ATX and STX Explained
Swarovski Spotting Scopes are stunning and have the most amazing optics for nature viewing and nautical observation (fantastic if you live by the sea) but can be a bit of a nightmare to buy, if you aren’t sure how they fix together. The unique design of the Swarovski scope means that they are generally listed separately with regard to eyepieces and bodies (objective modules) which at first glance can seem really bizarre, but is in fact, a great way of making sure that the scope is perfect for each individual user. Because of this, I thought it might be a good idea to give a few basic pointers to the wonderful world of the Swarovski scope.
Basically, there are two Objective modules (That’s the body bit):
• 95mm and 65mm
And three eyepieces (that’s the bit you look through)
• 25-60x85mm, 30-70x95mm and 25-60x65mm
The larger the objective lens, (95mm is bigger than 65mm, but then that’s a bit obvious), the more light gathering capabilities the scope has, which is great for dusk and dawn viewing, but will make the unit slightly bigger and heavier to carry around.
So far so good?
Right! Well now it gets a bit more technical, because due to the magnification of eyepieces and the objective lens size, (I’m going to call this the body from now on if that’s OK), the eyepieces will give different magnifications depending on what they are fixed too. I think this is something to do with the properties of natural light and possibly the Greeks, but we won’t go there.
If you buy an eyepiece and 95mm body, then you will get a 30-70mm zoom magnification and if you use an eyepiece with a 65mm body, then you will get a 25-60mm zoom magnification, so there isn’t a huge amount of difference, but we have to be accurate. Zoom eyepieces are great because you can make the subject you are looking at seem nearer or further away, without having to get up and move around ……… result.
That’s about it really. The only other decision to be made is the style of eyepiece you would prefer, whether an angled or straight one. The jury is out for me, as I have used both and found each of them to be as easy to use as the other. The angled eyepieces mean that when fixed to a tripod, the height of the tripod isn’t really an issue as most standard tripods extend to a reasonable height, whereas a straight eyepiece needs to be at eye-level, to reduce visits to the chiropractor. You can stand spotting scopes on ledges as they have a flat area on the bottom for fixing to a tripod, so if you want to pop it on a window ledge to view, then that’s fine, but remember, looking through glass compromises the optical results of the scope and Swarovski may get mad!