Join for FREE
It only takes a minute!
Magnifying the passion for nature. Zeiss Victory Harpia 95. New!

Welcome to BirdForum.
BirdForum is the net's largest birding community, dedicated to wild birds and birding, and is absolutely FREE! You are most welcome to register for an account, which allows you to take part in lively discussions in the forum, post your pictures in the gallery and more.

Reply
 
Thread Tools Rate Thread
Old Saturday 15th July 2017, 22:41   #51
dipped
Registered User

 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: suffolk
Posts: 1,099
Quote:
Originally Posted by henry link View Post
I found this Japanese video review of the TSN-553.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pJxMFAsyKII

The reviewer voices some of the same complaints that have been aired here, including the insupportably high price. He confirms that the prism configuration is Porro + semi-pentaprism and also mentions that Kowa has not specified what mirror coating material is used in the semi-pentaprism.
Good find there.

I just can't understand the pricing and why they didn't make it an interchangeable mount with the existing wide zoom for the 883/4 scopes.
dipped is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Saturday 15th July 2017, 23:07   #52
Binastro
Registered User

 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: S.England
Posts: 3,336
The price is why I suggested a possible Canon IS scope.
For that money I would much prefer good image stabilization over a fluorite objective.
If such a scope had a fixed zoom or even a fixed magnification eyepiece I would still prefer that.
Binastro is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Sunday 16th July 2017, 00:09   #53
litebeam
Registered User
 
litebeam's Avatar

 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Northwest U.S.
Posts: 419
Quote:
Originally Posted by dipped View Post
... and why they didn't make it an interchangeable mount with the existing wide zoom for the 883/4 scopes.
Suspect that it is the 'weight' factor.
This scope was designed for the lightweight user.....biologist, hunter, backpacker.
If one could weigh the eyepiece that is permanently affixed as opposed to Kowa's existing zoom offerings the weigh difference would likely be dramatic.
Again, pure speculation here.

I for one, would welcome the fluorite 55mm with Kowa's TE-11 wide angle zoom. Justifying the cost involved for such a small objective is another story. I doubt it would deliver the optical quality of my Leica 65mm APO televid anyway.
litebeam is online now  
Reply With Quote
Old Sunday 16th July 2017, 00:37   #54
mayoayo
Registered User
 
mayoayo's Avatar

 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: El Garraf
Posts: 2,129
the big gap in price and specifications between the 50 and 55 models doesnt makes sense either..I think if they had a 50 design already,they could have easily made it with ED glass and if you want the fixed zoom, as a less expensive ,more compromised option,and sell the 55 fluorite body only,leaving the owner to decide on the eyepiece..and with a realistic price,for gods sake,,I dont care if You can see through foliage or whatever,,for that price you should be able to have Xrays vision!
mayoayo is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Monday 17th July 2017, 15:15   #55
bdg1
Registered User

 
Join Date: Jul 2016
Location: Oregon
Posts: 40
I'm quite sure KOWA as a company is not oblivious to how markets work and pricing strategy. Are they just riding the hype factor of TSN 883/4 and assume consumers will bear the the cost for no obvious feature differences compared to less expensive 50mm spotting scopes. I am tempted to put an order, but concerned to take a big hit if they drop the prices in future.
bdg1 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Tuesday 18th July 2017, 14:41   #56
FrankD
Registered User
 
FrankD's Avatar

 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Eastern Pennsylvania
Posts: 8,365
Sorry folks. I haven't been on the forums since back at the very beginning of June. I was given the opportunity to evaluate the little 55 mm Kowa. I have had it for a little over two weeks.

I have compared it directly with the Opticron MM4 50 and 60 mm scopes with the SDL V2 zooms.

I will post a much more extensive review with pics in the next couple of days.

My initial impressions from a week or so ago were contrary to what Steve OB4 posted but then I am comparing the MM4s instead of the MM3. Not a huge difference between those two versions but still worth noting.

Just a couple of quick points based on my observations....

- Yes, the zoom is definitely the limiting factor for this scope. The high end of the zoom range is not quite as good as I expected plus the narrow apparent field of view is definitely noticeable in comparison to the SDL V2 MM4s.

- It is nice compact, light scope which gives me the impression physically of a compromise between the MM series and the Nikon ED series.

- Mechanics are very good but different feel and focusing speed compared to the MM3s and MM4s.

All for now but I will answer any questions you folks have.
__________________
Visit our Optics Review site......
http://opticstheviewfromhere.com/
Digiscoped videos .....
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCAf...1LMvsLF0DExoog
FrankD is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Tuesday 18th July 2017, 15:20   #57
henry link
Registered User

 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: north carolina
Posts: 4,009
Quote:
Originally Posted by FrankD View Post
- Yes, the zoom is definitely the limiting factor for this scope. The high end of the zoom range is not quite as good as I expected plus the narrow apparent field of view is definitely noticeable in comparison to the SDL V2 MM4s.
Hi Frank,

I'm curious about the statement above. What's not quite as good as you expected at the high end of the zoom range? What makes you think the problem is the eyepiece?

