iPhone Digiscoping Phone Holder
When I was first shown this at Birdfair in 2012 I was both blown away with how good a product it was and disappointed that it wasn’t yet on sale. Thankfully Kowa kindly supplied me with a sample for review and now after plenty of time in the field I can finally offer an opinion.
Firstly I have to say this is a superbly engineered bit of kit that Kowa have put together. It fits the iPhone 4 and the iPhone 4S but if you use a case to protect your phone you’ll need to remove it first as the TSN-IP4S fits just like a cover. It is easily attached and released from your phone but when you’re out in the field I would keep the adaptor on at all times. You can access all the functions of your phone as normal.
So what do you get when you unpack the box? Well, there’s the iPhone case and adaptor rings for a telescope and binoculars that must be screwed together but which are very easy to swap depending on whether you’re taking a scope or not. I quite like this feature as I often bird without a scope and this allows you to get what could be a valuable record shot if you find a rare or locally rare bird. There is also a handy lanyard so you can digiscope without the risk of dropping your phone.
Using the adaptor could not be simpler. Much simpler than standard digiscoping in fact. Simply focus on the bird, drop the eye-relief and push the adaptor onto the eyepiece then shoot your photo or video. The adaptor is set up so that you don’t have to refocus… unless the bird moves of course.
If like me the first thing you do with your iPhone earphone and microphone cable is throw it in a bedside cabinet you might want to dig them back out as the + volume control on the microphone acts as a handy remote release so eliminating the risk on camera shake.
As the iPhone camera only has a digital zoom I prefer to use the Kowa 20-60x zoom to get closer to the bird rather than the camera zoom. In fact the only limitations are a fault of the pnone and not the adaptor. I have found that my results are better using the Camera+ app that allows the focus point and exposure to be set independently (and locked if needs be) and the FiLMiC Pro and FiLMic Classic apps for shooting video that allow similar fine controls
All-in-all this really is a superb bit of kit and I would recommend it to any Kowa users with an iPhone4 or 4S, the binocular adaptor fits my Leica Ultravids perfectly too and I have tested it as a push fit on the newer Swarovski ATX/STX scopes though you might need to eliminate vignetting. I would always do this by cropping on the PC or phone and not in camera.
Finally, who these days, goes out without their phone? Not many and if this gives you the ability to find and upload photos and video on the go then I would say it’s for you. I’m hoping one day I can get a tricky mega clinched in the field by uploading to the internet rather than it be discussed overnight on the forums.
Here is an example of just how good HDvideo is using the TSN IP4S the Hawfinch was filmed through my Kowa 883 with the 30x WW eyepiece and edited in Windows Live Movie Maker.