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Archive 2012 · Spotting scope mfrs elbowing in on supertelephoto lenses?
  
 
dalite
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p.1 #1 · Spotting scope mfrs elbowing in on supertelephoto lenses?


Two of the top spotting scope manufacturers, Swarovski and Kowa are/have come out with super telephoto lenses: a 500mm/f5.6 lens in the case of Kowa and a 800mm lens from Swarovski. The Kowa lens ($2700) has been out since 2010 but has gotten little publicity here in the U.S. It has one fluorite element and two ED elements (total of 7 lens elements only) but has no AF, no IS and not f4 like the Canon 500/f4L IS (which is 2 1/2 times more costly). Like the Swarovski, you can add attachments to those lenses to increase focal length, as well as convert them to a spotting scope

I doubt if these two newcomers will make any serious dent into Canon's or Nikon's corner of the market for supertelephoto lenses, but their versatility is certainly intriguing, at least for digiscopers. And the price is right.



Dec 16, 2012 at 05:59 AM
Lee Saxon
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p.1 #2 · Spotting scope mfrs elbowing in on supertelephoto lenses?


On a similar topic : http://www.lensrentals.com/blog/2012/10/scoping-out-digiscoping


Dec 16, 2012 at 06:17 AM
AhamB
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p.1 #3 · Spotting scope mfrs elbowing in on supertelephoto lenses?


dalite wrote:
[...] but has no AF, no IS and not f4 like the Canon 500/f4L IS (which is 2 1/2 times more costly).


Maybe even more notably: no aperture, which is probably what these spotting scopes need to get rid of some of the aberrations that they show.



Dec 16, 2012 at 09:30 AM
JimBuchanan
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p.1 #4 · Spotting scope mfrs elbowing in on supertelephoto lenses?


I don't think the big lens companies are worried about spotting scopes at all. To start, most spotting scopes already have prisms to right the image for visual. That restricts the image circle size to the camera sensor. Second, any optic that is added to adapt the scope to a camera will degrade the image to the sensor. The comment about the aperture, while true, is not the main culprit. Spotting scopes have never been known for visual image quality, except for possibly Zeiss or Leica or any other APO scope.

The 2 companies mentioned above marketing new "super telephotos" are nothing new as far as telescopes are concerned. The Kowa with "only 7 elements" is not a selling point in my opinion. If I was going to spend $2700 on a telescope, not a spotting scope, I would be looking at companies that offer real APO quality scopes from Televue, TEC, Takahashi, and maybe some of the Russian APO scopes. I'm not including Astro-Physics, because it is hard to readily obtain one of their expensive triplets (only 3 elements).

Having said all of that, my own Takahashi below is a small 60mm/355mm focal length APO that has a simple fluorite doublet. That works out to be a f/6 or so, but compared to a FD 300/2.8 L, it is only about a stop slower than the FD, but the field of view is approximately that of about a 400mm telephoto on full frame. And the image circle does cover full frame. On a 1.5x crop camera, almost 600mm.

Longer telephotos and small telescopes are both tripod solutions, so I agree with the original poster that small APO scopes are possible alternatives to big long heavy telephotos, just not spotting scopes.







Dec 16, 2012 at 02:54 PM
FerBatista
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p.1 #5 · Spotting scope mfrs elbowing in on supertelephoto lenses?


JimBuchanan wrote:
I don't think the big lens companies are worried about spotting scopes at all. To start, most spotting scopes already have prisms to right the image for visual. That restricts the image circle size to the camera sensor. Second, any optic that is added to adapt the scope to a camera will degrade the image to the sensor. The comment about the aperture, while true, is not the main culprit. Spotting scopes have never been known for visual image quality, except for possibly Zeiss or Leica or any other APO scope.

The 2 companies mentioned above marketing new "super telephotos"
...Show more

I couldn't agree more.

Spotting scopes are the wrong solution for anyone wanting good IQ, a good APO astro scope is a much better choice, at least on a DSLR.

I've been using APO scopes for years, the only downside I can see to them is being MF, apart from that they're outstanding pieces of gear, they're extremely reliable, extremely sharp and contrasty, with great colors and bokeh.
Apparent downsides like no IS/VR or slower apertures, are not really a factor at all. The lack of stabilization can be if you're using canon or nikon (like I did until recently), but other brands have in body stabilization that can be used with the scope.
And the slower aperture is also less of a problem than it seems. My current scope, a 480mm F/6 Triple APO, actually has the same light transmission as my Nikkor 300mm F4 had at F/4,5. By only having three lenses inside, the APO scope delivers a good bit more light to the sensor than a regular objective at the same aperture.
And MF can be helped with the use of focus peaking in sony cameras, or pentax. Or with the use of trapfocus in others.

Here's the scope I use now, a TS TLAPO 804, the same as Orion ED80T except for the carbon OTA:






It currently has a few changes, I redone the camera adapter and it has a new focuser. BTW it also has an IRIS that allows shooting from F/6 to F/16.

