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Old Wednesday 18th October 2017, 19:52   #1
glock24
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Kowa 884 with TSN-VA3 Unusual question

Hello from Michigan

I'm new to this forum, and fairly new to birding. I have caught the fever however, and I'd like to start investing in some better equipment.

I'm in the market for a spotting scope. I've narrowed it down to the Kowa 884 (although the Meopta S2 82 HD was a close second). I am however having trouble choosing a Kowa eyepiece.

I feel like I'm on an isolated island with my dilemma, but I'm actually looking for something that gives me less power than Kowa's two current offerings. Maybe I'm being narrow-minded, but I have spent the past year birding with some 7x42mm Nikon EDG binoculars. The huge FOV and large exit pupil make them a joy to use. As such, I'd like to upgrade to more magnification via a spotting scope, but without giving up too much FOV or exit pupil. Maybe that's impossible, but that's why I'm here learning.

I should also mention I'm a hunter and shooter, so I do enjoy bringing my optics in the field for game identification, lower-light glassing, and spotting rifle targets. Sometimes I wonder if a pair of 15x56mm binoculars are really what I need, but again, I hate that tiny exit pupil.

The Kowa 884 would be perfect for me if I could just get a little less power. The 25-60x zoom eyepiece is just a bit too much in my uneducated opinion. I feel like I'd be fighting dark spots and head position with such a tiny exit pupil.

I did run across Kowa's TSN-VA3 eyepiece, and while it isn't actually advertised as an eyepiece, several descriptions of this thing claim if used as an eyepiece it would create a 14x magnification scope with 60mm of eye relief. That might be just what I'm looking for, so I called Kowa in California to ask some questions and they advised me against doing this. No idea why.

I also see that some folks are dabbling with adding astronomical eyepieces to their Kowas, although most of these guys want more magnification, and not less. Does anyone know if I'd be able to get an astronomical eyepiece that would give me 15-20x of magnification with a decent FOV and eye relief?

And last but not least, if I were to decide to go with Kowa's 25-60x eyepiece, how common is it for folks to simply stick their smart phone on the eyepiece and use the screen for viewing birds rather than looking directly into the eyepiece? I'm just thinking out loud, but perhaps that would work for me.

Sorry if I'm all over the place, but this is my dilemma, and any insight would be appreciated

Thank you

Last edited by glock24 : Wednesday 18th October 2017 at 19:57.
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Old Thursday 19th October 2017, 00:57   #2
gcole
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Hello from Michigan

I did run across Kowa's TSN-VA3 eyepiece, and while it isn't actually advertised as an eyepiece, several descriptions of this thing claim if used as an eyepiece it would create a 14x magnification scope with 60mm of eye relief. That might be just what I'm looking for, so I called Kowa in California to ask some questions and they advised me against doing this. No idea why.

I also see that some folks are dabbling with adding astronomical eyepieces to their Kowas, although most of these guys want more magnification, and not less. Does anyone know if I'd be able to get an astronomical eyepiece that would give me 15-20x of magnification with a decent FOV and eye relief?

Sorry if I'm all over the place, but this is my dilemma, and any insight would be appreciated

Thank you
Why not buy the 1.25" eyepiece adapter that is now available to use with the Kowa 77/88 that allows other 1.25" eyepieces other than Kowa's eyepieces. It would offer many other possibilities to use other eyepiece choices that have good eye relief within your lower eyepiece power range.
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Old Thursday 19th October 2017, 02:25   #3
glock24
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Why not buy the 1.25" eyepiece adapter that is now available to use with the Kowa 77/88 that allows other 1.25" eyepieces other than Kowa's eyepieces. It would offer many other possibilities to use other eyepiece choices that have good eye relief within your lower eyepiece power range.
That seems like a great idea. I didn't realize it was so easy to use 1.25" eyepieces.

Do you happen to know what specific eyepieces would give me the lower magnification that I'm looking for? In other words, do you happen to know the focal length of the Kowa 884? And I assume the final magnification is still simply focal length of the 884 divided by focal length of the eyepiece?

