Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Digiscoping with Swarovski STX vs. ATX eyepiece

I have been wanting to upgrade the quality of my digiscoping photos for some time now.  Back in the fall of 2013, I began eyeballing the Swarovski 95mm Spotting Scope.  Just prior to Brian Rimsza's Arizona Rocky Mountain Bighorn sheep hunt last year in Unit 6A, I purchased the Swarovski ATX and 95mm Modular Spotting scope.  I also picked up a Canon SL1 to use as the camera for my digiscoping system.  Cody at the Outdoorsmans and I went back and forth as to the ATX (angled) and the STX (Straight).   I chose the ATX for the sole reason that I thought the downward pressure of the TLS APO adapter would be better for digiscoping.  I took the brand new setup up on the hunt and was able to capture some great images of some Rocky Mountain sheep.  My optimism was high for the setup and I was able to capture some high quality images compared to my old setup.  Let me say that the optical image from the Swarovksi 95 mm is by far the best I have ever experienced.  I have owned the two prior models of Swarovski spotting scopes and they continue to lead the industry in optical quality.

After using the digiscoping setup for several months, I have come to the conclusion that I need the STX (Staight eyepiece).  Here is the main reason why.....When I sit down to glass and find an image to photograph, while on the tripod I can't see the image on the LCD screen.  I have to glass from a stool or kneel on my knees.  Both can be cumbersome and uncomfortable at times.  I should have known and Cody tried to talk me out of the ATX for my application.  I can be stubborn at times.  I can see the screen perfectly when the post is completely bottomed out but when I switch back and forth to view through the scope with my eye then I need to twist and move the setup.  Also, when switching from my binoculars to the spotting scope on the tripod, it is necessary to move the post up and down.  This takes time to recapture the image and makes for inefficiencies.

I have been out scouting for Desert Bighorns lately and really enjoying my new STX eyepiece.  In my mind, I have the best digiscoping system that is currently available.  Let me be clear by saying that there is no optical difference when looking through or from my photographs between the ATX or STX.  Just a difference in the setup and execution of taking and viewing the images.  The light gathering of the 95mm is unparalleled in my opinion.  It also amazes me how good the photo is when I crank the zoom up to 70X.  I think another hidden gem in the whole setup is the Swarovski TLS APO adapter.  I can't wait to use the new digiscoping setup this summer and fall to capture some incredible images.
Jay Scott with Swarovski STX and the 95MM topped with the Canon SL1.

Here I am using the ATX on Brian's hunt

The next three images are through the new Swarovski STX

This image was captured through the ATX in December.

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