PhoneSkope and PhoneSkope App for IPhone 14-Pro - 28 Jan 2023

I received a (2nd) PhoneSkope Adapter in the mail this week. After contacting PhoneSkope I was informed that my original adapter was a 3D printed unit prototype. This latest one was a newer injection-molded model that should be an improvement. So, with thanks, I offered to give it a test ride and update the original review!

Visually, the new unit looks exactly as the 3D-Printed model, so props to PhoneSkope for that! I had to swipe the C3 Optic Adapter from the first unit so the fit to the Swarovski STX85 and 25-60X eyepiece was the same snug fit as before. Which brings up the first nit. A fit-nit.

When attached to the scope eyepiece (rubber screw-on) the adapter shows vignetting along the edges of the field-of-view.

Luckily, uncrewing the eyepiece a mere 30 degrees produces a nice sharp vignette circle with uniform illumination throughout the field-of-view. So, when I attach the adapter to the scope for the first time I will angle it so the top of the camera points to ~ 2 o'clock. Then, I can rotate the camera vertically to produce a sharp vignette circle.

Note that continuing to rotate the eyepiece counter-clockwise will generate more vignetting, so if I wish to orient the camera horizontally I need to point the top of the camera to the 10 / 4 o'clock position before rotating counter-clockwise.

When I received this new adapter I also was given a sticker that indicated that I needed to download the PhoneSkope App from the App Store. The app is straightforward to use but does include a tutorial if needed. Just select whether you are using the PhoneSkope adapter for Spotting Scope/Binoculars, Phone Lens, or Rifle Scope. The app will open up much like the iPhone Camera App; you can switch quickly between Photo and Video Mode, and even dim the camera screen if necessary. The Settings icon allows you to select Stabilization, Filters, Timer, Watermark, GeoTagging, Save As (JPG, RAW, JPG/RAW), and Features List. Side icons include Brightness and Focus Adjustments (note that Focus Lock can be activated by selecting area of focus and pressing your finger on the box until the "AF/AE Locked" indicator message appears.

As mentioned in the previous review the iPhone 14-Pro has the ability to capture RAW images at 48 MP resolution. I was happy to see that the PhoneSkope allows image capture in RAW mode, as well. And, the field-of-view is ~50% larger relative to the iPhone Camera App:

iPhone 14-Pro camera (left), PhoneSkope App camera (right)

With this information in mind I put the PhoneSkope App to the test A stop at Pt. Mouillee SGA yielded a Bald Eagle perched in a snag about 200' away. With the scope eyepiece at 25X I took an image at 1X magnification on the app. 

Here is a cropped view of the above image:

I was very happy with the image quality. It compares well with a digiscoped image using my Sony a9 (Full-Frame), 40mm f/2.5 and Digidapter™

Which compares well with the Sony a1 and 600 mm f/4

Now for Nit #2. When I attempted to capture an image w/ the iPhone at 2X or 3X magnification I got an error message saying "You cannot use zoom photo feature on RAW photo format. Please select JPEG format". This means that I have to go back into settings and select SAVE AS \ JPG in order to capture an image using the zoom feature. And, if I select SAVE AS \ JPG/RAW I still get the same error message. At least on the iPhone Camera App the camera will automatically select JPG when zooming to 2X or 3X. 

Ok, so I worked around this by just zooming the scope to 60X magnification and keeping the iPhone 14-Pro on 1X:

I was very happy with the result. But (Nit #3) I was expecting a file size of 48 MP (6048x8064) when shooting RAW at 1X. However, when I was reviewing images I found that the PhoneSkope App only generates a 12 MP (3024x4032) when shooting RAW at 1X. 

Perhaps the best option is to shoot JPG with the PhoneSkope App at 1X, 2X and 3X. The JPG engine in the software does a nice job of producing a sharp, well-exposed image.

I think, for now, my preference will be to use the iPhone Camera App, shoot RAW at 1X and zoom the scope to 60X for increased magnification. That way I can preserve the 48 MP file size.

I think the PhoneSkope Adapter is terrific! I like the PhoneSkope App, as well. I just hope that the good folks at PhoneSkope can address the "Nits" with an update, or educate me on what I may be doing wrong. Either way, I highly recommend the PhoneSkope Digiscoping Adapter for iPhones or any other device you wish to use to capture images through your spotting scope.

Some more images from the morning shoot:


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