Thursday, March 02, 2006

The New Setup!

When my Nikon Coolpix 995 developed a quirky power problem a few weeks ago, I realized it was finally time to retire it. Though what a great digiscoping camera it has been. Since purchasing it in early 2002, I've taken over 30,000 images through it. The volume of work in my gallery is a testament to its 4+ years of great service and dependability.

Then came the obvious conundrum - which camera could possibly replace it? I wanted something around 8 or 9 megapixels, so the Fuji FinePix E900 was a worthy contender, but it uses xD-Picture Card media. Since I have an older PC with a SanDisk compact flash reader (and only a USB 1.0 port on my trusty Asus/PII), I wanted to stick with a camera that used compact flash media. I really didn't want to upgrade my computer in order to minimize expenses.

After posting to the Digiscoping Chat listserv, I received great feedback from several digiscopers on the Nikon Coolpix 8400. Yeah, great, yet another discontinued digital camera! One digiscoper I know commented, "I am now using the Olympus c7070wz, which, in true digiscoping form, is also a discontinued camera." There's a sad truth to this notion as it pertains to the digiscoping market, if there even is such a thing.

Additionally, reports on new digital cameras from the recent PMA show have been pretty bleak and the perfect camera for digiscoping seems yet to be realized. But I needed something soon. After doing a little shopping around, I found a brand new Nikon Coolpix 8400 with a 1-year warranty on and made an impulse decision to go with it.

The 8400 has a 52mm accessory thread and an external zoom, so I needed to pick up an adapter tube from CKCPower to complete the connection to the Swarovski DCA. The interchangeable adapter ring is a cool feature of the Swarovski Digital Camera Adapter - it can easily be converted to 28mm, 37mm, 43mm and 52mm thread sizes.

In the end I didn't have to upgrade my computer, or buy another media card reader - just a new camera and adapter tube and now I'm good to go. Since the 8400's software is similar to the 995, I've already programmed the settings for digiscoping. So my next mission will be to get out there and obtain some images with my new setup.

Image © 2006 Mike McDowell

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