All sorts of adapters for digiscoping using an iPhone and a spotting scope are cropping up. I can barely keep up with testing them. This post covers two different adapters that are very similar and work well with my Swarovski ATM scope.
From left to right we have the iTelligent iPhone adapter, Kowa iPhone adapter and my Mophie iPhone charging case. My only complaint with these adapters is that they do not work with the Mophie case. The iPhone 4s has a crap battery life and if you are going to use your phone to take photos and videos, that battery life is going to get eaten up quickly. If someone could find a way to make an adapter that would work with a Mophie case or if someone could create a digiscoping adapter that is also an iPhone battery charging case, I’d be one happy little clam. And I don’t want to hear about how that would be cost prohibitive when Mophie cases run $79 – $99 and digiscoping adapters run $65 – $199. I don’t think my dream is unreasonable.
But enough of my battery charging rant.
The iTelligent adapter is a case that goes around your iPhone and works with the Swarovski DCA adapter using the M37 ring. I know Swarovski is changing their digiscoping adapters but quite a few of us have DCAs already so this can be a good solution to holding an iPhone steady up against a scope eye piece. I’ve used the DCA adapter for years to slide a point and shoot or SLR camera over my scope eye piece. It’s fast and easy to use. It may seem awkward to have the DCA on an iPhone, but if you are used to having the DCA on a camera in the field, it’s easy to adjust to toting it with your phone. The DCA easily screws on and off the case, so you don’t have to have it on all them time.
I usually have one of those Women of the Cloud Forest totes with me and this fits easily in there.
The Kowa adapter works without the DCA adapter and is a little skinnier. The Kowa adapter is the one on the right with my finger on it. It wedges on to the scope’s eye piece and doesn’t have the locking mechanism that the DCA has, but stays firmly in place. I wouldn’t leave it unattended, a good bump to the scope could cause it to fall (but that’s just common sense with any sort of camera when digiscoping). You do have to do a little futzing to get the full image, but it does the trick and fits in a pants pocket. You can take the ring off of the case too.
I played around with both the Swarovski 20-60 zoom eye piece and 25-50 zoom eye piece. The 25-50 works best with an iPhone 4s. Above is a shot I took with the 20-60 and you can see that there is some serious vignetting which you can get rid of by zooming in the image on the iPhone (not zooming in with the scope eye piece).
But if you start with the 25-50 zoom eye piece you have very little vignetting.
When you use the video feature with your iPhone 4s, you do not have the option of zooming in. If you use the 20-60 eye piece you will have vignetting which you can edit out using a program like iMovie. Or you can use the 25-50 eye piece and have not vignetting in video mode.
I took a couple of short videos with each adapter and the 25-50 eye piece so you can see how they work.
Here is the iTelligent adapter:
Here is the Kowa adapter:
Both work well and are fun way to digiscope. And with both of these adapters, you can still actually use your iPhone to text and you know…phone calls.