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Forum Home > Digiscoping Equipment > Sony nex-6 Swarovski ATX 85 and TLS APO

dutch
Member
Posts: 6

Hi

I'm new to the forum.

I have a Swarovski ATX 85.  At the 2013 Bird Fair I saw the TLS APO  demonstrated. 

Reading the reviews (including this site)  it fitted my requirements.

Having used it with my Olympus e500 I got very disappointing results.

I found getting sharp focus was impossible.  Having tested, it (including different T mounts) I find it is not focussed at infinity, but at about 4m.

Swarovski have said it is 'incompatible' with my SLR and I need to get a compatible system.  A refund does not seem to be an option.

I've seen the Sony Nex-6 and this seems to fit the bill for my photographic needs and want to use it with the APO.

It is compact and has decent reviews as a mirrorless system. 

Does anyone have any advice on using this as a set of kit or do I have other options with my APO (including different cameras)?





February 4, 2014 at 4:37 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Dannys Digiscoping
Site Owner
Posts: 372

Hi Dutch,

Welcome to the Forum and thanks for your question.

Firstly, I cannot understand why you cannot use this camera with the TLS APO & ATX. I have used Canon, Nikon, Sony & the Nikon V1 on my TLS APO and not had any problems.

Can I ask what settings you were using, including the zoom on the scope when you were trying things out please?

Also, what distance were you taking the pictures and of what were you taking pictures of please?

I've used the mirrorless Sony DSLR's and found them to be excellent, so maybe order a Sony T2 mount so you can try your NEX-6. Contact Jack the Hat photographic, they should have one.

You sound like a frustrated man, and rightly so. Stick with it, its quite normal to get loads (and i do mean loads) of rubbish images to start with, so I'm not entirely surprised to hear of focussing issues. However, you sound like you know a little of photography, so I'm a little concerned as to why your images are blurry.

Do check that the diopter on your cameras viewfinder is set up for your eye. Sometimes they can get knocked out of adjustment.

Come back to me when you can :)

Regards,

Danny.

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February 4, 2014 at 10:35 AM Flag Quote & Reply

dutch
Member
Posts: 6

Dannys Digiscoping at February 4, 2014 at 10:35 AM

Hi Dutch,

Welcome to the Forum and thanks for your question.

Firstly, I cannot understand why you cannot use this camera with the TLS APO & ATX. I have used Canon, Nikon, Sony & the Nikon V1 on my TLS APO and not had any problems.

Can I ask what settings you were using, including the zoom on the scope when you were trying things out please?

Also, what distance were you taking the pictures and of what were you taking pictures of please?

I've used the mirrorless Sony DSLR's and found them to be excellent, so maybe order a Sony T2 mount so you can try your NEX-6. Contact Jack the Hat photographic, they should have one.

You sound like a frustrated man, and rightly so. Stick with it, its quite normal to get loads (and i do mean loads) of rubbish images to start with, so I'm not entirely surprised to hear of focussing issues. However, you sound like you know a little of photography, so I'm a little concerned as to why your images are blurry.

Do check that the diopter on your cameras viewfinder is set up for your eye. Sometimes they can get knocked out of adjustment.

Come back to me when you can :)

Regards,

Danny.

Hi Danny

I've used an SLR adapter on my old Pentax SLR and Kowa Scope and 35mm slides.  I used this setup for over 10 years.  When I graduated to digital with an Olypus e500 and a T-mount I got decent results - even with slow exposures (the Olympus is poor over 800 ASA).

Changing scopes (and trading in the Kowa) I got the APO to continue digiscoping.  The slick demo at the Bird Fair suggested I could even use the APO as a stand alone lens. 

I do take loads of shots and expect only a few to be of use. To me, the problem seems to be that the APO is not in focus at infinity - testing it as a stand alone it seems to focus at about 3 metres, infinity shots are miles out of focus (as a stand alone).

Putting it onto the Swarovski with the e500 seems to mean I can't get it to focus crisply, diopters are not a factor.  I've had consistently better results from a £20 Vivitar hand held over the eye piece.

Swarovski have suggested that the APO is not compatible with my Olympus e500 and I need to get a different camera, hence the Sony NEX 6.

My Olympus gives me a TTL exposure. Would the NEX 6 be able to auto expose as well with a T-mount?  I've read that all exposures need to be manual - is this correct? 

Anyone's comments with experience of using the APO with the NEX 6 and / or the e500 would be gratefully received.

At present I'm out of pocket with a piece of kit which won't work.

Dutch

February 5, 2014 at 12:11 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Dannys Digiscoping
Site Owner
Posts: 372

Hi Dutch,

Using the APO as a stand alone lens is possible, but I'm not sure its designed to give great results at a large distance. It has no means to refocus so its great for using up close, perhaps for quick candid shots, but its something I can try for myself to see how things turn out.

As for focussing your digiscoping set up at infinity, again, at larger distances and zooms images are always going to be more unsteady & not pin sharp. I've always said that digiscoping (for me anyway) isn't about being able to take incredible images that are a long way off, but that its more about getting as close as possible, and taking amazing close up shots. Obv though the size of the subject would make a difference, like the moon for example.

