How To Spotting Scope Adapter – Digiscoping

by Brett Wilson

How To Build a “Home Brew” Spotting Scope Adapter (SSA)

A. Parts
First there is a few items you’ll need to buy, but I’ve tried to keep this as cheap as possible yet still be a high quality build. This spotting scope adapter fits my Spotting scope only, I have NOT tried this out on other spotting scopes so please be aware of this. But this should give you a rough idea on how to build your own. Mine turned out really nice and works excellent, actually better than I had hoped it would.

Parts needed include:
-point and shoot camera (video/still, prefer HD capability) I bought the Canon Powershot ELPH 300 HS.
-spotting scope (mine is the Vortex Skyline 80 ED, with straight eye piece)
-Gray Male Adapter 2″
-Gray Female Adapter 2″
-Black Rubber Insert 2″ (see image, taken from inside coupling)
-Black Velcro (Sticky Adhesive)

Tools needed:
-Belt Sander
-Band Saw
-Exacto Knife

B. Building
Pretty simple to build, I didn’t have to do anything at all to modify the gray female adapter. I cut the male adapter off with a band saw as shown in photos. Then sanded the down the flat back side that attaches to the camera so that it’s perfectly smooth and flat. I Then attached the velcro to the back of the male piece as shown. Attached the velcro pieces to my Canon ELPH 300 HS as shown. You can also epoxy glue this male adapter piece to the camera but I DID NOT do this for this reason.  I wanted the male piece to be detachable as to not cover the flash or red eye reduction buttons on the camera. My camera is expensive and I didn’t want to ruin it with permanent glue. If you have a cheaper camera laying around glue might not be a bad option.

I’ll be using my point and shoot occasionally for other things so detaching my male piece via velcro is really slick and easy. I cut a piece or slice out of my 2″ black rubber piece.  I cut just enough so that I have a nice tight fit inside the female adapter piece as shown. With the black rubber insert inside the gray adapter, it now fits perfectly snug onto the end of my spotting scope eyepiece. The size of my end of the spotting scope is 2 1/8″ with the cap off.

C. Final Touches
You can/could paint the spotting scope adapter piece all black if you’d like. I might do that in the future but for now that’s the least of my worries. Simply slide the adapter onto the end of the spotting scope and start shooting HD video or high quality 12.1 MB still images through your spotter.
It works best to have your spotting scope on 20 power (mine goes as high as 60), simply focus your spotter and then zoom in with your point and shoot camera. Mine happens to have a 5x optical zoom but 3x is also works great which is common for small digital cameras.

If your trying to take still pictures vs. video, you’ll need to use the self time mode/option.  As trying to take a picture with your finger on the button without movement is next to impossible.

Happy Shooting, please post your pics/videos of your work.

Image Gallery (click to enlarge)

Instructional Video

Sample Videos

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