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Monocular for pics with an iPhone

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#1 Danny Linguini

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Posted 12 May 2023 - 07:17 PM

Not sure if this is the right place or not - a search didn’t turn up anything relevant, and I love you guys so much I thought I’d drop it here first. grin.gif  Please feel free to move it if there’s a more appropriate section.

 

As the title suggests, I’m looking for a monocular specifically to attach my iPhone 12 Mini to for taking wildlife pics. Trying to keep it under $100, I don’t need monster magnification, probably 10-12x, because I’d rather keep it hand-held. 8x would probably even wrk. I want to be sure I’m getting something that will hold the phone securely and not fall apart after a few uses. It also has to be easy to hold with one hand with the phone mounted, so I can snap a pickie quickly. 
 

Two models have come up in ‘best monocular’ searches that have caught my eye so far: Adasian 12x56 HD monocular, and Roxant Falcon 10x42 HD monocular. Both get good reviews, though the Adasian is a bit over my preferred limit. The Roxant is checking all the boxes, and I like the idea of its smaller size, but I’m concerned that it might be too cheap. Anybody have any experience with mono’s and smart phones and can recommend a particular model? 


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#2 gwlee

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Posted 12 May 2023 - 07:52 PM

Hmmm…10x-12x would be equivalent to a 500-600mm telephoto lens on a 35mm film camera. 

 

Ignoring the mechanical connection difficulties and the balance problems after attaching a monocular to a phone, it sounds like it would be pretty shaky used one handed. That’s one of the reasons my iPhone zoom only goes to 5x, and the zoom doesn’t create a balance problem for the camera. How good are the photos taken on-handed on your phone when it’s zoomed to the max?

 

If you want to try it, I noticed that OB sells an 8x32 roof prism monocular for about $100 that’s 1/2 of a 8x32 binocular they sell. I understand people do connect iPhones to tripod mounted spotting scopes for what’s called digiscoping. Perhaps one of the birding websites could provide give you a lead to an off the shelf device that can connect a phone to a monocular. 


Edited by gwlee, 12 May 2023 - 08:10 PM.

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#3 Danny Linguini

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Posted 12 May 2023 - 08:08 PM

Hmmm…10x-12x would be equivalent to a 500-600mm telephoto lens on a 35mm film camera. 

 

Ignoring the mechanical connection difficulties and the balance problems after attaching a monocular to a phone, it sounds like it would be pretty shaky used one handed. That’s one of the reasons my iPhone zoom only goes to 5x, and the zoom doesn’t create a balance problem for the camera. How good are the photos taken on-handed on your phone when it’s zoomed to the max? If you want to try it, I noticed that OB sells an 8x32 roof prism monocular for about $100 that’s 1/2 of a 8x32 binocular they sell. 

I have no issues taking pics with the phone at full zoom. They obviously look zoomed and aren’t as detailed as 1x, but I think that’s more a limitation of the camera’s ability than stability. I did look at the Obie mono, but I’d have to buy a separate phone adapter, and that’s another mess I just don’t feel like dealing with. I’m a simple guy, I like things to stay simple. Or maybe I’m just lazy, I don’t know. 
 

I do have the Obie 8x32 Sport HD II, and it’s become my most used bino (in the daytime). So I know the optics are there, I just don’t know where to start looking for a phone adapter. I suppose I could message Kevin and see if he can recommend something. 


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#4 gwlee

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Posted 12 May 2023 - 09:31 PM

I have no issues taking pics with the phone at full zoom. They obviously look zoomed and aren’t as detailed as 1x, but I think that’s more a limitation of the camera’s ability than stability. I did look at the Obie mono, but I’d have to buy a separate phone adapter, and that’s another mess I just don’t feel like dealing with. I’m a simple guy, I like things to stay simple. Or maybe I’m just lazy, I don’t know. 
 

I do have the Obie 8x32 Sport HD II, and it’s become my most used bino (in the daytime). So I know the optics are there, I just don’t know where to start looking for a phone adapter. I suppose I could message Kevin and see if he can recommend something. 

