Hello there! Thanks for navigating to this review page, I hope it provides you with an insight into what I thought of Nikons DSA-N1!
Ok, so what were my reasons for wanting to review this adapter? Well, firstly, I had just purchased a secndhand Nikon 1 V1. I had seen quite a few digiscopers posting images using this camera on Facebook and was intrigued myself as to how good this camera was!
Also, I have long been a big fan of Swarovski's TLS APO and the DSA-N1 is a very similar style of adapter to the TLS APO, so I was interested to see how they compared.
Thirdly, I had purchased a cheap Nikon fieldscope, the ED82 and a secondhand 30x DS (digiscoping) eyepiece, and wanted to see what digiscoping through the eyepiece on the Nikon scope was like.
And lastly, it had been ages since I borrowed something from Nikon U.K and I didn't want them forgetting about me!!
Getting set up couldn't have been more simple.
And it really is as simple as that!
I always say to anyone that asks that a simple but solid connection helps so much, especially when learning. Often, that means spending a little more money on bespoke equipment, that is designed to work together. It may seem like a big lay out, but its worth it.
Speaking of cost, the DSA-N1 will set you back between £150-£200. As a comparison, Swarovski's TLS APO will cost you upwards of £350. There are a few reasons why the Swarovski adapter is more expensive, but overall, the two adapters are fairly even in terms of what they allow the user to do, so the DSA-N1 is good value!
Don't forget that this is a complete Nikon set up. They produce all the required components. Only Leica (and their scope & camera combination range is much more limited) can also boast this.
As always, a good tripod and a fluid dampened tripod head will always make it easier to achieve better results. Now for a test shot or two!!
So, what is the DSA-N1?
The DSA-N1 is an adapter designed specifically for the Nikon compact systems cameras, such as the 1 V1/2 or 1 J1. They have the correct f mount already built in, and the cameras are shootable in aperture priority mode as the adapters have the correct electronics built into them. This is great as I've often found digiscoping with Nikon DSLR's that using manual mode only (unless you have a Nikon adapter & scope) can make digiscoping a little over reliant on using ISO.
The DSA-N1 is a compact sized adapter, which attaches to the eyepieces of the Monarch fieldscopes (new modular system soon to be released) and the older Nikon fieldscopes. See THIS LINK for compatibility.
Attachment to the eyepiece follows Nikons traditional route with one, very simple clamping screw that simply tightens to the eyepiece. Undoing the screw is all that needs to be done to remove the camera & adapter from the eyepiece for quick & easy observational purposes.
The DSA-N1 also includes a built in 18mm pancake lens. Swarovski's TLS APO has a built in 30mm pancake lens. This interested me as the 18mm lens should give slightly better performance in lower light conditions. It may not seem that 12mm difference in focal length can make much of a difference. Indeed I was surprised when I took these test shots.
The top image was taken using my Nikon ED 82 Fieldscope, 30x DS eyepiece, DSA-N1 & Nikon 1 V1. We can see good levels of exposure and nice colour saturation. Also, a nice sharp image was produced. The range was around 30m
This image was taken using the Swarovski STX 95 set on 30x zoom, TLS APO & Nikon 1 V1 at the same range as the above image. Again, sharpness & colour are all ok, but we can see where the extra 12mm make a difference to overall zoom. This may be ok with a 95mm objective, but it wouldn't work so well in terms of aperture on the 82mm Fieldscope. Therefore, I think Nikon were sensible not to reduce the aperture of their digiscoping systems for the sake of a little extra focal length.
The DSA-N1 in my opinion, is already proving itself.
The Field Test
As is quite normal for me it seems, I tend to ask for equipment to review in January. Why I do this, I just don't know as the weather is usually rubbish & I struggle to get any decent test images!
However, on this occasion the weather couldn't have been better. Bright sunlight, hardly any wind and plenty to take pictures of!
So really its a case of where do I begin?!
I went to a Ness Point in Lowestoft, the U.K's most easterly point. There are often a good number of subjects to be found here.
The sun was out, so it was an ideal opportunity to keep the ISO low & the shutter speeds higher. A perfect digiscoping combination. The 1 V1 was set at ISO 200, and slight exposure compensation was used to open up to around f8.
This Black Headed Gull was perched on top of a building. The combination of the EVF (electronic viewfinder) on the 1 V1 made it easier to control exposure. The grade of optics in the set up made for crisp, clear images, even against the white of the bird. I felt that I achieved some good depth in this image whilst not under exposing.
I should also mention that there is no vignetting with this set up, so you can just put the camera & adapter on and digiscope!
Here in Lowestoft we are very luck to have up to 15 over wintering Purple Sandpipers.
Settings were ISO 400 (it was getting a little darker) 1/250th-1/320th sec shutter speed, and -0.7 Ev compensation. The birds were at a range of 4-8 meters!!
I think they speak for themselves :)
There is nothing negative that I can say about this adapter. It does everything that I require of it, with ease!
Its affordable, compatible with the new system scopes, as well as working just fine with the older scopes.
The cost of the older DS eyepieces is the only thing that sours this set up a little. I got a secondhand one for £100, but they can cost upwards of £200 new.
Apart from that though, I was more than happy with the results that I got. Good optic quality made for nice, sharp images. The whole set up was quite compact, and much lighter than my STX set up.
I can't wait to try it on the Monarch systems now!!
My thanks go to all at Nikon U.K. for their kind loan of this adapter!