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SLR Magic releases Monster Lens II spotting scope for Micro Four Thirds

By dpreview staff on Mar 27, 2013 at 23:25 GMT

SLR Magic has announced its Monster Lens II spotting scope for Micro Four Thirds cameras. The optic mounts directly on the camera body, allowing users to shoot distant images, commonly referred to as 'digiscoping'. The 12-36x50 ED lens gives an equivalent optical zoom range of 840-2,520mm and aims to keep image quality high with extra-low dispersion optics and multi-coated glass elements.  It will be available from June 2013 at a suggested retail price of $799. There is currently no information about the European price and availability.


Press Release:

SLR Magic Monster Lens II 12-36x50 ED Spotting Scope for MFT Digiscoping

Hong Kong, China (Mar 28, 2013) – SLR Magic introduces the second edition SLR Magic Monstor Lens 12-36×50 ED Spotting Scope lens for Digiscoping and expands their Micro Four Thirds lens lineup.

The SLR Magic 12-36×50 ED Spotting Scope for Digiscoping gives you the highest resolution and brightest view possible by three key elements. It features an over sized eye relief, utilized Extra-low Dispersion optics, as well as fully Multi coated glass to help you with spotting the rare bird species. The SLR Magic 12-36×50 ED Spotting Scope also offers stacked, dual-focus controls, so you can make both rapid and fine-tuning adjustments.

The main difference from the first edition include improvements in image quality due to a new mFT adapter objective offering increased sharpness and contrast over the first edition.

The field of view of this spotting scope on the micro four thirds camera corresponds to a a 840-2520mm lens in 35mm format. The user friendly design allows you to attach your camera by mounting it like any other camera lens. Everything you need comes with the package and there is no need to have a compatible lens to use it. This is the perfect solution for amateur digiscopers who want to take photos or video of wildlife.

The 12-36×50 ED Spotting Scope will be available from authorized SLR Magic dealers by June 2013.

Technical Data

  • SLR Magic 12-36×50 ED (Premium Extra-low Dispersion glass) for mFT
  • Lens Type: Spotting Scope
  • Compatible Cameras: All micro four thirds mount cameras
  • Magnification: 12-36x
  • 35mm equivalent focal length: 840-2520mm
  • Objective: Φ50
  • Lens Coating: Multi Coated
  • Close Focus: 15 ft.
  • Weight (oz./g): 28.2/800, 45.86/1300 (with mFT adapter objective)
  • Water Resistant/Fog proof: Yes
  • Eyepiece: Straight Zoom
  • Eye relief: 23mm

Comments

Total comments: 58
Provia_fan
By Provia_fan (Apr 1, 2013)

For that price you can get a very decent starter scope or telescope with an adapter. So, it makes this very pointless. I have even seen autoguided or motorised mount telescopes for example for less than that. Makes absolutely no sense. Sometimes tapping into a somewhat forgotten market can trick people into spending, maybe that's what they are aiming at.

Comment edited 52 seconds after posting
2 upvotes
Peter Heckert2
By Peter Heckert2 (Mar 30, 2013)

Digiscoping is extreme teleshooting at slow shutter speed and high magnification.

MFT is not good for this in my opinion.
Long exposure times are needed.
The shutter shock ruins the sharpness at 500mm and above. I tried it with G3 and OMD and a Zeiss diascope.
Results with a Sony A57 and electronic first curtain are much sharper.

The best results in digiscoping are achieved by compact cameras,DSLR with mirror lockup, or Sony SLT or better NEX with electronic first curtain. Especially focus peaking is very helful, so MFT is the worst choice for this type of fotography in my opinion.

Goto flickr and search for "Zeiss diascope" and you see the equipment that people use and the -sometimes amazing- results they get.

3 upvotes
Peter Heckert2
By Peter Heckert2 (Mar 30, 2013)

To add this: The autofocus, especially pinpoint autofocus is usable and it is a pity that shutter shock disturbs so much.

0 upvotes
igorek7
By igorek7 (Mar 30, 2013)

MFT cameras, such as Panasonic G5 and GH3 has an electronic rolling shutter. Zeiss diascopes are 2-4 times more expensive.