A fellow digiscoper that I know digiscopes with the NEX-5 on an adapter that attaches over the eyepiece and works thru the scopes eyepiece. The Sony is connected using a T2 adapter only. He gets great results.

http://www.birdforum.net/showthread.php?t=273856

Here is a link to a fella that did some videoscoping with a NE6 & TLS APO on a 95. Perhaps it may help you a little.

I do hope you find a solution, the Swarovski systems have always worked so well for me, and I am perplexed as to why it wont work for you. I've never come across this kind of problem before, but I am trying to find you a fix!

Perhaps your APO is faulty? Just a shot in the dark!

Do keep in touch,

Regards,

Danny.

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February 5, 2014 at 2:32 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Dannys Digiscoping
Site Owner
Posts: 372

http://www.teleskop-express.de/shop/product_info.php/language/en/info/p6286_Swarovski-TLS-APO-Telefoto-Lens-System-Apochromat-fuer-ATX---STX.html

A list of the Swarovski T2 mounts. The NEX one is listed :)

 

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February 5, 2014 at 2:38 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Dannys Digiscoping
Site Owner
Posts: 372

A review on Amazon;

This was purchased to be used with an ATX Modular Eyepiece and 95mm objective and Nikon cameras but more on that later.

General observations:

The quality is very much what you would expect from Swarovski.

It is very well thought out and easy to instal and set up.

It eliminate the vignetting all together.

It can stay on the camera and acts like a 30mm lens that can be used to take snapshots, not a very good lens but better than a cellphone camera.

This adapter will make your life a lot easer and the field operations becomes a pleasure.

My plan was to use this unite with a Nikon D3200, a consumer grade DSLR, and dedicate the camera to it. Well, it did not work out that well. This unit is totally a manual unit, which means when it is attached to the camera, the D3200 will not recognize it at all and give you warning that lens is not attached, which means: the camera's operation is significantly limited and camera becomes a very dumb and manual camera, Now, my wife and I are both advance photographers. We are very much comfortable with our camera gears so manual mode is not an issue at all, but it gets worst, the camera's metering system will refuse to give you any indication to help with exposure metering and unless you have a light meter you are shooting in the dark, this is a problem with consumer grade low-end Nikon cameras. This issue makes the Nikon D3200 setup useless in the field, even when I am using a higher end camera like D800, It is a very slow process to grab an image of a bird that may only be there for a few seconds.

Also, obviously there is no autofocus function as well, you have to rely on the small LCD to focus the scope or focus using the eyepiece before you add the adapter to the scope and hope that the subject dose not move while you are assembling your gear after focusing.

After these issues we decided to use our Sony NEX7 mirror-less camera, using another adaptor ( Many are available here on Amazon) that converts Swarovski's Nikon adapter to work on sony NEX cameras, It worked like a dream, Not only we have full automatic exposure which speed things up significantly, but we also have all the manual controls. As an added bonus the focus peaking capability of the NEX made it a lot easer to focus the scope. The NEX's focus peaking allows you to focus by looking at a magnified part of the image and using the camera's computer to highlight high contrast areas of the subject with a red or yellow color to aid you in focusing process. Also since the LCD on NEX is adjustable it makes for a much more comfortable, faster and easer setup. Sony is not the only camera that has these features. Also I am not sure if Nikon is the only DSLR with the problem either. It is best to research your camera's capabilities before investing in this expensive gadget.

If your camera is older than 5 or 6 years you may consider a new camera since the newer cameras have much better dynamic range and perform much better at higher ISOs which is very critical for this setup. Also don't limit yourself to just Nikon, Canon or Sony, you can use many other cameras using a secondary adapter that works with one of these 3 main manufacturers adapters.

Few things to remember, Set everything up a head of time at home before going out and once you get to the location do a few test shots just to make sure every thing is set for that environment, this is very important since you really need to shoot at a very high shutter speeds to get a good image, based on my tests, anything less that a 1/1000 sec, is not that good.

My recommendation is 1/2000 sec., in order to get there you need to increase your ISO. If you use a modern camera that was made in the last 3 to 4 years you can shoot as high as 1600 ISO without any real world image degradation, remember a blurry image is far worst than a granny one. I keep my camera at 400 ISO at all time and move up to 3200 ISO without any hesitation. There are many software that can fixe high ISO images but I am not sure if you can fix blur in an image. Also you really must use a cable release or a wireless remote to prevent shaking the scope during the shutter release. You can use the 10sec delay mode on the camera but how many times a bird seat there for you without moving for 10sec.? Wireless remotes are available for most cameras and are very inexpensive and convenient.

Overall you would be very happy with this except for the price, I would not be a true Swarovski user if I did not complain about the price, it is about $150 more than it should be, even though it is the only adapter, that I know of, that is also a 30 mm lens, and can be use to grab a snap shot, and attaches to the camera's lens mount directly, eliminating the vignetting (dark circle around the image).

Hope this helps.

