Content & Photos © Bill Schmoker unless noted otherwise. Thanks for visiting- drop me a comment!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Nikon Birding ProStaff

Some of you faithful readers may have noticed a new icon on the top of the left banner- the vaunted yellow Nikon logo. I'm very pleased to announce that I've joined the Nikon Birding ProStaff.

I would like to thank Leica and especially their birding market specialist, Jeff Bouton, for years of a rewarding affiliation. I deeply appreciate the connections and friendships that Jeff & Leica helped me forge, and for the great times and great birds we had at events (both officially and unofficially.) I will always be proud of the time I spent using the awesome gear with the red dot!

As you may also know, I've been a Nikon DSLR guy since the very first rig I got for digital bird photography (a D100 with 80-400mm f/5.6 VR.) I'm now shooting mainly a D300 with a 200-400mm f/4 VR lens, a rig that feels like a natural extension of my eye (both in physical and creative aspects.) The same legendary extra-low dispersion (ED) glass found in Nikon lenses is now at the center of their EDG line of sport optics. I've been using the EDG 8x42 binocular and the 65mm EDG Fieldscope for a few weeks now, and I'm blown away by the vivid, crisp images these optics produce. I've got to say it is exciting to be birding at a time when glass this sharp, bright, and comfortable is available!

I've also been playing around with some digiscoping using my new EDG Fieldscope. I'm still using my Panasaonic DMC-G1 (a mirror-less DSLR that I've discussed before.) I await testing the EDG 20/25 X Long Eye Relief eyepiece (LERs are well-known for vignette-free digiscoping) along with a more formal adapter, but for now I'm slamming stuff by hand-holding the G1 to the Fieldscope's zoom, using an improvised but effective centering guide made from a surplus adapter ring that I scavenged from an another digiscoping adapter. I back the scope zoom off to pretty wide and zoom in to approx. 30mm on the G1 kit lens, at the camera's medium-sized file setting (6 megapixels.) I use aperture priority, wide open (typically f/5 or so depending on the zoom setting), commonly at ISO 200 or 400 to maintain good shutter speed. At these settings I get vignette-free images that are sharp edge-to-edge (or should I say EDG to EDG??) The combo is amazingly fast, acquiring and shooting about as fast as my DSLR once scope focus is reasonably close (the camera can then make up the difference even if a bird moves in and out a bit.) All of the shots in this post were digiscoped using the new rig.

Anyway, I want to thank Nikon Sport Optics for the opportunity to promote their optics as a member of their Birding ProStaff. I'm humbled by the quality and reputations of birders I've joined there and am thrilled to have Nikon ED glass in front of me whether I'm photographing, using bins, scoping, or digiscoping.

8 comments:

Connie Kogler said...

Super congratulations to you Bill!

DaveABirding said...

Well deserved from what I have seen. Congratulations!

dAwN said...

Congratulations!

Tranquil Pictures said...

Wonderful blog, keep up the great work!

Azahari Reyes @ Jason a.k.a horukuru said...

Excellent pics William !

I had the opportunity to used the EDG65 for several days with FSA-L2 and D3 camera courtesy of Nikon Malaysia.

The results is amazing hehehe and I like it very much. I have posted short review at birdforum.net http://birdforum.net/showthread.php?t=145280

Happy birding

Anonymous said...

Bill
Thanks for the report on the 65EDG. I use the 82 ED angle and get reasonable good results. Have looked online at the 85EDG which looks amazing. Looking forward to reports on 85EDG scope. Even now I want one. Some day I hope.
ATB and thaks.
Tom Cuffe
www.iol.ie/~birdsgalway

wengchun said...

great shots of the hummer! clear and sharp! I can't find anyone in my area that owns a EDG scope. But from the excellent images produced, I believe this is an outstanding optics for digiscoping.

WengChun
http://www.nature2pixel.com

gate valves said...

amzing bird pictures. i like the last pic. what a great blog.