Kowa DA10 vs PA7 Stills (1 Viewer)


Just went through this exercise and this info may come in handy to someone. I have used both the PA7 and the DA10 with camera lens attached and get significantly better stills with the DA10 and a lens attached to the camera. The root of the issue for me is when there is no lens attached to my Nikon DSLR, I have to shoot in manual mode and am not able to compensate for the limited lighting and my photos are either grainy from the high ISO or blurry because I am not able to shoot with the correct shutter speed and aperture. I would be interested if someone has a camera where the PA7 would perform just as good as the DA10.

With video, the PA7 is just as good as DA10 with lens attached. The PA7 is a lighter setup and significantly easer to switch between spotting and digiscoping vs the DA10. I ended up keeping both and use the PA7 on the move and the DA10 when I don't mind the weight or looking for higher quality stills.

If anyone has any tips for improving stills with the PA7, I would love to hear what works for you guys.

DA10 of a goose at 200 yards at 50x

PA7 of Mallards at 200 yards at 20x
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Amazing. It's nice to know that other people obsess about the same things. I was doing the same experiment yesterday except indoors with a target containing micro writing and using the Novagrade adapter (same idea as DA-10) in comparison with the PA-7. This was using an Olympus om-d camera with the 20 mm Panasonic lens with the Novagrade. I also compared the Olympus 300 f/4. I used all at the same distance and was wondering which captures the most detail at a given distance despite the differences in effective focal length.

I agree with you that it's easier to get a sharp image using a camera lens and adapter than it is using the PA-7. This may be a bit of an illusion due to the higher effective focal length when using the PA-7. If you crop an image of the same object using the lens adapter so that the field of view is the same as for the PA-7 I think you see very similar amounts of detail though there seems to be more chromatic aberration in the PA-7 image

This is the case working indoors with all the time in the world to get the focus right. In the field my experience has been that it's really hard to get a good image with the PA-7 because you have to focus the scope through the camera. With the lens adapter you can get good focus for the scope with the camera off and then attach it quickly and use autofocus to get the lens focused on the image in the eyepiece. With the PA-7 I've had several frustrating occasions when I didn't realize that focus wasn't quite right til I got home and looked at images on the big screen.

It's also interesting to compare the images through the scope with the images from the Olympus 300 f/4 with 1.4x TC. Here the reach is ~2 fold lower but the optics are significantly better especially off-center. With a bird at a given distance in the center of the field of view the tests suggest you'd get significantly more detail with either digiscoping option but at the edge you actually get more detail from the telephoto lens. If the bird fills the vignetted field of view with the lens adapter on the Kowa you're better off with the telephoto lens so going forward (if the weather ever improves in the Eastern US) I plan to use the lens unless the birds are far away.

The first set of images (20mmPlusNovograde, PA7, and 300f4x1.4) are the three systems cropped to the same pixel dimensions. The next set (with resize appended) are the novograde and 300f4 images upsampled so that the subject size matches the PA7. I will add another post with the edge comparisons since this is the limit for one post.


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Further to the last post, here are crops from the edges of the novagrade digiscoped shot and the 300f4+1.4xTC telephoto shot above. The latter is upscaled to match the subject size from the digiscope image. There's clearly more detail at the edge in the telephoto lens image.

Just for fun I included a female red breasted merganser shot with the PA-7 and a young bald eagle shot with the 300f/4 and TC.


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Good information, I am glad to see that my results of better images with a lens also matches your results. That merganser is nice, very well done for a spotting scope. I am improving, but a ways off from taking images that good.

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