Swarovski STX 95 Modular Telescope Review

As an ambassador for Swarovski Optik based in Austria, the experience of using their latest telescope in my work provides me the ultimate pleasure in observing nature and wildlife. Coupled with the TLS APO and DCB II Digiscoping adapters, one of the best combo I have used in between observing and taking pictures/videos so far.

Swarovski kindly provides me the 95mm objective lens and straight eyepiece modules including the Telescope Rail TR II to balanced when mounting it to my Manfrotto 502 video head and Wimberley Gimbal head.

Swarovski STX 95

My current setup Swarovski STX 95 + TLS APO + Nikon D300s including Nikon V1 and Nikon D3s

What I like so much about the system, is the ability to swapped different sizes of the objective lens and eyepiece modular. From top to bottom; 65mm, 85mm and the largest 95mm with either angled or straight eyepiece module

ATX

Choose your preferred size of objective lens

 From my point of view as a birdwatcher cum digiscopers, these really helps in getting the most of your birding trips. With 65mm, it is good for traveling birdwatchers because of the compact size and less weight than the big brothers. I tested it for a month in different lighting condition, 65mm is more than enough to ID birds especially on 60x as showed below;

DSC_5925-Pheasant-tailed-Jacana

Pheasant-tailed Jacana, vagrant for Sabah and my lifer too! Digiscoped at 60x with Nikon V1 = 4860mm and it was more than 100m away. Shimmer heat was obvious, but nonetheless, the image came out nicely for documentation purposes.

But when your subject is closer in good lights like this rare endemic Whitehead’s Spiderhunter, we won’t be able to tell whether it was taken with telescope or telephoto lens. Digiscoped with Swarovski STX 65 + TLS APO + Nikon V1 ~ At 25x = 2025mm

Whitehead's Spiderhunter

One of the target birds for visiting birdwatchers to Borneo. Tree tops specialized and feeds mainly on Mistletoe. My best image so far and I love the creamy bokeh too!

Purple Heron

Purple Heron, one of the resident birds in Sabah but a bit shy for the photos. I took this with Swarovski STX 65 + TLS APO + Nikon D3s hand held

Many asked if the joint connection between the eyepiece and objective lens is secured enough? Once you connect both modules, you need to press the black button (pic below) on the eyepiece module in order to split the telescope. With the 95mm, after birding, I do split the scope and packed inside my Think Tank Airport Essentials backpack. It is the smallest and my ideal birding backpack because it does fit the 95mm scope with 30-70x eyepiece, TLS APO, DCB II, Nikon V1 with FT1 and 10-30mm including the Swarovision 8×32 binocular and other bits. So far, I don’t see any problem between the joint since using it nearly a year now.

ATX65

Flexibility in using one hand to focus and zoom

Another method employed by Swarovski Optik is the ability to used one hand to focus your subject and zoomed on the eyepiece simultaneously. It takes a bit of learning to get used with it. But once you know the differences between the helical focusing and eyepiece ring, it is so easy and fast to get your subject in focus without having to adjust the desired magnification on the eyecup like the other brands and your eyes remained on the eyepiece all the time.

Swarovski STX 95

Flexibility in using one hand to focus and zoom

Another method employed by Swarovski Optik is the ability to used one hand to focus your subject and zoomed on the eyepiece simultaneously. It takes a bit of learning to get used with it. But once you know the differences between the helical focusing and eyepiece ring, it is so easy and fast to get your subject in focus without having to adjust the desired magnification on the eyecup like the other brands and your eyes remained on the eyepiece all the time.

Focusing is smooth with the scope and the natural view plus excellent contrast, the sharpness on its field of view (FOV) as seen and tested by my friends, is one of the main strength offered by Swarovski Optik. Getting to 70x with maintained FOV is another bonus for critical identification and the sharpness remained from centre to the edge field of view.

How about Digiscoping?

Below is some of my best images/videos taken with Swarovski STX 95 + TLS APO + Nikon V1 and Nikon D300s

Scarlet-rumped Trogon

Scarlet-rumped Trogon with Praying Mantis at Rainforest Discovery Centre, Sepilok

Verditer Flycatcher
Female Verditer Flycather with nesting material from the canopy walkway
Rufous-collared Kingfisher

Rufous-collared Kingfisher, one of the forest Kingfisher from Sepilok Forest Reserve

 

Whitehead's Trogon
Whitehead’s Trogon, one of the sought after bird by visiting birdwatcher at Mt Kinabalu
Brown Shrike Brown Shrike
Visitor from North Asia from Sept-April every year, Brown Shrike
Baya Weaver
Baya Weaver
Common Kingfisher
Common Kingfisher, one of the migrant from North Asia
Black-sided Flowerpecker
Endemic Black-sided Flowerpecker
Whitehead's Broadbill
Whitehead’s Broadbill
Collared Owlet
The rare Collared Owlet found on the road side at Mt Kinabalu
Wallace's Hawk Eagle
Killing view of Wallace’s Hawk Eagle
Little Spiderhunter
Little Spiderhunter on top of Ginger flower at Danum Valley
Sunda Frogmouth
Sunda Frogmouth taken using Fenix TK-40 flash light
White-fronted Falconet
The smallest Raptor in the world only found in North Borneo, Bornean Falconet
I have to admit, the combination of STX 95 with TLS APO Digiscoping Adapter is the best setup I have used so far. Sample images and videos as seen above speaks for its capability in delivering the best quality of Digiscoping in its class.
Digiscoping diagram from Swarovski Optik

Using the TLS APO for my Nikon cameras, T2 ring is necessary. Same goes to Canon, Olympus and Sony. It has 30mm built in lens maximized for mirrorless system in the market. My Nikon V1 has 2.7x cropped factor. So at 30x (eyepiece) X Nikon V1 X TLS APO (30mm) = 2430mm  a very good range for Digiscoping in my place!

Sliding in and out the TLS APO to the eyepiece is a breeze and fast too. When photo opportunity is around, I take pictures with it in less than 10 seconds.
Black & Yellow Broadbill

One of the favorite birds among bird photographers and Digiscopers, the Black & Yellow Broadbill. Only resized without editing.

So why did I choose the 95mm? Because I wanted the best of both in visual and Digiscoping.

Other reviewers on the net:

Swarovski Optik website www.swarovskioptik.com and Swarovski Optik ATX/STX website http://atx-stx.swarovskioptik.com/en/nature/

Thanks to Richard Kramer and Dale Forbes from Swarovski Optik, Austria for the trust and supports 😀

Happy birding everyone.

*These is based on my usage from the 8th February 2013 until the time of writing.

Share thisShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInPin on PinterestPrint this pageEmail this to someoneShare on Facebook

Comments

comments

Working as a bird guide cum photographer and a member of Borneo Images Mentor, Borneo 400 Club and current President for Kinabalu Avian Club. Ambassador for Swarovski Optik and specialized in Digiscoping ~ A concept of taking pictures and videos through spotting scope connected with compact camera or DSLR. Also interested in capturing images of sports such as rugby and soccer when not on birdwatching tours.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CAPTCHA Image

*

sitemap14
sitemap36
sitemap44
sitemap20
sitemap41
sitemap15
sitemap36
coolessay discount code
sitemap55
sitemap30
Skip to toolbar