Entering the world of digiscoping

A spotting scope combined with a digital camera and the right adapter enables you to take photos through your scope, which means that you can now capture the object on your digital camera’s memory chip so that the image will not only be a part of your memory. With the right equipment and a bit of practice, you can achieve impressive results. We recommend that you start with slow moving subjects such as horses or even snails. Start in your own garden and immerse yourself in a world full of details and undiscovered secrets. Like with any digital photo, you can look at your digiscoping shots on a computer later on and do whatever you want – archive, edit, email or share them on one of the numerous social media platforms. This allows you to preserve the joy of the sights you’ve seen forever.


A spotting scope’s main function is to present a magnified image to the eye of the observer. Light penetrates the large objective lens and exits the eyepiece as a round beam of light, known as the “exit pupil”. This beam of light is photographed by the camera, and the scene observed by the eye is captured as a digital image.

A variety of systems and technologies are combined in photography as well as in long-range optics. This means that digital compact cameras, system cameras, and DSLR cameras with the right adapters can be used. The latest digital single-lens reflex (DSLR) cameras impress with their sophisticated technical features, lighter and more compact design, and their almost limitless setting options. Compact cameras are easy to use as many settings are configured automatically. Their small size and light weight are, in most cases, the key factor in a consumer’s decision to buy them. Camera manufacturers are also increasingly focusing on system cameras, which are a hybrid between an SLR camera and a compact camera, and are also equipped with many advanced features. Their main benefit is that they don’t have a reflex mirror, which is particularly noticeable if there are vibrations while taking photos. You can find two lists of cameras recommended by SWAROVSKI OPTIK here (Cameras 2015) and here (Cameras 2016). SWAROVSKI OPTIK offers suitable adapters for the most commonly used camera types, thus meeting your requirements as best as possible.

If you are already the proud owner of a SWAROVSKI OPTIK spotting scope, have a digital camera at home, and would like to enter the world of digiscoping, you can check here (Cameras 2015) and here (Cameras 2016), whether your camera is suitable. Here you can find a diagram showing the relevant spotting scope/adapter combinations.


Two-in-one function: observation and photography

This allows you to get more from your spotting scope because you can not only observe, but also take photos. This is the classic, analog long-range optical application: observing (highly) magnified images through binoculars or a spotting scope is combined with the benefit of photography, allowing you to choose, depending on the purpose you have in mind, what exactly you would like to use your equipment for. Whether you use the DCB II swing adapter or the directly attachable TLS APO photo adapter, you can switch between photo and observation mode in seconds.

Close to objects with a large zoom and long focal length

The long focal lengths that occur with digiscoping (e.g. SWAROVSKI OPTIK ATX 85 + SWAROVSKI OPTIK DCB II swing adapter + Canon S95 gives a focal length of around 3,000 mm with a 60x zoom) mean that an extensive zoom range can be used.

Cost-effective compared to conventional telephoto lenses

Standard telephoto lenses used in photography with comparable focal lengths (> 31 in / 800 mm) are usually very expensive to buy (approx. > USD 9,000 / EUR 7,000) and are suitable solely for photography and not for observation.
Therefore, combining spotting scopes with digiscoping adapters and cameras offers an attractive option for increasing user benefits and allowing you to get more out of your equipment. The advantages of telephoto lenses are their auto focus and adjustable aperture, while some models already have an image stabilization feature available. However, when making this comparison, weight is the second crucial advantage over photographic telephoto lenses. For instance, the SWAROVSKI OPTIK ATX 85 weighs 67.4 oz / 1,910 g, unlike current 800 mm telephoto lenses that weigh around 11 lbs / 5 kg.

Respect for wild animals: observing and photographing from an appropriate distance

SWAROVSKI OPTIK attaches huge importance to showing respect for the animal world and nature, and to their conservation. Digiscoping provides you with the unique opportunity to observe wild animals from a close proximity, while keeping the necessary distance. High magnifications over long focal lengths are a prerequisite for this and allow you to observe the natural behavior of wild animals while still seeing and recording the smallest details.

When starting out, use a tripod to take your photos, and, if possible, use a cable or wireless shutter release, or a self-timer, in order to minimize the risk of vibration when pressing the release button. Set your tripod at a low height and choose a stable base. A viewing platform with a wooden floor and other digiscopers next to you usually makes it difficult to take sharp images, and should therefore be avoided while you are inexperienced. Remove any carrying belts and straps from your camera and tripod to avoid unnecessary vibrations that could be caused by them or similar items hanging down. Increase your confidence in your camera by trying out the relevant functions first so that you can make full use of them later on. You can find out more information on this topic in the Expert Tips section and under Honing your skills. You can then definitely look forward to awesome digiscoping images.