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Help choosing a swarovski (1 Viewer)

kwikstaart

Well-known member
Please also consider the Kowa TSN883. I couldn't find what you like in terms of viewing, portability etc. Please only decide after looking through a few scopes, especially different brands. I use the 883 with a carbon Gitzo tripod (something 1350 i think but is no longer in production) with the Gitzo head 2380. A bit heavy but very stable. And easy to find the correct position for mounting the scope to keep it stable.
To my eyes the Kowa had a bit more contrast and less "white" (compared to ATX) and "blueish" tints/colours than either ATX of ATS. I also like the focus knobs of the Kowa better than the ring of the Swaro, even after having had experience with Nikon ED82A.
So it's al very personal (you van also consider the fact that Swaro markets for hunters and Kowa barely). Swaro had the benefit of excellent optics and unrivaled service. If you can wait then check out the 99 early Octobre. Please let is know what you have chosen and why.
 

Bill Atwood

Registered User
Supporter
United States
Thank you Forent, Bill Atwood, and all…. The advice that you are sharing here is invaluable. The development of the new foot is fantastic. I think I’ll see about adding a center column to my gitzo and getting the gitzo head. I was almost ready to decide on the ATX 85 but now that I’ve learned about the kowa 99 I feel like I need to do a bit more research 😀. Maybe even wait for a few more real world reviews.
The Kowa 99 isn't out until Sept. I doubt I'm looking at it until mid/late 2022 after some reviews are in and perhaps some sale prices. And if you want the Swaro with AS foot check with the retailer you use to make sure it's what they are selling. The previous version may not be washed out of the retail chain yet.
 

Tringa45

Well-known member
Europe
btw… I should perhaps mention… I do a lot of photography and I already own an older set of gitzo legs… the Gitzo GT3540LS.
Wonder if I should just use these with the scope and only buy a new head for the scope, or if a different set of legs would make more sense for the scope. And at the risk of bringing eye rolls from some of you 😀, I do often bird with people of various heights and so the lack of a center column on my gitzo does give me a bit of concern….
If your Gitzo is a systematic tripod it could easily be equipped with a centre column, but I wouldn't bother as it involves additional weight and a minor loss of stability. For the past couple of years I have been using a Novoflex Triopod without a centre column and my wife and I differ in height by 35 cm! Merely rotating the angled scope in its collar is sufficient to compensate for the height difference as long as you don't use a SOC, which hinders rotation. I have never used one of these and neither of the unarmoured scopes I have owned have ever sustained any external damage or wear.

Just about the best video head for scope use IMO is the Berlebach 553. It is Arca-Swiss compatible, stable, reasonably light, has variable tilt friction, a counterbalance and is beautifully made. Only negatives are the expense and a lack of fluid damping for the panorama function.
There is a 3-way version, the 653, which also allows lateral tilt for vertical format with a camera, so this would serve well for both applications. It is available with various Arca clamps. I think the 150, which I have on both my Berlebach heads, would be ideal.

John
 
The And if you want the Swaro with AS foot check with the retailer you use to make sure it's what they are selling.

do you happen to know… is there any sort of retention mechanism to prevent a catastrophe with the built in AS on the newer ATX? And of a lesser concern, do people ever worry about scuffing up the foot? I’m much more concerned about the retention… less on the scuffs.
 

Bill Atwood

Registered User
Supporter
United States
do you happen to know… is there any sort of retention mechanism to prevent a catastrophe with the built in AS on the newer ATX? And of a lesser concern, do people ever worry about scuffing up the foot? I’m much more concerned about the retention… less on the scuffs.
There should be retention capability since there is a retention pin on the head itself. However I've not seen a pic of the foot's bottom. The Swaro literature I've seen states the scope fits directly into the CTH head and the diagram shows the retention pin. The scope is placed into the head from the side.

I don't know of anyone too concerned with scuff marks on the foot. I suppose they are out there.
 

