Thursday, June 13, 2013

Review of the Swarovski ATX Spotting Scope and TLS APO Digiscoping Adapter

Over the past couple of months, I have had the opportunity to test out the new Swarovski ATX Spotting Scope. Quite simply, the scope is an amazing piece of birding equipment. It was late in the afternoon by the time I got home from work and got the scope all set up on the day it arrived, so my first experience was looking at the feeders and the pond behind my house. What struck me the most was the amount of light that the scope collected in low light conditions when compared to my scope that I usually use (Vortex Razor HD). As you would expect from Swarovski, the picture is crystal clear and extremely sharp from the center of the image all the way to the edges.

Swarovski also sent me the TLS APO Digiscoping Adapter to test out. Again, I couldn't wait to try it, so I took some photos at my feeders. It takes some time to get the hang of, but overall it is extremely easy to use and I would consider it to be the best digiscoping adapter that I have ever worked with. The adapter has a metal bracket that easily snaps onto the scope's eyepiece as well as a metal plate that allows the adapter to attach to a DSLR camera. Once the camera is attached to the adapter, you slip the adapter onto the metal plate and you are ready to shoot. It is incredibly quick and easy to attach. As an added bonus, when your camera and adapter are not on the scope, the metal plate can remain on the scope and does not get in the way of normal use.

One of my first shots with the new setup. This Downy Woodpecker was happy to pose for me.
This female House Finch spent a lot of time at my feeders and was rather cooperative.
I was very anxious to get out birding with the scope and to practice with the digiscope setup but had to wait almost a week before I was able to go to Eagle Creek. Unfortunately, it ended up raining for almost the whole morning. Finally around 11am, the skies cleared and I was able to spend just a little time using the digiscoping setup. The birds were not overly cooperative but I did end up with a pretty good shot of a Ring-billed Gull.

This shot of a Ring-billed Gull is my favorite photo that I took with the digiscoping adapter.
Swarvski has introduced a completely new design that has so many advantages over the traditional scope design. This is the world's first modular scope. You can chose between two eyepieces, angled (ATX) or straight (STX), as well as three objective lenses - 65mm, 85mm, and 95mm. This allows you to have one eyepiece and multiple objective lenses that will offer different weights and zooms. The 65mm lens offers 25x-60x zoom while the 95mm lens offers 30x-70x zoom. The scope comes apart in the middle very easily, like changing lenses on a camera. Since the scope comes apart, it is much easier to travel with then any other scope I have seen. You can learn more about the technical aspects and many other things by visiting the Swarovski Optik website.

During the time that I had the scope, I took it on two Big Days as well as to the Biggest Week in American Birding. I showed the scope to many of the participants that were on my field trips, and the response from everyone was overwhelmingly positive. Everyone agreed that it was among the best scopes that they had ever looked through!

The parts that I tested:
ATX Spotting Scope Modular Zoom Eyepiece (Angled)
ATX/STX 85mm Modular Objective Lens
TLS APO Digiscoping Adapter

ATX with 85mm Objective Lens
TLS APO Digiscoping Adapter

The scope was provided on loan from Swarovski Optik for the purposes of this review. All links are to our Amazon Affiliate Account.


Anonymous said...

Nice post! Even I am using Swarovski ATX spotting scopes bought from

Anonymous said...
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Unknown said...

nice blog

Unknown said...

I've had the Swarovski for many years and it was a good piece of spotting scope that helped me in my hunting. I've since upgraded this to a new, more powerful scope since my old one has seen better days. I took into consideration the newer brands right now and the prices, which should be affordable, at least on my end. I got the Meade brand which I saw in a review. I was pretty much fascinated by its features, which you can see on this site, among other top spotting scopes: