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iphone 12 pro max 2.5x telephoto lens interacting with Swarovski VPA binocular adaptor strangely (1 Viewer)

I bought an iphone 12 pro max with the intent to improve the telephoto performance of the iphone 11 when digiscoping behind a pair of binoculars. The thought was that the iphone 12 pro max has a 2.5x telephoto lens to allowing me to optically zoom in more so as not to see the circular field-of-view of the binocular (without having to use digital zoom). However, I encountered a very strange problem. When I precisely aligned the 2.5x telephoto lens (the upper-left corner camera) to be centered on the viewing hole of the Swarovski VPA variable phone adapter, the phone camera momentarily shows a image before quickly focuses to la la land with the picture goes away in the "photo" mode, only showing something really dim and out of focus, completely unrecognizable. When I switch to the "portrait" mode, it takes picture just fine, proving my mechanical alignment behind the phone adapter is very centered, but the "portrait" mode does not allow digital zoom. The "video" mode does not work either with the phone adapter centered on the 2.5x lens. When I take the phone adapter away, the iphone 12 pro max works just fine in both "video" and "photo" mode, so the phone by itself is working fine. I then tested the phone adapter with the hole centered on the 1x lens (the lower-left lens), it works just fine between 1x and 2.5x (with digital zoom), but goes dark beyond 2.5x which is expected because above 2.5x the phone switched to the 2.5x telephoto lens blocked by the phone adapter. I repeated this experiment many times, totally repeatable. 1.0x works, 2.5x does not when the Swarovski VPA phone adapter is centered on the respective lens. I can only explain the behavior the following way: There is something special about the 2.5x lens. When centered to a narrow circular opening such as the hole on the bino-phone adapter, it gets affected by the surrounding close range feature (the adapter hole side wall is just a few millimeters away surrounding the lens). The iphone got confused and focused to some strange distance or otherwise causing the camera to shutdown. Is there are solution to this problem for people using iphone 12 pro max behind binoculars for digiscoping? (In this case, the problem has nothing to do with binoculars, as I have not even hooked up the adapter to the binoculars yet, but it has everything to do with the relatively narrow opening of the bino-phone adapter.) If I cannot effectively use the 2.5x telephoto lens on iphone 12 pro max, it totally defeats the purpose of getting this new phone, as the slightly older iphone 11 with the 1x lens (plus digital zoom) works just fine with the same Swarovski VPA photo adapter. Is there a software trick I haven't learnt about iphone 12 camera, or is there a third-party app that allow me to bypass this totally unexpected problem? I can't imaging I am the only one trying to digiscoping with iphone 12 pro max using a phone adapter. Thanks!
 

Ian Byrnes

Well-known member
I haven't had the same problem but would assume that the Swarovski VPA isn't aligned properly. If you look on the PhoneSkope web site you'll see that the IPhone 12 Max is available only for forward order, so they must have solved your problem as they have cases for each of the predecessors.
I have a Samsung S10 & have had to change adaptors 3 times.
Its also pointless talking to Apple as their staff have little experience of phoneskoping & can offer little advise - I spoke to Samsung on a zoom issue with the S9....they were hopeless & I had to buy a new S10 & trade the other in.
My phone has a similar zoom to the IP12 but I do still have zoom out the vignetting.
Good luck.
 
Hi Spectrum,

This sounds like both lenses are being used at the same time. Phones with multiple cameras use some clever software to combine the images from each lens. I assume you're using the native camera app? This won't work well for phonescoping, and is short on useful features anyway. Download a decent app and you should have the option of force selecting only one camera at a time. I use ProCamera which is very good and pretty cheap. All this is explained in a lot more detail on my guide to phonescoping here: https://www.phonescoping.org/

Cheers

Paul
 

pbjosh

missing the neotropics
Switzerland
Paul, excellent feedback / comment - I've noticed the same thing on my iPhone (8+) - I can digibin/digiscope just fine w/ the 2x optical zoom but if I select the 2x zoom lens, I cannot get close enough to the exit pupil to take advantage of the zoom, the image flickers out just as I get about to the correct spot to take a useful picture. I never thought about it much but this makes sense and is good info to have.
 
Hi Spectrum,

This sounds like both lenses are being used at the same time. Phones with multiple cameras use some clever software to combine the images from each lens. I assume you're using the native camera app? This won't work well for phonescoping, and is short on useful features anyway. Download a decent app and you should have the option of force selecting only one camera at a time. I use ProCamera which is very good and pretty cheap. All this is explained in a lot more detail on my guide to phonescoping here: https://www.phonescoping.org/

Cheers

Paul
Hi Paul,

Yes, I was using the native camera app, went to your website, followed the instruction, went to the app store and bought "Pro Camera by Moment", now the problem is solved, I can now select any lens by clicking. So the problem was indeed due to iphone's own camera selection algorithm got confused when something really near by, in this case the Swarovski VPA adapter, got too close to the telephoto lens. Somehow it triggered a lens switch, so the blackness that I saw was just the scene seen by another lens whose view was blocked by the same adapter.

Your website front page is breathtaking! And the rest of the website is not only informative but also inspirational for a digiscoping beginner like me. Thanks you so much for your kind assistance!

Haibo
 

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