Nikon EDG Fieldscope 85 with digital SLR camera attachment FSA-L2


Over the last few years I’ve reviewed a number of digiscoping set-ups, most aimed at compact cameras attached to or using the eyepiece of the telescope involved. But the Nikon EDG camera attachment/adapter, FSAL2, is for the use of a Nikon digital SLR fitted to the EDG Fieldscope body (see Birdwatch 209: 41). Armed with the adapter, a straight version of the scope and a D300S I set out to put the new set-up to the test.

The FSA-L2 fits between the camera and scope body and is a zoom adapter featuring an internal vari-magnification system, which converts the scope into a manual focus 500 mm f5.9-1,750 mm f21 zoom lens. Powerful stuff, and if the 1.5x crop factor of the D300s is also factored in, the scope is in effect a 750 mm-2,625 mm lens – even more powerful! But with all that power and magnification comes the problems of camera shake and dark images through the viewfinder.

Manual focus at 500 mm was not a problem. At the higher magnifications, however, when the viewfinder became darker as the effective aperture was smaller, it was difficult. Despite this I did achieve some good images, even at the extreme end of the zoom scale. Focusing at this high magnification is critical and the tiniest shake or movement will lead to a blurred image.

At 500-600 mm it was as good as many lenses I’ve used in the past; I tried handholding at the 500 mm setting for flight shots of gulls, again with some success. Close focusing is excellent, as close as on my 500 mm lens, which is about 12 feet.

Although I did hand-hold this set-up, I would recommend using a tripod to keep it steady, or a bean bag when shooting from the car. It’s best also to use ISO speeds of 400 or more to ensure the fastest shutter speed possible, and excellent results will be possible.

When using the scope as a lens it should be noted that not all camera functions will work; obviously there is no auto focus, but additionally exposure mode is either auto, aperture priority or manual, and only centre-weighted metering is possible.

Tech spec

Price: EDG Fieldscope 85 body £1,899.99; FSA-L2 £649.99
Weight: EDG Fieldscope 85 2,030 g; FSA-L2 435 g
F-stop: 5.9-21
Focal length: 500-1,750 mm
Guarantee: 10 years