Sorry for the questions. I'm still piecing this together.
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Old Thursday 19th October 2017, 18:20   #4
gcole
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That seems like a great idea. I didn't realize it was so easy to use 1.25" eyepieces.

Do you happen to know what specific eyepieces would give me the lower magnification that I'm looking for? In other words, do you happen to know the focal length of the Kowa 884? And I assume the final magnification is still simply focal length of the 884 divided by focal length of the eyepiece?

Sorry for the questions. I'm still piecing this together.
The Kowa 884 has a focal length of 500mm. If you prefer an eyepiece that is comfortable to use, with good eye relief and in that low to medium power range they tend to be in the upper price range. I wear glasses and having to wear glasses I like an eyepiece with a large ocular lens with generous eye relief both in a spotting scope as well as binoculars. One negative thing about these types of eyepieces whether you wear glasses or not are possible blackouts when trying to position your eyes. The first challenge you will come across is finding that right eyepiece or eyepieces that will focus correctly with a Kowa 884 using the 1.25" eyepiece adapter. I have owned both of the current Kowa's(77/88mm) and sold both before the 1.25" eyepiece adapters were available. If I had the chance to have that adapter while I still owned the Kowa 77 or 88 I probably would still own one today. I now have that adapter. If I do buy another Kowa in the future it would be the 77mm instead of the 88 version. Price wise right now I think the 77mm is a better value. To my eyes the 77 version could do almost everything the 88 could do. I say this only because the 88 version having a larger objective lens provided a little more light/magnification. Unless you are more concerned about its use as an astronomy instrument due to its larger objective/higher end glass or are going to be using it for digiscoping I would suggest the 77mm given it has the same focal length as the 88 version. Now the eyepieces. If you are willing to lay out the bucks for a higher end Kowa be sure the eyepiece you choose will give you the most in optimal performance optically as well in ease of use. The brand eyepieces I would try would be the Vixen SLV , Explorer Scientific or the more expensive Tele Vue or the Pentax XW. Just make sure where you purchase they have a good return policy in case of focus problems.
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Old Thursday 19th October 2017, 19:41   #5
glock24
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The Kowa 884 has a focal length of 500mm. If you prefer an eyepiece that is comfortable to use, with good eye relief and in that low to medium power range they tend to be in the upper price range. I wear glasses and having to wear glasses I like an eyepiece with a large ocular lens with generous eye relief both in a spotting scope as well as binoculars. One negative thing about these types of eyepieces whether you wear glasses or not are possible blackouts when trying to position your eyes. The first challenge you will come across is finding that right eyepiece or eyepieces that will focus correctly with a Kowa 884 using the 1.25" eyepiece adapter. I have owned both of the current Kowa's(77/88mm) and sold both before the 1.25" eyepiece adapters were available. If I had the chance to have that adapter while I still owned the Kowa 77 or 88 I probably would still own one today. I now have that adapter. If I do buy another Kowa in the future it would be the 77mm instead of the 88 version. Price wise right now I think the 77mm is a better value. To my eyes the 77 version could do almost everything the 88 could do. I say this only because the 88 version having a larger objective lens provided a little more light/magnification. Unless you are more concerned about its use as an astronomy instrument due to its larger objective/higher end glass or are going to be using it for digiscoping I would suggest the 77mm given it has the same focal length as the 88 version. Now the eyepieces. If you are willing to lay out the bucks for a higher end Kowa be sure the eyepiece you choose will give you the most in optimal performance optically as well in ease of use. The brand eyepieces I would try would be the Vixen SLV , Explorer Scientific or the more expensive Tele Vue or the Pentax XW. Just make sure where you purchase they have a good return policy in case of focus problems.
Thanks again for all your insight and help. I understand your point on the 77mm Kowas, but if I'm going to spend the money, I want the best. I like the 88mm because I want the Fluorite, and I want the larger exit pupil.

With your help finding the Kowa 884's focal length (500mm), I am now able to play around with some possible eyepiece options. Of the ones that peak my interest, assuming they focus of course, the big problem is that they use a 2" barrel. Do you think I'm going too far down the rabbit hole to try and also use a 1.25" to 2" adapter with this setup? I know, I know . . .

