PI Photography

Exercises in Extreme Focal Lengths
Minolta X-20 and Bushnell 15x to 45x Spotting Scope

    The Minolta X-20 ( 2mp, 3x zoom ) and a Bushnell 15x to 45x Spotting Scope ( smaller than the Leica spotter ). Less for both items than most decent digital cameras alone. And you can now get the X-31 ( 3.1 megapixels ) and a 4.0 mp that are now 'old' too. This camera's small front lens makes this an excellent choice for this kind of shooting.

    This is possibly the best combo for many investigators. The slightly older model camera, and a relatively inexpensive spotting scope ( although this one was $300 when I bought it about a dozen years ago - now less ). Put it on any good stable tripod for better shots as such long distances.

    Once again this test was done at about 3/16ths of a mile from the street name sign. Decent light, afternoon and behind me, soft overcast day ( a rarity in Phoenix ).

    I am planning on doing this test again, and shoot the sign a close to a half mile this time ( a pickup was in the way - about a block away ). I was sitting in the roadway, scope on tripod, and camera hand held to the eyepiece.

    These photos are certainly not 'art' quality, but would stand up if it was only info I was trying to get.

    Notice, very little vignetting here, a bit better sharpness too. I paid more attention to focusing the scope and centering the camera on the eyepiece than the last test. Once I can get some form of mount is made then the photos will be much better and take less time between shots too.


    First photo at full wide-angle setting of the camera alone - approx 37mm equiv ( 1x for here ).


    Full telephoto for this lens - 111mm equiv ( 3x )
    You can just see the street name sign off in the distance.


    Now we get to add the scope into the mix. This photo was shot at full telephoto for the camera and at minimum zoom for the spotting scope.

( 3x x 15x = 45x = 1,665mm equiv! )


    Bumping the scope up a bit for this shot. Full telephoto on the camera and a mid-setting on the scope.

( 3x x 25x = 75x = 2,775mm equiv )


    Next is another middle setting on the spotting scope, and still full telephoto on the camera.

( 3x x 35x = 105x = 3,885mm equiv )

    This is possibly the best shot of this test - just shy of 4000mm equiv. Click here    if you'd like to see the full size uncropped 2 megapixel ( 1600 x 1200 ) image.

    Give it a bit to load - only 70k - compressed a bit too much for me - but ... adjust if needed to make sure it displays at full size on your screen.


    And the maximum zoom on the spotting scope with the camera still at full telephoto.

( 3x x 45x = 135x = 4,995mm equiv )

    Nearly 5000mm!!  You are not going to get this in  any  35mm camera - period - ever. Because of the physical size of the lenses - chances are you will never get close to this with most digitals either.


    This is a crop out of the full size image - no resizing. Remember - this was taken at about 3/16ths of a mile from the sign. Handheld.

Copyright  ©  2005  ·  Barry A. Kintner  ·  Arizona Investigators Association  ·  A2Z Computer Works - Phoenix, Arizona