The Contax SL300R T*
Main Features for the Digiscoper/Birder:

Internally focusing 3x Zeiss Vario-Tessar T* coated zoom lens (i.e. non moving, as per Nikon coolpix 950/990/995/4500)
28mm thread adapter (plastic, fits to lens hood of camera)
3.34mp CCD (enough for 10x8 prints of high quality, A4 more than possible)
3.5 frames per second capture rate until memory card is full
0.07 second shutter-lag
Less than 1 second start-up time
Swivel design (as per Nikon coolpix cp950/990/995/4500)
1.5 inch Monitor (the most non-reflective I have ever seen)
Aperture Priority (f2.8 or f7.5)
1/2000 sec top shutter-speed
Micro-sized and weight of 125g
Rugged die-cast magnessium body

My initial findings after a few days of use

Digiscoping with the SL300R T*
An extremely simple camera to operate, with just a few menu options to sort out before you start taking digiscoped images.
Aperture priority needs to be enabled and set to the minimum f# of f2.8 as well as setting spot AF and spot metering (or partial spot if you wish).

And to be honest, that's about it!!
The ease in which anyone can take good digiscoped photos with this camera is unbelievable, all with the benefit of 3.5fps and minimal shutter-lag. The smaller size of the ccd in this camera results in greater depth of field, meaning focus is not as critical and it does seem to produce faster shutter-speeds at a given magnification when compared to my Nikon cameras. Cable Release Adapter NOW AVAILABLE, see below

Here are a few early examples (though weather has been gloomy) More details and photos soon.
Top images shows size difference vs Nikon cp4500, below is the 28mm thread adapter
This one was taken at iso200, no noise reduction was employed in-computer.
1/45 second with no cable-release. 7 shots in 2 seconds gives at least one sharpish image
Cable Release Adapter from Pennine Photographic & Binocular Centre
                    Now Also Available For The Contax U4R
One slightly disappointing aspect of the SL300RT* was the lack of tripod socket to allow use of a cable release bracket and therefore a cable release. There didn't seem to be any way around this to a few of us trying out the camera. Then Mike at Pennine Photographic came up with this brilliantly simple cable release 'clip'. Quite honestly, it is far better than the cumbersome devices we have to use on the Nikon cameras.

Price is around £39.00 including a 20 inch high quality vinyl cable release in the package.
The latest version of this bracket has a thread at the bottom to allow fitting to a tripod.... may sound silly but this does allow this camera to now be used on the bracket type adapters instead of just the traditional sleeve/tube type designs.

Powering the SL300RT
The tiny batteries supplied with this camera don't last a serious digiscoping session out. I would say 3 batteries would be needed for a hard days digiscoping. The batteries are not much thigger than a compactflash card so you're not going ot be weighed down by them.

As standard, you charge the batteries in-camera, which isn't ideal but you can buy a seperate battery charger.

A very nice alternative is the Contax Battery Pack. This allows 4xAA to power the camera, and 4x 2300mah batteries will power this camera for a long time.

Incidentally, this camera has very neat power saving feature in that you can switch off the monitor illumination and use daylight for illumination. This really does work a treat.
The Contax U4R T*
Digiscoping With Contax - Kyocera
Very similar to SL300RT* BUT with the following improvements

4.2mp sensor allowing 10x8 prints with ease.

2 inch monitor, an absolute godsend when trying to focus the scope onto the subject

9 point mulit function AF available.

usb cradle for easy charging and downloading. Video Out now available for connection to tv.
After some early trials with this camera I have to say it's slightly better than my initial reaction. The one problem that I felt was holding back the U4R was the inability for the user to manually set aperture to widest, which guarantess the fastest shutter-speed for the available light.

Sports mode gets around this by making sure the aperture is at it's widest but the camera decides upon iso setting in this mode, which can mean noisy images.

ISO100 on this camera is fairly noisy, though ISO50 is good. I'd suggest shooting in normal mode and manually selecting the lowest ISO setting, if you are after a high quality image.

If you are desperate to get a reasonably sharp image of a once in a lifetime bird, sports mode will effectively guarantee a 'record shot'
Unfortunately battery life is not great, get several spares if you can find them. Unlike the SL300R T camera, the U4R doesn't have a power input socket to enable use with the Contax battery pack. There maybe the possibility of putting the cradle socket to use in the future for an additional battery pack, but don't hold your breathe.
Penine photographic now have a great digiscoping adapter that works with the Zeiss scopes. It doesn't fix via the lens thread adapter but clamps the camera into place. Photos coming, but check out their site. Not cheap I'm afraid but will allow use of the Kyocera SL300, SL400 and the Contax SL300R T*
Very high quality build!!

Digiscoping Accessories for Contax - Kyocera Cameras

The EagleEye Contax - Kyocera
Digiscoping Accessory Kit review is HERE
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