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Digiscoping with Kowa 883 (1 Viewer)

Hi Everyone, my first post to this forum! I've just placed an order with a distributor for a new Kowa 883 spotting scope. The components I've ordered are:

- Kowa TSN-883 Kowa 88mm Spotting Scope Angled
- Kowa TE-11WZ Kowa 25-60x eyepiece for TSN-880/770 Series
- Kowa TSN-EX16 Kowa 1.6x Eyepiece Extender for TSN-880 & 770 spotting scope
- Kowa TSN-AS1.25K Kowa Astro Eyepiece Adapter for 880/770 Spotting Scope (Knurled Screws)
- Kowa C-881 Nylon fitted case for the Kowa TSN-883 Angled 88mm spotting scope
- Manfrotto MT055CXPRO3 carbon fiber tripod
- Manfrotto MVH500AH fluid head

I'm beginning to research digiscoping and looking for advice and recommendations on what camera's work best with this setup, and how this would compare to using a smartphone adapter and bluetooth shutter.

I don't have a specific budget in mind for the camera. I'm very much open to all of your suggestions. Thanks!
 

JerryLogan

Well-known member
I have to say I’m a little surprised that no one has replied to your request. You’ve purchased a first rate kit and you shouldn’t have any troubles on the scope side of the equation. Before discussing adapters and cameras, it would be very useful to know what you hope to accomplish through digiscoping.

Are you a birdwatcher capturing quick documentation, a fine arts nature photographer, wildlife documentary producer? Do you slough through swamps or watch a backyard feeder from your living room? Will the camera be dedicated largely to the spotting scope or do you hope for something useable in more general circumstances?

You’ve made a great start and with a little more information I think we could make some useful suggestions once we know what you have in mind.

Welcome and best regards,
Jerry
 
Are you a birdwatcher capturing quick documentation, a fine arts nature photographer, wildlife documentary producer? Do you slough through swamps or watch a backyard feeder from your living room? Will the camera be dedicated largely to the spotting scope or do you hope for something useable in more general circumstances?

Hi Jerry, thank you so much for your thoughtful reply! I'm very much an amateur, capturing quick documentation. We have so many beautiful areas here around Vancouver, BC, and I'd love to capture these moments. The scope will be primarily used at the local lakes, dikes, and bird sanctuaries.

I previously owned a Nikon D90 that I sold last year as my wife and I have been favouring our iPhones for some years. I've also got access to an aging Canon EOS Rebel XT if that might fit the bill.
 

JerryLogan

Well-known member
Yes, you’re very fortunate! I’ve had the chance to visit Vancouver several times and it really is splendid - just a lovely, lovely place.

The simplest and least expensive next step for you is to pick up one of the Kowa iPhone adapters and see how digiscoping suits you. You’ll definitely be able to capture quick photos and video. After a while you can go on to more expensive and sophisticated equipment if digiscoping strikes a satisfying chord but your initial investment is only around $150 and highly resellable.

https://sportingoptics.kowa-usa.com/home/1412-tsn-ipx-max-rp.html

https://sportingoptics.kowa-usa.com/126-digiscoping

Please let us know how it goes!!!

Best regards,
Jerry

https://youtu.be/CHKq1cwePwM
 

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jring

Well-known member
Hi,

first of all, welcome to birdforum!

Regarding your new scope my advice to you is to test it thoroughly when it arrives for optical performance. Sample variation does unfortunately happen even with alpha brands.

You should be able to reach a sharp image at 60x with a well defined point of best focus. The focus drive might need a bit of practice as it seems even the slow focus is a bit faster than some might like it. This test needs to be done on an overcast day or early morning to avoid heat haze (aka bad seeing). You can then repeat with the extender. If it's still good, you can probably stop as you have at least a decent example.

If there is problems or you are interested, you should read up on star testing telescopes.

Joachim
 

Ian Byrnes

Well-known member
Hi

Having tried both cameras and Iphones with my scope I now prefer the phone. Jerry's suggestion is a good one not just because of cost but ease of use also. Your scope has superb optics so with a good phone will produce very good results.

I use a Samsung Galaxy s10 and with a PhoneSkope, pair it to a Zeiss Diascope 85T*FL. The current phones IPhone 11 & Samsung s10/20 have superb MPixel cameras with good zoom facility which added to your 20-60 zoom gives amazing versatility producing high definition photos.

Phone and attachments are much quicker to use and set up and the weight is not too much as to overbalance your scope on the head. Get yourself a longer quick release plate so that you can shift the centre of gravity of the scope and phone on a longer axis, enabling you to pan without it tilting backwards. This matters because you don't want to be continually searching for your subject when it tilts and also you don't have to tighten the tilt wheels letting you pan freely.

The current phone screens are also bigger than most cameras which enable you to scan using the screen as your eyepiece. I also use a Bluetooth shutter release giving single or multi shot options. Taking videos is a good idea also as you can choose which frame gives the best shot. Current phones are 4k so ideal.

Scopac/Olivon tripod carrying backpacks are useful so that you're all set up and ready for action - it also adds a bit of weight and stability to your tripod.

Good luck.....trying to capture birds successfully in their habitat is really satisfying.
 
