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ATS65

Manufacturer
Swarovski

Reviews summary

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Overall rating
5.00 star(s) 4 ratings
Recommended
Yes
Price
0$
Pros
  • Light Weight, Size
Cons
  • Eyecap 20x60x had to be removed with digiscope bracket DCA
Hi, I own the HD version. I love it. The point I would like to add in the review is the importance of the eye-piece, based on my own experience.

I bought the ATS65 with the 20-60x zoom eyepiece because I thought this to be most versatile and also is often a set-offer. For normal use this is a very good option but for digiscoping my experience is a bit different.

I tried digiscoping with the Swarovski angular bracket. It works fine with the zoom piece up to around 45x. Above that the combination with the AT65 I find too dark. Zooming in on the camera at a lower eyepiece magnification I find gives better results and also removes the vignetting. Despite the kit I found it still difficult to get consistent acceptable results.

A much better option for digiscoping with the AT65 I experienced is to use a wide-angle eyepiece. Having spend already a fortune on the scope and the bracket I was lucky to buy a second hand 20x wide angle eye-piece on e-bay. I was surprised to see the difference in field of view between the 20-60x zoom and the 20x wide angle. The technical info from Swarovski states this, 20x on the 20-60x zoom gives a field of view of 36m at 1000m. The same magnification on the 20SW gives 60m/1000m, but from these numbers I had not realised the big difference in practice.

I must say that in normal use the 20x SW is therefore very pleasing to the eye, but with digiscoping it makes an even greater difference and I find I get much better results. The combination 20xSW with DCA bracket also fits better and you can leave the protective eye cap connected to the eyepiece.

I now carry the scope standard with the 20x SW and when buying you may want to try different eyepieces yourself before doing what I did by assuming the zoom to be the logical choice.
Recommended
Yes
Price
0$
Pros
  • Light weight
Cons
  • Price
A lovely scope and a joy to use. Bright, clear and excellent zoom. I\'ve had the HD for about six months and it meets all my requirements.

My only regret is that every time I use it for digiscoping, I wonder how much better the 80mm would have been. Are another two stops worth the extra weight and money?

I particularly like the zoom lens which I find performs well across the range.
Recommended
Yes
Price
0$
Pros
  • Beautifully designed; brilliant optically.
Cons
  • Expensive.
My son is lucky enough to have the ED version and it is a very fine, lightweight scope. The zoom eyepiece is itself rather bulky but expensive looking (as it should be for the price!) but does give a very wide view for this kind of eyepiece. I don't think the image drops off much at 60x in sharpness, just in brightness.
Recommended
Yes
Price
0$
Pros
  • Quality of a higher price band scope and a massive eyepiece!
Cons
  • Reduction of clarity at max zoom in low light. Not much else really.
Last year I decided to go for a Scope and the new Swarovski scopes were very tempting. I was not keen on spending an extravagant sum on the Swarovski ATS65HD so I asked the shop to obtain a non HD model the ATS65 for me to compare the two side by side.

First impressions after training them both on a shop sign down the street was that there was no discernable difference at all. I opted to go for the cheaper non HD model.

As for the eyepiece, I went for the 20-60x zoom version to give myself greater scope (pardon the pun).

How have I got on with it since then. I have to say 'absolutely great'. The only drawback is I compromised the lightweightness by getting a heavy tripod whihc defeats the object of Swarovski's principle product aim.

I really think the best part of the scope is the wide focussing ring that runs right round the body. It is confortable and you are actually stabilising the scope by holding a bigger area of the body while focussing rather than fiddling with knobs. The focussing is as close as nine or ten feet away, good for butterflies.

The scope performs well when it is cold enough for everything to freeze over thanks to it's nitrogen gas filling.

The whole body is rubberised on the outside and is fully waterproof to a certain depth. This gives me confidence when out birding in the lashing rain.

The zoom eyepiece is wonderful but does have it's downsides. The upsides are I can zoom in on object a fair way off and still get good clear images albeit with a reduced depth of field. The downside is when you zoom right out to 60x in poor light it is not too clear but then again that applies to all scopes really. The zoom does help when seawatching. There is a clever innovation, when you remove the eyepiece there is a disc you can fix to the body to keep it protected in transit. The eyepiece is locked in, to remove it you press a button to release a pin before twisting it off meaning they don't work loose. The eyecups are twist up and down ones which is handy for a four eyes like me. The rubber sleeve round the eyepiece for adjusting the zoom came loose too often and in the end I had to superglue the whole thin back one. No probs since then!

Sizewise, it wins again. On my bus based birding trips the body and eyepiece together easily fit into my daysack.

The footplate is wonderful to Manfrotto tripod owners as you do not need an attachment footplate. The scope slots straight into the manfrotto tripod head.

There is a targetting tube you can fit to the side to allow location of birds but I find this absolutely rubbish. I only use it to keep my stay on case in place.

Now the pictures, I get as clear an image as you could expect with a top model. I must admit I looked into a ATS80HD next to mine and the image was slightly better. That is probably not due to the HD lens but the larger objective lens gathering more light.

Digiscoping. I have taken a few nice pictures with my scope and the Coolpix4500. I am not sure if I could have got better pictures with an HD model. A camera might be more sensitive than the human eye. The result may be a step up in shutter speed with an HD model, I will never know. I tend to keep my zoom eyepiece down to 20-30x zoom to allow more light in thus higher shutter speeds. Only when there is enough light do I go higher than this but that is as a last resort.

I hope I have covered everything here, if there are questions please feel free to ask. I am not highly technical minded but can give a layman's opinion.
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