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
2 upvotes
Provia_fan
By Provia_fan (Apr 1, 2013)

In fairness, the Nikon V1 for example, has the option of choosing an electronic shutter, so there's no shutter movement in it. If your scope is well stabilised (i.e. connected to telescope/scope on a well dampened mount) vibrations would be near to non existent if non existent at all. But why should I buy this SLR Magic thing if I could get this:

http://www.telescopeplanet.co.uk/meade-etx90-pe-telescope-autostar?source=googleps&utm_source=google&utm_medium=shopping&utm_campaign=feed

for the same price or less? It works as a land scope too I believe. Couple this with some decent eyepieces it makes that SLR Magic thing is totally useless

Comment edited 3 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Dave C 150
By Dave C 150 (Mar 29, 2013)

The best way forward for birders who want extra long focal lengths may be to use the new breed of compact system cameras like the Nikon J1 or even better the Pentax Q with it's 5.7x crop factor. With an adapter fo rmost makes of lens it givessurprising quality in conjunction with a decent prime lens. With a small system and 300mm you get 1720mm at F4 and amazing quality out performing a cropped 500mm lens. Plus if you already have a prime you just need a Q body costing around £100.
http://www.pentaxuser.co.uk/forum/topic/long-range-birding-setup-39322/p-1

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
2 upvotes
Lin Evans
By Lin Evans (Apr 5, 2013)

I agree. One can now purchase the Q in the US at Bestbuy for $239, the Pentax Q to K adapter with mechanical shutter for $250 and a decent used DA 55-300 mm F/4-F/5.8 for around $200 or less. So for less than the price of this lens alone it's possible to have another dedicated and "smaller" and "lighter" combination which can actually be used effectively handheld at 1680mm at F/5.8. Then it also has the versatility of being used with almost "any" lens of any brand with available adapters. Seems to make more sense to me and I use 4/3 as well...

0 upvotes
RichRMA
By RichRMA (Mar 29, 2013)

I urge anyone not able to afford a 400-800mm telephoto to look into a decent apochromat telescope instead of any spotting scope. Astro scopes can be used at prime focus, meaning just the objective lens is usable as telephoto. Much better images at f5.6 to about f8.0 depending on the telescope. If you need more focal length, you can use eyepiece adapters. Look for companies like Orion, William Optics, Celestron, Meade, Astro-Tech, etc.

Comment edited 28 seconds after posting
3 upvotes
Provia_fan
By Provia_fan (Apr 1, 2013)

Ditto! And some decent eyepieces and T-adapters!

0 upvotes
Francis Carver
By Francis Carver (Mar 29, 2013)

Micro 4/3rd shooters don't seem to get a break.... like ever.

0 upvotes
Kiril Karaatanasov
By Kiril Karaatanasov (Mar 28, 2013)

if this indeed is f/55 lens it is beyond pointless and even surpasses ridiculous.

1. What is happening to diffraction?

2. How will anyone shoot this? iso 3200 in bright daylight?

3. At least a single sample would have been nice to put along if this thing is ready to hit stores so soon.

0 upvotes
Swagon
By Swagon (Mar 29, 2013)

Relax. It will be fine in bright sunlight. As stated earlier by someone, this is f8 at wide and f25 fully zoomed. It won't be great because it is slow (f8+) and too cheap for really good correction, but it will be fine enough to please many amateurs who just want to get a reasonable bird photo. A tripod will be useful, or maybe mandatory.
I do serious astrophotography, and astro intended scopes have to be much better. Stars, outside of the sun, are point sources at any magnification no matter how huge your scope is. Point sources reveal spherical aberration, chromatic aberration, astigmatism, and many other optical flaws. I agree with other posters that most astro scopes will outperform this, but you would lose the zoom feature.

3 upvotes
yabokkie
By yabokkie (Mar 30, 2013)

1. What is happening to diffraction?

basically Bayer pattern sensors only guarantee resolution at quad-cell level. for a 16MP sensor, we have only 4M blue, 4M red, and 8M green cells, though we can make good guess beyond that.

also diffraction for blue is less than green and red that we can make good guess again based on blue to get some extra resolution.

why Pentax Q is prefered by many over 4/3". diffraction is usually less an issue than wind.