The one that has my attention is the Explorer Scientific 30mm (EPWP8230-01). It would give me 17x of magnification, 258 ft @1000 yards of view, and it has eye relief of 22mm. Just about perfect . . . if it will work.

The runner up is the Tele Vue Nagler 31mm (EN5-31.0). It would give me 16x of mag, 267 ft @ 1000 yards of view, and an eye relief of 19mm. Not bad at all. . . . if it will work.

And this last one just makes me laugh . . . Tele Vue Panoptic 41mm (EPO-41.0). It would give me 12x of mag, 293 ft @ 1000 yards, and 27mm of eye relief. Wow!

Thoughts?

Last edited by glock24 : Thursday 19th October 2017 at 20:07.
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Old Thursday 19th October 2017, 20:36   #6
Binastro
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I doubt that these large 2 inch fitting eyepieces would work as I think most spotting scopes have restricted barrels, which will just reduce the field of view, and the eyepieces would also probably not reach focus.

But a Kowa expert will know which eyepieces are likely to work.

A high end Televue astro scope would work, but not waterproof.

My scope has a 3 inch barrel fitting, but not waterproof.

P.S.
The Nagler 31mm eyepiece is listed as having a field stop of 42mm, which is probably much larger than the Kowa eyepiece holder.
Additionally, 88mm aperture at 12x gives an exit pupil of about 7.3mm.
Are your eye pupils that big?
For day use it would be O.K., but I think that the aperture would be reduced.

Last edited by Binastro : Thursday 19th October 2017 at 20:48.
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Old Thursday 19th October 2017, 20:48   #7
gcole
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Thanks again for all your insight and help. I understand your point on the 77mm Kowas, but if I'm going to spend the money, I want the best. I like the 88mm because I want the Fluorite, and I want the larger exit pupil.

With your help finding the Kowa 884's focal length (500mm), I am now able to play around with some possible eyepiece options. Of the ones that peak my interest, assuming they focus of course, the big problem is that they use a 2" barrel. Do you think I'm going too far down the rabbit hole to try and also use a 1.25" to 2" adapter with this setup? I know, I know . . .

The one that has my attention is the Explorer Scientific 30mm (EPWP8230-01). It would give me 17x of magnification, 258 ft @1000 yards of view, and it has eye relief of 22mm. Just about perfect . . . if it will work.

The runner up is the Tele Vue Nagler 31mm (EN5-31.0). It would give me 16x of mag, 267 ft @ 1000 yards of view, and an eye relief of 19mm. Not bad at all. . . . if it will work.

And this last one just makes me laugh . . . Tele Vue Panoptic 41mm (EPO-41.0). It would give me 12x of mag, 293 ft @ 1000 yards, and 27mm of eye relief. Wow!

Thoughts?
Nice choices if you can get them to focus. I do know your best chance to have the eyepiece adapter to work is to purchase the adapter model that has the screws that sit in(flush) on the outside of the adapter ring . This model sits closer to the outside of the scope ocular opening allowing what ever eyepiece you try to extend further into the scope. Once you start adding attachments(2" adapter) you increase your chance of back focus problems because the eyepiece barrel will be further away. One eyepiece I can highly recommend is the Explorer Scientific 1.25" 26mm 62 degree eyepiece having a little over 19mm of eye relief which will give you a 19.23x on the Kowa. I am sure it will provide a sharp/crisp view. Being compact in design I think it will have a great chance of working properly. It can be purchased at AgenaAstro.com for $119. I have used this. It has a very large ocular which along with its long eye relief making the overall view seem much larger than 62 degrees. Exceptional value well built and waterproof. I have purchase a lot from them. They have a great return policy. Good luck, let us all know what you get and how they work....gwen
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Old Thursday 19th October 2017, 20:52   #8
Binastro
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Re post 6.

The 41mm Panoptic is listed as having a field stop of 46mm.
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Old Thursday 19th October 2017, 20:55   #9
gcole
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Thanks again for all your insight and help. I understand your point on the 77mm Kowas, but if I'm going to spend the money, I want the best. I like the 88mm because I want the Fluorite, and I want the larger exit pupil.

