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Old Dec 23, 2002, 7:51 PM   #1
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Default Swarovski AT80HD focus

Ok, you can say this doesn't belong here, but there are many users of this scope and this issue effects digiscopers.....
I've used a 1 - 2 year old version of the Swarovski AT80HD a friend has. It had a very smooth easy to turn focus mechanism.

So when I went to the store to look into buying one for myself (with the aim of digiscoping in the future) and found that both the 60 and 80 scopes had *very* stiff focus dials. To the point that I considered them unusable, especially next to the Televid I was using for comparison (lets ignore their very nice two dial focus system, which is amazing.)

The dials on the televid were smooth and easy to turn, with just the right amount of resistance, whereas the AT80HD was very stiff and therefor fine control was much harder (I found fine control acceptable in the older AT80HD I used... again, don't compare to the Televid's propritary system, just the smoothness.)

Any of you digiscopers out there have problems with the focus on the AT80HD? If I didn't have that one better experience, I'd never have even considered the scope. But I know lots of people use them over the TeleVid, so have I just been unlucky or does it get smoother with use?

Eric
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Old Dec 24, 2002, 3:21 PM   #2
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Temperature affects the smoothness..... stiffer in the cold, smoother in hot weather also slightly stiffer turning clockwise at very close focus, although 'stiff' isn't really appropriate.....maybe less smooth!

I've used plenty of scopes over the years, the Swarovski doesn't seem particularly stiff in comparison (I had a really smooth Kowa TSN4 though). I have had my AT80 for 18 months and it's focus knob hasn't really got looser with use.
Swaro' Q.C. is very tight, so it's unlikely to be a batch of poor examples (but you never know).

Twin focus knobs are favoured by some, definitely not me (the new Zeiss is a real nightmare).
Andy B
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Old Dec 25, 2002, 7:01 PM   #3
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My experience with Swarovski ST-80HD is identical to Andy's. Mine is quite smooth - I'm wondering if you may have just run into a statistical anomaly.

My suggestion would be to try another if possible. Having used both the Leica and Swarovski, I find the performance and sharpness better on the Swarovski for digiscoping.

I remember a good while back when Lawrence Poh did a comparison (he switched from Leica to Swarovski) and had similar experiences.

As for the dual versus single focus, for photography the single focus system is much to be preferred in my experience - but that's simply my individual preference. I doubt that the focus mechanism on the Swarovski units you tried is typical and I also seriously doubt that they will change with use.

Best regards,

Lin
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Old Dec 26, 2002, 12:41 PM   #4
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I said the Swaro' is slightly stiffer turning clockwise....actually it's anti-clockwise, just like the focus knob of my Swaro' 10x42EL's binos.
Andy B
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Old Dec 26, 2002, 5:14 PM   #5
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Thanks for the info you two. I knew I'd find people that had used a AT80HD around here...

I read about Lawrence Poh switching as well. He put up two shots that were taken within minutes of each other of the same subject and the Swarovski was cleary better, even to my untrained eye. They are also the most popular to use for digiscoping from what I've seen on the web. I only wanted to use the televid as a frame of reference for how well the mechanism turns.

I've now tried out 1 much older Swarovski and found its focus turning quite nice and I've tried 2 AT60's and at least 2 ST80 (all very new in the Massachusetts Audubon Shop) and found them all noticably harder to turn than the older one.

Sounds like I need to get access to the older one again (unfortunately not available until this summer) and see how it feels. Maybe it's my imagination, but I though the newer ones were worse. Luckly I'm in no rush to buy it. I'd like to, but at that price I need to recover from Christmas first...

Thanks again for the help.

Eric

ps. Here is that link with the two comparison shots:
http://www.laurencepoh.com/digiscoping_update.htm

Scroll down a bit, they are the pictures of the dove.
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