The first thing you need to do is decide just what you want in the way pics. Just keeping some 4x6s for a scrapbook is one thing, making huge enlargements and hanging them on the wall is quite another.
Quality can be quite good when using a spotting scope
as a telephoto lens, but, just as with a camera lens, image quality is directly a product of the optical
quality of the scope you are using. Don't expect a $200 spotting scope
to rival an expensive spotting scope
or telephoto camera lens Not going to happen and not worth the effort if you plan to make something to hang on the wall. If you want wall hanging quality enlargements there are no shortcuts - it will cost you, whether it be a spotting scope
or dedicated SLR telephoto camera lens. Of the two, the dedicated telephoto is the best option, but 400mm will be an absolute minimum and getting the aperture you really need is very, very expensive. That's why most folks resort to using a spotting scope
. Even a $2000 spotting scope
is cheaper than a 600m f4 camera lens, these days. l
Using an SLR with a scope also has limitations and some issues. First of all, spotting scopes
make very, very slow telephoto lenses. This is especially true of Maks, which are basically in the neighborhood of f/10 to f/13. That means no low light photography - bright day light, only. It also means that ANY movement of the subject means a blurred image and birds are notoriously poor subjects in this regard. In plain English, it means slow lenses take a long time to deliver the needed light and that means long shutter times and long shutter times allow a bird too much time to move.
Focusing is also an issue with an SLR behind a scope. Focusing screens on SLRs are not made for those kinds of focal lengths and those focal lengths also translate to very dark images, which makes the problem even worse.
I would strongly suggest you pursue digiscoping - mounting a small point and shoot digital over the eyepiece. Forget the SLR. Pic quality is not quite as good in digiscoping, but it gives you access to much more magnification and this will get you pics with shorebirds you will never get using an SLR, even with an expensive dedicated telephoto lens of large aperture. It's also much easier in terms of focusing.
I've done both types of bird photography with spotting scopes
for years, not to mention many years of using big and expensive telephoto lenses. Most of us are now doing digiscoping. See my blogs for some good examples of what you can do with digiscoping at my blogs, Binoculars