As a keen birder, I've been looking to acquire a high end spotting scope for a while now and thought I'd wait until the new Swarovski ATM-80 HD hit the stores in January 2010, before shelling out well over $2000 of my hard-earned cash. Having checked out the Kowa TSN-883 Prominar angled High Performance Spotting Scope specifications and in-the-field performance, it was hard to contemplate paying close to $3000 for the new Swaro magnesium-bodied scope, when Kowa offers such excellent value for money with an intrinsically better optical design, utilising good old-fashioned basic physics. Its enormous 88mm Fluorite Objective lens, sucks in 20% more light than the 80mm Swaro Objective lens and makes images substantially brighter, which really counts in low light conditions. As with all things, there is a price to pay for all this Fluorite glass and that is a weight, without eyepiece, that runs to over 1.5kg, which would be even greater if Kowa hadn't housed all of this high quality glass in a robust lightweight Magnesium Alloy body, which has also been made remarkably compact for ease of use and better balance in the field.
For me buying the Kowa was a "no-brainer"! I consider it money well spent.
Pros: value for money
Cons: weight impacts on portability
This review was written in the old system and had content requirements that are different than reviews written today.