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CSG Thursday 20th April 2017 19:19

Digiscoping with iPhone SE question
So I made a quick attempt using the Kowa iPhone 5 holder on my Kowa 883. I saw there was an image circle on my phone and used the zoom to eliminate it. Of course, the digital zoom almost immediately destroys an image with artifacts.

So when digiscoping with one's phone, do you leave the image circle alone and then crop in post in order to achieve the best results?

You can see some vignetting shadow in the image as well as the digital artifacts. Enlarging it reveals even more.

Interested in learning the best techniques for spotting scope digiscoping. Oh, I stabbed at the shutter rather than using headphones for the release.

FrankD Friday 21st April 2017 15:14


That is a very respectable phonescoped pic of that male House Sparrow. Good color.

Yes, utilizing the digital zoom on the Iphone does destroy some detail. And, of course, the more of it that you use then the more it "smooths over" the image. I typically find that if you use the digital zoom less than half way through its range then this effect is lessened noticeably.

If you are looking to eliminate this all together then the best way is the cropping method you mentioned. Take the pic without the digital zoom utilized at all and then just eliminate the vignetting by cropping. It can be a bit more difficult to get the sharpest focus using this method but, if the subject cooperates, you can always use the digital zoom first to get the best focus, then utilize the focus lock on the phone, and then zoom back out to zero digital zoom to take the pic.

I don't have specific experience with phonescoping with the Kowa but if you are still getting some black shadowing around the edges then I would suggest tinkering with the eyecup extension from the eyepiece body. There should be a "perfect spot" where you only get a perfectly round circle without any blackouts. You may have to tinker a bit to find it though.

Hope this helps.

CSG Friday 21st April 2017 17:24

Thanks, Frank. IIRC, Kowa says to twist the eyecup fully inwards (like for glasses wearers). I was getting a clean circle but I suspect it's simply a limit of using a phone for digiscoping and that it will be better for casual photography. However, I wouldn't share that sparrow photo other than to show the issue I had.

I've been trying to avoid buying a long lens for my Nikon D7200 (although it may be worth trying the adapter for a DSLR before I get too far into things.)

FrankD Friday 21st April 2017 18:14


Yes, there is a limit to the quality of the photos you can get using any smart phone. Small sensor..not enough megapixels.....yet. For use on the internet the photos are fine but I haven't taken many that would even approach the quality of what you can get from a DSLR with a long lens.

For what it is worth the scope that I have seen the most impressive phonescoped pics from is the one that you bought. The combination of large objective (88 mm) coupled with the fluorite lens makes it perfect for this type of application. The Kowa rep from Florida just got into phonescoping this past year after spending quite a bit of time doing traditional digiscoping with it. Some of the photos he has taken are truly excellent.

CSG Friday 21st April 2017 18:28

Again, thank you for your comments. I'm an experienced photographer (50+ years now) but the digiscoping thing is a new concept to me. I've always viewed phone cameras, even the very decent iPhone SE camera as little more than fixed lens snapshot cameras (but better than our old Brownies!). It's easy to see the limitations of using a phone camera for this purpose but I suspect I'll get better at it.

FrankD Friday 21st April 2017 20:55


Here is the gentleman I was referring to in my previous post.

CSG Friday 21st April 2017 21:34

Terrific, Frank, thank you!

CSG Sunday 23rd April 2017 00:27

OK, now we're getting somewhere with the scope and phone. I spent a bit more time adjusting the phone adapter on the eyepiece and figuring out where I had to be with the eyecup position and zoom ratio to get rid of the vignetting. I took a burst of this female Brewer's blackbird when a male zoomed by.

This is an 8x10 portrait crop from the full iPhone image (taken horizontally). I'm about about 50x zoom through the Kowa. The eyecup was out to about the first detent and then I adjusted the zoom to get rid of as much vignetting as I could.[email protected]/33396426733/

FrankD Sunday 23rd April 2017 02:13

Definitely better!

tuamfoik Sunday 23rd April 2017 05:30

Hi CSG, nice job mate :)....

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