You might want to Google Digiscoping, or check out birding forms that might have digiscoping sub forums, or possibly the ATM or AP sub forums on CN to see who makes a digiscoping adapter for the iPhone that might also work with a monocular. If you already have OB 8x32 binocular, you might be able use one barrel of it to test the feasibility of your idea. 
 

If you can hold your IPhone steady enough to take good photos with one hand when it’s zoomed, and can hold your 8x32 binocular steady enough to use it effectively with one hand, you just need an iPhone adapter to test your idea, which might be available off the shelf, might require modifying an OTS adapter, or designing and building your own. I know Televue makes a phone to telescope EP adapte for digiscoping. It’s called PhoneMate. 


Edited by gwlee, 12 May 2023 - 09:54 PM.

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#5 ButterFly

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Posted 12 May 2023 - 09:51 PM

Any eyepiece to phone adapter should work for your binos.  There are many varieties available.

 

This one's $10:

https://www.amazon.c.../dp/B01K7M0JEM/

 

51ZJj45iscS._AC_SX679_.jpg


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#6 Danny Linguini

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Posted 13 May 2023 - 02:41 PM

Well duhhh … Oberwerk has their own adapter - it’s in their digiscoping accessories. 
 

https://oberwerk.com...coping-adapter/


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#7 sevenofnine

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Posted 13 May 2023 - 03:00 PM

This monocular by Gosky is surprisingly good, It came up on an Amazon flash sale for some reason so I thought I'd give it a try...amazing! The construction is very solid with armored exterior and a twist up eyecup. The focuser is under your index finger and it is smooth and precise. The lens coating seem good to me and it is FMC so the contrast is very good. There are several models but the 10x50 is what I got and it is usable at night. The hand strap makes it comfortable for one hand operation and you can steady it a bit with the other hand. Highly recommended waytogo.gif

 

https://www.amazon.c...32-63e904010ad0.

 

p.s. Normally, I would recommend the Oberwerk product and I'm sure it's very good and lightweight for daytime viewing. However, if you want to use the monocular at night, the 50mm objective of the Gosky will make a huge difference hmm.gif


Edited by sevenofnine, 13 May 2023 - 06:40 PM.

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#8 Danny Linguini

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Posted 15 May 2023 - 07:47 PM

Cheap phone adapter arrived, and it actually feels pretty solid and not so cheap. After a lot of fiddling, I got the camera lens aligned with the bino eyepiece - it’s getting dark out, so I just aimed at an inside light fixture. Lots of problems are making this look like a no-go. First off, where I need to clamp the phone so I can get it to align, the clamps are squeezing on the side buttons (volume up/down and power on/off), which means it’s a careful balance between holding it tight enough to not move but not squeeze on the buttons. My phone is a iPhone 12 Mini, so there’s not a lot of room to play. Once it was aligned, the round image on the screen was pretty tiny. When I tried to zoom in to eliminate the edges, the picture went black (kinda like it did the last time I used StarSense). Unless somebody can tell me why it’s doing that, I’m going to assume this phone just isn’t a good option for digiscoping. 


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#9 columbidae

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Posted 15 May 2023 - 08:24 PM

You might be able to shim around the buttons so that the adapter doesn't squeeze the buttons.  The positioning of a binocular-phone combo is pretty sensitive (and very hard to do handheld), so being able to let the adapter do the work is important.  The native magnification of my camera shows the circular stop, but it was so finicky holding both at once as is that I never bothered to try zooming in.  Getting it stable first at the native magnification should be your first goal.



#10 Danny Linguini

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Posted 15 May 2023 - 09:04 PM

You might be able to shim around the buttons so that the adapter doesn't squeeze the buttons.  The positioning of a binocular-phone combo is pretty sensitive (and very hard to do handheld), so being able to let the adapter do the work is important.  The native magnification of my camera shows the circular stop, but it was so finicky holding both at once as is that I never bothered to try zooming in.  Getting it stable first at the native magnification should be your first goal.

