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Photos - 20-60xS vs. 25-50xSW eyepiece

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Old Wednesday 27th August 2008, 04:42   #1
ClayTaylorTX
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Photos - 20-60xS vs. 25-50xSW eyepiece

Hi all -

I have finally returned home after an exhausting series of trips, including working the Swarovski Optik UK Digiscoping Stand at the Bird Fair. The new Swarovski 25-50xSW eyepieces were even more impressive than I had imagined they would be, as we had identical ATM 65 HD scopes set side-by-side, one with the new zoom eyepiece, and the other with the 30xSW eyepiece. From inside the tent it was impossible to really evaluate the resolution and brightness of the two eyepieces, but there were no obvious defects in the image of the zoom eyepiece when set at 30x and compared to the fixed-power eyepiece. The fixed eyepiece had a slightly larger FOV, but it was close enough to the zoom that you had to carefully look at the image coverage to see it.

I had hoped to persuade one of the Leica guys to meet me out back of the Optics Marquee for an old-fashioned shootout, but it never happened. However, an employee of another optics company, after seeing the side-by-side ATM 65 HDs, remarked that Swarovski will have a hard time selling 30xSW eyepieces in the future.

On Friday evening I was able to take the zoom, along with my trusty old 20-60xS and my STS 80 HD to one of the hides to get an idea of what to expect. there were a lot of people in the hide, and the floorboards were vibrating a lot, so top-shelf photos were not in the offing.

However, here's the basic view - my Canon A570 IS camera on its wide-angle setting, using the DCA camera adapter. The dramatically larger image circle is the wider AFOV of the new eyepiece. Note that the true FOV is slightly larger than the old zoom at 20x, but the birds are larger due to the 25x. That's a win-win in my book. An added benefit is that P&S cameras that have not worked well behind the older zoom might now do so - one attendee that had a Canon A720 was able to get no vignetting with his camera at WA (equiv. to a 35mm lens, or 0.7x) and the zoom set to 40x - a final equivalent magnification of 28x at the sensor.

Very cool.

Clay Taylor
Swarovski Optik NA
[email protected],net

20-60xS eyepiece at 20x / 25-50XSW at 25x
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Old Wednesday 27th August 2008, 07:14   #2
iporali
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Clay Taylor View Post
one attendee that had a Canon A720 was able to get no vignetting with his camera at WA (equiv. to a 35mm lens, or 0.7x) and the zoom set to 40x - a final equivalent magnification of 28x at the sensor.

Very cool.
Excellent - thank you very much!

What you say actually reveals another breakthrough (besides wide AFOV) in eyepiece design that I have been waiting for a long time: eye relief that stays good between the ends of the zoom range. All the current zooms are almost useless in the middle of the range for spectacle wearers and digiscopers, because the ER drops so low.

Happy happy joy joy...

Ilkka
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Old Wednesday 27th August 2008, 08:43   #3
horukuru
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aha something nikon has to worried about ! by the way, that's a really wide FOV of zoom eyepiece clay :)
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Old Wednesday 27th August 2008, 16:55   #4
Dale Forbes
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Clay Taylor View Post
The new Swarovski 25-50xSW eyepieces were even more impressive than I had imagined they would be, as we had identical ATM 65 HD scopes set side-by-side, one with the new zoom eyepiece, and the other with the 30xSW eyepiece. From inside the tent it was impossible to really evaluate the resolution and brightness of the two eyepieces, but there were no obvious defects in the image of the zoom eyepiece when set at 30x and compared to the fixed-power eyepiece. The fixed eyepiece had a slightly larger FOV, but it was close enough to the zoom that you had to carefully look at the image coverage to see it.
hi Clay, any idea what the guys in the factory have found wrt brightness and resolution of the fixed lens vs the new zoom?

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Old Thursday 28th August 2008, 02:26   #5
karmantra
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Clay: I am assuming that the new 25-50 zoom lens is interchangable with the ATS series of scopes, unlike the new Leica 25-50 zoom that only works with their new 82. What are the differences between the ATS & ATM series besides being lighter? Are pictures going to be available soon?
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Old Thursday 28th August 2008, 04:44   #6
ClayTaylorTX
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hi Clay, any idea what the guys in the factory have found wrt brightness and resolution of the fixed lens vs the new zoom?

Dale

http://alpinebirds.blogspot.com
Dale -

The eyepieces were delivered directly to the show site from the factory, so even most of the Austrians had not had a chance to look through them. Like I mentioned, my stand was inside the tent, so I never had the chance to evaluate them with distant objects or in tricky light. Given that we won't have them until 2009, I guess we will have to wait a little longer.

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Old Thursday 28th August 2008, 04:52   #7
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Originally Posted by karmantra View Post
Clay: I am assuming that the new 25-50 zoom lens is interchangable with the ATS series of scopes, unlike the new Leica 25-50 zoom that only works with their new 82. What are the differences between the ATS & ATM series besides being lighter? Are pictures going to be available soon?
Yes, it will work with all the Swarovski spotting scopes, including the old grey AT / ST scopes, although the locking system will not work. However, the rubber gasket that seals the base of the eyepiece is usually stiff enough that the eyepiece is very unlikely to fall out by itself.

