Birder's Guide

DEC 2013

Birder's Guide is the American Birding Association's newest publication. Each issue focuses on a key subject, providing tips from experienced birders on a wide variety of topics like Travel, Listing & Taxonomy, Gear, and Conservation & Community.

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Page 35 of 51

Smartphone Digiscoping eyepieces but also the Swarovski ATS/ ATM eyepieces, the Vortex Optics Razor HD zoom eyepieces, and the Zeiss 15–45/20–60 zoom eyepieces. However, Kowa hasn't come out with an adapter for the iPhone 5 and doesn't appear to be making adapters for use with other scopes. Perhaps optics companies will shy away from making adapters as phones change shape with new releases. • Meopix –––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– One of the frst companies to develop an adapter was Meopta Sports Optics, which created the Meopix iScoping adapter. Its thin, simple design makes it easy to slip in a pocket and tote in the feld, but the adapter currently is available only for the iPhone 4/4s and 5/5s, and only fts certain spotting scopes with 42mm, 49mm, or 55mm eyepieces. If you are an iPhone user and have a scope eyepiece in that range, the Meopix is an affordable and easy-to-use adapter in the $60 to $70 range. Meopta has a Galaxy S4 adapter in the works and plans to release it for sale in midDecember of 2013. • phone Skope –––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– Phone Skope offers the largest variety of cases and adapters for phones at the moment. Because they have so many options, the easiest thing to do is visit the "System Builder" page in their store. Enter the brand and model of your phone and spotting scope. The System Builder will come up with a kit you can order that includes a case for your 34 phone and a way to attach it to your scope eyepiece. Prices vary from kit to kit, but most fall in the $70 to $80 range. There can be some issues with this system. I noticed that in cold weather, the plastic adapter slides when I attach my phone horizontally rather than vertically. This can be fxed by adding a little duct tape inside the cup that attaches to the scope eyepiece. Overall, it works well. If you cannot fnd a combination for your particular phone and scope, contact the company for help in developing an adapter system for you. • SMart optix –––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– The Smart Optix adapter tries to accommodate every scope and phone possible. This large, plastic adapter is designed to nestle a phone in its grip and slide over almost any size of scope eyepiece. All you do is adjust the grips and the screws until it fts. Like any universal adapter, it takes some tweaking to get the ft just right, and the process can be a bit fussy and require constant adjustment. But it would work if you were, say, planted on a beach watching shorebirds or sitting in a blind in Kearney, Nebraska, watching Sandhill Cranes. The device is very large and doesn't ft easily in a pocket, but the company offers a lanyard for carrying it around your neck in the feld. It comes in either green or camoufage, and the price range is $55 to $75. Birder's Guide to Gear | December 2013 • novagrade –––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– The aluminum Novagrade adapter fts several phone types and can be used with a variety of spotting scopes. It's a bit heavier than the other smartphone adapters but feels more durable than plastic adapters. This adapter is not an iPhone case, but a clampon mount that fts on the phone and works with a cup system to ft over your scope's eyepiece. Because of the wide clamp that holds the phone, the Novagrade can be used with several types of phone cases, which offers your phone added protection from the elements in the feld. At $159, it's the most expensive adapter currently available. Though all of these adapters will attach to scopes, it is still essential to practice. Don't give up on the adapter until you have taken a few hundred photos to make sure you are used to this photography technique. Smartphone Photo Tips reMote Shutter releaSe Did you know you can probably use the headphones that come with your phone as a remote shutter release? Simply plug in your earbuds and use the volume down button to take photos. Also, the volume buttons on the side of your iPhone can be used to take photos. •••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• Here is a video demonstrating the headphone technique: take video horizontally Most smartphone video systems are optimized for YouTube and Vimeo if you

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