2. How will anyone shoot this? iso 3200 in bright daylight?

ISO3200 on 4/3" is almost ISO12800 equiv. (image quality) on 35mm full-frame but you cannot get that (diffraction limited) resolution at lower ISOs anyway. not at similar costs.

Comment edited 3 times, last edit 14 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
NancyP
By NancyP (Mar 28, 2013)

Chill - this is for birders wanting to take mementos and hopefully detailed enough photos to document an identification. They don't need to see every last detail on a single feather, they need to see feather group colors and patterns. This is not for photographers shooting wildlife stock or for pixel peepers.

6 upvotes
atlien991
By atlien991 (Mar 28, 2013)

Even with sunspots you need ISO 800, LOL. Hilarious!!

0 upvotes
Joe Ogiba
By Joe Ogiba (Mar 28, 2013)

Since I already use my 80mm ED and 100mm ED spotting scopes with my GH2 I don't think I need a 50mm ED spotting scope.

0 upvotes
agentul
By agentul (Mar 28, 2013)

well, then SLR Magic will go out of business, won't it?

2 upvotes
Joe Ogiba
By Joe Ogiba (Mar 28, 2013)

Did you get your cookies when you seen the 840-2520mm FL from a 2" objective ?

0 upvotes
bondiblue
By bondiblue (Mar 28, 2013)

50mm aperture over that focal range = f/4.5 to f/25

Diffraction will make images soft past f/15.

Thanks but no thanks. My maksutov - 180mm aperture, f/15 ie focal length a real 2700 mm will slay this, anytime.

1 upvote
Reg Ister
By Reg Ister (Mar 28, 2013)

you are wrong. F/D= 2750/50=55 ! So it is a f/55

Comment edited 12 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
Ken Phillips
By Ken Phillips (Mar 28, 2013)

Reg, you forgot to take into account the 2x (or so) crop factor, as they gave the FOV in 35mm equivalent.

1 upvote
Pedagydusz
By Pedagydusz (Mar 28, 2013)

Well, we will see... 50 mm aperture for photography is not all that much. And in any case, photography of very distant objects (birds, Moon, buildings...) is usually ruined by atmosphere turbulence (what astrophotographers usually refer to as "poor seeing").
But lets hope! It is a good thing that it is available.

1 upvote
igorek7
By igorek7 (Mar 28, 2013)

BTW, the first version of the scope that have been shown at the Photokina had a filter thread of 62mm: http://www.flickr.com/photos/igor29768/8597638656

0 upvotes
Cy Cheze
By Cy Cheze (Mar 28, 2013)

Haze, fog, dust, ozone, and atmospheric diffraction all conspire against ultrazoom shots. Add camera shake and small aperture to the equation and you get a blurry shot of the hind side of a bird that, using eyes and ears only, perceived you long before you could ever set up the camera.

Comment edited 17 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
David Fell
By David Fell (Mar 29, 2013)

I have to agree, the Lumix 45-200mm in the UK with the high RH @200mm things get quite hazy - esp. on the coast. We get a few days where the air is clear but that is quite rare. Moreover, unless the sun is bright, all the above apply: shake, and also trying to catch wildlife is tough, or has been for me. Hence the massive lenses used at sports events with wide apertures I guess.

0 upvotes
agentul
By agentul (Mar 28, 2013)

finally, no more "your camera is so tiny, it must be a toy" from all of those full frame hipsters.

6 upvotes
Cy Cheze
By Cy Cheze (Mar 28, 2013)

Optical Viagra?

1 upvote
agentul
By agentul (Mar 28, 2013)

no, that's for when your zoom lens is stuck at the wide end.