Thanks, but it seems like a bigger pain in the backside than it’s worth, especially since there’s no set it and forget it - as soon as you remove the clamp from either device, you have to go through this alignment process all over again. It was an experiment, and luckily a cheap one - just something I wanted to try to see if and how well it would work with my phone. I’ll go do a bit more research on digiscoping and see what other options might be it there. 


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#11 ButterFly

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Posted 16 May 2023 - 09:51 AM

If you undo the clamp on the eyepiece, the phone should remain where it is until you take that off the adapter.  Undoing the eyepiece screw clamp takes a while though.  That's one of the reasons I like the Televue adapter for Televue eyepieces - it's Dioptrx adapter based, so it's consistent and quick to put it back on when you need it.

 

Going completely black when you zoomed could mean you centered the wrong camera for that zoom.  There are a few to choose from on phones these days.  If you centered one camera, then it switched to another, the camera in use could have been pointed at the adapter rather than the eyepiece.

 

If it's the same camera at both zooms, it's an alignment issue.  Just like certain eyepieces black out when your eye isn't centered, they can black out when the camera isn't centered.

 

The buttons are where they are.  Covering them is the only way around that.

 

Give it some more time to see whether you can get a good flow with some more familiarity.


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#12 sevenofnine

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Posted 16 May 2023 - 02:41 PM

I messed around with digiscoping and came to the same conclusion...it's a PITA. Use your binocular or monocular for it's intended purpose. If your cell phone camera is inadequate and they all are then buy a decent digital camera. There are some very nice compact cameras with digital zoom lenses that are very impressive. The Panasonic FZ 300 is excellent and the zoom range is amazing! This is just one example. There are many to choose from. Good luck! borg.gif

 

https://www.bhphotov...tal_camera.html.


Edited by sevenofnine, 16 May 2023 - 07:31 PM.

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#13 Danny Linguini

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Posted 16 May 2023 - 04:37 PM

I messed around with digiscoping and came to the same conclusion...it's a PITA. Use your binocular or monocular for it's intended purpose. If your cell phone camera is inadequate and they all are then buy a decent digital camera. There are some very nice compact cameras with digital zoom lenses that are very impressive. The Panasonic FZ 300 is excellent and the zoom range is very impressive. This is just one example. There are many to choose from. Good luck! borg.gif

 

https://www.bhphotov...tal_camera.html.

Well, as it happens, my wife has a Nikon D3200 DSLR (gifted to her by her dear husband - me - many years ago) with a 18-200mm zoom lens (also gifted by same husband), which I kinda forgot about. Not a whole lot of tech by today’s standards - 24mp, no wireless connectivity without an adapter, but we do have an Apple lightning card reader, so it’s pretty easy to transfer pics out of it. I just dug it out and am charging up the near dead batteries, as it just doesn’t get used much with newer phones being so damm convenient. The camera is almost point-and-shoot except for manual focus, but exposure and all that other stuff is as auto (or manual) as you want it to be. It was a pretty nice little unit in its day and took some beautiful pics, as I recall. So I’m gonna give it a shot here, maybe rekindle the old photog in me. Might even have to join a photography forum! 


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#14 sevenofnine

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Posted 16 May 2023 - 07:48 PM

There you go! That camera will work out so much better and be easy to use waytogo.gif


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#15 jcj380

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Posted 30 May 2023 - 09:56 AM

This monocular by Gosky is surprisingly good, It came up on an Amazon flash sale for some reason so I thought I'd give it a try...amazing!  [...] Highly recommended waytogo.gif

 

https://www.amazon.c...32-63e904010ad0.

 

I took a look at the Gosky just for grins.  $107 for green.  $57 for black.  That was... surprising...

 

Anyway, I'm tempted to order a black one just to try one.  I sometimes have trouble merging images with my binos and wind up closing one eye anyway, so I figure I might as well try a monocular.


Edited by jcj380, 30 May 2023 - 10:11 AM.


#16 Chuck2

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Posted 04 June 2023 - 03:03 PM

Hand-held iPhone photo of Moon taken through binoculars using eyepiece projection…
 

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