Digiscoping – or the act of slapping a phone or camera onto your binoculars or spotting scope, has become ubiquitous among western big game hunters . For one, it takes long hours spent perusing the landscape in search of white butts or antlers. Second, it provides the hunter with the ability to take a snapshot and evaluate the critter on screen to determine if it’s “the one.” For those with a willing hunting partner or skilled enough themselves to pull it off, it allows the hunter to capture some pretty awesome memories via phone or video throughout the hunt.
However, all those benefits have typically been accompanied by a bulky or cumbersome setup requiring a specialized phone case, and for some, an old phone they keep in their packs dedicated to digiscoping. Not anymore.
What is it?
That is where Magview comes in. Rather than utilizing a custom phone case that snaps or clicks onto an adapter, Magview utilizes a steel plate adhered to the back of your phone to connect your phone via rare earth magnets within the adapters. One of the best parts? The steel plate makes your phone connectable to both the spotting scope and binocular adapter and neither adapter interferes with non-digiscoping use of your favorite optic.
In the box you’ll find a completely customizable system to fit just about any spotter you might have.
What’s in the box
You can see the quality of the product even in the packaging – think “iPhone” quality packaging. It’s the kind of box you don’t throw away because quite frankly you feel like you’re trashing something important. Inside the spotting scope kit, you’ll find the steel plate for your phone, the main cover/adapter, an allen wrench for installation as well as shims to ensure that it fits just about any spotting scope ever made. Inside the bino kit, you’ll find the steel plate for your phone, the adapter, a single shim, and an allen wrench for installation. For this review, we weren’t able to mount up the binocular phone adapter due to the beefy eye cups on our Leupold BX-5 Bantiam binos – something the Magview team tells us they already have a solution for coming later this year – but also something to be aware of if you’re running a Leupold setup like we are.
Once the box is open, you’re greeted by a QR code to scan to learn how to quickly set up the unit. The QR code links to videos showing you exactly how to set up both the binocular version and the spotting scope kit. The videos are quick and to the point, without fluff that takes up your time. We recommend you stop and watch them prior to setup. After a few minutes watching the video, we were able to get the spotting scope version mounted on our Leupold SX-5 Santiam spotting scope and we were off to the races, er, local plains in search of whatever critter we could find.
Real world use
Within minutes of quickly catching a glimpse of a pronghorn bedded in the warming June temps, we had the spotter up and on the antelope. One of the tips in the set-up videos is to turn on the “grid” mode on your cell phone, center it on the light coming through the spotting scope, and let the magnets do the rest. This made target acquisition surprisingly quick. Opening and closing the truck door to get out and take photos tested the strength of the magnets. The test iPhone 10’s placement within the spotting scope held rock steady.
One of our favorite features of the spotting scope version is that it doubles as a lens cover. You can close it to provide dust and deter water when traveling to and from your favorite glassing holes.
Lastly – if you lose a phone, upgrade, or swap out cases, you can purchase the Magview phone plates for $14.99 per 3 pack – weighing in at less than ½ ounce and paper thin. One caveat – if you have a beefy phone case, the slightly added dimensions of the phone plate may prevent your phone from charging wirelessly. It did so on our test iPhone 10 with Spiegen case.
So, what is the verdict? At $169.99 for the S1 Spotting Scope Adapter and $99.99 for the B1 Binocular Adapter, it falls right in line with some of the other digiscoping adapters out there, with much less bulk. If you are looking for an ultra-sleek solution to your digiscoping needs or the perfect gift for the hunter in your life, this one gets the Gear 101 nod. Oh yea, did we mention it’s made in the USA? Ten points for that one.
Units begin shipping the first week of July and you can learn more or pre-order yours now at www.magviewgear.com