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Old Wednesday 21st August 2013, 19:09   #1
paul2013
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Kowa YF 6x30 and Yosemite

This follows the YF post below by more than a year, but I recently had both the new (V. 2) Yosemites and YF 6xs together (still do, in fact) and was able to compare a bit, and thought this might help someone looking at both binoculars. I bought both thinking I'd keep the best pair as a gift for a family member and send the other back, but have decided to keep one for me. Some observations:

1. These are similar but are not clones - they don't even look close enough in chassis, covering, knobs and engraving to be from the same factory.

2. The new Yosemites are noticeably warmer in tone, but you have to go back and forth looking at something white to really tell. Use the Yosemites alone and they look fairly neutral (going back and forth the Kowas look a little blue, but I think they are neutral).

3. Construction on the Kowas seems a little more refined, but the front lens covers aren't as good and the captive ones on the Yosemites.

4. The big one: both work equally well in terms of eye relief (I tried with two different pais of glasses), but with my -5.25 prescription I could not quite focus the Yosemites at infinity without my glasses on. I can go just past infinity with the Kowas w/out glasses.

Due to the last attribute, I'm giving the Yosemites as the gift (the recipient doesn't wear glasses, and I think the slight warmth makes for comfortable viewing) and keeping the Kowas. Both are bright, sharp, contrasty and have a nice FOV, but even though I almost always leave my glasses on when using binoculars, I want to be able to use them without glasses (ie, for stargazing).
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Old Wednesday 21st August 2013, 20:25   #2
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I've always loved my little Yosemite. However, I had a chance to briefly handle the Kowa not too long ago. They had one sitting out at the nature store to watch the birds at the feeders. The focus was a little smoother on this particluar Kowa and I preferred the focus wheel itself over the Yosemite wheel. Overall, I liked the feel of the Kowa binocular just a tiny bit more than the Leupold. Both are real nice though and you can't go wrong for those prices.
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Old Wednesday 11th September 2013, 17:25   #3
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I just purchased two Kowa YF binos, one 6x and one 8x , based on reviews here. Both had minor to moderate QC issues, the 6X more so, so it was returned. The focus wheel on both had more resistance that I would like in a frequently used bino, but the actual view was bright and reasonably sharp for both. My daughter likes the 8x so they will be keepers. My 2 cents is buy from a vendor with a good return policy, as my guess is QC issues are not uncommon. But if you get a cherry pair, they are a very good little bino particularly for beginners. I do wonder though, if the Vortex version, the Raptor, would have better QC. And if the focus wheel turns better that alone would be a significant improvement.
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Old Wednesday 11th September 2013, 21:14   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Protanope View Post
I just purchased two Kowa YF binos, one 6x and one 8x , based on reviews here. Both had minor to moderate QC issues, the 6X more so, so it was returned. The focus wheel on both had more resistance that I would like in a frequently used bino, but the actual view was bright and reasonably sharp for both. My daughter likes the 8x so they will be keepers. My 2 cents is buy from a vendor with a good return policy, as my guess is QC issues are not uncommon. But if you get a cherry pair, they are a very good little bino particularly for beginners. I do wonder though, if the Vortex version, the Raptor, would have better QC. And if the focus wheel turns better that alone would be a significant improvement.
Every one of the yosemite clones I have handled had a stiff focus wheel on the inital first turn of the day. Usually second time was nice and firm. I write it off as the price you pay for a waterproof porro at that price level. Mine has gotten easier with time.
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Old Monday 11th April 2016, 20:36   #5
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Originally Posted by perterra View Post
Every one of the yosemite clones I have handled had a stiff focus wheel on the inital first turn of the day. Usually second time was nice and firm. I write it off as the price you pay for a waterproof porro at that price level. Mine has gotten easier with time.
Got a YF 8x30 for my grand-daughter, and the focus was soft from the beginning. So maybe they improved something in the meantime? Or could it mean that the waterproofness feature has been relaxed? Of course, no temptation on my part to check that! Particularly so, as I bought one of the direct imports without warranty (from Amazon US). But at under $56 incl. free shipping to the US address, I think it was a bargain. Just three weeks later, the price is $70. But maybe it is lower from another computer? Would be interesting to know.
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Old Saturday 30th July 2016, 02:02   #6
Steve O4B
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The original Yosemite binoculars were designed by John Riutta (formerly of Leupold) and a designer from Japan (Kamakura?) who both had 4-year-old kids at the time. The Yosemite was designed for these kids. These two owned the design and licensed it to Leupold. When John left Leupold, the license was terminated. Leupold reverse engineered the Yosemite, but forgot it was supposed to be for little kids. As a result, they didn't make sure the focus wheel was easy to use. John then licensed the design to Kowa, resulting in the YF.
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Old Saturday 30th July 2016, 02:53   #7
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Originally Posted by Steve O4B View Post
The original Yosemite binoculars were designed by John Riutta (formerly of Leupold) and a designer from Japan (Kamakura?) who both had 4-year-old kids at the time. The Yosemite was designed for these kids. These two owned the design and licensed it to Leupold. When John left Leupold, the license was terminated. Leupold reverse engineered the Yosemite, but forgot it was supposed to be for little kids. As a result, they didn't make sure the focus wheel was easy to use. John then licensed the design to Kowa, resulting in the YF.
Interesting background story ... thanks for sharing it.
I read a short bio about John online sometime a while back.
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