Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Kowa simplifies digiscoping with your iPhone 4!

A friend of Eagle Optics, David LaPuma, has been digiscoping with his iPhone 4S, the new Kowa TSN IP4S iPhone 4/4S Digiscoping Bracket, and his Swarovski spotting scope, with some excellent results. Here, we share some of his photos and comments from his blog, Woodcreeper.com. Enjoy!

Introducing the NEW Kowa iPhone digiscoping adapter

If you have an iPhone 4 or 4s, the camera in your pocket just got a lot more awesome.

Here’s my iPhone 4s mounted on a Swarovski HD spotting scope using the new Kowa TSN-IP4S adapter (yes, it works on a number of scopes/binoculars other than the intended Kowa variety, thanks Kowa!). The main thing to notice is that it’s hands-free!

Anyone who has tried handheld digiscoping using an iPhone can tell you that it’s a tedious act and more often than not you’re going to get sub-par results. With the new Kowa adapter, though, the iPhone becomes a natural extension of the spotting scope and you can go back to focusing on birding, which is where your focus should be anyway.

To make my point, here are a few no-brainer photos (click on the images to open in full-size):

Check out the yellow orbital ring on this immature Wood Duck!

White-breasted Nuthatch (Sitta carolinensis) with a winged snack

Sandhill Crane (Grus canadensis) ruffled up!

A Hairy Woodpecker (Picoides villosus) going deep in the sap well

American Coot (Fulica americana) shouting at me

But having an iPhone as your go-to digiscoping camera has many more benefits, not the least of which are the video capabilities. Here’s some moonwatching video I shot a few nights ago, see how many birds you can count migrating across the face of the moon?

(Note that I have removed the sound from the video; you really don’t want to hear the conversations we have when we’re staying up late staring at the moon, trust me.)

The plethora of third-party apps for the iPhone mean many more opportunities for taking and editing both photos and videos right in your phone (we should really stop calling it a phone altogether and admit that it’s just a small and very sophisticated computer).

Here’s a video montage I made using the Kowa adapter and the Swarovski scope. All videos were taken through the iPhone with either the standard video app, a more flexible FiLMiC Pro video app, or the slow-motion SloPro app. The video was edited (I removed sound either when it was windy or when the unrelated conversation dominated the audio track) and assembled in iMovie 11 on an old MacBookPro, but taking, editing and publishing individual videos is just as easily done from within the iPhone itself.

So the next time you’re out birding and you find the first state record, or notice some really cool behavior you hadn’t seen before, or just can’t get enough of that plumage, forget the giant camera and lens, grab your phone and fire away. You can pick up the Kowa adapter at several outlets, but I know for a fact that Eagleoptics.com has them (and they’re my local Madison store, and they’re pretty awesome folks).

Good Birding and Digiscoping,


Nina Cheney
Eagle Optics Staff
Binoculars: Bring them. See what they bring you.


  1. That set up produces some awesome photos and vidoes! I need to get my hands on it!

  2. I love the Kowa Digiscoping Adapter and use it on my Vortex Razor scope. It has added substantially to my birding experience.

    I did download the Kowa camera app for the iPhone, and found that it did not have the same quick focus as the Apple iPhone camera has. Unless they updated it, you cannot use the earphone volume control on the Kowa app to take pics. To much messing around to get a reasonable pic. .......and you have to pay $ for it.

    So.......I rely on the Apple iPhone app.


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