While building your dream digiscoping kit you may find yourself faced with a question:
To use a lens, or not to use a lens?
We make different camera adapters for each scenario. So, how do you choose between direct projection or thru-the lens?
This will depend on how you digiscope and what's important to you. Will you be spending hours wandering through treacherous terrain and need to keep your kit as light as possible? Will you be planted in one spot not far from the vehicle? Are you capturing flurries of activity or serene stillness? Are you planning to do any editing later?
There is much to consider. But we've simplified things down to some of the major factors.
First, let's see the two different gear configurations:
Clearly, including the lens adds some extra gear and weight to your setup. How much heavier your kit becomes will depend on what types of lenses you have.
But what's the difference in your images?
By using your camera lens, light is bent into a crisp image even away from the center of the field of view. Without a camera lens to focus light from the edges there can be some blurring at the periphery and increased vignetting. See the example below, where the top image demonstrates a direct projection photo (with vignetting) and the bottom image demonstrates a through-the-lens photo.
Subtle differences are detectable in edges of the image. For some digiscopers this vignetting is perfectly fine, especially if they plan to crop the image later anyway. For other digiscopers it's important to reduce vignetting as much as possible.
Below are the major pros and cons of each setup.
Direct Projection (no camera lens).
Pros: Greater magnification, fewer things to carry, lighter setup.
Cons: Increased vignetting, manual lens operation.
Pros: Decreased vignetting, sharper image quality.
Cons: More gear to carry, bulkier attachment to optics.
As you can see, deciding which setup is best will depend on what's important to you. Which is why we offer both styles:
Are you looking for more advice on camera equipment? Check out our deep dive on cameras and lenses.
Did we miss anything? Contact us to let us know!