Bill Atwood

Registered User
Supporter
United States
If your Gitzo is a systematic tripod it could easily be equipped with a centre column, but I wouldn't bother as it involves additional weight and a minor loss of stability. For the past couple of years I have been using a Novoflex Triopod without a centre column and my wife and I differ in height by 35 cm! Merely rotating the angled scope in its collar is sufficient to compensate for the height difference as long as you don't use a SOC, which hinders rotation. I have never used one of these and neither of the unarmoured scopes I have owned have ever sustained any external damage or wear.

Just about the best video head for scope use IMO is the Berlebach 553. It is Arca-Swiss compatible, stable, reasonably light, has variable tilt friction, a counterbalance and is beautifully made. Only negatives are the expense and a lack of fluid damping for the panorama function.
There is a 3-way version, the 653, which also allows lateral tilt for vertical format with a camera, so this would serve well for both applications. It is available with various Arca clamps. I think the 150, which I have on both my Berlebach heads, would be ideal.

John
Do you know if the Swaro ATX/STX AS fits directly into the Berlebach 553? It looks like it might.
 

forent

Well-known member
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Tringa45

Well-known member
Europe
Do you know if the Swaro ATX/STX AS fits directly into the Berlebach 553? It looks like it might.
Bill,
If the Swaro foot has the usual 39 mm Arca dovetail then it probably would. However, Berlebach's safety retention, although ingenious, is not universally compatible with other Arca-Swiss systems. On their heads one can slide the plate in from either direction and it is safe when still loose. The safety retention pin is in an L-shaped slot which is cammed by the underside of the plate and can swivel out of the way.
Arca plates from Sirui, or the shorter plates from Novoflex, can be inserted by depressing the release button.
The prerequisite for compatibility would be that the underside of the plate were milled out to a depth of 3 mm over a width of 28 mm.
Of course, those long plates with stopper screws on the underside front and rear would also be safe.

John
 

4 The Birds1

Active member
Do you know if the Swaro ATX/STX AS fits directly into the Berlebach 553? It looks like it might.
It does, and the safety retention pin does engage with the foot.
As outlined by John above, you have to press the release button to slide it in.
However, with pin engaged, the scope gets to sit forward of the middle.
2 consequences:
1) the clamp cannot engage with the full length of the foot - which is probably not critical.
2) in the case of the 95 module with ATX eyepiece, the assembly becomes front heavy, whereas when the scope is mounted via the 87 mm Berlebach plate (I chose this instead of the shorter one which comes standard with the 553) it is quite well balanced. YMMV if you use a lighter objective module (85 or 65) then the forward position may work in your favour to achieve balance.

pic 1 without plate, pic 2 with 87 mm plate
 

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Bill Atwood

Registered User
Supporter
United States
It does, and the safety retention pin does engage with the foot.
As outlined by John above, you have to press the release button to slide it in.
However, with pin engaged, the scope gets to sit forward of the middle.
2 consequences:
1) the clamp cannot engage with the full length of the foot - which is probably not critical.
2) in the case of the 95 module with ATX eyepiece, the assembly becomes front heavy, whereas when the scope is mounted via the 87 mm Berlebach plate (I chose this instead of the shorter one which comes standard with the 553) it is quite well balanced. YMMV if you use a lighter objective module (85 or 65) then the forward position may work in your favour to achieve balance.

pic 1 without plate, pic 2 with 87 mm plate
Thanks, good to know. Berlebach products are not widely used in the US. It appears they can be ordered through BH Pphoto & Adorama and shipped directly from Berelbach in Germany.
 

birdcat

Well-known member
Supporter
United States
do you happen to know… is there any sort of retention mechanism to prevent a catastrophe with the built in AS on the newer ATX? And of a lesser concern, do people ever worry about scuffing up the foot? I’m much more concerned about the retention… less on the scuffs.
Having tried both the Swarovski CTH and the Gitzo GHF2W, they work like a charm (no plate!) with the newer Swarovski AS foot. You have to angle it in to the fixed edge of the head and then drop it on the retention pin before securing. The top of the foot does not show any wear when using it with the CTH, but the CTH has more painted contact surfaces than the GHF2W so that might be helping. You can see wear on the bottom of the foot where the foot drops on to the safety pin.
 