The really neat thing about the 25-50xSW is that it is the exact same size as the 20-60xS, so the DCA works perfectly on it, and it is actually lighter than the 20-60xS. Bonus!

The new scopes feature a magnesium body, but the basic specs of lenses / prisms are unchanged. That said, Swarovski is constantly upgrading the optical systems in ALL their products without necessarily calling attention to every little improvement. Over time, the little improvements make a difference, so I would not be surprised to know that an ATM is better than a four-year-old ATS scope, but it might be virtually identical to an ATS made in 2008.

Clay
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Old Thursday 28th August 2008, 17:00   #8
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I would have to admit that I was skeptical at first regarding the 25x-50x wide zoom as a lens to consider over the excellent 20x-60x zoom, but I must say that wide FOV could be very addictive! I have considered getting a fixed 30x or 45x, but I may wait for the 25x-50x. Clay, any specs on what the FOV at 50x on the new zoom is? Will it be close to the FOV on the 45x? I could certainly think that one could make the case to having both zooms in their inventory!

Last edited by karmantra : Thursday 28th August 2008 at 17:33.
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Old Friday 29th August 2008, 04:18   #9
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Originally Posted by karmantra View Post
I would have to admit that I was skeptical at first regarding the 25x-50x wide zoom as a lens to consider over the excellent 20x-60x zoom, but I must say that wide FOV could be very addictive! I have considered getting a fixed 30x or 45x, but I may wait for the 25x-50x. Clay, any specs on what the FOV at 50x on the new zoom is? Will it be close to the FOV on the 45x? I could certainly think that one could make the case to having both zooms in their inventory!
Hi -

I do not have a detailed tech report on the eyepiece, so I have no way to know if the AFOV progression of 60deg. @ 25x to 70 deg. @ 50x is linear or not. I am hesitant to speculate about it, but given that the 45xSW eyepiece has an AFOV of 66 degrees, the zoom at 45x should be very close.

Clay Taylor
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Old Tuesday 2nd September 2008, 02:38   #10
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Clay: Any idea of what the cost of the 25x-50x zoom is going to be in the states? Rumor is that it will cost approximately $850 (excluding VAT) in the UK, hopefully less in the U.S.! Any idea on a date for availability here? Thanks!
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Old Wednesday 3rd September 2008, 22:51   #11
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The projected ship date for the US is April, 2009. The price has not been set, but it will definitely be in the neighorhood of what you quoted.

Clay Taylor
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Old Friday 10th October 2008, 16:08   #12
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580 for an *eyepiece* - Very funny. I don't think I know a single person who would pay that. Even some of those smug show-offs whose BF signature is a 6-7 line list of top-of-the-line optical equipment they own might balk.
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Old Friday 10th October 2008, 22:26   #13
iporali
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580 for an *eyepiece* - Very funny. I don't think I know a single person who would pay that.
I would - but then, I am not a single person.

Actually I think it is a bargain of a lifetime: now I can buy just the eyepiece instead of the eyepiece AND the expensive Leica scope or that silly, integrated Zeiss digiscope. Which in the foreseeable future are the only other zoom scope systems that combine good AFOV and ER.

Best regards,

Ilkka

Last edited by iporali : Saturday 11th October 2008 at 11:53.
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Old Saturday 11th October 2008, 11:06   #14
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I agree with Ilkka.

Especially given that the eyepiece will fit all Swarovski scopes starting from the 1990s A/ST80 through the current A/STM series. Swarovski has done a real service to their customers by not changing the eyepiece mount radically when they have introduced new scopes.

Kimmo
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Old Tuesday 9th December 2008, 16:40   #15
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me too

Quote:
Originally Posted by jalethbridge View Post
580 for an *eyepiece* - Very funny. I don't think I know a single person who would pay that. Even some of those smug show-offs whose BF signature is a 6-7 line list of top-of-the-line optical equipment they own might balk.
I will save up and buy one as I've decided to keep my Swaro....I did seriously want one of the new Leica 82 APOs but after the price was announced I had a rethink - bought a second hand Leica APO with zoom, and will purchase as above to compliment my kit.

PS.I haven't a lot of money, nor have I lost my marbles...the swaro wide 20 - 50 zoom is exactly what I've hankered for, for some time.
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Old Tuesday 6th January 2009, 23:01   #16
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Anyone heard anything about the U.S. pricing of the 25x-50x wide angle eyepiece that Swaro coming out with in April? Ace in the U.K. is showing a price of 500 pounds, or an equivalent of $750-$760 in U.S. dollars--big ad in new issue of Birder's World shows it but no price.
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Old Monday 6th April 2009, 20:24   #17
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Please provide any updates on this eyepiece asap. It looks like its going to be just what I've been looking for. I wish I could trade in my old 20-60 zoom towards the new one thru swarovski. Do you think I will miss the extra 10x zoom though?
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Old Tuesday 7th April 2009, 13:29   #18
Chris Ellison
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Mr. Taylor -

Has the actual standard measurement (in mm) of eye relief INCREASED with the new 25-50X eyepiece, or is it identical to the older 20-60x zoom?

Have any other "jam-jar" wearers had a chance to peer through the Silver Eagle's latest offering long enough to discern any improvement?
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