I am new to the spotting scope community and, as an aspiring ornithologist, I thought it might be about time to look into getting one! I have been told that Kowa is among the best I can get. Is this true, and are there other brands I should be considering?
Also, a silly question, but the Kowa 66mm High Performace Waterproof Spotting Scopes TSN-660 Series that is on sale on this website, does it come with the eyepiece for $555? The wording in the advertisement was confusing to me, as the picture implies it comes with the 20-60X zoom piece? If not, does this come with an eyepiece at all?
As for price - if you look further down the listing for the 600-series scopes, you will see the prices for body only (states body ONLY), and prices for body w/eyepiece, for both the ED and non-ED scopes.
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- Joined: Tue Jul 08, 2008 10:32 pm
As Phil mentions, it all depends on the model of Kowa - can't make blanket statements as to brand.
That said, I own and use a Kowa 663 which is the ED version and it is a superb scope. It DOES NOT come with the eyepiece. In the world of premium spotting scopes, "body only" means just that - no eyepiece and, make no mistake, a good zoom eyepiece is an expensive proposition. For birding, I do strongly recommend a good zoom eyepiece, though. No time to messing with changing eyepieces when you need a quick look before the bird flies, away. The good news is that the Kowa Z9, 20-60x eyepiece is an excellent zoom eyepiece.
Yes, I agree, the Kowa 883 with a Z10, 20-60xzoom is as good as it gets in a spotting scope and it will get you more performance than a smaller scope like the 663. However, the difference will only rarely, if ever, make a difference in a bird ID and that 883 will not only cost you much more, it will also be more to pack. By all means, if you can afford it, go with the 883, but if not, the 663 with a the Z9 zoom is a great choice.
mistywings wrote:So is the 661 non-ED scope not going to be as clear as the 663? I do see the price difference is huge, which normally means a much better product? I am looking into spending up to but not over $1000 for everything the scope needs: body, eyepiece, tripod, and weatherproof cover. Is this a reasonable goal, or should I save up some more? Time is not an issue, as I put money into savings monthly. I really do want the best value I can get, but don't particularly need all the bells and whistles either.
Yes, higher price does mean better product. There won't be a huge difference between ED and non-ED, but the difference is there. Then again, if you never look through an ED scope, you won't ever be unhappy with a non-ED.
I think that one does not need to spend more than a grand, so yes, a grand is very reasonable. The ED's that you can find under a grand include the Pentax 65ED and 80ED (though you really have to look around for an 80ED under a grand, but they are out there), the Celestron Regals, and the 600-series Kowas. There's also the Brunton and Bushnells, but they are not quite as good as the others. Personally, if I had a grand to spend, I would go with the 80mm Pentax if I didn't have to lug it around a lot, or the 65mm Pentax ED w/their high-end zoom or the Kowa ED if I did have to carry it a long distance.
Zoom capacity is a function of the focal length of the zoom lens itself, and not a function of whether or not the front end glass is ED. As mentioned above, ED does make a difference, but whether or not it's a useable difference depends on how high in power you go, and at what levels of light. Certainly you would want ED if you are going to photograph through your scope.
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- Joined: Tue Jul 08, 2008 10:32 pm
I agree; good points
You'll see the ED difference in two ways. First, at higher magnifications, above, say, 40x, ED makes for better resolution since it reduces or eliminates chromatic aberration which does cause some loss of resolving power. In other words, an ED scope, above 40x, will appear a bit sharper than the SAME model scope without ED, as when we compare the ED 663 model with the non-ED 661 model. (When you start to mix and match different brands and models, going ED is no guarantee of improvement) Below 40x, though, you will not see that much difference in these two excellent scopes. You could, of course, convince yourself that you will not be using 40x, most of the time, and go with the 661,but, in my experience, spotting scope users tend to push their scopes to the max when it comes to magnification, even when it is not all that necessary. If your zoom goes up to 60x, in other words, you'll probably use it, especially if you are working the shorebird flats in birding or target shooting.
The other place ED makes a very real difference is in digiscoping and photography. Just as an ED camera lens produces better pics than the same lens without ED, a spotting scope with ED will produce better pics. For this type of work, an ED will produce better pics at all magnifications. If you are going to get serious about taking pics with the Koaw, the 663 is definitely the better choice.