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February 5, 2014 at 2:41 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Dannys Digiscoping
Site Owner
Posts: 372

This could be re-assuring also. I suggest concentrate on getting your NEX-6 working on the APO.

http://sparroworks.ca/wildlifing/?tag=green-birding

Danny :)

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February 5, 2014 at 2:46 PM Flag Quote & Reply

dutch
Member
Posts: 6

Thanks for your help. 

I've looked at your link to http://www.birdforum.net/showthread.php?t=273856. ; It seems to work with the NEX-6.  The NEX-5 and NEX-6 are very similar.  Could your  'fellow digiscoper' provide me with advice / observations? 

Westwoodside

February 6, 2014 at 10:00 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Dannys Digiscoping
Site Owner
Posts: 372

Hi Dutch,

No problem at all,

His name is Paul Hackett, and he is one of the best digiscopers in the U.K. Paul works for Kowa, and uses his Sony on a Kowa system.

You can find him on Facebook in the digiscoping group, or he's there with his own profile.

He'll be able to tell you plenty about the Sony :)

Danny

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February 6, 2014 at 11:03 AM Flag Quote & Reply

GreenBirder
Member
Posts: 1

I am using the Sony NEX-7 with the Swarovski scope and TLS-APO adapter and find it superb.  The focus peaking feature makes finding good focus ridiculously easy and the ability to view the image through the electronic viewfinder while adjusting aperture and speed as well as exposure adjustment if you don't like the auto-settings offered is unbeatable.  Definitley a marriage made in heaven.  See the pictures at http://sparroworks.ca/wildlifing/?page_id=65  to see how this all fits together.

February 6, 2014 at 3:12 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Ron
Member
Posts: 3

http://www.flickr.com/photos/ronatx1/

have a look at my flickr page

all shots taken with sony nex6 and swaro atx95

i shoot in jpeg and only use snapseed on my ipad for some cropping or sharpening...i am very satisfied!

i use no balancerail neither remote control,just do it the easy way:-)

Ron.

February 15, 2014 at 7:19 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Dannys Digiscoping
Site Owner
Posts: 372

Wow Ron,

I can't argue with those results. BEEEEEE OOOOOOOO TI FULL!!!

Thank you so much for helping with this post. Hopefully Dutch (the thread creator) will check back and see your link.

Maybe that will help him gain a little confidence in this system :)

Thanks again,

 

Danny

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February 15, 2014 at 7:27 AM Flag Quote & Reply

dutch
Member
Posts: 6

Hi

I'm impressed with the help and comments from this forum!

I've just checked back (as you hoped)  :) and Ron's photos clinch the deal for me. 

Ron: are you happy with the camera as an SLR replacement?

I would prefer to retire my Olympus if possible.

 

I'm heading to a store in the near future, along with my '85 Swarovski and APO to run a test with the kit.

Hopefully I can report back with positive results. 

Many thanks.

Dutch

February 17, 2014 at 4:02 PM Flag Quote & Reply

dutch
Member
Posts: 6

Ron: there seems to be some confusion over the correct tmount for the Nex 6.

I've found references to two in forums, a 'long' one and a short one. 

I've talked directly to Swarovski who said they don't know which I need - but have said the one listed for the APO and Sony on their web site is not for the Nex.

Which do I need please?

Dutch

February 20, 2014 at 11:40 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Dannys Digiscoping
Site Owner
Posts: 372
Hi Dutch, I think it's this one http://www.teleskop-express.de/shop/product_info.php/info/p4657_TS-Optics-T2-adapter-for-Sony-Alpha-Nex-cameras.html I've messaged Ron on Facebook, so hopefully he'll see it soon and report back here to let you know which one he has. Best wishes, Danny
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February 20, 2014 at 1:55 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Ron
Member
Posts: 3

Hei,

I have a Kipon t2 adapter for sony e- mount... Thats what it says :-)

At first i borrowed a Canon Eos dslr camera from my daughter but i found it to heavy

the sony nex 6 is a friendly little compact camera with excelent evf

Focus peaking is also great.

You won't regret:-)

Ron

February 20, 2014 at 4:18 PM Flag Quote & Reply

dutch
Member
Posts: 6

Hi

I've now bought the Nex 6 and have had a quick test on the scope.

Even with the standard 16-50 lens hand held to the eye piece gets acceptable results - useful for an 'insurance' shot before attaching the APO.

The APO works well but I've only had a few quick tests.

I got a cheap IR remote control - it helps reduce camera shake.

I'll try to do some more tests as time permits to find the best settings.

Many thanks,


Dutch


May 11, 2014 at 6:40 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Dannys Digiscoping
Site Owner
Posts: 372

Hi Dutch,

Great to hear back from you. 

I'm really pleased that you're at a stage where things are starting to come together. 

FYI, I'm currently using the new Sony Alpha a6000 CSC connected to my TLS APO using a Sony E mount T2 adapter.

Its producing some pretty cool results!

I hope this is useful for you, and I look forward to seeing you progress :)


All the best,


Danny 

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May 14, 2014 at 4:14 PM Flag Quote & Reply

james spike
Member
Posts: 1

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