Have you done a star-test?

Henry
henry link is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Tuesday 18th July 2017, 16:23   #58
FrankD
Registered User
 
FrankD's Avatar

 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Eastern Pennsylvania
Posts: 8,365
No star test yet Henry so, yes, we could chalk up my experience with the scope as being unit specific. Will try do so tonight or tomorrow.

All of the usual optical characteristics I look for (apparent sharpness, apparent brightness, contrast, CA control, edge performance, etc...) are certainly agreeable up to a point in the magnification range. Then there is a drop off where I expect to see more detail than what is presented. Eye positioning also seems to be a bit more critical than what I am accustomed to with either of the Opticron models.

They eyepiece has 15x printed on one end of the zoom range and a 45x on the other end. There are three white "dots" at regular intervals between the two numbered settings. It is from the last dot up to 45x that I see the drop off in performance.

My initial opinion is that they attempted to do a little bit "too much" with just the one eyepiece. They went for a specific magnification range (more typical of 60-65 mm scopes) but wanted to keep a variety of optical characteristics at a certain performance level (thinking CA control, edge sharpness, etc...). The compromise is in how easy the eye placement is, the somewhat lower level of performance at the magnification level mentioned above and narrower apparent field of view.
__________________
Visit our Optics Review site......
http://opticstheviewfromhere.com/
Digiscoped videos .....
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCAf...1LMvsLF0DExoog

Last edited by FrankD : Tuesday 18th July 2017 at 16:45.
FrankD is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Tuesday 18th July 2017, 18:40   #59
Pileatus
Registered User

 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: USA
Posts: 2,348
Quote:
Originally Posted by FrankD View Post
No star test yet Henry so, yes, we could chalk up my experience with the scope as being unit specific. Will try do so tonight or tomorrow.

All of the usual optical characteristics I look for (apparent sharpness, apparent brightness, contrast, CA control, edge performance, etc...) are certainly agreeable up to a point in the magnification range. Then there is a drop off where I expect to see more detail than what is presented. Eye positioning also seems to be a bit more critical than what I am accustomed to with either of the Opticron models.

They eyepiece has 15x printed on one end of the zoom range and a 45x on the other end. There are three white "dots" at regular intervals between the two numbered settings. It is from the last dot up to 45x that I see the drop off in performance.

My initial opinion is that they attempted to do a little bit "too much" with just the one eyepiece. They went for a specific magnification range (more typical of 60-65 mm scopes) but wanted to keep a variety of optical characteristics at a certain performance level (thinking CA control, edge sharpness, etc...). The compromise is in how easy the eye placement is, the somewhat lower level of performance at the magnification level mentioned above and narrower apparent field of view.
Hi Frank,
There should be no drop off at all, except for those based on atmospherics. The aging ED50 stays pin sharp from 13-40, so much so it's always kind of amazing sitting next to a much larger scope (883). We're using both in NS and the only quality loss in either is due to heat.

I was hoping this was a mini-883 but it seems not to be. My wife loves the ED50 but I can't tolerate the narrow FOV or short eye relief for any length of time.
John
Pileatus is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Tuesday 18th July 2017, 19:51   #60
bdg1
Registered User

 
Join Date: Jul 2016
Location: Oregon
Posts: 40
I had KOWA 553 and MM4 in my cart, went ahead and purchased MM4 for the third of KOWA 553 price. What a bummer :)
bdg1 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Tuesday 18th July 2017, 20:58   #61
jring
Registered User

 
Join Date: Aug 2015
Location: Germany
Posts: 1,285
Hi,

thanks to Frank for the sneak preview of his review, which I look forward to. Star test results would indeed be very interesting - although it's probably going to be difficult to identify the culprit with the fixed EP. Since my TSN-3 body is a fluorite doublet at f5.5 too, but with 17mm more aperture and is very sharp and contrasty with no visible CA at 55x with the SDLv2, the 55mm doublet at the same focal ratio should be at least as good in theory...