1 upvote
Jeddahknight
By Jeddahknight (Mar 28, 2013)

Please, Can You tell me where in California ( I'm visiting soon). I can see and review this lens (SLR Magic Monster Lens II 12-36x50 ED) and also does it have Sony a77v fitting? I've tried many USA online stores and none say its available, as you showed the price in Dollars was I wrong to assume it was? if so where.
thank you
Robert

0 upvotes
Caoedhen
By Caoedhen (Mar 28, 2013)

You can get much better scopes for much less money. I have this one http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/320301-REG/Celestron_52250_Ultima_80_3_1_80mm_Spotting.html which is decent if not spectacular, but it has a T-mount built in. You get an Alpha-T adapter for your camera, and attach your camera directly to the scope. Or you spend more for a better scope and use a T-mount anyway.

2 upvotes
SRT3lkt
By SRT3lkt (Mar 28, 2013)

The shape of prism section looks like someone trying to hide in the tube but wasn't successful (the leg didn't fit).

0 upvotes
Ramyeah
By Ramyeah (Mar 28, 2013)

Well, it's a spotting scope for MFT, aimed at birders. It comes with a Φ50mm objective lens and 12-36X zoom, which may be the base minimum for a spotting scope. A good birding scope typically has >Φ65 mm objective lens and Φ77-90 are the most preferred ones, which ensures sufficient light gathering. Depending on the quality of the glasses used, this'd be useful to capture quality photos of distant birds that are much more than just ID-shots. But definitely not crisp and detailed ones of comparable SLR-Lens quality :)
'Digiscoping' is a niche in the bird-photography, that's slowly gaining popularity and any new developments in this regard would be of great interest to those pursuing this genre, I'd say.

0 upvotes
Entropius
By Entropius (Mar 28, 2013)

Lensrentals did an interesting test comparing digiscoping to dedicated supertele lenses; the verdict was that digiscoping did remarkably well for the cost but that when it comes to clarity and contrast, it's not in the same league as real lenses. Digiscoping will get you a picture from far away when nothing else for the price will, though.

With bird photography, the real trick is figuring out how to get close. Some of the best bird shots (of herons and the like) I've seen were done with a 50-200mm zoom.

2 upvotes
Jun2
By Jun2 (Mar 28, 2013)

Good. May be I can buy one.

0 upvotes
K_Photo_Teach
By K_Photo_Teach (Mar 28, 2013)

would it be useful on an equatorial mount for astrophotography even??

1 upvote
Prairie Pal
By Prairie Pal (Mar 28, 2013)

It appears to have a tripod mound, which is nice. I think this is the kind of lens that you mount on a tripod whilst sitting in a comfortable perch and trained on a birds nest in good light. Now Sara Palin can take portraits of the Russians from the comfort of her living room.

21 upvotes
mironv
By mironv (Mar 27, 2013)

All toys like this come with hidden specs that more important that all they provided. What is effective F stop at 840mm ??? 11.5 at 2520mm f64
how to shoot this at 1/2500 at f64 ISO 104000????

2 upvotes
WirenL
By WirenL (Mar 27, 2013)

This is my question also.... if there is somehow a way to get good, decent light through this without ultra high ISO's, people will be flocking for this thing... I am very skeptical and would want to see some samples with 100% crops and metadata before I buy one. If it does offer what they are suggesting... I will splurge on an OM-D and this lens!

Comment edited 40 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
joejack951
By joejack951 (Mar 28, 2013)

With a 50mm objective, it will be no bigger than 840mm/2/50 = f/8.4. At 2520mm you're looking at f/25 at best.

The "2" is in there to adjust the 35mm focal length for the m4/3 crop factor.

1 upvote
robmanueb
By robmanueb (Mar 28, 2013)

Maybe they will start slowly producing this kind of lens hoping that over the next couple of years high ISO quality will improve enough to make them useful. If they can brighten the optics or add stablisation then they will have a future to bank on.

