I often see talk about macro lenses, but not for telephoto/telescopic lenses. I’m curious to know, how well do they work? Is it possible to at least get an identifiable shot with them?
I tried a fairly sophisticated combination of an Opticron BGA 8x42 monocular and their Universal Smartphone Mount UM-2. My goal was to get reasonable telephoto action on bike packing trips without carrying a real camera. When I took time to get everything set up, aligned and used a small light weight tripod it worked OK, but not great. The combination was not quick nor agile and thus not really suited for wildlife.
If I was to try again I would look for a simpler set up that aligned quickly and was easy to use handheld. However, my current plan is to go to a newer, higher quality phone that has at least a 6x optical zoom (because I’m in the Apple universe that means waiting a few months)
I got a real cheap one like 10$, its… okay. While my photos of birds and such have definitely improved it it does not autofocus and took a few weeks to get to the point where it was giving me nicer photos then my standard iPhone camera. The clip is already starting to crack and I basically just carry it around in my pocket when it’s not in use.
I’ve since upgraded to a proper camera, but I used an Apexel 18x clip-on tele for my phone for a while. The main thing it has going for it is that it is inexpensive.
I found it fiddly to get in place so that the lens was centered over the cellphone camera and my camera case is too thick to use with the clip so I would have to take it off anytime I wanted to use it. The photo quality was OK, albeit generally a bit pale, with a very limited manual focus. It also required fairly steady hands or the photo would be blurred beyond recognition.
I got some useable observations out of it (mostly stationary waterbirds or far-away plants), but I found it impractical for birds in flight or songbirds likely to flit away while I was trying to get the lens in place. So overall, it extended the range of possibilities (sometimes), but was fairly frustrating to use.
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/149482579 (2nd photo without the tele, for comparison)
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/145359441 (IDable photo of birds on the far side of the lake)
I found that binoculars are better, especially because I usually already have them. Detailed comments here:
And I’m sure other people have suggestions on that thread.
Thanks for the link!
I read that using binoculars with an adaptor is more efficient than using a telescopic lens, is there any difference in terms of photo quality?
Quality would just depend on your lenses. My cheap telephoto wasn’t as good as my cheap binoculars. And I also didn’t use an adaptor.
I bought an adaptor and tried it out with binoculars. Honestly the photos aren’t that bad. My only complaint is that they’re bulky, tough to carry, and the focus is wired.
All photos on this observation were taken using one of the built-in lenses on a Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra, with 10× optical zoom. This one was cropped to make it more easily identifiable:
It’s definitely nowhere near as good as a real DSLR or bridge camera, but very useful in a pinch!
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