Tag Archives: Kowa 883

Phonescoping Workshops

After plenty of emails back and forth, I’m pleased to announce my first phonescoping workshops at RSPB Titchwell on 1 November 2013. For details see here.

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Kowa TSN IP4S Digiscoping Phone Holder

Kowa TSN-IP4S

iPhone Digiscoping Phone Holder

Kowa

£59.99

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.

Unpacking The Box

Unpacking The Box

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.

The Set Up

The Set Up

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

Easy To Use

Easy To Use

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.

Black-headed Gull

Black-headed Gull

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.

Hawfinch

Hawfinch

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.

 

Hawfinched

After trying and failing last weekend I was back at Rutland Water this morning. As I pulled into the car park at Egleton at 08.30 I could see Roger Davis, Dave Scott and Rod Baker amongst others scoping and photographing the trees above the toilet block. Result! The Hawfinch was there, problem as the light and as the light got better the Hawfinch moved further back before vanishing completely. Oh well, I think my digiscoped and iPhone shots came out best but see what you think.

The first two digiscoped.

Hawfinch

Hawfinch

Hawfinch

Hawfinch

These next two were shot on the Canon 40D and processed in Adobe Camera Raw in Photoshop. They’re pretty heavy crops as well…

Hawfinch

Hawfinch

Hawfinch

Hawfinch

This last one was taken on the iPhone 4S using Kowa’s excellent TSN-IP4S adaptor through a Kowa 883 Spotting Scope with the 30x WW lens. I’m well chuffed with the quality.

Hawfinch

Hawfinch

Finally a bit of HD video again taken on the iPhone with Kowa TSN-IP4S and using the FiLMiC Pro app.