Friday, December 14, 2012

Homemade smartphone digiscoping adapter

High up on my wish list for this Christmas (and for the past couple of Christmas's) is a decent digiscoping rig. Just this morning, I was browsing the internet looking for reasonably priced digiscoping setups (I would need a new point and shoot as well as a good adapter), I saw Bill Schmoker's article on the ABA Blog about his custom modification of a PhoneSkope adapter that allows you to digiscope using an iPhone.

I've certainly seen some high quality images on other people's blogs that were captured using smartphones, and I've toyed around with my own phone (Samsung Galaxy SII) but have never been able to capture anything worth sharing. Also, it seems like most of the adapters meant for digiscoping with smartphones are designed for iPhones, and the selection of accessories for other types of smartphones is a little slim.

Looking at Bill's images for how the PhoneSkope adapters work, and how he created his own custom piece, I realized that conceptually, these adapters are basically just a smartphone case with a tube the size of a scope eyepiece attached. I decided that I could probably just buy myself a cheap smartphone case, and glue a tube onto it to create my own adapter on the cheap!

Lucky for me, our spotting scopes have threaded eyepiece protectors that screw on to the scope during storage. I re-purposed one of our eyepiece protectors, cutting it down in length so that I could glue it to a phone case, taking advantage of the eyepiece protector's threads to maintain a solid connection to the scope.

After cutting the eyepiece protector down to size, I super-glued a cheap smartphone case in place, making sure to line everything up for a nice view.

My phone just pops into the case and I'm ready to shoot!

Although I have not yet had a chance to take it out (I just finished it a couple of hours ago) it does seem to be quite stable, the camera lens and scope eyepiece are well aligned for a clear shot, and I can eliminate all vignetting by using a little bit of the phone's zoom capability. A few indoor, low-light test shots showed that the set up can achieve tack-sharp focus, even in poor conditions. I can't wait to test it out this weekend on some distant waterfowl! This will be a fun addition to our photography arsenal.

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