Smartphones have revolutionized the way we photograph and record video. Almost everyone has one. It’s ultra convenient to snap a picture or video with these devices. The cameras on current generation smartphones are exceptional. Even five year old smartphones have exceptional cameras. For example, the Samsung Galaxy S4 has a 13 megapixel camera that will take video at 30 frames per second in 1080p HD format. So it’s no surprise that enterprising manufactures have developed products that allow us to take advantage of these cameras using telescopes, spotting scopes and other similar optics.
For less than $20 you can purchase a universal digiscoping adapter that will allow you to mount your smartphone to a spotting scope and record high quality photos and videos of subjects that are miles away. The quality of the output depends on a variety of factors most importantly the smartphone and the scope themselves and how well you are able to match the two together.
Gosky makes a digiscoping adapter that makes it very easy to mate any smartphone to a spotting scope. In fact they make two versions. One is regular size and will most optics, however I had to get the Big Gosky to fit the Vortex HD 27-60x85mm Spotting Scope.
How to Mount the Gosky Digiscoping Adapter to Your Spotting Scope:
It’s very simple to mount your smartphone to a spotting scope with the Gosky adapter.
- Unscrew the eyepiece clamp to the width of your optic’s eyepiece.
- Unscrew the smartphone clamp and insert your smartphone.
- Clamp down the smartphone but leave it loose enough to slide it around for adjustment.
- Take the covers off of your spotting scope’s eyepiece and front element so that light is coming through.
- Turn on your phone’s camera.
- Place the eyepiece clamp over the eyepiece over the eyepiece and tighten it to the point where it clamps but is lose enough to adjust.
- Now watching the camera on the phone slide the camera into the position where the light coming through the scope is in the direct center of the screen.
- Make sure your screen is horizontally aligned the way you want it.
- Tighten up the eyepiece clamp making sure that the height of the smartphone relative to the eyepiece gives you the optimal field of view.
- Tighten up the smartphone clamp to where you want it.
Now at this point you can generally allow the phone to auto focus and simply dial in the focus on your spotting scope.
Summary of the Benefits of Digiscoping
I really like using a smart phone on my spotting scope. Current generation smartphone screens are bright and high definition. They provide a very positive viewing experience when coupled with a high quality spotting scope. Here are some of the benefits:
- The scope is definitely great quality but I sometimes experience eye fatigue looking through the eyepiece. This helps me reduce eye fatigue.
- As I’ve gotten older and spent way too much time behind a computer screen I find that my eyes often take longer to re-focus when going from near to far focus. Using a smartphone screen with the scope lessens that effect.
- You don’t have to bend over or crane your neck to get a look through the scope.
- Multiple people can view the subject at the same time.
- And of course you can take photos and video through the scope. If you have a quality scope it becomes an awesome zoom lens for your camera.
By the way, did you know that with a Vortex HD 27-60x85mm Spotting Scope you can see the rings on Saturn?
Have fun digiscoping!