The Swarovski ATX/STX telescope - Nature Photography Ultra Telephoto abilities


ed9119

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#1
Wikipedia defines Digiscoping as "... the activity of using a digital camera to record distant images by coupling it with an optical telescope. The term usually refers to using either a digital single-lens reflex camera with lens attached or, more often, a fixed lens point and shoot digital camera to obtain photos through the eyepiece of a birdwatcher's spotting scope...."

A couple of us Mods were invited to the Swarovski Optik presentation by Richard Kramer at the Camper's Corner on Friday evening

This new system was announced late July 2012 and recently released only since September last month.

Essentially, the ATX (denoting the angled version ) and STX (denoting straightversion) is a 2 piece modular telescope with varying degrees of power (65 , 85 and 95) and zoom abilities (25 to 60 times zoom and 30 to 70 times zoom)

Not getting enough reach even with a TC on your 300mm or 600mm prime monster ?

With the Swarovski ATX/STX we're talking about effective focal lengths of up to 2100mm .... with a crop factor sensor, the focal length gets mind-boggling at 33oomm ..... and MIND-BLOWING when we talk about it paired with a M4/3 body

And at 2.2kg with the heaviest combination, its a fraction of the weight of a giant 600mm tele

How fast are these outfits ? between f8 to f22 depending on the light

Presently Swarovski is class leading in the field of spotting scopes even before the launch of the ATX and STX .... BUT.... we're photographers and naturally biased towards its photo-taking abilities

The ATX/STX system spotting telescopes produced a system approach with camera mount adaptors for Nikon, Canon, Sony AND M4/3 mounts (and even the new Nikon J/V mounts)

Currently this system caters to cropped sensor APS-C cameras but news is that it will have an adaptor allowing for full-frame sensors to be used by next year



We were shown (and demo'ed) 2 adaptors ..... one for DSLR and system cameras .... and one for regular Point and Shoot cameras
 

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Sep 23, 2009
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#2
wow, this is great! wonder how much they cost... ;p

[video=youtube;q4ZOP_JW7gA]http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=q4ZOP_JW7gA[/video]
 

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ed9119

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#3
(Do excuse my amature videos .... and I'm obviously not cut out to be a news anchor either lolzz)

Moving this thread from Review section to General Tech Talk .... the ACTUAL review will be coming soon as well as a couple of Swarovski ATX outings for CS'ers soon

This is meant as an introduction thread to Swarovski's first pro-active steps into the realm of nature photography through the ATX/STX spotting telescopes

Continuing from above Post #1

Below is the TLS APO ....





Sooo.... below is the configuration chart from Swarovski on how the system works



I personally LOVE the DCB II ...... with a small little compact PnS attached to it .... it can be locked down or flipped up for instant scoping

The Point and Shoot camera is also attached to a removable baseplate

Realistically, this allows you to set up the ATX and attach a little Point and Shoot camera ... and because the PnS is attached to the DCB II via a detachable ... baseplate you can literally detach the PnS for independent use (like taking candid shots, group pics etc etc) and almost INSTANTLY attach it back to the DCB II and convert it into a 3000+mm (or maybe more given its much smaller sensor) monster tele zoom camera

Let the video do the talking ha ha ha

[video=youtube;hqCJDa2Vo20]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hqCJDa2Vo20&feature=plcp[/video]

For the TLS APO, you will need to fit an adaptor to it before mounting the camera body .... I understand from Richard that Swarovski makes these precision adaptors for Nikon, Canon crop sensor bodies as well as for Micro 4/3 camera bodies BUT that there are other OEM adaptors in the market too (normally known as a T2 adaptor)
 

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ed9119

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#4
Richard introduced me to the Swarovski ATX system on Friday at the Camper's Corner behind Singapore Art Museum

[video=youtube;lLIQa8L_yOg]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lLIQa8L_yOg&feature=channel&list=UL[/video]
 

ed9119

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#5
At such long focal lengths the need for the system to be as stable as possible cannot be over emphasised
By the way.... its nitrogen filled .... and completely weather sealed to such an extent that it is designed to withstand FULL SUBMERSION in water for 2 (yes TWO) Hours at 4 (yes FOUR) meters

[video=youtube;g_lGbojkhmQ]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g_lGbojkhmQ&feature=channel&list=UL[/video]