0 upvotes
StanRogers
By StanRogers (Mar 28, 2013)

You wouldn't hand-hold a 2500mm-equivalent lens to begin with (you wouldn't be able to keep your subject in frame without some sort of stabilizing assist), so forget about 1/[focal length]. Even if your calculations were correct (you forgot to account for the crop factor; optically it would be a 1260mm lens with a 50mm entrance pupil), f/64 gives a "Sunny 16" shutter speed of 1/25 at ISO 100. The actual T-number would be between f/22 plus a half top and f/32 — let's be pessimistic and say f/32. That gives you a shutter speed of 1/50 at ISO 100, or 1/200 at ISO 800. Yes, low light would mean cranking up the ISO even on a good tripod (vibration will be a big problem at that focal length equivalency) but that's not as big a problem as it may seem since the object of the game is to identify birds, etc., not to take advertising-quality studio shots of them. Digiscoping is a naturalist's second hobby; it's not the same thing as wildlife photography (which would be a primary goal).

7 upvotes
EXX
By EXX (Mar 28, 2013)

How does this thing compare to a 800mm F8 Mirror lens + x2 Teleconvertor (= 1600 mm F/16 lens)

1 upvote
Cy Cheze
By Cy Cheze (Mar 28, 2013)

High ISO would not help much, unless the photos were taken in crisp high-altitude atmospheric conditions with the sun at one's back. Ideal scenario: a photo of the earth, taken from the dark side of the moon, using an observatory-grade mount. Perhaps travel agencies offer discount lunar packages.

0 upvotes
Mssimo
By Mssimo (Mar 27, 2013)

I wonder if the OMD IS will dial up to 2520.

0 upvotes
Aussi Simon
By Aussi Simon (Mar 28, 2013)

It only goes to 1000 at the moment

1 upvote
Hubertus Bigend
By Hubertus Bigend (Mar 28, 2013)

Focal length of this lens is 1260 mm, not 2520.

Comment edited 36 seconds after posting
1 upvote
EOSHD
By EOSHD (Mar 27, 2013)

Imagine this in video Ex-Tele mode on the GH2/GH3. The extra crop factor would make it a telephoto over 9000mm!

2 upvotes
Poweruser
By Poweruser (Mar 27, 2013)

Yeah, wow! And now crop 50x50 pixels out of the center of your image and you have an unbelievable 100.000mm focal length! WOOOW! WOOOOW!

12 upvotes
chrisnfolsom
By chrisnfolsom (Mar 28, 2013)

Don't forget the teleconverter!! You might be able to take pictures of sunspots...

1 upvote
noober69
By noober69 (Mar 28, 2013)

even with sunspots you would need iso 800 with that effective f.stop.

3 upvotes
ryansholl
By ryansholl (Mar 28, 2013)

We'll have to see how the image quality stacks up to an 8' PVC pipe with a hole in the cap.

23 upvotes
1971_M5
By 1971_M5 (Mar 28, 2013)

"We'll have to see how the image quality stacks up to an 8' PVC pipe with a hole in the cap."

LOL -- that made my evening!

Comment edited 12 seconds after posting
2 upvotes
Dazzer8888
By Dazzer8888 (Mar 28, 2013)

i fancy one of these for a bit of free lensing......

........i'll get me coat

0 upvotes
Entropius
By Entropius (Mar 28, 2013)

I've shot sunspots with a 400mm, actually :)

1 upvote
Vedran Vrhovac
By Vedran Vrhovac (Mar 28, 2013)

For 799$ you can get decent quality telescope like Orion ED80 which has 80mm lens and 660mm focal lengh (f/7.5).

0 upvotes
Hubertus Bigend
By Hubertus Bigend (Mar 28, 2013)

@Poweruser: In principle your objection is valid, but for video, which is what the original comment was about, you really can crop quite heavily from a sensor's megapixel count until the resulting resolution drops below the actual video resolution, even for Full HD, which is still only 2 MP.

2 upvotes
agentul
By agentul (Mar 28, 2013)

Panasonic users can finally look at astronauts bathing aboard the ISS

0 upvotes
Dave C 150
By Dave C 150 (Mar 29, 2013)

The way to do this is to buy a Pentax Q body for a £100 and an adaptor(any make, Canon, Nikon etc) for your 300mm or 400mm prime. Astounding images at f4 with 35mm equivalent of 1720mm for a 300mm lens.
http://www.pentaxuser.co.uk/forum/topic/long-range-birding-setup-39322/p-1

0 upvotes
Total comments: 58