Digiscoping is a neologism for the activity of using a digital camera
Digital camera
A digital camera is a camera that takes video or still photographs, or both, digitally by recording images via an electronic image sensor. It is the main device used in the field of digital photography...

 to record distant images by coupling it with an optical telescope
Optical telescope
An optical telescope is a telescope which is used to gather and focus light mainly from the visible part of the electromagnetic spectrum for directly viewing a magnified image for making a photograph, or collecting data through electronic image sensors....

. The term usually refers to using either a digital single-lens reflex camera
Digital single-lens reflex camera
Most digital single-lens reflex cameras are digital cameras that use a mechanical mirror system and pentaprism to direct light from the lens to an optical viewfinder on the back of the camera....

 with lens attached or, more often, a fixed lens point and shoot digital camera to obtain photos through the eyepiece
An eyepiece, or ocular lens, is a type of lens that is attached to a variety of optical devices such as telescopes and microscopes. It is so named because it is usually the lens that is closest to the eye when someone looks through the device. The objective lens or mirror collects light and brings...

 of a birdwatcher's spotting scope
Spotting scope
A spotting scope is a small portable telescope with added optics to present an erect image, optimized for the observation of terrestrial objects...

 using a technique called afocal photography
Afocal photography
Afocal photography, also called afocal imaging or afocal projection is a method of photography where the camera with its lens attached is mounted over the eyepiece of another image forming system such as a optical telescope or optical microscope, with the camera lens taking the place of the human...

. It has also been associated with using a digital camera and spotting scope equipped for prime focus photography. The word "digiscoping" was coined in 1999 by French birdwatcher
Birdwatching or birding is the observation of birds as a recreational activity. It can be done with the naked eye, through a visual enhancement device like binoculars and telescopes, or by listening for bird sounds. Birding often involves a significant auditory component, as many bird species are...

 Alain Fossé. Less notable neologisms for this activity are digiscope birding, digiscopy birding, digi-birding, digibinning (using digital camera with binoculars
Binoculars, field glasses or binocular telescopes are a pair of identical or mirror-symmetrical telescopes mounted side-by-side and aligned to point accurately in the same direction, allowing the viewer to use both eyes when viewing distant objects...

), and phonescoping (using a digital camera phone
Camera phone
A camera phone is a mobile phone which is able to capture still photographs . Since early in the 21st century the majority of mobile phones in use are camera phones....

 with a spotting scope or binoculars).


The origins of the activity called Digiscoping has been attributed to the photographic methods of Laurence Poh, a birdwatcher from the Malaysian Nature Society
Malaysian Nature Society
Malaysian Nature Society is the oldest and one of the most prominent environmental not for profit, non-governmental organizations in Malaysia. It was first established, as the Malayan Nature Society, with the launch of the Malayan Nature Journal, in 1940...

, who discovered in 1999 almost by accident that the new generation of point and shoot digital cameras could be held up to the eyepiece of a standard spotting scope and achieve surprisingly good results. He spread his findings through birding internet discussion forums
Internet forum
An Internet forum, or message board, is an online discussion site where people can hold conversations in the form of posted messages. They differ from chat rooms in that messages are at least temporarily archived...

 and one member, French birdwatcher Alain Fossé, coined the name “digiscoping” to describe the technique. Laurence Poh is sometimes credited with "inventing" the technique although his contribution may be more along the lines of popularizing the idea and refining the technology. Using a camera with its lens attached at the eyepiece of a optical devices such as microscopes or telescopes, creating an afocal system
Afocal system
In optics an afocal system is an optical system that produces no net convergence or divergence of the beam, i.e. has an infinite effective focal length. This type of system can be created with a pair of optical elements where the distance between the elements is equal to the sum of each element's...

(technically called afocal photography or afocal projection) has been used for nearly 100 years and digital camera afocal photography was already being employed in the amateur astronomical community. This form of afocal photography is now becoming more common in general photography with the spread of point and shoot digital cameras because of the ease of use of this type of setup. A whole new industry has sprung up selling couplers and other devices for mounting digital cameras afocally.

Further reading

External links

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