monoculars, binoculars and scopes to their digital camera to ensure a good stability allowing longer exposure time when needed.  Big problems can occur when holding the camera in place as even an imperceptible movement of the camera/scope can influence the focus/shooting process. This results in a fuzzy aspect on most pictures, as in the example presented on the "Tips & Tricks: the adaptor" page. 
The aim of this chapter is to present some more recent prototypes created by 'digiscopers' to achieve this goal. A small companion gallery shows pictures taken by the authors of this section.

Here is a first way to attach a monocular to the Coolpix 990. Rich Diebold took a 28mm UV filter and "super-glued" it to the rubber eye relief of a Simmons 8X21 monocular (Model # 24104). He  bought the monocular on clearance at a local Walmart store for $5.00 and got the 28mm filter off E-bay for another $5.00 so a total of $10.00 invested. A "poor-man's" zoom lens, certainly! 
He 's currently experimenting some with it and have had no problems with the attachment. It screws right on the lens with no chance of damage. 
 
 
 
Another prototype bracket built by H. J.(Hud) Huddleston is certainly a much more impressive piece of craftmanship than the rather crude contraption we made (See here). First, he made the adaptor from 1/4 X 1 1/2 inch aluminum bar, but when he tried to mate the camera to the eyepiece, he could not move the camera away to pivot the scope for focus. So he  put a sliding track on the bracket to move the camera forward and backward. I found that I did not like the pivoting of the scope for focus.  An advantage of Kowa scopes is that they pivote left and right around their body (See here), allowing to focus the scope at antime, but this put you in an awkward body position and did not provide very good and quick results. So, he put the scope back in a fixed position and fixed the adaptor bracket to permit swinging the camera away in order to focus the scope in a normal position and then swing the camera back and down to mate the lens to the scope eyepiece. This sliding track is a neat idea and certainly a great improvement of our intial system. In fact, there was a kind of embryo of it in our original bracket, as the mounting hole for the camera was slightly elongated along the light path, to allow some fine tuning.

For over a year, John Idzikowski has been using both the Fuji MX1200 and the Fuji MX4700 bracketed to the right eyepiece of a pair of both 10X and 12X Leica Ultra binox. The portability, ease of use and ability to quickly capture shots which present themselves is one of the advantage of this light combination, has already underlined in the chapter on 'digibinox' by Anne Cook. As shown here, John created a complex device to couple its equipment, with additional features such a cable release. Of course you have to get close to birds to get great results, but isn't that what we as field ornithologists want to do anyway ?
Tetsu Sato is another of these artists who built an original bracket that fit both the Coolpix 900 and 950 with his scope and binoculars. You'll find much more information and pictures of his system on his own webpage but as some pages are in japanese only he summarized the basics here.
The coupling of the camera and binoculars uses a huge clip, and allows a close contact between both apparatus.The camera ojective is surrounded by a ring of nylon resin and the binocular eyepiece is protected by urethane rubber to avoid light interferance.


As shown below, Tetsu Sato also developped a swinging plastic bracket allowing easy acces to the scope eyepiece if necessary. the pictures shown in the gallery where taken with the camera-scope combination ( ).

More recently, Cheang Kum Seng used a Cullman multipurpose clamp to grip the binocular and below an extension with a screw to hold the camera. As for the lens coupling, it is just an
inverted lenshood to cut our stray light. Ingenius eh!

  

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