Thoughts?
One last thing, many here has had the same logic ... If I am spending that much money I want the best but sometimes the best just does not fit. Try before you buy if at all possible.
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Old Thursday 19th October 2017, 21:08   #10
gcole
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Re post 6.

The 41mm Panoptic is listed as having a field stop of 46mm.
Wow.. That's almost as big as the diameter of a can of Campbell's Soup.
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Old Thursday 19th October 2017, 21:35   #11
Binastro
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Don't you have to add water to the soup?
The astro eyepieces are probably not waterproof.

My 38mm Kodak eyepiece has a diameter of over 2.5 inches.
Really big refractors have eyepieces of 4 inch or even 5 inch diameter.
I don't think they would fit in a spotting scope.
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Old Friday 20th October 2017, 08:59   #12
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Hi,

indeed the magnification is focal length of the body divided by focal length of the EP.

Regarding the astro adapters - there is two, one with a knurled screw and one which needs an allen key. The latter is less convenient but recommended reagrdless, as focus travel is not very long in spotters and the few millimeters of more infocus whcih this adapter offers might be crucial to get your EP to focus at infinity.

The 1.25" EP (2" won't fit) with the widest true field is the 24mm Panoptic or the 24mm ES 68 deg clone which give 21x. There is longer focal length EPs available but they won't give you a wider true field and will have quite constricting apparent field in case of much lower magnification than 21x.

It also could happen that the 24mm EPs mentioned above will show a truncated exit pupil due to the prism being smaller than the field stop of the EP - this is a common problem with low mag astro EPs in spotters.

There is some owners of Kowa 883 scopes on cloudynights - it would be a good idea to ask there about their EP experiences.

https://www.cloudynights.com/topic/5...r-daytime-use/

Joachim
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Old Friday 20th October 2017, 10:02   #13
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Hi,

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Originally Posted by glock24 View Post
And last but not least, if I were to decide to go with Kowa's 25-60x eyepiece, how common is it for folks to simply stick their smart phone on the eyepiece and use the screen for viewing birds rather than looking directly into the eyepiece? I'm just thinking out loud, but perhaps that would work for me.
I've occasionally done this, mostly when I was digiscoping anyway. It can be convenient for observation, though quality of course isn't the same as you'd get from a direct look through the optics. It's also quite dependend on the ambient light. Vibration seems to be emphasized as well, especially when you zoom in to get a better view that's closer to what you'd see with the eye actually on the eye piece.

Regards,

Henning
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Old Friday 20th October 2017, 12:03   #14
glock24
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Thanks again for all the insights, gentlemen.

I have a lot think about, and I'm starting to realize I'm not as clever as I thought. Everything I'm pondering has been tried before, and there are good reasons it isn't more commonplace.

Decisions, decisions . . .

Last edited by glock24 : Friday 20th October 2017 at 12:15.
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Old Friday 20th October 2017, 12:25   #15
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Hi,

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Originally Posted by glock24 View Post
I have a lot think about, and I'm starting to realize I'm not as clever as I thought. Everything I'm pondering has been tried before, and there are good reasons it isn't more commonplace.
I can whole-heartedly agree with your idea that it's very nice to have a wide field of view for general observation. In fact, one of the things I'm missing with my Kowa 883 compared to my Nikon ED50A is the large field of view I get from the latter at 13x magnification.

With the Kowa, I find that I'm switching more frequently between binoculars and the scope than I did with the Nikon.

A birder I met in the field had a rather large pair of high-magnification binoculars ... 20x, I believe ... which he set up on tripods. That seemed like a very interesting approach, but unfortunately time only allowed a short chat, and I had no opportunity to try out his gear.

Another interesting option I've read about are Canon's image stablized binoculars, but I haven't tried these either.

Regards,

Henning
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Old Friday 20th October 2017, 12:33   #16
Pileatus
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Hello from Michigan

I'm new to this forum, and fairly new to birding. I have caught the fever however, and I'd like to start investing in some better equipment.