From comparison of the Kowa small body zoom TE-9Z vs the SDLv2 in my TSN-3 body my main gripe was the lack of edge sharpness with the Kowa zoom at all magnifications while the SDLv2 is sharp to the edge for my eyes. On axis sharpness at 60x was ok iirc - but it's some time ago and no star test with it was made as this was at a very nice store that has since closed down after the death of the owner :-(

And yes, it really is the small body zoom TE-9Z - just look at the image of the sample in this link which still shows a zoom labeled 60x...

https://seekoutside.com/blog/shot-show-highlights/

Joachim

Last edited by jring : Tuesday 18th July 2017 at 21:04.
jring is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Tuesday 18th July 2017, 21:57   #62
mayoayo
Registered User
 
mayoayo's Avatar

 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: El Garraf
Posts: 2,129
Is the TE-9Z waterproof?..My Baader Zoom MkIII is dustproof and water tight in the lens element..If the new Kowa 55 is ,as advertised ,fully waterproof,some adjustments might have been made to the eyepiece,unless it was already waterproof when released( kinda doubt it)
So ..performance drop at 45?..I have boosted ED50s ,(one in particular)WAY past 45X with excellent results,and at 45X all of them delivered great images...Oh well..I hate non removable eyepieces in scope anyway,I like options and experiments..I like to use astro eyepieces in the NikonED50 ,I have adapted Nikon and BAader eyepieces to the KOWA 82 ,and even have a Swaro/Kowa adapter in case i can afford the 25/50X swaro sometime in the future!

Last edited by mayoayo : Tuesday 18th July 2017 at 22:01.
mayoayo is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Wednesday 19th July 2017, 21:29   #63
mayoayo
Registered User
 
mayoayo's Avatar

 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: El Garraf
Posts: 2,129
Frank....Have you attempted any phonescoping?...Would be interesting to see some samples
mayoayo is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Thursday 20th July 2017, 00:19   #64
FrankD
Registered User
 
FrankD's Avatar

 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Eastern Pennsylvania
Posts: 8,365
I plan on it tomorrow Manuel.

Took pics of the scope by itself and with the two MM4 models a little bit ago. I would upload one to this post but am using my phone at the moment and the pics are too large. Will get on the laptop tomorrow. Have to ship the scope back to Kowa by Friday.
__________________
Visit our Optics Review site......
http://opticstheviewfromhere.com/
Digiscoped videos .....
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCAf...1LMvsLF0DExoog
FrankD is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Friday 21st July 2017, 22:32   #65
Dynszis
Registered User

 
Join Date: Jul 2017
Location: Germany
Posts: 15
Incidentally I just found out that there's a Borg 55FL lens assembly that uses a 55mm Fluorite lens from Canon, probably the same lens used by Kowa.

Which is probably mildly interesting because Borg offers a complete spotter with these optics for much less than Kowa's asking price.

Or you could build your own scope with your own choice of eyepiece, prism, and optical elements. Of course you'd have to forego weather sealing, and it might be a tad heavier, but AFAIC I'm not sure whether it's not more bang for the buck in the end.
Dynszis is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Friday 21st July 2017, 23:03   #66
Binastro
Registered User

 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: S.England
Posts: 3,336
Generally Borgs may not have the same quality as Kowas.
I don't know about the new small Kowa.

There are many fine astro scopes, say triplet objective Explore Scientific 80mm, 102mm and 127mm for less than the small Kowa.
Binastro is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Friday 21st July 2017, 23:55   #67
bdg1
Registered User

 
Join Date: Jul 2016
Location: Oregon
Posts: 40
Borgs are well known for quality, the spotter using Borg objective may not be waterproof but I suspect optical quality will be poor.
bdg1 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Saturday 22nd July 2017, 00:39   #68
jring
Registered User

 
Join Date: Aug 2015
Location: Germany
Posts: 1,285
Hi,

cannot comment on the Borg as I was assimilated, erm I don't know one... but the 55FL is certainly not the same lens as the Kowa 550 series as the Borg is even faster at f4.5... and they sell a flattener/reducer to make it f3.6... nice for wide field astro imaging but probably a bit too fast for higher magnifications...

AOK Swiss offers a nice kit with a 2" feathertouch focuser for 1k€ and change - but I think it is slightly more than 1kg - add 500g for a mirror diagonal and 1kg for your 31mm Nagler for 10.2 deg true field rich field bliss - but the exit pupil is a bit large at almost 7mm and I'm not sure if this thing will be very good at higher mag...

A Tak FS-60CB is about the same in price and weight and will give "only" 7,3 deg with a 31mm Nagler but with a healthier exit pupil of 5.3mm and at f5.9, 5m more aperture and no glass path to introduce spherochromatism, it will thoroughly beat the Kowa optically...
But of course we're talking about a weight north of 1.5kg with a 1.25" mirror diagonal and a Baader zoom...

Joachim
jring is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Saturday 22nd July 2017, 00:41   #69
Steve O4B
VP of Sales, Optics4Birding.com
 
Steve O4B's Avatar

 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Aliso Viejo, CA
Posts: 103
Quote:
Originally Posted by FrankD View Post
No star test yet Henry so, yes, we could chalk up my experience with the scope as being unit specific. Will try do so tonight or tomorrow.

