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A complete overview of the best digiscoping setups for hunting

 

Best digiscoping setups for hunting
This article was also written with the help of Brady Miller.

Synthetic clothing, hand warmers, stoves, rangefinders, tripods, optics, solar chargers, GPS—the hunter’s pack is ever evolving. Relatively new to the scene are camera adapters specifically designed for digiscoping. These adapters are available in all shapes and sizes and an adapter for your cell phone, video cameras, and point and shoot cameras is becoming a must add to any western hunter’s pack. Digiscoping is becoming a new art in and of itself. Capturing memories has always been an important part of the hunt, but never before have we had this number of tools available. Below we will examine some of the digiscoping options available and the cost of each system. 

Digiscoping options

Digiscoping setups generally include one of the following:

Digiscoping setups

System Company's making options
for digiscoping
Pros Cons
Cell phone Phone Skope
Tines Up
Outdoorsmans
Lightweight; odds are
good you already
have your cell phone.
Lesser quality video and photos
in comparison to
cameras/video cameras.
Camera/DSLR/
Video
Tines Up
Swarovski
High quality video compared
to cell phone. Camera can also be
used for your harvest photos. 

More expensive, 
heavier, and also takes up
more room in the pack.


There are a number of companies out there that offer digiscoping systems. With improvements in cell phone camera technology, cell phone options are becoming more and more appealing. New cell phone cameras are capable of capturing 4K video. The newest developments in digiscoping have been with the advent of adapters for DSLR cameras, allowing users to capture 18 plus megapixel photos and 1080p and even 4K videos! Yet, it’s important to consider weight, function, and footage quality when looking at these options. 

Beyond the digiscoping adapter and optic, remember that no matter the tools, shaky footage is never any good. A quality tripod is a vital piece of equipment.
 
In picking companies to feature in this article we sought those that first responded to our inquiry about their products and, secondly, offered videos taken with their various products to feature in the article. The companies selected were Tines Up, Phone Skope, The Outdoorsmans, and Swarovski. Information on how to reach these companies is available in each of the sections below.

Phone digiscoping

The use of cellphones to capture images through optics has become very popular. The camera technology associated with modern smartphones has made phone digiscoping a viable option for a broad spectrum of uses. Below is a table with some of the most popular cell phones and some notes on the camera capabilities of each. Whenever you are up for your next cell phone upgrade, image quality may play a role in your decision!

Digiscoping setups

Phone
model
Camera
megapixels
Video
resolution
Weight
(oz)
Notes
Samsung
Galaxy S5
16 MP 4K 2160p
@ 30 fps
5.59 Expandable
memory options
Samsung
Galaxy S7 Edge
12 MP HD 1920x1080
@ 30 fps
5.53 Expandable
memory options
Samsung
Galaxy Note5
16 MP 4K
3840 x 2160
6.03 No option for
added memory
iPhone 6 8 MP 1080p
@ 30 or 60 fps
4.55 No option for
added memory
iPhone 6+ 8 MP 1080p
@ 30 or 60 fps
6.07 No option for
added memory
iPhone 6s 12 MP 4K (3840 by 2160)
@ 30 fps
5.04 No option for
added memory
iPhone 6s+ 12 MP 4K (3840 by 2160)
@ 30 fps
6.77 No option for
added memory
Xiaomi Redmi
Note 3
16 MP 1080p
@ 30 fps
5.78 Expandable
memory options

 



Tines Up
 

Tines Up digiscoping setups for hunting
Photo courtesy of Tines Up.

Tines Up offers a number of digiscoping options. Tines Up adapter kits can be used with a wide variety of cameras and also offers a cell phone adapter kit that works with most model phones and a number of optics. Most of the Tines Up adapter options are made of a machined aluminum. The phone adapter kit consists of a molded plastic case for the phone, which then adapts to the aluminum optic adapter (they also offer a case adapter ring for their cell phone kits). Adapter rings can be purchased for a wide array of optics or you can take measurements of your optic to get an adapter custom machined. The number of options here are endless! Below are a sample of their most popular setups.

Tines Up

System Model Cost
Cell phone Phone Adapter
Complete Kit
$75
Point & Shoot Scope)Cam
Canon G9X Gold Kit
$540*
DSLR DSLR Scope)Cam
Adapter & Rings
$425**
DIY Adapter Ring Point and shoot
self mount kit
$80

* Includes camera
** Includes lens and adapter

Tines Up Video Example 1

Camera used: Lumix GH4 with 20 mm F/1.7 lens
Attachment: Tines Up DSLR
Optic: Swarovski ATX 85
Distance: 900 yards


Video courtesy of Tines Up

Cost of DSLR Kit
Camera: Lumix GH4 $944
Lens: 20mm F1.7
Tines Up DSLR Adapter: $425
Total: $1,669