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I use a Samsung Galaxy s10 and with a PhoneSkope, pair it to a Zeiss Diascope 85T*FL. The current phones IPhone 11 & Samsung s10/20 have superb MPixel cameras with good zoom facility which added to your 20-60 zoom gives amazing versatility producing high definition photos.

Thank you! My dealer carries Phone Skope, so I'll look at picking up an iPhone X phone adapter and a bluetooth shutter.

Phone and attachments are much quicker to use and set up and the weight is not too much as to overbalance your scope on the head. Get yourself a longer quick release plate so that you can shift the centre of gravity of the scope and phone on a longer axis, enabling you to pan without it tilting backwards. This matters because you don't want to be continually searching for your subject when it tilts and also you don't have to tighten the tilt wheels letting you pan freely..

What Manfrotto quick release plate would you recommend for this setup?
 
Regarding your new scope my advice to you is to test it thoroughly when it arrives for optical performance. Sample variation does unfortunately happen even with alpha brands.

You should be able to reach a sharp image at 60x with a well defined point of best focus. The focus drive might need a bit of practice as it seems even the slow focus is a bit faster than some might like it. This test needs to be done on an overcast day or early morning to avoid heat haze (aka bad seeing). You can then repeat with the extender. If it's still good, you can probably stop as you have at least a decent example.

Great advice, thank you!
 

CMB

Well-known member
That is a very nice setup you put together.

If you have an iPhone and decide to try phonescoping, consider purchasing the "ProCamera" app. It provides much more control over the phone's camera than the built in app, and allows you to save images in RAW and TIFF formats in addition to JPEG.

You can go to ProCamera's website (link below) and download the user manual to read through it and see if it has features you would like.

https://www.procamera-app.com/en/user-manual/

Good luck!
 

Ian Byrnes

Well-known member
Thank you! My dealer carries Phone Skope, so I'll look at picking up an iPhone X phone adapter and a bluetooth shutter.



What Manfrotto quick release plate would you recommend for this setup?

I got a 120 Arca Swiss qr plate from Aliexpress in Hong Kong. It cost about $18 which was cheap. There are various sizes from 70 upwards. Get the one with the locking pin so that it doesn't swivel and its good to have graduated markings so that you know where to position it.

There are loads of Arca Swiss at all costs which will fit your Manf. head. If you talk to your dealer they should be able to advise and help.
 
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jring

Well-known member
Hi,

the 500AH does not take Arca Swiss plates... and comes with a quite usable long plate (120mm iirc) which is normally able to properly balance your scope.

Of course other lengths are available from Manfrotto and 3rd parties.

Joachim
 
the 500AH does not take Arca Swiss plates... and comes with a quite usable long plate (120mm iirc) which is normally able to properly balance your scope.

Of course other lengths are available from Manfrotto and 3rd parties.
Thank you Joachim! I was worried for a moment that I might have the wrong plate.

Have a wonderful day!
 
which android phone would you buy ?

Hi everybody

modest_hero you are going to have fun :)


i have the same Kowa set up and am delighted every time I use it

I followed Alexis' advice and got a phone adapter and was happy with it
then i broke my phone and one of the children lent an Iphone X for an outing


wow the photos are GOOD ! well for me
I want to share my "problem" identifications and my surprises

So now I wish to update my telephone and had hoped the new Pixel 4A would fit my 'needs'

that is to say
android : because I really like using BirdNet and in France I use NaturaList to share my observations
with an a 'up to date ' camera


But the Pixel is not yet available and we are off on a trip tomorrow so I am using an unused Iphone 8

so the question is

Which android phone should I get ?



FYI
the immature Shelduck was at more than 100O m
and the Curlew at more than 500m
 

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Richard Scott

Well-known member
I've got a Kowa 883 on a Manfrotto MVH500AH head. It comes with the 500PLONG QR plate and easily balances scope + phone with room to spare.
 

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Richard Scott

Well-known member
Looking good! What phone adapter are you using?

I’ve got the original iPhone SE and Kowa adapter. It’s a small phone and the adapter is a perfect fit so I can take photos in landscape. I’ve seen some people with larger phones and 3rd party adapters where the adapter slips towards portrait mode.
I used to use a Bluetooth shutter release but had to keep re-pairing so I gave it up as a bad job.
 
Thank you all again for the advice!

I ordered a Kowa/OtterBox phone case (TSN-IPX RP), along with a Kite Optics Viato backpack.

I plan to use my Apple Watch as a remote shutter.
 

John Cantelo

Well-known member
The simplest and least expensive next step for you is to pick up one of the Kowa iPhone adapters and see how digiscoping suits you ... your initial investment is only around $150 and highly resellable.

Best regards,
Jerry

https://youtu.be/CHKq1cwePwM

Can anyone explain to me how what appears to be a few $$ of plastic (or whatever material it's made from) can possibly justify a retail price of $150? It seems excessive in the extreme.
 
Can anyone explain to me how what appears to be a few $$ of plastic (or whatever material it's made from) can possibly justify a retail price of $150? It seems excessive in the extreme.

If I had to hazard a guess.. very small production runs, custom mold, requirements to maintain high tolerances, branding (Kowa/OtterBox), marketing costs, limited distributor network, small customer base for a very niche product, distributor/retail overhead.

I don't disagree that the cost is obscene. Just some observations what might be contributing towards the pricing.
 

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