Thursday, December 13, 2012

DCBII with Nikon 1 NIKKOR 18.5mm lens

Swarovski DCBII and Nikon 1 V1 + 18.5mm

I recently purchased the new Nikon 1 NIKKOR 18.5mm f/1.8 lens for my Nikon 1 V1 to use in conjunction with the Swarovski DCBII adapter. The good news is there's more than enough room on the adapter platform to accommodate the camera and lens. (This wasn't the case with the 10-30mm lens.) As expected, the 18.5mm a-focally coupled renders less overall focal length (and faster shutter speeds) compared to the V1 + TLS APO combo. This will likely come in handy when framing larger birds like herons, hawks, and owls. Also, there's absolutely zero vignetting! About the only downside to the lens is a similar quirk to what I initially experienced with the TLS APO without the Nikon FT-1 mount. After an exposure, there is a brief "white-out" exposure adjustment after the image is written to memory, but it only lasts a second or two. Though I solved that problem by using the FT-1 with the TLS APO, I have no idea how to prevent it from happening when using the 18.5mm lens and DCBII.

After conducting a few indoor digiscoping tests this evening, I confirmed that I'm probably better off with the V1 + TLS APO combo; the image quality is superb even with the longer focal length. The butterfly case was placed at 25 feet and illuminated with a 200 lumen flashlight. You can see the focal length framing difference between the two configurations in the images below. Also, check out the cropped sections and compare the difference in resolution. Naturally, to frame the butterfly with the TLS APO combo, I would have to take a few steps back, which would likely cause some detail loss. However, based on my digiscoping results this fall, I don't think it will make that much of a difference, so I intend to stick with the TLS APO combo for the majority of my digiscoping efforts.

Swarovski ATX 85 + Nikon 1 V1 + TLS APO

See cropped section at full resolution.

Swarovski ATX 85 + Nikon 1 V1 + 18.5mm + DCBII

See cropped section at full resolution.

Functionally, the DCBII isn't quite as convenient as the TLS APO. With the DCBII, you have to mount a plate on the underside of the camera that slides onto the platform lock. The first time you mount it, it's necessary to center the camera on axis with the eyepiece. This isn't difficult, but it does take a little longer to get ready. Being able to release and lift the DCBII's platform out of the way is a nice feature, but I'll need to conduct actual field tests for a fair comparison of the two configurations. But for ATX/STX owners who want to use a point-and-shoot digital camera, the DCBII is pretty much the only option right now.

All images © 2012 Mike McDowell


  1. Mike - are you using manual mode? I do not get the "whiteout" period with this lens, but do not use manual mode.
    Glenn Kincaid

  2. Hi Glenn,

    I'm pretty sure I was using Aperture Priority.


  3. Mike,

    Is the 18.5mm sharper than 10-30mm with your ATX ? I'm still undecided between V1 and Sony RX100 for Digiscoping ...

  4. Hi Azahari,

    I have not used the 10-30mm with my Nikon 1 V1 on my ATX 85. It doesn't fit on the DCBII and a lens isn't used with the TLS APO. I have used the 18.5 with the DBII and it works pretty well.

    Mike M.