What is Digiscoping Anyway? Understanding the Basics

Ever since the advent of cameras, capturing imagery has been an activity treasured by many. However, the interest in photography has increased exponentially since the days when photos were accompanied by a pop of sound and a flash of smoke. 

Photography, in general, entails a lot of concepts, terms, and equipment that’s lost on the average Joe wanting to click off an image. Still, there are many basic concepts to learn; aperture, aspect ratio, shutter speed…the list goes on. 

However, one of the most confusing (and often unknown) photography concepts is “digiscoping”. In its most basic sense, digiscoping is a method of telephoto photography. It achieves greater focal lengths. This is just a fancy way of saying it helps you capture faraway objects with a magnifying device; or placing the lens of a digital camera to the eyepiece of a spotting scope or binoculars to take photos.

Digiscoping a form of photography that allows you to draw distant subjects closer via optics and some form of camera lens like your smartphone.

However you define it, digiscoping is a fun, useful, and inexpensive way to take good pictures without depending on a pricey camera and long telephoto lens. While many photographers pair their optics with a traditional camera, today, many digiscope using the camera on their smartphone. And it makes for a formidable combo.

Choose a Camera Device

First, you’ll need some form of camera. Here, smartphones, tablets, and GoPros are popular choices. Again, the most common choice is the smartphone – and for good reason. Today’s smartphones come standard with remarkable cameras and, after all, most people never leave home without them anyway. Also, since most people already own one, they are, by default, a very cost-effective option. 

Choose Your Optics

Drawing distant objects and landscapes closer is the main purpose of digiscoping. Therefore, regardless of activity or venue, magnification is necessary. As such, you’ll want to decide on the type of optics to pair with your smartphone or other form of camera. While spotting scopes and binoculars are always popular options, there are other alternatives such as rifle scopes, microscopes, telescopes, and rangefinders. 

The Adapter Kit

Finally, to digiscope, you need an apparatus to connect your camera and optics. 

In past years, I spent a lot of time holding my smartphone camera up to my binoculars, usually to magnify and capture deer and other wildlife. It was fun but cumbersome. 

Luckily, a friend introduced me to Phone Skope a few years back on a hunting trip and I haven’t looked back. 

Phone Skope offers adapter kits that seamlessly connect my smartphone to my binoculars and spotting scopes. This has been a photography game changer for me for outdoor excursions, vacations, and birdwatching. 

Today, I even use it for videoing, social media, and honestly, added incentive to get outside.

The Components 

The basic components of a digiscoping kit are the optic adapter and phone case (with a removable disc). 

For example, when using a smartphone as your camera: The connection is achieved by placing your smartphone in the custom case, attaching the removable disc, and placing the optic adaptor over the optics eyepiece. Your smartphone can now be attached to your optics. 

The Phone Skope digiscoping kit includes an optic adapter for your optics (left) and a custom phone case with attaching removable disc (right).

While Phone Skope kits are available at outdoor outlets and photography shops, the easy online Phone Skope Builder is the best option.

Perhaps aside from utility, the best feature is pricing, as most Phone Skope kits come in at less than $100. The price point is ideal for amateur photographers, even those just flying by the seat of their pants. Don’t kid yourself though, many seasoned photographers still use digiscoping kits as a companion to their main photography and videography quests.

Common Applications

Once assembled, your digiscoping setup yields magnified images and videos that can be shared – and after trying it, you’ll discover the nearness provided by this easy and affordable approach to telephoto photography.

The Phone Skope adapter kit connects your smartphone to spotting scopes, binoculars, and other optics.

Digiscoping adds a new dimension to so many activities, including birdwatching, vacationing, hunting, and hiking. The list is almost endless. 

The process isn’t hard to master and will better connect you to the outdoor spaces around you. Give a little thought to the outdoor pursuits you most enjoy and there is likely a good reason to digiscope while enjoying them. The best part is, once completed, you have unique images to share with friends and family.

Digiscoping is a righteous activity on many levels – and it’s easy. What are you waiting for?

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