Kowa Sporting Optics

Category Archives: Kowa Phonescoping

Sand Martins are here!

Yesterday we went out to the beautiful RSPB Minsmere reserve for a digiscoping session and to meet the wonderful staff there.

It was a lovely day, with great weather. As we stepped outside, we saw the Sand Martins trying to nest. It was an amazing view, several Sand Martins flying around the sand wall, stuggling to nest as other people gathered to watch them. You could see they were distressed, as other birds were flying over them as well.

We found out they came back only last week and they have been trying to nest ever since.

Sand martins are the smallest European hirundines (martins and swallows), with dark brown upper parts and dark under wings contrasting with otherwise pale under parts divided by a distinctive dark chest bar. Agile fliers, feeding mainly over water, they will perch on overhead wires or branches. They are gregarious in the breeding season and winter. Over the past 50 years the European population has crashed on two occasions as a result of drought in the birds’ African wintering grounds.

We managed to take a few pictures of them during our optical training with the staff:




This one specifically, shows them hovering around the potential nests.

The image was taken using an iPhone5 and also Kowa gear : TSN-IP5 adapter, Kowa TSN-883 scope and TE-11WZ wide zoom eyepiece.

It proved particularly difficult to get a good image of them, but after almost three hours of waiting, we did it.

The technique used is called phonescoping, the method used to connect your smartphone (in this case, we used the iPhone) to the scope and take high quality pictures.

It couldn’t be simpler to start taking magnified images or HD video with your iPhone and optical equipment via the Kowa digiscoping adapter. Simply slot your iPhone into the holder and screw on the appropriate adapter ring – that’s all there is to it – then push the adapter over the eyepiece of your spotting scope and you’re ready to digiscope – the whole process takes seconds. For those who prefer a more solid and permanent connection between iPhone and spotting scope – the TSN-IP4S/5 is compatible via an adapter ring with our DA10 collar – which can be screwed in to larger eyepieces and locked into place. The iPhone is a great way to digiscope – the large highly detailed screen is perfect for composing your image. You can also use your headphones as a remote shutter release for hands free operation (iOS5 operating system required). Thanks to the connectivity of the iPhone, you can quickly upload and share your unique and high quality images with friends, family and the rest of the world online!


Due to the unrivalled high magnifications that can be achieved in digiscoping, it can be a challenging but also very rewarding method of telephoto photography. Try the following useful tips to help you get the best from your iPhone digiscoping experience:

1. We recommend that you attach the supplied neck strap to the iPhone holder and wear it around your neck whilst in use.

2. If possible – use your iPhone headphones as a remote shutter release. The less contact you make with your phone when taking the shot, the less chance of camera shake resulting in a blurred image.

3. A sturdy tripod with a good, smooth video panning head is highly recommended to keep your digiscoping setup stable. Good light is essential in digiscoping resulting in faster shutter speeds to help freeze the motion of your subject and minimise camera shake.

Please Note: Kowa accept no responsibility for any damage which may occur when connecting our product with other manufacturers optical instruments.
Always read the supplied instructions before use.


Please watch our video as well on “How to Phonescope” using Kowa products

Kowa Iphone 5 digiscoping example

An example of iPhone digiscoping using the iPhone 5, Kowa 883 spotting scope and Kowa iPhone 5 digiscope adapter:


Kowa iPhone digiscoping

Follow all the Kowa iPhone digiscoping action at www.facebook.com/phonescoping