Tines Up Video Example 2

Camera used: Canon G9X (Gold Kit Camera)
Attachment: Tines Up Machined Aluminum Adapter
Optic: Swarovski ATX 85
Distance: 600 yards


Video courtesy of Tines Up
 


Phone Skope
 

Phone Skope digiscoping setup for hunting
Photo credit: Stephen Spurlock

Phone Skope offers adapter systems for most phones and optic systems. Phone Skope products are constructed out of a durable molded plastic and cases are molded specifically to whichever model phone you have (as well as whatever case you have on your phone). These adapters are case and phone specific. Adapter rings are available for most optics (there are a lot of options!) A nice part about Phone Skope is you can purchase a Bluetooth enabled shutter remote to help eliminate shaky photos.

Phone Skope

Model Cost
Full Kit $77.98
Case Only $49.99
Adapter Only $27.99
Bluetooth Shutter
Remote
$24.99


Full Phone Skope kit, case only and adapter can be purchased here.

Continued below.

goHUNT INSIDER equals better hunting research

Phone Skope video example 1

Phone used: Samsung S5
Attachment: U-2 Universal Adapter with custom S6 case
Optic: Zenray Spotting Scope
Distance: 250 yards


Video courtesy of Cheston Davis of Phone Skope.

Phone Skope video example 2

Phone used: Samsung S5
Attachment: Samsung case with custom adapter
Optic: Swarovski spotting scope
Distance: 900 yards


Video courtesy of Cheston Davis of Phone Skope.

Phone Skope video example 3

Phone used: iPhone 6+
Attachment: iPhone 6+ case with custom adapter
Optic: Swarovski spotting scope
Distance: 600 yards


Video courtesy of Cheston Davis of Phone Skope.
 


Outdoorsmans
 

Outdoorsmans cell phone digiscoping setup for hunting
Photo credit: Outdoorsmans

Outdoorsmans offers a cell phone digiscoping system made out of machined aluminum. This durable system is designed to work on any phone. The adapter rings are available in sizes ranging from 42 to 60 mm (covering most optic systems). The durable construction and ability to switch the adapter to any phone make this a desirable system.

Outdoorsmans

Item Cost
Digiscoping Adapter
Body
$39.99
Adapter Ring $34.99
Complete Kit $74.98


Full Outdoorsmans digiscoping kit can be purchased here.

Outdoorsmans video example

Phone used: Droid Turbo Maxx
Attachment: Outdoormans' Phone Adapter and Ring
Optic: Swarovski STX 95
Distance: 1,500 yards


Video courtesy of Outdoorsmans
 


Swarovski
 

Swarovski digiscoping setup for hunting
Photo courtesy of Jay Scott

This Swarovski system utilizes a 30mm camera lens that is designed to be mounted to a DSLR camera. This system is compatible with Swarovski ATX/STX and STR 80 spotting scopes. Image quality is extremely good with with this setup. This is the most expensive option we have found for digiscoping.

TLS APO Digiscoping Adapter: $549.99
Compatible with ATX/STX/STR 80 Scopes
The setup is available at B&H Photo.

Total cost for an example setup:
Camera: Canon SL 1 camera: $399.99 (camera body only)
Adapter: TLS APO Adapter: $549.99
Total: $950 +/-

Swarovski video example

Camera used: Canon SL 1
Attachment: TLSAPO Adapter 30mm ring
Optic: Swarovski STX 95mm 30-70x
Distance: 1,400 yards


Video courtesy of Jay Scott
 


Summary

Below is a table that summarizes the cost of each of the systems outlined above. There are some pros and cons associated with each system. We suggest trying several of these systems and finding which works best for you. In the end, it may be necessary to have two systems in your pack to cover all of the situations that you may encounter. Regardless of your choice, these are some great companies that stand firmly behind their products.

Digiscoping setups

Digiscoping
system
MSRP Apapter
material
Notes
Tines Up Canon
G7 Package
$540 Machined
aluminum
Camera takes
great in-field photos
Tines UP Phone
Adapter Kit
$75 Machined
aluminum
Durable aluminum
construction can be 
adapted to other
cameras
Tines UP DSLR
Scope)Cam Kit
$425 Machined
aluminum
High quality images &
takes great field photos
Tines UP Self
Mount Kit
$80 Machined
aluminum
Can adapt to a
wide range of
cameras
Phone Skope
Full Kit
$77.98 Molded
plastic
  • Precisely molded for any phone/case available
  • Optic adapters availabe
  • Ultra lightweight
Outdoorsmans
Phone Adapter & Ring
$74.98 Machined aluminum All metal construction ensures
durability and quickly adapted to most phones
Swarovski TLS APO
Adapter
$549.99 Integrated composite/
aluminum
  • High quality images
  • Compatible with Swarovski optics
 

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