We then used the ATX at about 150m out



Make a guess what we were focusing at
 

ed9119

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#6
How fast can the camera be deployed on the ATX ?
(by the way the TLS APO has a 30mm objective lens built in so you can shoot with it too as is without attaching it to the ATX)

[video=youtube;E7OMEgJ8RSY]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E7OMEgJ8RSY&feature=channel&list=UL[/video]
 

ed9119

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#7
The photograph that Richard is holding in his hands below was shot at 200+ meters distance (he claimed it was closer to 300m)



Below is the actual image downsized
Some tech details at bottom right corner of the image

 

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ed9119

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#10
hey Ed,
any idea on pricing for m43 mount?
from Wiki "The T-mount is the standard way to mount a camera to a microscope to photograph pathological specimen slides. It is also the standard way to mount a SLR or DSLR camera to a 1.25" telescope eyepiece."

I understand that you will need a Swarovski T2 Micro 4/3 Camera Adapter for the TLS APO ... B&H sells it for US$30 a piece for M4/3 bodies .... and cheaper on ebay if its by 3rd party manufacturers .... if you google "Swarovski T2 Micro 4/3 Camera Adapter for TLS APO" and look at the pic, its essentially a machined part without electronics
 

ed9119

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#11
.... want a gauge for the interest level before we ask Swarovski if they can organize an outing to Sungei Buloh or Punggol Waterway or similar with this new scoping system .... anyone ?
 

ed9119

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#12
[video=youtube;yTXN_GNfJZY]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yTXN_GNfJZY&feature=plcp[/video]

Uncropped head portrait shot
 

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ed9119

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#14
Across from Camper's Corner was the Chinese Calligraphy Society building shot with a regular camera and kit lens



(Below) make a guess where this is within the photo above ..... unprocessed and manual focused on the ledge, NOT the sphere
btw... its UNCROPPED and unprocessed out of the camera
Construction works pounding away 20m from the tripod setup together with tour buses rumbling out of the alley 2m to 3m away made it tough .... so we are waiting to get a set for a longer period of time to get a proper review done soon
 

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kei1309

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#15
ed9119 said:
Across from Camper's Corner was the Chinese Calligraphy Society building shot with a regular camera and kit lens

(Below) make a guess where this is within the photo above ..... unprocessed and manual focused on the ledge, NOT the sphere
btw... its UNCROPPED and unprocessed out of the camera
Construction works pounding away 20m from the tripod setup together with tour buses rumbling out of the alley 2m to 3m away made it tough .... so we are waiting to get a set for a longer period of time to get a proper review done soon
Right parapet of the building on the left
 

commonjunks

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#16
Thank you for posting pictures and video.
Is there a place where we can physically see the scope and perhaps test?
I used to own 600mm but lately due to family commitment i sold that lens (as white elephant was sitting in dry box).
Now i was planning to get this so i don't feel a pain looking at 16k sitting in dry box.
 

CamInit

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#18
Looking at this thread... all the time I was thinking... Man, just what kinda moonshot are we lookin' at here??? :bsmilie:
 

zeehamzah

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#19
Impress by the IQ tho.
I wonder how is hw is the damage to the pocket.
Heehe
 

devilry

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#20
the range of the telescope is very good, definitely, and the image quality is respectable, and the price of such a setup is "cheap" as compared to the $12k, $16k or $20k canon pro 500mm/600mm/800mm lenses... but often its very easy to forget that if we are using it to shoot wildlife (e.g. birds which keeps jumping arnd and rarely stay still in a spot for more than a few seconds), its very very tough to nail a shot at them, probably except when u are lucky enough to get them in a stationary resting state.

another thing is, at such tremendous focal length, any slight vibration is gona cause a large movement of the scope's image - it's very hard to do adjustment and reposition if the animal move even a tiny little bit. This isnt helped by the need to use manual focus, which again is very slow as compared to the instantaneous auto focus of the canon 500mm f4/600mm f4 - and this is also the main reason why despite swarovski digiscoping being around for many years, but yet many of the serious pro shooters still uses the canon 500mm f4/600mm f4/800mm f5.6 variant...

however that being said, for those who already have the 500mm/600mm lenses, it might be worthwhile for u to also get one of these swarovski scopes - and use it in cases where the birds/animals are just simply too far away...

if instead u are just starting out, you might wanna go with the standard 500mm/600mm lenses first.
 

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