ST. GEORGE – About six years ago Cheston Davis and his father Tracy Davis, both natives of Beaver, were out hunting deer in Southern Utah when they saw a mountain lion tracking a deer. This animal encounter prompted the father-son duo to pull out a cell phone and try to snap some photos. They wanted to document the sighting.
What the Davis boys didn’t know was that this rare encounter would act as a catalyst for the invention of a product that is now sold in major retailers across the country.
At the time, it was simply an idea, an offhand comment that Tracy Davis made about needing to invent a way to be able to attach a cell phone to a scope in order to stabilize it and take better pictures. When they sighted the mountain lion they couldn’t stop the phone from shaking while they were trying to take photos.
Cheston Davis said he remembers laughing at his dad but went home and designed and built a prototype. Shortly after, the pair were sitting in a patent attorney’s office.
Today, the Davises’ products, under the brand name Phone Skope, can be found in retail stores the likes of Wal-Mart, Sportsman’s Warehouse, Scheels and Cabella’s.
Phone Skope products are basically two-part kits; part one is a phone case, and part two is an adapter that attaches to both the phone case and an optic device such as a spotting scope. Together the elements allow a cell phone camera to utilize the magnifying capability of the scope all while being securely attached. This eliminates shaking and provides clearer, closer images, the Davises said.
Phone Skope kits are available for almost any optic device and smart phone combination, Cheston Davis said, including, binoculars, microscopes, spotting scopes and telescopes.
The product was originally designed for hunting but its uses have become quite varied. It can be used for wildlife photography, astronomy, microbiology or anything else one chooses to photograph.
With technology that allows live broadcasting, a person can even share what they are seeing with their friends on social media in real time, Cheston Davis said.
The Phone Skope kit runs between $70 and $80 and includes the case and the adapter.
As users upgrade their phones or want additional cases or adapters for their optic devices, they can just purchase one part or the other without buying a whole new kit.
Phone Skope has a number of holiday gift packages available on its website, starting at $20, just in time for Christmas.
Phone Skope’s website includes a number of testimonials lauding the product’s usability and modular method of purchase.
For example, David La Puma, a product specialist for Leica Sport Optics said:
My motto has always been ‘The best camera is the one in your hand, right now’. As a result, I sold off my DSLR and big lenses years ago because I just wasn’t using them enough. Cell phones now carry excellent camera components, and when coupled with premium optics, can achieve large-print-worthy results. I have tried all of the phone adapters on the market and PhoneSkope is the one that works best for me. PhoneSkope is modular, so when I upgrade my phone, or if I decide to use one of the older Leica Televid scopes, I only need to switch out the phone chassis, or the scope tube, respectively. That reduces waste and reduces cost, two things that are very important to me. PhoneSkope has allowed me to document rarities, help me bone up on bird identification, and create lasting pieces of artwork that allow me to relive the experience each time I look at them. Thanks PhoneSkope!
About the company
Phone Skope is a privately-held company that makes custom-molded, precisely engineered smartphone digiscoping adapters.
It is a relatively young company that has grown quite rapidly, Cheston Davis said. The company remains committed to quality and to the principals that got the company this far.
“The product is built in the USA,” he said.
Phone Skope is not only built in the United States, it was imagined in small town Southern Utah and is manufactured in St. George.
“It just goes to show you that if you put your heart and mind to it, you can accomplish anything,” Cheston Davis said.
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