I decided for myself that dispensing with the eyepiece and the camera lens and going with the "prime focus" option allows much better image quality, and still sufficient "reach" or magnification with something like an 80mm f/6 APO refractor telescope. Maybe you already read the thread I started, "Digiscoping vs. Astroscoping." However, since you want a spotting scope for visual use as well as a bird photography rig, I would agree that the Kowa spotting scope is probably the better choice. With the spotting scope I would be choosing before each outing one of 2 different modes: (1) primarily visual observation with the eyepiece and an iPhone adapter for casual or documentary photos/movies or (2) exclusively photography in prime focus mode with a micro-4/3 camera.
PS: Regardless of whether you do traditional digiscoping through an eyepiece/camera lens or prime focus, either way you will focus manually, so make sure your new scope has a fine focus knob (the Kowa does so you should be set). I really enjoy the 10:1 smooth fine focus knob on my little 80mm astronomy telescope... With the bird magnified in the EVF/LCD and using focus peaking, you need that fine control to help you nail the focus precisely, but the great thing is that as long as the bird gives you enough time, you can nail the focus confidently and perfectly. I cannot always say that when I'm relying on complex lenses with autofocus systems.
Last edited by opticoholic : Sunday 25th September 2016 at 01:49.
Reason: added PS