And here are several shots I've done with it these last two years:
http://fernandobatista.smugmug.com/Galeria/Diario-Fotogr%C3%A1fico-Photo/3708197_KR2GVt#!i=2271106179&k=9HDTcBz

And for those who are curious about it's quality a 100% crop, using a Kenko 1,4x PRO300, wide open:











Dec 18, 2012 at 02:30 PM
dalite
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p.1 #6 · Spotting scope mfrs elbowing in on supertelephoto lenses?


Lee Saxon wrote:
On a similar topic : http://www.lensrentals.com/blog/2012/10/scoping-out-digiscoping

______

I read that article before posting and indeed, the Swarovski when compared with a Canon supertelephoto L lens falls short on edge detail. A nice article though.



Dec 19, 2012 at 01:12 AM
 

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dalite
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p.1 #7 · Spotting scope mfrs elbowing in on supertelephoto lenses?


Jim and Fer, I am sure you can get very sharp images on your astroscopes, but most astroscopes are heavy compared to the popular Swarovski 800s or the Leicas or Kowa 800 series. Astroscopes are, in my opinion, best for astro viewing. But Fer, that photo of a kingfisher is very, very impressive. Did you pay the kingfisher to sit tight to photograph it (just joking)?

I have seen many sharp digiscoped photos in the Flickr digiscoping forum, although I suspect that the optimum distance for such sharpness is no more than 75 feet.

Finally, the point I make is that Kowa's 500mm lens and Swarovski's attachment accessory is convenient if one already owns a good spotting scope as well as a good DSLR and don't want to pay car prices for another supertelephoto lens.



Dec 19, 2012 at 01:20 AM
FerBatista
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p.1 #8 · Spotting scope mfrs elbowing in on supertelephoto lenses?


dalite wrote:
Jim and Fer, I am sure you can get very sharp images on your astroscopes, but most astroscopes are heavy compared to the popular Swarovski 800s or the Leicas or Kowa 800 series. Astroscopes are, in my opinion, best for astro viewing. But Fer, that photo of a kingfisher is very, very impressive. Did you pay the kingfisher to sit tight to photograph it (just joking)?


Weight is a matter of witch model you choose, of course.
My scope weights 2.5Kgs, it's a bit more than a spot scope, but less than any serious telephoto lens.
The minimal lens on the market I'd consider to trade my telescope is a sigma 500mm F4.5, and it weighs a good bit more than my scope, and even then it's image quality is not up to what this scope can do, specially when you need TCs.

dalite wrote:
I have seen many sharp digiscoped photos in the Flickr digiscoping forum, although I suspect that the optimum distance for such sharpness is no more than 75 feet.


Maybe that's true for spot scopes, but not for astro scopes, if there's a situation where scopes excel is long distance shooting. At close distances a good telephoto lens will get very similar results, but as soon as distance increases, and specially when TCs are needed this kind of telescopes easily pass most telephotos IQ out there.

BTW, here's a comparison of an intane (also an 80mm triplet) and a 600mm F4
http://www.intane-optics.com/upload/7041235eb4e1INTANE%2080%20APO.pdf



Dec 19, 2012 at 08:26 AM
pingflood
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p.1 #9 · Spotting scope mfrs elbowing in on supertelephoto lenses?


Regarding that Intane scope....

http://www.cloudynights.com/ubbarchive/showflat.php/Cat/0/Number/1825480/page/47/view/collapsed/sb/7/o/all/fpart/1



Dec 19, 2012 at 09:50 AM
allebaug
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p.1 #10 · Spotting scope mfrs elbowing in on supertelephoto lenses?


Have you seen this Lens2scope product from Kenko to use telephotos as scopes? -
http://www.the-digital-picture.com/News/News-Post.aspx?News=1626



Dec 19, 2012 at 10:01 AM
FerBatista
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p.1 #11 · Spotting scope mfrs elbowing in on supertelephoto lenses?


pingflood wrote:
Regarding that Intane scope....

http://www.cloudynights.com/ubbarchive/showflat.php/Cat/0/Number/1825480/page/47/view/collapsed/sb/7/o/all/fpart/1


The intane on the CN post is obviously not the same as the link I put. That model seems like an unsucessfull try for a very compact astro telescope.

That said, I only put that link because it's one of the few comparing astro scopes with lenses, I know a few more but they're usually bigger and longer telescopes.
Honestly, I wouldn't choose the intane, I would prefer buying something with known quality glass like the FPL53 on my model. At least if didn't have the chance of trying it extensively before buying.



Dec 19, 2012 at 10:19 AM
dalite
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p.1 #12 · Spotting scope mfrs elbowing in on supertelephoto lenses?


Excelentes fotos Fernando.


Dec 21, 2012 at 04:58 AM





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