I'm in the market for a spotting scope. I've narrowed it down to the Kowa 884 (although the Meopta S2 82 HD was a close second). I am however having trouble choosing a Kowa eyepiece.

I feel like I'm on an isolated island with my dilemma, but I'm actually looking for something that gives me less power than Kowa's two current offerings. Maybe I'm being narrow-minded, but I have spent the past year birding with some 7x42mm Nikon EDG binoculars. The huge FOV and large exit pupil make them a joy to use. As such, I'd like to upgrade to more magnification via a spotting scope, but without giving up too much FOV or exit pupil. Maybe that's impossible, but that's why I'm here learning.

I should also mention I'm a hunter and shooter, so I do enjoy bringing my optics in the field for game identification, lower-light glassing, and spotting rifle targets. Sometimes I wonder if a pair of 15x56mm binoculars are really what I need, but again, I hate that tiny exit pupil.

The Kowa 884 would be perfect for me if I could just get a little less power. The 25-60x zoom eyepiece is just a bit too much in my uneducated opinion. I feel like I'd be fighting dark spots and head position with such a tiny exit pupil.

I did run across Kowa's TSN-VA3 eyepiece, and while it isn't actually advertised as an eyepiece, several descriptions of this thing claim if used as an eyepiece it would create a 14x magnification scope with 60mm of eye relief. That might be just what I'm looking for, so I called Kowa in California to ask some questions and they advised me against doing this. No idea why.

I also see that some folks are dabbling with adding astronomical eyepieces to their Kowas, although most of these guys want more magnification, and not less. Does anyone know if I'd be able to get an astronomical eyepiece that would give me 15-20x of magnification with a decent FOV and eye relief?

And last but not least, if I were to decide to go with Kowa's 25-60x eyepiece, how common is it for folks to simply stick their smart phone on the eyepiece and use the screen for viewing birds rather than looking directly into the eyepiece? I'm just thinking out loud, but perhaps that would work for me.

Sorry if I'm all over the place, but this is my dilemma, and any insight would be appreciated

Thank you
We have the 883 with the 25-60 zoom.
Exit pupil is NOT a problem.
Eye relief works well with eyeglasses.
FOV is fantastic.
Sharpness is unbeatable across all magnifications.
Chromatic aberration is all but non-existent.
Zoom operates effortlessly.
Fine focus is VERY useful.
While tracking distant raptors I can zoom in/out and fine focus with ease.
Iphone adapter works for me.

Note:
My zoom has a few tiny specks around 35-40X and I no longer care. The zoom is so good I do not want to risk any degradation during service. Most of the time I never see them and when I do (against a clear sky) I just zoom a bit more/less and they're gone.
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Old Saturday 21st October 2017, 01:01   #17
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The Nagler 31 and Panoptic 41 are huge, as in HUGE. Not recommended for your application.

Trying advertising for a Kowa TE-10Z which is the 20-60 power EP that came standard on the 770 / 880 series before the more recent 25-60 zoom was introduced. There must be several sitting around collecting dust with owners who upgraded to the 25-60 zoom.

I have a 773 with the 20-60 zoom, and it's my favorite scope. My partner loves her 883 with the 25-60, and I think the 883 may be the best performance to price scope IMHO. My Swarovski ATX 95 with its 30x lowest mag is my least favorite of these 3 scopes due to 30x.

I suggest finding a Kowa TE-10Z zoom. It would probably be priced cheaply.

Jay
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Old Saturday 21st October 2017, 10:19   #18
jring
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The Nagler 31 and Panoptic 41 are huge, as in HUGE. Not recommended for your application.
Hi,

the Nagler 31 and Panoptic 41 have a 2" barrel and will quite simply not fit. The adapter to use astro EPs with the Kowa 883/4 can only take 1.25" EPs.

The 1.25" EPs with the largest TFOV are Panoptic 24 or 24mm ES 68 for 21x and 3.2 deg TFOV. The question remains if those will result in a truncated exit pupils in the Kowa too as they did in many other spotting scopes due to undersized prisms...

Joachim

Last edited by jring : Saturday 21st October 2017 at 10:29. Reason: Added sentence about Pano 24
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