All of the usual optical characteristics I look for (apparent sharpness, apparent brightness, contrast, CA control, edge performance, etc...) are certainly agreeable up to a point in the magnification range. Then there is a drop off where I expect to see more detail than what is presented. Eye positioning also seems to be a bit more critical than what I am accustomed to with either of the Opticron models.

They eyepiece has 15x printed on one end of the zoom range and a 45x on the other end. There are three white "dots" at regular intervals between the two numbered settings. It is from the last dot up to 45x that I see the drop off in performance.

My initial opinion is that they attempted to do a little bit "too much" with just the one eyepiece. They went for a specific magnification range (more typical of 60-65 mm scopes) but wanted to keep a variety of optical characteristics at a certain performance level (thinking CA control, edge sharpness, etc...). The compromise is in how easy the eye placement is, the somewhat lower level of performance at the magnification level mentioned above and narrower apparent field of view.
I finally got out to a local estuary last Sunday with the 553. My observations were similar to Frank's, especially at the higher magnifications. There was quite a bit of wind and heat shimmer, so I wasn't willing to attribute all the difficulties to the scope, but it seemed that there was a lack of depth of focus at the eye relief point. Unfortunately, I brought the wrong compression ring for my Novagrade phone adapter and could not get a solid link for digiscoping. That is remedied and I will give it another try this weekend.

The thing that was impressive about this scope was the lack of CA. The first time I ever noticed CA in a scope was 20 years ago with my then new Bushnell Spacemaster. I was at the same estuary and looked at a Snowy Egret in dark blue water and saw this broad band of blue all the way around the bird's body. There were also Snowy Egrets present last Sunday, so I made sure to take a look. There was absolutely no CA around the bird with the 553.
__________________
Steve Sosensky, Optics4Birding.com
SoCA Bird Guides
Steve O4B is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Saturday 22nd July 2017, 20:08   #70
Piskeddu
Registered User
 
Piskeddu's Avatar

 
Join Date: Aug 2015
Location: Milan
Posts: 49
Good evening, but lack of C.A. As the definition of the telescope increases, I would not like to create controversy, but to date there are no clays that can compete with kowa in the control / lack of C.A. Try putting a duplicator on the 883 you will get a 96x image without the minimum presence of C.A. . I think the 553 in definition will pave the way. Giorgio
Piskeddu is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Saturday 22nd July 2017, 21:56   #71
bdg1
Registered User

 
Join Date: Jul 2016
Location: Oregon
Posts: 40
here one review on Kowa 55mm spotter

http://blog.sandsarchery.com/kowa-ts...-scope-review/
bdg1 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Saturday 22nd July 2017, 23:13   #72
Vespobuteo
Registered User

 
Join Date: Aug 2013
Location: Utopia
Posts: 1,672
Quote:
Originally Posted by bdg1 View Post
here one review on Kowa 55mm spotter

http://blog.sandsarchery.com/kowa-ts...-scope-review/
9.2 out of 10, wow, that is impressive,
not much meaning buying a 883 or ATX95 then...
Vespobuteo is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Sunday 23rd July 2017, 01:33   #73
mayoayo
Registered User
 
mayoayo's Avatar

 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: El Garraf
Posts: 2,129
Im sure is a nice scope,but the price is very high,...specially with that older zoom!.>Ah sure ,If they would have used the wide zoom it would have been much more expensive..Perhaps Eighteen(18)hundred (100)buckos($$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$)......??????...They mention that "considering price ,weight etc.." the ATX65 was only marginally better..and the FOV was not that different?..mmm...start wondering..
mayoayo is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Sunday 23rd July 2017, 21:29   #74
henry link
Registered User

 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: north carolina
Posts: 4,009
No pressure guys, but we need better information about the optics of this scope. So far we have Frank's and Steve's subjective impressions that it doesn't meet expectations and a review that says it's so good it's in a class by itself. The reviewers at the bow hunting site don't seem to know what they're doing, so Steve and Frank, could you give us some hard information, like a high magnification star test (photos if possible) and measure the resolution on a standard line pair per mm chart.

Last edited by henry link : Monday 24th July 2017 at 14:17.
henry link is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Tuesday 8th August 2017, 12:44   #75
huntabsarokee
Registered User

 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: NE PA
Posts: 66
Any updates on the reviews?
huntabsarokee is offline  
Reply With Quote
Advertisement
Reply


Thread Tools
Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
kowa- nikon 50mm lens - kowa scope dolores Digiscoping Adapters 1 Thursday 19th January 2006 17:24

{googleads}

Fatbirder's Top 1000 Birding Websites

Help support BirdForum

Page generated in 0.23812795 seconds with 38 queries
All times are GMT. The time now is 06:28.