I'm very excited that my partner Ian has bought me a zeiss diascope 85 T*FL as a joint Christmas / 30th birthday present. Choosing the scope was quite difficult and even once I had chosen one it was amazing how much it varied in price on different websites. My advice is definitely to shop around - ebay isn't necessarily the cheapest place to buy. I ended up buying mine from a camera shop in Ulverston, Cumbria (though I live in Devon).
My new kit consists of the following:
1 zeiss diascope 85 T*FL - angled, in green:
This diascope comes in both silver and green and more importantly (although I did wait an extra 2 weeks so I could buy the green) in a straight or angled version. The straight version has the advantage of having one less mirror, but the angled version is easier on the neck. Having sat at a computer several hours a day for the last 7 years it was an easy decision to buy the angled one.
Spotting / field scopes vary greatly in quality and price. I bought one of the more expensive scopes so that I wouldn't have to replace it in the near future. For a review of some of the more expensive scopes see here.
A 20x-60x eyepiece
There are 3 options for eyepieces for the diascope: 30x, 40x or 20-60x zoom. The quality is apparently better with a fixed zoom, but I chose the variable zoom so that I could play more.
A zeiss camera adapter 2
Holding a camera next to the scope is unlikely to give a clear photograph simply because of handshake. The zeiss camera adapter, although expensive, is designed specifically to position the camera in front of the scopes lens. It's a little tricky to use initially, but once you get the hang of what all the dials do (much like using a tripod) I'm sure positioning the camera will become second nature. The camera adapter has the advantage that the camera can be swung out of the way of the eyepiece to allow you to search for a subject and focus the scope.
Ideally the best images would be obtained with the following 3 other items:
1) a remote shutter release to prevent my moving the camera when I press the shutter.
2) a camera with a maximum of 3x optical zoom. My 'good' camera has 15x optical zoom and is completely unsuited to being used with a scope. My old camera - the sony DSC-V1 has 4x optical zoom and I shall make do with that for the near future.
3) a very sturdy and steady tripod.
5 years ago