Monday, October 08, 2012


Nikon 1 V1 + Swarovski TLS APO: No go.

As I've previously reported, when the Nikon 1 V1 is connected to the Swarovski TLS APO via a T-mount, the camera must be used in Manual mode. However, there's a quirk that makes this configuration less than ideal for digiscoping. When an exposure is taken, there is a brief period of time after the image is written to the card that the display (LCD monitor or EVF) whites-out for a few seconds. During this delay the live image cannot be clearly viewed. This problem is inherent to the way the V1 adjusts monitor brightness in Manual mode after an exposure and can be duplicated even when the camera is not connected to a non-Nikon lens or digiscoping adapter (the TLS APO is essentially a non-Nikon 30mm lens). When taken in combination with the write time, a 4 to 5 second delay between exposures is disappointing. While I have been able to get some good results with the V1 and TLS APO combo, it's usually the first shot of a series because it's difficult to accurately follow a moving bird with the white-out problem present.

One way I think I can get around this is by using Nikon's FT-1 Mount Adapter ($269.97), which has electronic contacts so that Aperture Priority mode can be used. But the FT-1 comes out to a regular Nikon F-mount, so I would still need to get a Nikon T-mount in order to connect it to the TLS APO. However, I foresee a potential problem with this combination: Adding yet another ring between the camera body and the TLS APO will increase lens-to-lens distance rendering even greater magnification, and in my opinion it's already a little too much. Since the Swarovski DCBII's platform is too small to accommodate the V1 with the 10-30mm lens attached, there's a chance a forthcoming Nikon 1 NIKKOR 18.5mm f/1.8 lens ($186.95) will be physically short enough to fit on it. I think might I prefer this over the TLS APO because it ought to render a shorter focal length for faster shutter speeds. Plus, I'll have autofocusing capability once again, and it's the least expensive of the two solutions.

Swarovski ATX 85, DCBII, and Nikon Coolpix 8400

For the moment, I have no "problem-free" way of using my Nikon 1 V1 with my new Swarovski ATX spotting scope. I still have my original AT80HD scope, so I can at least use the V1 with it (using the Swarovski UCA adapter). I can also use my Nikon Coolpix 8400 with the DCBII on the ATX. So, I have a new camera that works well with my old scope, and a new scope that works well with my old camera! You've gotta love the lack of universality that is inherent with digiscoping. I hope the V1 and 18.5mm lens will fit on the DCBII, otherwise I may have to ditch the V1 as my primary digiscoping camera and buy something else. I'm not even sure what I would get at this juncture. This would be a shame because I think the V1 is the best camera I've ever used for a-focal digiscoping. If only Swarovski had made the DCBII platform a little longer, but they went for compactness for small point-and-shoot digital cameras. Nikon didn't make The V1 for digiscoping (nobody makes a camera for digiscoping), so I can't be fair with my criticism over the camera's function in Manual mode and a non-Nikon lens. I suppose I could construct an extension plate for the DCBII so the V1 plus 10-30mm lens will fit, but there's something to be said for gear that works out of the box.

Addendum 10/10/12:

I ordered the Nikon FT-1 this morning and should receive it next week. I would really like to use the TLS APO with the Nikon 1 V1, so I hope it works!

© 2012 Mike McDowell


  1. Mike, can you explain how you can get autofocusing on a scope that is itself manual focus?

  2. It isn't true autofocusing in the sense like a camera lens because you still have to do your main focusing with the spotting scope.

    However, when a-focal coupling a camera with a lens that autofocuses (like the 18.5) to a scope and eyepiece, the camera can establish focus lock (if the scope's focus is close) by pressing the shutter button halfway down and a sharper focus is achieved. But this obviously only works when the option to autofocus is available, which it isn't when you're using the TLS APO. Think of a camera and lens like an eye that can change focus on a projected image.

    Make sense?