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Having tried both the Swarovski CTH and the Gitzo GHF2W, they work like a charm (no plate!) with the newer Swarovski AS foot. You have to angle it in to the fixed edge of the head and then drop it on the retention pin before securing. The top of the foot does not show any wear when using it with the CTH, but the CTH has more painted contact surfaces than the GHF2W so that might be helping. You can see wear on the bottom of the foot where the foot drops on to the safety pin.

very interesting- good to know - thank you!! Since you’ve used both heads with these scopes… may I ask - which head do you prefer and why?
 

birdcat

Well-known member
Supporter
United States
very interesting- good to know - thank you!! Since you’ve used both heads with these scopes… may I ask - which head do you prefer and why?
I ended up with the CTH because I preferred the aesthetics, especially the knobs and how they made it a little less wide. The supposed higher weight capacity, and plate with anti-twist pin (for use with other scopes) were a small bonus. I am only using an ATS 60 so I noticed no difference in handling between the two. I noticed that you can't unscrew the tilt knob all the way on the CTH like you can on the Gitzo, not sure what that is about. For most people the Gitzo would make more sense based on price alone.
 

pimpelmees

Well-known member
Upon further review...the newer (as of 2-3 years ago?) ATX/STX scopes have what Swarovski calls the AS foot. It fits directly into the Swarovski CTH head WITHOUT a plate. It should also fit directly into the Gitzo GHF2W head. I would get either head.

Damn, this development and the upcoming Kowa 99x are making my credit cards sweat.
i think that the latest models of the ATS scopes also has these foots and fits also direcly in a manfrotto 128 head
 
Well... it's time for an update!! I am happy to say that I am now the proud owner of a Swaro ATX 85mm. I decided to pair it with the gitzo 2-way fluid head and mount all of this on my old (but still excellent!) gitzo legs. A little bit heavier than the scopes I'm used to but oh my... the image is just superb. It blows my relative's ATS 80 that I've been using with him for many years out of the water, I must say. The image quality is just drop dead gorgeous and razor sharp to my eye.

A couple of things that I'm going to need to get used to... the zoom ring is a bit stiff and definitely takes a bunch of rotations to get from fully wide to fully zoomed in. This is a bit annoying... it's nice to be able to make small adjustments, but I also loved how quickly I could go from wide to zoomed and back to wide when scoping a large group of ducks or gulls for example. This definitely slows me down a bit on the new scope. The other thing that's a bit strange to me is the gitzo fluid head. I've never used a fluid head before so I imagine I just need to get used to it. But there doesn't seem to be a great way to add tension/resistance to the head. For example, sometimes in windy conditions I like to add a bit more resistance to the heads I've used so that the scope doesn't bounce around as much. But in the little I've used this new setup so far, it seems like when I start tightening down the head it no longer moves that smoothly. It seems to function best when pretty loose (and oh my, how buttery smooth it is - which is pretty cool!!). The other strange thing to me about the head is that even when locked down fully, the scope still seems able to tilt up and down. The horizontal pan locks tight, but the vertical seems to have a bit of play in it even when locked down. And when locked down tight there's a bit of play even from gently applying pressure to the handle on the head... I guess I just need to get used to how this thing works.

I will say that with the counter balance system the scope balances like a dream on the gitzo fluid head. I've never used anything quite like it before...

And for those wondering, the retention pin does work nicely with the AS version of the scope foot (I was sure to get that one). Though I will admit it took me a few minutes to figure out how to tip the scope into the head to make it all fit...

I do owe a big thank you to those of you in this thread who helped me consider my options and make this decision. I really appreciate it!!
 

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