Taking telephoto shots with a digital camera
Don't have a 1000mm lens to go with that old SLR camera?  Not to worry! If you have a spotting scope and a digital camera with an LCD display, you're all set.  Here's how to get those close-ups.

Elegant Trogon
Madera Canyon

  • Focus the scope on a perched bird, or any other relatively stationary target
  • Turn on the LCD display on your digital camera
  • Place the lens of the camera against the eyepiece of the scope
  • Looking at the LCD display, adjust the camera until it is flush with the eyepiece and you see the bird on the display
  • Let the autofocus on the digital camera focus on your bird
  • Snap the picture!

Other suggestions to get the best possible shots:

  • If you can adjust it manually, set your shutter speed to 1/300 or better to reduce vibration or camera shake
  • Use the prefocus option (depress the shutter partially until the camera focuses on the target), center your target on back LCD, then depress the shutter fully - this speeds up the picture recording

I've seen this procedure work on many types of digital cameras; hopefully it will work for you!

Berylline Hummingbird on nest at Ramsey Canyon

Loggerhead Shrike - Salton Sea


Last Update: 9 Jan 2002
Photos Henry D. Detwiler